Life Done Differently

This week has been such an up and down rollercoaster of emotion. Today I went from completely excited about the future to absolutely disappointed in employees and organizations to questioning what’s next. At 11:30pm, I sit here and think… Where do I start? What risks am I prepared to make? What is truly important?

Earlier today I told the CEO of a Human Capital consulting firm in the States [someone I don’t know anymore than the average stranger] that all I want to do is do what I love. So Gen Y of me eh? ;) I want to truly make a difference in organizations. I want to work with leaders to become better leaders. I want to mentor and support employees to become successful in both their current roles and career to come. I want to give back to both my profession and community.

It’s not about job security, a pension, or a benefits plan. If I’m doing what I love and feel that I’m being fairly compensated – none of that matters.  All the time I get asked…

  • How do you have time to mentor young women in business? Do you find it exhausting?
  • Why do you do speaking engagements? Are you getting anything out of it?
  • Do you really have time to volunteer with the HR Association’s mentoring committee? What is your role?
  • Why do you tweet and promote jobs at WestJet? Are they paying you?

The answer: I am committed to my profession. I am of the belief that a true HR professional will work with people to be the best they can be. Define it as you wish, but to me it means setting youth up for success, providing people (whether internal employee or external applicant) with opportunities, supporting best practices, and making innovative progress on how HR is incorporated into business and bottom line.

I sat here tonight frustrated. I know there are people that think like me, but where are they?

What are you looking for in life? Is it a degree, a boyfriend, $50,000, and Wednesday wing nights?

No criticism to anyone else in this world, but none of that is me.

I dream big. I live my life thinking anything is possible.

For me, life is about so much more than an ok job, standard education, and hanging out with friends. My requirement is that health is always made a priority [learned that last year].  My goal is that I make a difference in the lives of my friends, family, the community, and my profession.  My heart hopes that I work towards being an active citizen continually contributing to positive change.

Tonight I strolled the internet looking for inspiration. Yes, albeit my recent online finds that I sapped about yesterday, I needed something else. I needed to find confirmation that other people think like me.

Gary Vaynerchuck (one of the most engaging people I have ever had the opportunity to hear speak) asks the question:

“What do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life?”

Lessons learned:

  • Whatever you want to do, make it happen.
  • Care about everything and everyone.
  • Find the balance between waiting for the next opportunity and finding opportunity.
  • Transparency is what will get you ahead.
  • Success is defined by happiness.

I am truly committed to the HR profession.

I am committed to doing HR differently and living life differently.

I want to change the way people think about both their careers and their role in society.

Years from now I don’t want to be the exception; I… sigh… want to be the norm.

Tonight I’ll be going to bed asking myself the following question…

What will it take for you to be happy?

My last little bit of GaryVee advice: Position yourself to succeed. Do what you love. And lastly hustle baby hustle. xo

[Insert transparency here > For too many reasons to count, the last two weeks have truly been hard. At the end of the day I know that life is about learning and everything happens for a reason. My heart goes out to the families of Greg Audley and Gerry Brookwell. With absolutely all my heart, may you both rest in peace.]


  1. Jen Bray March 25, 2011

    Call me average or mediocre if you want, but I would give anything for a Wednesday Wing Night with friends back home.

  2. Anthony Draffin March 31, 2011

    Hi Jillian,

    I just read your latest post. Take heart. There are people out there like you. One of the reasons that I follow your Twitter account is because I think very similarly to you even though I’m in a totally different industry. I also love your energy and self-direction and find it inspirational.

    My field is IT and I’m interested in strategic alignment of business to IT. I find your subject matter very interesting, I have a degree in Accounting and Management and I have a passion for leadership. I try and get along to industry association meetings. I was treasurer for a time of the Australian Association of Business Analysis. I love writing blog posts and getting feedback from the community, even if my readership is still small. Currently I’m trying to draw up a couple of business plans in my spare time and create IT Investment software that links business goals to IT goals.

    Sometimes the hardest thing is to keep going when colleagues expects someone of our generation and perceived experience and knowledge level (I’m 27) to not be capable of providing this level of input.

    I too am not in it for the money, but for the chance to contribute and make a difference.

  3. Monica April 4, 2011

    Hi Jillian!

    I’ve been in your shoes for the past 3 years. I slaved from 9-7 at a social media agency as a community manager and although I love what I do in social media, I found absolutely no reward or gratification in working in the fashion/entertainment industry. That’s why I’m attending grad school this fall to get my MBA.

    One day I hope to start my own non-profit organization dedicated to building schools and providing an education for children living in poverty. It’s not what I gain in my lifetime that’s important to me whether it’s money, a house or a car. I have everything I need – family, friends & a loving home. What’s more important to me is what I leave behind.

    Please don’t be discouraged because a majority of the people you know don’t think like you do. You should be proud that you are strong enough to not follow the herd.


    P.S. Stay hustlin’. ;)

  4. WT April 5, 2011

    You are not alone! I stare into my computer screen at my 8-5 and wonder if I am wasting another day and question my path and what is truly important.

    I want the personal satisfaction from helping others and working at what I love over financial reward. I also crave autonomy and not having to ‘earn’ the corporate stripes aka time until I am deemed experienced enough. I’m not sure if this is a generational desire or just people with depth and a quest for achieving the most from their time.

    A friend once asked me “are you a chicken or an eagle? If you are an eagle, get out of the coop.”

  5. pippa martins-st. onge April 7, 2011

    Jillian, step away from the computer, put on your mittens and go for a walk in the forest. Smell the smells, listen to the birdies sing and make a snow angel before the snow melts. I promise you while you are there you won’t think of HR or corporate climbing.

  6. timaarak April 12, 2011

    I had the pleasure of listening to you present at Beyond Pink 2010, and you have inspired me. To read this post and see that you have doubts as well, inspires me even more.

    I don’t know you, but I know that you’re full of energy and ideas, and that you are someone that can make anything happen!

    I feel that we have the same interests in HR and I too would love to make a difference in the way people view their careers. Please don’t lose hope because you are giving others like me hope. Hope that we can make a difference.

    Thank you for being so honest and real.

  7. TomTom_HRGuy April 15, 2011

    Hey Jillian, I just wanted to let you know that you’re definitely not alone in feeling this way. I don’t know if it’s a Gen Y thing or if it’s an HR thing, but what I do know is I want to achieve exactly what you do. I want to make a difference in my profession and community too. I’m still a student and I’m worried that my ambition will die off when I enter the workforce and that terrifies me, but I’m going to try my hardest to hang on to it. Thanks for your post! It was a great read!

    – TomTomHRGuy

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