HR Generalist or HR Specialist

So, you are interested in pursuing a career in professional Ottawa human resources and you don’t know which way to go, a generalist path or a specialist path.  The good news is there are no wrong answers here.  I know many very successful and professionally fulfilled HR Generalists and I know many very successful and professionally fulfilled HR Specialists.  While having a definitive plan is always a good thing, the outcome will generally be dictated by time, place and opportunity, not your plan.
I spent a career harping on the merits of being a generalist to anyone who would listen.  I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to spend their time doing the same thing day in and day out.  While I am still inclined to feel this way, it’s funny how careers turn out.  I knew I wanted a career in human resources.  I thought I wanted to be a generalist and to have a hand in everything from attracting to developing to retaining employees.
As I retrace my steps and look back on how things unfolded I quickly came to realize I spent many years doing specialist human resources work.  My first professional position was as a labor relations specialist.  It was an eye opener.  I learned early on I wanted to work in companies who worked hard at operating union free and who valued dealing directly with their employees and not through a third party.  Next, I spent several years as an employee opinion survey specialist.  To this day, I can think of no better communications platform with employees than a well executed employee opinion survey.  I also had the opportunity to perform specialist work with wage and salary proposals and executive compensation.  I have always viewed my time in compensation as being a “great place to be from”.  Spend some time working in compensation and you will never have to accept the answer, “we don’t do that here”.
My point.  Human Resources, unlike many professions, allows for considerable choice.  That’s a good thing.  Find a good company.  Try it all.  Let things unfold.  If you find a specialty area you love, go for it.  If not, you will find that when all is said and done, you have become a very well rounded generalist.
Good luck!
Positive employee relations thought for the day:  Now is a good time of the year to rethink your pay-in-lieu of vacation policy and start encouraging employees to take their well-earned vacation time off.