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How to Narrow your Career Choice

A young woman sat before me wanting advice on how to break into HR. Here’s what I shared with her. May it help you or a loved one contemplating a career transition.

I asked her to start with the big picture. Does she want to work in a big company with worldwide offices and lots of employees? Big organizations may be attractive if she values travel, for example, because she could potentially transfer to locations abroad. They’re also great for understanding the structure of HR – how things get done with already created processes – which she can then apply in any future workplace setting.

Conversely, if she wants more hands-on experience and more opportunity creatively, she may thrive in a small company. HR professionals must wear many hats at a smaller business instead of specializing in one subject area.

What type of environment does she want to work in? Does she picture herself working in an office or out in the field? Some people can’t tolerate the idea of sitting at a desk all day. They need to move. Others find comfort sitting at the same desk with the same people around them day to day.

What if she wants both? Perhaps she wants to work at a place where she sits for periods of time but also moves around. Certainly, she’ll do both if she does HR in manufacturing versus working in professional services. My experience working in manufacturing meant visiting the plant floor in steel-toed boots regularly unlike when I worked at a corporate office in downtown Toronto where I sat in a cubicle all day.

Consider company culture too, not just what’s written on the website but what she hears from others. She’ll want to know things such as whether company X drives their employees hard or how successfully it sustains a hybrid/in-person/WFH environment.

Think about interests and don’t be afraid to explore unconventional avenues.

For instance, she told me she enjoyed working on employee engagement surveys. While large businesses have employee engagement programs, I suggested she also look at “HR-adjacent” companies that implement them. That’s what I did when I worked in project management for a few years. I set up employee engagement programs.

Some people like to specialize, others prefer being broad-based.

Does she want to become a subject matter expert or would she prefer working in multiple disciplines? I did both. First, I specialized in Total Rewards (compensation, benefits, HRIS) and then I became an HR Director, which is a generalist role. I found the latter more satisfying but that’s my preference.

Either way, her long-term success will come from following her natural inclinations.

Figuring out what career suits you best depends on knowing who you are – what motivates you, what you deem important, what you find fulfilling. It’s also a function of your age and stage in life.

No survey, assessment tool, or even advice can give you the precise answer. At best, they provide information that you must then integrate into your decision. All of them are helpful but only you know what’s best for you. You have the responsibility – and privilege – of selecting the kind of life you want to lead. May you choose a life fully loved!

I closed the discussion with the young woman by pointing out that whatever choice she makes isn’t permanent. She can change her mind and develop new preferences as she grows personally and professionally. I started in HR, moved to project management, and then became a coach.

She just needs to commit to the next step. That’s all.

Header Photo by Ugne Vasyliute on Unsplash

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.


I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.


Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.


I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!


Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.


I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.


Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.


Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.


Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.


From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.


Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.


I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.