Reflections on Twenty in Twenty

Twenty years ago as I was navigating a career transition, I went through all of the normal “What do I want to be when I grow up?” thought processes. I received a lot of advice – good, bad, and weird – from a broad range of sources, some of which I continue to share with individuals I now counsel as they negotiate their own transitions.

I found myself evaluating opportunities within large and small companies from diverse industries and geographic locations. Most were solid opportunities with each having its own unique pluses and minuses. My main dilemma moved from “Will I find something?” to “Will I find something I like?” In the midst of all of the job search clutter there was a glimmer of an opportunity with a small, local consulting company that I was already somewhat familiar with. The entire company was smaller than the department I had recently managed in a much larger organization, and yet the role contained most of the elements I had enjoyed and few, if any, of my least favorite aspects of the previous role.

After running the gauntlet of the interview process, I was presented with an offer. Now what? Big company versus little company? Local company versus relocation? A focus on many industries versus becoming an expert in one industry? I think we all know where the thought process led me. This gem of a company located right here in Northeastern Wisconsin offered me the opportunity to devote my energies to helping people understand and manage their own career choices AND provided me with exposure to dozens and dozens of industries.

This was supposed to be a role to carry me through the next two to three years — a strategic career management move to help me identify the answer to the “What do I want to be when I grow up?” question. And here we are, 20 years later. I am still here.

What happened to moving on in two to three years? I found myself working with some of the most talented and passionate people I have ever been surrounded by. I LOVE what I do and who I do it with. Over the past 20 years I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with hundreds, if not thousands of individuals of diverse backgrounds and I have learned something from each and every one of them. Each has helped me be better for the next client.

So, as I reflect on my 20th anniversary with The H.S. Group, I want to say Thank You to the original team that offered me the opportunity to join this special organization, the current team that continues to make this an incredible organization to be a part of, and also to every client/candidate I have worked with over the past 20 years.

by Denise Knutson – Director, Leadership Development

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