Sunday, July 21, 2013

What do a basketball player, a musician, and an HR Analyst have in common?


For those of you who know me well (or those of you who have met me and made an educated guess, based on my not-so-subtle 6'0" frame), I played basketball for a number of years. Recruited in third grade to a team called the Magic by a set of twins with their dad as the coach, I ended up playing ball through my freshman year in high school. I had a blast! The height was my gift, but I had a lot to learn in terms of appropriate aggressiveness and technique.

As I approached high school, I experienced a few injuries and then faced the decision of whether to pursue sports, music, or both (I had started playing the bassoon in 6th grade and grown to LOVE it).

My initial goal was to do both. I thought I could handle it. Then, I hit a slump in my playing. Looking back, I realize now that I was trying too hard, viewing basketball as an
objective, all-technique game. I played as though I had to get all the answers right. While trying to play perfectly, I missed out on the flow of it all. Then, I was faced with an injury that, for me, was career-ending.

After undergoing arthroscopic surgery on my now twice-dislocated right shoulder, and as my interest in music had increased and I was applying for the position of drum major as a sophomore, I decided to set aside my high-top shoes and the court and wholeheartedly pursue music.

I had a wonderful musical experience in high school, enjoying years of marching band and concert hall performances. A few band directors, and one in particular, inspired me to pursue music education in college. For those of you music majors out there, you'll "Amen!" with me on this one: music courses in college are SO different from the AP, standardized courses in high school. There is an initial layer of
objectivity in music that must be recognized, honed, and respected, but ultimately music is a realm of subjectivity. The classes challenged me in ways I never expected and forced me out of my oh-so-tidy world of fill-in-the-blank tests. I am so thankful for that experience and grateful that I continue to have the chance to play to this day.

My career path ended up taking a new direction, however. I found that my professional interests were more in the world of business, even though my heart was in the music. So, I pursued an MBA in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management and found my perfect blend of objectivity and subjectivity. HR is a world of precision and ambiguity. There are hard facts and numbers to be dealt with on a daily basis, and then there are people issues to be handled individually while still applying company policy. I use both sides of my brain every day and am constantly challenged.

Only now can I look back at my experiences and see how they prepared me for this current role. Incredible, isn't it? Who would have thought? I think we all know the Answer to that question...

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