Close Encounters and HR


Today’s contribution to the HR Tailgate is by Amy Dillman

I had a close encounter of a deer kind.

I was traveling down the road, clear morning, clear view of the road that lied ahead.
I saw his friends first. They came up from the ditch to cross over the bridge. They pranced, they glided effortlessly and they made me smile seeing them this close to Christmas. Then I remembered I was in a car on my morning commute. No worries, I reacted appropriately. I slowed the car to about 40-45 mph. Hey, that’s slow for a lonely, wide open two lane highway in the flat prairie lands of central Illinois.

I glanced down the creek line to see them prancing along their merry way, but when I turned to glance the driver’s side, there he was. Dancer, or Prancer perhaps – I wasn’t getting an introduction – coming straight at my driver’s side.

Please stop. Please stop. Please stay on that side of the road, please don’t keep go….and then with one graceful, albeit powerful leap, he hurdled my car. All I saw was a belly and hooves in my rear view mirror. It was that scene straight out of Rudolph when you see the close up of them taking of for flight. “Holy cow, he cleared it”, I said. Well, maybe that’s not exactly what I said.

Now, I live in deer country and I know a lot of folks that have not had the near miss experience like I just did – they’ve taken direct hits and side impacts without warning.

So, it begs the question in a different context. When have you seen the wide-open road ahead only to be caught off guard by what comes, unexpectedly, at you from the side? If you’re like me, you’re a planner, a compulsive list maker and a scheduler. You plan your day, you plan your career and you plan your life. Then, somewhere along the way, you get sideswiped. You change careers, you get downsized, you get promoted but it comes with a moving package.

A good manager or employee can drive down a wide-open road with no obstacles along with way, but a great individual can manage what comes at them from the side. You can’t control Dasher, but how you handle the unexpected says a lot about you.

Amy R. Dillman, SPHR, is a Resource and Policy Analyst with the Department of Planning and Budgeting at the University of Illinois. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. She has been with the university in human resources and recruiting roles since 2001.

Amy is President-Elect for the Central Illinois HR Group (CiHRG), an affiliate of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).  Additionally, Amy serves as a classroom facilitator for her chapter’s PHR/SPHR certification study groups. She has been a SHRM volunteer at both state and national conferences.

An avid traveler, wanna-be-low-handicap golfer and occasional distance runner, Amy has a love for all things Vegas and finds her peace on the beach. She’s usually behind a camera, but you can find her on LinkedIn ( and on Twitter as @RhumbarFan.


One Response to “Close Encounters and HR”

  1. Donna Rogers Says:

    I am so glad he leaped and didn’t hit you! What a story and so true! I was sideswiped four times in my short 10 years in corporate HR with downsizing, right sizing or whatever you want to call it. The last 10 years I don’t worry about what someone else is going to do with my job.

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