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  • Writer's pictureRowyn Hathaway, MPS

Why Human Resources & Employment Relations?

Hi everyone,

I wanted to take a moment to share how and why I got my MPS in Human Resources & Employment Relations (HRER) so that my clients can get to know me just a bit better.

As I mentioned in my bio, I am originally from Eugene, OR where I attended the University of Oregon from 2012 to 2016. During my time in college, I worked a couple high stress service jobs, including Starbucks at the UO campus. Needless to say, I am no stranger to working in high stress environments and trying to meet the needs of both employers and customers alike.

About six to eight months before I graduated, I was offered a position with the UO Academic Extension department. While I absolutely loved working there, and had the best supervisor. However, it was because of this job my perceptions of the working class began to change.

Now, I won't bother wasting your time with the nuances of working for a bureaucratic department at a bureaucratic school, but one thing I did not know while I worked there was that I was supposed to be in a union. However, with hindsight being 20/20, I will confess this may not have helped me much anyway, as at the time I misunderstood unions, and believed they were the reason employees can get away with so much. (In case you are wondering, I was WRONG!)

After a year and a half, two promotions, and a promise for another position in the future, I was laid off. It was not a surprise but it still stung. First office job, managed to do well at it right after graduating, and then got laid off six months later. When I spoke with HR about my options, I was told our HR Representative was written up for speaking to me. This was my first flag into how employers abuse their power.

Furthermore, I didn't end up receiving my union member packet until three months until after I lost my job. At this point I had friends who worked for unions, and I had learned my error in assumptions about what unions do for the working class. But I also realized that they were also understaffed and fighting for employee rights with nothing but difficulties.

Fast forward a little bit. About eight months after being laid off, dealing with unemployment and job searching, I was finally offered a Legal Assistant position here in Portland, OR, so I packed up and moved. At this point, fully supporting unions and eventually wanting to work for one.

Well, lucky me, the attorney I worked for was terrible. I could create a whole blog post dedicated to how terribly this woman treated me, but that isn't the point of this post. Anyway, this attorney fired me on the spot when I filed a sexual harassment claim against her and requested to work for another attorney. She told unemployment that I resigned and was therefore denied unemployment, and I spent the next year trying to figure out what to do.

I would like to say I applied to every single union job I could find. I was never able to even get an interview. Sadly, unions are still employers, who want experience without training, and workers that won't questions them. Welcome to one of many problems within our labor system!

So, I went back to school and got my MPS in HRER and specialized in American Labor Unions. While my long term goal was to eventually work for a union and help the working class, I have learned something about myself over the past several years. That is, I just want to make things easier for folks and especially the working class.

With our society ever changing, and politics influencing everything, I can only hope that things will get better for our working class citizens (for all citizens, but my knowledge only lets me help so far). In the meantime, it is my goal to use my business as a means to help other, but also to help myself. I would be lying if I told you there is no self gain here. However, those do not have to be mutually exclusive.

I hope this has given you and opportunity to get to know me a bit better, and please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!

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