The Truth About HR

17 Feb

Is that you are asked to resource humans.  All kinds of resources. All kinds of asking. All kinds of humans. All kinds of time.

The amount of stuff you end up doing that doesn’t fit into your job description could take a few pages to detail.  For instance, looking back at my past three HR jobs: Delivering a termination notice to an employee in prison.  Registering the president’s car. Cataloguing types of metals. Telling maintenance to dispose of condoms found in the stairwell. Telling new college grads how to use a washing machine. Participating in exploratory research for the CIA. Running along the Charles River with bunches of Navy Seals. Attending black tie Gala events on weekends on your birthday.  Filling in for the young hotshot sales reps (think Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire) when one of them gets fired for viewing pornography at work the day before a big sales closing.

Those are only the ones I can think about when I set my timer for 90 seconds.

HR is a lot of emotional intelligence and human interaction. It is part teacher, part student, part historian, part librarian, part data entry, part research and analysis, part engineering (if you want to understand what your employees actually do so you know better how to proactively help them), part sales, part charm, part true grit, part psychologist, part mentor, part counselor, part good cop, part bad cop. part paperwork, part IT, part parenting, part legal advisor, part employee advocate, part employer watchdog.

It is the best of jobs and the worst of jobs.  All in one job.

I always thought you had to work in a correctional facility to see the worst of mankind but nope, I’ve come pretty close in my little corner office.

And I always thought you had to be a Mother Theresa to have people genuinely think the world of you.  But nope, I’ve got that respect.  And I’m not a saint.

You do have to learn about boundaries.  About being tough.  About saying no. About using a lot of IRS legal code to defend your positions against wily and argumentative engineers.  You have to learn how to smile when you want to frown (still working on that one.  Got caught frowning about 7 times this week.) You have to learn how to stop eating your lunch or checking for data integrity every time someone walks into your office.  And that happens about once every 47 seconds. You have to learn how to always prioritize other people’s needs before your own but also make sure you take the time you deserve for lunch (when 5 people stopped me on the short walk to the bathroom and I didn’t have the courage to ask them to wait, then I was asked 2 more questions while in a bathroom stall, I realized that maybe I did deserve the right to ask people to wait a few minutes).

And you have to learn to take the bad with the good.  To not let the scumbags convince you that they are normal.  That everyone acts like they do.  We all have our person – that one person we think about when we need an example of someone normal and nice and the reason we still work at our job.  My person is Mr. Bingley.  Except he smiles more than Mr. Bingley.  Did you know that was possible?  Even when he’s having a bad day, he’s always smiling!  Sometimes, I say, “You’re making me feel bad.  Could you please stop smiling.” And he tries to. But he physically cannot. Makes me grin every time.  He’s the happiest 25 year old I’ve ever met and if he can keep smiling, well, I figure I can keep resourcing humans.

Still, and this goes without saying, thank God it’s Friday.

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One Response to “The Truth About HR”

  1. Susanna February 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Yes you definitely deserve to take time for yourself for lunch! And aww for Mr. Bingley. that’s really nice 🙂

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