Tell me this hasn’t happened to you before, you’re out with friends and new acquaintances and everything is going great, then of course the conversation veers into work or the office dealings. Someone tells a great story about an inappropriate relationship, a rigged promotion and all of a sudden your HR brain kicks in. Here’s an unofficial stat (F.M.A. (from my a**)) – there are over 1.2 million HR blog posts that are inspired by a social experience or interaction.
So you ask probing questions; try to explain why the company took action or educate them on what actions should have been taken. Then you realize you’re doing it again. That HR hat has popped on and now you are in full on geek HR mode.
I have this one friend, I love her dearly, she tells me “Chris, I love talking to you but I hate when you put that effing HR hat on!!
Oh I’m the only one right!? No we are a bunch of geeks – a motley crew if there ever was one.
My friends are reluctant to talk to me about work related things (they only want HR when they need HR) because they say that human resources are focused on all the wrong things and they take the fun out of everything. They are right you know. We do focus on the wrong things. We are so focused ourselves and our workload that we rarely take time to focus on those that need us the most – the people.
That’s not totally our fault though – see we are trained and educated to protect the company against liability at all costs. We are tasked with forecasting problems, developing strategies to fix problems often times before they happen. We’re forced to cleanup messes, and fix things as if we’re Olivia Pope – you know the character on ABC’s “Scandal”, she’s a professional fixer. She can spin anything! We do all this under the umbrellas of compliance and corporate policy.
Don’t get me wrong people need structure. Have you heard of some of the foolishness that some people try to get away with? It’s incredible. You name it, its happening; sex, drugs, and videotape – sure! And that’s not all.
The news is the worst! I mean you can’t turn on the tube or the net without seeing something crazy at work; a CEO accused of misconduct, employee theft, violence in the workplace, or my current favorite revoking ROWE (work from home…okay technically it means Results Oriented Work Environment) benefits.
We’re so used to fixing stuff and applying HR principles that we can’t always control it. Sometimes we even miss it. So when we’re sittin’ around shootin’ the breeze it just happens – work creeps in and that HR hat slide on. Just sitting there – hanging out and checking the scene.