I took a little heat from some of my readers and friends for my stance on firing employees for making parody viral videos, specifically the El Monte California Lifeguards that got fired for going “Gangnam Style.” Google it.
I said termination was too harsh.
“They said” that as a HR guy I should consider that these are public workers goofing off on the tax payer’s dime…they also suggested that my lenient stance was irresponsible, especially for an HR guy.
Ahem…*clearing my throat*
Are you ready? Okay here we go. What many folks don’t understand is that I have worked my whole life; for over 25 years I’ve worked in the corporate world. I’ve experienced plenty of BAD management and a little good management. I’ve worked in the public sector and the private sector. I’ve worked in Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee. I’ve experienced a lot.
I’m not a traditional HR professional, because I’m not a traditional person. I’m different. I think differently and I’m good with that. It may not be your cup of tea, it’s alright, and we (HR) folks don’t all look and think alike.
You wonna know why the people (the most important part of any business) hate us? Because we’re heartless. We are cruel. We want to create policies and rules to control every aspect of human behavior and get upset when the people circumvent our rules. We develop rules to control things before we even understand the scope and range (potential) of what it is we are trying to control. We even learn the rules so we can help employers break them and get away with it.
We don’t want to deal with anything that causes us to think or get out of our comfort zones. We want everything to fit into a category or compartment. We want things to remain the same until WE decide to change them. We are quick to preach about change being the one constant in life but when we are faced with change (especially uncomfortable change) we get intimidated. We want control, and policies that cover all employees and all situations.
Well folks life does not work that way. People do not work that way. Work does not work that way. I don’t work that way.
I currently live in Memphis, TN, one of the most violent cities in America. Also one of the most economically challenged cities which happen to be 65% Black; maybe there a correlation but that’s not my point. The Memphis City Police Captain Tony Armstrong is in the midst of one of the biggest firestorms and battles of his career. Memphis has police officers that have been involved in some truly horrendous activity. In the last 5 months MPD officers have been arrested for the following:
¬ Creating a rap persona and VIDEO sensationalizing gun violence and gang activity
¬ Domestic violence
¬ Human sex trafficking of underage girls
¬ Causing a deadly accident by speeding in a non-emergency situation
Police officers are public servants too, right?
There have been 22 officers arrested as of Oct. 9th 2012. And if you compare that to Nashville, another TN city with more officers on their force, but far fewer arrests, only 6. Source Guess what, many of them are still on the force right now.
There is no one size fits all in HR. And at the end of the day, do you want to be that HR pro that fires people because they can or because they deserve it?
Look I’m just different, so you can get with or you can stay with that. The choice is yours.