A tale of HR…bullshit


Sometimes the urge is very strong.
This instinct is consuming.
But good sense wins every single stinking time.
You want to know why it wins? Why good sense is on such a tear?
Because I actually enjoy my job and despite my various bloggish rantings, I do enjoy a steady income because I love stashing away money like the voracious miser that I am. And occasionally I enjoy buying shit just because I want to. Besides, who the hell really wants to scramble around the wasteland of unemployment, circa 2010? You know the routine, standing in line with other dejects in the unemployment office, scouring dead-end job postings while futilely ignoring the sensation that you are descending in a rapid downward maelstrom of futility while the global economy slowly peters out/tanks yet again?


Look, so I work for a behemoth corporation with all the standard corporate impersonality and post-modern sense of depersonalization. Just another cog in the wheel. But it’s a job and I don’t need to go that extra mile in order to endanger it by virtue of some carelessly blathered blather on this damn blog. So I gotta keep my trap shut once in a while. Some of the shit that I see and hear at work begs to be revealed and mocked on these webpages. But I’ll just bite my tongue. Again. Needless to say, my tongue is a mangled piece of hamburger meat by now. But I’ve still got that job.


Two bold assertions are at play here:

1) Assuming anyone from work ever reads this blog (highly doubtful)

2) Assuming anyone from work reads this blog and cares (highly doubtful)


It’s a sign of the times that the typical HR department has become a nexus of corporate-induced misery and sterilization. The HR folks issue the decrees and policies which trickle down from management perch atop the executive peak in the form of pronouncements meant to encompass all us lowly runts scraping the bottom of the ladder. Pronouncements infused with the coldly bland and peace-loving orders of business which all the worker bees must abide by lest they find themselves sitting idly in the HR office.


HR is nothing but an advocate for your employer.


If you walk into HR with a complaint, its legitimacy is irrelevant. The friendly HR representative will discuss your complaints, humor you a bit. After you have chatted for a few minutes, you’ll realize something. This person shares very little empathy with your predicament. You are on your own. HR will do all they can to present the calm and reasonable case of the company and your hollow complaints will be neutralized by the overwhelming might of your employer. Now if your complaint involves an incident or incidents which may place the company at legal risk, you may garner more serious attention, but only insofar as the company’s interests are at stake.


A few years ago the old HR guard at my company slowly filtered out of the company and was replaced by a swarm of new upstarts, spearheaded by a phony, plastic manager (who is no longer with this company, thus the ease with which I write this post). She oozed a duplicitous friendliness which needed to be swatted down like an annoying housefly. She immediately befriended some employees and became entrenched in cliques in a very brash and inappropriate display of clannishness on the part of this alleged HR professional. Any fool could have seen this. But there were many fools who didn’t.


Shortly after her ascendance to the HR throne, the new manager extended an invitation to my department for a “get to know each” other kind of bullshit meeting of the so-called minds. The department had been through some tumultuous times of late and there were residual underlying tensions which were not exactly unknown in the corridors of HR-dom. So there it was. We were to have a “sit-down” and trade pleasantries. It was very New Age, touchy feely and reeked of phoniness and superficiality which is what this manager appeared to specialize in. If she couldn’t deal with a problem directly, she smiled her cheesy way through it.


The meeting was predictably unbearable and the participants were a cliquish group of women except for me. The initial conversation was typical empty workplace filler and lacked anything resembling substance. I was quite a bit less knowledgeable and jaded than now. I basically swallowed whatever was handed me, and if it was distasteful, I would gladly hold my nose before swallowing. As the saying goes, if only I knew then what I know now…


So the meeting meandered through lunch and vacuous nothings were the theme. After we ate, the HR manager proudly signaled that she was about to offer something of note. She wanted us join in an exercise. She would go around the room and each of us would tell our group what our biggest weakness at work was. What a bunch of hogwash. This was a gathering of a bunch of disingenuous ass-covering cowards who we assumed would be impelled to reveal some semi-private confessions by the presence of this HR bimbo? How sincere could the sham possibly turn out?


I was the only person who revealed anything remotely sincere about myself. I told the group I had a tendency to not follow up and occasionally I sat on some items too long. At the time, for a multitude of reasons, this was assuredly a behavior I was attempting to overcome. But I felt compelled, within the context of this ludicrous meeting to reveal all I could. In the spirit of honesty. Well, well, did I fuck myself over. I worked with the other women in the room on a daily basis and I could have volunteered reams of “faults” about each of them. But what did they choose to share?


Why one told us in a heavy accent that her English was bad.


Another said that she had a hard time resting if the job was not done and she had a habit of overdoing it in the spirit of completing the task.


One of the following participants, a renowned, perpetually tardy slacker, went so far as to shamelessly second this sentiment.


The meeting accomplished nothing other than to mark me as a target for my boss’s eyes. My honesty was her weapon and her attitude during the first couple of years after the pow wow was one of hair-trigger exasperation and impatience with my slightest mistakes or lapses. Once I failed to follow up with a salesperson regarding an item (because I knew that it was a non-issue which would repair itself, which it did) but that didn’t prevent her from moaning “oh David, oh David” in a loud and castigating tone which the whole office could hear.


They will hand you the rope…