Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Myth of Human Resources

By Sean Anderson

I went to business school and became an account. Many of my friends wanted to go into human resources. They took a bunch of hippy idealistic business classes and some where along the line we've lost touch. The myth really started before college though. Even back then I would hear people say I want to go into human resources to help people.

Well that is not the goal of this department. They do tend to treat each other well, and take part in a lot of perks that nobody else in the company receives. They also keep on hand one sacrificial lamb called a recruiter just in case cuts become necessary.  However, that does not qualify as helping others, as a matter of fact that is helping ones self. At my company human resources gets upset if we walk through their department or use their copier. It has a big sign on it that says for HR only.  At the same time they don't have any problem drinking the coffee my department makes and grabbing food we bring.  It has been like this at several companies I've worked.  The big old double standard.

The reason that the human resource department acts like a bunch of whining brats is that they had some false premise about their jobs. They then use that as excuse to do what they want and everyone else hates usually hates them.  The point is a path of good intention doesn't lead to goo because companies have a much different need.

Human resources is a tough job. The decisions made by this department heavily influence peoples lively hoods. What insurance they receive, whether or not they keep their jobs and what programs might need to be cut to reduce costs. The job of the Human Resource department has little to do with planning the company picnic.

It also, has to deal with helping people when they don't want the help. Half the safety policies are really good but people always find a reason that they hinder their job and shouldn't be followed. Really it doesn't make sense, but if your in Human Resources your still going to be hated. Why do people resist changes that make them safer, who knows.

Even the job of a recruiter stinks. You have so many people seeking the same job and often times you'll hear situations that will make you want to hire someone unqualified for a job out of empathy. So, you just avoid those peoples' phone calls or tell them no. The other part of the time managers are raining down on you because it is really hard to find qualified employees.

Next time you think about seeking a job in HR think about the need to decide whether or not the companies survival is more important than the jobs of 500 employees and their families. If your lucky the solution will be cutting out their health insurance. Don't fall for the HR myth decide to get educated in a field where you'll make more money and be appreciated. Once you make your money help people all you want just don't dilute your professional ambitions with these notions.