There was a time early in my career when I thought my psych degree would take me into HR. I knew I wasn’t going to be a counselor or anything – I never imagined anything other than business.
And I did kind of have an HR-adjacent role, back in the days where I worked in the small business: in that I had simultaneous roles handling HR, payroll, finance, accounts payable/receivable, customer service, training, order fulfillment and supply chain management. (Office manager. Good times. Lots of hats.)
But I’ve worked for successively larger companies since then.
…Places where HR spent most of its time handling quarter after quarter of downsizings, which didn’t end until the last round in (which HR themselves were downsized).
…Places where they had HR departments that seemed to exist for the sole purpose of documenting reasons for firings (none of the most toxic managers ever seemed to have this occur though, despite ample documentation and reports clearly indicating some of them needed to go).
…Places where management was so toxic that reports were made regularly for years while qualified employees actively tried to get out from under the worst of the mid-level mismanagers, and laid off employees mostly just expressed relief – and HR’s only comment was “yeah we heard it was bad here.” Um, ya think? Don’t you have some kind of role in solving that sh*t?
…Places where HR made many demands of the employees but never seemed to provide anything to them (literally: employee benefits = managed by a separate team).
… Places where HR actively promotes content about work/life balance and managing stress, while simultaneously pushing out “urgent” employee tasks off-hours and over holidays.
…As an internal provider of services, I can attest that some have been places where HR was sometimes the most demanding and least appreciative of clients.
As a wise man has said:
… neither human nor a resource.