Looking back, I’m starting to realise that I’ve put quite a few years towards this potentially ill-guided dream of success in the corporate world - still thinking I should’ve listened to the computer generated guidance counsellor that told me in Year 12 to become a ‘religious leader’, rather than listening to the real person guidance counsellor who, in a very Matrix-esque encounter told me to choose the red or blue pill…medicine or law. I mean I could’ve had my own religion, enjoyed the tax-free status, and had a mass cult following that included plenty of idiot celebrities who were promised that upon the impending Armageddon of the Earth, my lineal ancestor Dollarborg would return and they would all be taken safely to Uranus [hahahahaha I love that planet way too much]
One of many interpretative images of what Dollarborg looks like:
Anyway as a result of spending years as your modern day Collins Street nightwalker (…walking to the cab rank, just to be clear), I’ve actually managed to rack up a few jobs across a few sectors (…office jobs, just to be clear). Whilst most jobs have been very different, I’m starting to realise that there is one common thread that permeates each business that I’ve worked with – no, its not that they’re all Australian companies; no, its not that they have all experienced financial testing times since 2008; no, its not even that the share prices mysteriously happen to jump up when I join…. The one thing that I’ve noticed [WARNING: The following sentence is a potentially Career Limiting Move (CLM)…no, not potentially, probably, but CBF not typing it out given I’ve gone through all this trouble to put in this warning in nice italics font and square brackets] anyway I’ve noticed that at all the jobs I’ve worked/clerked/slaved at, are all plagued by an incompetent HR department.
During the recruiting process, this incompetence is masked as something you should be scared of. They instil in you and other candidates that ‘being onside with HR’ is the key to the job. Their actions are akin to people smugglers, acting with very little regard for the actual working conditions and promising you the world. They maintain whatever leverage they can over you to create a competitive market between candidates – giving some candidates sign-on bonuses others nothing; allowing some to sign immediately whilst others must wait; giving some firm-embossed hacky sacks and others biro pens. As a candidate you read into everything and HR take pleasure in your fear of them.
This fear of HR was further reinforced to me when I received an email from a well wisher, asking whether I was concerned that HR would read my publicly aired emails to you and use it to deny me any future job opportunities. Specifically I think they were concerned that my ‘I’m a confident, enthusiastic, bubbly individual who cannot wait to work for your organisation’ Miss-World-wannabe persona during interviews, would be undermined by my ‘fuck work, fuck the world, I’m going to test how many times I can say ‘fuck’ in an email to trigger an IT alert….fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck’ attitude in my emails to you. Now upon hearing this, I have to confess that there was a brief moment of “what the hell have I done?”, followed by mild hyperventilation and potentially a week of night sweats. However these feelings subsided and were replaced with pure, unadulterated anger because I realised that I didn’t live behind the Iron Curtain, nor was I subject to the decrees of Pyongyang. No, I live in a democratic country with a right to free speech (even though it’s not yet enshrined in a Bill of Rights, it’s still there). How could I be so scared of someone in HR?
[Yep if you’re keeping a track of Career Limiting Moves mentioned in this email, then yes, I have so far compared HR departments across Australia to pre-World War II Russia, North Korea and people smugglers]
Then you get into the business and have to work with HR. Suddenly they are unmasked and underneath is not pretty at all. Ineptitude, untrustworthiness, and general incompetence overlay every conversation with them. Indeed one, could argue that given my experience with HR across many different industries, that they may be the types to go into Bunnings to buy a pretty plant and ask the expert if plants need wind to survive. Just saying that it’s a possibility.
It also emerges that unless you want something broadcast on the central building speaker system so that the whole company can know, don’t tell HR anything. In fact, I believe that the very basis of their title, ‘human’ ‘resources’ is actually a self-reminding description for them of who to avoid and not provide any help to. Go to HR with a problem and a week later with no response, you’ll find that the person dealing with your query has probably left to spread their incompetence in the same job at another firm. And if they haven’t left, then they’re probably too busy giving each other pats on the back for completing another week of avoiding humans and rewarding each other with mundane promotions to some title with a myriad of buzzwords such as “development”, “learning”, and “deputy head”. But of course, no one actually knows what these mean.
What’s even worse is that in the midst of possibly the worst economic times of our generation which has led to pay freezes, redundancies and hiring reductions, HR departments continue to multiply in size. Suddenly the Deputy Head of Learning and Development needs a team of seven to help them muddle and miscommunicate any staff-related messaging so much that they make federal politicians look semi-competent. The fact is there is no need for a full an HR ‘team’ – rather it just requires one person who’s well-incentivised to interview everyone recruited, and one admin type person to organise training based on employee recommendations. Any employee questions, your manager should be able to answer.
But I believe that this issue goes well beyond just workplace dealings. All through life we are put in contact with people whose jobs it is to supposedly look after our welfare – guidance counsellors in school, undergrad office at uni, HR at work. Their key responsibility is to here the concerns of the people operating in their domain. Yet time and time again, there are stories of people just being let down by the same types who are out of touch, untrustworthy or just down right inept. So if they can’t do that right, what are they doing?
Finally in anticipation of the fact that I’ve probably lost all future earnings potential, I leave you with one last thought – Dollarborg is real and is going to save you. Please call 1800-$aveMe to pay an easy fee of sixteen installments of $999,999 to book your place on my lineal ancestor Dollarborg for that inevitable day when the Earth bursts into flames. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.