Saturday, March 26, 2011

Then and now: not so different

Once upon a time I had a career in the Human Resources department of a huge global consulting company. I worked in the Employee Relations group, which is basically where they send the sensitive situations. And the crack pots. People who aren't doing their job. Or are keeping others from doing their job. Or are doing their job poorly and nothing seems to be working in getting them to turn it around. Often times it was heartbreaking. There were the cases where an employee wasn't meeting performance expectations and upon further investigation it was discovered they were facing a chronic illness, or divorce, or family crisis. In the hazy warm glow of my memory I recall how I was able to make a difference by helping these people and helping the company. All of those wonderful success stories where I made an impact. But time has a way of softening the edges, editing out the annoying and mundane. And the really stupid people. Once I take off the rose colored glasses it turns out my *professional job* is not much different from my current position.

Here is a brief comparison of then and now:

Then: Ridiculous excuses for behavior, such as *I couldn't finish the report because my hard drive crashed*.
Now: Ridiculous excuses for behavior, such as *She started it* or *It's not my fault the lamp was there, I was just running and twirling by and it fell off the table. By itself*.

Then: Lots of whining and complaining.
Now: Lots of whining and complaining.

Then: Petulant partners who tantrum when they can't give their favorite employee (yet another) huge raise due to budget constraints.
Now: Petulant son who tantrums when I won't by him (yet another) Star Wars Lego set due to budget constraints.

Then: Employees who assume someone else will pick up their slack.
Now: Children who assume someone else (me) will pick up their slack.

Then: Long hours.
Now: Longer hours.

Then: An employee inadvertently gets paid double their regular salary for three months straight and can't understand why this is a problem, or why they should have to pay it back.
Now: My child smashes their sibling's toy and can't understand why it's a problem, and why they have to help them rebuild it.

Then: An employee has a million excuses for why they can't get their work done.
Now: My child has a million excuses for why she can't get her homework done.

Then: A partner that emails at 7pm requesting some critical data for a 7am conference call.
Now: A child tells me at 8pm they need to construct a detailed diorama of King Tut's tomb for school tomorrow.

Then: An employee screws up a major project resulting in thousands of dollars lost.
Now: My son somehow screws up the computer resulting in thousands of hours of my time being lost.

Then: An employee doesn't understand why it isn't okay to take a two hour lunch.
Now: My child doesn't understand why they don't get two hours for recess at school.

Then: An employee has a few drinks at lunch and embarrasses themselves in front of the client.
Now: I have a few drinks at lunch and embarrass myself in front of the dog.

Then: An employee thinks they should be paid extra just for doing their job.
Now: My son thinks he should be paid a dollar for putting the milk back in the refrigerator.

Then: Longing for more recognition of my contributions.
Now: Longing for any recognition of my contributions.

Then: I sigh. A lot.
Now: I sigh. A lot.


  1. Then (before your blog): normal expression on face
    Now: laughing hysterically
    (please continue with more nows instead of thens. thank you)

  2. The similarities between home and office are almost eerie. Though, at times, I think my teen-age son is more mature than many of my co-workers.

  3. I used to have a co-worker who would take naps in her office. The only time I didn't have to listen to her loudly talking on the phone or whining was when she was napping. I LOVED her nap time. I could finally have some peace and get some work done. Same now!

  4. I've been reading old entries from Mothers of Brothers Blog and she mentioned reading your blog. I was excited to read that your past job was in Human Resource, as that is the field I hope to work in. I hold a degree in management and in school I focused my studies on HR. Since finishing school I've found getting a job in HR to be rather difficult everyone wants someone with minimum 5 years experience. Do you have any advice on what type of work experience I should acquire to help get my foot in the door? Thanks

  5. Hi Maria, I admit I started as an intern when I was in college where it literally cost me more to drive to my job then what they paid me - and I had to beg them to take an intern for close to six months before they took me. And for the first month I filed... my job after graduate school consisted of answering phones and scheduling appointments for the HR Director...and more filing. But after putting in that painful time I had some great jobs. The good new is that if you are willing to start at the very bottom and gain the exposure, if you are bright and a hard worker you move up pretty quickly (or can find somewhere else to go). I did some recruiting but realized that wasn't where my interests lay, so was more of an HR generalist - I spent time doing operations, benefits, and loved it. Good luck!

  6. Ah, yes. I see the comparisons! Wonderful post. I'm definitely cracking up.