Many times (like this one) when I have an idea to write a post I google it to see how much is already in the blogosphere about it. Original ideas are rare in 2010. Anyway, the point here is that I googled "Why get into HR" to compare why people pursue a career in HR versus the job description and company expectations.

What I found was a ton of validation that HR is not the ER or Human Services. Those are very important places in every community, but they are never located inside a company, unless of course it is the nature of their business or there are clinicians installed there with that purpose.

Most HR professionals don't acquire first aid skills by osmosis because they administer health care benefits and FMLA. It's clearly not logical to assume they should be responsible for alcohol wipes, thermometers and the blood kit - or counseling personal problems or be subjected to gory stories about bodily functions, despite the fact that in so many companies in the HR Suite, there is a sick/lactation room, massive first aid kit, freezer with ice packs, red bat phone to call the police, info on suicide prevention, toll free numbers for the mental health help line, etc.

Organizational Development God, it needs to change - that's not our job.

The basic HR Generalist job description is something like

Responsible for all human resource activities for the company. Provide advice, assistance and follow-up on company policies, procedures, and documentation. Coordinate the resolution of specific policy-related and procedural problems and inquiries, perform specific research/investigation into operational issues, as requested. Provide on-the-job training to new employees.

Who is this reminder for?

  • Anyone who got into HR because they "like people" and is now miserable because of people or confused HR with Human Services.
  • Those who favor spending hours counseling people on personal problems instead of how to maximize organizational performance.
  • Those who aspire to be the next Mother Teresa or feel they can save people.
  • Ditto for those considering a career in the field.
  • Managers who send people to HR because they don't know what to do with them or don't want to deal with their issues.
  • Employees who go to HR like they used to go to the nurses office in school - to get out of assignments, talk to someone or take a nap.

If you aspire to the sainthood, don't dial 1-800-work-n-HR to inquire about canonization.


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