Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When HR became God

I hate to say this about any profession but my experiences with HR professionals in India have been disastrous. It has always left me wondering whether I speak Latin and they speak another language. I just don't get why HR say one thing and do another and when it comes out on paper, it takes a lawyer to read between the lines and charge a hefty fee to determine what could have been plain, good old English.

In my first job, HR was very posh, well spoken, suave, the wonder stuff that made you melt. Once I got into the rut of corporate office details, I got the point: beneath the suave stuff, there lies the danger of pitting one team leader against the other by leaking out details of pay packages, who got the laptop over whom, that sort of fiery spark that can get bitchy women become even bitchier and it works all the time. Whatever happened to HR confidentiality, I dont have a clue. Really sucks.

Yet another organization I went to had a very pretty HR whose lipstick looked fresh all the time. She was posh, well spoken, corporate female guru and all that but she was never in her seat. One had to pray and wait for her to appear, a Cinderella like situation. I tell you, I wished then that I was HR.

Another time was when I got a fantastic job offer with terms set out and all that in black and white, but I thought about it very seriously and turned it down. At that time, I suspected I couldnt fit in with the say-one-thing-do-the-opposite regime, I shot off my regret in not taking up the offer. Guess what? I got an email that says we dont know what you are talking about, which job, what offer and hey, when did we even offer you a job? That was from HR in charge. I can't tell you which scum wrote it but i think it told me a lot about corporate tactics that HR professionals snap up to keep their jobs afloat. I dont know why that got me really mad at HR professionals for a long, long time.

But I think I revised my opinion when I met a wonderful person. I dont want to name him as I dont have his permission to do that. Let me call him Boss, for now. Well, I met Boss by chance, long back. A professional HR expert, my life changed the moment I met him. Age wise, he is old, but at heart, he is younger than me. With silver hair, regal features, a booming laugh and welcoming smile, I was totally bowled over by his charisma and insight as he served me tea and cookies like we were best friends meeting after a long, long time.

I've handled all kinds of queries and questions without flinching but he asked me ruthless questions that nearly made me cry and think more seriously than I ever had about my life. The conversation still stays in my mind whenever I need to take an important decision. He told me that he loves his work because he transforms the lives and choices that young people rush into, without thinking. He said thats what he loves about what he does. By the end of our discussion, I knew he was right. He transformed me without a magical wand.

Summary of what Boss told me: You have a brilliant mind but a restless spirit brimming with too many ideas. There is so much I know you can do but you dont get to do them because you are a people-person but ideas keep on flowing and you get restless when you toy with one idea because dealing and helping people and learning new things fascinates you more than anything. So you dont have the patience to take a specific idea to completion. You are like a child because you have too many things running around in your mind that you can't store them so you lose them and you focus on building other people and learning from them. So think about what makes you really happy and then decide what idea to pursue and what to let go of.

Rooted to the spot, I told him right there that I havent met anybody like him. He understood me better than I understood myself. Whenever I think about any idea or alternative, I think very seriously about Boss. Recently, after a very long time, we sent mails to each other and I told him that his advice had really helped me to focus on what gave me happiness and he said, in his typical humble way, that he feels happy to hear that. In a way, I think and wish I could do what he does: transform the choices that others rush into and make a real difference to their life. Of course, that would make me God, wouldnt it? In that case, I think I am ok being me. Its so much easier to handle:)

3 comments:

Raaga said...

I feel sad to read about your experiences with HR folks :(

I've been in HR for years now and wish no one ever feels that way about me.

Raaga said...

but I have also met someone in HR who sounds like the person you mentioned :)

GentleLavender said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. A lot of my close friends are HR professionals. They agree that they too meet a lot of people like those I've mentioned. Its a case of a few bad apples, I think. Keep writing in:)

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