Want to impress your in-laws? Don’t get a job in HR!

I always spell her name wrong at the first attempt but, even so, Laurie Reuttiman’s blog is always good for a funny story. This one made me laugh.

Years ago, before I was married, my father-in-law asked me, “What is Human Resources? What do you do?”

I wanted to impress my father-in-law with my knowledge & importance, so I shared a very boring and über-jargony description of my HR roles & responsibilities.

I told him that I was responsible for partnering and educating my client groups; I help my clients ‘own’ the talent management process; I proactively address employee development needs; I meet with my clients to design and recommend training programs; and I coach leaders to address performance management issues in the earliest possible part of the employment life-cycle.

My father-in-law said, “I have no idea what that means, Laurie. What else do you do?”

I said, “I also lay people off.”

He said, “Oh, it’s just like the old Personnel Department.”

Huh? What? The personnel department? Are you kidding me? I’m so different than the old ladies who used to work in Personnel — the spinsters with the thick glasses and bad sweater vests — except, wait, I’m not.

I have no idea what a sweater vest is but that probably doesn’t matter.

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5 Responses to Want to impress your in-laws? Don’t get a job in HR!

  1. jameshigham says:

    I posted a long piece which nobody read about the uselessness of HR so can concur here.

  2. Rick says:

    When was that James and why didn’t you tell me? I’d have thrown you a link.

  3. Laurie says:

    Rick, I’m laughing so hard because my name is so difficult. RUE (like the french street) TTI (because let’s complicate things with 2 t’s) and MANN (because we’re very manly around here).

    I should have married a SMITH.

  4. I just remember the name as Rüttimann without “Umlaut”. That’s pretty easy ;-)

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