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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Where only the brave dare tread....

My name is the HRD. I am a white, middle class male (I’m not middle aged, but fast approaching). I therefore am part of one of the most discriminated against groups in western society.


No really.

It’s pretty simple. Consider this.

1) When it comes to health. Take two cancers. Both have about the same level of occurrence. Both have about the same mortality rate. The only difference? One occurs in women only. One in men. Surely it’s hard then to explain then why government investment in breast cancer far outstrips that of prostate cancer?

2) In affairs of the heart. My wife has an affair. She leaves me. Of course the weight of law is that she will gain custody of the children, the house and a large proportion of my salary for the forthcoming years. Is this because of my behaviour, because I am not as good a carer? Or because I am male.

3) In the workplace. I can’t be promoted or moved into positions of superiority because…well because I am a white middle class male. And that would be discriminatory to promote me. Lets find someone else, someone less…stereotypical.

4) At home, I need to be able to cook and clean, to raise the children, to express my emotions, to be in touch with myself. But come the moment when something really heavy needs lifting, when the electrics go kaput, when there is water coming through the ceiling. Who you gonna call?

My name is the HRD. I am a white middle class male.

Pity me?

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


Test, test, test. We don’t know what we’re doing so, I know, lets use some spurious test to give us some semblance of a measured process and then just come up with the conclusion we had in the first place.

I hate tests and I hate testing. Lets face it t he purveyors of these things are really the modern day Soothsayers. Selling predictions based on some old bunch of weed, the size of your arse and the direction of the prevailing wind.

And I know the challenge will come back, “when they are used properly they can be informative as an addition to other means of assessment” (God, did I really just write that?) but so can graphology. Not that I hear anyone chanting for that apart from the French and lets face it, they still have two hour lunch breaks, 6 months holiday and call everyone Mr and Mrs in the workplace.

I’m yet to be convinced there is any better means for recruitment or development than sitting down and having a conversation. Asking questions and listening. Talking, exploring and getting to know the person. Sure sometimes I will use a few scenario based questions to give the person something to discuss, but tests? Nope.

I have never taken MBTI, Belbin, FiroB etc.etc. Although I have worked in companies that used them regularly. Quite frankly I never understood the point. What was it going to tell me about myself that I didn’t know already? And if I didn’t know it, was I going to accept it because it was on a piece of paper?

I think not.

Friday, 25 September 2009

I am what I am

It's been brought to my attention that my last few posts may have sounded somewhat....well.....angry.

It has been suggested that people are starting to see me as behaving like Simon Cowell having been fisted by the winner of the "largest reindeer hoof in Alaska contest" and forced to chew the testicles of an alligator whilst humming the them tune to Star Wars.

Its been a tough time and things have been pressurized, but if you grant me a minute I'll try to redress the balance.

This takes me a little away from subject so my excuses in advance.

Things that make me happy:

1) The sunset when the sky turns red and the clouds look like froth on the fire of hades
2) The first sip of a glass of white wine after a hard days work, crackling on my tongue
3) The smell of damp leaves on an autumn day sinking deep into my consciousness
4) Holding hands and walking in the rain with not a worry in the world
5) The smell of a baby - like nothing on earth
6) Solving the Guardian crossword without assistance, remembering that I do have a brain
7) Laughing with friends that are dear to me, knowing that we are one
8) Seeing my kids succeed where they feared they would fail, learning that believing is strength
9) The British countryside, underrated, undersold, unique
10) Being me. I am what I am.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fugly is NOT the new black

Last night was pleasant enough. I was at some HR do, for HR bods, doing HR things in their HR worlds. It was over a glass of passable white wine served in a somewhat chunky tumbler and some Mexican things (I’m never sure what they exactly are – just seems to be the same stuff folded in a variety of different ways) that the conversation took a turn.

I was bemoaning the fact that I was struggling to find a decent PA…..

“and they’re all crap and even the ones that aren’t that crap, well they’re…..kind of…..not so…….umm……well they’re ugly…….”

And in that moment, there it was……..my secret was out.

Yes it’s true. Given the choice between two equally skilled candidates, I will choose the one I find less ugly over the other one. I don’t choose JUST based on looks. I would never preclude someone just because of their looks.

Actually, I tell a lie. If you look like the gorilla that fell out of the ugly tree hitting every branch on the way down, you are either going to have to be married to the finest purveyor of cheese in the whole of France or have created a means of turning water into wine if you want darken my door.

I’m open and honest about this. I just want my office space to look tidy. And quite frankly ugly people….well they just clutter up the place and make it look a mess.

PLUS and this is a big plus……when you work in HR you need to be making an immediate impact. Our jobs are hard enough as it is influencing and cajoling people. If they can’t get beyond the size of your conk (that’s conk with an N), or see daylight because your ears are covering the windows….well they are hardly going to listen to your strategy for talent management.

It’s fair to say that I got taken to task on this. I am apparently a “contentious bastard” (I’m sure she loves me really!) and am “missing out on a whole host of talent”. Ugly talent I should add……

My view? I’m just honest about my prejudices. Everyone chooses people that they find attractive. That’s just the way we are.

And as far as I can see discriminating against the ugly is not yet illegal. So, if you are the bearded women, don’t come to me for a job. Move along dear, the Freak Show is just down the street.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The sound of steam being let off

I was writing something else to post, but then quite frankly something/one has got under my skin and I need to expunge this from my system through pushing it out into the blogosphere. What follows is not pretty and has been rated an 18 by the BBFC…..I apologise.

“You know what?

I don’t have the answers. Sometimes I don’t know. I am not the all seeing, all hearing fucking uber oracle that’s sat here waiting to provide you all with calm, peaceful resolutions to your otherwise unimportant and shitty little lives. Sometimes I just don’t know.

I have a brain and I have inner resources and both of these can become minimised, clogged up and filled with the pointless crap you wrongly feel is important. If it’s that important to you…….do it your fucking self……..

There are levels to which I can remain calm, focused, non-judgmental and rational in the face of all the irrationality, noise, and quite frankly total fucking madness that you people project.

I am just skin and bones. I am human.

So take your issues and your problems and your whines and your moans and shove them so far up your sphincter that when you look in the mirror you see Ja Ja Binks staring right back at you.

Shove it…….I’m off for a lie down”

Monday, 21 September 2009

The HRD is............

Isn’t it strange that in a world awash with communication tools, we’ve so successfully managed to right royally roger the art of communication? We have more opportunities than any other time in the history of humankind to communicate and yet time and time again we ask it to drop its pants and bend over.

My theory?

We are living in our own little worlds, our own little bubbles. We travel with headphones on, listening to our own music, watching a video. At work we fire off emails, we send texts, we chat via Messenger. At home, we blog, we tweet, we update our status, we record, we watch………

When do we talk? When do we listen? When do we truly interact?

Communication has become so easy that we don’t think about what we say, or how we say it. It’s just another thing. Something we do.

The Manager pinging out emails from the bunker of their office
The repeated use of text speak and avoidance of any sort of grammatical basis
The use of social networking to replace friendship

I’m not saying that these things are bad per se (I throw that in to show I’m an educated chap - don’t you know). Everything has its place but at the end of the day it’s hard to beat good old face to face communication. It has been going for thousands of years and looks pretty future proof to me…….

So I’m going to stop.

I’m going to change.

From this moment on I will not be participating in anythi

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Overleaping the mark

Yep, its a recession and I know that everyone is trying to find ways of making their next buck.

I'm a great believer in ingenuity, in entrepreneurial flair, in people going the extra mile.

But there is the extra mile and there is too far. Way too far.........

This little beauty came into my sweaty little hands from a friend who had received it at work.

The names have been removed to protect the innocent......

N.B. I should add that this was a genuine pitch by the individual involved

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I took time out of my union activities yesterday to try and recruit myself a new PA. As previously noted, I hate recruitment. Having an attention span of somewhere south of 30 seconds and being remarkably judgmental means that normally before the person even sits down I have put them in the yes or no camp.

That said, yesterday I was recruiting with other members of my team and therefore felt I needed to be a little more professional than the norm....say, maybe waiting a minute before making a judgment. But hey, why bother when the pool of applicants is so ridiculously poor that like lemmings that do the honourable thing and commit career hari-kiri in front of your eyes.....

So in tribute to the little darlings, here are my top tips on things not likely to get you a job.

1) If the dates are wrong on your CV, then change them. Do NOT walk into the interview and when questioned say, "yeah that's wrong".
2) "I didn't realise the building was so close to the road" is not meaningful small talk. This is London. Show me a building that isn't close to the road not lived in by royalty.
3) If the role is for a PA, you kind of guess that spelling and grammar might be important. You did not use to order the "stationary"...trust me....you didn't.
4) You will be asked the question, "why do you want this job?" It's not a trick question. It's not there to catch you out. It's simple.....think it through beforehand. Lie. Do anything but sit there like Bambi in the crosshairs.
5) When completing an in tray exercise, try not to suggest prioritising the activity needing completion before midday, before the one needing completion before 9.30. If you do.....fess up. Don't try and justify it.....really.....don't......please.....

I could go on, but the depression is soaking through every pore in my body. Needless to say we didn't offer. Anyone want a job?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sell out?

This week I was accused, on another blog, of selling out. The premiss of the argument was that because my job entails certain activities that could be considered anti-union, therefore I could not be a socialist.

To be fair to the individual involved, they are not the first person (nor can I imagine will they be the last) to accuse me of either hypocrisy or selling out. And they are probably just trying to be sensationalist and inflammatory in order to serve their own ends.

But honestly? I find this ridiculously naive and idealistic.

I have a job, which I am paid to do. I am good at it.

I have my beliefs and my ideologies. These are what make me who I am.

Sometimes in my job I have to do certain things that clash with my beliefs.

So I have a choice, I can either walk away from the job or I can get on with it and know that regardless I am who I am. I'm me and I'm loved.

And at the end of the day I am putting food on the the table and in the mouths of my children. There is nothing I wouldn't do to ensure that they were ok. If I wasn't working and they needed food, then I would steal. I don't believe in breaking the law, but I would steal. Its these kinds of decisions that those of us in the real world come up against every day.

We all make compromises in order to make our way. That's just the way it is.

My experience of these social idealists is that they normally spend most of the time lurking in their bedrooms, pleasuring themselves over well worn sticky copies of the Little Red Book, whilst dreaming of having a girlfriend/boyfriend....I mean..... the glorious day. Not a million miles away from religious zealots, war gamers or the guys that get dressed up as Wizards and Warlocks for fun.

Me? I get on with it. I work, I make a living, I care and I provide. And in my spare time? Well that would be telling......but come the revolution, I'll be putting myself up against the wall.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Union like a hole in the head

Anyone who has read back through my posts will know that I am not anti-Union. I would recommend to anyone that I cared for (outside of my organisation) that they join a Union.

They can be good personally, but organisationally they can be a pain in the butt. This week has been Union week for me.

I have been shouted at, abused, and essentially told that I am one step away from being Pol Pot.


Because I suggested that an 11.8% pay deal was probably a little unrealistic given then current economic climate.

Because I refused to enshrine redundancy terms of four weeks pay per year of service into our terms and conditions.

Becuase I turned down, out of hand, a 33% increase to base pay.

And one lot has now indicated that because we are being so unreasonable they are going to ballot for industrial action.

Yeah...you know that "I support the ability of labour to organise" malarkey....its taken a knocking.....boy has it taken a knocking......

Next week "How to illegally prevent Unions from picketing parts 1 and 2"

Thursday, 10 September 2009

When I want your opinion

CEO: HRD….come in…..sit.
HRD: How are you?
CEO: Depressed. I’m depressed.
HRD: ……..ah…..um……….I could tell you a joke?
CEO: Ohh please!
HRD: What’s ET short for?
CEO: I meant “please!” as in…..not “please” as in……
HRD: …………….because hes got small legs…….
CEO: Good God…..please tell me that’s not your best……
HRD: Where do cows go on a Saturday night?
CEO: Look can we get to the point?
HRD: Sure…..the mooovies…..geddit?
HRD: Oops
CEO: So……ask?
HRD: Ask?
CEO: .....me. Ask me!
HRD: Why are you depressed?
CEO: That board meeting. They’re all….
HRD: Mad? Stupid?
CEO: …………….probably. I mean why the fuck won’t they say anything? I ask a question and……nothing! Nada! Rien!
HRD: ……………….
CEO: I mean for fucks sake its not as if I don’t tell them what I think enough. They should be able to tell me what I…um they….think. Shouldn’t they? Its not as if I don’t make it clear what the fucking answer is.
HRD: …..maybe……
CEO: ……yes?
HRD: ……is it just possible…….
CEO: …..what!
HRD: ….they don’t see the point?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Moan, moan, moan

Moaners (and I'm not talking in a good sense here) - Don't they just get your goat?

The HR profession is full of them.

1) "I want to be taking seriously" - then stop behaving like a paper pusher
2) "Nobody follows the guidelines" - that's because they're incomprehensible and impractical
3) "People don't involve me early enough" - see 1 and 2 above

At the same time, we are of course moan central for anyone who ever wants to complain about anything in the business that ever happened at any point to anyone from anywhere (did I cover it there?)

1) "It's too cold/hot/wet/dry in here" - put a scarf/bikini/wetsuit/damp cloth on
2) "I want a pay rise/new office/new boss/nose job" - jog on....just jog on....
3) "I'm unhappy with my career" - take a number and join the back of the queue

Everybody seems to want to moan about something.

Me? I just want to moan about moaners.

Friday, 4 September 2009

What if?

How many times do you say you can’t do something “because”?
That you would love to do something “but”
You were going to “however”

How often do we limit ourselves through the assumptions that we make. The limiting assumptions that shape our daily lives and make us go in a direction that may not be the one that we truly want to go. The one that we believe would truly make us happy.

“I’m no good at….”
“He wouldn’t like it if…..”
“It wouldn’t work because….”
“I’ve never been able to….”
“If it wasn’t for……”

What if none of these things were true?
What if actually we could decide completely our future?
What if we realised that we had total control and ownership over our own decisions?

What if anything was possible?

Maybe we’d make some mistakes, get mud on our face once or twice. Maybe some things wouldn’t work out as we’d hoped. Maybe we’d get hurt.

But at least we’d know.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Tip of the day

1) Do not send links to porn from your work computer
2) If you are going to send links to porn, don't accidently send to all users
3) If you are going to send links to porn to all users, don't work in the IT department responsible for internet usage

Follow these simple tips and you are unlikely to get into my bad books. Unlike some people.....