After catching up on the phone lamenting the fact that too much time had passed, we decided to get together, have a cocktail, laugh and giggle (yes…I admit to actual giggling), and swap war stories.
At one point during this lunch she said to me (paraphrasing a bit) “you’ve been my favorite HR person at any organization. You kept me sane. Remember when I told you that you were the first HR person who actually acted “human?”
I did indeed remember that.
This story is not, of course, unique to me. I’m sure many of you who work in human resources have heard this, or a variation of it, from employees. “You’re not like other HR people.” “Thanks for helping me through that situation.” “I appreciate you.” “You’re easy to talk to.” “You’re fun.”
Sometimes, when we hear those sorts of things, it makes our crazy jobs in HR a bit better.
That lunch conversation also reinforced something I have long believed and staunchly advocated for: it’s OK for human resources professionals to have a personality. In fact…it’s preferable.
HR ladies are people too. We drink, smoke, swear and tell dirty jokes. We’re the parents of rebellious teenagers and rambunctious toddlers. We have dogs, cats, horses and hamsters. We wonder how we’re going to get the car repaired because finances are tight. We have tattoos and piercings, we do inappropriate things, and a fair number of us like to sing karaoke after one too many margaritas.
Yet, for some reason, many an HR professional trudges off to an office building and erects an invisible shield in an attempt to sanitize and remove all personal uniqueness. He dons his blue suit, she buttons up her jacket, and both of them go about their daily business with all the personality of a come-to-life corporate stock photo. Soulless bureaucrats.
Afraid to be human. Afraid to do something awesome.
I’m not talking about doing something in order to add it to the resume: being strategic, adding value, or successfully navigating a major change management initiative.
I’m talking about doing the human things:
- Taking someone from another department to lunch
- Writing a Thank You note to an employee
- Keeping your door open … and meaning it
- Eating lunch in the company cafeteria
- Going to Happy Hour with the Sales Department
- Singing Karaoke
Being human. Being vulnerable. Being awesome.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
h/t for the image