it-is-ok-to-be-awesomeI recently had lunch with a woman I worked with several years ago; she and I had interacted somewhat frequently to attend to business but we also genuinely liked each other. Simpatico and compatible.

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.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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h/t for the image

Do Something Awesome Every Day
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5 thoughts on “Do Something Awesome Every Day

  • May 13, 2015 at 7:41 am
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    LOVE this article! I really love the title. I hear these words often and I could not agree more…..we are just like everyone else! This makes me a little sad for the people that have to deal with grouchy HR teams.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2015 at 8:27 am
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      Yup Jean. Sadly, when the average person has ONLY dealt with grouchy and impersonal HR practitioners it leads to the continuation of the stereotypes.

      Reply
  • May 13, 2015 at 8:49 am
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    I think to a point many of us put on our armor and trudge in, worried about letting a slip of humanity show. HR in particular has in the back of his/her mind the legalities, all the things that “might” go wrong and how bad it could be. I actually had this comment somewhere else yesterday – we’re human beings dealing with other human beings, and normally you find people much more receptive to you when you acknowledge that, and treat them like individual people. (And you can do that without having a stapler cozy and crocheted doilies on your desk.)

    Sometimes, admins have the same struggle. You’re either the ice-queen gatekeeper who lets no one through and keeps things locked down, or you’re the cardigan-wearing, candy-dish having, kitten poster at your cubicle sort of den mother who brings cupcakes and organizes parties. Not that those things can’t be fun (when you do them your own way, says the woman wearing a cardigan) but there’s a happy medium. Too few admins and “HR ladies/gents” figure it out in time. And that’s why the group gets a bad rap.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2015 at 8:51 am
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    Robin,

    Although this post reflects on issues from an HR perspective, to me, this post applies to ALL people, regardless of their occupation. Yes, people “love to hate” HR but I bet there are any number of other job titles that people also disdain. It’s not always the tasks that are performed that people loathe, it’s the *way* they’re done that people hate.

    “Being human. Being vulnerable. Being awesome. ” << excellent words to live by.

    Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to go out and be awesome now 🙂

    Reply

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