Can Human Resources be Effective in an “IDGAF” World?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s tough out there.  The world is a cold place.  Some would say it always has been.  Ask a police officer, school teachers, public defender, doctor, nurse, fire fighters, airline employee, or DMV worker and they will tell you that people have always been cold blooded.  From heinous acts of violence and murder, to fighting and disfiguring, and everything in between. It’s a loss of civility.

You’ve seen on the news or experienced it first hand yourself. Common decency is on the decline.  Of all the professions I have listed above you can add Human Resources to the list of professionals who don’t always see people at their best.

Human Resources pros receive threats of violence and death threats too.  Workers get pissed when you lay them off, fire them, write them up, overlook them for a promotion, deny their time off requests or even try to get them to stop acting like assholes.

I’ve never seen so many people declare,  “I don’t give a fuck” than today…but why?

Well, I have listed my top three culprits for the IDGAF mentality today.

  1. Social Media – Yes, what once held a promise of bringing us together has really divided us. Unfriending on Facebook is at all time high.  If you say one thing that someone that you once thought was a friend doesn’t like, BAM! “Unfriended” Forget about snoozing them or just keep scrolling, now it’s unfriending. Plus all the lies we share. We want everyone to think we have the best husband, the best wife, the best kids, the best job, the best life… and it’s all a lie.
  2. Trolls – You may be thinking, social media and trolling are synonymous but they aren’t.  Trolling is a symptom of social media.  You can be trolled online, at work, in your car…trolling can happen in real life.  Trolls do things to get under your skin.  They are irritants.  Aggravators.  Agitators.  And since everyone seems to be so uber sensitive right now it does not take much to provoke a reaction. For instance, coming to work with “Make America Great Again” gear.   Or how about asking a black co-worker if they plan to attend a Trump rally?
  3. Politics – Fucking Trump, man! The most divisive President in my lifetime.  And it’s not that he is a Republican, there are good decent Republicans who believe in fairness, right and wrong but this guy, Trump, is on a whole other level of crazy.  He’s polarizing.  He’s a disruptor (like it or not, he’s a disruptor). You can’t escape him or his supporters who are fanatics.  He’s the worst thing to happen to America since slavery.

Now, there are other factors such as disenfranchisement, discrimination, financial woes, stupid co-workers, relationship issues, and just general unhappiness.  Half of the country has been diagnosed as clinically depressed and the other half is tired of trying to please everyone. HR professionals are somewhere in the middle.

We’re human too.  We get depressed, we’re overworked, marginalized, and under appreciated as well. We have good and bad days yet we must go to work and leave all our problems at home.  HR has to put on a bold, brave face even when our own jobs are in jeopardy, or we are broke, or if we are having a bad day, or whatever else – but that’s the job.

Recently, I read on a Facebook group page for HR professionals that HR’s job is to make everyone happy.  I thought to myself, that’s bullshit and impossible.  HR’s job is to protect the company against liability even if that means protecting the company from itself and often times we are vetoed and overruled when we try to keep the company from doing some potentially dangerous.

With all that stuff working against us, we still have to care. We have to empathize. We have to sympathize, We have to fight for what’s right. We have to speak up and call out ridiculousness whenever we see it. We can’t be silent. We can’t be passive. We have to represent the people, all of the people.

That’s the job or at least that’s why I feel in love with HR. We have to give a fuck in an “I don’t give a fuck world”.