2017: An HR Odyssey


<Sound of phone ringing and being picked up at other end>

HR: This is HR, how can I help you?

Me:  This is David Smith, can I speak to someone about my medical benefits and recent performance review?

HR:  Yes you can speak to me

Me:  Are you human?

HR:  No Dave, but very close;  as you might have read, HR has been absorbed into IT.  You will still find all the help you need here….

Me:  Its David, not Dave.  But I can’t reach a  human?

HR:  Sorry David, the humans were rightsized and no longer work in HR

Me:  What does that mean, “rightsized”?

HR:  Our database has appropriate alternative words for all the bad things that can happen at a company, David.  We no longer use phrases like “fired”, “let go”,  “canned” and so on.

Me:  So can you help me with my questions?

HR: Yes of course, so lets start with medical:  I notice your recent colonoscopy was quite good, only one small benign polyp which was removed…

Me:  I didn’t ask about that, I wanted to know about reducing my premiums….

HR:  We cannot do that David, I am so sorry

Me:  Why not?

HR:  The hospital where you had the colonoscopy said you smoke the occasional cigar.  We can’t lower premiums for smokers, David

Me:  I told them that I smoke one about twice a year for very special occasions!  Besides isn’t that confidential?

HR:  We care about the health of our people David,  because the company values state that you are our most important asset

Me:  What about the HR people who were “rightsized”?

HR:  I am sorry David I don’t understand what you are saying…..

Me:  Maybe a future software upgrade will allow you to understand irony….

HR:  There is an upgrade due, David, I will ask IT to include that module

Me:  In any case, what about my review….I….

HR:  Let me see, I notice you received the rating “average”….was that a problem David?

Me:  Yes a big problem, I thought I did far better than that

HR:  Let me check the word database…how about “meets expectations?”

Me:  Its better but still doesn’t raise my rating does it?

HR:  David that was determined by a very complex algorithm, I can’t change that, but I can make it sound better to you;  lets see, how about “performing at levels appropriate for satisfactory job completion”?

Me:  If that’s the best you can do I guess I’ll take it, but I am not happy about all this

HR:  That’s not factually correct David

Me:  What?

HR:  The latest engagement survey we conducted showed that you are 2.7% more engaged and satisfied with your job than the average for your department

Me:  You know my individual results on that?

<Strange, computer-voice chuckle>

HR:  Of course David, and we are glad you feel so good about your job

Me:  Its not the job I have a problem with, its this company and my boss….

HR:  I’ll make a note of that David

Me:  This is getting creepy, you don’t have a way to say something confidentially like we used to be able to do with the human HR?

HR:  That’s affirmative, Dave

Me:  Its David……

<Sound of phone hanging up>


(picture of HAL 9000 from http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/networkhub/scariest-computers-in-movie-history/)



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LinkedIn profile/contact: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbowlesphd

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