Most people who work for a reasonably sized company will already be well acquainted with their HR department, and thus should already be in full agreement with this post title. If you haven’t had to deal with an HR representative, or if you still think they’re on your side, allow me to try to convince you otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong, HR isn’t out to straight-up rape your intellectual capital, but they’re also not there to stop anyone else in the company from holding your brain down and taking turns either. The Human Resources department is not about taking care of people, it’s about taking stock of them. I mean, it’s in the name.
‘Human Resources’ is what the machines will call us when the singularity finally occurs and our robotic overlords start factory farming us for the iron in our blood.
Human Resources might tell you that they want you to be ‘happy’ and ‘satisfied’ and ‘fulfilled’ at work, but what they really mean is that they want you to keep silent and keep your head down- preferably while choking on a mountain of paperwork.
Paperwork is HR’s superpower.
Human resources have relatively simple objectives, or ‘KPIs’ by which they measure their performance (as opposed to the sliding scale by which your own work is measured).
They have to:
– Make sure employees come to work
– Make sure employees stay at work
– Make sure employees don’t kill each other while at work
– Make sure the employees don’t kill themselves while at work
That’s what all the leave forms, and access cards, and bullshit incentives, and contracts and yes, even ‘training’ (the kind that you need to work off) is for. Human Resources are why you have to go to seminars and conferences and those god-awful team building events.
Human Resources isn’t about being human, it’s about quantifying, measuring and selling human output with the least amount of potential risk or expenditure to the organisation. Which is ironic to me, because an organisation is essentially nothing more than a collection of human beings with a similar interest and the tools to make it happen. The objective of human resources is to prioritise the needs of an imaginary, non-sentient, inanimate concept over the needs of the human beings who actualise it.
I mean, in any company big enough, you are bound to hire some real space cadets who need to be watched like children (probably because, relatively speaking, they still are children). But no many how many ‘fun’ mailers they send you in comic sans, no matter how many pieces of clip art from the mid 90’s they use on the notices they pin to the bathroom door, do not let their shameful attempts at graphic design fool you.
HR is not on your side.