Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Feminizations And Productivity

     If you’ve ever had to deal with a significantly large company’s Human Resources department, you’re well acquainted with frustration and pain. HR types – nearly always women – are rule makers and authoritarians, determined to make rules for everything and to get their way despite any and all objections. Their emphasis on “social justice” garbage has become widely known. Jeb Kinnison has some of the explanations in this article:

     Information on the staffing of Human Resources (HR) departments themselves is not easy to come by. HR-focused writings tend toward academic Social Justice gobbledygook, and commonly-observed dominance of HR staffing by women and “soft” degree majors is hard to confirm with hard data from individual companies, though there are some statistics collected at the national level in the US. Historically, Personnel departments were staffed by the same type of people one would find in accounting or finance — clerks and paperwork handlers — but the managers tended to be male (as they were for other corporate functions.) As Personnel became HR and HR-specific degree programs began to appear, hiring shifted to people who had studied HR as a field — with simple organizational psychology, benefits law, and concepts of social equity and diversity baked in to new graduates. What did not get studied so thoroughly was economics, technology, specific types of business knowledge, or statistics. HR graduates today are trained in a party line Social Justice ideology which sets them up as enforcers of government edicts on diversity, with less emphasis on ideals of merit and productivity that would promote the competitiveness of the business they are supposedly helping to direct.

     Part of my reason for coming to prefer defense engineering to private-sector work was that defense companies tend to be outliers in this regard, as they are in many others. Yes, defense companies must comply with federal regulations – and you wouldn’t believe some of the special ones that apply to defense work – but there’s no substitute for competence in engineering when you’re making weapons (and associated technology) for the people who’ll use them. “Social justice” BS gets very short shrift.

     However, I did spend approximately half my career in the private sector, more than half of that as a front-line manager with hiring and firing authority, and I have my (mostly) private collection of horror stories from having to deal with HR. Indeed, two of them made their way into my novels, in fictional form. (If you’re curious, bored, or just need something to read on the Porcelain Throne, the novels are this one and this one.)

     Kinnison has a special interest in “feminized” occupations, of which human-resources work is one. His other articles on that enveloping subject are worth your time, as is the one cited here. He makes a particularly strong point about how such occupations tend to feature lower pay and lower demands on their employees: natural repellents for men and natural magnets for women . It’s a subject the great Robert C. Townsend has commented on, as well:

     I’ve long held the conviction that it’s much less expensive to recruit from the top of the barrel by paying top wages. Yet many big personnel departments in insurance companies, banks, and the like consciously recruit from the lower half of the barrel to “save money.” If they only realized what they were doing to themselves.

     And of course women, by far the more status-conscious of the sexes – of which there are only two; never forget that, Gentle Reader – will seldom hire other women who might plausibly compete with them in salary, authority, and prestige at some later time.

     But there’s a phenomenon of particular interest I’d like to see explored, to the extent that it can be examined without, in true Heisenbergian fashion, altering the way it operates: the very one I mentioned in a paragraph above.

     When there’s no way to do the company’s work without employees with actual competence, an HR department’s preferences and decrees to the contrary will be ignored, whether overtly or covertly. When a clash arises that has nothing to do with law or regulation, the rebellion can be overt, albeit at the cost of open inter-departmental conflict that can have long-term consequences. When law or regulation, or HR’s interpretation thereof, manage to intrude, the rebellion must be covert and clever...sometimes to the point of a well concealed act of fraud specifically designed to get around the offending rule.

     I’d like to collect my Gentle Readers’ anecdotes about such rebellions and what followed from them. Those of you still in the workaday world (and those who, like myself, have retired but retain vivid memories thereof) should submit them, whether as comments to this piece or in email to my Yahoo address (fran -dot- porretto, as if you needed to be reminded). Such a collection, if extensive enough and dramatic enough, could serve as a manifesto for a revolution against HR departments and their "progressive" strangulation of corporate employment in these United States.


Weetabix said...

Unfortunately for your plea, I've spent my professional career in small engineering companies that could not afford (or perhaps had no interest in) such HR shenanigans.

But it's been fortunate for me. ;-)

Linda Fox said...

Oooooh, do I have stories - in business:
- HR is the gatekeeper - a clever applicant just has to tune his cover letter to check off all the boxes on the "requirements". The trick is to satisfy them sufficiently to pass you on to the next level, allowing you to talk to an actual person about how your non-standard qualifications are actually BETTER than what HR requests.
- When you hate an HR mandate, play dumb. Ask for clarification. After enough of those, they may decide to get off your back.
- Bypass them - walk in to the department that needs you, and talk face-to-face. AFTER that, and with their imprimatur, talk to HR.

In education:
- Don't bother trying to suck up to the women. They HATE all of the non-Liberal Arts types. Only talk to them as a last resort.
- Realize that they are so annoying, powerful, and yet, underutilized, that they are a prime source of all make-work BS. You will be forced to watch all kinds of videos that are designed to indoctrinate, overpower, and force you into submission. Avoid them, if possible, otherwise, fervently agree with them, and ignore what you can.
- Arguments don't work with them - they are emotionally-driven, and impervious to logic. Don't waste your breath.
- If forced to go along, give them the most smidgenly little you can - i.e., if pressured to give to United Way, don't sign up for monthly pledges, give $5 one time. It will get them off your back, and yet not tick off your boss - who is getting pressured, worse than a loan shark victim, to get to 100% donations.
- Keep paperwork - HR has a habit of losing that which you will need - that includes references, administrative correspondence, and credentialing proof. I had to call the state board of licensing, and cry on the phone before I finally got some action on my license. Likewise, I had to drop a dime with the head of HR on a subordinate who was allowing my license to lapse, due to not moving the paperwork through in a timely fashion.

Jack Imel said...

My problem here, Francis, is even sending you an email of all my "anecdotes" would require a book, and I'm already working on a book of my own. Being old, I have become somewhat selfish with my time. I should repent of that.
I worked as ATC at FAA from '70 to '98 so you know I got the full broadside of HR in its early, most vile years. Us controllers would gather out on the smoking dock to discuss the sessions afterwards. No one doubted the attempts to target a certain race with destruction, and a lessening of craftsmanship in the workplace. Then in 2008 as a supervisor in training ATC for FAA, I worked for a company of 80 thousand employees which was completely controlled by their HR; even the CEO had to give his blessing on every silly little vignette we were forced to watch and participate in.
When one realizes the advances made by the socialists, one must look upwards to find real solace... and the carefully guarded sense of humor becomes more precious.