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.