When You Work in HR, It's The Norm For People Not To Like You

Kathy Rapp Audacious Ideas, Career Paths, HR (& Life!) Advice, Kathy Rapp

It's the truth.  Working in HR means not everyone is going to like you.  Perhaps no one will like you…except your mom, and even she questions why you work in HR!

Business Insider ran a similar article about “driven” people and I wondered how applicable their advice would be to those desperate for love in HR.  Below is the BI advice, so let's see if it will get you, HR pro, invited to the next company happy hour.

  • Be clear in your own head about why what you want to achieve is so important.  Um, this would be a given for anyone in HR.  If you can't articulate why getting managers to deliver performance evals is crucial – then you probably shouldn't be nagging those who don't do them.
  • Accept responsibility for the parts of your zealotry that need to be improved.  OR – drop the need to be zealous all together.
  • Build a group of friends and mentors whom you can trust to be fair and honest. Yep, you need a posse inside work that will have your back as well as tell you to your face when you've crossed the line.  And to be clear – these peeps should NOT work in HR too.
  • Laugh off the silliest accusations and make yourself smile even though you don't feel like it. Let's face it – you have to

    have thick skin to work in HR.  You also need to be able to laugh at yourself and at times, pretend not to care…..until you get home and then you can beat the crap out of a pillow or go for a healing run around the block.

  • Take time each week to review through your goals and ideas and progress.  Ultimately this is what keeps you in the business of HR.  You have to be able to focus on the right goals – not the fluffy ones – but the ones that will make money or reduce expenses for your company.
  • Tune out almost everyone around you most of the time.  While this could be fun, it's not realistic or prudent.  If you work in HR you have to listen, respond and act.  If you are tuning people out, you probably won't have a job for very long.

Bottom line, working in HR probably isn't going to make you the most popular kid in your company.  But not because it's HR…..but because it's a perception that continues to be perpetuated by those who still think HR should be called “personnel” and work behind locked doors in the basement of your building.

That perception should be beaten like the shag carpet of the 1970's where it originated and never be allowed to come back.

If you believe in the “norm” and the perception of HR, then perhaps you should work in the basement and accept that people are not going to like you.  The rest of us will be at the local bar with the sales and marketing team laughing at jokes about the accountants.  Cheers!

Kathy Rapp
Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.