HR Underdogs: Sometimes You Just Can’t Lose Your Game…

Dawn Burke Current Affairs, Dawn Hrdlica, HR (& Life!) Advice

Life throws you a bone every now and then.  This happened to me this college championship football weekend.  When my alma mater #24 ranked University of Southern Mississippbeat the ever-living-crap out of #6 Houston for the Conference-USA championship. Southern Miss has always had a good football program, beating great teams like Bama (..roll tide..) many times and producing football greats such as Ray Guy and Brett Favre.  But we are in a conference most think is sub-par.  It is difficult to be a USM fan in the football mecca that is Alabama, so a high-profile win, one that happens every 10 years for us, was frickin’ lovely.

But there was a cost to our victory. Houston, whose faces USM smushed in the dirt, was not only up for the Conference-USA championship and a Heisman nod, but most importantly a highly sought after BSC bowl berth.  First one for Conference-USA.   And to make things more interesting, if Houston got that BCS bowl slot, Conf-USA would have gotten around 13-17 million dollars.  Yes – million.  Needless to say, hopes of Conf-USA getting that money diminished with each touchdown USM scored.

To add insult to injury, the press continued to state that USM cost the conference BCS dollars because they won.  The press neglected to state that Houston lost the dollars because they lost.

When USM won, Conference USA lost.


For if you believe that, then you also believe that USM should have

  • Held back
  • Taken one for the team at all cost (or conference in this case)
  • Not believed in themselves
  • Sold-out

HR pros deal with this scenario all the time. Thinking we are the underdog. Taking one for the company.  Taking one for other managers.  Taking the “high-road” all of the time to your detriment.  Allowing other managers to under-appreciate the work you do hiring their “stars”. Being the wind-beneath everyone else’s wings cause that’s just what we do.

  •  Remember that employee you didn’t fight to get more money for because budgets were too tight (they are always too tight).
  •  Remember those budget dollars you were afraid to ask for because your CFO brushed it off. Quickly. (CFO’s are paid to scrutinize your budget; you are paid to defend it)
  •  Remember that employee on a write-up you didn’t defend who “just didn’t fit the culture” (the culture no one could define).

Being afraid to elevate our profession, contribute at your fullest or creating conflict for fear of losing your job. That’s the sell-out part.

If not for your profession, please, for the sense of you own self-worth, follow USM’s lead.  Regardless of how others spin it or what it may cost.