Don't Laugh Too Loudly
I can say without reservation that most HR folks I know are really nice people who do a respectable job.
I can also say without reservation that most HR folks I know are not wild party animals live life on the edge and who routinely break company policy.
But does the term “respectable” go hand in hand with, shall I say, “boring”?
A few years ago, my firm did a “What HR Likes” survey, and to my great surprise, the respondents’ favourite TV show was Two and a Half Men.
I liked Two and a Half Men, a lot, but up until seeing those results, I really thought I was the only one, and kept my love of it a secret. I watched it by myself, low volume, lights out. It was not something I admitted publicly.
Why? Because Two and a Half Men at its core was and is still offensive to some people. It is full of outlandish situations that the HR profession cannot condone at work. Sex, sexism, adultery, fraternization, debauchery, harassment, alcoholism, double entendre—you name it, the show had it. I laughed loudly when Alan needed Charlie to cover as the Receptionist at his clinic, and within hours Charlie had turned the office into a seedy massage parlour. As
an HR Professional, how can I be expected to hold high standards if secretly I think certain escapades like this are funny (actually hilarious)? After all, we’ve all had a “Charlie” in our workplace we’ve had to deal with before, right?
There used to be “rules” about what could be said in mixed company. In some people’s lives, these rules no longer apply and anything goes. The challenge is in some cases, for some people, these rules very much still do apply, and at work, there is still a need for a decorum that respects higher standards of behaviour.
I guess I’m trying to say that if you’re in HR, it is hard to have overly liberal views. Basically, there is no way of winning, which is probably why our profession is full of closet Two and a Half Men fans.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award. You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.