By Robert Byers
This is dedicated to all of the HR professionals who believe in the mission of their organization enough to wade through the swamps of paperwork, regulations and bureaucracy to keep the wheels turning and the work going forward. Remember, it could always be worse—someone had to interview the camp guards that were hired to work in the gulag!
9:00 AM – An eight inch tall stack of personnel evaluation forms sits menacingly on my desk when I open the office door. I know better than to leave the door unlocked. This is the first lesson my predecessor imparted to me in the 30 minutes of training I was allotted before beginning my duties. I should have listened more carefully. The yellow sticky note adorning the top of the pile informs me that all employee files must be updated prior to the inspection on Thursday. I am sure the files will reflect this work has been performed. Officially. Unofficially, I place all of the forms in the bottom left desk drawer and lock it.
10:15 AM – Three phone calls in quick succession informing me of new job openings suggest that our company’s rapid employee turnover has not been halted by the new motivational posters plastered around the building. The foolish manager who suggested raising wages to retain workers instead is still counting paper clips in the corporate supply room. There is a rumor that his sentence may be commuted as part of the founder’s upcoming birthday celebration, but few believe such a happy ending is possible.
11:30 AM – After placing ads for the three positions with a new online employment service that did not exist yesterday, as well as our standard sources for prospective hires, I decide to review the current stockpile of resumes we have available. I unlock the bottom drawer on the right side of the desk and take out seven bedraggled pieces of paper. Corporate headquarters is reviewing an additional eight for possible consideration at our facility. We expect to fill at least one open position in the next four days. Officially. Unofficially, we may reach 50 percent of our theoretical staffing level by Christmas.
12:30 PM – Lunch. Blessed, blissful quiet descends on the office as the generous ten minutes we have to eat (and for the day’s single allowed bathroom break) begins.
12:40 PM – Two candidates we interviewed last week for the vacant shipping manager position follow up with me by email. The better qualified of the two has roughly half the experience and credentials we have listed as requirements for the job. If he called on the phone and the receptionist accidentally put him through to my office, I’m quite certain one of us would weep.
1:00 PM – The next round of interviews for the accounting department’s open position begins in the third floor conference room.
1:04 PM – The round of interviews concludes when the sole candidate who showed up to apply for the position admits that his two paragraph (handwritten) resume contains three exaggerations and four outright lies. The addition of KGB-trained questioners has greatly shortened most of our interviews. It has not increased our job fill rate.
2:00 PM – Afternoon staff meeting begins with singing of the corporate song over the speaker phone. Officially. If they ever install video conference capability, we will have to stop playing the recording we have stored on Joe’s phone of us singing while we play Candy Crush instead.
4:30 PM – I review my notes from the staff meeting. We are moving forward and reaching every goal ahead of schedule. Officially.
5:00 PM – With a glance back at the mountains of paperwork still covering my desk despite my day’s labor, I slink away from the office to begin the two hour drive home.
5:06 PM – I pound the steering wheel of my car in frustration as I realize that once again I have forgotten to lock the door to my office. No doubt tomorrow I will pay for my sins. Again.