Friday, June 17, 2005

The Scum of the Earth

Is there a worse group of people on the face of the Earth than human resources people? Maybe Third World dictators or professional torturers. Maybe a few others. But human resources people are really bad. Why are they so bad? Because they claim to be the friend of the worker but they will stab you in the back at the first chance. A case in point: I work in the graduate student program at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I help write reports documenting historic buildings at the Laboratory and hopefully help save some of them from being torn down. Because my work doesn't involve planning how to kill people more effectively, I don't get paid as much. Even though I have as many skills as the chemists and physicists, they are in the "technical" category while I am many others not directly involved in the destruction of the world are classified as "administrative" and get paid less. So yesterday, the Laboratory decides to have a mandatory student meeting and someone asks about this and basically says that this is bullshit. The answer from the HR person--that people like me are less valuable to the Laboratory and that we should be happy that we are getting paid at all to do this work. Lovely.

Another example. I spent the summer of 2000 working for the SEIU local in Nashville. It was a terrible experience for the head of the union apparatus there (not the local head who was pretty good) was a horrible human being. But I won't get into that now. Anyway, one of the places of employment we represented was a traditionally black hospital. They had a drug rehab clinic. They wanted to fire one of the nurses there for being too mean to the patients. For instance, she made them follow the rules and not be able to make extra phone calls. I was in on a meeting where this was discussed and we were saying, "They're drug addicts for Christ's sake. They need tough love. They need to learn to follow rules and have discipline in their lives." And what we came to realize was that the administration and the HR people of the hospital didn't actually want the drug addicts to get better. They kept calling them "clients." They wanted them to leave, get hooked again, and have to come back!

The thing about HR people is that they always seem like such nice people. But if you even begin to talk about forming a union in your office, if you complain about conditions, if you say anything critical of the company, they will cut you down before you can say boo. I hate them far more than corporate executives. You know where they stand. They are up front and honest about it. At least you can respect that. But those who claim to work in your interests and are nothing but poisonous snakes ready to strike at any time are the low of the low. Human resources people deserve nothing but contempt.