A couple of months ago, I attended an event where a bunch of HR ladies discussed talent-related topics and drank champagne and rosé.
(It’s too bad. I didn’t know that bubbles had jumped the shark.)
I jumped the shark a long time ago, and I never say no to free champagne. So I joined the ladies in a bunch of meaningless chit chat about the future of HR. My verdict? It’s all very boring. Let’s talk about something else.
That’s when one of them decided to tell me what she thinks of me.
“You know what’s dangerous about your blog? You write like you have no equal.”
Only in HR would someone call my blog dangerous. And only in HR would someone who has never met me offer unsolicited feedback while simultaneously considering herself to be a good leader.
But, okay, I’ll play along.
I said that maybe my blog seems dangerous because I’m a woman with a strong point-of-view. And I have no equals. My greatest competition is Joel Cheesman who blogs like it’s 2009 and job boards are hot. (Oh, wait!)
She told me, “No, that’s not it.”
I was informed that my blog is dangerous because of its “absolutism” about HR. My worldview is myopic, and I don’t see that other points of view might be relevant.
It’s not a particularly insightful or original critique of my blog, but it’s not entirely unfair. I don’t have any equals. My HR blogging excellence is unparalleled, mostly because it’s HR blogging and the standards are low.
The bubble-fueled HR lady wasn’t done assessing my blog, by the way. She also said, “You know, Laurie, here’s the thing. I don’t always agree with what you say. But I can’t lie. I love the way you say it.”
Here’s the thing — is that a compliment?
I have always felt like it’s an unfriendly way of showing superiority — as if my blog is cute, even if it’s not correct. And it’s hard not to be defensive. I am a classically trained HR generalist who’s been doing this for over twenty years. I’m not new at offering insights or commentary on the failing role of HR in corporate America. When someone shows up and shows me that HR isn’t full of ineffective and whiny leaders who need constant validation, I’ll pack up this blog and do something different.
Won’t be this bitch and her bubbles who shut me up, though.
I’m not an egomaniacal monster, and I truly don’t believe my own hype. Mostly because there is no hype. And I want more for this HR lady than to lob passive-aggressive compliments at a blogger. I wanted to tell her — if you think you have something to say that’s significant and noteworthy about HR and recruiting, the world is your oyster. Buy a domain, set up a blog, or just write on Medium or even LinkedIn.
There’s no shortage of ways to contribute — positively or negatively — to the ongoing discussion about the ways in which HR fails to make an impact. When you’re ready to share an idea, a small but engaged audience is waiting.
But what you shouldn’t ever do is think that you can read a blog or see a keynote speaker and do better than the person who’s trying her hardest to make a change in this world. Don’t let the bubbles fool you. You probably can’t do better. That’s why you still work in HR and yell insults from the peanut gallery.
So if you’re like this HR lady and flummoxed by people who don’t deserve the limelight, be brave and join the fray. Have an opinion, speak your mind, and try to unseat someone who doesn’t deserve her place on the stage.
Just don’t think you can read my blog, sip champagne with me, and consider yourself an equal. You’re not even close.