CIxk8GFVAAAj-HpWhat would you do if everybody hated you?

Well, everybody does hate you if you work in human resources.

* Employees hate you for being an administrative obstacle. What? They can’t sleep late and take mental health days? Why you gotta be like that? All bossy & stuff?

* Supervisors hate you because they can’t just hire and fire people based on instinct—or racism. Why you gotta be like that? All rulesy & stuff?

* Leaders hate you because you make them follow the law and spend money on safety, training and compliance issues. Why you gotta be like that? All legal & stuff?

* Other HR people hate you for thinking differently and daring to do new stuff. Why you gotta be like that? All brave and into data & stuff?

* And consultants hate you because you have a budget, share of voice and authority over systems and processes that are quite lucrative. Why you gotta be like that? All powerful & stuff?

I once read a poorly constructed survey that felt right to me. It said that HR loses 2-3 people over the age of 35 for every entry-level hire in our industry. That means that women—yes, mostly women—are choosing to leave mid-level jobs that pay about $99,000/year to do anything other than human resources.

I may be misremembering that survey, but it sure feels familiar.

While I am not in HR on a daily basis, I wrote a book about how you are the future of human resources—especially those of you who hate it—and you need to stick it out and fight like hell to shape the future of your careers. Don’t acquiesce to haters. And remember: while it seems like everybody hates you when you work in HR, but you don’t have to hate yourself.

I know you don’t need my help, but I can’t stand it when someone (other than me) makes fun of HR ladies. So when Halogen Software asked me to speak about my book in my hometown of Raleigh, next week, I said yes.

I never get a chance to roll out of bed, put on my yoga pants and speak to my hometown crowd about something that sticks in my craw. I said yes to speaking in Raleigh about how HR is doing great work on a daily basis, and I hope you can join me.


  1. This strikes a chord with me, Laurie since I just had to get out of HR, not necessarily because others hated me, but because I was hating myself. I’m getting my bearings in a new position, but the rebound from that emotional drain makes me feel like I’ve lost 100 pounds.

    • Hi Sarah – do you think maybe it was the company, not HR, you needed to get out of? I love HR, but I couldn’t do HR for a company where employees were not valued and treated with respect.

      • Marilyn – that’s a great question that I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on. I think that healthy companies require healthy people, — and I know that I was no longer healthy, so even if the company was healthy enough, I couldn’t contribute appropriately AND still don’t have the distance to determine if the company added to my struggles.

  2. It took me a little while, but early in my career I got used to people hating me… or quieting their conversation when I walk into a room.

    Just yesterday I was telling a manager that it’s okay if people don’t like you… I walk around this building *as if* everyone LOVES me & that usually drives the haters crazy.

    • Jen, that is absolutely true. I don’t know how many times I’ve told managers, employees and other HR Prof that we’re not here to make friends and be liked, it’s about doing a job and being respectful of each other.

      I say hi to everyone, however I make it a point to stop and speak to those I know would rather avoid me…that gets me through the day!

  3. I don’t believe that HR is viewed (or hated) as it once might have been. HR professionals earn respect and credibility through their actions and expertise, just like other business professionals. We make it what it is….and isn’t.

  4. I recently received 360 commentary from a peer who praised me because I ‘didn’t care what people thought of me.”

    Hello HR–I’ve arrived!

  5. Truth be told, at work everyone hates everybody on some level – HR is not special that way. CFO because they are too tight with the purse strings. CIO because the platform and software stink. Safety Director because of the stupid safety rules and equipment. The list goes on and on. Everyone in the company believes they are the only one doing a good job – everyone else is a slacker.

  6. Amen…they either ‘hate’ HR or are scheming to sneak around doing things only to ask for help when the things done require a ‘bail out’.
    Have fun in your hometown. Someday I’ll have the privilege to hear you speak!

  7. I often find that the people that hate HR are the people that create obstacles in the first place (not us!) and we end up spending all our time trying to unravel the business out of some sort of ridiculous and highly embarrassing situation in order to try and salvage some sort of reputation and we get accused of being the obstacle because, heaven forbid, we actually want to do something right.

    I have also found that HR is highly dependent on the culture and innovation of the business you work for. Many forward thinking, reputation-saving, skills-gap-reedming, people-focussed businesses will collaborate with HR in a positive way. They want to improve. They want to be a contender in their market place. They want to attract the best talent and retain it. They want to motivate, guide and improve their people and they want to support career growth. All of this regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion or race. We must be evil, evil people.

    I can understand that working for a less HR focussed business must be SO DEMORALISING and you must feel like you are constantly fighting a loosing battle. But the key is showing businesses how HR can help them… not hinder.

    The reputation of HR won’t be changed overnight, after all, all we do is hire and fire…. right? But I hope we can start to make a damn good try at making the journey to get there.

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