Middle-aged HR ladies are something else. Being middle-aged myself, I know we fall in one of two categories: Oprah Winfrey or Joan Collins from Dynasty.

I recently met the Joan Collins of HR at a networking event, which sucks because I’m Joan Collins. Here’s the story as I test my new microphone.

It’s a Shure SM58. I need a pop filter, but it sounds okay!


  1. For the last several years, I worked in talent management and organizational development roles, and I make the distinction that I’m not in “traditional” HR for a simple reason: people inside and outside the function, when someone says, “I’m in HR” will still reply, “Oh, so you do benefits / recruiting / rewards / compensation / employee relations / other?” And while all those things are necessary, the implication is that you’re the tactical and operational worker bee who ensures that policies are in place, that the ATS and HRIS are working properly, and that the employee handbook is up to date. I’ve tried to focus on another, dare I say more strategic part of HR: high potential id and development / leader development / learning / coaching / org design, etc. All of that *requires* that the basic functions of HR are in place, but there is a distinction in the work (I’m brushing up on the OD side of things by digging into the NTL Handbook of OD and Change; there are definitely differences).

    Unfortunately, I’ve been searching for my next job for nearly 10 months now, and what I have found is that employers (and many people within the profession) really don’t get that distinction. “Talent Manager; must have employee relations experience; also will manage the benefits program and payroll.” You don’t want a talent manager! You want three or more people in one! Cheapskate! So while I agree that the woman you met seemed a bit haughty, I also understand that *maybe* just maybe she has experienced some of the same feedback as I have and is yearning for the day when both TM and OD are more clearly defined and more widely understood as distinct yet connection professions within the HR sphere. Or maybe she was just full of herself. There’s always that possibility.

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