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One of my ex-boyfriends asked me why I have so many email addresses.

That’s a loaded question.

I’ve had a variety of email addresses since college — that’s 1992, folks. It means that everybody in the world knows how to reach me: parents, siblings, friends, professors, student loan debt collectors, former bosses, colleagues and, now, blog and book readers.

I keep changing my email addresses to trick myself into thinking that I have a system. I send bullshit, work-related email into one bucket and blogging and personal email into another bucket.

Now those buckets spill over everywhere. I get emails from family members that feel like work and work-related emails that are easy and breezy. And this time of year, I have an influx of messages from HR professionals who need my help and hate their jobs.

Holiday-initiated career ennui is the worst, and I feel for my colleagues in recruiting and HR. Here’s what I’ve been sharing with most of the people who wrote to me over Thanksgiving weekend.

“Jesus, it’s a job.”

I have also written, “C’mon. Get off email. Have some pie.”

I know the HR profession doesn’t need me to be its older sister, but here I go again with my standard lecture.

When you pretend like a job in recruiting or human resources is a calling, you maximize the productivity goals of a CFO and a CEO who want to pay you in worthless emotional assets instead of cash.

Enjoying your job in HR is fine. It’s noble to demand respect and something more than a paycheck when you work in recruiting. But if you don’t get what you want from your job, don’t whine about it.

Act like a capitalist and quit.

Why should you have to leave a job just because someone didn’t fulfill a brand promise or make good on a job description? Because, Jesus, I don’t know. It’s just a job. Now can I have some pie?

Listen, here’s what I know: your job in any field — HR, recruiting, shoveling shit on the side of the road — is just one aspect of your awesome, genuinely interesting personality. Stop obsessing about such a small piece of your life. I know so many skilled and experienced HR and recruiting professionals who do great HR (whatever the fuck that means) but also sing in choirs, volunteer at schools and spend time preparing meals for elderly people.

Furthermore, I know brilliant doctors and engineers who work hard all day long, manage the politics of their jobs, and coach cheerleading and kids sports at night. Even the scientists and mathematicians who send probes to Mars are amateur chefs, artists, and community volunteers.

If you’re unhappy, get a new job. And if you’re not that talented, get a hobby. In fact, I think assessments find that people with wholly differentiated lives perform better at their jobs than those who hyperfocus on their careers.

And, please, stop emailing me on Thanksgiving. But if you want to reach me, the best way is yo@thecynicalgirl.com — I promise that I’ll write back.

3 Responses to Jesus, It’s Just a Job
  1. catharine

    So glad I found you again!! I lost track after Punk Rock HR, then, today, found the also-killed-off The Cynical Girl, and yay! Here you are! 🙂

    • ruettimann

      Love it. Time for me to kill off this website. Just kidding. xo

  2. Natalia Alexandrou

    ‘But if you don’t get what you want from your job, don’t whine about it.

    Act like a capitalist and quit.’

    Absolutely Laurie – a job is not your life and not ‘for life’ either. But why do we stay in jobs for so long that we start to hate it?