If You Don’t Like the Food, Get into the Kitchen | HR Fishbowl

I live in a house with three females (four if you include my 75 pound German Wirehaired Pointer). It’s cool – I like the odds. We’re extremely fortunate that Lori, my wife, has elected to take time away from her career to raise our daughters and to manage the homestead; and we’re even more fortunate that we can actually afford to do it. It’s been eight years now since she made this commitment. I love her and am deeply indebted to her for doing it.

I usually pull my weight at home. I cook quite a bit; I do the dishes and clean the kitchen almost every night. I have an ultimate set of tools and am relatively handy around the house. But Lori does most of the housekeeping by default. There’s always dinner for me when I get home and rarely – if ever – do I do the laundry. I made the mistake early in our marriage in believing I had a say in these matters. I might have issued a barb about the laundry piling up or complained about “leftovers again!” But I’ve since grown wiser (and more sensitive.) I’ve learned that despite my occasional desire to do so, I do not and cannot control everything. Nor do I have the right to even try and influence something I don’t participate in. If you don’t cook, you can’t complain when dinner sucks; if you don’t do the laundry, then you’ll get clean clothes when you get them; and if you don’t sweep the floors, then learn to ignore the dirt.

In the realm of Human Resources, our constituents – our employees – sometimes (always) like to have a say in what we do, when we do it, and how we do it. Most of what we do, after all, affects them. So we try to give them their day in court…or at least I’ve always tried to. We form advisory councils, we send out drafts for review and input, we survey and poll and cajole. Sometimes we do this because we really need their perspective; sometimes we do it just to play nice and appease their belief (misplaced) that they know best. There are always a bunch of employees, though, who will have nothing to do with it. They are too busy, or too important. And guess what: these employees are typically the ones who complain the loudest. They whine about this and that. They throw insults and injury around like it’s their inalienable right. They are impossible to please. They are always late to the discussion – often posting up long after the discussion is over. They have little regard for the bigger picture and think only of themselves. To these employees, I say without the slightest bit of respect, “put an effffing sock in it.”

If you forfeit your right and opportunity to participate in the decisions, the programs, the policies, the procedures that affect you, then you forfeit your right to say anything…yes, anything…about them.  As an HR leader, I am beholden only to those constituents who chose to help around the house. If you’re one of those who don’t, you’re no more a human resource than those toilets someone scrubs for you. And my job is about humans not toilets.

Image Credit: Sheep Purple (Flickr)

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