The Red Pensil | HR Fishbowl

I don’t deal with defeat very well. Particularly when it’s in the workplace and it involves pretty much making a fool of myself in front of my clients (employees). And it gets even worse when those particular clients have already demonstrated an aversion to HR and don’t have much faith in our abilities. You get limited opportunity to turn these people toward your favor, and a missed opportunity – one, in fact, that sets you back a couple of steps – is a giant blow… and it’s embarrassing. That’s exactly what happened to me on Friday. And I hate it. It’s not important to recount every detail of this fiasco. It had to do with a highly visible meeting with a group’s top executives who were counting on HR to facilitate a productive discussion. We had data integrity issues, we had technology issues…we just basically didn’t have our act together. They chewed us up. They were visibly upset. No one showed sympathy, empathy; just disgust.

You’ve been there…if you haven’t, you’re probably not doing your job. I realize success comes with failure. But how do you deal with it? How do you pick up the pieces and go on. I apologized, corrected the error, redistributed the data, and rescheduled the meeting. Then I thought about it a lot. I actually lost some sleep over it – something that happens rarely to me. There’s a part of me that says HR can not afford to make mistakes because the world is entirely unforgiving, impatient, and crabby. There’s a part of me that says I sure do wish we could all take a chill. I mean it was a data issue; no big deal…right? There’s a part of me that says this is just symptomatic of corporate America…it is what it is…screw it. And there’s a part of me that just wants to curl up in the corner, suck my thumb, and weep.

Have you ever encountered this? After reading it most of you are focused on one thing and one thing only: a misspelled word. (The rest of you are wondering why the hell you aren’t smart enough to find said misspelled word). There are twenty-one letters in this statement. And twenty of them are right. But one is wrong and that’s all most of us can really focus on. Humans are like that…a bunch of freakin’ downers. I mean, I came up with twenty letters that were absolutely spot on. But no one, I’m sure, will take the time to congratulate me on that. Thanks a lot, jerks.

It’s kind of how I feel over Friday’s debacle. Man we try hard. We really do. And there is so much that goes right behind the scenes every freakin’ day week-in and week-out. We’re used to being disrespected. We’re used to being second-class. And we’re used to being the unsung. But can’t we catch a break every now and then?

I don’t know, should we?

Image Credit: Kaptain Kobold (Flickr)

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