Will You Eventually Have a Heath Care Score Similar to Your Credit Score?....
DNA Discrimination Bill set to go into Law.... Good News and Bad News...

HR Jobs From Hell - The LOA Administrator

By now, readers of the Capitalist know that I am a HR Generalist, meaning I do it all - recruit, employee relations, benefits, performance management, etc.   I'm also a firm believer that Generalist roles span the globe of HR titles - Generalists can be found at the Rep/individual contributor, manager, director and VP levels.

One of the things that is cool about being a HR Generalist is the variety - if you're sick of doing one Dirtyjobsthing, you just need to wait about 20 minutes, because you'll get a call shifting your priorities to another area as a routine course of business.

Some people call it chaos, I call it variety...

So, for me, a HR job from hell is one that includes no variety, and resides in an area of the HR practice where little joy is found.  Here's my first HR Job from Hell - the corporate Leave of Absence Administrator.

First up, let me say that me tagging the LOA Administrator as a job from hell has nothing to do with the people in the job, but instead has everything to do with what these folks have to put up with on a daily basis.  As luck would have it, HR Wench is currently in the job market, and recently phone screened for an LOA Administrator role:

"I had a phone screen yesterday that went ok. It was for the Leave of Absence Specialist. Get this: the organization has 15,000 employees. Guess how many NEW leave of absence cases were processed last year? 4,400. That is almost a 1/3 of their workforce, yo! Geez. Anyhow the in person interviews aren't until a few weeks from now due to vacations. So, we'll see".

UGH.  That pretty much sums up why I would consider the LOA Administer role as a HR role from Dante's 9th circle.  Here's what you have to deal with in that role:

-Primary focus is interacting with folks going through very rough times.  For the right person, this would be a plus, as they could use their empathy to make a difference.  But a steady diet of this over years surely leads to burnout.

-Being the tough gal/guy regarding compliance.  Folks are going through rough times, and you're the one that has to hassle them about the FMLA certification forms even though that's the last thing on their mind.

-Deciding when to play hardball on fraud.  You have 4,000 applications for LOA, you're going to have some folks gaming the system.  You have to decide when to play hardball and go after it.  You see the 5-10% that game the system - how can you not become jaded after a year or two of that?

Let me be clear - if you are in the LOA Administrator role in your company - thank you.   You are taking multiple hits daily for the HR function as a whole, and you're likely doing it very well.  If you get burned out, I hope your company has a rotational program in place, because you have skills that are a valuable resource.

That being said - HR Wench - Don't do it!!


Michael Haberman, SPHR

I nominate payroll administrator... no thank you.

Andres V Acosta, SPHR

I am right there with you on why it's so great to be a HR Generalist. But I hafta disagree on the LOA Administrator position as the job from hell.

The LOA Administrator is in the perfect position to help people when they need it most. They get to interact with all employees and all departments and they actually get a real live "thank you" from employees, on occasion. They get varied situations and challenges and get to actually use their technical expertise to the benefit of the company.

My vote for HR Job from Hell is the File Clerk. Limited human interaction, limited problem solving, often done in a place with no windows ... no, I'd much rather be an LOA Administrator than a File Clerk.

See Post (HR Consumed: "I wanna be an HR Generalist when I grow up")

Rutgers Fan

I would have to agree with this entire entry. I love being a Generalist because you never know what the day will bring (good, bad or other). I would also have to agree with the toughness of the LOA Administrator. While it is a unique opportunity to show care and empathy to valued employees during a really tough period in their life - it is often a thankless job by the employees and with your business partners who just know they are missing a body in their department.

Good work, Kris. You can tell you've been there.

HR Wench

The burnout rate definitely concerns me. I've done "just recruiting" before but other than that I've been a generalist. I have no idea what an entire day of fed and state leave admin is like. However, the organization is bigger than any I've ever worked for and it could be a foot-in-the-door position. I'll interview if I'm invited. I'll keep you posted! :)


I agree with you! I have only been a specialist once and it was an employee relations specialist so it was an area full of surprises and new experiences every day.

I think that it is valuable for people who want to be good at HR to "do some time" as a specialist in one way or another. I think it would be great to spend 6-12 months doing benefits and a couple of years doing compensation. Those areas are just so core to the craft.

That being said, you won't catch me making the move to a specialist role anytime soon!

HR Wench

Update: I was called for an in person interview a couple days ago. It's getting pretty serious...

Account Deleted

More than 40% of larger companies rely on significant outsourcing for some combination of employee HR documentation services and operations – but none completely outsource all functions.
Benchmark findings indicated that processes with strong system dependencies are outsourced far less frequently, and with a much higher level of scrutiny than processes with lower overall system interdependencies. For example, Employment Verification and Award Management are outsourced by more than 73% and 55% of companies, respectively. As companies grow and change, functional managers must constantly ask themselves the fundamental question: What business do I want to be in? Any task or process that is not core to a functional area’s self-proclaimed identity or mission is a strong candidate for outsourcing.

administration job-administration job

The comments to this entry are closed.