Office Hookups and HR: I'd Advise Against It, Especially If Vegas and Someone You Fired Is Involved....
Let's trot out the old standard - office romance - then add a specific twist, followed by a very special KD story. You like those, right?
The twist to the office romance retread story? HR people like to hook up with the commoners just like anyone else. More from @work, a Challenger, Gray & Christmas product:
"Another reason human resources departments may be reluctant to impose workplace romance policies is that HR professionals are human too and may have been bitten by the workplace love bug on at least one occasion. In the United Kingdom, one survey found that about 27 percent of HR workers confessed to office romance, ranking third behind call center workers (30 percent) and finance employees (28 percent)."
As I read that, I'm reminded of the prose of the Bloodhound Gang:
"You and me baby we ain't nothin' but mammals
So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.."
A little crude perhaps, but it reminds us that HR folks are human like anyone else. I'm also reminded of the most twisted HR love affair story I ever had the bad fortune to experience. It all started when I was minding my own business as a VP of HR at a prior company. A former VP of Sales I had worked with at the same company gives me a call from the Atlanta airport (I was in my office in Birmingham at time) and the conversation proceeded as follows:
Don: KD, what's up?
KD: Donnie, good to hear from you. Where ya at?
Don: I'm in the ATL airport, and that's one of the reasons I'm calling you. Does Jenny still work for you? (Jenny was a competent, trusted HR manager in my group.)
KD: Yeah, she's doing great, why?
Don: I'm not sure what I just saw, then..
KD: Geez.. What?
Don: Does Brenda still work in your department? (Brenda was a former HR Coordinator Jenny had fired for performance based reasons)
KD: No, Jenny fired her because she had huge organizational issues that impacted her performance. HR Coordinator kinda requires organizational skills.
Don: Well, I'll just lay it out for you. It's Thursday, and I just saw Jenny and Brenda together, and they were getting on a flight to Vegas.
KD: What the...?
Don: Of course, that's not all. Two others from your office were with them. It looked like Bobby (our Director of Marketing at the time) was with Jenny, and Tim, your Director of Engineering, was with Brenda.
KD: You mean as couples, romantic and all that?
KD: Wow. So, Jenny fires Brenda 4 months ago, and apparently they're still close enough that they're hanging out together. And Jenny's got clouded enough judgment at this point that she'd go to Vegas for a long weekend with someone she fired, as well as two other Director level employees that are in her client group. Nice.
Don: Sorry to break it to you. <pause> How's the family?
KD: Up yours, Donnie. (OK, I didn't say that, but it would have been funny)
I'll run it down again. Strong HR pro but apparently lonely, succumbs to the loneliness and thinks a couples weekend with 2 guys from her client group and someone she fired is a good idea. Stay in the game long enough, and you'll find the Bloodhound Gang lyric is exactly right, even for HR pros. We're human, and an HR pro is listening to bad Bon Jovi or sentimental Wham clips on their way home by themselves (and going home to an empty house), they're at risk to engage in an office romance.
Or do a couples weekend to Vegas with two guys in their client group and a coordinator they fired 4 months earlier.
Loneliness is a powerful force, even for the HR assassin. May you never find yourself on a jet to Vegas with a coordinator you fired and ask, "How did I get here?"
This is my wish for you. I'm a giver.