The Non-Compete Sliding Scale: Degree of Talent vs. Quality of HR Pro...
Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes - The NBA Summer League....

MBA Oath? How About an HR Oath?

Capitalist Note - Got the call to hit the road unexpectedly. Enjoy this classic on the Capitalist HR Oath until I get back.  --KD

Where there's a need, you'll find a provider.  That's how the free market works.  And that reality holds true for ethics as well as widgets.

Case in point: Over 2,000 MBA graduates have taken an MBA oath.  Modeled after that Hippocratic oath thing, it's a call for MBAs to do the right thing first, rather than automatically deferring to the thing that benefits them most.  As you mightPromise-poster expect, the event that created the market for an MBA oath is the Wall Street meltdown of the last couple of years. 

You can find the full oath by clicking here.  Here are a couple of tasty bullets from the oath:

--"I will manage my enterprise with loyalty and care, and will not advance my personal interests at the expense of my enterprise or society."

--"I will invest in developing myself and others, helping the management profession continue to advance and create sustainable and inclusive prosperity."

Wow.  That kind of stuff sort of brings out the cynic in me.  The kind of cynic that says that you could save some trees by simply saying "I promise not to screw others, or at the very least, have reasonable assurance that they plan on screwing me before I attempt to screw them."  Now, that's an effective MBA oath, don't you think?

Of course, it reminds me that what the HR profession really needs isn't respect, more business savvy or better metrics.  We need an oath.  With that in mind, I present the following HR Oath for your consideration, which is to be taken when someone passes the PHR or SPHR, or if they think that stuff is BS, they take it anyway because they believe.


I, <state your name>, member of the HR community, promise to:

1. Never say the phrase "seat at the table", unless I say it in the voice of the Church Lady or Samuel L. Jackson. (The Samuel L. Jackson voice from Pulp Fiction or Snakes on a Plane is preferred).

2. Avoid dumping 50 candidates that I secured via the "post and pray" model to the hiring manager in question, encouraging her to "take a look and see what she likes".

3. Take off my SHRM Convention badge before I'm seen vomiting on a main street of city hosting the annual SHRM convention.

4. Carve out 2 hours per week of project time designed to do nothing but figure out a way to add value to the business.

5. Refrain from spending my entire personal development budget on the always challenging "Employment Law Seminar 20XX" - for the sixth straight year.

6. Speak up at the possible risk of my job when I see my boss or a peer doing something that blatantly runs counter to the people mission of our company.

7. Never own or wear a sensible pair of shoes that make me look like a fool.  Or an Aztec.

8. Ship product regularly. (if you don't know what this means for a HR Pro, click here for the description)

9. Give a s###.  Every day. Or get out.

This oath I make freely, and my electronic signature in the comments of this post represents my pledge to the HR profession and the business I support.



I solemnly declare that this comment represents my pledge to HR profession.

Lisa Carp

Great post and great pledge!

Jody Skinner

I with ya, except for #7. My flip-flops made out of blown-out tire tread are AWES.

John Jorgensen

Kris, I love it. I may present it to everyone I know (ok, maybe not). Is giving an oath like that to MBA's kind of like giving a no corruption oath to Illinois governors?

Heather Dykes

I hereby solemnly pledge to uphold this pledge. Delta Tau Delta name is Otter.

Seriously, thanks for this, it was very refreshing, and very needed, esp. #1!

Pat Wood

"Or an Aztec."

I take it you've got a story behind this comment and what footwear constitutes Aztec apparel?


This is great Kris! I swear to share this with my HR friends!


Thanks to all for taking the pledge...

Pat - by Aztec, I was speaking of the ugliest car in the world - see this link...

Michael Haberman SPHR

Great post, great oath. I especially like #1 myself and grimace everytime I hear it. I think #6 is great.. takes guts..I like the last one too. I will spell it out for you. Give a shit! But sometimes that is so hard to do when you feel covered up in it. But....I solemnly swear.

Michael Haberman SPHR

And the Aztec is ugly... unless you are doing a remake of The Road Warrior..


Say "seat at the table" again... I dare you. I double dare you M$^&#*(#^%r. Say "seat at the table" one more g^&damn time!

Ned Asherman

Ned Asherman


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good... wait... what? Wrong club; apologies. Count me in.

The comments to this entry are closed.