The Dreaded “Meet & Greet” by HR

There’s nothing like being greeted at the door of the company you work for by the folks from Human Resources  who tell you to “follow them”.  That apparently was the first real indication the employees had at The Commercial Appeal that Wednesday, March 18th was their “unlucky Day”.  According to information from the inside. if you made it to your desk in the newsroom, then you were home safe.  Then like watching the migrating animals crossing the croc-filled river in the National Georgraphic videos, there was nothing to really do except watch from your desk and speculate as to who was going to get nabbed next.  It had to be a depressing event to see the company you work for being reduced one person at a time.  Unfortunately, that is the reality of the times.  That doesn’t make it any easier though.

I guess part of the problem I have is that I’ve never really had a high opinion of H-R to begin with.  As a disclaimer I will admit that one of my brothers-in-law ( I have three) is an HR honcho with a big company.  I like him well enough; I just don’t really care for HR in general.  While they can do some good things, HR people tend to remind me of the “political officers” who played such big roles in the former Soviet Union.  I really get the impression that they made up a lot of busy work so they could keep their jobs and make it look like they contributed to the company’s bottom line somehow.  Yes, that may be a little short-sighted on my part but that’s my opinion.   I know HR can be involved in training and improving conditions but I have found they can come up with a nonsensical crap as well.  Does anyone with the former NYTimes Broadcasting division remember “the Moose”? I may post on that another.

Anyway, if you see someone from the C-A and they look a little dazed, buy them a beer but try to keep them away from  sharp objects.  They’ve been through a rough time.  The ironic thing about the lay-offs though may be that those let go from the company may be the lucky ones.  We’ll see.

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8 Comments on “The Dreaded “Meet & Greet” by HR”

  1. the tall tv guy Says:

    I’ve had to take that walk to see a HR rep years ago to be laid off from a company losing millions a month. It wasn’t pleasant. The biggest concern most people have is do I have enough saved to make it before I find something else?

    The “lucky” ones still there are doing more and probably working more free overtime as a result, wondering if they are next in the next round to go.

    HR, Accounting, and Admin Support are usually in the same category with management…a necessary evil, causing more overhead but not generating any income.

    HR can also be tough in trying to get an interview, much less a job. Reviewing a resume determines if you go any further in the process. Networking or a lead can be eliminated if one’s education, skills, and experience doesn’t match the job requirements in HR’s eyes.

    I’m working on being optimistic…in 15 or 20 years, I hope to retire, if the economy improves by then!!

  2. joelarkins Says:

    Here is a list I received of news folks who got the old axe at the C-A. I have not had these independently confirmed and I thought Frederick had left long ago. Anyway, here’s the list.
    Photogs:
    Lance Murphey
    Thomas Busler
    Claude Jones

    Deskers:
    Mark Watson
    Stephanie Jones
    Courtney Morgan
    Dan Ginsburg

    Cartoonist:
    Bill Day

    Reportish types:
    Trevor Aaronson *counted from before
    Frederick Koeppel
    Chris Blank
    Jim Masilak
    Carla Underwood *she’s currently on vacation
    Jimmie Covington
    David Healy

  3. Lew Says:

    I’ll always remember that story about the HR in New England who determined that applicants who scored too high on intelligence tests were unfit to be hired as policemen.

  4. Doug Johnson Says:

    Ugh. I hate the very idea of layoffs. My company is talking about “workplace reductions” after announcing lower-than-expected profits… Not losses mind you, profits… just not as much as Wall Street wanted. I avoided buying a house my entire life because of the worry in the back of my mind that I could lose a job very quickly (which has happened a couple of times). I really feel for anyone who ends up on the street.

    Oh, and the moose. I remember it well. But the first rule about the moose is… don’t talk about the moose. At least, the usual practice is that no one talks about the moose.

  5. HR Guy Says:

    As an HR professional for 30 years, I’ve heard comments similar to your over the years and worse. In this case, it’s more of a “shoot the messenger” emotional response than anything. We don’t usually create revenue but we do different activities that save enough money to justify our existence many times over. If I had time to discuss this or write a longer blog I could give lots of examples and explanations but since these activities aren’t as straightforward as other support activities like accounting, marketing, IT, and purchasing, we are often targets as we are in this blog.

    With that said, I will freely admit that there are many HR people who are rather reactionary and dogmatic, very detailed people who lose sight of the big picture. However, most employees learn that the HR function is pretty valuable when they take time to look the the various functions that we give to organizations.

  6. joelarkins Says:

    Not for your blog but for your accuracy: A former colleague sent me a link to your item in which you report that I was laid off from the CA, clarified with “counted from before” — whatever that means. I resigned in January. From what I understand, my empty position was simply eliminated in the budget cuts, suggesting the CA can’t hire anyone to replace me in the near, or even distant, future. That’s very different from a layoff. But if you can figure out how to land me a severance package, I’ll be happy to be included in your layoff list.

    Counted from before,
    Trevor Aaronson

  7. joelarkins Says:

    The previous post was information sent to me by Trevor Aaronson on my email address. As I stated when I posted it, I received a list from someone at the CA listing people who “got the ax”. I thought some had already left whether by retiring or just leaving. I’m not sure what “counted from before” means either but that’s how it was sent and that’s how it was shared.
    Thanks for contacting me.
    Regards

  8. Richard Says:

    My dear departed dad worked for the Commercial Appeal from right after WW II till he retired back in the 80s. He was a linotype machinist and thought he was going to lose his job when the CA went to cold type but they kept him on and he worked in the “computer” room, up until he retired.
    I’m sure he’s not too happy to see what’s going on at the CA and with newspapers in general.


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