1. I realized I’ve been in HR too long when I was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my daughter and when Grandpa Joe tells about how Mr. Wonka just shut down his factory and fired all 10,000 workers and all I can think about is, “You can’t do that! You just violated the WARN act. Being mad at competitors is not a valid reason not to give 60 days notice.”

2. Why is it that if I can’t answer the phone when someone calls, but I call them back within five minutes, they are never at their desks? Ever. It’s like “I must call Evil HR Lady before I leave for that Mount Everest Expedition.” I find this even more bizarre when people call from their cell phones. I mean, did you call me and then accidentally flush your phone or something?

3. And speaking of phones, if you see a number come up on your caller ID and you don’t recognize it, don’t just call it back and say, “someone called this number.” If the person left a message, listen to it before calling back. If no message was left that means it wasn’t important, so don’t bother calling. Besides, you don’t know who it was! Leave it alone.

4. So, it’s 9:30 at night and I’m working. I send e-mails to three different people. All three respond within minutes. Shouldn’t we take at least some time off each day?

5. When I hear massive layoffs announced at companies, my immediate sympathies are with the HR people who have to figure out the whole mess and create the documents for everyone. I realize this is a sickness.

6. Pies for Thanksgiving this year will be: 2 Cherry, 2 Pumpkin, 1 Pecan and 1 Key Lime. The latter is not at all traditional. What can I say? We’re a wild and crazy kind of family.

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22 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. Re: #3

    I deal a lot with Gen Ys and they don’t leave voice mail messages, either for me or for each other. The ‘missed call’ alert functions as a notification that someone called you and expects you to call them back. Frankly, I like this and think it speeds up the communication process. When someone does leave a voice mail, (yes, usually a boomer) I get very impatient going through all the steps necessary to retrieve, listen to, and then delete it, when most of the time the message is, ” This is ___, please call me”. That is my ARRGGHH pet peeve.

  2. Regina–but if you don’t recognize the number do you call back and say, “Someone called me from this number!” That’s what drives me nuts. It doesn’t bother me when someone says, “Hi EHRL, I see you called!” It’s the “somebody called me!”

  3. Yes, I do, actually. I say, “Hi, this is Regina, someone called me from this number?” with the rising inflection at the end to indicate a polite question. But why, do you ask? Because, more often than you might think, someone calls from a land line that I don’t recognize instead of using their cell, and the Gen Ys will sometimes use someone else’s cell phone to call. I’m not sure about the latter; I think sometimes they just grab whoever’s phone is already out of their pocket, but it does happen. Heck, sometimes my husband even does it, and he’s is 40+! And of course, sometimes my memory is just bad and I can’t remember the numbers of all those who might call!

    And usually I get either, “Yeah, that was so-and-so, but they’re gone (or whatever), so you need to call them on their cell,” or “Yep, he’s right here!” and they hand off the phone.

    So, it seems to work and I have adapted, but I do admit it was annoying in the beginning and did take some getting used to.

  4. What annoys me is when people I don’t know leave me a voicemail asking to be called back, with no info or context as to what business this person has with me. *Hello, staffing agencies – are you listening?!*

  5. I’ve experienced #1 on a multitude of occasions. #2 is a constant pet peeve of mine. My solution is to wait 15 or 20 minutes ;). #4-Well yes, EHRL, we do need to take some time off, but we never will. I work for State government, and we are currently experiencing #5, and I thank you for your sympathies!

  6. LOL!

    re #1 I was watching Futurama last night with my kids and Farnsworth offers all his employees a vacation to thank them for overlooking all the H&S violations. My kids just looked at me because they knew I would freak about the H&S issue!

    re #3 When we call someone from our organization the number that shows up is the main line, not the individual's phone number so if someone calls back and says "someone just called this number" it could be one of 650 employees.

  7. Nick,

    Details! Details! Plus Dahl was British, I believe. Still, I read it and think about WARN and there would have been health inspectors.

    I need a break.

  8. I did taxes for H&RB for three years. You never look at lottery winnings (or any other income) in the same way again.
    I remember on my first day off after two 60-hour-plus weeks reading about an actor with homes in New Zealand, Australia, London, and LA. My first thought was, oh my god, that's at least 5 tax jurisdictions, I'm so glad I'm not his accountant. My second thought was that I needed to take more than one day off.

  9. My pet peeve is when people leave reeeeaaaallllllyyyyy llllloooooooonnnnnngggggg voicemails. I hate those! They take forever and almost always say nothing besides “call me back”! Usually if a caller doesn’t say anything of value within 15 seconds, I hang up. I am not wasting my time getting angry about voicemails! (I’m just wasting my time venting about them on your blog. Thanks, EHRL!)

  10. RE: Voicemails. But what if I leave you a short voicemail with a very specific question, like, “When are you going to install the cabinet (that you removed to shore up the stairs and has been sitting on the floor for three months now)?” or “Would you give me an estimate on building shelves in the basement?”

    Could I just have an answer, please, rather than a cheerful voicemail, “This is Terry. Call me!”

    Answer the question. I can never get you on the phone, which is why I leave voicemails or send emails. Just. Answer. My. Question.

    PS If someone calls my cellphone and doesn’t leave a message, I assume it wasn’t important and I don’t return the call.

  11. I think sometimes people don’t leave substantive voice mail messages because it’s a non-deniable record of what they said. A face to face conversation or realtime phone (without being recorded) between two people can always be reported as he said/he said, and can’t be a commitment. I know people who will NOT speak to someone who uses a speakerphone, because there could be a third person listening and taking notes, who could testify about what’s said.

  12. I check my work email right before I go to bed every night, not because I’m a workaholic, not because I need to feel connected, not because I’m all-important (or need to feel so)- no, it’s because no matter how early I get to work, I’m never the first one there and I’ve had several instances where I got surprised by “emergencies” at 7:15 a.m. that I had to immediately dive into fixing before I even hung up my coat. So really, it’s probably OTHER people that need to chillax and maybe create those surprises at perhaps 9 a.m., after a cup of coffee or two, don’t you think?

  13. Re: #1. I've been at my job too long, too. I work at a sanitary district. Among other things, I do public outreach about sewage collection & treatment. I was watching an episode of "Breaking Bad" and as they were cleaning up a horrible mess (dissolved body and toxic chemicals – what a great show, huh?), all I could think was "OMG! Do they have any idea of the damage that's going to do to the sewers and treatment process?!?!" 🙂

  14. Regarding voicemail: In my opinion, making the time to call someone, only to hang up when I don’t get them is a complete waste of MY time. I ALWAYS leave a message so those precious few minutes weren’t a total write-off. And I don’t return calls to phone numbers I don’t recognize that don’t leave a message, especially on my cell. For all I know, it’s a wrong number that’s already taken a minute of my “available minutes”…why add insult to injury.

  15. We are having Key Lime Pie too this year! I make it every year. It’s my favorite. From one HR lady to another – happy Thanksgiving!!!

  16. Chiming in late but I hate the “someone from there just called me” phone calls, too. Our sales staff at work will call the office and say “someone just called me”, and expect the receptionist to hunt down whichever of us 40 office denizens made the call. Now, her first question is, “did you listen to your voice mail?”. Inevitably, he’ll say no.

    Then there’s the anonymous person who calls the office and says “someone from this number just called me”. We ask if the person does business with us and often get a rude retort “No! This number was on my caller ID so SOMEONE from there called me!” Well, God forbid any human would cause you such stress by mis-dialing and you had to waste your precious time, only to find out it was a wrong number!

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