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An HR Thanksgiving


It’s Thanksgiving, try to be thankful

An HR Thanksgiving

As I sit here on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share my HRNasty perspective on what I am thankful for during the Thanksgiving season and why. I am thankful the unemployment numbers in this country are lower today and I am I am thankful I not only have a job, but a job I enjoy and colleagues I enjoy working with.

When I work with folks that are looking for career advice, want to change jobs, or quit their current gig for greener pasture, I hear all of the below on a fairly regular basis:

  • “I have a thankless job”
  • “My boss has no idea what I do”
  • “I just wish my boss would acknowledge my hard work”

The classic

“My boss can take this job and shove it.” 

I am here to set the record straight on Thanksgiving. We should all be thankful for our jobs. I realize the numbers for the unemployed are still high. That fact is not lost on me and a big reason I post on this blog. If you don’t feel like your manager is thankful enough, remember this Skippy: Your manager is cutting you a paycheck every two weeks. That is the thanks we should be caring about.  Last time I checked, a “Thank you” from your manager didn’t pay the heat, mortgage or put braces on your kid’s teeth. Cash money pays the bills and is the reason we work.

I am not proposing that we as employees, all go to work and become assholes because our manager is an ingrate. FWIW, I am not endorsing the F.U. style of management. Low manager expectations should not translate into a green light for being the abrasive, “I don’t give a crap” employee.

I am saying this

Too often I hear employees bitch and moan about their jobs. Sometimes I wonder if these employees are volunteering their time and effort to their employer. If you are working, not collecting a paycheck AND being treated like a rented mule, I get it. Volunteering with no thanks is never easy.  But if you are cashing Acme Publishing’s paycheck every two weeks. . . well, I know a lot of unemployed folks that would be grateful for your opportunity.

Again, I am not endorsing the theory that since your manager is paying you, they can abuse you and take you for granted. But at the end of the day, we are not able to control our manager’s actions. We are probably NOT going to change their management style. We can coach them, we can inform them as to what style of management we appreciate, but most managers are not going to change. Just because they are your manager doesn’t mean they are perfect. It is up to us to see what is good in an imperfect world. 

This is love!

All women think they can change their man. Mrs. HRNasty is no different. We are a happily married couple and I know I would do just about anything for her, and yes, this includes putting up with two dogs which she brought home unannounced 16 years ago.  Did I mention I am allergic to dogs?

Mrs. HRNasty would love Fireman outfit sex every night of the week but hey, twice a month in my tightie-whities is all she is going to get. Is Mrs. HRNasty going to change my schedule?  Uhhh, no, she gets what I gives, and me gives no more. Seven minutes a month is all I can muster.

What does Mrs. HRNasty’s lack of sex life have to do with your manager? Well, if I am not going to do something for the person I care for the most, do you think your boss is going to feel compelled to stroke your ego when the company is paying you in greenbacks?

Who is putting up with who?

If you don’t like your manager, think of it this way. Your manager is paying you to put up with them! You get a paycheck every two weeks to put up with their idiosyncrasies. 

Would I like an appreciative manager? Absolutely. Would I be more productive if my manager took the time to know me, bought me lunch, or helped me with my career? Ab-so-fucking-lutely. At the end of the day, I am looking for a paycheck first, career path second (which increases my paycheck) and kudos third or fourth. Kudo’s are usually made a priority when the career path and money are absent. 

As much as I can see where a gesture of appreciation would do some good for productivity, I also see where the “just give me some space and let me do my job” style of management is pretty effective.

I want to know when I fuck up

Trust me, I would much rather prefer to work with a manager that ONLY tells me when I fuck up. I don’t want a manager who sugar-coats everything and doesn’t have the professional courage to kick me in the ass when I do wrong. This style of management leads to a death by 1000 cuts.  Trust me, there is a lot worse that can happen to a career than a thankless manager.

In the end, I usually don’t help the folks that hold a negative attitude because I have found that it isn’t the manager that is at fault, it is the attitude of the sore loser that is killing their own career. If you have a pissy attitude at one job, you are probably going to take it to the next job. An employee’s true colors will show over time or when the stress levels rise. I can help someone find a new job with a new manager, but I have found that employees see what they want to see. If they want to see the negative side of a job and career they will. I want to work with, and help those that can make the best of the toughest situations.

We quit a manager, not a job

Employees complain about their managers all the time, and I am the first to say that you quit a manager not a job. When the job market is strong, you don’t need to put up with a weak manager. When the job market is tight and there are few options for the employee, the employee with a sour attitude sees what they always see and find themselves in familiar territory.

  • “I have a thankless job”
  • “My boss has no idea what I do”
  • “I just wish my boss would acknowledge my hard work”

Who’s career is it?

It isn’t the manager that needs to change and adapt, it is the employee. You have heard me say it before. This is our career, not our managers.  If we don’t take a positive attitude with our own career, why should our manager? If we are not thankful for the professional opportunity that we are paid for, why should our manager want to help us?  No on is holding a gun to your head saying we can’t quit.   

My thanksgiving? I will be sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner with a couple of very close friends that I have the good fortune of working with. Don’t think this relationship just happened and came easy. We work at this friendship as a team. Yes, one of them is the guy I report to and he does show appreciation to the employees he works with. Today it was huge pumpkin pies and a can of whipping cream for everyone in the company. On this Thanksgiving, we are going to grill steaks and significant others will have to put up with our cigars, shop talk, and inside jokes. Then we head home and I generously spend 3.5 minutes with Mrs. HRNasty sans Fireman outfit.   

Am I thankful?  Absofuckinglutely!

Have a happy Thanksgiving,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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