Diaries Magazine

A Human Resource

Posted on the 17 June 2019 by C. Suresh
The sort of things which make people happy leave me stumped. Especially when it comes to the corporate world. No wonder my managers found me impossible to manage. Like, take this 'Human Resources' for example. Employees of an organisation were dealt with by what used to be called the 'Personnel Department'. I never had realized that to consider people as 'Personnel' made them inferior to the machinery or raw materials or finances. (I should have, perhaps, going by Bollywood movies where the rich boss would find a worker had lost his hand in an accident and would scream about the damage caused to the machine.) Till, one day, someone realized that such was indeed the case and decided to redress it - by renaming it as the 'Human Resources Department'. I suppose there were celebrations and parties for days on end with all the erstwhile 'personnel' dancing in the streets exclaiming, 'At last! I am the equal of the water cooler and the diesel genset! Yippeee!" Now, I really could not see that I had great reason for joy to be considered at par with, say, a bank loan or a bale of cotton. As a 'resource', in short, instead of a person. Which explains why I never really fit into the corporate structure with any degree of comfort. As in, the managers of human resources were the ones who had to 'oil the squeaking wheels'. The problem, though, was that it could well be that the resource is a 'square peg in a round hole', which is why the friction was causing it to squeal. So, they either chose to 'oil' or chose to switch it around or, if they thought it was faulty, chuck it out with that kiss of death - 'You are not a team-player'. As an employee I was sort of like Hamlet, always wondering 'To squeak or not to squeak, that is the question' because a quest for oil may get me the oil, get me tossed around or even tossed out. You see, I just could not see how to be seen as a sort of motor which had to finds its right function for the greater purpose of turning out more potato chips, say, was such an elevation from being considered mere 'personnel'. You could be a wonderful party companion ('Employee has great PR skills') or a great father ('Employee could make a good mentor') but, as far as the company was concerned, you are a resource to be used for improving the bottom-line. (What was that? As far as children went you were only an animated ATM machine, with the disadvantage that, when they swiped the card, you first spouted advice before spouting the money? That is as may be. I wouldn't know about that.) Yeah, I know, a company is not a club or a group of friends, it is a commercial organization and, so, your ability to do card tricks or mimic Amitabh Bacchan is irrelevant to them. The point is that I could not see how calling me a resource makes me happier than calling me 'personnel'. It made me feel that all the difference between me and the coffee vending machine was the same as the difference between an android and a robot - I was biological, the machine was electro-mechanical and that was all the difference there was. (Yeah, yeah, you also consider that the coffee vending machine was far more useful than I could ever be. So?) Anyway, given that I never could fathom human beings, it is no wonder that the esoteric joys and sorrow of Genus Corporatis evade me totally. It was with a great sigh of relief that I quit the world and, I am sure, that the sigh was echoed by a storm of relief from my organization. Seemed to me like I had reclaimed being a person. Human, even if not a resource, at last.

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