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I hate victims who respect their executioners



Two years ago, I started a blog called L’enfer c’est les autres, which 6 months later became My Hell is Other People.  The aim at the time was to shake up the predominantly dull and dismal world of UK HR blogs and to provide both a little light relief and some realism.  There weren’t many HR professionals blogging and the field was bogged down with over earnest consultants trying to prove how clever they were in order to promote their businesses. Nothing wrong with that, but not really my thing and not really the thing of many of us actually doing the work.

The last few months have seen a number of HR professionals starting to blog and talk about their experiences and at the same time mixing it up with more personal content rather than just banging on about the same old boring HR stuff.  Has this blog been any kind of inspiration or driver to that? I’m not so sure, but if I’m honest I hope so.

Way back at the start I could never have imagined this.  I never really had a game plan, I wasn’t trying to make money, I have never accepted advertising or sponsorship,  I wasn’t trying to make a career out of my blog or blogging.  Just trying to provoke, shake things up and start people thinking.

Since my first post there have been hundreds of other posts and over 2,500 comments.  Traffic continues to grow each week, each month and (since I moved sites) just shy of 60,000 visits later, here I am, opening up WordPress each morning and writing away.  Through the blog I’ve met great people in real life and in the virtual world. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we’ve argued and bitched and we’ve made friends and enemies. You have inspired and challenged me, you have made me think and you have helped me to grow as a person.

So what now? Well the answer is nothing. The words that you’re reading are the last words to be written by TheHRD, the last words from My Hell is Other People.  All good things come to an end and today is my end.

From the bottom of my heart I thank every single one of you who has contributed to this project.  This would not have been the success it is without you. On a number of occasions people have described this blog as a “community”.  Every tweet, every, comment, every idea and thought that you have contributed has made it that way.  This has been your success much, much more than it has been mine. Have you changed things? Too right you have.

I want……need, to turn my attention to other things now, other projects, other ideas…..things in completely different areas and none of which will involve TheHRD or this site.

So it has been a blast people.  Be good to yourselves, don’t listen to the shit that they tell you.  Ask questions, be difficult, strive for excellence and remember to enjoy yourselves on the way. No-one can tell you what to do, or how to be, only you decide that for yourselves. You have the power within yourselves to change your lives and the lives of others for the better. Use it.

The clock is ticking, it’s time for me to check out now.

TheHRD has left the building…….


You’re always a day away….



There is no reason to put off what you can achieve today.  Life is finite.  Every second that you prevaricate is wasted.  Every moment that you hesitate is lost.  You and only you have a responsibility for your actions. Your inaction is also your responsibility.  There is nothing getting in your way other than your self.

Every question has an answer.

Every decision can me made. 

There are no wrong choices, only different options.

Never look back, that is wasted time and effort.  You can’t change the past, you can only make the future.  Rush at it with strength, determination and a blind belief in your own capabilities.  Back yourself 100%. And know that the only failure is the failure to act.

Make the decision today that you keep on putting off until tomorrow.  The only voice you need to listen to is the one inside you. I can guarantee that you know what you need, to do and you know why.

So why wait?

Webbed feat



So unlike the Institute of Recruiters, the CIPD actually managed to launch a website yesterday. All I can say is…. 1-0 to the old skool……

Is it any good?

Well first impressions of the home page are that a four-year old has imbibed a value pack of Fuzzy Felt downed 2 litres of coke and allowed nature to take its course on an unsuspecting screen. It ain’t pretty, it ain’t engaging and quite frankly my 8-year-old could design better. Too many random black blocks and lettering and things that scream in your face. It makes me want to shut it down before it takes control of my brain and forces my eyeballs to bleed…..

But….BUT (that is a big but….girls….you know I’m looking at you!) I’m not a shallow man, to be shallow you need to have depth and I have none. I had a dig around and you know what? It isn’t bad.

The old site….well frankly it was designed by an OCD Accountant on beta blockers with a penchant for self asphyxiation and dressing as a baby. It wasn’t good in more than three ways and it wasn’t the public representation of a modern, forward thinking institution but more akin to the reluctant “going through the motions” actions of a long married couple on their anniversary night.

The new site opens up more content to non-members. This is a good thing and will be something that will attract members and not deter them. If I can get that for free….can you imagine what I can get as a member? The organisation of the information has moved from confused, drunken Alzheimer’s patient to slightly scatty but beloved Aunt.

And this is a step in the right direction in many ways. The site may not be perfect, but it is better.  The digital marketing team are engaging with people like me (and like you) to try to put across their message through collaboration and not indoctrination. And quite frankly if I had to look at that old s(h)ite for much longer I might have started to swear, get aggressive and pick fights with random people.

And you really don’t want that do you?

So where am I on this? Well 3 out of 5 increasing to 4 on the basis that I’m in HR and I can’t count and the fact that there is an intent to make things better.  Compared to Think Stink, this is a major step forward.

Ladybird steps CIPD, Ladybird steps…..but putting one foot in front of the other is the start of a journey and your openness and willingness to engage deserves a (seated) round of applause.

The secret of happiness


What you do doesn’t really matter. If you stopped doing what you do, the world would not end and the sky would not fall in. You are busy driving yourself to an early grave fulfilling unimportant man made tasks that have no sense, reason or importance.

You don’t create, you don’t make. People don’t need or use what you do nor do they ask for or require it. You are a purposeless blot on an already bloated and disease infested corporate nonsense that they call the world of work.

You’ve created ridiculous concepts such as engagement and being “social” to make up for the fact that you’re actually just wasting your lives in the pointless execution of aimless frippery. None of this is real. Stop fighting it, stop struggling to explain your value and accept that you have none.

That is your first step to happiness.

London, farewell and cheese…..



It is Friday and I’m writing a post.  I never write on a Friday….well almost never.  But yesterday was so full and busy that I didn’t have a chance.

Yesterday afternoon was spent at #truLondon where I participated in a track with Laurie Ruettimann on the lack of strategy in Recruitment and HR. We weren’t saying it had to be more strategic…..far from it, the position was that it wasn’t a strategic function to stop pretending it is.  How did it go? Mixed I think…the reaction was so-so but seeing as people were still talking about it today then that can only be a good thing.  It would have been much easier to stand there and talk about some happy clappy recruitment bollocks and get everyone to go “ohh wow, I’ve seen the future”. But that was never going to happen a) because it is all bollocks and b) because we are not spineless arseholes c) because we are right.  If you want to hear an honest appraisal from Laurie then you can check it out here.

Today, I’ve been working like a nut and packing as we head out-of-town for a week away tonight.  You’ll hear nothing for me, which is a reason to be cheerful on a Friday afternoon.  I’ll be back though, don’t you worry about that.

And that brings me to the last point.  On 5 March there will be the first and probably last #HRclubbing event, held at the palace of taste and pleasure that is Club de Fromage and is organised by the wonderful, hugely talented and pint-sized Charlie Duff. It promises to be a night not to remember as you’ll get the chance to see lots of other people, including Mrs HRD (which should be interesting given the whole anonymous thing and her tendency to talk). We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  You can get your tickets here for next to nothing and come and see how badly HR people dance.

It would be great to see some old and new faces there.  Until then…..soyez sage mes amis.

Why O R?



I’m on record repeatedly as saying that the recruitment industry needs to up their game….and it seems I’m not alone.

Or am I?

So there has been a lot of talk….talked….about the IoR….otherwise known as the Institute of Recruiters….a yet to be launched saviour to the image of recruiters, taking them away from the “estate agent in the 80s” image. Or is it…..?

Now before I go any further, there is a caveat here, I’m working on a lot of third hand information, but I have no reason to question the accuracy of the sources. And that aside, we live in a democracy where people are legitimately allowed to raise questions and furthermore….when did I start giving a fuck?

So as I see it, these two dudes Dave Barber and Azmat Mohammed have decided that there is a need for some sort of standard setting in the industry. And they are probably not wrong.  Are these the guys to do it? Well, I’ll leave you to make your own minds up on that one.

Dave Barber is shown on Linked-in as being the owner of a company called The Recruitment Guru which he describes as “the best business decision I have made”.  A quick shufti at the website shows that there are indeed some vacancies with the self-styled guru of recruitment. Azmat Mohammed is a “Multi Award Winning CEO | Business & Technology Visionary”. A quick squiz at Companies House and a search of his Company name “ID Interactive”, however, shows that the company is currently subject to a proposal to “strike off” apparently following a failure to submit either accounts or a return since July 2009.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything does it? No….not in this day and age at all…but it does raise questions and it raises doubts.  And when these are compounded by what appears to be an evasive approach to communications, then in my opinion, they are going to have an uphill struggle.

Take the communication that was received by Katie McNab when she raised the question on their registration. Katie’s question was fair.  The response was fair. But it left me with more questions than answers. Why would two people living in Britain, using an website address, then go and register their business in the US? And why then would you state, ” the IOR wanted to be seen primarily as a professional body that has an international audience” but on your website profess to be “a professional body for recruiters in the UK”?

It is just all a little bit confusing……

In fact the whole thing is a little confused, apparently they are talking about working with Harvard University on an entrance exam.  Well, Universities are commercial organisations that will go where they think there is a buck to be made, but if you were a premium brand University, would you take a punt on an organisation with no track record, no discernible presence (as yet) and no membership base?

I’m not convinced……..

Then there is this claim about a technical offering that is “probably the most radical the industry will ever see.  It will make businesses more profitable and cut thousands off costs”. OK… I have a technological solution that is really game changing….that will cut thousands of pounds off costs….how am I going to bring this to market? Am I going direct to businesses or am I going to incorporate it in an Institution membership structure?

And I have to say my heart sinks…..

Suddenly, I find myself sitting on a cheap MFI sofa…..the Iron Lady is in number 10, Frankie Goes to Hollywood are number one….and this guy in loafers is talking to me about this bijou property with amazing potential and some original features…there is the smell of Brut in the air…

Time to get in my Cortina and head out for a pint of Hoffmeister….

Personally, I’d rather follow the bear……

UPDATE: So as Russell pointed out below, he raised this post on the IoR LinkedIn discussion board. And as Matt has pointed out, there is a reply of sorts on there, although Matt’s comment doesn’t seem to have been moderated yet.  For those of you without access to the Group, here is a screen shot.

5 people myths we need to blow….



1) Employees are not just a means of production – Let us stop talking about the nebulous concepts of employee engagement. People are a resource, that is all. At the root of this is a fair deal for labour, you provide that and you have a quid pro quo. Does that make me a Neanderthal? Well, I don’t believe in sweatshops, but I am realistic about what most employees want, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The rest is neither here nor there.

2) Equality is important – We are not equal, we will never be equal. What we need to address is a “level playing field” the ability for everyone to perform, but with that goes an understanding that given that level field, some will perform better than others and they will be treated and rewarded better than others. That is true fairness, but it isn’t equality.

3) HR is a strategic function – This is the biggest load of bollocks that exists. You may be contributing to the business strategy, granted. You might be adding value, I get that. But as a function you are not strategic, you do not need to be strategic and you will never be strategic. So shut the fuckwittery down right now and accept it.

4) Being a good employer and delivering profits are opposing forces – You mention profit and all of a sudden the crunchy granola brigade start banging on about evil corporations. The vast majority of businesses do not want to shaft their workforces, they don’t want to cut corners.  Most organisations look after their people and try to make a profit. Because that is what commercial organisations do. Get over it.

5) New is better – The continued push for newness and reinvention as a means of improvement is one of the most short-sighted  and wrong-headed assumptions belittling the effectiveness of business people across the board.  Just changing for the sake of newness will not solve a problem nor will it enhance or embellish.  There is nothing wrong with the tried and tested per se…..just the way in which you are approaching it.

The ladies of pleasure….



I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day if the truth be known.  I’m not against expressing love or taking time out to think about the special person in your life. But I am against the way that 14th February has essentially become one commercial glitz fest of the most tacky proportions.  The equation of love with quantum of giving just seems sick.

If you’re on Twitter and follow me at all, you’ll also know that I am not against throwing my love around…some would say a little too freely!  Although as Mrs. HRD says, “They only like you because you’re anonymous……if they REALLY knew you…..” And that of course is what most realtionships are like….not the fluffy teddybears with hearts and the balloons with expressions of foreverness….but a more measured, deadpan appraisal.

I know that being Valentine’s Daythere will be a plethora of posts about love and community and blah blah blah blah. But  I am a giver, so what can I do?  I’m not going to a general splurge of, “I love you all” because quite frankly it wouldn’t be true……but if there is an opportunity to highlight a couple of people….well then I’d be a fool not to step right in…..

Lena Maurer writes a blog called Dumb and Glamorous Ph.D which is about life and food and philosophy and music and fairly much everything that isn’t HR.  On its own that is a great thing and reason to be recommended.  Add to that, however, that Lena was one of the first people to read my blog in the early days and comment and provide encouragement and support.  Anyone who writes a blog will know that comments are one of the things that keeps you going.  You can look at the stats all that you like and you can see that people are reading or viewing, but who the hell are they and what do they think about you and the rubbish you’re writing?  Until they take the time to comment and let you know then you’re in the dark.  And one comment tends to breed further comments and therefore, the people that were on my previous site early doors commenting and supporting when there were very few around get my love and affection.

Emma P. writes a blog called Onatrainagain.  Emma is relatively new to the world of blogs and blogging.  I’d like to think that I had a small hand in her doing so, although that isn’t the reasons for including her here.  I had a chat with Emma on Skype when she was thinking on setting up the blog, we did some of the technical jiggery-pokery at the time and we were talking about content.  My advice to Emma was not to restrict her content to HR related matters, although she is an HR pro, but to allow herself to walk outside of that realm if her instinct took her.  Not only has she been one of the most prolific bloggers to come onto the scene, but she has written some of the most powerful personal posts I have read in a while.  That and she is one of the very few people who have seen me, but I haven’t seen them. Something to do with Zumba apparently…..

Is this one cheating? Ahh bugger it, like I care. So Lisa Scales doesn’t really blog, but she is a massive supporter of those that do through commenting and retweeting links and that is a hugely important part of the community that is often over looked.  Lisa is also, without doubt, the funniest person I have met in many, many, many years.  Her presence in a room is enough to make me grin from ear to ear….and also normally run for cover….she is a little over excitable and I tend to be on a slower burn when I’m meeting people.  But the reason that I wanted to mention Lisa is her wholehearted and total commitment to being both a successful business woman and adoring mother. I know that these things are hard to balance and that they can cause heartache and pain. But I also know that Lisa manages to achieve them in spades.  Even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

I’ve written about Corporate Daycare before, in fact she appeared in my end of year awards as the “Blog I wished I wrote” and to be honest, I am rehashing old ground here because that is still absolutely the case and is one of the main reasons that I include her here (as well as the fact that she has a thing for Englishmen and I may want to visit Canada at some point and could do with cheap lodgings and a hot meal). But her blog is going into it’s sixth year. Yes six! and all of us Johnnie-come-latelys can button it and respect her authoritah….

Ailsa Suttie and I first started talking before she was Ailsa Suttie.  Well clearly she was Ailsa, but she was, like me, anonymous.  Since that point she has come out of the closet and started blogging. I’ve met Ailsa and I find her natural and incredibly easy to get on with.  Ailsa is taking a massive step this year. For being that brave she deserves love and support. And the fact that when I was trying to leave the #ConnectingHR tweet up, she persuaded me to stay for a quick dram….I’m sooooo easy, but then you knew that didn’t you!

So Alison Chisnell is another one of the long lost of new and up and coming bloggers from the UK writing about the workplace and their lives.  In a funny way Alison reminds me of Trish McFarlane (in an online sense only you’ll understand) with her energy and passion and support for the community. I’m expecting big things of Alison, which might be wholly unfair, but then again no-one said that life was fair did they?  The community needs people to take it by the scruff of the neck and people who know what they are talking about because they do the do…..rather than just talking the do.  Alison is an HR pro, a mum, a blogger and one to watch. That is all.

I don’t know Beth Mayes so well. I haven’t met her but I do know her husband James.  For that alone she deserves mention here, not many people have to put up with so much 🙂 . But Beth started blogging last month and is already coming up with some really interesting and diverse content that spans HR and beyond. Beth is also a self confessed geek….which is great because so am I and having seen James’ gadgets I know that she is truly married to the right man!  And writing about HR from a third sector perspective, like Emma P also makes an exciting difference.

There are clearly a number of other people that I could and should mention, the wonderful Sarah Knight back from climbing Kili, Lousie Triance for her work on bringing recruiters together, my favourite pocket rocket Charlie Duff, Sara Headworth for being just amazing, Wendy Jacob for her ongoing humor……………………..and many many more.

I guess the point that I wanted to make is that, if you listen to the loud voices on the internet and certainly in the HR and Recruitment fields, you’ll hear predominantly middle aged white men. But look beyond the bravado and the swinging dicks and you will hear a whole host of sensible, educated, articulate women making their views heard….whilst also balancing caeer and home without anuy fuss or nonsense.

To all of them and to you, I wish a very happy 14th February. Ladies, keep doing what you do.

UPDATE: It has been (surprisingly) very diplomatically pointed out to me that I of course neglected to mention the one and only BettyBBlonde….I shall now go to the corner and hang my head in shame….I knew this post was more trouble than it was worth….

Conversation with TheHRD



HRD: Oi dickead!

Me: …..excuse me?

HRD: You heard me arsehole…..

Me: What? What is it?

HRD: Why have you been ignoring me?

Me: I haven’t….I’ve just….been…..busy…

HRD: Busy? My bollocks. You’ve been fucking around is what you’ve been….dick!

Me: Can you stop calling me that?

HRD: Fuck off.  You need to get some focus back boy.  Do you really think anyone cares about your British bumhole ballbags? Or your whining on about your kids? You’re coming across as a complete pussy. You idiot.  People don’t give a shit about that stuff.

Me: I thought they’d gone quite well…..

HRD: That’s because your head is so far up your own arse you get butterflies when you blink. People come here to read me…..not that whining old crap.  I’m the star turn. I’m the attraction. I’m all you’ve fucking got you short-sighted fuckwit.

Me: You’re not real…so you can’t be…your just a figment of my imagination.

HRD: Oh really? So why the fuck are you having a conversation with me then you muppet?

Me: Sometimes I just want to…….do other stuff…..

HRD: ……….you total fucking plank. “Sometimes I want to do other stuff!” Haven’t you realised….it doesn’t matter what YOU want… is what THEY want that matters…’re just a performing dog…and a fucking badly trained one at that.

Me: Why are you being like this?

HRD: Give me fucking strength……..Why am I being like this????? Because YOU made me like this you spineless excuse of man……YOU!

Me: I’m not sure I like you anymore.

HRD: Of course you don’t. THAT IS THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT! You’re not supposed to like me, people don’t like me!

Me: I never intended you to be like this, that was never the idea…..but then……I suppose…..if I made you……

HRD: Fuckadoodle-do…..Finally! That’s it…..come on…’re starting to think again now…..come on dickwipe……!

Me: If I made you……..then surely…… I can kill you…………?

HRD: BINGO! We have a winner…………..there’s only one problem though isn’t there shithead?



The strength to be different



Hey….how are you? How is Tuesday treating you? A big day or just another boring midweek? I guess that is for you to decide.

You’ll be surprised at how much you CAN decide.  The world is full of people who will tell you what you can’t do. Ironically they’ll also tell you what you should do. And even sometimes how to do it.  But in honesty they have no idea, they’re just scared and huddling together for the security that mediocrity and conformity brings.  Strength comes from difference.  The way you think, the way you behave, the way in which you treat people.  Always have the strength to be different…..

From the school playground to the floors of the corporate towers, you’ll find them there, you’ll feel the pressure.  And sometimes you’ll buckle.  We all do.  But if you realise that you are going with the flow, then at least you are alive and thinking and aware. And that will give you the strength to continue your journey again.  To plot your own course in life, to stay true to your instincts, to stay true to yourself.

I remember when you stopped wearing your favourite jumper, because the other kids picked on you. Because it was purple.  Do you remember the conversation we had then about the courage to be yourself?  When  you started Taekwondo when the other kids were all playing football. And they teased you.  Funny that they no longer tease a black belt….don’t you think?  And as you grow up into a strong confident young man, I see you having the courage to be yourself.  A funny, strong, handsome, clever young man with the world at his feet.

The next few years are going to bring you choices. There will be times when things don’t go your way and I won’t always be there to talk it through or to help.  You’re going to have to make those calls on your own and to take the consequences that come with your decisions.  The way that you deal with these will set you up well for the rest of your life.

Everything I see tells me you will take it all in your stride.  Every day I burst with pride. And each step of the way I will be on your side come what may.

Be strong. Be humble. Be gracious. And beyond everything else. Be yourself.

Happy birthday dude. I love you.