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It is easier to play around with a man’s wife than with his clichés



Would you choose a driving instructor who’d never passed their test?

Or a vocal trainer who was half deaf?

How about a vegetarian butcher?

An English monolingual French teacher?

So why the fuck would I as an HR professional with 15 years experience in some of the biggest companies within their fields take advice on HR from people who have done no more than sit on their spotty arses and profess to be experts in everything that I do to put food in the mouths of my children? And why the fuck would you?

Ok, so some of these people have recruited one or two people….or they’ve maybe tweeted once or twice about people….or they may even have been a person at some point…but do they understand HR? How many Union negotiations have they done? How many strikes have they managed? How many bonus schemes have they designed? How many RemCos have they presented at? How many times have they sat down and told a person that they would be a) made redundant b) be dismissed c) have to retire d) not be eligible for PHI?

How many times have been the lone voice in the room, rather than the cheerleader in the corner?

The internet and social media give a platform to a whole host of ill-informed, under educated, over inflated egos to spew forth their nonsense over subjects they know little or nothing about…and of course because they have “social media Klout” people listen to them and they are somehow allowed to spill forth their self aggrandizing, blinkered and pathetic views of a profession they know nothing about and will never understand.

So next time you tell me how to do my job, I’m going to tell you how to please your partner and what he or she really likes, the places they want to be touched, the fantasies that they have and the things that they want to do to send them through the roof……but they are too shy to tell you…..

You think I don’t know? Well you’re right and to suggest that I do would be insulting don’t you think?

Hold that thought……it might help you to understand what I mean….

25 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/06/2011 09:34

    Try being a teacher. Everyone thinks they know how to do your job!

  2. garethmjones permalink
    01/06/2011 09:50

    Oh god, so overdue! Twitter especially can be a way too polite environment. In my world it seems that HR is the new recruitment – i.e. those that pontificated about recruitment (but never actually did it) and tried to make money from their ‘expertise’ are now panning in the stream of HR which, unfortunately, they see as a way of making an income.

    HR – gritty, real, day to day HR – is a far cry from the way it is painted on the streets of social media. The last thing we need is a load of people skimming the surface of it in order to make a fast buck.

    Well said my man.

  3. HRBoy permalink
    01/06/2011 10:13

    a perfect post for a bleak and dreary morning…

    I’m fed up with so called ‘specialists’ phoning, emailing and rugby-tackling me to the floor in an attempt to tell me how to do my job better / smarter / more effectively – maybe they’re telling me I’m just ineffective / no-too-bright / an idiot – and maybe they’re right… but you know what, back off and find someone else that might fall for your rhetoric…

    …and there is my phone ringing… probably another one.. yup, it is!

  4. 01/06/2011 13:30

    Agree entirely with the sentiment of this blog. With the advent of social media so there suddenly appeared a proliferation of so called experts keen to tell us how to use it. But where did they learn? How do they know better than us, particularly when it comes to recruitment, where there are precious few testimonials or case studies to support social networks as recruitment vehicles. Sure, Coca Cola could write a job ad on the back of a fag packet and get response, The BBC could post a link to a job on Twitter and get floods of response, but Joe ordinary plc? In my time I’ve been both a media buyer and an advertising account director at recruitment advertising agencies. We built our schedules painstakingly whenever there was any doubt about which media to use. We researched, we got testimonials and the supporting stats that went through reach and circulation areas with a fine tooth comb. Nowadays however, because it’s cheap as chips, anyone can lob a job ad on twitter or Facebook and hope for the best. but, by and large that’s all they have, hope. And no self-appointed expert is going to convince me otherwise until they have at their disposal hard facts and figures from a cross-section of recruiters and employers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like social media. It brings me in business and I can see how it can be great for promoting a product or service or doing some employer branding perhaps. But, when it comes to bog standard recruitment, my jury is still very firmly out. No harm in trying it they say, but the media buyer that still remains in me says ‘who are these experts and where’s the categorical evidence that Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin et al actually work?”

  5. 01/06/2011 13:34

    Some of us practitioners/bloggers actually write the shit we do every day. Many of us aren’t always polite. I’ll take help anywhere I can get, and reject whatever I think doesn’t work or fit.

    Nice post…well, good post anyway!

  6. 01/06/2011 13:52

    1. Totally agree with your points – I’m not in HR, and there is no way for love nor money I’d ever want to try to step into that world and do anything positive as I know it’s beyond me!

    2. Love the post itself! Great rant, made me enjoy reading it.

    Now, I must call our HR department and tell them I’ve learned how to do their job job better / smarter / more effectively… 😉

  7. Lindsay permalink
    01/06/2011 16:02

    Gotta jump in here and defend those of us who DO have something to offer in the area of social media. I’ve spent the past 8 years handholding and simplifying SEO and social media so computer-phobics and communication/advertising ludites could take those first few steps (or let me take them for their company or website.) I keep up on trends, new applications, metrics, changing algorithms and the impact of all of it on position and traffic. I run A/B tests using social media, traditional SEO and coding choices to see what works best today, knowing full well that I will have to look at it all again in a few months when the rules change AGAIN. I track visits and conversion and I look at the impact of each element, as well as the whole shebang.

    Do I know how to leverage social media better than the average bear? Yes, I do. Do I know how to combine on-page, off-page, back-end and social tools into a complete online advertising and ranking package to get results? Yup. Does everyone? Nope. Do most people? Nope. So I guess that makes me an expert. Deal with it.

    When it comes to recruitment, it sounds like maybe you’re an expert. Bully for you. But using your frustration to put down and insult those of us who have EXPERTISE in another field…epic fail, my friend. Epic fail.

    • 01/06/2011 17:57

      I think TheHRD was targeting mainly HR professionals. But I will let him to react.

  8. AccentKinzieDouche Partner permalink
    01/06/2011 16:13

    You are just the sort of stick in the mud HR director that needs our help.

    All our 23-year-olds at ACD are trained in our paradigm-breaking Zillion Zeta (TM) organisational transformation methodology as soon as they join our firm. They have more models and change managemnt tools than you’ll ever know.

    Judging by your attitude (which I must say has an energy-draining negativity about it) you need someone to provide you with fresh thinking and push back your envelope.

    You could benefit from a session with one of our energetic young change sensei black-belts. We could also provide you with a coach to help you break your cycle of negativity. All our coaches have to be at least 27, which should satisfy the need for ‘gavitas’ that you box-tickers seem to like.

    Theo, my friend, you clearly need help. We at ACD can provide it. Please give us a call.

    Oh, btw, this daignostic will be £2k. I’ll invoice you by email later.

  9. 01/06/2011 17:43

    Watch the blood pressure TheHRD. I am totally with you on this one. In fact I am thinking to use the same words as you do since I am in your space now……well another time.
    I hate too people who think they know how this or that could be done better. My blood will probably reach the boiling point when someone with no experience will pretend the expertise. It did happen to me before and I had to go and get some fresh air. It is not the kindergarten for God’s sake it is a Business. And you can experience this on every level within organisation. It must have something to do with human ego though. One feels great urge to voice the opinion without knowing much about it. The other feels that his/her experience are just fine to deal with the problem and paying attention to others insight is a waste of time, especially if it has been already decided that they don’t have what it takes. I guess expressing opinion in more humble way can minimize the damage. Well I totally agree with you and as HR one day I will probably experience it myself, until then I am going to keep my head down and practice some yoga to get myself ready for that moment. One more think though as a HR beginner when do you know your opinion counts and you are welcome to express it?

  10. Gary Franklin permalink
    01/06/2011 18:33

    Well said, well said. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to put up with some turd calling me to give me advice and guidance about how I need to do things and who I should do them with, yet rarely do these people even attempt to understand what corporate life is about, what it needs and how things must be done I my environment. I came into corporate HR late on in my working life and I can tell you that it blew my mind in terms of pace and scale.

    What gets me is that many of these same people work in companies that employ a few to a few hundred people and therefore cannot get their heads around the corporate processes and policies of companies employing tens if not hundreds of thousands of people and what worked for one cannot work for all. Many will complain about the buroch

  11. Gary Franklin permalink
    01/06/2011 18:43

    bureaucracy but fail to see that in reality there are wats and reasons for doing things. To assume you know how to help or us without fully understanding what, why and how HR works is rude and stupid

  12. Corporate Daycare permalink
    01/06/2011 20:06


    This is EXACTLY why I keep coming back here.

    Everyone has an opinion and are entitled to share it, but you have to understand the difference between an opinion, no matter how well-educated and phrased, and actual knowledge and experience. The danger is that people don’t stop to make the distinction.

    I am more that happy to share my thoughts on HR, but I will be the first to let you know that I don’t really know what f#ck I’m talking about.

  13. 01/06/2011 21:27

    Oh do you know how much I loved this post? It totally made my otherwise light-less tunnel of a day look a little better. I have joined into the wilderness of social media to connect with all manner of practitioners, and enjoy the variety of information and ideas. But the prevalence of discussions and suggestions about what we are “supposed to do” is unreal – I KNOW what we are supposed to do and what all the ideal “best practices” (I loathe that term) are…like you, I’ve been in the trenches, doing the work for 12 years. And I’ve been in big organizations (not the multi-thousands, however) and I’ve been a soloist. I get the ideals, but what we need most are ways to help each other deal with the actual problems as they happen. And we often can’t do that for confidentiality sake or just because we are in it up to our eyeballs. So we usually just want to commiserate a bit with someone else who gets it and has been there.

    As always, dear HRD, your bluntness is a treat – thank you!


  14. 01/06/2011 21:52

    This post was full of lols that made me smile. Quite frankly I needed that smile, after the devastating thrashing we just received from the English cricket team.

    I think it is wise to approach advice in the same way you would analytically assess a research paper. For instance, who has written it and what is their background/reputation or experience? What references, examples and case studies have they used? Have they worked with high performing organisations? Has it been peer reviewed/recommended/endorsed by others?

    Without this, you are just toting around with an out of context research or statistic that will lead your company astray.

  15. 01/06/2011 22:22

    So we’re all agreed then? We don’t like being told what to do by strangers, especially while we’re in the middle of bleeding doing it.

  16. robjones_tring permalink
    01/07/2011 02:52

    Just a few questions to ask:

    Has anyone noticed how all the experts/gurus/scrotes spend a lot of time talking to and about each other?

    Has anyone noticed how many awards are out there now without clear governance or validation (thus aiding the gurus in aggrandising)?

    Has anyone noticed how many Social Media gurus still love to spam e-mail?

    Has anyone noticed that England have just emphatically won the last Ashes test?

  17. 01/07/2011 18:07

    I like this post a lot – it made me grimace and smile in equal measure!

    Grimace – because it reminded me of my HR days being on the receiving end of ‘bringing in the experts’. More often than not they suggested something different, not something better. How I felt about it would depend…

    Smile – because it made me realise how much we can learn about ourselves and others by how we give and take advice. Giving: am I genuinely trying to do my best by the other person in a way that works for them? Or am I trying to make myself look good? Taking: what makes me accept or reject this advice? Is it something about the advice, something about them, or something about me?!

    Thanks for the memories…

  18. 01/08/2011 10:13

    I had to laugh following this one Theo. Theres a rush of people to tell you just how spot on you are and how everyone else is doing their jobs wrong. I notice plenty of posts telling recruiters how to do their jobs. I seem to remember John Philpott getting stick from you and quite a few other amateur economists. People have opinions and they share them. You are quite good at doing this yourself (about everyone elses job.) The fact that you do is a good thing, but don’t rush to condemn others that exercise the same practice. It makes a very refreshing change to the crowd that rush to say I agree with Theo 100% (what did he say again?).
    Keep telling everyone else how to do their job. It makes for good reading but accept that others will do the same.


  19. Mark Darby permalink
    01/09/2011 12:31

    Lindsay – in Corporate Communications we probably get even more contact from Social Media experts, such as yourself, than my friends and colleagues in HR. Your skills are not in doubt, it’s just the inability to read/get the point and the use of capitals to MAKE things seem MORE important than they ARE, that makes me want to batter you with an algo-metric.

    This is not a personal attack, I have the same view of all social media experts – it just saves time.

    MrTheHRD – hoping to cut a deal with everyone in HR. I promise not to question your McClagan salary data just because I sat in on one Comp and Bent Meeting, if you all stop rewriting the ‘all employee memos’ I produce for you. Having your story read out in front of the class when you were 10 does not mean you are a secret Roald Dahl. Nobody can make competencies sound interesting. Nobody.

  20. 01/10/2011 10:25

    @citizenr – Indeed…..or a football manager…… 🙂

    @garethmjones – I worked out that I spend about 5% of my time recruiting….but if you were to listen to the internet, you’d think I should be spending 120% (that is HR maths for you).

    @HRBoy – If you could spend more time on the phone with them I’d be grateful….then they’d have less time to phone me! 🙂

    @Aloncalcia – Great point about the different size and brands of companies. It always winds me up that one!

    @Michael VanDervort – People who actually do the job writing about it? Whatever next! There will be revolution…. 🙂

    @localgov – My limited experience of local government HR departments is that you might just be able to do it better……

    @Lindsay – I totally agree with you. You’re an expert on SM….so if I wanted a view on that I’d come and listen to you. Likewise, I’m an expert on HR. What gets my goat is when people use social media to continually express views on my field of expertise, with no background or knowledge. I have nothing against them talking about their fields at all.

    @AccentKinzieDouche Partner – You look kinda fmailiar! Cheque is in the post!

    @HRbeginner – I’d say an opinion always counts, if it is just that….an opinion. When it becomes advice….then you need to be sure of your self.

    @Gary Franklin – Is this comment by installments? 🙂

    @Corporate Daycare – Yes, yes and yes…..

    @Richard Sherman – Best practice is the devil’s spawn….along with benchmarking….

    @Jess Booth – Great point about research. And I didn’t mention the cricket at all…..

    @Stephen O’Donnell – Two lines does not a blog post make though!

    @robjones_tring – And promoting one another too……

    @Alison Ashford – Something different, not something better…..absolutely.

    @BillBoorman – I’d challenge you to find any evidence that I have ever told John how to do his job, you’re confusing me with someone that knows about economics. In fact I’d struggle to see where I had expressed a view on another profession other than HR…although I may be wrong. Opinions are one thing, when people overstep a mark and start advising or suggesting they have knowledge over and above their experience, that is another IMHO.

    @Mark Darby – Great comment!! I’m happy to strike that deal. I know bugger all about communicating. As for competencies, they are going in with best practice and benchmarking…..

  21. 01/12/2011 16:44

    I agree with Alsion’s comment that it made me grimace and smile – but more out of knowing there have been times when I have been guilty of doing what this blog is railing against!

    Really made me laugh at points though – keep up the good work/ranting!


  1. The Absurdity of Being a Social Media Expert « KnowHR Blog

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