Great Moments In HR History: The Cost Accountant


My plan is to spend the week talking about the craziest moments in my HR career. The moments where my character was tested, my values were challenged, or I broke my eye sockets when I tried to roll my eyes too hard.

Back in the day, I worked in manufacturing plants and hired my fair share of cost accountants. If you take an accountant and make him a little less interesting, you’ve got a cost accountant. And at one of my least favorite jobs, we couldn’t keep cost accountants. The CFO was a dick. His second-in-command was a bigger dick. And the pay was low and the work was thankless.

So I worked with several third-party recruiters and offered large bonuses — and it finally paid off. I got an awesome resume. I phone screened the guy. He was talented, smart, and understood that the job would suck. He was up for the challenge and I remember silently weeping with gratitude.

The guy comes in for an interview and he is a little person. By little, I mean that he is a dwarf. If you don’t know anything about a manufacturing environment, you should know that people are jerks. Immediately, I was concerned. But I figure, hey, I’m not going to assume that this guy is anything but bad ass. He has been little person for his entire life. I am sure he can handle whatever shitty comments are made in his presence.


Here’s how it went down.

A team of managers interviewed him. He spoke with the second-in-command of the finance team. And then I got called into a meeting and my ass was handed to me.

I was so young. I asked, “Are you joking?”

I couldn’t tell.

But no — the interview team was not joking. They were offended. The CFO said, “We can’t have a guy like that on the plant floor. We’d lose all credibility.”

And I said, “As if you have any.”

I thought the second-in-command was going to rip out my throat.

He yelled, “Just get the hell out of here.”

And I thought I was going to get fired. I was sure of it.

And nobody talked about it ever again. Including me. We just kept on interviewing.

Boo. I suck.

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