HR Meme: Who Am I? Why Am I Here?


What was your first role in Human Resources?

  • HR Assistant at a candy company. Union environment. Lots of sugar and discontent.

What was your favorite job in Human Resources?

  • I loved my first job as a corporate recruiter. I was optimistic on behalf of the hiring managers. I loved extending offers and making people happy. This is before I became a Human Resources Generalist and understood that some of those new hires would eventually cause me heartache & pain.

How many employees at your largest employer?

  • 100,00+

How many employees at your smallest employer?

  • ~2,000

How many layers between you and the most senior-level Human Resources professional at your current or most recent employer?

  • Five — if you count the different levels of Directors and VPs.

How many layers between you and the junior member of the HR team?

  • Four — maybe more if you count the temps.

Have you traveled for work and where?

  • Yes. Since 1997, I have managed employees, had responsibilities for employees, and visited employees in the following places for work-related activities: Louisville, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, Lincoln, Kalamazoo, Phoenix, Scottsdale, San Diego, Miami, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Oklahoma City, Glastonbury (CT), Holland (Michigan), Ann Arbor, Groton (CT), New London (CT), Orlando, Manhattan, Tarrytown (NY), Terre Haute (IN), Morris Plains (NJ), London, Sandwich (UK), Canterbury (UK), Walton Oaks (UK), Columbus, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Memphis, Skokie (IL), and other places that I can’t remember. There was also an insurance company in Kentucky that I visited once — and JM (a loyal reader!) may be able to remind me where that was located since we traveled there together.

What were the circumstances of the first performance-related dismissal you managed?

  • I helped a Senior Director fire an employee for printing and distributing pornography. I was 22 years old and this was when the internet was new and printer ink was at a premium. Our IT department didn’t catch it — but a fellow employee ratted the creepy guy out. (This may also be the first time I was physically sick at work.)

What’s the nicest thing someone has done for you at work?

  • I worked with a group of women who let me learn (& fail) without holding it against me. Their patience and kindness, in retrospect, meant the world to me.

What’s the most difficult message you had to communicate to someone?

  • “The leadership of the organization has failed to meet its objectives; therefore, with great sympathy and compassion, we need to eliminate your role effective immediately.”

What were the attributes of your favorite supervisor?

  • Trusting, friendly, self-effacing, and kind.

What were the attributes of your worst supervisor?

  • Hierarchical, insecure, and thought too highly of her own abilities & too little of mine.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made at work?

  • Legally, I’m not sure that I can tell you. I’ve done plenty of stupid things — ranging from hitting the “reply all” (to an entire company) to telling a Vice President that I didn’t care about his opinion. Needless to say, I’ve learned important lessons about how to incorporate maturity into my punk rock way of communicating with people. As a previous supervisor once told me, “Sometimes it’s best to just shut the hell up, Laurie.”

What’s one HR lesson that sticks with you?

  • “Don’t assume good intent.”


I’m tagging anyone who cares to do this boring HR meme.

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