HR Manager's Confessions: Staff Took Photos Of Their Private Parts

HR manager confessionsWith its focus on maintaining order in the workplace, human resource management may seem like a sober profession. But HR, as it's more casually known, does have its funny -- even absurd -- side.

Just ask Jenny Lawson, a 15-year veteran of the profession, who suggests that organizations' HR offices are "the place where people come to complain and/or shoot people when they just can't take it anymore."

Lawson wrote that and much more in a recent post on her blog, The Bloggess, where she showcases an irreverent wit that includes no shortage of obscenities or references to human reproductive organs.

According to Lawson, electing to work in HR is akin "to choosing to work in the complaint department from hell," she writes in the post, titled, "The Dark and Disturbing Secrets HR Doesn't Want You to Know." (It's also a chapter in her forthcoming memoir: "Let's Pretend This Never Happened.")

Those who think their company's HR office is a mostly sedate place, with little drama or excitement, might be surprised to learn there's no shortage of tales related to humans' reproductive organs.

Apparently, incidents of male staff taking pictures of their "junk" and then sending the images out through corporate email servers is an all-too-common occurrence, says Lawson, who notes that she has worked "at a number of different companies, including a religious-based organization."

Lawson writes that she never thought she'd have the occasion to ask two male staffers to identify their penises in several photos the men took together at work, which were sent to an office printer and apparently forgotten.

More from The Bloggess post:

"Is this your penis?" I asked, as I pushed the printout of the email over to him. I think I was expecting him to break into a sweat or try to jump through the window out of embarrassment, because apparently I'd forgotten about the fact that this was the same man who thought it would be perfectly fine to take a picture of his penis in the office bathroom to send it to a shocked co-worker. Instead he grinned cockily (no pun intended), saying, "I think the better question is, Exactly how did you get a picture of my penis?"

Of course, HR humor isn't limited to stories about the male anatomy. There's also screening and interviewing job applicants, such as one candidate who failed a typing test and blamed Lawson for giving her "a trick keyboard because the keys weren't in alphabetical order," and another who reapplied for a job, having just quit a month earlier.

"On 'reason for leaving,' " the applicant wrote, " 'That job sucked. Plus my supervisor was a douche-nugget,' " Lawson notes.

Douche-nuggets aside, Lawson says that she left HR after so many years to pursue a career as an author.

"I told my boss that I had a book inside of me," she writes, "and that I needed to get it out even if I had to squeeze it through my vagina."



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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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