How To Sleep at Night

I used to work for startup up until June this year. I wasn’t the only one who thought that the system was deeply flawed, even though we found happiness in other aspects. Although there were reviews every quarter, there was no forum to really air grievances. Initially, all of us interacted directly with the founders. And they were forced to listen to us whining about how their micromanagement was a huge problem. Soon, HR started getting involved.

Our first real HR lasted about 6 months. He wanted to leave as soon as he joined. The next one was sacked. The third one was and is the HR from hell. She is all things an HR shouldn’t be: entitled, indulged by the founders, a partner in the company, incredibly stupid, and completely lacks any sort of empathy. In all of this, people would have forgiven her much, if only she wasn’t so stupid. Because stupid people rarely realise that they are indeed stupid, she thinks she is very intelligent and attempts to “solve problems”, as per the mantra of the organisation. Not a single one of the employees, apart from her own team, believe that she has the competence to do so. And thus, people have found other means to vent their frustrations.

Enter Glassdoor. For those of you unfamiliar with the website, it is essentially an employer rating service. The platform encourages employees, current and former, and interviewees to rate companies on their processes. It is to safeguard individuals from falling into a beautiful-looking trap. Now, my colleagues didn’t immediately run to Glassdoor for its therapeutic potential. The embodiment of incompetence that is our HR sent out an email to the entire company, asking us to review the organisation on the website. When mostly everyone ignored her idiotic yapping, she sent out a more strongly worded email. And that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. [And now you get to find out which company I have unimaginatively nicknamed ParserPile.]

The common themes across all the honest reviews are as follows: the team is very talented; the product is amazing; the management is awful; and the HR is laughably bad. None of the reviews are personal; they are strictly about her professional competency.

I cannot imagine what must have gone through her mind after reading such an excoriation of her work. If I were in her place, I would have happily jumped headfirst into a volcano. It is humiliating and demoralising. While I was there though, I never saw the effect of these reviews on her.

All this was forcibly brought back to mind when she, and another friend, shared this article on their Facebooks. There was a lot of accompanying sermonising about ‘blaming’ being wrong and what have you. [I have a different theory on this, which I will reserve for another post.]

And then she posts this:

blame-the-gameThat’s when the penny dropped: she doesn’t believe that she is at fault. The employees are just a bunch of entitled children, moaning incessantly about all the things that are wrong, without focussing on what’s going right. As you can see from the Glassdoor reviews, that’s patently untrue.

Granted, there are worse places. Granted, ParserPile gets a lot right. But that doesn’t mean there is no question of improvement. What a terrible attitude to have; especially in such a critical function within an organisation. Sad.


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