“Human Resources” and its impact on baby boomers

Do you even remember the term “Human Resources” when you were a young boomer? Nope. It was the Personnel Department, and it dealt with … well … personnel issues. But that’s just history. In her book Fun House Chronicles, BoomerCafé contributor Linda Myers, who lives on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, has a scene about what Human Resources has become, and she has rewritten it for us.

Here’s one thing this experienced baby boomer has learned over the years: Human Resources Departments exist in some “middle ground between light and shadow,” not far from the Twilight Zone. I say this because, when they don’t have enough to do, they still don’t take coffee breaks like normal people. They also don’t nap at their desks. No, no time for any of that. They tinker. I offer this for your consideration:

  • The following program was developed by corporate officials of a grocery chain wearing alligator shoes, from some ivory tower far, far away from the front line. Their grocery clerks were forced to wear buttons that pronounced “P.S. I Care” as in, “No, I don’t know where the canned peas are, but I guess I’d look in the canned food section, you idiot, and oh yes, P.S. I Care.”
  • An ad agency where I once worked was invaded overnight with signage exclaiming “Work Smarter, Not Harder.” Yeah, like that motivated the staff. Not!


Human Resources is especially fond of programs that can be wedged into clever acronyms. In fact, the more clever the acronym, the less sense it has to make. That is the only explanation for this:

The nurses in a local medical clinic are sporting HEAR ribbons beneath their name tags:

H = Heed
E = Empathize
A = Apologize
R = Resolve

Writer Linda Myers

Writer Linda Myers

So this is how a conversation is supposed to go, now that the nurses have learned to HEAR:

Patient: Miss, my feet are cold.
Nurse: Oh my goodness, I HEAR you (HEED)! Don’t you hate when that happens? I surely do (EMPATHIZE). I am so sorry you suffered this calamity (APOLOGIZE), but I know just what I’ll do. I will place a fuzzy blanket directly over your feet to make them toasty warm (RESOLVE)!
Patient: You are a godsend, an angel to take note of my plight and identify with it; you recognized your negligence, then handled the problem with creativity and alacrity. Truly I am blessed to be here, basking in your compassionate glow.

Now then. This is an actual conversation from Day One of HEAR:

Patient: Get that effing spoon away from me.
Nurse: But you need your medicine (HEED).
Patient: Shovel it in your own pie hole.
Nurse: Maybe a sip of juice would help it go down (EMPATHIZE).
Patient: And maybe you should just lie here and make a mess in your pants.
Nurse: I’m sorry the cherry-flavored taste doesn’t appeal to you (APOLOGIZE).
Patient: Here. You try it.
Nurse: Okey dokey. I’ll be back as soon as I change (RESOLVE).

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