I’ve had some interesting cab drivers this week at the 2011 Annual SHRM Conference in Las Vegas. Hiccuping cabbies, drivers spewing obscenities while we navigate the crowded streets due to the Brittany Spears concert in town. Let’s not forget (although I want to) the cab driver who interrogated me with some unmentionables that I’m even not comfortable mentioning or speaking of ever, ever again. It’s Vegas.
In the field of human resources we experience and encounter stories, situations, and events that are often personal, unbelievable, and just plain out of the ordinary. The stories HR has could fill the pages of thousands upon thousands books. What we encounter and the situations we are involved in are often very private and personal for the employees in the organizations where we work.
There’s a popular hidden-camera documentary called Taxi Cab Confessionals that profiles cabbies in New York City and Las Vegas. It’s amazing how strangers share personal stories and expose their personal vulnerabilities while riding around with strangers. One cabbies I chatted with this week told me a sad story about a young woman who drank so heavily here that she passed out inside the cab muttering the word, “pirates.” My cabbie went on to say that this was at 5:00 AM earlier that morning. He drove her to the Treasure Island Casino and promptly called security. He spoke to me about parents, his own family, and the secrets that are shared over a cab ride on the Vegas Strip.
I realized that this is not unlike our industry. Corporate HR pros’ offices serve as the Taxi Cab Confessionals of their organizations. Employees waltz into our office and bear their souls. They trust us with their most private medical information, vulnerabilities exposed, and secrets of family members or themselves entering rehab. These are the things I am reminded when professionals call on me to ask about breaking into HR. They’re a People Person they say, and I’m sure they are. But HR is not always a happy shiny place. We’re more than party planners, award orderers, and the flip flop police. We’re organizational confidants plotting strategy serving as the stage manager behind the scenes of the popular show on the Vegas strip.
We are the HR Taxi Cab Confessional.