Don’t Annoy Your HR Rep

by Joe Lavelle on April 26, 2010

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For anyone who has seen an episode of the popular television show The Office, you know that the program provides many lessons in what not to do if you are hoping to accelerate the speed of your professional success.  From playing interactive war games on company time to insensitive remarks about co-workers to simply not understanding how to perform the most basic tasks of your own position, the cast of The Office offers funny insights to a group of workers that is operating far from optimal level.

One of the sources of tension for branch manager Michael Scott is the office’s human resources manager, Toby Flenderson.  Michael sees Toby as his arch nemesis at the fictional Dunder Mifflin, as he is not appreciative of the reminders regarding company policies and the need to avoid comments that blatantly qualify as harrassment.

In my book, Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail, I share the importance of having a quality human resources department in every office and why it is essential for every employee to develop a good relationship with someone in that HR office.  Understanding what is expected of you in terms of compliance, performance evaluations, and office relationships and then getting regular feedback concerning how well you are meeting these expectations are key steps in moving forward on your career path.    Do not view human resources as an enemy that bogs you down in paperwork and training sessions that you would rather not attend, but as an ally in your efforts for the greatest possible professional success.

For those who watch The Office regularly, what are some other lessons we can learn from the show besides not to aggravate your HR representative at every opportunity?  Yes, it’s fiction, but I believe one of the reason it is so popular is because people can relate to the personalities and the circumstances portrayed every week.  So, what can Dwight Schrute, Pam Beesly, and Stanley Hudson teach us about our own work habits?

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