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By Christopher Anzalone
April 1st seems like a good day to share real stories from the HR trenches. The names are withheld … for obvious reasons!
Did you hear about the candidate for the entry-level construction position? He didn't provide a reason on his application for leaving his most recent position. The recruiter asked him about it. This is the answer she received: "Well, I was working in the ditch with another employee, and he was really getting on my nerves with his humming. I told him that if he didn't shut up, I was going to hit him over the head with the shovel and bury him. They fired me. But I think he just took it the wrong way." I guess he dug himself too deep a hole because he didn't get the job.
And then there was the company president who struck out when trying to engage his employees. A well-known baseball fan, he kept a baseball bat in his office. One day he decided to take his bat with him on his walk through the building … swinging it as he walked through the aisles! Needless to say, employees were terrified. The HR manager tried to tell him he was causing an uproar, but he shrugged it off, saying that the employees were too uptight and should have known that it was all in fun.
Finally, there is the caring employee who called his supervisor one day telling her he'd be unable to work that day. His explanation: "I can't come in because the lady at the end of the road just hung her wash out to dry, and I don't want to drive down the road, cause dust, so she'll have to do her wash again." Apparently, the supervisor was annoyed with the employee's long laundry list of no-show excuses and left him out to dry.
While it is April Fools' Day, these are not tall tales. They are very real stories shared by HR professionals in one of SHRM's bestselling books: Got a Minute? The 9 Lessons Every HR Professional Must Learn to Be Successful by Dale Dwyer and Sheri Caldwell. These stories, and dozens more featured in the book, are hilariously funny, eerily creepy, or just plain head-scratchers. But they demonstrate the mistakes, challenges, and the day-to-day frustrations faced by HR professionals in organizations everywhere. The book also evaluates the responses of the anonymously profiled HR professionals.
By the way, if the April Fools' Day pranks go too far and disciplinary actions—or even terminations—are required, consider consulting another SHRM bestseller: 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems: A Guide to Progressive Discipline & Termination, 2nd edition by Paul Falcone.
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