Monday, March 9, 2009

What Does It Mean? Does It Matter?

I was listening to the latest episode of "This American Life" and the theme of the show was "Human Resources." At the beginning, like any good documentary does, a history of the term "Human Resources" was given. They explained that human resources departments used to be called labor management, or some other such thing. The idea being that, psychologically speaking, the name "Human Resources" sounded to be more in the interest of the labor's well being and saw them as human beings rather than labor, or capital, or liability, or whatever. But now, and maybe always, I know exactly what human resources is. I know what they used to be called. I know that the name is illusory and is supposed to be comforting to me, but I don't buy it. So do other people buy it? And if they don't, what's the use in pretending it's anything other than what it really is? It's either the open palm, closed fist, or back hand of a giant corporation trying to keep people under the impression that they mean something to the people they sacrifice 8 hours a day, and 5 days a week to. Does human resources exist to tell people they are happy when they're worried that they might not be? Are we so easily pleased that even the thin veil is enough to trick us? or do we see behind the veil, but accept our fate and play the game anyways? Is one worse than the other? Is it worse that the truth is being hidden? or that the truth is being hidden by our fellow humans maybe at one time in the same position? Bah.

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