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[Feb. 21st, 2007|11:36 pm]
I should post something!



I cooked Indian for dinner last night. I substituted game burger for ground lamb, and it was okay. I think it would have been relatively pedestrian even with lamb. Still, not as complicated as I usually think of Indian being. I should do more of that.

Had a long discussion at lunch today about my experienced with mentoring at work with a guy who's doing a project on it for a class on leadership. (1,2,3... yes! 8 prepositions in that sentence!) I think the whole subject is kind of problematic, because "mentoring" is a very ill-defined term and there are a lot of hurdles to overcome in getting it to happen in an organization. The conclusion I came to is that really, an organization shouldn't focus on mentoring, but should focus on the end results that it generates, and recognize that they can be achieved in a number of different ways.

Personally, I'd much rather have a consultation with a professional from HR who could evaluate my skills and my career path and then give me advice on what to focus on and where to improve to advance my career...

[User Picture]From: nehrlich
2007-02-22 01:14 pm (UTC)
Huh. I've never met anybody competent in HR, so a consultation with HR sounds like the most useless thing imaginable to me. Of course, I've never managed to find a good mentor in any of my organizations either, so maybe the problem is me.

I think the key part about mentoring is having somebody that pays attention to you and your career. That may just be because I'm a feedback whore, though.
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[User Picture]From: drdeleto
2007-02-22 03:35 pm (UTC)
I was going to say the same thing about HR. Sounds a little bit like the theory behind high school guidance counselors, where, of course, the theory is better than the practice. The best HR people I've worked with are very friendly and they know everything they need to about benefits and whatnot. But skill assessment and career tracks? It sorta makes sense, but just imagine the broad perspective that person would have to have on all the jobs in an institution--or the free time he'd need to interview all the people in related positions. Interesting idea, though.
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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2007-02-22 04:43 pm (UTC)
Ours don't even know all they need to know about pensions/benefits/whatever. Conveniently, we have actuaries on the faculty here, and so they let us know what's really true...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2007-02-22 10:30 pm (UTC)
BTW: I read today on Joel on Software that you are ambitious and smart, to which I say, go you!
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[User Picture]From: nehrlich
2007-02-22 11:05 pm (UTC)
Not that he, y'know, mentioned me or my compatriot by name, or gave us any credit whatsoever - we just happen to implement his brilliant self-designed system. It's all a confidence game to get people to take a job that's way below their capabilities, and continue to suck it up doing annoying jobs that have to be done that he doesn't want to deal with. But he's paying my tuition for a program that is beneficial, so I'll stick it out another year.
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[User Picture]From: boat_of_car
2007-02-22 04:00 pm (UTC)

ditto ditto

Agree with both of the above and add:

I have yet to meet an HR person who had the first clue what it was that I actually do in whatever company I was in at any time. Part of that is always the technical or academic aspect, but mostly it's just that an HR person, unless they are tasked with a spcific kind of recruiting, doesn't have the time or energy to absorb all of that. I can see that they might be good for generic career advice (wear a tie, this manger likes early birds, that sort of thing) so that might be fine for someone just starting out. Sadly, though, this doesn't come close to addressing the issue of competence and ongoing knowledge growth: a big part of career advancment, particularly in technology, is about the kind of competence you can only get 'on the job'. I was lucky early on in my current career to work in an academic environment for a manager who focused on staff development along with technology development, and I've had one manager since then that had a similar attitude. Those were the two best experiences I've ever had. HR was no help at all in either of those cases, in fact, HR turned out to be the biggest obstacle, after budget and upper-managment roadblocks.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't have as much faith in HR as you seem to.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2007-02-22 04:50 pm (UTC)
Y'all have given me a new appreciation of the unusual levels of competency and usefulness displayed by HR at my work!
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[User Picture]From: goobermunch
2007-02-22 04:53 pm (UTC)
You realize we all hate you now.

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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2007-02-22 05:02 pm (UTC)
Does it really matter much? We mostly use them as sources of amusement.

Hmm. That's actually not true, now that I think about it. The staff are thinking about unionizing, in part because the people in HR can't run a real grievance system...
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[User Picture]From: k8cre8
2007-02-22 05:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm in agreement with the others. For the most part, all the HR people I've worked with have been incompetent. The HR person at current job is good at benefits and things, and is the best at HR of all the people I've worked with, but, I probably wouldn't ask for career advice, it's just not her thing.

In fact, as I'm recalling the HR person at ACC who dealt with my worker's comp stuff, I'm stiffling an urge to get really yelly. Ugh. She claimed she couldn't get ahold of me on the phone (she never left a VM, and I was by the phone all the time) and was the brain trust that had her underling send me my own job listing to post before I officially found out I was "laid-off." Anyway.
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