Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do you have a minute?

Every HR professional who has heard those words has to say the sentence strikes fear to the very core of our being. Do I have a minute? I do if you are here to inform me that 1) I have won the lottery; 2) You have identified a long-lost relative who wants to bestow mountains of money on me; 3) or, you are giving me a free vacation day that doesn't count towards my PTO. Chances are that none of these things are going to happen.

When I hear those words, I immediately think that whatever you want to talk to me about is not going to take a minute. This will take several minutes, possibly days, even weeks. And most likely, it involves work flowing in the wrong direction - flowing to me and not the other way. It means that the asking party didn't want to take the risk of making an appointment, sending an email or calling to see if I happened to be available. If you work in Human Resources, you know that we have literally millions of minutes floating around, completely uncommitted, just waiting for some Jonesy to walk in off the street and ask for one. Or a couple. Heck, I'd be doing nothing but eating bon-bons unless some average Joe comes in 'for a minute.'

It also depends wildly on the Minute Bank. How many minutes have you borrowed of mine? Did you pay them back? And how many minutes have you donated to the minute bank? Do you hoard them? Do you share? The likelihood of my availability will depend significantly on the reciprocity of the minute exchange. If you are asking, you better be donating, too.

But the truth is, I probably will have a minute. Or 30. Because wired into my DNA is this bizarre tension of absurd curiosity intertwined with a perverse desire to help. Because we have the answers. We have probably seen a problem like this before. And we can help, because we are HR professionals. And if we can't help, it makes a darn good blog post.

Yeah, I have a minute.


HR Minion said...

Oh, I know this situation well. I even think a couple supervisors here take great pleasure in "dropping by" to take a few minutes of my time.

Lance said...

For me, this usually happens on a Friday when I have been unusually slow all week. At least give it to me on a Monday!!