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The agony of the bureaucrat

This hit my inbox this afternoon:

As announced in a recent [employee newsletter], the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which requires employers such as [DullGrayCorporation International] to report each employee’s ethnicity and race, has changed the way this data is collected. Up until now, human resources staff made a visual identification; [wait, you were just EYEBALLING us?!] now, employees may self-identify [that’s better. I want to be a Balinese princess].

Self-identification is voluntary [whew!]. Refusal to provide this information will not result in any adverse treatment. However, [DullGrayCorporation International] is subject to certain governmental recordkeeping and reporting requirements for the administration of civil rights laws and regulations [I get it. Fewer WASPs, more wogs, please]. In the event an employee chooses not to self-identify, human resources will make a visual identification [will there be a lineup?].

Information that is provided will be kept confidential and will only be used in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws, executive orders and regulations, including those that require the information to be summarized and reported to the federal government for civil rights enforcement. When reported, data will not identify any specific individual.

If you wish to self-identify your race and ethnicity, please complete your selection by [coupla weeks].

And, no, I’m not going to self-identify as something exotic just to screw with them. My lifestyle of afterhours sloth and profligacy is dependent on this crummy job, thenk yew.

I actually feel for HR on this one. They try to recruit ethnics, they really do. This is a research and engineering firm — women and black people aren’t exactly drawn to engineering careers. I was going to say “minorities,” but of course the Research Division is the United Fricking Nations up in there. We need an Affirmative Action program just to squeeze a few white American guys into the labs.

At one time, our building had a single person of color, a female secretary. She finally begged the Art Department to leave her alone. We were using her in so many corporate photo shoots, we were wearing her down.


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: June 29, 2007, 4:26 pm

Ha! We’ve got Diversity Fevah! here too. A couple years back our annual Employee Day’s theme was “Diversity” and they wanted everyone to know just how gosh-darned ethnically diverse we all were. To that end we all had to wear name badge stickers with our ancestral ethnic background. I wanted to go as an “Unhyphenated – American” but chickened out and went with “Texan – American” instead. That one did okay – I mostly got smirks and some funky eyeballs. 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 29, 2007, 4:37 pm

We did a training program in the early days of computer learning — you know, back when it was all audio and still pictures. We used people in the building for the images. We got finished and it dawned on somebody there were no black faces in the program.

So I took one of the existing characters — as it happened, played by my boss’ boss — and made him a person of color. Mocha-toned his skin, flattened the bridge of his nose a little, made his mouth fuller. Not a caricature at all; he was a very personable-looking black man.

Management *panicked* when they saw the result. Everybody agreed it was racist, but nobody could quite say why. They made me destroy it.

Boo. I was rather proud of that image. It was before Photoshop even existed and I was using some pretty rudimentary tools. I kept telling him, “you be fine, sir” but it didn’t help somehow.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 29, 2007, 5:38 pm

My last few years of employment were spent consulting (read: legal prostitution) and I ran into some of the the oddest HR diversity policies and practices. Being a “not” employee I could get away with quite a bit simply by stating in an authoritive voice, “That only applies to employees – not contract workers.”

Half the time the HR group wanted me to take Quality Training, Diversity Training, and Corporate Culture Training. I always got out of it.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 29, 2007, 5:44 pm

…told ya I’ve been wanting those neat bold and italic command thingies. You will now be overwhelmed with my emphatic prose.

Weasel – you photoshopped your bosseses boss – before photoshop existed! And…with his blessings, more or less!


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 29, 2007, 5:49 pm

..and I am really excited about that huge,blank Weekend Weasel post up there. It’s like a tilled but empty field: fecund, full of promise, waiting.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 29, 2007, 5:56 pm

Yeah, not wanting to crow, but I escaped that corporate diversity/training BS by the simple expedient of being self-employed since whenever.

My idea of ‘diversity’ is ‘I can’t be fucked to do that today. I’ll do this instead. Oh – hang on, the sun’s come out, think I’ll go for a walk instead.’

Of course, it means I live in a cardboard box and eat left-overs, but what price freedom, eh?

Who let these HR drones take over the world, anyway?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 29, 2007, 6:15 pm

Uncle B,

It were them PC folks, them’s who. Dey took out all of HR’s branes – and eated dem!

Consulting/self-employment is the ONLY way to fly – yes? God, the unbelievable amount of shit I got away with…!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 29, 2007, 6:40 pm

Got to agree, McGoo. It’s no picnic and you still have to dance a jig now and then to keep clients happy – but that whole PC stuff would have me.. well, after a while I reckon I’d go postal if I had to put up with it.

Then again – you knew HR people with brains ?!

You see, I reckon, the day one of them woke up thinking ‘I know! We’ll stop calling ourselves “Personnel”! Henceforth we shall be called “Human Resources” – and all will be ours!’ a dark, dark shadow fell across the face of the earth. It was evolution at work but even more so. A parasitic worm had turned into a shark, overnight.

I’d damn ’em all to hell but then I keep thinking, what’s poor old Satan done to deserve infestation by these goons?

I mean he’s only supposed to be the prime source of all evil in the universe. They can make you do ‘diversity training’.

And that’s worse.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 29, 2007, 8:31 pm

All true, Uncle B. I think HR was one of those devilish ideas that just got away from Him.

Comment from Gnus
Time: June 30, 2007, 11:47 am

Yes, Sweasel, you should shit in the woods.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 30, 2007, 1:13 pm

Yes, well, I would LIKE to shit in the woods, but I didn’t go to the woods today. I’m supposed to go to the woods tomorrow, however.

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 30, 2007, 7:52 pm

Our company had a vote of all employees some years back about whether to change the name of Personnel to Human Resources.

I was opposed on the grounds that
a. They couldn’t prove they were human.
b. They were certainly no resource.

In typical fashion, our company president announced the results of the vote – overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the name as Personnel. Therefore the name was being changed to Human Resources. This is just one of the true stories in the naked city, but it’s mine.

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 30, 2007, 8:00 pm

There once was a al Quaeda* in Glasgow
who decided he’d crash his jeep just so
but he fucked it up, to the everyone’s luck
and got his islamist ass burned to a nice glow


Comment from mesablue
Time: July 2, 2007, 12:38 pm

You guys remember this?


“The University of Wisconsin-Madison will spend $64,000 to reprint 100,000 application brochures to replace ones in which the cover photo was digitally altered to put a black student’s face into a photograph of an all-white crowd of Badger football fans.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 2, 2007, 12:48 pm

No! I missed that. Heh. There was a plant in the UK that was done for adding multiethnic faces to their annual report. I’m obviously fuzzy on the details.

Comment from tiffany
Time: August 17, 2009, 2:48 am

altered to put a black student’s face into a photograph of an all-white crowd of Badger football fans.”

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