September 27, 2019

I Am Not a Human Resource — I Am a Human Being


Aaron Hurst

Do you want your kids and grandkids to grow up to be human resources? Human capital? I want mine to grow up to be human beings.

I have a two kids - five and eight. I have so many hopes and dreams for them but not one of them is to be a human resource or human capital.

It astounds me that we can talk about people as human resources and human capital. How many HR managers tuck their kids into bed at night, kiss them on their forehead and imagine a day when they will grow up to be human capital?

Why do we think it is OK to talk about people in a way we would never talk about our friends or families?

We are human beings not human resources or human capital. When we objectify ourselves by using these terms we condone organizations treating us as widgets or cattle.

As a parent, I have come to use my children as a barometer for how to treat people. Would I want that for my kids? Would I treat my kid that way? How would I feel if someone did it to my kids?

There were way too many things I found I was doing everyday that didn't pass this test. I was objectifying people without even being conscious of it. We have become so accustomed to having a different playbook for how to treat people at work that it doesn't even seem weird any more. It is normal - and that it perhaps the more disturbing part.

Organizations only exist to serve our needs as people. Why do we allow them to objectify us while we project importance and human qualities on them?

My hope is that by the time I become a grandparent, we see and talk about each other as human beings and not human resources or human capital. We need to build the courage to stand up for each other and not let people continue to talk about us as anything less.

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