My seven year-old daughter said to my wife the other day: ‘Darcey’s Daddy is a policeman. That’s important. I wish my Daddy did something important. He just goes around.’
Three things occurred to me as a result. (1) How do you explain ‘I engage HR Leaders’ to a seven year-old? (2) How do you explain HR to a seven year-old? and (3) Who the hell is Darcey?
I’m glad my daughter has in some way grasped the lengths one literally goes to, to spread the word about the CIPD. I feel some sort of briefing session coming on, however, regarding the many and various outputs we enjoy from what I shall grudgingly refer to as ‘going around’.
Resisting the temptation to sue my own seven year-old daughter for defamation of character, there is, I admit, a wider truth here, in that it’s less and less easy to describe what many of us do. I don’t think this is a symptom of greater sophistication, or even a more profound vagueness, but it is a shift of tectonic plates on the Great Careers Landscape.
For instance, a list of those careers which are disappearing in the cracks between the tectonic plates is revealing: linotype operators, petrol pump attendants, typists, telephone operators, meter readers. There are no more lighthouse keepers in the UK – the last manual lighthouse went automatic ten years ago. There are even suggestions that telemarketers will cease to exist as a role as the blocking technology on phones improves. Kids’ programmes and books don’t keep up with this, not least because it would sound rather daft. Bob the Builder and any number of his baker and milkmen mates are always going to populate children’s books because Rhonda the Relationship Manager and her pal Ian the Infrastructure Specialist are really difficult to draw.
I’ll just have to keep ‘going around’ (sheesh), and try and think of a better analogy than ‘asking people to be our best friends’. Still, it could be worse: I could have been a lighthouse keeper.
Richard your story made me laugh, as I too have had a similar experience. I was invited to the local school to explain about professional services, so I had to say what was a HR Manager and what did I do each day... too 30 kids... so I asked my son to come to the front and tell the class what I do. He said my mum sits in her office and sometimes I hear her shout 'Oh for jeffs sake' but I dont know who Jeff is!!!
Lisa, that's such a great story! Thanks ever so much. That Jeff guy has a lot to answer for... Brilliant.
You just need to explain it: my nephew and niece completely got it when their parents explained their respective jobs as a public prosecutor and working with young delinquents in an alternative-to-prison programme. "Daddy puts them in jail and Mummy gets them out" was how they summarised it.
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