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  1. So I’m going to try and be as coherent and rational as possible, but bear with me if I ramble a little. I understand your viewpoint, and I understand why you hold it, and there are parts of this are not completely wrong, but I refuse to accept it’s entirely true, and I’m going to try and articulate why.

    #1 – Yes, there are women who enter the field of HR because they think it’ll be “easy” or “less serious”.
    But (a), HR is not the only field where women join the workforce for these reasons. I can thinking of teaching, at least, for one, where I know of women who have got into it for similar reasons. Women have that choice (okay yes, it’s not always a choice; sometimes it’s a compulsion due to other pressures which I won’t get into now) and it’s their choice. If I shouldn’t be judged for choosing a career over other things, I shouldn’t judge anyone who chooses family and marriage over a career.
    And (b), just because *some* women do enter HR for these reasons doesn’t take away from so many of them who do their job competently and effectively. Which brings me to my second point…

    #2 – Yes, HR departments can be ineffective and disorganized and all sorts of things. But to say that it is usually this “certain type of woman” is unfair and untrue. I used to be an HR consultant in Delhi, and worked with HR folks from a variety of organizations and industries (rants on that were made when I quit my job three years ago here: http://ramblingsonthejob.blogspot.com/2011/05/learnings-and-take-aways.html – some of this may even validate some of what you’ve said!). And in all fairness, I came across competence and incompetence, *but* in both men and women. Let’s also not pretend that this kind of incompetence is *only* seen in HR. I’ve seen similar incompetence, idiocy, and sheer lack of interest in the job – again, in both men and women – in sales, marketing and finance.

    #3 – And since we’re talking about HR, let’s clarify what you mean by HR. There’s the more transactional side of it, which yes, can be exasperating and inefficient, but there’s also the more “transformational” – to be utterly cliched – side of it, which while far from ideal (in my personal opinion) does often do some very good work in many organizations. It’s often not seen as doing very good work, and this is due to a variety of reasons – budgets, top management giving nothing more than lip service to the importance of HR, great ideation but not very good execution, competence (and its lack thereof), and sometimes just a lack of good PR, to be honest. But while the brickbats are flung frequently, very often do the bouquets come in when good work is actually done.
    And the honest truth is that most of the painpoints with HR come from the pure transactional parts of HR, the more administrative aspects of the job, which honestly just gets lumped into HR because where else will a company put it?

    #4 – Finally, some of your comments about your classmates. In all fairness, I’m not the best person to comment on this. I did my MA in India, where HR was a logical career path. So HR was never the “easy” or “fallback” option for me. On the other hand, my father did his MBA from one of the top institutes in India, close to forty years ago, and he has mentioned to me in the past about HR being the fallback option for many men in that era – men who didn’t get into anything else went into HR. Today, on the other hand, I know men and women – friends, former classmates, ex-colleagues, former clients – who went into HR because they love it, have a passion for it, see its importance and value, and do some damn good work.

    I chose to move on from HR for a number of reasons, but the importance of HR and what it can and does do has never been lost on me. It’s a hope that someday I’ll go back to the HR side of things; whether that will or will not happen remains to be seen. But to dismiss an entire profession, and a whole group of women, based on anecdotal evidence – while true for the people you have met – is untrue and unfair for a large number of people who don’t deserve it.

    You said on twitter this wasn’t meant to be a hating post; neither is this reply, so I hope it’s taken in that spirit.

    1. @a traveller: Thank you for taking the time to put this comment down.
      1. I agree that every field attracts its share of people who come in for the wrong reasons. I think though that some of those fields are better at penalising or weeding out such undesirables. The people functions of a lot of companies seems to be neglected and so such non-performance may go unchecked. I would not judge a woman for choosing family/kids over career. What I have a problem with, is a woman who enters the workforce not intending to give it a serious shot. Such women devalue their departments/companies as well as their gender. If a woman does not want to be a wife/mother but is one and shrugs off these responsibilities because she wants to follow her career would not be pardoned. Why is the reverse allowed?

      2. & 3. My post was not about bashing the HR function so I won’t add anything to what you’ve said. Do read the Update that I added to the post (in case it wasn’t up when you read it)

      4. I agree that my experiences are not numerous enough to be an accurate indicator of an entire profession, subgroup or gender. But they are enough for me to address as a pattern that I’ve noticed and raise some questions, which is what I’ve done. Like I said, this wasn’t to be a hating post. I keep hearing conversations in and around the workplace which diss Human Resources. I believe most of those judgements stem from the behaviour of the kind of people I’ve detailed in the post. Don’t you think it makes sense to bring it up into the open and give Human Resources/Women professionals a chance to add perspective?

      I was rather taken aback by some of the personal comments that this post attracted (one called me jealous of the HR woman, another accused me of writing illogical controversial things for attention). I’m happy to open and engage in a conversation like the one we are having. But hate comments only prove the inadequacies in people that I point out in the post. Once again, thank you for commenting.

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