The HR Veterinarian and “People” People

Anyone paying attention knows I love telling a story…so why not start Monday with a quickie? A kid (that includes all humans under age 30) asked me about a career in Human Resources because she “loves working with people.” Instead of the usual boring conversation, I had an epiphany to help describe the specific challenge about a career in HR, especially for someone who “loves” people. Here’s our brief exchange:

Me – “Do you love animals?

Her – “Absolutely!

Me – “So, if one of them was suffering, could you put it down?


Could you?

Her – “Never!

Me – “Then you shouldn’t be a veterinarian, and you probably should think twice about a career in HR.

Harsh? Maybe. But any veteran of Human Resources can tell you the difficulty of separating empathy from duty. It’s not an easy job, and it can put you in more than a few uncomfortable situations where the “job” trumps your feelings about a specific person. It sucks, but sometimes euthanasia is the only option, and you’re the one holding the needle.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m now going to hug my doggie.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer) and a devout animal lover; like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….



Talent Acquisition Executive, team-builder, and full-time dreamweaver. Creative Director, Content Designer, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur, terrible golfer, lover of The Art of War & Texas Hold 'Em.

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  • Jennifer
    August 26, 2013, 7:03 pm

    So, very true. When I ask someone why they want to work in HR, if their answer is “because I love people” the interview is basically over. Harsh but they have to have other reasons or they will have their heart ripped out the first RIF they have to do….