Last month, The Atlantic had a fascinating feature on jobs as part of their Labor Day roundup on work-related articles. They asked readers to “tell us what people don’t get or don’t appreciate about your job.” They culled out an A to Z encyclopedia of reader responses and served them up in an article: What people don’t get about my job: From A(rmy soldier) to Z(ookeeper). Ranging from an IRS employee to a bass player and everything in between, some people offer pithy one liners and others offer short essays. Together, they offer a pastiche of the American workforce.
It occurred to us that a larger company could engage in a similar exercise in the company newsletter too – we’ve all worked in places where the jobs vary considerably, and one department has minimal understanding of what other departments do. Why not offer employees a platform to talk about what’s misunderstood or under-appreciated about the role they play in your organization?
Along the same line as The Atlantic feature, a question was posted to the help board Ask Metafilter: “What is the first question people ask when you tell them what you do? Are there common misconceptions or generalizations that people make? How do you tactfully and/or humorously correct them? For example: “So, you’re a linguist eh? How many languages do you speak?””
The query elicited 156 far-ranging responses, but we warn you, it’s addictive reading (and be aware there is the occasional use of a four-letter expletive).
We didn’t see much about human resources, but Susan Heathfield of About.com’ Human Resources offers Seven Reasons HR Is Often Misunderstood. But when it comes to truth and myths about the HR Field, no one says it better than the kids in this humorous HR.com commercial.

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