Emails from hell

From: A. Realone – HR Director 

Sent: 2 October 2011 12:05

To: All staff

Subject: Collections 

It has been brought to my notice that some people are concerned that the volume of birthday and other collections has simply grown too great. Even though we are careful to ensure contributions are voluntary, some people feel pressurised, and they certainly take quite a lot of time to organise.

Some time ago it was suggested that we just had collections for leavers/weddings/babies and birthdays with ‘0’ at the end. I have spoken to T.Heman about it and while he himself thinks it could be a good solution, he feels that this is not really a matter for the CEO to decide and suggests that we all vote on what we want to do.

Therefore please use the voting buttons above to have your say:

Vote 1: if you want everything to stay as it is

Vote 2: if you just want company collections for leavers/weddings/babies and birthdays with an ‘0’ at the end.

Vote 3: if you want them all to stop

A. Realone


Are you depressed yet? You will be when I tell  you that this is one of a number of real emails that was sent on to me. The reason they were being sent on? Because people were laughing at HR. I guess on the upside, at least it was sent to me because they knew that I’d be laughing at HR too….

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our profession is sadly stuffed with poor and mediocre people,  for every one of us (and I hope that I’m included in this) doing good progressive, HR management, there are three to five people making a mockery of the profession. And those aren’t good odds.

So in an attempt to raise the professional bar, I’d like to suggest an alternative response to the problem, feel free to adopt this style of response in any future communications……

 I hope you enjoy.


From: A. Realone – HR Director 

Sent: 2 October 2011 12:05

To: All staff

Subject: Collections 

I thought I’d take a moment out to remind you that you are all adults, this isn’t a facet of your existence that sheds itself as you enter the doors of this hallowed building.  And being an adult means that you have free will and you have choices.  If there is something that is happening in the organisation that you don’t like you should feel free to challenge it directly with the people involved. If there is a collection for someone who you don’t want to participate in then feel free to say so.

If you feel incapable of doing so then perhaps you might want to go and have a chat with T.Heman about it (if you feel that it is appropriate for a CEO to be involved).  Let me know if you do, I’d love to listen in. 

In the meantime, to support our organisational TNA and to help us support you our valued employees, I’d be grateful if you’d take a moment to assess yourself against the following criteria and respond by using the voting buttons above:

Vote 1: if you need to grow a pair

Vote 2: if you don’t understand which pair you need to grow

Vote 3: if you understand the irony of this email and are going to quit whinging like a bunch of children

Best regards,

A. Realone


PS. The names have been changed not to protect the innocent, but to hopefully keep me out of trouble!


  1. Richard Goff · October 31, 2011

    Hands up all those who googled ‘T.Heman’ to see which organisation this was. No? Only me? Great.

    Excellent points as ever Neil, thanks.

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      Hahaha…..I so hope that you did! 🙂

  2. Doug Shaw · October 31, 2011

    I note your blog is about work, employment and other related frippery. I hope this falls into the third category, it’s way too good for the first two. Great point made with lashings of extra extra frippery, go to the top of the class.

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      Thanks Doug….this absolutely falls into the frippery category!

  3. Alison Godding (@EngagementGR) · October 31, 2011

    This made me cackle outloud! Great halloween treat!

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      I live to serve! 🙂

  4. MegP · October 31, 2011

    Misread this at first and thought A Realone was proposing that only babies with names ending in 0 would be collected for. It certainly would reduce the amount of collections.

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      I like that…..can I steal the idea?

  5. Gareth Jones · October 31, 2011

    As they say, organisations get the HR capability they deserve. What are we to do about the ‘majority’ – some 75 – 85% by your estimation – the lame ones that are making a mockery of the profession?!

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      I think we should be setting and raising professional standards. I’d be happy with a rigorous approach. Maybe re-evaluation every three years?

  6. Helen West · November 1, 2011

    Great blog Neil and unfortunately I can believe it – I worked for an HR Director once who would absolutely have written these sorts of memos. (She was also the one who told me she was too busy to write my reference when I was leaving and asked that I write my own and she would sign it! – I refused). Best reference I could ever have had.

    • Neil · November 15, 2011

      Sweet Lord……some people…..I’m sure you left thinking very highly of her….

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