Just going outside

In what world does someone who dies of illness or in an accident leave their job “voluntarily”?  Suicides yes, if you push the logic that far.  But if I choke on a carrot in the canteen I haven’t left this vale of tears of my own free will, now have I?

However, I’d be classed as a “voluntary leaver” by most HR statisticians.


Large employers like to keep track of all sorts of things including the number of people they hire, the number of people who “don’t work out” in the first year, and the number of people who leave even though the company would prefer to keep them.  The “involuntary leavers” represent errors of judgement on the part of the people hiring them, and you can see the sense of tracking those numbers.  “Voluntary leavers” on the other hand are the people the employer will be put to the inconvenience of replacing because they have been offered a better job elsewhere, decided to return to full-time education, or left to set up in business for themselves.  Or selfishly gone and died.  Without giving notice.  Where’s their team spirit? (I exaggerate for cheap effect).

What the employer is tracking with these figures is the employer’s wish or intention (volition) not that of the employee.  But HR being the sweet and fluffy discipline it is, it doesn’t spell it out as crudely as that.  Ho no. How much nicer to pretend that what you are measuring is what your employees want.  The caring face of statistics.

War is peace.  Love is hate.  People are our greatest asset. The dead are voluntary leavers.


2 responses to “Just going outside

  1. Interesting.

    Quite true, most folk don’t volunteer to die, let alone think through consequences and elect to die on the understanding they’re also electing to opt out of gainful employ.

    It’s no surprise to me that HR massage figures. I have new found awe of HR. The folk from HR always used to strike me as a bit like dementors, sucking out any joy and hope and positive vibes in any discussions we had.

    Lately, that’s changed.

    A bit like MI6, whenever we’ve had any problems of late of people not doing their job, people being performance managed, people needing to change roles, I’ve called HR. I thought people had employment law and unions on their side, but oh, how naieve.

    HR just make all problems disappear.

    So, I think, I’ve had it wrong ’bout HR. They’re not simply dementors. They can cook up far, far more machiavellian machinations than I ever dreamed of and make problems just fade away for me. I now see HR not as pernicious shades, but as masters of the Dark Arts.

  2. Ah, but your HR people really are the spawn of satan. Makes evil capitalism look quite good really.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.


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