Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bristol Round-Trip (Human Capital)

Driving to Bristol, PA this morning, hopefully for a meeting, I heard a “guest host” on CNBC  adding His two cents to the Falling (then Crashed) soufflé of opinions regarding the US and world economies’ future direction.

As you might expect, the conversation/gaggle was basically Worthless.  

It was  like watching a Chorus of compasses loosed and swinging crazily in a magnetic storm.

However, this fellow did say One interesting thing.

When I graduated college and initially visited corporations’ hiring halls in New York City looking for work, the sign on the door always Read: “Personnel.”

I thought that was a Perfectly good description of the job the people behind the desks there performed.  I was an unaffiliated “person” who wanted to become one of their affiliated “personnel.” 

Quasi-Match.   I was in the Right place.

Then, some years later, “Personnel” was supplanted and replaced by “Human Resources.” 

Horrible, despicable switch That, conveying the Unmistakeable view that those beings formerly considered "persons" had been transformed into Food for Night Of The Living Dead corporate feeders.

Worse followed, i.e., the recent shift to “Human Capital” – people now  described as simple Corporate Currency.


Then finally this morning, the aforesaid guest host made a clear, articulated distinction between a company's “Intellectual Capital” staff vs. the other Human Detritus wandering the premises. 


What hath God wrought?

On the drive home, I listened for a while to the moronic Alex Wagner on her NOW show on MSNBC.

Ms. Wagner was discussing the crazy, excessive remarks of Rep. Maxine 
Waters yesterday, who said about her congressional colleagues, Rep. John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor:

“I saw pictures of Boehner and Cantor on our screens. Don't ever let me see again, in life, those Republicans in our hall, on our screens, talking about anything. These are demons.”

Dumb awful Alex remarked that while she “disagreed” with the “semiotics” of Rep. Waters’ statement and could not endorse the “descriptors” used, she was basically ok with the conclusion.

Dopey is as dopey speaks.  I extend my heartfelt apology as an American to Roland Barthes, who really does deserve better.   

It had already gotten bad enough.  Now This.

NOTE:   I had never been to Bristol, Pennsylvania before this morning.  I didn’t see much of it, except for the impressive Canal Works building, a repurposed 19th century former mill where my client’s production studio and offices were located.  The building pictured on the postcard showing the Lehigh Canal is located at the other end of town.  The postcard paints a much more bucolic picture than the one currently on view in Bristol.  I love the way the boat on the river seems to float in mid-air, far above the pedestrian-strollers on the right-hand bank.  Naturalism dictates that it shouldn’t, obviously, but I guess the artist had other things in mind.  If you'd ever like to visit, take the easternmost off-ramp on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a road that it's always a distinct pleasure to EXIT.


  1. I used to work in Personnel, and secretly loved the term as it related to me - Person Nell. When the department suddenly morphed into Human Resources, I thought it was ridiculous and demeaning - comparing people to iron ore or crude oil. I was also personally affected, since I was robbed of my work persona, Person Nell. Now "the shift" to Human Capital (HORRIBLE) - just another step in the trend toward depersonalizing the very personal. Why torture yourself by listening to pundits and commentators that make you want to throw something at the radio/TV? Maybe I'm speaking for myself. I turn them off (or at least mute the volume).

  2. I know that it's perverse to listen to such people, but I'm also quite interested in why and how certain people get their jobs. Ms. Wagner, who really is a dolt, mentioned directly after the Maxine Waters story the work of a Yale professor (poli sci, I assume) who apparently published an article concluding that since the Carter administration Republicans had moved "six times further to the right than Democrats have moved to the left." No further information was provided about the methodology used to make this incredible calculation. I guess you need to be fluent in semiotics and descriptors to understand this kind of advanced thinking. The production studio I visited yesterday was very cool, though. I'm glad to share the "from Person(nell) to Human Capital and beyond story with you." Clearly, it's more than pretentious speech. It signifies a deeply anti-human attitude. I say this, by the way, while having very great respect (as professionals and human beings) for the HR executives and staff I worked with at Deluxe Media Services. These days, they have a very complicated job, and those of them that need to be fluent in international, as well as domestic practices, are a very skilled group indeed. Curtis