For Sabrina, Thanksgiving was the usual loud Italian family gathering – aunts, uncles, cousins all crammed around one big dining room table with a conversation at record-breaking decibel levels.
For Jeff, as always, Thanksgiving was a small gathering. But this year, with a one-year-old niece stumbling around the house, it was at least very entertaining for everybody involved (she’s absolutely adorable).
Like most people who spend holidays with family, both of us are used to fielding a variety of life questions from our relatives. But gone are the days in which we answer questions like, “how’s school? What are you going to do with that degree?” Now, the questions have evolved into, “how’s work? What do you actually do?”
And our concerns have changed, too. Now we don’t have to worry about studying anymore, but we do worry about things like keeping our clients happy and not accidentally sending emails to the entire office. There’s also no more Thanksgiving break, but hey, it’s not like all of us here were working on Black Friday (sorry Rachel).
One thing we both noticed in reflecting on our respective Thanksgivings is the generational gap that exists when it comes to understanding what we do. As working millennials, we’re kind of in this weird in-between state, where we’ve found that older generations don’t fully understand our job functions, but the even younger portion of our own generation struggles with the idea of our industry. Marketing jobs like ours are a relatively new development; fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t find jobs dedicated to SEO or brands that emphasized the importance of a social media presence. It’s a tough thing to describe to your grandpa who has only just figured out an email.
But while our older relatives struggled with the concept of digital marketing, most of them tend to understand the broad spectrum that human capital management covers. By contrast, one of my younger collegiate cousins (this is Sabrina talking now, by the way) was easily able to grasp the concept of digital marketing, but after reading one of our previous blogs, she was confused by what exactly my company did. So I tried to explain as best as I could to a budding science major this idea of human capital management.
As I was wrapping up my HCM explanation and we sat down to the amazing food awaiting us, I realized that HCM is actually kind of like Thanksgiving dinner. What’s the main, core component of Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey. And in HCM, payroll is the turkey. Like payroll, turkey can be complicated. The size of the turkey you cook is directly tied to how many people you need to serve, and your dinner guests end up eating different amounts depending on the person. And stuffing is to turkey as HR is to payroll – it’s the right-hand dish that complements the meal with its variety of tasty ingredients. Onboarding brings individuals together to create a functional company, and what dish brings people together better than mashed potatoes? (Name one person who doesn’t like mashed potatoes. I’ll wait.) And finally, ACA compliance touches every aspect of your business, much like how you can pour gravy over literally everything.
I guess you know you’re an adult when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner thinking about how what you’re eating is a metaphor for your industry.
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