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Rajiv Patel is economic attaché at the Embassy of India in Berne and business columnist for Swiss Radio and Television. He has a degree in finance from the University of Delhi and does management consultancy for large corporations worldwide. He enjoys cricket, sudoku and love songs.

Why is HR always the weakest link?

Dear Rajiv,

My job is human resources director. No one gives me any respect. Why is HR always the weakest link?

Thomas B., Geneva

Managing human resources is a very exciting job in places like India, where companies are hiring thousands of young talents every year to keep growing at a very fast clip. But in Switzerland, it can be boring as hell. Most HR directors I have met here spend their day trying to convince their CEO that their job is important. Good luck with that! And employees usually disregard the human resources department altogether, except at the annual Christmas party when they complain about the cheap wine and the lousy DJ.

Most HR directors end up just accepting this situation. After all, they get good pay, and there is almost no chance they will ever get fired, since they know too much about the company. But it can be bloody discouraging at times. That is why people from human resources often meet up with other people from human resources. They like to organize forums and workshops and share so-called “best practices”. In fact, all they are sharing is their frustrations. It reminds me of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, except these people are still drinking wine at lunchtime.

If you cannot accept the fact that your CEO hasn't replied to any of your e-mails over the past month, you need to take action before you become another burnout statistic. One option could be to simply switch departments. (But I suppose this is not realistic if you have already demonstrated that you are the weakest link.) Another possibility is to join a company where human resources are actually a priority. (If I hear of one, I will let you know. But don’t sit waiting by the phone.) Your last option is to move to India and join a company that is growing fast and hiring new recruits by the lorry-load. There you will get tons of respect from your CEO, believe me. You only have to do two things: keep spirits high and wages low.

Follow Rajiv and watch his videos on Facebook and Twitter.

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