Writing from the depths of hell.

OK I know I haven’t updated my blog in ages and that there’re so many parts of working in Hell to talk about that I haven’t got to yet, but things have been flat out here.  Now that all afterlife processes have been centralised and we’re looking after mythical creatures as well, it’s been bedlam.  We’ve all got our portfolios and since I previously worked in heaven and know most of the staff up there they’re in my portfolio along with Santa’s workshop and imaginary friends.  But obviously, if other people are busy then we step in to help each other out so I do deal with some other areas from time to time.

While it’s busy at least I don’t have to deal with the almost daily complaints from the Hell based staff about their manager.  You would think that people would have a pretty good idea what they’re getting themselves into when they work for The Devil, but no, apparently it’s a surprise to people that he’s not that pleasant to work for.  It takes a particular kind of person to work with someone like that and we’re trying to figure out exactly what mix of characteristics makes someone able to work with him, it’s a work in progress.

All this does lead to a sort of philosophical debate – can you call it workplace bullying if A) everyone is treated terribly by the boss, B) You’re warned what it’s like at recruitment stage and still take the job and C) Your boss is literally the devil?  Thankfully it’s just a debate amongst ourselves at this point but we do have a running bet on who will be the first person to file a Personal Grievance.

If working here has taught me anything it’s that you truly can get used to anything, I’ve got used to the smell of sulphur that clings to the air, sharing elevators with grim reapers (seriously nice people), the sound of screams if you go too near the torture area, the bewildered look on the faces of some of the new residents who assumed that going to church would ensure they didn’t end up here – even though they were bigots or violent.

Things have started to calm down a bit, though – I’ve managed to fill most of my Santa roles and a few of the big problems to be sorted for now. So hopefully I should be able to update my blog more often.

Santa Quit

Working for Heaven wasn’t my first HR job.  I’ve worked in a few different places and there are a few things that are the same no matter which HR Department you work in – managers will always blame HR for any hold up or unpopular decision (‘Sorry your contract is stuck with HR’ ‘No I can’t give you a pay rise – HR won’t let me’), people will stop gossiping as soon as anyone from HR or management walks past and there will always be at least one role in every organisation that’s nearly impossible to fill.

Sometimes it’s a lack of qualified people, sometimes no one really knows who your company is and sometimes roles are just plain unappealing.  Mythic Inc is no different, even though I’ve only been there a month I’m starting to see a pattern on what roles are easy to fill and which ones are nearly impossible.

There are always plenty of applicants for tooth fairy roles, and you’d be surprised at the number and variety of people who want to work in Hell (believe me, that’s a post all of its own) but it’s really hard to find candidates who want to be Santa.

santa 2

This is my first year recruiting Santas but apparently January every year it’s Santageddon as multiple members of the Santa team quit.  It’s written into their contracts that they don’t receive their bonus if they leave between 1 September and 31 December  so of course they all hang on til then.  Santas are organised by country and report through to regional Santas who report into the GM – Father Christmas and each of these Santas has a team of elves, a reindeer team and some admin support.  But they are all based in the North Pole and no one can deny that while everyone else is making merry at the end of year work do, they’re at their busiest and have to deal with bratty children and increasingly grumpy elves and field agents – and that’s without taking the list making into account.

Of course not only do we have fewer candidates for Santa roles but they’re the most thoroughly vetted of any of the roles in the company (for obvious reasons), the hiring criteria are the toughest and most exact I’ve ever seen so hiring usually takes a good three or four months to find the right candidate.

On the plus side those who are selected and complete boot camp (you think it’s easy driving magic reindeer through the northern winter?) usually last a good few years and it’s pretty hard to get fired from being Santa – especially in the last few months of the year, and you wouldn’t think it but the pay is really good, they need to compensate for the stress and isolation.

So wish me luck for my Santa search.  If you know anyone who wants to be Santa let me know, great salary, reasonable private use of the company sleigh and we’re an EEO organisation so you don’t have to be an old, fat, white man with a beard anymore, you just need to like children, have strong leadership skills and be able to deal with elves and their unions.

HR – Fun police

 

The thing with HR is there’s lots of things we do, lots of things people think we do that are nothing to do with us and a whole bunch of things we get lumbered with because no one knows who does it and no one wants to.  One of those things tend to be those all staff emails reminding people how to behave.

As pretty much everyone knows the Grim Reaper team (lovely people, most empathetic in the company) have been busy over the past few weeks and have had to go on collection trips for some pretty high profile people. What you don’t know is that there’s a  reception area for the recently arrived to wait until the next Judgement Day (I’ll explain how it all works in another post) but it’s effectively like a resort – hotel like rooms, swimming pools and saunas, spa treatments, food and drink on order, the works. It’s lovely and always an interesting place to visit with the good and the great mingling with the absolute worst of humanity and everyone in between.  Staff are able to  use the facilities for a nominal fee but like most areas where the public gather we’re  not supposed to be there unless we have a booking or some valid reason to be there, but with the influx of newly arrived celebrities a few too many people have been loitering around the reception complex, trying to spot a celebrity and generally  getting in the way.

The upshot of all this was a ‘please behave’ reminder email to everyone was requested and I was the one who had to write it. Everyone was warned that we risked loosing privileges if people didn’t behave.  The thing is I get it, I’ve been trying to come up a valid reason  to go to the reception complex for the last couple of weeks on the off chance I’d see David Bowie or Alan Rickman  but I’m smart enough to not randomly hang around reception, getting in everybody’s way.

Not only have I spoilt everyone’s fun but I’ve had to deal with hundred’s of ‘but I have reservations’ emails because no one reads their emails properly. I really do hate the days when I have to step into the Big Bad Wolf part of the HR role an ruin everyone’s fun.

Week One in Hell

 

The big move has happened and I now officially work in Hell.  Friday was tough – my old boss and our HR Admin had their last day and as did a few other people from other departments which was pretty sad, and then  there were the people who are staying in the new smaller Heaven base who I won’t see anywhere near as often.

Monday was my first official day working in Hell and it’s definitely going to be interesting especially given the makeup of the team.  When they put our team together they obviously wanted to have someone from each of the old teams – I’m guessing for continuity and consistency. So, my new boss, Athena comes from the main Mythic Inc team and is a bit of a legend, she sorted out the Troll union issues and they’ve had their longest period without a strike in over a century. The other HR Advisor has worked in Hell for about a year and pretty much exactly what you imagine someone who wants to work in hell looks like; imagine the most Goth girl from your high school amplify the goth and age her 12 years and you’ve got Morgan.  We’ve also got an HR Administrator starting next week who’s a new hire (that’s always a steep learning curve!) which rounds out the team.

While I know they wanted a mix of people from the old teams, I probably was the only realistic choice from my old team.  I was always the cynical one of the team and if I’m really honest they could be a bit ‘Pollyanna’ at times.  Our HR Admin just took redundancy without applying for any of the roles in the new structure, I think the that just the thought of working in Hell offended her delicate sensibilities.  Hell really isn’t that bad, if you look at it from an interesting psychological study point of view it’s especially interesting – we have the worst people who have ever lived here, so what sort of people guard and punish people like that? Seriously, It’s a psychologist’s dream.

Mostly this week has been sorting out processes (we all had processes for things that were very similar but also quite different) and generally figuring out how we’re going to work together.  We have already had a couple of issues to deal with which are REALLY interesting, way more interesting that anything I dealt with in Heaven.  So all up not a bad start to life in Hell. I’m sure life will only get weirder from here.

Even HR People get downsized

devil

I know what people think of HR, so it’s not like I’m expecting sympathy but you know what? Sometimes we get made redundant, downsized or relocated too.  And you know what else? We don’t like it much more than the rest of you.  Sure,  we probably have a better understanding of it and there’s pretty much zero chance of us taking it personally and yeah, sometimes we’re the ones that come up with the redundancy plan but it’s still not the most fun in the world. It also means that we know all the various terms which mean ‘get your C.V sorted’ that are used to avoid mass panic in consultation meetings, so we move to the ‘crap I’m out’ stage a whole lot quicker than others.

I guess a bit of back ground is in order. I’m Celeste and for the last 2 years I’ve been the HR Advisor for Heaven.  Yes, actual heaven – Angels, fluffy  clouds, that infernal harp music at reception – heaven.  I loved it, the view from my office was spectacular, everyone was nice and my boss was awesome.  But times change and things aren’t what they once were so there’s been a merger – Heaven and Hell have merged to form Afterlife Services and we’re all one division of Mythic Inc.  At the same time Mythic Inc  have decided to centralise everything and just have one shared services HR team across all divisions which does mean my role will be more varied – I’ll be recruiting everything from tooth fairies to Santa to minions for the deepest circle of hell and the employee issues will be WAY more interesting.

Because Hell has all the money we’ve had to move down to their offices which on the surface look really fancy but aren’t anywhere near as nice as my old office. There’s no view, the aircon is WAY too hot and the whole place kind of smells. But I guess I have to get over that because  I’m lucky to have a job – there aren’t too many roles in my line of work in the mythical creature/world religion industry and as I said my new role will be more interesting.  Of course all the worst people come to hell, despite what you may have read, you don’t end up here by going to the wrong church, swearing or being marrying someone some church says you shouldn’t – you have to actively choose to do awful things; this means that some of the  people you have to deal with aren’t your usual employees, I mean would you want to work for Satan?

So I officially move next week, I’ve had my site induction over the last couple of days which has really made me realise just how different work is  going to be from now on. I’ve also been meaning to start a blog for a while and thought it might be interesting to track what it’s like to go through a merger like this.  And really – don’t you want to know what’s like to work in Hell?

Disclaimer

This blog is (obviously) a work of fiction.  No disrespect is meant to any religion or religious figure mentioned in this blog.  The author is agnostic and is happy sitting on the fence and would like to believe in a higher being with a plan but would also like to believe in unicorns.