This is an amazing read, and an even more pertinent concern. This problem has been prevalent for millennia; and from the comments to the LinkedIn post, the prevalence is evident.
This question is part of a larger set of questions I have pondered on in recent years. I fondly call it the “Quest for Origins”. It presents itself in many forms. The original post is one. More examples are:
- “Who takes the photographer’s picture?”
- “Who listens to the therapist?”, and
- “Who takes care of the caretaker’s daughter while the caretaker is out there taking care?” …which is my most favorite instance.
I’ll continue this line of thought with the original post’s question.
Who takes care of HR?
The short answer is “no one”. That’s it. That’s the reality of the matter. This doesn’t mean all is bleak, by the way; because the HR can be taken care of. The photographer’s picture can be taken. No one takes care of the HR, but the emphasis should be on “one”. My pondering stands the risk of being considered shallow because dates to sound like a thesis but lacks empirical backing, it is all intuition and thought experiments. So take this with a grain — no, bag — of salt.
From my thoughts, there are two approaches to solving this problem: “structural”, or “amorphous”. These two bank on two of the basic human hormones: serotonin and oxytocin, respectively.
The Structural Approach
The way industry has solved this is the former: creating intricate structures in hierarchies. This does not solve the problem totally. It only pushes the problem further into the future, further up the hierarchy. When someone gets to the top of said hierarchy, the problem re-presents itself with the same strength as before. This is mind-stunning, isn’t it? A problem seemingly solved reappearing hints to a poor job was done while solving it. This is expected. The structural method is a patch method. Since it brings momentary respite and is good for the mechanism of business, industry moves on.
The Amorphous Approach.
This is a more communal approach. In the amorphous method, no one is directly responsible for another; in sharp contrast with the “Structural”. However, from aggregating many on the same level, with the same request, the effort which cannot be mustered by oneself to solve the problem can be borrowed from the group. This group is usually formed of individuals with the same leveling; could be skill set, experience, or some higher order derived identity grouping. This amorphous method, in society, is seen as unions, collectives, bodies, and so on. The adulteration of unions and other amorphous forms of support structure in our society is in the need to have a representation; thereby a representative. This quickly devolves the union from the abstract amorphous into the deterministic structural — but I digress.
What to do?
The solution I have found for the “Quest of Origins” is neither in the structural, not the amorphous, but in the tango between them two. This puts emphasis on me — or the person undergoing this quest — to craft a means of support unique to their quest. In a sense, reaching this point is an indication that a mind is ripe for entrepreneurship — the scaling of this mindset is for a different conversation. In my case, I setup multiple structural and amorphous groups: join a team with a clear reporting line, have a group of colleagues in said workplace to bounce ideas off, have friends with the same skill set outside the workplace to meet with occasionally, have mentees to teach the experience I’ve garnered. This is sort of a “cardinal” approach, if I may coin a name. It fixes the problem in a north, west, east, south approach respectively.
Hope this helps throw more light on your conundrum. I’m open to discussing more about this, if you wish.