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Not the Sharpest Tools Dumb Questions Asked of HR by Employees

June 1, 1999
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Related Topics: The HR Profession, Featured Article
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If you’re among those who believe that there are no dumb questions, read no further. If, on the other hand, you’re among those who believe you’ve heard it all, read on: Perhaps you haven’t. Here are some of the most memorable examples of dumb questions, along with some thoughts on how we might have answered them:

  1. Can I have my salary deferred until next year so I don’t have to pay taxes this year? I don’t need the money this year.
    You may not need the money this year, but the IRS does.
  2. I falsified my résumé. Now that I’m working here, can I change it?
    Sure. Can we change your employment status?
  3. Which exit should I use on the evacuation map—primary or secondary?
    Which thought process were you using when you asked that question? Primary or secondary?
  4. Why do we have to offer family leave to male employees?
    Because male employees have families, and if we don’t they’ll leave.
  5. Can my supervisor require me to have specific working hours?
    We could waive the requirement if you waive the requirement that we provide a specific paycheck at a specific time.
  6. Can I wear a swimsuit and towel on casual day?
    It’d be appropriate for taking a dip in the job candidate pool.
  7. Every day my supervisor tells me to stop chatting and get back to work. Can he do that?
    Yes. Now get back to work.
  8. Will you give me a raise if I stop smoking marijuana?
    Sorry. There’s no rainbow at the end of this pot.
  9. I know I’ve been terminated, but shouldn’t the insurance plan cover the hospital bills from the birth of my baby since the child was conceived in accordance with the guidelines of the insurance policy manual?
    Sorry. We’ve read the manual, too, and we can’t conceive how we can help.
  10. Since my mother and father both died before I came to work at this company, will I be credited for bereavement leave I didn’t have to take?
    Well, you’ve apparently been credited with intelligence you don’t intend to use, so let’s call it even.

Workforce, June 1999, Vol. 78, No. 6, p. 44.

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