Ron Swanson is the man. If you’re not a Parks & Recreation devotee, I can’t recommend enough that you tune in if for no other reason than to enjoy his morsels of wit and wisdom. For the uninitiated, Ron Swanson is fictional Pawnee, Indiana’s, director of Parks & Recreation. He’s a crusty, deadpan, hard-core libertarian who objects to the very existence of his own employer. Thanks to the show’s mockumentary format, Ron treats viewers to a steady diet of quips and advice that are absolutely hilarious.
I have several favorites, and I’ve picked a few that touch on HR issues. Feel free to add others in the comments:
The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.
Sure, he sounds distant and callous. On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure Ron isn’t on to something here. One of the most difficult lessons for a new manager is learning that you’re no longer just one of the team. I often see employers in a bind because new front line managers don’t fully understand that they represent the company now, which means they have to lead—and occasionally discipline—employees who are friends. Don’t get me wrong–you want your managers to have a good relationship with employees, but an appropriate level of distance is healthy.
It’s always a good idea to demonstrate to your coworkers that you are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pain.
Again, we have some hyperbole here, but any good manager has to earn a certain level of respect. Now, in this particular scene, Ron just faked pulling his own tooth with a set of pliers. I think that’s a bit far to establish healthy respect or fear, but still….
There are three acceptable haircuts: high and tight, crew cut, buzz cut.
Ron is set in his ways. He keeps the same haircut (high and tight), wears the same Halloween costume every year, and eats (a lot of) the same food. This one could get him in trouble, though—woe unto the first Pawnee Parks & Rec employee who seeks a religious accommodation to this rather restrictive grooming preference.
Great job, everyone. The reception will be held in each of our individual houses, alone.
This one may not earn many friends, but it will certainly avoid the complications that come with the annual holiday party.
Child labor laws are ruining this country.
To be fair to Ron, I really think he’s saying … no, forget it. I don’t suggest that you take any lessons from this one.