This is why people hate corporations.
It's not the only reason, but the mind numbering, soul-sucking automated, web-based world of modern human resources is a biggie.
As I have dealt with the bureaucratic details of my layoff, I am struck by how few humans there are in human resources.
And how little they can do for you even when you find one.
There were three components to my benefits package: health insurance, a 401(k) and a pension program. There is one toll-free number to begin accessing all of them, but once you enter the "choose 1 for health insurance, choose 3 for 401(k)" world of automated menus, it is all over.
None of the three areas can speak to each other, and the human beings you do reach, while uniformly polite, can do little to actually help you. They can, however, dutifully recite the web address you can go to find out more about what you need.
They never lose that neutral, keep-the-crazy-at-bay-by-never-raising-your-voice-even-as-they-do tone.
They are unfailingly nice when they put you on hold to find out if they can answer your questions.
And equally nice when they return to tell you that they cannot access that information, but you can find it at the website etc. etc. etc.
To be fair, when I was still employed by my ex, the system was the same. I merely wrote it off an annoying then. The ironic price my corporate overlords made me pay for streamlining human resources services to achieve an economy of scale across the company that will maximize resources and save money.
Now, as I navigate a process life between jobs, it seems to be more gruesome than that.
It is a massively stressful experience, losing a job, finding a new one, telling your kids it will be OK in the end, praying no one gets sick until the husband's insurance can kick in for the rest of us.
Transferring me endlessly to website after website, form bland-voiced disembodied voice to disembodied voice does not make me feel better about any of that.
Neither do the calls and emails from the outsourcing company my company has on retainer to "help me in my transition to the next phase of my career" -- by offering me weekly webinars on resume writing and LinkedIn profile building.
What did make me feel better was the woman -- a real, live, actual person -- at my husband's small company who helped me sign us up for health care coverage. She told me what to fill out on which line, to scan it and email it back and she would handle the rest.
It was such a relief to have that experience in the middle of this time that I cried tears of relief when I got off the phone with her.
Because she helped me. One person to another. How humane.