People are born. People die. Between birth and death, they spend a good chunk of time working. The law of diminishing returns is true about work as it is true about most things in life. Work starts to feel boring and meaningless over time. Productivity goes to hell in a handbasket.
What is the counterfoil of reality? Illusion. HRD at its best is like a Bollywood film maker. It is a manufacturer of illusions on a daily basis. Good HRD professionals can give people illusions that can get them to suspend critical reasoning about their own lives, values and priorities. These illusions can get people to think about their own lives, values and priorities through the prism of the corporation. There's a cottage industry of academics and consultants who help HRD professionals create these illusions.
Don't get me wrong. Illusions are powerful. If they weren't we would not be standing in queues to buy movie tickets or buy/rent videos and DVDs. And companies would not be forking out cash to advertise their products and services.
Illusions created by HRD professionals are even more complex and powerful than those made by the film maker and the advertising man. A film maker creates illusions that can draw and keep individuals from thinking about or acting on their human needs like food and sex for three hours once in a while. A HRD professional's creates illusions that can draw and keep individuals from thinking about or acting on their human needs like food and sex for a minimum of eight hours every single day.
The illusions that HRD professionals create can get people to be quite happy working 50 - 70 per cent more than what they are paid to do. They can persuade people that advancing in the career is better than building relationships with one's spouse and children. They can help people forget that a company is a creation of humans but not a human in itself and therefore incapable of caring for them. These illusions are critical for people to feel that sacrifing equity, relationships, food, and sex is a worthwhile and noble thing to do at the altar of work is a noble and desirable thing to do.
HRD professionals are in the business of allowing people to experience meaning-and-happiness-in-the-moment. Our tools are illusions. Our technology is the language and artefacts of trust, team, temperament, org. and job designs, process management, 360 degree feedback, performance management, org. culture, communication, compensation, right sizing, outplacement and so on.
Therefore, sit back and relax. Then, let your mind mosey on to the Bank. Ask yourself, what do you feel about your work at the Bank? What's making it meaningful and worth doing? Have you stayed back at the Bank after office hours? What made you do so? What was it that you believed could not have waited another day? How did you feel about staying back? If you stayed back and felt lousy about it, what could the Bank have done differently so that you'd have felt better? Jot down these ideas as they come and you'll find the answer to your questions.
To sum it all up, if you want to differentiate yourself as an HR professional, look at reality in the eye. Know what you are dealing with. Draw your line based on your ethics and standards. There is absolutely no shame or crime in being an illusion maker. Just make the best damn illusions.