For many years, I worked as a so-called “Executive Level HR practitioner”.  I think Northrop Grumman gave me the title because they ran out of titles. And, like many companies, I worked for they were very much into a hierarchy.

I originally worked for BDM international which was purchased by TRW and then again purchased by Northrop Grumman (NG). These companies had a romance with hierarchy as well.  But, it was not until I was with NG that I was truly exposed to the fact, that at my level, I was allowed a small plant in my office and a bronze looking trashcan. Those higher on the food chain were awarded by a similar office but their benefits included silver through gold items to decorate their office.  

Although I did basically the same work, my title kept changing and  I continued to do several things for the HR department. I handled employee relations, training, benefits, and eventually morphed into Organizational Development(OD).  My territory was not as exciting as my contemporaries. They were off to Paris, Madrid and even Morocco. My territory remained in areas such as Little Rock Arkansas, Oklahoma City, and Plainville Texas during my tenure with BDM/TRW/NG.

OD was rather new at the time and no one really understood what it meant.  But our stockholders wanted an OD person and obviously, that started with creating a steering committee, a policy, and a department because that’s how things are done in a defense firm. I was excited about the new opportunity and started taking classes and reading literature that might help me be the best OD practitioner ever!

But alas, not a lot changed.  I continued to work for the same group of people doing the same exact thing.  I was introduced, however, at least 30 different meetings that year as the Director of the new and improved OD Department. Since we never had an OD department, being introduced as new and improved, immediately help my credibility.  I was probably the most credible person assigned to OD in the history of defense who had no actual OD responsibilities.

Where is my job didn’t change much, my title, because I worked for a large defense firm, complete with a security clearance, many doors were open which led me to my next opportunity.  Of course, I had no idea, that at that next opportunity I would end up working for someone who was trying to kill me.

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