Worker Gets Condescending '10 Things That Require Zero Talent' List From HR Rep Asking Them To 'Do Extra' Work

Along with 9 other infantilizing items, the HR rep cleverly slipped in the idea of unpaid overtime.

Image of HR rep's list asking employees to do extra work Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

No offense to all the wonderful HR professionals out there, but HR reps don't exactly have the greatest reputation among workers. One Reddit user's recent experience is just one example of why.

The worker received a list of suggestions from their HR rep that were not only condescending, but also cleverly slipped in the suggestion that workers do unpaid overtime.

The worker received a list of '10 Things That Require Zero Talent,' which included asking employees to do extra work.

The worker posted the list to the internet's favorite place to gripe about workplace annoyances — not to mention capitalism itself — Reddit's "r/antiwork" subreddit.


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The list will resonate with practically anyone who's ever worked for a big company with a Human Resources department, but it also feels a bit like a sign of the times. Especially in our era of trends like "quiet quitting," the list feels emblematic of just how frustrated so many people are with their work-life nowadays.

"Thanks HR lady (for treating me like a child)," Redditor u/lorifejes, captioned the post. Their irritation with the list is understandable — every word conjures up an image of a finger-wagging schoolmarm, and the list's tone and content read like the most passive-aggressive, infantilizing buzzkill imaginable.


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The list included micromanaging suggestions that employees monitor their 'body language' and 'attitude,' and then said they should all be 'doing extra' at their jobs.

The title alone — "Ten Things That Require Zero Talent" — is an obvious mind game. It suggests that the recipient doesn't actually have any talent in the first place, but that they can still excel at their job by doing 10 basic things. (Personally, I'd respect you more if you just insulted me to my face.)

However, it's the 10 items themselves that most make the list problematic, and suggestions like "being on time," monitoring your "body language" and "attitude," and "passion" get to the heart of one of the biggest workplace debates nowadays — what are employers actually paying us for?

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hr rep's suggestion list asking employees to do extra workPhoto: Reddit

Nobody wants to work with an employee — let alone manage one — who takes every workday as an opportunity to vent their misery for 8-10 hours. But at the end of the day, we're being paid to complete a set of tasks each day, not to have "passion" or positive "body language." For most of us, the pay we're receiving isn't even sufficient.

Wages grew just 17.5% between 1979 and 2020 while productivity skyrocketed by nearly 62%, among the most inequitable economic situations you could possibly conjure. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported that, across the country, prices for everything from housing to groceries are rising so fast that most people find their wages don't remotely keep up, even with the wage growth the pandemic brought — which, it should be noted, has already begun to recede.


Expecting people to be effusively enthusiastic about their jobs, right down to the way they carry their body through the office when they're not being paid adequately to even do their jobs, is a bit much, and this HR rep's suggestion of "doing extra?" Well, it went over like a lead balloon.

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People online found the HR rep's list of suggestions ridiculous, especially since they felt it was just a covert way of asking employees to do extra work.

"My favorite part was 'doing extra,'" the person who posted the list wrote in response to a fellow Redditor, "bc in my book that’s called overtime." Nearly every Redditor said something similar in their responses to the HR rep's clever little list.


hr rep's suggestion list asking employees to do extra workPhoto: Reddit

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It certainly wasn't people's only gripe with the list, however. One user proposed an alternate list to be handed back to the HR rep, with "respect[ing] employees' time" and "always offer[ing] proper compensation for work done" being chief among their suggestions.


In a move that will resonate with anyone who's ever had a job that didn't appreciate them, the user was careful to stipulate that a "pizza party" does not constitute "proper compensation."

hr rep's suggestion list asking employees to do extra workPhoto: Reddit


It's not unreasonable to expect people to have a modicum of cordiality and competence on the job. But in a job market where wages are often insufficient, job security is a thing of the past, and employers repeatedly show their employees that they are entirely expendable, expecting them to light up a room while "doing extra" is a pretty audacious ask.

No wonder ideas like "act your wage" have become catchphrases. As Beyoncé once famously put it, "F you, pay me."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.