Occasionally job seekers can get a little overzealous in their efforts to follow-up. After one too many “urgent” phone calls that pulled me out of a meeting, in 2002 we changed our employment page to request that applicants submit applications "Attn: Warren Burns", which people infer to mean that a person named Warren Burns is in charge of HR. Thereafter, when anyone declared they had an urgent call for or (unscheduled) meeting with Warren Burns, we knew the true nature of their request. And so we could factually declare “Sorry, he’s not available right now” to a caller, we assigned the name to a Betta fish that lives in our office.

Brett&WarrenHowever, after many years, Latitude Geographics has decided to retire Warren Burns, our human resources fish.

First, his cover was blown back in 2006 after he got subpoenaed to testify as a witness in a court case (we think the fact that the defendant’s lawyer subpoenaed a fish speaks volumes as to his relevance/connection to the case) and he got profiled in the local media. Thanks to Google, many candidates started making references to the fact they were applying to a fish in their cover letters. We once even had a candidate show up to their interview with fish food.

Second, we’ve had an actual human being dedicated to HR for about a year, and Warren Burns just adds unnecessary explanation and work to Brett’s world. When Brett gets “urgent” calls, he’s got a good hunch what they’re about. Brett has also pointed out that he, on paper anyway, reports to a fish. Funny, but stuff like this get stale after a while.

Warren Burns will remain on board in an advisory capacity on the bookshelf in my office.