On March 20, 1995, a new character joined the cast of Dilbert, Scott Adams’ comic about the absurdities of office life. “I hired a new director of Human Resources to handle the downsizing,” said Dogbert to the Pointy-Haired Boss. “I need somebody who acts like a friend but secretly delights in the misery of all people.”

Catbert, the new hire, was supposed to make a onetime appearance, but he was so popular with readers that Adams made him a regular character: Catbert the Evil Human Resources Director. He takes pleasure in demoralizing, firing, and policing employees.

Although the Dilbert example may seem ancient now, it tells us just how long negative perceptions of HR have existed.


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