Time for a post that comes directly from the mailbag. I love this question (and can't believe I don't get it more often).
Q: I know you work with a lot of large companies so want to get your take on something. Is my HR Department really looking out for my best interest, or do I need to watch everything I share with them.
A: A good HR department is on your side. A good HR department is also on the company's side. Let me explain... a best-in-class HR department is led by a leader who knows that he/she has a job because she/he is protecting the company. That same HR leader also knows that the best way to protect the company is to also protect its greatest assets – its human resources.
Many companies – especially modern, progressive companies – successfully follow that model. The reality, however, is that many HR departments do not have your best interest in mind. As such, treat your relationship with HR just as you would with anyone you are building a relationship with. Do not divulge the details of anything unless the HR Rep has earned your trust.