To Do List…version 2

I am a To Do List kind of person.  Not only do they help me get a sense of what I need to do, but they also act as a visual reminder of how much I am procrastinating, as well as how I continually over-estimate what I am capable of doing in a reasonable amount of time.

In fact, I have been known to add items to a list after doing these things, just so that I can have a false sense of accomplishment.

Indulge me as I unfold a heavily crinkled piece of paper from 2015 and update it…

paper

Things that I need to do:

  1. Write on my blog
  2. Read other people’s blogs
  3. Catch up on Twitter
  4. Tweet
  5. Accept that I have moved on from my last job position
  6. Embrace my new job position
  7. Re-prioritize this list.

Okay, let’s start again…

  1. Read other people’s blogs so that I will be inspired to…
  2. Write on my own blog
  3. Then tweet about writing on my own blog
  4. Catch up on Twitter
  5. Embrace my new job position
  6. Emerge from the shell-shock state induced by my last job Build on what I learned in my last position
  7. Question my priorities again

One more time…

  1. Read other people’s blog to inspire and motivate me
  2. Actually take the time to comment on these blogs
  3. Don’t bother catching up on Twitter…you can’t…it’s over..move on
  4. Tweet something irreverent or edible
  5. Embrace my new job position and the new team I get to work with
  6. Do not look back (“…it distracts from the now”)
  7. Write about my priorities on my blog

That’s it…that’s still the one.

 

(A great big thank you to Michael Carty for giving that last bit of inspiration I needed to dust off the blog.  I happen to embrace his message and can honestly that for the most part, I always assumed no one was reading!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps I am being overly dramatic…

I know that I have come to  a pivotal point in my life when I actually find myself wanting to  quote a Kenny Rogers song.  I will give you a minute to Google who he is (or remind yourself, if you used to know).

…(cue elevator music)…

So the Gambler is one of those songs that is lame and cheesy and makes you roll your eyes, unless you are a few pints in and sitting around a bonfire, in which case it becomes the best song in the world to sing at the top of your lungs with four or five other similarly inebriated friends (or so I’ve heard).

It has the infamous lines: “You have to know when to hold ’em/ Know when to fold ’em\ Know when to walk away/ Know when to run”

And so, these lines must have some how become stuck in my subconscious with repetition  (the song did come out when I was a kid) because I have frequently found myself assessing whether my current situation is worth sticking out or whether to just walk away.

In fact, it really must have become so ingrained in me that I tended to lean heavily on the walk/ run end of things.  My poor unfortunate first boyfriends…they didn’t have a chance…one wrong word or move and I was like, “ya, I’m done – you can blame Kenny Rogers”.

In fact, this carried over to my HR career too.  At the time that my HR career started, I was at a much more confident place in my life and that, coupled with my “it’s just a job” attitude, I didn’t have qualms about moving along if I didn’t like what I saw on the horizon or in some cases, if I didn’t really connect with my environment or boss.

As a result, I *may* have become a bit cocky about this in thinking that I am always going to be the one making the choices and calling the shots.  I took it for granted that if things were not connecting for me, then I would walk/run on my terms.  And so, it came as a big ole slap in my face when I recently found out that my manager is moving into a new role.

Now what you have to understand is that I have never worked for someone in HR that I have admired, respected, and been motivated by as I have with my current boss.

I have worked for many good people, but this is different. I am inspired, I am learning, I’m actually *nicer*…I mean, I ask you, when was my last snarky post? When was my last post?! Exactly!

All hysterics aside, I am extremely happy for her, as she is still staying with our organization and she really is destined for bigger things, but I am incredibly and selfishly pissed off that she is playing the Gambler card on me (because yes, it is all about me).

Managers are not supposed to leave their employees…employees are suppose to leave managers (if they are bad) and stay if they are good.  She is good.  She is really good.  So I was holding my cards…I was staying.  I was really staying.  No walking or running in the foreseeable future.

But she is walking….My reality has become the Matrix…no, no it’s more like Inception.

No, it’s a “train bound for nowhere” .

Lights dim.

Curtains fall.

Cue Kenny Rogers.

 

 

Sustainable and renewable blog posts

Recycling is not only an encouraged, but expected practice these days.

For that reason, I would like to re-use, renew and recycle a blog post that I wrote awhile back.

Often times we focus on those people that provide us with support at work or complain about those that make our lives difficult. I’m no exception – I’ve been happy to dish on both accounts, but today I wanted to mention someone who has not only supported me in my work, but in pretty much every facet of my life.

Today is my wedding anniversary and I can honestly say, without any pretense of sucking up, that marrying my husband was the best decision I have ever made. Truthfully it started well before we got married, but that was the official start line, I suppose.
That was the starting point for all that we have now – our home, our kids, and our future.
He has been with me through my late teenage years, young adulthood, and now approaching (ahem) mid-life. He has seen me and stuck by me through all my phases, moods, highs and lows. He has been my biggest supporter and sometimes my harshest critic. And I his.
I have often been asked how could I have possibly known at twenty-two (or even seventeen for that matter) that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. That’s tough to answer because it was one of the few things in my life that I didn’t over-analyze so I didn’t have rationale beyond that I just knew. 
I did try to explain it once by saying that I was sure about him because we had gone a number of road trips and when that inevitable silence fell, we were both comfortable and content with just driving. There was no need to force a conversation, to entertain the other person, or worry whether there was something wrong. We enjoyed each other’s company throughout the trip – not just when we got to our destination.
I realize that this sounds counterintuitive coming from someone whose job it is to discourage people from relying solely on their gut. Someone who encourages analysis, supporting documentation, and asking questions. 
Thankfully I don’t always live my life the way I work. 
So now, 22 years later, how can I say that this is still the person that I was to spend the rest of my life with…I still don’t have an eloquent answer, but I can say that I still just know and we are still enjoying the road trip, whatever the destination. 
 Happy anniversary. 

 

6 Signs That You Should Keep Your Blog

I recently grumbled that there is a lot of blah, blah, blah out there, particularly in the realm of HR.

I am sure this is prevalent in all areas, but since I don’t read blogs written by accountants or econometricians, I can only surmise that there are only so many ways you can bitch about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or roll your eyes about having to explain linear regression…again.

And one of the surest signs that things are heading south is when you have to resort to the How To List.

Oh and not just any How To List. But a list that will solve all your problems.  A list that is composed of items of such blatant common sense that it will smack you in the face with its true-ness.  A list that will simplify and reduce complex issues like relationships, emotions, and strategic human resources to five easy steps.

Now it bears pointing out that the How To List  is a distinctly different breed than the listing of items.  One is the entire message, the other is purely the medium.

I am not anti-list.  I am anti sell-out.

Recently I explored the idea of sharing my wisdom and wit when I was asked to write a few posts for another blog.  It was a paid gig and I thought, why not give it a g.  Well, first let me clarify that in my naiveté, I mistook “contribute content” for “”writing blog posts”.

That was my first lesson.

I was then asked to submit sample work, which I did in the form of links to selected blog posts that I was particularly proud of (read: had no swearing in them), as well as potential post topic ideas.

The topics were somewhat approved and I was then given some guidance in terms of word count (completely understandable), the target audience (a new concept for me, as I have never assumed there was an audience), and finally the format: all posts were to be in the form of “how-to lists”, ideally with five bullets. No other writing was really necessary (and I suspect at risk of being edited out).

That was my second lesson.

If sarcasm is the sour cream of wit, then how-to lists are the saltine crackers of blog posts.

Needless to say, after serious consideration and deliberating, I decided to pass on this golden opportunity to sell my soul.  And to celebrate, I am going to include a list of six (not five!) reasons why I am going to keep plugging away at my blog.

  1. Someone has to stay old school and keep balance in the universe.
  2. Because when @neilmorrison  tips his hat, it’s generally a good sign.
  3. I finally found something new to vent about (and it’s not HR).
  4. I discovered that it is possible to have an engaging conversation through post comments.
  5. I now have a muse/enabler who is both inspiring and double-daring me to keep going.

And the final reason I am going to keep my blog going:

  1. Because I like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting myself in the foot

I was hesitant to open my blog, because it’s been so long and I had the same feeling I have when I open a Tupperware dish that has been sitting in the back of my fridge for months. I know it’s going to be bad, but just how bad…well that’ s the unknown isn’t.

So, as with the leftover sauce that I told myself I would eat the next day, it’s been months and there is a layer of mould and funky smell coming from this blog.  I attribute it partially to amount of time that has gone by and partially to the topic.  I mean, HR does go bad very quickly.

In fact, and this is not meant as disrespect to the many great bloggers out there, but I have not read an HR post in months.  I attribute it partially to the amount of time that I have and partially to the topic.  I mean, HR does get repetitive very quickly.

I have never really seen the appeal to most of the reality shows out there…Big Brother, The Bachelor, the whatever….I just don’t enjoy watching people intentionally put themselves into situations that make them look stupid and then act like they have somehow been wronged.  And the worst thing about reality shows is the insidious viral factor.  It’s not enough to have one version, we have to have spin-offs and the god-foresaken celebrity version.

And that brings me back to HR blogs.

(You can probably see where I am going with this, and at the risk of unintentionally insulting people, I will leave it at that.)

I mean, I am not shitting on HR blogs.  I am just saying that there is really only a limited amount of things that can be said about it…and a lot of people are tying to come up with new ways of saying it.  So a quick scan of my reader can feel like scrolling the tv channel guide…300 channels and not much on.

Of course, this could just be an extension of my increasingly jaded view about organized HR ,certification, and the need to up the ante to continue to be part of a club that is slowly becoming less relevant to me.

I have always endeavoured to write what I think about all kinds of things and for a long time, it was about HR.  The reality is that these days I don’t think about HR much more than I have to…I don’t lie awake at night imaging a better performance management system or how to incorporate gamificaton into our recognition program or how best to demonstrate the ROI of HR on business lines.

If work keeps me awake, it’s because there is a difficult conversation I need to have with a manager or I am trying to figure out how the hell I am going to do all that needs to be done in a timeframe that feels like it’s shrinking.

Forget dreaming of innovative HR practices and key metrics…I dream of falling down the rabbit hole and how long it will take me to reach the bottom.

I admire those individuals that are able to create links between the what exists and what can be.  The people who question and challenge.  The people that make me stop and think.  I will continue to follow and read those that continue to inspire me.

As for whether people feel the same about my drivel. To each their own and I respect your choice to move along.

 

 

 

Being clear about transparency

Transparency.

Apparently everyone wants it.  We want to know everything about everything.  We want to understand that reasons for all decisions, we want to know all the ingredients in our food, we want the ability to scrutinize the minutiae of every conversations that has ever been had.

Transparency is about being open, honest, and accountable.

On a macro scale, businesses are being held to higher standards and, as such, need to be prepared to open the books to rationalize and defend their practices.

On a micro scale, I believe that there is less clarity about transparency.  How much is too much? How honest is too honest?  When brought down to the level of a one-on-one conversation, transparency gets a bit murky.

If I can take a step out of the workplace for a moment and consider some of my personal relationships, I can attest  that being more transparent and honest has not always worked in my favour.

I spent most of my childhood and a good deal of my adult life wearing a mask around certain members of my family – keeping the peace, being tolerant, not rocking the boat.  And then after a number of life-altering and mind-numbing situations, I was forced to rethink this coping mechanism. And so I took off the mask.

The result has left me with more energy, more calmness, and a better sense of self.  So far, honesty and openness seemed to be positive.  However, this “new” me has created friction and confusion with some who would prefer that I go back to being a nicer person. Not so many points being scored here.

The reality is that I am not always a nice person, I can be moody, cranky, opinionated, stubborn, and sarcastic (for the record, I list this one in both pro and con categories).  If I am going to have an open and honest conversation with someone, there is a chance that one of the above is going to make an appearance.

I will be the first to say that being honest does not give you license to be an asshole, but nor should it condemn you to being a mean and hurtful person.  There is a balance to be had and that is where I was going with the notion of transparency.

Being completely open and honest is a good objective; however, this needs to be tempered with the risks that might be triggered by doing so.  So, am I proposing selective transparency?  Well….no…well, maybe…kind of…it depends.

Can you be transparent without revealing all? Can you be open and honest without saying every single thing that comes to mind?

In terms of businesses, is it absolutely necessary to lay all the cards on the table when there is no added value, but possible risks, in doing so?  I am not proposing hiding details – I am talking about measured and tempered communication.  Kind of like the old film noir that didn’t have to show every graphic detail to explain what was going on.   Enough was said and shown to get the message across.

Now I recognize that every day communication and practices aren’t always that black and white (hehe), but I think that if you avoid the trend of hyping up every message with a light show and heavy bass beat, you might find somewhere in the middle that meets most people’s needs.

Of course, when it comes to transparency, it’s clear that you will never please everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

My honest opinion 

Recently a friend who was actively looking for work asked me my opinion on a job she wanted to apply to.

She had me at “your opinion”.

She was struggling with striking the right tone in response to the job posting that included this gem: “able to get shit done”.

I had to laugh because we have all wanted to say something like that in an ad. Come on. You totally did.

However my friend was a bit offended and thought it was unprofessional. She was asking me for ideas on how to respond to that point without going there.

My suggestion was that she either play along or don’t bother. Either you answer in kind and tell them how you are an expert shit handler or you take a pass on the job.  I mean the whole point of using a line like that is to ensure that anyone who would be put off by it would not apply.

I agree with my friend that it was not professional, in the traditional sense; however, it would be less of a shock to see this upfront than to discover after the fact that the “professional” company you just joined was just a front for the Trailer Park Boys fan club.

I am a fan of being honest and upfront, from both the employer and the candidate perspective.  Perhaps we are all so conditioned to play the games, read between the lines of the job ad/ résumé, and hold our cards close to our chest that it is hard to conceive that someone actually means what they are saying.

While I don`t think it`s necessary for employers to have to go so far as to attract candidates by being shocking or controversial, I do think it`s a good idea for them to be honest about who they are, so that candidates can make the right decision to either apply or keeping on walking by.

Of course, that`s just my opinion.