Generally speaking

One of the most difficult questions for me to answer is in what areas to do want to develop, learn or want training.

It’s not for lack of wanting to develop, but rather from a fear of boxing myself in. I have a hard time choosing – I want to learn and dabble in just about all areas.

Of course there are things I prefer to do more than others. I mean, I am happy to watch from the sidelines when the compensation team hits the field; however, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to understand the rules of the game or player stats.

And then there are areas that I dive in and don’t climb out of those waters until I’m seriously waterlogged and have prune fingers.

Every Christmas (well to be truthful it’s really in August) my mother starts hounding me about gift ideas. I refuse to cooperate until around mid-October and even then I’m stingy. Perhaps this speaks to some lingering adolescent petulance (and that might be the case), but it’s also because I get almost paralyzed by coming up with a few ideas.  I don’t even know what I want to get myself…how can I possible tell someone else what I want them to get me.

I’ve been very frank about my feelings around Christmas, so you can only imagine how my head spins around performance objective setting time.  It is really challenging for me because it’s just so damn hard to narrow my choices down. How do I pick only a few – there’s so much out there ?

I often wondered whether it would be better to specialize or remain a generalist in HR. I had an inkling that I should find some key area, latch on to it, and rock the shit out of it. After all, “generalist” sounds so sale, so ordinary, so middle of the road.   So I made my pro / cons lists, weighed my options, evaluated my motivational level, and did a bit of soul-searching and realized that I’m cool with staying in the Generalist role.

After all, as The Pretenders so aptly put it, “in the middle of the road you see the darndest things”.

Undoing kindergarten: You don’t have to share everything

There was a time when information was THE ultimate currency.  It was so precious that it in some instance “a little knowledge’ was considered “a dangerous thing”.

Today – information is like a Starbucks.  You can find it anywhere and in ridiculous combinations and sizes.

Big data?! Whatever.  You can have Venti data.

And because of this over abundance of easily accessed information – there has been a serious devaluation.

People treat information like it means nothing, particularly when it is of the personal nature.  Oh I am sure there are many who will call it knowledge-sharing.  All in the name of the greater good.  More often than not, I see it as one-upping.  As in, who can provide the latest and greatest news before anyone else.

Today, if I so desired, I could share just about anything I wanted with my immediate circle or the whole wide (connected) world in a matter of seconds.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, this blog, Instagram, email, …. click, click, click. Shared

What I ate for breakfast, where I am standing, who I’m with, my state of mind, my opinion, a photo of someone else, my opinion on the photo of someone else, the weather, self-promotion, promotion of someone else, someone else’s opinion, my opinion on someone else’s opinion, love, hate, frustration, anger, melancholy.

All of it.  All of the time.

No boundaries.

You know, I could also re-paint the exterior of my house hot pink. It would take a little longer, but it would be out there for all those that pass by to see. I would be sharing it – whether they want to see it or.

Of course I’m not likely to repaint the house (at least not hot pink) anytime soon – it takes effort and quite honestly the novelty would wear off pretty quick and I’m stuck with my Barbie house until I undo the damage.

Sharing my information via the interweb however…well that takes no effort whatsoever.   I don’t have to even think about it.  However the lasting effect and impact is a lot longer.

And before anyone feels like I’m about to launch into an after school special about the dangers of posting things online, I’m not.  If you are reading this blog then you are likely an intelligent adult and know all the playground rules about social media.

What I’m trying to establish is that we have become so incredibly accustomed to sharing information that I think we are losing touch with  whether or not it should be shared.

It never ceases to amaze me when employees share personal information about their pay, about their performance reviews, about conversations they had with others.  Think it’s all just hearsay? Nope – I’ve seen the texts that back it up. It boggles my mind.

A transparent process or workplace does not mean that you should draft an email about what your colleague told me she got as a performance review.  An equitable and inclusive workplace does not mean ensuring that you share everyone’s information equally.

Repeat after me: ” I do not have to share everything.  I am not obligated to pass along every tidbit of information I overhear or come by. It is not necessary to reveal every last detail about all aspects of my personal and professional life.”

Now copy and paste the last statement and post that on all your accounts.

 

 

 

Attention. Attention please.

It goes without saying that if I’m aiming to write an HR blog, then I should be the one giving advice, telling people how it is, and griping about the reality of things.

Oh and where’s my seat at the table?

And how about them engagement scores.

To clarify, this isn’t a formal HR blog (fortunately for me), it’s a blog that frequently refers to HR-related things.  This variation allows me a ridiculous amount of freedom in saying stuff like…I think management has it backwards, it’s not the employees that have an over-developed sense of entitlement, it’s themselves.  Really – you pay people to work.  You don’t own them.  You are not entitled to every ounce of time and attention that they possess.

It makes me think of the scene in The Social Network where Mark Zuckerburg zones out and is called on it by being asked, “Do I have your full attention?” and his rebuttal includes this gem “…you have part of my attention, you have the minimum amount…the rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook…”

You have to understand that a some time or another that’s how most of us feel.  Some week’s it might be more than less.  Sometimes that’s how we feel at work.  Sometimes it’s how we feel at home.

Picture this : You are sitting in yet another meeting and your mind is back in your work space thinking about the 150 emails and requests that are coming in, how you need to get the day-to-day done, what glorious objectives we are going to set for yourself this year, and well, whether there will be a next year.

Meantime, you catch yourself zoning out and realize that when you re-join the meeting 15 minutes later, nothing has happened.  So then you zone out again, but this time you are thinking about what you are going to make for dinner, how you are going to be in two places at once at 6:30 pm, and whether or not your teen is just going through a “phase” or whether it’s something more serious.

You are then snapped back to reality when someone asks you a question and you don’t know what it was – so you ask them to repeat it.

Do you have an opinion on the project?

Yes, you have concerns about a few of the keys functions that will not meet your requirements – sure they look good and might do part of the job, but it won’t necessarily be more efficient – it will be the same, in a fancier box….

(Blank looks, blinking eyes)

Okay – Alright then. So it’s go then.

….

And THAT is why employees check out.  That is why their focus is easily diverted to other areas and concerns that have seemingly more meaning and impact in our lives.

Presuming that you deserve your employee’s complete and full attention at all times is unrealistic at best.  Particularly if the attention that is given is disregarded.

Happy Monday.