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A couple of months ago, a local friend was on a rant.

“You know what you can’t find down here?” she asked. “Good bread.”

I’ve been down this road with my local friends and neighbors, which is why I almost lost it on the spot.

First of all, Durham is sick with delicious bakeries. Cary has an awesome french bakery, too. If you can’t find good bread in RTP, you might as well pack it up and move back to New York because this part of the country is wasted on you.

So, yeah, I was pretty annoyed by the bread comment, but I was more annoyed that this woman is totally ABC — always be complainin’.

If it’s not bread, it’s the weather. If it’s not the weather, it’s the price of gas. If it’s not gas, it’s the people who run the local schools.

But, hey, I’m no fool. We hate things in other people that we hate in ourselves. Listening to this woman made me wonder — could I go 24 hours without complaining?

Three months later, I haven’t achieved that goal. I cannot go a full day without griping about something.

I want to practice gratitude, but it’s hard.

I am very thankful for my life. I am appreciative of my family and friends for humoring me when I’m being ridiculous. But something always sticks in my craw — from politics to neighborhood drama.

Being self-aware is helpful, though. I can catch myself in the act of being negative. I notice the spiral. I can stop and reframe how I truly feel.

And how do I feel?

I’m thankful. Always.

But making it 24 hours without complaining will always be a challenge for me. I am not going to listen to some suburban chick complain about the bread. First it’s bread, next it’s Obama.

You know how this works.

But I’m going to continue practicing gratitude and try to make it 24 hours without complaining. One day … it will happen. I am an optimist.

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stairsYears ago, I sat on a safety committee at work. I didn’t work with any factory employees, and I thought it was a dumb and boring assignment until a consultant came to a meeting and told us about all the ways people die on the job.

I don’t remember the statistics, but I do remember that he spent 15 minutes describing the multiple ways in which people slip, fall and die. You fall down the stairs more than you fall up. Women fall more than men. And if you’re walking down the stairs with something in your hand — like scissors or a pencil — you’ll probably impale yourself.

Who walks down a flight of stairs with a pencil in her hand? Some unlucky broad, that’s who.

So now it’s 2015, and I don’t think about my old HR training on a regular basis. Why would I? Those days are over.

Except I just recently fell down a flight of stairs in my own home. I was wearing a pair of socks. I have hardwood floors. I was on the phone. And my feet went out from under me and I took each one of these stairs on my right hip and elbow.

I was horrified. I didn’t scream while going down the stairs, but I dropped the phone. I was 100% sure it would be smashed, but thankfully it survived. (I’m due for an upgrade on March 5th, and that would have killed me more than the fall.)

I picked up the phone to apologize to the woman on the call, and I realized something impressive — she was still talking and didn’t even notice that I was gone.

Crazy.

If you google “slip and fall,” you will find yourself overwhelmed with a ton of information from personal injury attorneys. Skip that, but just remember that your job in human resources is to minimize risk for your entire enterprise. Safety — for employees who work at home, in the office, and on the shop floor — falls under that umbrella.

Might be time to brush up on some refresher training.

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recite-tdhrljI have complained non-stop about the snow. This winter has been a beast. And based on what I see on Facebook, your kids are driving you crazy.

But we barely suffer. When the weather is horrible, there are real consequences for American families.

Snow days amplify food insecurity. Some kids only eat when they go to school. Some people work in the restaurant industry and only eat when they go to work. People are going hungry, and it’s unfair and unnecessary.

Snow days hit the bottom line for many American families. Nobody is saving any cash, and if you earn an hourly wage, the weather has a big impact on your budget.

Snow days hurt people across the economic spectrum. There are working professionals — psychologists, health care workers, retail workers, restaurant owners, service providers — who don’t get paid if they don’t work. There is no such thing as a snow day when you don’t earn a salary.

I see this playing out in my own life. My dearest friend in the world is a dental hygienist. She has an undergraduate degree in liberal arts, worked in human resources for many years, and went back to school because she would rather scrape the shit off someone’s teeth than go through another open enrollment.

(That’s her quote.)

My friend has 6+ years of post-secondary education and certification training. She is licensed, board-certified, and constantly investing to become a better healthcare professional.

But snow days are her enemy. If she doesn’t work, she doesn’t get paid. While she is not living paycheck to paycheck, plenty of middle-class families are one disaster away from being bankrupt.

So I’ve been doing my part by listening to my friends who compain about weather and not brushing off those remarks. I’ve made donations to food banks. I am heavily tipping the hourly workers who make it to work at restaurants and coffee shops.

I’m also going out of my way to thank everyone who shows up and does a good job despite transportation issues, daycare schedules, and all the crazy stuff that happens when the infrastructure shuts down.

Those workers matter, and I’m sorry about all this snow.

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IMG_0163_2The weather has been très crappy in North Carolina. We had a freak amount of snow. Then we had ice. The skies are gray. The vibe is blue. My travel is a mess. I haven’t run in over 10 days. Not running is a dangerous thing for me. I am feeling moody and edgy, which is something one of my very first mentors warned me about.

You can’t solely rely on running to fight depression and anxiety. What if you get injured? What if there’s bad weather? You need multiple tools in your toolbox.

Sheesh, no joke. Those days are here.

I can’t run on a treadmill for shit, so it’s been a mix of binge eating, meditating, pilates and a seven-minute workout that I use in hotel rooms.

None of it works. I want to rip your face off and make you suffer. But instead of all that drama, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and go eat some chocolate.

Spring will be here soon. Hooray!

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I would like to apologize for live-tweeting major award ceremonies like the Oscars and the Grammys.

(What a waste of time. I’m sorry.)

I would like to apologize for commenting on what people are wearing while wearing yoga pants and my retainers. (I’m an ass.)

I would like to apologize for contributing to a social media environment where everybody chimes in on current events and tries to be funnier than the next person. (None of us are as funny as we think we are, and this is especially true in my case.)

I am starting to count up all the hours I’ve wasted being “witty” and “funny” and I realize — Christ, no wonder I don’t have a hardcover book.

My expertise falls into three categories: work, life, and cats. I have a discerning eye for when people are working and doing stupid things, and I know a lot of random shit about the world.

But I’m not a comedian, and neither are you.

Having made a few friends who are full-time comedic writers and actors over the past few years, I am beginning to see how most of them follow the Craig Ferguson model of tweeting.

# Does this need to be said?
# Does this need to be said by me?
# Does this need to be said now?

I’m going to start following this methodology ASAP.

And I’m going to take a standup writing workshop this year. Why the hell not? I have an inkling that I could be a comedian — or a comedic writer, at the very least — and I’d like to pursue that angle in my life.

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https_proxySince the 1990s, I have lived in 18 different locations, which includes two countries, four states, seven cities, a multiple of municipalities, several poorly-furnished corporate apartments — and I’ve had six cats (RIP, Lucy) and tons of foster animals.

Raleigh has been my home for seven years, and I love it, but most of you know that I was born in Chicago. I haven’t lived there for many years, and when I go back, the town is nearly unrecognizable. Yes, North Michigan Avenue is lovely; however, outside of 10 beautiful blocks of luxury hotels and shopping, the streets seem turbulent.

If Raleigh is home and Chicago was where I was born, I might call London my second home. I went to school at Regent’s University London, which is a private, non-profit university. It’s in London where, as a college student, I started to daydream about being a writer.

Life didn’t quite work out. When I returned to the UK in my role as a corporate human resources leader, I felt the desperate sense of urgency to reboot my life and get closer to my core values as an artist and teacher.

(Which is sorta what I do today in my role as a writer, speaker, and consultant.)

But fuck all that rumination and emotional regurgitation of the past. I am headed back to London, tonight, to make new memories. I’ll be there for 48 hours with friends and colleagues at an event called TruLondon. I formed a friendship with the conference founder, Bill Boorman, back in 2009. He makes me feel like I make a unique contribution to the agenda (even though the conference is now overwrought with American attendees).

What can I say? I am eternally grateful to Bill for the opportunity to go home.

So I’ll see all of you very soon. Even you, my dear American colleagues!

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the-clash-guitar-smash-button-badge-8005-p[ekm]300x295[ekm]I am doing a few events, this spring, where I’m talking about high-performing HR advisors. People want to know — what does great HR look like?

Well, I don’t want to dismiss the question. I think it’s interesting. But sometimes I shake my head because … and I hate to be so obvious … who teaches great people to be great?

Nobody. You know that.

What I end up teaching is courage, sorta.

Nobody will fire you for being great, so I challenge my audience to take a risk. Despite what people tell you, go ahead and be amazing and kick ass and break stereotypes and redefine HR and disrupt everything. If you need permission to smash your fucking guitar on stage, you got it.  You are invincible when you are right on the facts and you put on a good show.

But let me also give you permission to distance yourself from the show. Move slowly, observe, and only speak when you feel like you have a solid answer. There’s no need to get excited and bang the drum for every goddamn company-wide initiative under the sun. You’re not a circus monkey. You don’t need to perform.

Somewhere between Neil Patrick Harris and Grumpy Cat, high-performing HR departments are getting it done, having fun and doing great work without constantly asking themselves, “Is this okay? Am I doing it right?”

You’re good. You’re fine. Chill out.

I would love to come and see you. I would love to come and talk to you about work. Maybe we can talk about something other than how to be great at HR.

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Back in the day, I taught HR professionals how to be on social media.

Bill Kutik once asked to do a live demo of Twitter at the HR Technology Conference & Expo. It must have been 2010, and in retrospect, it wasn’t a very good idea. I was elevated on a platform with a big screen right behind me — in a tight skirt, no less, and some heavy-duty make-up — looking very much like an eager beaver.

And it didn’t endear me to the old analysts in the room when my friends kept coming into the auditorium and taking my picture to post on Facebook, either.

(Ah! The good old days when I had friends!)

The conference set up some laptops for people to use if they wanted to learn how to tweet while I was on the stage. Most of the analysts and attendees sat back — crackberries in hand — looking at me with a mix of shock and horror.

In my mind, we had about 200 people in the room. In retrospect, probably not so much. Many of the people in the room decided to sign up for the Twitter for the first time — all at the same time. Twitter thought it was a spam attack from an IP address and locked us all out.

(The good old days, indeed!)

Anyway, I’ve embraced Twitter as my platform-of-choice to communicate with friends, family members and readers who enjoy my work. I don’t reply to many people, and I tend to tweet to the same six users, but I always read everything that comes my way.

But about a month ago, I caught myself favoriting (aka “liking”) every tweet or reply that had my name on it. It was a lot of work, and it was dumb. I had over 6,000 favorites — and god knows I don’t like 6,000 of anything, let alone tweets.

So I found a script on GitHub — yes, GitHub! — and erased my favorites. They are gone.

Just this weekend, I began a staged removal of all the people I follow on Twitter via ManageFlitter. It took two seconds. So easy. I am sick of following bankrupt HR vendors, politicians and weather personalities from cities that I visited back in 2007. So I just erased the whole lot of followers. I’m slowly rebuilding my list.

But the whole point of this is just to remind you something that I’ve learned about social networking: nobody cares what you do.

And as I’ve written before, the only rules that exist are the ones that you make up in your head. There is no such thing as social media etiquette. There is no such thing as a guide to Twitter or Facebook manners. You use the tools the way you want to use them. The market will tell you if you are doing it right. And if you’re ready to change things up, just do it.

Don’t explain it. Don’t justify it. Just change it.

Good luck!

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CB

The state of Virginia has a motto.

“Virginia is for lovers.”

Parts of Virginia are stunning — including horses, the ocean, lakes, rivers, hills, golf courses, forests, green, blue, sunrise, sunset — but, for the most part, Virginia is just one big swath of land occupied by poor people who haven’t benefitted from the America’s economic recovery.

Where there isn’t economic blight, there’s traffic. Or both.

So you can create a great marketing campaign around Virginia or anything, but you’re not fooling me. And that’s how I feel, by and large, about Google Plus and Google Hangouts. Most people don’t like either platform, and I’m struck by something Steve Ballmer once told me.

“Google hasn’t innovated since search and email.”

That’s not entirely true about Google’s approach to its consumer business, but it’s largely true. And I’m struck by how I just name-dropped Steve Ballmer, by the way.

So what’s this blog post all about?

The whole point of this is that I’m doing a Google Hangout for CareerBuilder tomorrow. I’m doing this because, despite how I feel about everything, the CareerBuilder Google+ page is getting hella traffic and high engagement. We are bringing a few of our core talent advisors together and embedding the hangout in tweets so you can watch it live on Twitter and participate.

Wait, what?

Just hang with me for a second. CareerBuilder is creating an immersive experience for your entertainment purposes. They are using Google Hangouts. I watched all sorts of tech nerds on Google Hangouts, and it’s possible to create an integrated “tv show” of sorts using multiple social networks to deliver an experience that is part TV, part interactive, and part Hulu.

So what’s happening? What are you doing? Where is this?

We are doing a chat on both Twitter and Google Hangouts. Here’s how you can participate.

Go on Twitter at 3PM ET, tomorrow, and find us using the hashtag #talentadvisor. That’s it. Watch us live and interact with us over there.

That’s it. So easy. So interesting. And if you participate, this becomes one of the key skills you develop to differentiate yourself as a progressive HR professional.

Not a bad strategy, eh?

Just trust me. Go on Twitter, tomorrow. You can see me live — and maybe Roxy, too. That’s something, right?

See you soon!

###

POST UPDATE: The chat is live and here!

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One thing that’s abundantly clear to me in life: there are some people who just love to volunteer.

LOVE IT.

I like to volunteer my time on my terms, which makes me a good financial donor but a very poor volunteer. People just prefer that I write a check. But having run a few races over the past year, I realize that I’m due.

I need to volunteer at a race.

Maybe I’ll hand out water. Maybe I’ll give out bananas. I dunno. But I’m the benefactor of volumes and volumes of generosity.

I need to pay it back.

I’ll keep you posted on where I volunteer!

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