Cy Wakeman is an international keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times best-selling author, and psychologist. She helps people around the world ditch the drama and turn excuses into results. Naturally, Laurie is a total fangirl. Today, Cy and Laurie talk about how to get the best out of people, whether or not you really NEED leaders, and what the future of work looks like for all of us.

  • Cy has a great strategy for getting clients in the door and to help them take all the negative energy at work and turn it around to positive results based on new actions: she gives her stuff away for free. The individuals who learn from her content then turn around and put the pressure on their leaders to bring her in to do work, and she gets great results.
  • Cy has an interesting take on work NOT being broken. Work, she says, is our reality, and whether or not we succeed in it is up to us. Cy explains the parts of work that are lacking, from leadership to HR, and it all has to do with the people, not the construct.
  • If you’re keen on learning about leadership, you’ve probably noticed there are a million different people speaking and teaching about it. But have you stopped to actually listen to their messages? Sounds a lot like pop psychology, feel-good stuff that, unfortunately, doesn’t really address the problems. Cy shares her take on the current trend of ‘best practices’ and why understanding the human condition is the most important thing you can do, leader or not.
  • You’ve probably heard people talking about the ability to bring your ‘whole self’ to work. Cy disagrees; instead, she urges you to bring your ‘most evolved’ self to work. In fact, Cy doesn’t think you should bring your whole self anywhere, and she explains why you need to be fit for duty beyond the tasks you undertake.
  • Leadership has evolved over the years. In modern times, we’re more concerned with purpose and engagement. Cy shares a surprising insight: engagement without accountability creates entitlement. And more importantly, happiness at work isn’t up to leaders. Cy’s years as a therapist come to bear when she says that a relationship like that is co-dependency and isn’t healthy, and you end up losing the best employees.
  • You need to be willing to pick favorites when it comes to your employees: there are the high and low accountables. High and low performers, and according to Cy, too much attention has been given to low accountables to try to keep them engaged. Cy explains why this is the opposite of what it should be.
  • Can low accountables become high accountables? Sometimes. But is it the responsibility of the organization to make it happen? No. It might seem like a tough choice to make, but Cy believes that a business should instead focus on making themselves a place where high accountables want to work. In fact, there isn’t a shortage of talent, and Cy explains why.
  • You don’t have to harm people and harm the environment to make a profit. That’s a load of bologna according to Cy. Instead, we need to focus on ‘pure profit.’ It’s not what you think. Cy reveals exactly what that means and how businesses can be sustainable without hurting the world.
  • Community has been a buzzword for a while now, whether you’re talking about regionality or groups online. How healthy are the communities in which you find yourself? As a psychologist, Cy has a great message about what makes a healthy community and what makes hers thrive, even with millennials.
  • Cy has a vision for the future of work and what you need to remember is this: it’s not something that’s going to happen TO us. It’s something we need to do for ourselves. It’s where we go beyond ego, salary, title, and all the other things that seem so important to us now. How and why should we do it? Cy shares what drives her to do the work she does.
  • With the future of work being AI and automation, we’re left wondering if the future holds any place for heart and for love. Laurie poses the question to Cy, and she’s got a very heart-centered answer for you. And it all comes back to people and the concept of ego.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Cy Wakeman

Find her @cywakeman everywhere on the Internet!
Reality-Based Leadership:
Life’s Messy Live Happy Facebook Page:
No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results
Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results


HR TribeI got a call from a friend this week who asked me if I needed money. He saw my new Patreon account and wondered if I had fallen on hard times.

I’ll always take money, thank you, but it made me step back and think about how I speak to the world about the business of podcasting and creating content.

My previous blogs — Punk Rock HR and The Cynical Girl — tried to democratize HR and share corporate secrets with the masses. And it worked for a while, but a blog has limited reach. That’s why I’m working on three new things: my podcast, a book, and my keynote speaking schedule for 2019.

My podcast and book, both called “Let’s Fix Work,” won’t make me wealthy or famous, but they might solve some work-related problems for an audience who is sick and tired of hearing sententious advice from self-help gurus and soulless Silicon Valley CEOs.

Want a better employee experience? Want to earn more money and have better options for retirement? Want to overcome the burden of debt, avoid hostile work environments and be happier at work? Real people with real problems deserve more than sound bites. They deserve solutions. That’s what this is all about.

But “Let’s Fix Work” is an endeavor that needs to be run like a business. I’ve spent some time working on an LFR revenue model, and the podcast and community will never be successful if it doesn’t have audience support.

That’s where you can help. If you enjoy the show and you’d like to see “Let’s Fix Work” grow, please support it at any level on Patreon. Like many other podcasters who have Patreon pages, your money will go towards the production and distribution of the show. There’s no LFR slush fund. This is a real business.

But capitalism is fairly cut-and-dry. If you don’t like it, you won’t support it. And I’ll move onto something else. That’s how the market works.

I’m bullish on the future, and I’m invested in fixing work. Hope you can invest a little and fix work for yourself and others, too.



We’re in a bubble. 

Far too many senior-level HR professionals are quitting their jobs and becoming business consultants and executives coaches. These men and women give up PTO, step outside of their company’s headquarters for the first time in a decade, and say things like “performance reviews are lame” and “compensation policies are unfair” as if they just invented that hot take on HR.

Where have they been for the past decade? Who knows? But these leaders are here, now, operating as business advisors and pretending like they invented a new way of HR — including flexible work policies and micro-learning. 

And it’s weird because none of this is new.

Just yesterday, I chatted with a senior HR leader who left her job. She’s looking for the cool kids in HR and can’t find them. Clearly, they must not exist. So, instead of digging deeper and finding kindred spirits, she’s trying to get on the speaker circuit to share her vision of human resources with the earnest but slow-witted HR professionals in the trenches who need her most. 

Did I have any advice for her?

I was like, yeah, lady, go check out your competition. They’ve been here for over a decade. While you were working in your cushy job and reporting to the CEO, there were men and women in the trenches of HR who held progressive opinions on work when it was unpopular and wrote blog posts that got them fired. 

This lady didn’t believe me. Who are these individuals? Why hasn’t she heard of them? And she wanted names, which seemed odd because I had never heard of this woman until yesterday and she’s got my name. With a little more googling, she could find a whole community of like-minded HR professionals who fixed work for their companies.

But, no, she will fix HR by speaking at conferences.

I said, “There are cool kids in HR. There’s a tribe of folks out there who’d love to hear from you. Wouldn’t take much effort for you to find them. And they’d have great advice for you on the speaking circuit and, also, the history of HR.”

As much as I’m not a fan of the word tribe, there are people who are kicking butt and taking names in human resources. I hope this lady will be curious enough to follow through and meet the people in HR who eliminated performance reviews and adopted flexible work policies before it was featured on Forbes. 

But I’m not sure she’s humble enough to chat with those individuals and ask, “How did you do it?”

The HR Tribe is here for you — or any other HR professional — who wants to improve human resources. They’d love to learn more about your work, and they will share their wins and losses in a frank and candid manner. And they’ll support your efforts to tackle the HR speaking circuit.

All you have to do is ask. But, first, believe they exist.


My friend Melissa Fairman has a three-part series on time management that is in week two, but I didn’t want to wait to tell you about it.

Read and watch part one and part two. It’s good.

Melissa is trying to help you figure out how to manage your time better so you can do important work. What’s important work? Well, it’s work that moves an organization forward. Or, in my opinion, it’s work that moves the business of you forward.

Time management is not my friend. Well, more accurately, details are not my friend. Years ago, I was organized and walked around with a day planner in my hands. Then I saw how influential people outsourced their details, and I followed suit. Stopped paying attention to details and relied on others. Pretty stupid because I started missing meetings, flights, and important appointments.

But here’s one weird thing about life: I might miss a phone call, but I always make it to pilates and my hair appointments. It’s the other stuff — meetings, answering your email, remembering to pay my cell phone bill on time — that pose a challenge for me.

There’s always time to read or watch TV, but there are never enough hours in the day to answer LinkedIn requests for my time. There’s plenty of time for surfing on the internet and reading Melissa’s blog, but there’s not enough time to take that e-learning course on blockchain so I can finally understand it a little better.

So, I’m not sure if time management is a challenge or a choice. No, wait, I’m totally sure it’s a choice. The real question is why I’m avoiding important work that matters and, instead, focusing on stupid shit.

Is it because I’m a flawed and lazy human being? Yes.

Am I self-sabotaging? Probably.

My time management skills are an ongoing theme in my life, and no corporate initiative or program will make me — as an employee or a business owner — focus on work that matters until I choose to focus on work that matters.

I suspect that many employees are like me, deliberately distracted to avoid doing work that makes us uncomfortable for reasons that don’t make sense in the conscious world. Maybe employers can encourage people like me to explore why we make counterintuitive choices with our time and attention. After all, if we’re not doing work that matters, we’re not doing anything at all.

The good news is that Melissa will talk about individual accountability in the final video. I can’t wait. If anything, that video has an audience of one and it’s me.


My friend Paul Hebert is writing all across the internet about why employee engagement might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

First of all, let’s define employee engagement. Employees are engaged when they give their best each day through intrinsic effort, are committed to organizational goals and values, demonstrate extrinsic efforts beyond their immediate job, and have pride in their work.

Or something like that. I think there’s an element of loyalty that I’m missing in the definition, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done a webinar on the topic.

So here’s what Paul has written about employee engagement, lately.

Why Employee Engagement Needs to Be Re-Thought (Warning: It’s a Rant)


Employee Engagement Isn’t an Employee Engagement Problem

Why I can’t write another post about the importance of employee engagement.

(Note, he wrote like five more posts and about a thousand tweets after that last one.)

One of Paul’s most significant ideas, IMHO, is that if we want to impact employee engagement we need to influence the manager. I’ll butcher the concept, but it goes something like this: Managers are in charge of an employee’s individual experience at work. Want better engagement scores? Help managers create a better experience at work.

I love it.

Paul goes further. What if employee engagement doesn’t matter like we think it matters? What if a disengaged worker isn’t as dangerous as we believe? What if engagement can only optimally follow a bell curve? Or what if it only matters if our top workers are engaged? And what if that doesn’t even matter?

The thriving contrarian in me loves the way his brain works, which is why Paul and I are friends. Let’s take this a step further and ask a fundamental question: What if none of this matters?

• Can you give your best each day but not really give a rip about goals and values? Yes.
• Is it possible to go above and beyond in your job without being loyal to the company? Sure you can.
• Are you able to have pride in your work without loving what you do, where you do it, or who you do it for? Absolutely.

You can do good work but have emotional distance from your job if you’re a healthy adult who is the CEO of your life. You can be a great employee on paper who doesn’t really care about being an employee if you have a work ethic and have your eyes on a bigger prize. And you can be engaged if you’re a craftsperson who takes pride in results but doesn’t get caught up in corporate interests.

But many of us struggle to be the CEOs of our lives, which is why I think we have low engagement scores.

Most jobs barely provide for food and housing. We’re always told that the gig economy is here, which means that — if we are FTEs — we’re one step away from losing the safety and security of our healthcare and retirement benefits. Or we have those benefits, but they’re so expensive that they threaten other basic needs.

Also, most jobs are done in isolation. Whether it’s the social isolation of an open office environment where everybody is wearing headphones and communicating via Slack — or the isolation from not having a union, guild or even an HR department that has your back — we’re all teams of one that are pitted against one another and forced ranked into a system that rewards the wrong types of social behaviors.

Work is broken. But I’m at the place in my life where I don’t give a shit if work is broken, or, more accurately, I think you can fix yourself and work won’t be so bad.

If you bet on yourself and invest in skills, you’ll always have options because you’ll never stop learning and growing. Prioritize your happiness — which means doing the work and acquiring life skills to overcome some of the sadness in your life — and be more resilient and have a better response when times are tough at work.

I also believe you can’t walk away from a crappy job unless you fix your money. Fix your money, fix your life. And get the life you want by creating a community — building a better personal brand based on kindness, networking with the right people, being helpful to others — and you’ll be much more engaged in real life.

Finally, prioritize your physical and emotional wellbeing so that your body isn’t a victim of the emotional firestorm in your brain. Nobody can treat you better than you treat you. While you can be healthy at any size, you can’t be emotionally or physically healthy if your wellbeing comes second to everything else in this world.

We fix work by fixing ourselves, and, also, by fixing ourselves, we render constructs like “employee engagement” worthless. If we’re going to measure something, let’s stop measuring employee engagement and start measuring how much we love and cherish our lives. All of it, by the way, not just the part that delivers a paycheck.


You’ve heard the saying, opinions are like… armpits, right? So is advice. Everyone has them and most of them stink, especially when it comes to careers. But Alison Green has some advice about advice for you; you’ve got to separate the good from the bad, and you have to pick your battles. Today, she and Laurie talk about crappy advice, what it takes to be a great leader, and what she wishes all managers knew.

  • Bad advice isn’t limited to careers. It all stems from a much bigger problem: we think we know what’s best for another person and their life. We’ve all had jobs, and as a result, we all have opinions about how they should be. But the truth is, most of us have trouble acting on the advice we give AND receive. Alison even has a folder full of questions asking for her advice on topics where there IS no great answer, including farting at work. Seriously.
  • Not all advice is crappy (pun intended). Every once in a while, we get a gem that can fix a situation or even change the way we think. Alison had one such piece of advice early in her career: pick your battles. Despite it being good advice, Alison had a hard time swallowing it, and she explains why. Twenty-somethings, this is for YOU. Laurie also shares a piece of advice she got that she has patently ignored.
  • Great leaders get where they are by filtering the good advice from the bad, and there are some key aspects they share. Drive and commitment are a given if you want to get results. But some of the other things Alison believes are required for good leadership might be a little difficult for you to embrace. While there are some great leaders, there are plenty who are lacking, and Alison shares her theory on why there are so many of them.
  • Conflict avoidance is one of the most pervasive issues in management. People don’t want to have difficult conversations, and it leads to terrible work cultures. Alison shares a story about a difficult conversation she had to have with an employee, and you should DEFINITELY take notes on how she handled it.
  • Do you have to be a people person to manage people? Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers because, you guessed it, we all have our own advice to give. But if you want GOOD advice, Alison wrote the book on it, Ask a Manager. She shares whether you really need to be a people person if you want to lead well. Introverts, according to Alison, you CAN be a great manager.
  • As an employee, or even as a manager, you’ve probably come across the sense of secrecy about management. So what do managers wish you knew? Alison has some great thoughts about that, and first among those is that it’s okay for an employee to speak up. She shares when it’s appropriate and how much you should divulge.
  • Alison’s new book, Ask a Manager, isn’t just a collection of blog posts she’s written over the years. Instead, Alison took all she’s learned and created a handbook for managers. Specifically, ‘what to say when,’ and other things that you can actually learn and apply to your daily interactions with employees. Alison gives you the language to use for awkward and cringey conversations.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Alison Green

Ask a Manager Website

Ask a Manager Book

Slate Articles

New York Magazine Articles




Shawn Madden is made of fun. No, really. His company, Fun Corp, runs ‘friend building’ parties for small to medium sized teams and companies to help create real social connections and friendships that directly affect culture. Because his business is mostly fun and games, Shawn has a unique perspective on the workforce because he takes employees OUT of their normal habitat. You might be surprised at what he sees as a result.

  • There are two ‘dirty f-words’ at work, fun and friends, and this is where Shawn believes that work is broken. People are almost afraid to be social at work the way they are in life, so they end up with a sharp divide, which Shawn explains as ‘Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for co-workers.’ Now Shawn claims that it’s science that it’s good to have fun at work, and he reveals why.
  • You’ll often find that friendships at work can cause trouble, especially when it’s between a manager and an employee. But it’s really not that different than having falling-outs with your friends in life. Shawn poses the question: is it a matter of touching a hot stove or falling off a bike? He explains why the distinction matters.
  • Shawn has a plan for fixing work, even though many leaders are resistant to it. Rather than invading the workplace, he’s inviting teams out of the office to connect in different ways: company parties. It’s the one box that company managers know they need to check off whether they believe in being social at work or not. Oh, and introverts? Fun Corp hasn’t forgotten about you.
  • Laurie and Shawn don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on team building. In fact, Laurie owns the domain name (For real!) Laurie believes that companies put on events to help themselves, not their employees, and it’s all for profit. Shawn doesn’t disagree, but he explains why his approach is very different.
  • How does Shawn know what he’s doing is working? It’s from the stories they get back after hosting an event for a company. It’s when the employees want to keep the party going at the office. Well, sans alcohol and giant Jenga. But people who used to walk the halls with their heads down now have fun memories in common.
  • Despite the fact that Shawn’s current strategy is to get teams out of their environments, when he looks at the future of work, he poses the question: do we really need to leave the office to have a party? How would YOU feel if your boss decided that they were going to give you 4 hours off on a Tuesday so that you and your co-workers could party and bond together? Shawn talks about other ways that leaders can bring fun back to work.
  • Planning parties isn’t easy. And getting leaders to engage is challenging, too. Shawn recommends a simple game that teams can start playing tomorrow: High, Low, Betcha Didn’t Know. He and Laurie play it live, and you’ll see from Shawn’s recommendation of a tour guide for Laurie how effective it can be in making connections. Shawn also shares the ONE metric you should use to see whether or not the party went well.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Shawn Madden at Fun Corp






Hey, everybody.

Years ago, I did a series of blog posts called “F@%k It Friday.” We’d spend the day on Friday talking about stuff that has nothing to do with work or HR.

So, it’s Friday afternoon. I worked hard, this week. Let’s have some fun and bring F@%k It Friday back. Why not? I’m sick of fixing work, today, and sometimes it’s good to have a little fun.

I wonder — do you prefer lakes or oceans?

Let me know!



Hey, everybody. I’ve been absent from blogging because there aren’t enough mental hours in the day to write a book proposal, launch a podcast, focus on my wellbeing, read books, earn a little cash, and be present in my home life.

Sometimes I need a break from the screen, and the blog has languished.

I’m also trying to be less negative about human resources, which is what this blog is all about. It’s unnecessary to bang the drum when you’re right. Work is messed up, and HR is complicit. But the people I need to reach don’t work in HR. It’s time to help make the employee experience better (or less cruel) for more people. And since HR professionals are employees, too, it makes little sense to tear them down. They’re often victims as much as anybody else.

So, instead of being an HR blogger with limited views on the world of human resources, I’d rather pursue solutions to fix work for everybody. And I use the word “fix” because I think there are solutions to the wage gap, institutional biases, and the other intricate ways that work sucks. If I do my job right — by curating good ideas and sharing my own thoughts — I’ll fix work, and, also, fix HR.

That’s why I’m busy building a platform. Books. Podcasts. Blogs. Courses. And I will need your help. Whether you work at a restaurant or in HR, fixing work is a community effort. And we fix work by fixing ourselves. I’m ready to level-up and help people improve work around the world. And because you’re reading this, I think you’re ready, too.

I’ll be back soon with more information on how you can get involved.


Elisa Camahort Page co-founded BlogHer, later became the CCO at SheKnows Media after they acquired BlogHer, and is now a writer and consultant. Entrepreneur, speaker, conference leader, and blogger, Elisa has the type of bird’s-eye view of work the rest of us can only dream of. Laurie and Elisa talk about the disconnected workforce, the gig economy, and the rise of those brave souls who are daring to be their whole selves at work.

  • Elisa has a unique view of why work is broken. Have you ever noticed that the higher up someone gets in the management chain, the more disconnected they become from what they did before? That disconnect turns into a fundamental lack of empathy. But here’s the kicker – that lack of empathy goes in BOTH directions. Elisa has been at the top of the management chain, and she approached the problem of empathy directly.
  • If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking for a partner or co-founder, you know it isn’t easy. Elisa has some very practical advice for finding the right person: date them. Not romantically, but work on a project together before you launch a company. You’ll thank her later. She shares the story of how she and someone she barely knew founded BlogHer.
  • Many of the issues we’re discussing in this day and age (wage gaps, family leave, etc.) were front and center for BlogHer in 2008 – a decade ago. That fact alone makes the idea of change seem like a lost cause. But is it? Elisa shares what is disappointing for her, but also, where she has hope for the future. The first one might surprise you: working from home.
  • Then, there’s the gig economy. With so many people working from home as contractors, what about benefits? How is automation affecting jobs? Why is wealth being concentrated in the hands of so few? Is it possible to outsource and globalize yourself out of having a workforce that is engaged? Elisa and Laurie pick apart what the future of work looks like.
  • At BlogHer, Elisa and her crew were looking at how women can be fairly compensated and fairly heard in the workplace, and she brings some happy news. As side hustles become main hustles, there’s a lot more hope for marginalized groups to earn what they deserve. And there’s a hidden benefit to this as the gig economy allows us to bring our WHOLE selves to work, not the version of us that corporations want.
  • Have you ever heard of a ‘work-life advocate?’ These people are coming from a place of not being politically engaged or familiar with social issues, but in recent years, they’ve become galvanized. To do what? Elisa explains what work-life advocates are… are you one of them? This is one of those cases where it might do a later generation well to learn from the younger ones.
  • There are some companies out there who are doing it right. Take, for example, the company who makes WordPress. They don’t even have a headquarters; they meet regularly, but everything they do is remote. People who can’t work in traditional settings flock to companies like this, and the flexibility they provide is incredible.
  • We’ve covered the ideas of living wages, dividends, and universal basic income. Like many of our other guests, Elisa doesn’t see another option, especially with automation and globalism. Alaskans get a dividend from oil, but have you thought about the tech industry doing something similar? With automation and outsourcing, there ARE no jobs.
  • In closing, Elisa tells the story of a boss who told her she needed to lower the expectations of her employees when they were upset they didn’t have the time or resources to do their jobs well. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well with Elisa. You have to hear what she asked HIM to do instead. And the point of the story is this: do you understand the difference between satisfaction and happiness?

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Elisa Camahort Page


Preorder Book: Road Map for Revolutionaries


SheKnows Media





1 2 3 82  Scroll to top