Looking back on Summer 2014, it wasn’t too bad.

I started off in Grand Cayman at a human resources conference.

Then my friend, Don MacPherson, came to town for a wedding.

Then I saw my former boss, Vadim Liberman, in New York City.

A few days later, my other-former-boss, Matthew Budman, came to town. He brought his awesome wife, which was fun.

Scrubby got some chin acne and went to the vet.

Then I went to Orlando and saw some friends for #SHRM14.

I rescued a dog and reunited her with her owner.

I went to a wedding with some friends.

Dawn Rasmussen came to town.

My husband and I ate plenty of ice cream, all summer long, and we went to a local lavender farm. The chocolate-lavender ice cream was fabulous.

I rescued that damn dog, again.

Then, on a whim, we went to France. That was pretty great.

Then I made a quick trip to Chicago to see a client. I also saw some friends and got suckered into bowling with some HR nerds. It was really fun.

Then I went to Cincinnati for an advisory meeting. I was stuck overnight, and it became a trip from hell. Except I saw good friends, so that was nice. I should stop being so dramatic.

Tim Sackett’s family came to visit me. I was able to see my boyfriend.

I also spent a significant amount of time running and hiking in the woods. And, oh yeah, I went to the beach several times.

I ended my summer by seeing the Schmidtarelli family in Virginia. The new baby is super cute, but Mugsy is also pretty cute.

The cats had a great summer, too.

All in all, I would give this summer a solid “B.”

Hope your summer vacation was just as fun!


Every year, I participate in the 2996 Project. We remember the victims of 9/11 through tributes on our blogs.

I was asked to write about Claudia Martinez Foster. I have been doing this for many years. Here is the post.


claudia martinezOn September 9, 2001, Claudia was a twenty-six-year old newlywed who had babies on her mind. She went to work, one beautiful morning, as an assistant broker at Cantor Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, she never returned home to her husband and family. If you read the tributes and search for her name on Google, you can feel excruciating sense of loss.

Here is her biography from The NY Times.

As the oldest in a family of girls, Claudia Martinez Foster promised her parents she would always look after her three younger sisters. One day, she told them, she was even going to give the Martinez family its big wish: a baby boy. Married almost a year, the 26-year-old assistant broker for Cantor Fitzgerald had already begun, with her husband, to pick out baby names. They were planning to buy a house and start a family later this year. She liked the name Carlos, in honor of her father. Her husband could not decide.

“My daughter was a true family person,” said Blanca Martinez. “She was proud to be the big sister, always helping me with my youngest, taking her to the movies, bowling, shopping. She liked to call what she did ‘sister power.’ ”

Watching such a young, promising life fade away has made the grieving even more trying. “She has so much to live for, and to go like this,” Mrs. Martinez said. “I pray for God to give me strength to accept her death. But as a mother I don’t know how to let go. I want to keep hoping for a miracle.”

Our deepest sympathies and condolences are offered to the Martinez and Foster families. Years later, Claudia is not forgotten.

Additional condolences to those who lost family and friends at Cantor Fitzgerald. We remember you, too, on this very tough day.


Do you wonder how you can think differently and act differently? Do you wonder how HR can be more disruptive and innovative without using those hollow and ridiculous terms?

(I wonder about all of that, too.)

I’m late to the game, but I was introduced to the work of Hal Gregersen. (Do you know him?) He suggests that you can be disruptive and innovative by first stepping outside of your comfort zone and working in multiple industries or enterprises. That’s a good way to begin thinking creatively and expanding your horizons.

You don’t need to leave HR, in my opinion, to think differently and make a difference. Here are some ideas for you.

  1. Tackle a project with your colleagues in marketing.
  2. Think about applying your HR expertise to different verticals.
  3. Learn more about a specialized aspect of HR. Take a night class. Do a short-course online or on the weekends.

Working in different industries — or even in different countries — may help you adopt the right kind of thinking that will help you make a contribution to your company.

You know what else I like about Gregersen? He champions the benefit of asking questions. If we don’t know what we don’t know, and we don’t start thinking about our blind spots, we will never make progress at work (or in our lives).

One simple question you can ask?

“What am I dead wrong about?”

(See why I’m excited to read more of his work?)

Anyway, when you have a different perspective — and you ask better questions — you arrive at better answers. I travel all around the world and speak to HR audiences because I am ready for HR to have better answers.

It’s nice to find a professor who offers helpful tools, tips and techniques. Check him out.

#hrtechconf 2009

Photo by http://about.me/tracideveau

Breaking news for six people who care about these things:

I am taking briefings from human resources technology vendors at the 17th Annual HR Technology® Conference and Exposition.

The first year that I attended this event — way back in 2009 when it was in Chicago — a guy chased me down on the expo floor and handed me a margarita. You can’t get a better briefing than that.

Over the years, I have feared becoming one of those independent analysts who sits in the corner of a dark room with poor air circulation and sweats through a boring technology briefing. The guy who waits for the right moment to pounce with a switcheroo and sell his overpriced marketing services to a CMO? That guy scares me. That life is not for me.

This year? I want to hear stories.

My audience covers the key demographics of HR Assistants, HR Business Partners, HR Managers, Recruiters, Talent Acquisition Specialists, and the various forms of HR Directors (compensation, benefits, payroll, staffing and general HR). I reach the people who report into the SVP of HR and the CHRO. So I want to represent their interests and know about specific technologies and how they enhance the future of human resources.

I also want to know where your technology breaks.

Do you have something to say to my audience? Do you have a new take on assessments, benefits, compensation and payroll, consulting, employee and manager self-service, employee communications, e-learning, employee engagement, HCM, outplacement, outsourcing, performance management, portals, recruitment, relocation, selection, screening, talent management, testing and surveys, time and attendance, training and development, workforce analytics, workforce management or workforce planning?

Contact me and maybe we can connect at #hrtechconf. I’m not selling anything, and you don’t have to chase me down with a margarita.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.


It’s week 6 (or something) of my marathon training, and all is right with the world. No major issues to report. I am feeling great.

When you train for a race, you gradually work your way up to a certain high-mileage marker and then back off for a week to let your body recover. This was my dip-down week. We ran 14 miles, last weekend, and I was going to reward myself with a nine-mile run on Saturday.

But one of my running partners has a different training schedule. She needed to run 15 miles, this weekend. I know that no one who signs up for a running program enjoys running all those miles alone, which is why I volunteered to join her for 12 of those miles.

It was only three more miles than I originally planned on running. No problem — except Saturday was a disgustingly hot and humid day. At one point, I ran out of water. One woman kindly offered me something to drink. And one of our other running partners was struggling near the end of the run.


I have had those moments where I’m struggling and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. I always say — Keep going without me! I’m okay! I’ll catch up!

(Nobody ever listens to me and leaves me behind, thank God. We leave no woman on the field.)

But there were times when it was too much to talk, let alone listen, to a group of runners making chit-chat about life and work. At those moments when I wanted to die, I was thankful for the mentors who gave me the space and distance (even if it was just a block) to calm down and slog out those miles on my own.

Motivation and support come in a variety of different forms. This weekend, I remembered those long-runs where I struggled. I remembered how important it is to be silent and conserve energy. And I tried, especially towards this week’s run, to be quiet and respectful.

So tough! So brutal! So hot! And I’m so dang chatty!

I love the summer, but I am definitely ready to run in cooler weather.



Happy Friday. If you have a few minutes, go check out Careerbuilder.com’s Talent Advisor portal.

I’m over there with my friends, and it’s a nice place to be. We will be writing about all the good stuff: celebrity gossip, politics, social media, horses, cats, kids and pizza.

We’ll weave in a few new ideas about HR, too.

As a guest editor, I’m on the lookout for good stories. Are you doing something great in HR? Do you have a story to tell about your recruiting journey? Email me and let’s chat!


It’s back-to-school season around here. Lots of kids are trying out for sports.

Living where I do — and hanging out with busy moms — I get to hear about tryouts, overburdened volunteer coaches, and the needless ordeal that accompanies youth sports.

Sounds like a hassle. Especially when kids are rejected from the team.

I get it. This is a new era. Not everyone gets a trophy. I like the ruthlessness of performance-based selection methodologies, and I’m the first person to say that lazy bastards should suffer.

(Especially when those bastards are 11 and just want to play soccer!)

I wonder — what do you tell an 11-year-old who just wants to get a little exercise and hangout with her friends? A colleague of mine is dealing with that issue, right now. The tweenage kid didn’t make a private cheer squad through a local gym or something like that. (Those things exist. It’s like Pop Warner for elite kids on steroids.)

She asked her daughter questions like, “Are you proud? Did you do your best? You did? Okay, let’s move on.”

(Let me deviate for a second and say that this new era of parenting is confusing to me because I was raised in front of the television. I’m not complaining. I preferred it that way, and I didn’t kick a soccer ball until I was a high school sophomore. How does a fifth or sixth grader know if she’s done her best? Maybe your kid is intuitive. I was not.)

But I do like asking people — especially adults — if they are proud. There are no wrong answers, but I think the question itself allows for a bigger discussion about life.

- Do you like your job?
– Are you proud of what you do?
– If not, why not?
– Are you happy in your current relationships?
– Are you proud of what you offer to your spouse and friends?
– Do you try your hardest to be a decent person?
– Even when you fail, are you proud of your effort?

The good thing about being an adult is that you don’t have to wait for high school hockey season to ask yourself those questions.

Are you proud of your life?


SassymagCoverI hate writing about violence against women and sexual harassment. I would rather write about my cats. But when people in power do shady things, it reminds me of aspects of my own life.

Let me share a piece of my story with you.

I didn’t realize the first time I was sexually harassed. I was young. I was busy managing my mediocre career. My mom was sick. My siblings were young. I had an on-again-off-again boyfriend and very low self-esteem.

I didn’t realize that I was involved in an unhealthy relationship with my boss until it was too late.

(This sounds like a bad Sassy article! It happened to me!)

I thought my boss was being nice to me. I thought he wanted to know more about me. When he constantly asked about my (non-existent sex) life, it seemed normal. I thought his version of small-talk was fun. That’s how I talked to my friends. And I didn’t believe that my boss really enjoyed talking to me about sex because I was porky and felt unlovable.

(This is cringeworthy for me to write.)

I worked in human resources — and I didn’t recognize an abuse of power when it happened to me — because I felt fat and worthless.

(Only pretty girls get sexually harassed, I thought.)

When it became clear to me that I was only getting favorable treatment because I talked about sex — and I was punished when I didn’t talk about sex — I didn’t sue anyone. I found a new job. I told my CEO what was happening. I quit that job and moved on.

This is a true story.

So if you are harassed or threatened at work, there is one solution.

It’s time to find a new job.

Think like a consumer. Think like a capitalist. Don’t have patience. Quit that broke-ass company and go work where you will be safe, loved and appreciated for the excellent business professional you are.

When you leave, make sure you clearly articulate the infinite reasons why you can no longer continue your employment. Name names when (and only when) it suits you to do it. But quit that job as fast as you can.

One more thing: if you need help finding a job, there are talented HR and recruiting bloggers out there who are looking for great people. Google us. Reach out to us. We know you are telling the truth. We know what it’s like when deviant behavior runs amuck. We believe in accountability. This is part of the reason why we do what we do.

Find us. We can help you.


mockingjayIt’s the Tuesday after Labor Day. I can’t get into the groove about my career, my cats or my life.

I am about to embark on a 12-week journey into hell with a ton of travel and conferences. Holy crap. When will I write? When will I see my family? How will I stay sober and relatively healthy enough to run a marathon in November?

I don’t have any answers.

My cat, Scrubby, is now on Ativan because coming off Paxil was a little rough for him. He’s super talkative and snuggly from the Ativan, which is awesome and adorable when I am watching TV and not too great when I’m doing an emergency Skype call with an executive on a Monday night.

He’s such a scrubilicious monster.

And the rest of my life is like yours — awesome, busy, overbooked and underfunded based on my big dreams. I am not up-to-speed on the Ukrainian crisis. I stopped paying attention to what’s happening in Ferguson, Syria and Iraq. And it’s nearly decorative gourd season, motherfuckers, but I don’t have any time to buy gourds.

You know what has me excited and focused, however?

Gone Girl. The Hunger Games. Wild.

Fall movie season is making good books come to life. Strong, complex, flawed women who look pretty but have some serious issues.

I love it.

I am all over the map when it comes to my honing my overarching business strategy and articulating my unique value proposition to the marketplace. The marketplace can suck it, though. Fall movie season is giving me a reason to get home, get organized, and get my shit together so my weekends can be spent at the movies — escaping Ferguson, human rights abuse, and the weak-ass economy that disproportionately favors the status quo.

I need more Katniss in my life!


My marathon training is great.

I am to the point where I can run over 13 miles without any complaints. As long as my nutrition is okay — and by okay I mean not just grilled cheese and ice cream — I feel fine. No major aches and pains.

Earlier this year, I strained my psoas and my inner thigh muscles/adductors. I hustled up the John Hancock building despite knowing better, which made things worse. At the end of April, I had to lift my leg with my hands to get it in/out of the car.

My improved condition is directly related to the hours spent recovering — and not running.

My body needed a break.

When I do run long distances, I try to take ice baths to hack my way to a faster recovery. The pain from the ice bath is always intolerable. I can’t stand more than a few minutes, even when I’m only submerged up to my hips. But an ice bath relieves aches and pains in a way that is so much better than naproxen.

That’s why I took a hot shower, this morning, and tried to localize my torture — and cash in on slacktivism in the process.

I attempted to stick my feet in an ice bath for fourteen minutes.

Clearly, it didn’t go well.

I did manage to get my feet into a bucket of cold water for five minutes and soak my tired and weary dawgs. (The ball of my right foot is pretty sore.) It was a painful experience and I said a bunch of vulgar things that I don’t want shown on YouTube, but it was what I needed.

We live in a culture where many of us suffer nagging, chronic pain. Some people take opioids to ease the discomfort. As long I continue running long distances, I will try to be more mindful about my body. I want to distinguish real pain that means danger from the ancillary pain of being alive and moving.

One thing that I’ve learned? Sometimes the best relief from pain is the thing you think might cause the most pain: movement.

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