I have the weirdest conversations on the road.

A blogger and I were talking about tone, story selection and narrative. She told me, “I have to think about all the issues that are important to my audience, and I have a large gay following.”

I said, “Wait, what does that mean? Do you measure your audience and know the demographics, or do you have a couple of fat gay guys who read your blog?”

She didn’t think it was funny. I didn’t think it’s cool to brag about your gay following unless you are Kathy Griffin. And no blogger in any niche industry has a huge audience, anymore. It’s not 2009.

But I digress because my real point is that gay rights are human rights. Gay issues are human issues. And if you’re a strong blogger who is on the correct side of human history, your agenda will be aligned with the gay agenda — whatever the hell that even means.

But maybe I’m just competitive and I think my gay audience is larger, which is a legitimate accusation. I am shitty enough to make a donation to the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus just to be the first person in my state to donate. Because of my contribution, they were able to add glitter to North Carolina.


Where’s your glitter, bitch?

Just kidding. My blogger friend was just trying to be inclusive and address the very real need for equal protection under the law that isn’t afforded to many gay men and women in America. She is looking out for her LGBTQIA friends, colleagues and readers.

She can have her large gay following. I’ll take my glitter map. We are both doing good work, and I am happy that we’re on the right side of history!


I work with a lot of human resources professionals who try to figure out how to get the best out of their employees.

There is real science behind recognizing and rewarding people at work. My friend Paul Hebert has good advice. I love my friends at Modern Survey and BlackbookHR. Check out their blogs. Globoforce has great things to say, too.

But by and large, I think much of the talk around employee engagement and motivation is garbage. You can’t bring democracy to Iraq and Afganistan, and you can’t trick an employee into doing her job well. She either does it well or she doesn’t. There are best practices around motivation and commitment, but there is also a wall. Only she can choose to climb it. Nurture that puppy all you want, but her potential is rooted in experiences she’s had very early in life. Her performance is up to her.

Now of course it’s important to recognize, reward, praise and compensate people in a manner that’s evolved beyond the old-world management techniques of the late 1980s; however, let’s not pretend that your HR function is the mom, the CEO is the dad, and your employees are children.

Your employees have children, and I think they’ll do great work for you if you start with fair pay and equal opportunity. Most companies aren’t even there, yet.

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.


IMG_6194I spent a few days in NYC, last week. The first day was awesome, which is why it was weird to see tourists ice skating at 30 Rock. Maybe it’s a brilliant move, though, because the rink was empty.

The rest of the week was shit. Nobody wanted to be outside. I was with a group of friends. I was slow. I made us late for dinner. In the rain. During rush hour.


I used Uber to grab a private car. Uber is a service that allows you to request, ride, and pay for your trip via your mobile phone. It’s linked to a credit card. I took my first ride in an Uber in January 2013 in Washington DC. I was hooked.

When weather is horrible, the prices are higher. It’s called surge pricing. Some people hate it for real reasons, but Uber makes its users go through a three-step process to accept the surge pricing.

Don’t want to pay the surging price? Find a different method of transportation, I guess.

Back to my trip in NYC: we hopped into the Uber and went to dinner. Super convenient. Since it was during a surge, the trip was super expensive. Unfortunately, the driver’s app kept crashing. There was a system-wide outage. I had no idea how much the trip would cost. I didn’t have any cash. I told the driver, a Uzbeki immigrant studying business at a local community college, that I would make sure he got paid.

He was suspicious, but there was nothing he could do.

The next day, I contacted the NYC Uber community manager. I gave her the details of my ride. She looked up my account and agreed to pay my awesome driver at no charge to me.

Pretty fabulous.

Not everyone loves Uber. There are some horror stories. I am always happy with my experience, and I’ve used it everywhere from Madison to Lyon. I am pro-labor and pro-union, but I believe in customer service. The best product should win, and you can’t tell me that a smelly taxi beats an Uber.

It doesn’t.

New York City can be a tough town in the rain. I was pleased with my ride, and I was certainly happy with the phenomenal customer service. I’m a fan for life.

P.S. If you want to try Uber for free, I have a code: https://www.uber.com/invite/h49ot I’m not paid to tell you this. I just think you should try it. And if you’ve had experience with Uber, let me know what you think.



Have you heard of Dunbar’s number?

An anthropologist by the name of Robin Dunbar has a theory that the human brain only allows for so many meaningful and personal connections. He suggests that humans can manage about 150 stable relationships. Some people can do more. Some people can’t manage a number that high.

(And “meaningful” is more of a scale than an absolute goal.)

Maria Konnikova has an excellent article about the nuances of Dunbar’s number. You should read it for many reasons, but especially if you use social and text to supplement important relationships in your life.

For me, the Dunbar number is real. And it’s low. I spent the past year thinking about where I exert my relational energy. I asked myself questions like, “If I’ve only seen this person three times in five years, is she a friend?”

The answers weren’t always great.

Then I had to do the hard work of figuring out how to like someone — and appreciate his/her awesomeness — while de-linking my admiration from any false notion that we are truly friends.

That wasn’t easy.

I am guilty of being a lackluster friend, too. I’ve directed people to my blog or my Twitter account instead of initiating a call or visit. I wondered why some of my friends stopped asking how I’m doing. But how would you know about my life unless I explicitly told you?

So all of this is just to say that, as the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on our Dunbar numbers. Is yours 150? Is it 15?

Whatever your number, make it count.


This is my final Marathon Monday post. Next week? I’ll be done with this race.

I ran a short-long run on Saturday. I was scheduled to do six miles, but the first 5K was a charity race. The second 5K was a quiet run through the woods.

A friend of mine sent this note on Saturday afternoon:

My wife is training for a marathon. Your Monday posts are quite pertinent. You know what is fun about your spouse training for a marathon? Nothing.

I read this out loud to my husband, who yelled NO SHIT and AMEN from across the room.

It’s true. Training for a marathon is a very selfish endeavor. My sleep schedule dominates the house. My nutrition needs dictate the grocery list. And while my body is used to running increasingly higher miles, my tired brain wonders why the hell I’m doing this to my exhausted body. I cry a lot. That’s pretty fun, right?

Let’s hear it for friends, parents, family members and spouses who support amateur athletes. While we are pushing our bodies to extremes, they are trying not to push us out of windows.

We couldn’t do it without them.


I always tell people to go back to school.

Do your research. Don’t attend a private college that makes crazy claims about job placement rates, but go back to a boring state college — even if it’s just in the evening — and finish your degree.

Why do I care if you go back to school? Because I love you. And because of messages like this one.

A few years ago you wrote, “Quit worrying about the SPHR and get an MBA.” I took your advice and finished my dissertation. I now make about 25K more than I did two years ago. Also, I only teach nine months a year. (It used to be 12 months.) You say that we should work to make money and care for our families. I do that. But now I have a chance to do more things that I enjoy. Thank you for that. You will never know how much it means to me.

Education is everything. Be a consumer of knowledge. Then go do something special in the world.


lauriegodin1-300x150Seth Godin just wrote an article about the importance of being well known in your industry. The piece is called Famous to the Family, and it shamelessly steals from concepts around market share, minimum viable segment strategies and micro-niche targeting.

But because he’s Seth Godin, he gives a hat-tip to himself and says, “I wrote something about this three and a half years ago, but I forgot, and so did most people I talk about this with.”

It’s still a good post to read. There are probably six people in your industry who impact your life and shape the future of your career. You may or may not know them — and they may not be practitioners — but people with money in your market know them.

In my industry, we call those people “HR Famous.” I’ll wait for Seth Godin to give me a hat-tip because I first wrote about this phenomenon back in 2010, which is something I stole from a guy who was making fun of me. The term “HR Famous” has gone viral among my friends. And what’s even weirder is that an ecosystem of influencers has emerged to lay claim to the rightful throne of being HR famous.

But the truth is that being HR famous — or any-industry-famous — takes time and energy being deliberate, focused and helpful. Not many people I know really fit that bill. It’s too bad because I know a lot of great people who are on the cusp of that fame.

So who is best known for HR in America and beyond? Who is called to offer valuable insight and guidance on HR trends and strategy, including things like talent management, talent acquisition, HR technology, compensation and benefits?

Hell if I know off the top of my head. If I played 20 questions, as Seth Godin suggests, I could give you the man. And it’s probably a paunchy white guy. Wait, no, I take that back. Could be an older chick with a crabby attitude who’s constantly being shitty to younger women in her industry. But I don’t have time for this game.

If you want to be famous to the family, or even HR famous, you have to give somebody a reason to know your name in the first place. Want to be the foremost thinker on HR trends in America? Want to bridge the gap between HR technology and human resources professionals who are in the line of fire? Want to help companies formulate winning talent strategies?

You better bring it.

Someone else is out there who is already HR famous. And she’s not budging without a fight.

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.



Some of you know that my friend is getting married. I am her matron-of-honor because I am matronly and shit.

(I fit the job description pretty well. I look okay in a dress. I can organize important events. I can do a toast.)

I’ve been thinking about why marriage is so hard. I just read that 43% of heterosexual first marriages will end in divorce within 15 years, and 25% of all men and women report being marriage two or more times by age 50. Other studies show that 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.

Heterosexual marriage is not easy. Second marriage is harder. I wonder why we don’t rush to the aid of our friends who are divorced, by the way. We show up at the wedding. We throw baby showers. But while our friends are mourning the loss of a marriage, we clamor for news about Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney.

(Aniston is nearly fifty, which makes her a grown ass lady who can do whatever the hell she wants. Clooney is over 50 and just married his first wife, which is a Jungian nightmare. Thanks but no thanks. I’d rather not look.)

While I’m thinking about this upcoming wedding, I’m also watching the local media coverage of new gay marriage laws in North Carolina. It’s happening, and it’s a good thing. Being married is the biggest privilege of my life. Other people should do it. The world would be a better place, despite what this moron thinks.

So this is all just to say that marriage is on my mind.

As I start to dig into my role as a bridesmaid — and as I think about the men and women in our country who have fought to marry the person they love — I hope that everyone who reads this blog post gets the chance to meet someone awesome, fall in love, and have a 39 year-old matron of honor deliver a kick-ass toast at the wedding.

Just don’t marry George Clooney. He’ll be on the market in a year or two, and you should resist the temptation!

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.



I am speaking at HR Tech Fest in Sydney, next month. I am very excited about it. I want to learn from my Australian counterparts, and I want to talk about some of the things that I find important for global human resources professionals: celebrity gossip, fashion and cats.

I am working with the conference organizers to pull together a wonderful agenda. The event planners told me that generational diversity — and issues related to millennials — are top of mind for the Australian audience. HR professionals deal with the harsh politicalization of immigration, and they are also managing through issues around an aging workforce and skills shortages. So they asked me to weave in some stuff on millennials.


I don’t believe in generational stereotypes, but I do believe one thing is correct: millennials love talking about themselves. Whether it’s on television or the internet, you can’t avoid the phenomenon of millennials talking about the value of other millennials.

That’s fine, of course, except the very definition of a “millennial” is widely debated. Some say the generation begins in 1980. Some say it’s 1975. That would make me a millennial, by the way, which makes sense. I do like to talk about myself.

As I wrote in my bookmillennial now means young. So many people are inaccurately describing children under the age of 20 as millennials. Those kids are part of the Homeland Generation. (If you’re not creative, you call them Gen Z.) As true digital natives, these kids have a unique set of cultural experiences that will shape and form their lives forever.

But let’s not overstate things.

Youth is youth. Age is age. And when it comes to HR and managing kids at work, I know one thing to be true: if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.

So come and see me in Sydney, next month, and listen to me talk about millennials and generational differences in the workforce!

I think it will be fun and enlightening.

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.


kim kardashian psoriasis

I’m just back from the WI SHRM 2014 State Conference. I saw lots of booths on the expo floor. People stood around and talked about HR technology, employee engagement, payroll and health & welfare benefits.

(I grabbed a toothbrush from Delta Dental. My whole trip to Madison paid for itself.)

I think the most interesting booth was the psoriasis awareness booth. You may wonder — what the hell is that kind of not-for-profit doing at an HR conference? Well, you’re not alone. A lot of people wondered why they were there.

Psoriasis affects 7.5 million people in the United States according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Those are people who have pain, discomfort and embarrassment about their appearance. It’s a common disorder with a wide spectrum of symptoms.

I was drawn to the booth because I had guttate psoriasis that cleared up after I had my tonsils removed. I had lesions and red patches of dry skin on my ears and scalp. Luckily, it’s been ten years since I’ve had a flare-up. I went over to the booth and talked with the representatives, and that’s when I learned that even Kim Kardashian suffers from psoriasis!

(She steals all my stuff.)

Ya know crazy things keep people out of work and off the job. Some consultants want human resources professionals to focus on data and technology to solve employee absences and improve morale. I want you to be human. Learn about conditions like psoriasis. Think about how people feel shame for unfortunate reasons. And encourage your employees to use the hell out of their employee assistance programs if something is wrong in life.

Psoriasis is painful, but it’s not shameful. It should not keep people out of work as much as it does.

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.

1 2 3 13  Scroll to top