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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.

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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.

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George-Clooney-Amal-Alamuddin-Wedding-Photos

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.

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hrtf14

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.

Hm.

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.

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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.

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ruettimann bull shitThe past two weeks have been busy. Just wrapped up my longest run (22.5 miles) and final big run (Bull City Race Fest) before my marathon. Feels good to finish on a high note. This unflattering but funny-as-hell photo was taken by Lindsey Alexander. When she called my name, I nearly wept for joy.

Someone knows me! Someone witnessed this crazy suffering!

I wanted to share some facts about running, deconstruct a few myths, and break a few stereotypes in the process.

Your nipples will chafe. At some point, something on your body might chafe. Everyone overstates the nipple chafing because it’s titillating and funny. Nobody wants to talk about bra chafing or capri pants chafing. Hell, my ass chafed because I wore the wrong underwear, and I wasn’t even running! You can address chafing relatively quickly. We have science for this.

Good running shoes are expensive. This is both true and false. You can get great shoes at a reasonable price point. You can get shitty shoes that are very expensive. Smart shoppers be smart shoppers, yo. Do your homework.

You will lose a toenail when you run. Gag. I don’t even want to talk about this. If you wear proper shoes and minimize the abrasion to your toes, you will not lose a toenail. You will lose a toenail if you wear ill-fitting shoes. This happens to lots of people who wear heels, tight boots and other funky footwear.

My knees hurt, and I can’t run. Dude, listen to me. It’s your shoes. I know you think it’s not your shoes. It’s your shoes. Try some Superfeet inserts. Stick them in your Converse, too. Are your shoes old? March yourself into a local running store and buy a new pair. Great running stores will earn your loyalty. They will fit you in a shoe and honor a very liberal return policy if it’s not the right one for you.

I’m too slow to run. I just ran behind a woman with bowed legs. You know what? She was faster. If she can run, you can run. You probably can’t get off your fat ass and run a 5K on Friday, which is fine because nobody expects you to do that. Why is it all or nothing?

Running is boring. True. Also, adulthood is boring.

So what’s it gonna be? You with me on training for a race in 2015, or are you going to buy into the misconceptions about running and decide to sit another season out?

I’m going to start training for something — I don’t know what — in March 2015. You should join me.

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Sometimes I see patterns that don’t exist.

Tweets that look like they are meant for me.
Facebook photos that poke at my soul.
Blog posts that read as if they’ve been written to address my current mood.

Then I remember that good writing is meant to move the soul.

When something reaches me, it’s nearly an accident. The writer is uniquely skilled, and I happen to be in the right place at the right time to catch it.

That’s it.

There are no patterns.
There are no hidden messages.

It’s a good blog post, a good tweet, or a provocative photo. But it’s not meant for me.

And I don’t mean to break your heart or anything, but the patterns that you see here are not meant for you, either.

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wishrm

Today I’m in Madison, Wisconsin.

I haven’t been here since 2000. My husband and I were not yet married. We spent a weekend here because we are the lamest people ever. I thought he might propose to me. Instead, we went to House on the Rock and a casino in Baraboo where I won $85 in nickels.

Christ.

What I remember most about Madison is how many people wanted to tell me that Madison was unlike the rest of Wisconsin.

“We’re more like Austin than Milwaukee.”

Yeah, okay.

So I’m in Madison speaking to a bunch of HR people, today. The topic is personal branding. I am not keynoting. I’m just doing a concurrent session because I wanted to see my friend Sarah White give a talk. I have never seen her speak, so I volunteered my time (and gave up my session fee) in exchange for the opportunity to see Sarah shine.

So if you wonder how a blogger earns money and can afford to travel all over the world, you should know that I actually have no flippin’ idea. Today I’m not making any money or traveling the world. I am leveraging my hard work — and cashing in my imaginary PTO days — to support a friend who is speaking in the middle of the country.

It’s not Austin, but it is worth it!

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.

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I am coaching a young HR leader who reports to a founder/CEO. She doesn’t have a mentor or a direct supervisor. She is leading an unusually big project for a woman her age. I have been hired to help guide her through the next few months. It is a neat assignment.

This woman is tough and focused. She is working with men who are nice enough to hire a coach on her behalf but not always nice enough to say please and thank you. For some reason, this matters to my client.

So I gave her this big lecture about how most people are never properly thanked for their hard work. How do you thank the guy down at the filtration plant who fishes out tampons from the water intake? How do you thank the crew that picks up roadkill from the side of the highway? How do you thank the young woman who picked your blueberries or the young kid in Bangladesh who sewed your clothes?

The way you thank people is by doing good work yourself and not looking for a thank you.

When you get a chance to pay it forward and say thank you, do it. But don’t wait around for a letter of thanks to come your way.

So I lectured this young woman — while sounding like an old person — and caught myself in a weird moment of self-awareness. I wasn’t giving her a pep-talk. I was giving myself a pep-talk. The world is full of lazy and ungrateful chumps. Men and women who constantly take and never offer anything in return. There are people who would ask me for $5 out of my purse before crossing the street and picking up a $50 bill on their own.

But you know what? Sometimes I’m one of those chumps.

I miss opportunities to say thank you. I take when I should be giving. And to repent for my sins, I’m burdened with working harder than necessary (at times) and enduring the presence of other lazy morons.

That’s life.

We don’t work hard and make good choices for thank you letters and praise. We work hard and make good choices for a paycheck.

The sooner you embrace this concept in life, the easier adulthood becomes.

So I told this young woman to get off the phone with me and go thank her CEO for being a nice guy. She is lucky to have someone who cares enough about her career to invest time and money in a coach. And if anyone wants to send me a thank you letter for no damn reason whatsoever, do it. It’s long overdue! My email address is [email protected].

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I am just back from the 17th Annual HR Technology Conference and Expo. I think it was the best one yet.

gergenIt was a supportive environment for women.

Very rarely do I attend a tech conference that doesn’t deserve to have an anti-harassment policy, and HR Tech is typically lumped into this category of offenders. This year, the tone was different. There were more women in attendance and more women on stage than ever before. (David Gergen made a comment about HR being a handmaiden, which is unfortunate, but I always take what he has to say with a grain of salt. On the HR conference circuit, David Gergen is a poor man’s Fareed Zakaria.) I was able to connect with smart women who openly praised the work of other women in my industry. Nobody made fun of HR ladies in my presence. It was refreshing.

The expo floor was more attractive than usual.

I feel like every expo floor should be laid out like a grocery store. Give me an end-cap and show me where I can find ketchup, pickles and HR technology vendors who are focused on wellness. (You get my drift.) While this year’s layout was not perfect, it made much more sense than in years past. Some vendors told me that the traffic was light; however, they say that every year. Attendance was up, and the qualified leads seemed stronger than in previous years.

The sessions were useful.

I can see Steve Boese‘s influence on the symposium by the improved quality of the sessions. Content is king, and everybody loved the diversity of the session topics. I was stuck in a briefing room for an entire day, but I was able to hear glowing reports on the quality of the material and subject matter covered at the event.

My take?

I didn’t get roofied. The expo floor was solid. People learned something new. If you ask me, that is a solid foundation for the transformation of the HR Technology Conference and Expo.

I am looking forward to what Steve Boese gives us in 2015.

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