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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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Some of you have heard me sing the praises of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

Have you read it?

My pilates instructor referred this book after she got sick of asking, “How is your real book coming along?”

I love this book for a million reasons. Here are a few things I learned about being an artist.

  1. If you want to be a writer, this book addresses the reasons why you don’t write. Procrastination? Inertia? Lack of creative ideas? It’s less complicated than you think.
  2. If you wonder about the difference between amateur and pro — whether you are Tiger Woods or a chick who works in human resources — Steven Pressfield lays it out in very clear language. Amateurs are in love with the brand, the lifestyle and the identity of a career instead of being consumed with doing the work itself.
  3. The universe encourages you to half-ass your life and your work. The only way to overcome resistance is to build healthy and repeatable processes. Healthy habits enable a creative environment that will produce art.

If you are stuck and want more out of life, give this short book a go. I think you’ll find it helpful and enlightening.

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I just wrapped up my marathon training with Fleet Feet Carborro.

It’s early, and there are a few more weeks before my marathon, but my jacked up travel schedule is forcing me to be smart with my time. I will complete my mid-week runs on the road. My long-distance runs are winding down, thank goodness, so it’s easy to do those with friends and family members.

If you are interested in running, local running stores have excellent beginner programs. I just showed up, one day, and asked a lot of questions about running a 5k. I learned about a weekly program with other slow people. I ran with one store’s run crew, didn’t care for it, and then found another. I wound up with a great group of women in Carborro.

(That’s how this works. Trial and error.)

The one thing I know about running? I could never do this on my own. I’m not into team-building or group activities. I’m not built to wake up early, eat right and put on running shoes like I have somewhere to go.

(I have nowhere to go. These comfortable running clothes are a lie. I’m just going to Target.)

The secret is that very few people are naturally inclined to wake up early, eat right and exercise. Running groups are a great resource for normal people who don’t have time to think about improving their VO2 max, but might want to learn how to run without dying.

(The trick is breathing and going faster than a walk.)

If you are interested in learning how to run — even if it’s just a small distance — a local running group is a great way to start. Do it! Then let me know how it works out.

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HustleHarder

The Great Recession morphed our language, but I still don’t know when it became cool to call yourself a hustler and to encourage a life of hustle.

In my life, hustlers are always struggling. They are broke. There is no long-term vision for their lives. Things move quickly for them because there’s no time to pause and reflect. They move from one job to the next, without a pot to piss in, and wait for the hand of God to intervene. God doesn’t look like God, however. God comes in the form of a scratch-off lottery ticket, a $20 bill on the sidewalk, or a cash contribution from a family member who just can’t stomach the bullshit for another minute.

I’m not the Oxford Dictionary, though, and hustle doesn’t always mean hustle in the way I’ve just described it. People who move swiftly use the word hustle to describe the way they’ve found a bridge between “passion projects” and income.

If you can meet your basic obligations in life, you can hustle and call yourself a hustler. What do I care?

But hustlers very rarely meet their obligations. It’s a woman who has “something in the pipeline” that will fund all of her dreams if you’ll only loan her $2000 so she can make rent and pay her overdue utility bills. It’s a guy who is following his dreams but can’t seem to understand that he’s stealing from your long-term dreams when you give him money.

I love agile and creative thinkers who attack the world’s problems with ferocity and passion. I love artists who cannot stomach the idea of doing anything but art. But to hustle is to fail. I think the hustle behavior we see from Gary Vaynerchuk and his ilk deserves a better name.

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