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It’s a new year. All around the world, HR professionals are overseeing new wellness plans and weight loss initiatives, which is a truly aspirational role for people who also monitor work conditions with low wages, toxic open-space office models, and long commutes.

As an HR lady, I’ve seen a ton of sketchy office weight loss schemes in my life. Worse than Biggest Loser. Dumber than an office-wide embrace of Atkins where everything but bacon gets tossed out of the cupboards. At this point in my career, I know a bad diet when I see one. So here are the worst diets for 2017.

“The Divorce Diet”

I know you’re separated before you tell anyone at work. It’s because you’ve lost twenty pounds and you’re packing a salad for lunch. Divorce is great for short-term weight loss, but it’s tough on the heart. Avoid it if you can.

“The Trauma Diet”

A friend of mine just lost a ton of weight by nearly getting killed in a car accident. Sure, he looks good. Might be better if he didn’t spend a couple of months in a hospital. So if you have to choose between being chubby and a major tragedy, choose chubbiness.

“The Virus Diet”

A few years ago, my local school district was overrun by the norovirus. Soon it spread to daycare facilities and gyms. Then it spread to my gut. I like your kids, and I needed to lose weight, but coming into contact with contaminated feces is a terrible way to lose ten pounds.

“The Dental Diet”

A girlfriend of mine just had a ton of dental work done, and she’s been on painkillers for a few weeks. She looks fabulous now that the bruises have healed. I just hope she still likes food, and not Tylenol #3, when this is all over.

“The Reunion Diet”

This is the worst adult diet of them all. It’s your high school reunion, and you want everybody thinking you’re an adult rockstar. So you join a local gym and starve yourself for six months. You look okay on the night of the event, but this weight comes back with wild abandon on the day after the reunion. My advice? Don’t go to the reunion in the first place. Be happy with where you are today.

There are pretty fantastic weight loss plans out there. The most successful one is the “don’t eat it and you won’t need to lose weight” plan. I also like the “stop stepping on the scale” diet. Measure other things besides weight and you probably have a better indication of your overall health.

But the best diet is the one where you abstain from self-criticism and negative thinking. Don’t just avoid toxic food; avoid toxic thinking. And, if worse comes to worse, go on a diet from scales and full-length mirrors.

And avoid the HR weight loss schemes. Nothing good comes from company-mandated wellness.

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Vacation policies are boring, dull, and yet totally essential for the health and morale of your company.

Many businesses don’t have PTO plans because they don’t want to cover everybody fairly. Harsh but true. Some companies don’t want to put money away to pay out unused vacation when you quit, either. So they say things like, “We have unlimited PTO. Take what you need and get your job done.”

Unfortunately, nobody takes unlimited PTO and gets away with it. From the CEO to the junior tax accountant, work needs to get done. There are limits to what the word “unlimited” really means.

And nobody takes enough time off, either. Studies show people take less time off with unlimited PTO than they do with standard plans. In theory, you should take more time off with an unlimited plan. That rarely happens, though. Who wants to be the one taking more vacation than your boss?

So, it’s the beginning of the year. If you work in HR, make sure everybody knows your PTO policy and starts dreaming about time off in all four quarters of the business cycle. If you have unlimited PTO, make sure employees take time off that they need (and deserve). Model good behavior and take time off in 2017, too.

And, if you work in a regular job outside of HR where you’re lucky enough to have PTO, start planning your time away from the office. Unlimited or otherwise, your vacation is part of your total compensation package. Use it or emotionally lose your mind and spirit during the long winter months.

If you don’t have PTO at all because you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur like me, the world already thinks you have unlimited PTO. Screw those people and show them how it’s done by unplugging and posting some badass latergrams from an enviable location.

No matter how you work, work a little less in 2017. You’ll thank me for this advice in 2018.

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I’ve worked in human resources since 1995. Young men and women look to me as a role model, and I love being a mentor. I’ve worked with SHRM and several universities to help graduates find careers within HR that align with their talents and dreams.

When I ask young HR professionals why they want to work in HR, they have one standard response.

“I like people.”

I love that answer because HR professional must have three core competencies: data fluency, business acumen, and empathy. If you get the empathy part right, you’ll be given an opportunity to develop data and business skills throughout your entire career.

There’s a misperception in the marketplace, however. Older HR leaders are telling new employees that you can’t be nice and work in human resources. I must have missed the email, but new HR departments are built on a consultancy model where everybody wears tailored clothing, works in imaginary open office environments that enable productivity, and uses an iPad to communicate relevant information.

And you can’t care about your workers’ feelings.

I think that’s all wrong — especially the part about the open office environments — but also about the fact that HR can’t like people. It’s ridiculous. If you want to hate people and have a job, go work at the DMV or in procurement. Those are two places where you can follow the rules, please your superiors, and call yourself “fair” while acting like a jerk.

Insecure HR leaders who don’t have the support of the CEO will try to garner favor with the executive leadership team by talking tough. But seasoned HR professionals know that you can’t be influential without being nice. The two go hand-in-hand because nice is a synonym for likable. And, in fact, “being nice” is what sets the modern HR professional apart from bots and algorithms that can already solve problems faster and more efficiently than the average Susy SPHR.

Do you want to stay relevant? Want to earn the favor of your senior-level executive team? Want a promotion? It’s not that complicated. Be nice, work hard, and learn the ins and outs your business.

That’s not just good advice for HR, by the way. It’s good advice for any corporate professional under the age of 35. People who don’t want you to be nice are the ones who see your kindness as a threat, and they don’t have your best interests at heart.

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Welcome to 2017, everybody. A new year means a fresh start for each of us, including me.

I am now a software CEO.

My primary product, GlitchPath, is an online premortem that helps teams beat failure and find new paths to success. Our launch date for select users is January 23, 2017.

The second product, currently in development, is a mobile app that will help you make fun and quirky life decisions in under two minutes. More on that ASAP.

I am also consulting with GlitchPath. We are using our platform to synthesize data. Then I take teams through an exercise to become self-aware and avoid big consultancy invoices by solving their own problems. If you want to know more, let me know!

My marketing consultancy continues to thrive.

There are fewer than 1,000 elite HR professionals in America who make extraordinarily complex purchasing decisions. Then there’s everybody else who makes purchasing decisions based on webinars, relationships, and raw gut instinct.

For those technology companies that sell to the everyday HR buyer, I’m still excited about reviewing and advising on marketing strategies and events. Please let me know if you think I can help.

I will always be in HR.

I can’t deny it. I love the world of human resources and technology. I will continue writing and speaking about today’s top issues in the industry. You’ll see me contribute to leading publications as well as appear in articles where journalists need to cite an HR expert.

I’m always delighted to talk at your HR conference, too. Please don’t stop asking. I’ll be working with RepCap Media to release a second edition of I Am HR in hardcover, and I plan on attending the 20th Annual HR Technology Conference & Expo in October, which is always exciting.

2017 will be a big year.

This blog — and your readership — means the world to me. I left my job at Pfizer in 2007, and I’ve managed to build a successful company and solid reputation during one of the worst economic periods in the history of America. But I didn’t do it alone. I did it with your help and support.

So if I can be of any assistance, or you need help on a personal level, just reach out. I can’t have as many clients now that I’m working on GlitchPath, but if you need me, please reach out.

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I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets and resolutions. This post is all about my biggest 2016 resolutions.

I go back and forth on resolutions. Sometimes I think they’re valid. Sometimes it feels like a crock of shit. But a friend of mine who blogs under the name “HR Wench” just shared hers.

Goals for 2017:

1. Punch anxiety in the face.
2. Pet and talk to as many cats as possible.
3. Say “hello, big dog” to all dogs – regardless of size.
4. Make lots of crafts and call them “art”.
5. Make lots of art and call them “crafts”.

Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

My 2017 resolution? Be like my friend! In fact, I want to be like all of my friends.

I hang with talented, remarkable people. It’s time to start emulating the greatest qualities of my friends. That’s my 2017 resolution. Plus I really want to say “Hello, big dog.” That sounds fun.

Happy New Year.

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I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets and resolutions. This post is all about my biggest 2016 regrets, and the list is too long to replicate on my blog.

My regrets fall into specific categories: angry conversations, missed opportunities, inconsiderate words, and inattentive behaviors. And some of my regrets are messy and overlap like a Venn diagram. It’s funny how one stupid incident can hit all four buckets and remind me that I’m an asshole.

But I believe two things about life: today isn’t tomorrow, and every day is a do-over. There’s comfort in believing that whatever is broken today holds the opportunity to be repaired tomorrow. I’m also buoyed by the belief that people know my heart and will offer forgiveness for my transgressions, even if they only forgive silently in their hearts.

So, while I have a ton of regrets from 2016, I know that every day holds the potential to start over and try anew.

Here’s to a new year where we can fix what feels so wrong in our lives.

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I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets and resolutions. This post is all about my biggest 2016 failure, which is funny because I started a company to help teams beat failure.

People might think I don’t like to fail, and that’s just not true. In fact, I believe that it’s essential for personal development and growth. What I hate is the way in which most people fail. It’s so boring and mediocre.

No, really, tell me about how much you hate your in-laws. While you’re at it, tell me how you hate your job, and how you’re looking for a new one. No, it’s not you. It’s your boss.

But as I look back at 2016, I can see that my biggest failures were predictable and based on a single theme: I can’t delay gratification. I tried to stop drinking, this year, but failed because I haven’t found any other device besides champagne to soothe my soul. I also decided to start running long distances, again, but I can’t commit to the middle-of-the-week workouts to build up my endurance.

I don’t like to suffer at all, dammit. In avoiding suffering, I suffer more. And I suffer in an ordinary way.

So my biggest failure in 2016 is picking the certainty of today instead of the possibilities of tomorrow. It’s a stupid way to live, and I hope to work on this in 2017.

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I always end the year by writing about my accomplishments, failure, regrets and resolutions. This post is all about 2016 accomplishments.

If I’m being honest, I had a record-breaking year of doing things the hard way. That’s 2016 for you. Everything was a slog.

But here’s one thing I started doing right: I asked for advice and listened to people.

When I first hung my shingle at GlitchPath, someone told me that I’d need to develop my inner Samuel L. Jackson and cut anybody who gets in my way. The software business is unforgiving, people steal your ideas, and being an entrepreneur means that, at some point, everybody will hate me. I have to be married to my idea, not my spouse. I need to love my product, not my family. It’s a short-term ruthlessness, but it’s unacceptable to do this any other way. And, if someone tries to come at me, I need to bring them down.

I was like, whoa, that’s a lot.

Turns out, he was right. I’m glad I shut my mouth and listened to that guy. I haven’t had to cut anyone, but I’ve been close.

I was also told to have hundreds of conversations before writing a single line of code. That was excellent advice. And, secondarily, I was advised to build up my sales and marketing teams and work on pricing strategies and use cases before hiring a CTO with no vision who will ruin everything.

That advice also saved my ass, earlier this year.

Finally, I listened to someone close who challenged me to work at the top of my license. I heard the feedback, and it mattered. Being a human resources expert is not the pinnacle of my expertise. I can do better.

Asking for advice and truly listening is my biggest accomplishment in 2016. I’ll still be an obnoxious contrarian in 2017, of course, but my goal is to shut up and listen a lot more.

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Every year, I threaten to do performance reviews on the cats. This is the year it happens.

Jake, 16

Glorious man cat. • #cats #catsofinstagram #tabbylove #jake

A photo posted by Laurie Ruettimann (@lruettimann) on

Summary: Mister Jake is in the fourth quarter of life, so the fact that he’s alive means he is exceeding expectations. But, on the other hand, he’s not really contributing much to the enterprise. He’s the old guy who’s been at the office since the beginning. He’s being paid just to show up. His best days are usually spent velcroed to my body in some awkward way while I blow my nose from allergies.

Performance Review Results: Meets Expectations

Molly, 12

Sparkle cat shines. #molly #catsofinstagram ⭐️🌟⭐️

A photo posted by Laurie Ruettimann (@lruettimann) on

Summary: Molly Ruettimann is a crankypants kitty who talks too much and has an opinion on everything. She’s also the only cat who doesn’t need anything from me, doesn’t beg for my attention, and gives me secret kisses and head butts while her dad is at work. She has good markings, and she likes to make her own fun with a toy mouse when nobody is looking.

Performance Review Results: Exceeds Expectations, Bonus Eligible

Emma, 9

Emma loves this ugly velour blanket I've had since 2000, so it remains a winter staple. #cats #catsofinstagram #goodnight

A photo posted by Laurie Ruettimann (@lruettimann) on

Summary: Poonchy Emma is a chubby, floofy poonchahontas with the best face and the sweetest pink mouf. Yes, that’s English. Emma’s coat is soft like a bunny. When I can get her to sit on my lap, I squeeze her belly and do chub rubs. She doesn’t really do much, but she’s the best all-around kitty and fits nicely in the monkey bed.

Performance Review Results: Exceeds Expectations, Bonus Eligible

Roxy, 2

Summary: Roxy is a terrorist. Her favorite thing is to zoom into a room like a ninja, throw a horse-collar on one of the other cats, and run away like a burglar in the night. She’s a treat thief and a beggar, and it’s impossible to eat yogurt in this house without giving her a bite. All the toys in the world are boring and dumb except tissue paper and Amazon boxes. You can’t tell Roxy what to do, and she always has to steal her kisses from you at 3 A.M.

Performance Review Results: Needs Immediate Improvement

***

Two of my cats exceed expectations, which means that I have an inverse-bell-curve for performance. Luckily, the bonus pool is funded and we can reward performance and retain our key workers in the Ruettimann household.

Let’s see what 2017 has in store!

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Years ago, I wrote for a magazine called The Conference Board Review. One of my editors was Vadim Liberman, and he was the sort of boss who taught me all about logical fallacies without overtly saying, “Hey, your article is a piece of garbage and makes no sense.”

In return for his excellent editing and critical thinking skills, I’ve turned Vadim into a superstar. He knows all my HR famous friends, and he’s now doing Off-Off-Broadway shows where he talks about leadership and ethics while being wildly entertaining.

Workers Gone Wild | Vadim Liberman | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

(Seriously, you should book him to speak at your HR conference. He’s way better than whatever motivational speaker you have lined up.)

But I’m not here to brag about making Vadim famous, although I will take full credit and 10% of whatever he earns. I am here because he is relaunching his blog and being a total baby about it.

For starters, Vadim is worried about getting the tagline right. A Renegade Guide to Work and Life? A Contrarian Guide to Work and Life? A Rebel Guide to Work and Life? Who gives a shit. Pick one and write.

He’s also concerned that his content won’t be interesting enough, which is totally dumb because everything he writes is hilarious and he knows it. He’s been writing about a broken television since 2014 and people still find it fascinating.

And, finally, Vadim has imposter syndrome. He’s not sure if he’s capable of doing anything other than eating and drinking a lot. Fair point, to be sure, because Vadim is so incredibly fat and lazy. He needs to get on the Tic Tac and Diet Water Zero Lite® program immediately to burn off the two ounces of frozen yogurt I once saw him eat back in 2015.

So here’s what I told him:

Stop being a bitch and hit publish. Let’s go. Get back to being a writer.
All that other shit is artiface.
artifice

(Stupid tiny screen and typos.)

I also told him that, at some point, imposter syndrome is narcissism. Are you good enough? No, dammit, you’ll never be good enough. Are you smart enough? Probably not. Will people see right through you? Of course. But running a software company has taught me one thing: nobody knows shit, everybody sucks, and it’s never the right time to do anything in this world.

Do it, anyway, and stop looking for reassurance. The world is a cold place, so tend the fragile fire in your own heart to keep warm.

So here’s to Vadim Liberman and his rebooted website! Whoo hoo! He’s had many roles in life: journalist, editor, fake personal injury attorney, gastroenterologist, and blogger. You’ll probably suck at blogging, but typing burns calories and keeps you from watching too much TV.

I’m glad you are back!

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