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TalentAdvisor_CareerBuilder.com

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!

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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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IMG_4307I wasn’t looking to fall in love with Scrubby Ruettimann.

Back in 2006, I had a full-time job and three cats. I was working for Pfizer and trying to save a struggling animal rescue. And I had a private desire to start a family.

Ain’t nobody got time for another cat, I told myself.

But there he was — all sick and stupid and ugly — and I couldn’t help but fall in love with a dumb ginger cat.

My oldest cat, Lucy, stepped in and operated like Scrubby’s biological mom. She tried to show him the ways of being a cat, but he was too spazzy to pay attention.

The other cats in my house? Forget it. Jake all but ignored Scrubby. Molly straight-up hated him.

So it was left to the humans in the house — me, my husband, my 19-year-old brother who was staying in our basement because, well, I don’t remember why — to partner up with Lucy and make Scrub-a-dub into a man cat. Lucy taught him the basics (scratching post, litter box), and we bought a Ronco fishing pole and attached a mousey to the end. We played “cast-a-mousey” up and down the basement stairs until Scrubs would pant like a horse.

There were a million other games, too, and Lucy never gave up on Scrubby. On her dying day, while struggling with seizures and suffering the side effects of a stroke, she still cleaned his ears like it was her full-time job.

Scrubby has always been — and will always be — loved.

Make no doubt about it, he’s our #1 ginger cat. He has a great life that includes a personal bedroom, a window bird feeder where he can watch TV, and a ton of other toys. We buy feathers and cat condos. We play with Scrubby for 20 minutes, each night, before we go to bed.

And you know what? He’s a big dick.

This big-beef-and-cheese of a cat goes through rough patches where he thinks that his territory (our house) is insecure and under attack from Al Qaeda. He wants to show the world that things belong to him.

“This kitty bed? It’s mine.” (Squirt.)

We have tried just about everything to fix his peeing. Bribery. Aromatherapy. Paxil. Ativan. Zoloft. Buspar. Prozac. Elavil. Clomacalm. Anxitane. But Scrubby is an inbred cat who lived with dozens of other kittens in Michigan. He might always pee. The odds are not in our favor. We buy Nature’s Miracle by the gallon.

What’s worse is that we’ve decided to take him off Paxil because it’s not doing anything for him. The withdrawal symptoms are tough. He peed on a chair, last night, and Jesus wept.

(It’s been a rough week.)

And yet, for some stupid reason, we love this guy. We know there is no backstop. Nobody else will ever love him as much as us. And no matter how much I love him, he will probably always pee. He might go months or even years without an incident, but I know that he will rise again and pee on something we value.

Oh well. I could have nice things. Instead, I have Scrubby.

Too many people shirk their obligations in life, which is how I ended up with four cats. I took on the responsibility of loving an inbred cat. While love won’t fix his behavior, it’s the only thing I know how to offer.

And love won’t hurt.

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Bv7zw8uIMAEKIZoI just read an article called, Customers in Their 20s and 30s Are Defecting to Fast-Casual Restaurants Like Chipotle, Five Guys.

First of all, people in their 20s and 30s are part of three cohorts.

  1. People in their mid-to-late 30s are late GenXers and Carter Babies.
  2. The definition of “millennial” changes every time someone wants to make a point.
  3. People in their very early 20s are really not Millennials, but more like the early-stage Generation Z kids.

But I don’t want to talk about lazy generational stereotypes. I want to talk about the growing trend away from McDonalds and Burger King. There are many lessons for people who want to think about trends and brand.

Here’s what I think is happening in our culture.

  1. Michelle Obama is right. Science is science. Fast food is incredibly unhealthy and addictive.
  2. The brands are tainted. Although revenue is strong, nobody is proud to say that they feed their kids McDonalds or BK.
  3. Fast casual appeals to our aesthetic sensibilities. Panera stores and food options look healthier — even if it that’s not the case. Chipotle tells a great story and has convinced you that their supply chain is less cruel, even though those cows and pigs still die brutal deaths for your fat ass.
  4. Fast food is associated with being poor. Most people in their 20s and 30s and making some cash, and McDonalds and BK are associated with having no money. What makes things worse is that McDonalds and BK have capitalized on food deserts and have opened stores where poor people don’t have access to fresh produce. Who feels good about that? It reminds me of the growth strategies employed by Coca Cola and Philip Morris: instead of offering a better product, they sell their wares to poor people across Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

I like fast casual restaurants like the next person — and I avoid fast food restaurants like the plague — but I just hope consumers in their 20s and 30s know that the difference between Five Guys and McDonalds is nothing more than branding.

Cows, pigs and chickens live in tough conditions and die at the hands of cheap laborers who also, coincidentally, live in tough conditions. Companies still struggle to pay a living wage to the prep cook, the fry person, the runner, the cashier and the presenter. And management teams still struggle with leadership issues.

So unless you churn your butter by hand and grow your own food like an FLDS woman in braids, it’s all about branding.

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

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rupc14

Nearly two months ago, SHRM published an interesting article.

Base Salary Rise of 3% Forecast for 2015

U.S. workers can expect a median base salary increase of 3 percent in 2015 across all main employee categories and most industries, still below pre-recession levels, according to separate research findings by pay consultancy Hay Group and WorldatWork, an association of total rewards professionals.

The limited growth indicates no major change in the degree of upward pressure on wages — for now.

Rich Uncle Pennybags cheers when he reads that the economy can sustain a high level of job vacancies with low wage increases. It means that he’s winning the war against talent. He doesn’t have to rush to hire people AND nobody gets a decent raise. Doesn’t get much better than that.

He passes go and collects $200 from the pockets of his workers!

But Rich Uncle Pennybags is a dick. He’s a short-sighted CEO who relies on a shoddy advisory board to get him through the fiscal year. He needs a great talent advisor — HR professionals who do more than just administer labor budgets — to help him understand the value of investing in his workforce.

Great HR professionals understand how politics works. If you control how money is spent on labor, you control the world. The best HR leaders I know are the ones who work hard, educate themselves on compensation and governance, and extend their influence into finance.

When great HR leaders broker a deal to advise and consent on all compensation and labor expenses, the workforce wins. So get yourself schooled on compensation strategies and executive compensation issues right now. This is your biggest imperative as a human resources professional. World at Work is a great place to start.

I would also challenge HR professionals to think beyond their own paychecks. At what point does it become despicable to offer a 3% merit increase? When will HR say something about the impending collapse of the consumer economy? I know so many human resources people who want the proverbial seat at the table. If people can’t afford to buy the products and services sold in America, there is no table.

And if there’s no table, there is no need for HR.

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

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scrubby saucony

Don’t pee on these, Scrubby!

It’s week four of marathon training.

This isn’t my first rodeo. I know how the training schedule works, which is why I broke down and bought some new shoes.

I know this seems like a boring blog post, but buying shoes isn’t a simple thing. Not only are there a bazillion products on the market, these shoes are très expensive. It’s easier to secure financing for a nightclub than it is to buy a simple pair of trainers.

(Just don’t buy the nightclub where Suge Knight was shot.)

Everybody who’s ever run (or not) has an opinion on running shoes. Your mom, who once ran a 35-minute 5k back in 1997, called me and told me about her favorite pair of New Balance.

(Do you have fallen arches? Do you have bunions? How do I find a delicate way to tell you that I don’t care?)

With a ton of information in my head — from friends, fellow runners, advertorials in Runner’s World – I went to my favorite running store and humbly submitted myself for a fitting.

This part was sorta easy. Once I got over the fear of making the wrong choice, which I know is ridiculous, I sank into the process. I was given three options, and all of them were fine. I picked the Saucony Ride 7 because it was the most comfortable fit on my Fred Flinstone feet. I can return them if they suck. (They won’t.) And I was happy to learn that I no longer need super-clunky stability shoes.

(I need more stability in my life, but my wee little feet are fine.)

I ran 10.2 miles on Saturday, and the shoes served me well. No blisters. No drama. No problems. I will keep my old shoes for mid-week workouts and dance parties.

(Whatever. I don’t go to dance parties, but if I do, I have options.)

My new shoes will carry me through the marathon on November 2nd, and now I don’t have to participate in discussions about foam density and mid-sole stability enhancement.

Hooray!

Now bring on the lectures about running gear and other accessories I don’t need.

(One thing every runner needs? A RoadID. Get one.)

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frobinsons3x2140422-sprint-kyle-mooney-cure

This has been the travel week from hell, but it was worth it.

I spent time with friends. (I mean real friends who exist in real life.) We sat in cars and talked about life. We sat in parks and watched squirrels. I had dinner with kids. We visited shopping malls, sat at dingy restaurants, and talked about stupid shit like report cards, first communion and the rising cost of college.

It was great.

Social media fools me into thinking that I have an extended network of friends and family who will rally to my side if I need anything. I do — sorta — but if you’re like me, you are blessed to have a few good friends you can count on one hand.

It’s easy for me to exert a ton of superficial, relational energy on friends and family who live thousands of miles away, but when it wasn’t reciprocated or didn’t meet my expectations, I was hurt. Now I just appreciate how social media allows me to keep in touch with people whom I respect and admire. I don’t push to keep the connection alive beyond the cloud. I don’t try to nurture a connection that wouldn’t exist without SMS or Instagram. I am just grateful for what it is: a nice window into someone’s world who thinks enough of me to share those experiences for a brief moment.

Detachment from “social-friends” allows me to redirect my energy to healthy relationships. And spending time with people I love, this week, has been fabulous. My framily plan is limited, but it’s tight.

More importantly, my real life is good.

I hope yours is good, too.

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