I am speaking about culture at DisruptHR in New York City on Thursday.

culture is a lie

The event benefits breast cancer patients under the age of forty. It hits close to home. I have a few friends under 40 who are battling breast cancer, and participating in DisruptHR NYC is my way to honor their struggles without telling their very private stories.

I have been working on my public speaking skills, by the way. Sharpening the saw, if you will. I partnered with my good friend, Ita Olsen, and worked on calming my brain down on stage, which is a more recent struggle for me.

Ita and I held our coaching sessions via Skype. We did relaxation and breathing exercises. We worked on improved posture and, of course, vocal intonation. More importantly, Ita told me that I will be a more powerful speaker if I love my audience.


Loving my audience is my biggest public speaking challenge. I’ve addressed tens of thousands of HR professionals in the past seven years. There’s nothing like giving everything you have to a room full of SHRM members and then reading feedback on tattoos and shoes.

But that’s in the past. And internalizing all of that old feedback makes me angry, amateurish and ineffective.

I’m ready for a fresh start as a speaker, and Ita Olsen is helping me to think about my audience differently. She constantly reminds me that my audience is full of delightful individuals who love me and need to hear my message. My job is to love them back.

She’s right.

So come and watch me talk about culture — and how it’s a fat lie, suckers! — on Thursday in New York City. We will have fun, I will shower you with love, and you will meet other great leaders and support an amazing cause.


19224141903_772381183e_zHi, everybody.

Uh, yeah, I took a break from blogging. It’s not like you don’t know about my hiatus. No secrets here, but I feel like I should address it before I jump right back into writing.

The story goes like this: I was sitting on a beach and thought, “I don’t have anything new to write. I should take a break.”

I work hard for the opportunity to take a hiatus from my blog on demand and without apology. So I took it.

What did I do with my time off? Well, I did practically nothing. There were some days when I wanted to have a point with my life, but I told myself, “No, stay faithful to the mission. Keep sitting on your ass.”

I missed you guys, but doing nothing is pretty sweet. When I burned calories and used my brain, it was a light effort. I read some books. I took a few vacations. I worked with clients and traveled to a few events, but I also ate a lot of ice cream and stopped reading HR blogs.

Being LFR is great, but being LFR in real life is even better. I took a sabbatical from running. I didn’t color my hair. When I had to look nice, I just paid someone to help me out. In fact, I wrote lots of checks to avoid doing real work. I went to meditation and yoga classes. I went for massages and started physical therapy for my sore pelvis. And I paid someone to get my books in order and begin the move to an S-corporation because I’m sick of funding the military industrial complex and abstinence-only sex education.

(I guess I was productive!)

I’m a better version of myself because of this hiatus. I offered some advice on how you can take time off over on Fistful of Talent. You should take my advice because, honestly, everybody deserves a break. And I’m a great role model.

Thanks for your (six letters of) support during my absence. It meant the world to me. I’ll be back on Monday with regularly scheduled posts.



Today is Roxy’s first birthday, and it’s a big day in our home. When I first saw her at Petco, Roxy’s name was Kissy. Then it was Kizzy. Then it was irrelevant.


I said, “Take her off the website. This baby is going home with me.”

Roxy has acquired a ton of new names during the past year. She goes by Roxy Rox, Roxy Girl, Boo Boo Kitty and Big Pounces. When we whistle and call her name, she meows back to us. She also meows and calls to me while I’m on Skype because she thinks I’m talking to her. It’s adorable.

We have fostered many kittens during the past 18 years, but we haven’t kept many of them. Our second-youngest cat, Emma, is seven years older than Roxy. She doesn’t do much except look poonchy, so we weren’t sure how Roxy would spend her day.

Would she be an office cat? Would she watch birds?

Turns out she wants to zoom around the house and wage holy jihad on spiders, toys and the other cats. I’m fine with it. Keeps things interesting.

Life with Roxy is nonstop action with short (but hardcore) naps. She loves being chased around the basement and climbing into our rafters. She loves greeting us at the door when we get home, eating our people-food and licking our faces at night when we’re trying to sleep. This boo boo kitty doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, but she is sneaky and will eat your yogurt if you’re dumb enough to leave it unguarded.

Happy birthday, Roxy Rox! When you crawl into bed with us and knead dough on our necks like a weirdo, we know we won the lottery. You’re a keeper because your kisses smell like tuna flakes and Scrubby’s old catnip toys.

We love you very much, and we’re thrilled to share our lives with you.


Photo on 7-23-15 at 6.10 PM #2

Years ago, I dated a boy whose mom had a part-time job working for an artist.

She didn’t earn money. She received art.

When I challenged this boy on his family’s wealth, he tried to tell me that his family wasn’t affluent. I rolled my eyes. When you earn art for a paycheck, you don’t have problems in life.

That’s when this kid yelled, “My mum has a job! People don’t just work for money, Laurie. Art is currency!”

I was just a kid, but I wondered — in what world is artwork considered currency? OMG, I rolled. On my side. Off the couch. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

To this day, I look for opportunities to say things like, “Art is currency!”

Now that I’m older, though, I realize that art can be currency. (Sorta.) It doesn’t pay my mortgage, but it’s a legitimate and thoughtful payment for a favor or a kind gesture.

And when the artwork comes from Doug Shaw, along with a thankful note about our friendship, I’ll accept it all day long.

Thank you, Doug!



When someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. Maya Angelou said that, and I think was talking about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is very racist.

There’s no bigger example of Trump’s racism the 2004 season finale of The Apprentice. (Yes, this is ancient history.) Trump cast Omarosa Manigault as a villain and then chose Bill Rancic over Kwame Jackson.

Before the choice is made, Kwame Jackson is asked to work on a final project with a team of people. Omarosa is cast as a partner. She is rebellious, and in retrospect, it seems like she sabotaged Kwame’s project at the behest of the writers and producers to make the show interesting.

When Kwame Jackson is at the board table for the final time, he defends his work and complains about Omarosa’s behavior. Trump says — You should have kicked her off your team and fired her.

Jackson was like — I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t know that I could do that.

Trump is like — Well, that sucks for you. You’re fired. Rancic wins.

(Or something like that. I’m close. Pull the tape.)

That exchange in itself isn’t overtly racist. However, Trump and his writers paid Omarosa to act like a villain and saboteur and then penalized Kwame for not knowing the rules and parameters of the game.

Those shifting goal posts and unclear levels of authority are very common for women and minority leaders in corporate America. Many white men are applauded when they drop the hammer and make tough decisions. Women and minorities are often left wondering — Can I do this? Do I have the power?

(I can’t see you, but I would ask you to raise your hand if someone has ever asked you, “Who do you think you are?”)

So I’m not saying Bill Rancic didn’t deserve to win. I’m just saying that long before Trump was a racist presidential candidate, he was a racist fake-boss on TV. And he’s probably a racist boss in real life.

He showed us who he was, and we should believe him.



Sometimes people complain that my blog has clickbait on it.

“You roped me in under X and then told me about Y.”

Smart bloggers who monetize their online presence know that they have to sell ideas, products and services through their websites. I could load my blog up with display ads or pop-up advertising. I could end every post with an obvious call to action on behalf of a vendor. Or I could simply sell sponsored posts.

I do all of that, sometimes, but that kind of behavior is mostly obnoxious.

I have created a system where I write what I want to write. If it links to a client in a legitimate way, I link it. If I want to complain about salad, I complain about salad.

For what it’s worth, life is clickbait. Once someone has your attention, they never want to let it go. This applies to brick-and-mortar stores as well as news and information websites. Why should someone try to keep you engaged and entertained for as long as possible — for free — unless they’re trying to sell you something?

Me? I very rarely try to sell anybody on anything unless it’s my ideas. I am an HR expert. I offer helpful and fun posts about work, life, and cats. I do what I want when I want. I don’t owe anyone an explanation about how I structure my blogs, and if you think this website resembles clickbait, you haven’t spent much time on the internet.

You feel cheated when I write about a webinar? Maybe this site isn’t for you!


Everybody is freaking out about (proposed) new overtime rules in America.

Here are some of the insincere objections to the rules I’ve seen from pro-business websites.

Workers Might Lose Money in the Long Run

Yes, companies who previously paid people $23,000/year and called them managers — and worked them 50+ hours each week without overtime — are now concerned about how much workers earn. That makes sense.

Professional Employees Might Have to Punch a Clock

God-forbid someone who isn’t a janitor “punch a clock,” as if logging onto your computer workstation every morning isn’t the same darn thing. Many store owners track their exempt-level managers via security systems. They watch their leaders do their jobs via a closed-circuit TV system. That’s empowering, right?

Workers Will Lose Flexibility

I was at the vet, a few weeks ago, and heard one receptionist training another new receptionist. If you arrive at work in the morning and punch in from 8:00:00-8:07:59, you’re on time. Your check won’t be docked. If you punch in between 8:08:00-8:15:00, you lose all 15 minutes of pay, and you’re docked a point in some punitive system of justice.

For every additional eight minutes, things get weirder.

I later learned that the new receptionist worked at Barnes & Noble during the recession after she lost her professional job. Then she was laid off when B&N closed its local store. She started working with vets. Her skills are in marketing and project management, but she loves animals and enjoys subjecting herself to the “flexible” American system of work and the awe-inspiring time & attendance policies of the hourly, non-exempt workforce.

Offering her new opportunities to earn OT would be horrible. She needs the flexibility of arriving at work between 8:00:00 and 8:07:59!

More OT Means Less Developmental Opportunities

How do you train the workforce of the future when you have to pay them a decent wage AND maintain an inflated bonus pool for your executive leadership team? These are tough questions, yo!

Let’s face facts. The overtime rules need updating.

If you ask me to make a choice between the Chamber of Commerce and the manager who runs my local coffee shop, I’m going to pick my coffee shop steward. And if you’re wearing Brioni shoes, you don’t get to lecture anybody on how the proposed OT changes will hurt the economy.


I’ve spent the month of July curating posts at The Hiring Site about work-life balance. I’m proud of the team’s work over there. There are excellent pieces on unlimited PTO, giving up technology for a weekend, and paternity leave. You should go check it out.

But reading about work-life balance never saved anybody’s sanity. The key is to read, reflect and act.

Evaluate whether or not the advice applies to you.

Do you have work-life balance problems, or do you have unrealistic expectations of adulthood? Grownups are busy. They have obligations. And even the luckiest among us will do stuff they don’t want to do. Maybe you would have plenty of balance if you stopped expecting balance and embraced the very normal and ordinary blend of calm and chaos that adults experience in a lifetime.

Don’t automatically assume you need a vacation.

I know so many working parents who feel stressed out and tired. They take a vacation, return to work and look like they’ve slogged through a WWII battle scene. Vacations can be hard work that require planning, coordination, and patience. If you want to drop hard-earned money on a vacation, consider a staycation where you invest in a cleaning service and get the house organized.

Read this closely: Don’t horde your time off.

Far too many benefits plans reward American workers for skipping a vacation and coming to work. Your “days off” do have cash value and are part of your total rewards package; however, even your CEO takes time off. Skipping vacation days makes you weird and cuts you off from real life. If it’s important for you to carry time over, carry the smallest amount of time into the new plan year and use your vacation days to get a hobby or visit family and friends. The future version of yourself—unemployed or retired—will thank you for that investment.

One more thought.

It’s really easy to give vague work-life balance advice, which is why I’ve teamed up closely with The Hiring Site to suggest realistic advice that applies to your professional development. I’m passionate about creating healthy space and boundaries between work and life. I also recognize that work is life for some people. The best vacation policies don’t apply to everybody.

So my last piece of advice is simple.

If you need time off, take it. Don’t need time off? Take it, anyway, and make the most of it. Volunteer. Take a walk. Cut your grass.

I am looking at you, my neighbor lady with a bunch of toys strewn around her house. (I’m also looking at my husband who needs to paint our front door and clean out the garage.) A day spent organizing your life and being productive is a day worth taking.


Lots of traffic to my blog based on Google searches related to interview questions.

I’m not a big fan of pre-planned interview questions. Ask a boring question, get a boring answer. I like reliable and valid interview processes, but asking someone to list their “biggest weaknesses” will not predict success.

So if you’re going to ask some interview questions, make them interesting.

What do you think of Donald Trump?

There is only one correct way to answer that question. I know you might not be able to ask a political question if you work in a government office, but he won’t be in the presidential race forever. It’s always a valid question.

Do you think the Confederate flag is racist?

Of course, everybody will say it’s racist. Your follow-up question is simple. “Really?” And you should whisper it because racist people think you agree with them when you whisper.

Do you watch soccer?

C’mon, man. Nobody in this country watches soccer on TV. Maybe the Women’s World Cup, of course, because those women are badass. But not a pro-team. Don’t lie to me.

If you had to pick one, choose Scientology, Westboro Baptist Church, or the Bandidos.

I think the answer will show creativity, character and a good understanding of whether or not the candidate is up on current events.

Do you think it’s okay to kiss animals on the lips?

Yes, duh, it’s okay. Any other answer is unacceptable. I kiss my cats on the lips because my cats are delicious and, oh yeah, it allows me to stay on top of their dental health. If a candidate is allergic to animals, you could listen for a second conditional answer such as, “If I had a cat, I would kiss her on the lips.”

So those are my suggestions for great interview questions. Have some, too? Let me know!


I’m a vegetarian and people always offer me a salad.

You know what? Fuck salad.

Lettuce is barely a green. Why don’t you offer me a saggy strip of wallpaper from your guest bathroom? That would be more delicious.

Also, do you know the markup on lettuce? It’s picked and packaged by undocumented and underpaid migrant workers. Then it’s sold to me with a 500% profit for an evil agra-business.

No thanks. I don’t want any part of that.

Don’t try to butter me up with tomatoes and cucumbers, either. Those are condiments, for chrissake. There’s nothing sadder than watching someone eat a side salad with French dressing and act like it’s both nourishing and tasty.

Forget it, chump. I know that salad tastes like Legos.

Maybe you’re a fan of salad. I don’t mean to offend you. Whenever I go on a salad rant, I get friends who say, “But I know this restaurant makes a great spinach salad.”

Hold the phone. It’s a bag of spinach with some oranges thrown into the mix. Nobody made anything. To make something, you gotta show talent and some love. And don’t charge me $12 for a plate of green leaves that are 90% water. I sorta want those restaurants to sneak in some chicken. At least I’d get my money’s worth.

But I will say that I have a lot of love for salsa, which is salad with some balls. Add some chips, guacamole, and a margarita. I’d eat that salad all day long, baby.

1 2 3 4 34  Scroll to top