My friend, Don MacPherson, is awesome.

Don is the founder and president of a company called Modern Survey – but who cares about his job?

I count my blessings that our paths crossed back in 2011. He is a smart guy with a big heart who accepts my idiosyncrasies and encourages me to do better in life. I always wonder — what the hell does he get in return? I send him postcards and text messages. That’s pretty much all I have to offer. He likes me, anyway.

Read More…


While I was out on vacation, I received word that my blog was recognized as one of The Best Work Life Balance Blogs of 2014.

Of course. How perfect.

It’s just link bait, but I was moved by what the article says about this site.

“Ironically enough, Laurie’s blog may be the only work-life balance blog that has posts about both work and life. Laurie writes about movies and books as well as other subjects such as conferences, personal branding strategies, and HR dilemmas. She’s not only a critical thinker, but also an excellent observer of people’s emotions and motivations, which makes her the perfect window into the world of HR practices and corporate life.”

I try so hard to “get” my readers. I’m glad one person gets me, too. That is nice recognition. I appreciate it.

Being a work-life blogger is tough because I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in a busy, multi-faceted life. I want to have exhaustive and relentless adventures. I am wrapped up in a crazy, comprehensive love for the people around me. I think your head should hit the pillow, and you should fall asleep immediately.

If you are up late — caught in an infinite loop of anxiety – you are doing it wrong.

There is never enough time or money to accomplish what you want in life. Your boss will never be supportive. The government can’t give you everything you need. But even if you had all of the time and money in the world, you would probably still fail. Books. Movies. Kids. Families. Stargazing. Vacations. Picking up toys from the floor. Brushing your hair. Making sure your parents are safe, and ensuring that future generations don’t inherit a dumpy planet. There’s just too much to do in this world to accomplish it in a lifetime.

I write about work and life because I want you to use whatever opportunities you’ve been given and fight for a better world. Exhaust your days and leave this planet knowing you didn’t waste a single moment — but also know that kicking around on Facebook, sitting on the toilet and staring at the wall for 10 minutes, or reading celebrity gossip magazines are worthwhile endeavors if they make you happy and sane.

So thanks to BuyerZone for recognizing my blog. And thanks for reaffirming that I am, indeed, a work-life blogger. It’s a new niche for me. I’m excited!


Idoes this need to be said craig fergusont seems like the whole world is shocked and saddened by the loss of Robin Williams.

Makes sense. Death in any form is awful and scary.

When I heard about Robin Williams, it made me think about the veterans who take their lives. His death made me think of all the drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill people I know who are caught up in a legitimate — albeit exhausting – struggle with sobriety and sanity. And his suicide made me think of a teenage friend of mine who asphyxiated herself in the garage, and another friend who put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Life is horrible. It makes no sense. We keep moving along.

Except the internet doesn’t allow us to move along.

Some people are saying nasty things and calling Robin Williams a coward. I’ve read tweets from people who mock kids who take four Advil and call it a suicide attempt. Still others are using Williams’ suicide as an attempt to grab a little piece of the limelight and boost traffic to their websites.

So many people are compelled to push out a first-person storyline. Nobody is listening except to find the pause — the break in thought — and interrupt with their first-person narrative.

And even when the reflection and rumination is honest and moving, it still hits the internet like a tidal wave and doesn’t stop. Your mom talks about the first time she saw a Robin Williams movie. Your cousins are talking about bipolar disorder. And ordinary people are opening up and sharing their experiences about depression because, you know, that’s what we do on the internet, and it’s allegedly healthy and helpful.

(Is it? I don’t know. That doesn’t seem like an evidenced-based therapy to me. Some studies show that sharing bad experiences online can actually make you feel worse, by the way.)

The only thing that solves a problem is action. Sharing your point-of-view into the black hole of the internet and waiting for people to leave a comment is the opposite of action, which is why I’m hesitant to write about Robin Williams in the first place. But since you’re already here, let me give you a tool that you might find helpful if you decide if and when to write about Robin Williams.

It’s the Craig Ferguson flow-chart of commentary.

Ask yourself:

- Does this need to be said?
- Does this need to be said by me?
- Does this need to be said by me now?

If yes, say it.

But chances are that you don’t need to say anything about Robin Williams.

I know some of you think you have the right to share your truth. I hate to say it, but access to clean water is barely a right. You do have a right to free assembly, as guaranteed under the US constitution, so might I suggest that you assemble yourself somewhere that’s helpful?

- You probably owe someone in your life a phone call.
- You probably have an unanswered email from a friend.
- You might be overdue for dinner with a family member.

Do that.

Your blog post or tweet on suicide and depression will be lost in a sea of voices. Instead of telling the world about your perspective on mental illness and Robin Williams, go make someone’s life better. Your actions will make a difference in the life of someone who needs you, and you might walk away feeling better about humanity.



I have family members who can’t find work because of arrest records and felony convictions.

They haven’t served time in prison, but their lives feel like prison because they are locked into a cycle of low-wage jobs (and no savings) due to non-violent offenses in their past.

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) is opening a restaurant in Rockaway, NY to address the needs of hungry and unemployed members of that community. His restaurant will provide food to people who live in a food desert, and he will hire people will criminal backgrounds who can’t find work elsewhere.

Leave it to one desperate man to hire and serve the needs of other desperate people. That’s often the untold story of small businesses and food service in America. Read More…


fleet feet half full training

I am marathon training. Again.

I run with an astounding group of people who are wholly committed to fitness — whatever the hell that means — while being parents, spouses and good corporate citizens.

I don’t know how they find the time. I am so impressed and inspired. Read More…


bill-kutik-hr-technology-conferenceLast year, Bill Kutik retired from his role as chairman, grand poobah and institutional curmudgeon of the world famous HR Technology Conference & Expo.

If you don’t know anything about the show, it’s the one place where you can see everything and learn everything you need to know about the intersection of talent, organizational performance and human resources. There’s nothing else like it for HR leaders out there.

Bill Kutik is my scurrilous stepfather and defacto mentor. I write an annual letter about Bill and the conference, and this year feels weird. His successor, Steve Boese, doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to being cranky and dismissive.

Dang it. I miss Bill already.

Bill and I spoke, a few months ago, and I asked him how he feels about retirement.

“I’m not retired,” he said.

All old people say that.

I asked him how he expects to feel when he shows up in Las Vegas for this year’s conference and isn’t in charge.

He said, “I don’t know.”

So I told Bill how every old-slash-retired person feels when a company doesn’t crumble upon their departure.

  1. They are immensely proud of those who have carried the mantle forward.
  2. They are extremely picky about the details.
  3. The whole thing feels bittersweet. New chapters are great, but they come with challenges.

Bill said, “I think you’re probably right.”

(The student becomes the teacher. Circle of life. Lion King shit. Right here.)

Anyway, I hope you can attend the HR Technology Conference & Expo and meet Bill Kutik in his role as Chairman Emeritus. There is no one else in the world who knows our industry more than Bill.

Certainly, no one has his tan or his charm.

If you want to attend, you can use my discount code LAURIE14.

I’ll see you in Las Vegas. Bill and I will be hanging out at the nickel slots. I’ll be gambling away his retirement fund.

I can’t wait!

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.


Nothing good happens when I’m on LinkedIn. If I am not randomly hassled for free career advice or spammed by your mom, I am objectified by strange men.

You know what really bugs me, though? It’s when you do LinkedIn wrong like this guy.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.04.35 PM

Okay, this is not the worst. But I am not interested in collaborating. The last time someone sent me a note like that, he got my email address and sent unfortunate selfies that broke my heart. No thanks.

Also, collaborate on what? What’s it all about, Alfie?

So I wrote back.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.04.53 PM

Luckily, my new boo responded!

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.05.17 PM

(Yeah, uh, I bet he has work for me.)

This guy seems nice enough, so I wrote back and explained that people are weird online. I asked him to elaborate. And I haven’t heard back, of course.


My favorite part of the LinkedIn user experience is when I get off that site.

What a stupid waste of time.



Years ago, I went on a few dates with a guy from Kankakee, IL.

That’s all he talked about.

- “Back in Kankakee …”
- “My friends in Kankakee …”
- “That’s not how we do things in Kankakee …”

(Jesus, dude, okay.)

I didn’t like this guy very much, but I didn’t have much else going on with my life. And dating Kankakee was easy. I went to dinner at all my favorite places in Chicago like Melting Pot, Kampai and Walker Brothers Pancake House. Then I went home and had explosive diarrhea. It was a nice routine.

But after a few weeks of listening to stories about being from downstate Illinois, I couldn’t take it anymore. I said, “You know, I don’t think this is going to work out for either of us.”

He said, “I was thinking the same thing.”

(Yeah, okay. They all say that.)

After we had ended things, we made small talk for a little while longer. I wished him well and said, “Now you can finally find a girl from Kankakee.”

And that’s when he lit into me like a firecracker on the Fourth of July.

“You’re a passive-aggressive snob. Not everything is an episode of Moonlighting. You don’t have to have a snappy comeback to end the conversation.”

Whoa, what? MOTHERFUCKER. Nobody talks to me like that.

I said, “I’ve never even seen an episode of Moonlighting.”

(Gah! I’ve never been one for comebacks.)

Looking back, Kankakee didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know about myself. I have to have the last word. I can’t end the conversation normally. I always want to say something funny, which is very needy and unfunny.

I know this about myself, and I’ve been working on this for my entire life. My family has given me this feedback for years, too, but I never listen. For some reason, though, Kankakee’s comment hit me in the face. It was hard to let it go, which is such a waste of time.

It is weird how most of us don’t value feedback from people we love. I think it’s because we know the people who love us are flawed. And the feedback we offer to our loved ones is tainted by our mistakes that are thrown back in our faces. (Or is that just my family?)

But when a stranger offers an uninformed opinion that taps into our insecurities and seems a little true, we freak the hell out.

So I wanted to share a new way of dealing with feedback from friends, colleagues, family members and strangers. Whenever someone offers unsolicited advice or gives feedback, I ask, “Who the hell asked you?”

If I didn’t ask you, I don’t want your opinion.

Now that I’ve told you my new response, I can’t wait for someone to throw this back at me. I am ready with my Moonlighting-esque response!


CHIRAQI went back to my hometown of Chicago for 24 hours, earlier this week. I didn’t bring a gun because I don’t need to bring a gun. You can find ‘em in any dumpster or playground around the city.

For the past few years, Chicago has been a mess. The cops have been using a software program that is allegedly not racist – although seems pretty racist to me — to predict new patterns of gun violence and warn previously convicted felons not to get any ideas.

The program is called “The Heat List.”

(Clearly it’s working well because Chicago is doing pretty well. Gun violence is down. Recidivism is at an all-time low. Oh, wait.)

The program is fairly small, and it’s one of the many methods that the Chicago Police Department is using to combat crime. Instead of coming down harder on drug cartels and being politically courageous in a tough climate, it’s easier to ask a computer to do what cops, judges, mayors and parents should be doing for their communities.

Cowards. All of them.

Speaking of cowardice, a demoted executive in Chicago shot his CEO and then committed suicide. Garry F. McCarthy, Chicago’s police superintendent and the guy in charge, said, “This is basically a personal thing.”

It’s as if the only crimes that can be prevented — or even warrant any police attention — are crazy gun crimes that happen in Engelwood or Austin. Except McCarthy doesn’t seem to give a rip about those, either, and blames multiple other factors (including misreported crime statistics) for what’s happening on the ground.

What a jerk.

You can’t blame the citizens of Chicago for arming themselves and inadvertently creating more gun violence because it’s not like anyone from the police department to the mayor’s office can offer better protection beyond an algorithm.

(An algorithm that’s clearly not working, by the way.)

So you want to talk about 21st century policing and predictive analytics? Well, here is what we’ve learned from human resources: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Much of the promise of “predictive analytics” is just that — a promise. The results from much of the software on the market are obvious an inane. It is easy to predict that an employee will quit her job because most people quit jobs. It’s harder to understand why someone would quit and take a job for less pay. Software still doesn’t answer tough, nuanced questions.

Far too many people believe that someone or something — your dad, the CEO, a computer program — can be an omnipresent narrator and explain the unexplainable. Unfortunately, computers aren’t omniscient. No algorithm will solve complex problems related to deviant human behavior.

And no algorithm will save Chiraq.


Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 3.25.23 PMHello, bonjour, I am just back from France. My husband had a business trip. I asked to tag along.

“I’ll be busy with work,” he said. “You’ll be alone for a few days. I can’t stay out late or drink too much during the week.”

I’m like, “A decent night’s sleep and free time to wander the streets of Paris while you work? That sounds horrible. Sign me up!”

We took off for eight days. He worked. I managed to read a couple of good books and eat my weight in sugar and cheese. We had the opportunity to be tourists over the weekend, too, and that was nice.

Not bad.

I am glad I had a French marathon because I knew it would be my last hurrah before my real marathon. Starting now through November 30th, I am working on manuscripts and will be on the road for clients. I am headed to Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington DC, Berkeley, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, Madison, San Diego, Miami, Sydney and Rome while simultaneously training for and running the City of Oaks Marathon.

It’s cool. The next 16 weeks will be a little crazy, but I can do it. I am not worried at all.

(I also need to make my weekly trips to Topsail happen a little more often. The weather in North Carolina has been shitty, this summer.)

Anyway, France was great. Paris is a fun city, and Lyon and Pérouges are breathtaking, but it’s good to be back in America. More importantly, it is great to be back to work.

Have a good week!

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