Every year, right around Easter, the weather gets nice down here in North Carolina.

Really nice.

That’s when I break out my warm-weather running clothes from last season and think—Whoa, what the eff? Were these pants always this tight? Ugh! This madness must end!

I feel this way every. single. year.

Winter kicks my ass, but so what if my pants don’t fit? I always budget a little money for a “running wardrobe refresh” in the spring. This year, I started with my shoes. I went to the Brooks store in Seattle and bought a new pair of neon pink Ghost 7s. They are fabulous.

Then I went to the Seattle Art Museum’s TASTE restaurant and had three kinds of ice cream.

The center one is avocado. I took one look at the menu and said, “Fuck it. That’s why I run.”


(I’m going to wait to buy new running clothes.)

Listen, winter was brutal for all of us—in Boston, Chicago, New York and even North Carolina. We did what we had to do to survive!

(My survival included champagne, sugar and fat.)

The good news is that spring is here. And there are less than three weeks to the Tar Heel Ten Miler. I’ll be using all of my stored energy to get my ass up Laurel Hill, and my new shoes will look awesome.


It’s Good Friday 1986.

I am in sixth grade at St. Wenceslaus, a weird and quirky Catholic school on the northwest side of Chicago. My classmates are working-class descendants of Polish, German, Mexican and Filipino immigrants. There’s a first-generation Peruvian American in my class, too. We are the model UN of Catholic schools, and our parents have scraped up enough cash to keep us out of the Chicago Public School system.

So it’s Good Friday, and I’m supposed to participate in something called the “Living Stations of the Cross.” In theory, it’s fun. You get to crucify Jesus. I should be having a ball, except I’m not.

At some point during the rehearsal of the crucifixion, I was mouthy. The nuns are pissed. I didn’t get a starring role as the mother of God, and I don’t get to be Mary Magdalene, either.

I was robbed.

Instead, I am relegated to the role of “angry woman in the crowd.” The group includes me, some boys with undiagnosed ADHD, and a few kids who don’t speak English. But, honestly, it fits my style. And I get to beg Pontious Pilot to free another prisoner at his Passover feast. Cue the spotlight — with all my might, I am asked to chant, “Barabbas! Barabbas! Free Barabbas!”

I embraced it. A little too much. “Free Barabbas! Free Barabbas! Come on! Give me Barabbas!”

Why the hell not? A stage is a stage.

The meanest nun on the block pulled me aside and issued a stern warning that went something like — Hey, it’s Good Friday. Knock it off, kiddo, because we’re taking this show on the road to Our Lady of Good Counsel infirmary. We are headed out on a field trip to show other nuns how Jesus died on the cross.

And I’m full of questions.

1. What the hell is a nun infirmary?

Well, a nun infirmary is a retirement home for nuns. While being a nun is a calling from Christ, it’s also a job with benefits. (Even now, that shocks me.)

2. Don’t these sisters already know how Jesus died?

These women used to know about Jesus and his merry band of pranksters, but now they are immobilized with Alzheimers. The infirmary cared for nuns in the final stages of life. (That’s right. Brides of Christ waiting to be reunited with their husband. Wrap your mind around that at the age of 11.)

3. Wait, this whole thing sounds awful. Why are we going to see this horrible place, again? Did my mom really sign the field trip form?

Well, technically, my Gramma signed it. (Dammit!) And my teachers thought this would be an important lesson on Good Friday. We saw the infirmary and much more than that. Many of these women were locked into frozen bodies with their mouths wide-open. We saw bed pans, dirty linens and the messiness of end-of-life car. We also met the people who cared for the nuns, and I remember wondering how you get a job like that. (Makes a kid want to go to college.)

Mostly I remember the smell. The whole experience left me feeling dizzy and sweaty. My eyes were drippy. My mouth was drooly. I stepped to an open window for a quick gulp of fresh air, and I remember thinking — the only way out of here is to jump.

But then I figured that this was a Good Friday test.

If I could just get through the day and focus on my core lines — “Barabbas! Barabbas! Give me Barabbas!” — Jesus would reward me for my perseverance. Maybe I would get a big Easter basket. Maybe I would get a new Duran Duran t-shirt. Maybe things at my house would calm down: Gramma would chill out, my dad would stop being a spaz, and my Mom would come to her senses and leave her second husband. Just get through the day and nobody gets hurt.

But, of course, this is Catholicism. Things had to get worse before they got any better.

They did get better, however. It wasn’t my faith in Jesus or my prayers to his mother, Mary, which saved me from a crappy life on the northwest side of Chicago. It wasn’t the intercession of St. Julia Maria Ledchowska or the Blessed Salomea who swept me up and spared me from the horizontal violence and chaos of my family life.

It was a boring Catholic education.

My education is an Easter miracle. My teachers, professors, and mentors have always saved me — even when I didn’t deserve it. Especially when I didn’t deserve it.

(I’m so fucking mouthy.)

And although I am not Catholic, I’m eternally thankful for the hassle and the relentlessness and the ritual. I’m thankful for people who taught me limits. And I’m thankful that I was relegated to the crowd.

I’m a better woman for all of the shenanigans at St. Wenceslaus, but I’ll always be on Team Barabbas.



There was a moment in 1992 when my dad forced me to watch ten minutes of a Tony Robbins video. I know he thought it would be helpful, but it was awful.

“I am trying to teach you something, Laurie. You hate it because I like it.”

Both things were true.

He was trying to teach me something because I was a Depeche-Mode-loving teenager who looked a little rough around the edges. Although I was a decent kid who always held a series of part-time jobs and qualified to graduate from high school at the age of 16, I also got into some trouble.

When someone gave my dad a Tony Robbins video at work, he immediately showed it to me because he thought it would help.

And my father was right that I hated it because he liked it. There is no greater oppositional force in the universe than the disdain of a teenager towards her parents. But I also hated it because Tony Robbins seemed like a tool. And now that I regularly speak at industry events and conferences around the world, I see my fair share of Tony Robbins fanboys. And I think — what a bunch of tools.

So when Globoforce announced that Rob Lowe was going to keynote its #WorkHuman conference, I smiled a little on the inside. That’s a guy who can speak to me. Rob Lowe struggles with addiction; maintaining his sobriety is something he’s written about regularly. He is a businessman, a writer, and someone who has devoted his acting career to telling stories about work, too.

And he can’t stop saying bro, bro!

Rob Lowe “works human” whereas Tony Robbins — and many other speakers on the HR conference circuit — want you to literally or figurately firewalk and transcend your human condition.

No thanks. That’s not for me.

So I hope you can join me for #WorkHuman. Come to the event, see Rob Lowe speak, and join me as I host an evening social event (surprise!).

You can also wake up early and run with me.

Let’s #WorkHuman together!


fresh tulips arranged on old wooden backgroun

Winter is over! The weather is breaking! There is hope!

It’s springtime and bonus season, which means that people are quitting their jobs and heading for greener pastures. So let’s say you want to quit your job without burning any bridges. How do you do it?

Nobody likes a quitter. Even if you have a great relationship with your colleagues, they will probably have seriously mixed emotions about your departure. What? Are you not happy? Are they not good enough? You think you can do better? Probably best to tamp down your enthusiasm for the new job until you start the new job.

Give two weeks. Be ready to work that third week. There is no logical reason the two-week notice continues to exist. I’ve done my research, and the best I can gather is that it’s a holdover from post-WWII personnel policies that were then applied to 1960s-style management practices. Give two weeks. I know you might want an in-between week to take a staycation and get stuff done before you start your new job. Be willing to “work from home” or sit in on meetings during the third week.

Have a transition plan when you resign, but don’t give the farm away. There are probably 3-5 things you need to wrap up. Have a plan in your head that sums up those items, communicate those items verbally, but never write those items down. If someone else wants to write a plan down, that’s fine. Verbally acknowledge it, but don’t sign anything. A formal transition plan can bind you well beyond two weeks. If you don’t meet your commitments, you also look like a failure.

Finally, remember that most people blame the dead when things go wrong. When you leave, you’ll be a convenient scapegoat who can’t defend herself when things go wrong.

Give it a month. Let everybody dig into your files, read your old email, and complain that your transition plan wasn’t comprehensive enough. Then re-engage with your former colleagues, if you like, to see if any real friendships exist. At that point, you might want to do something nice and write a LinkedIn recommendation for a few people you admired at your old organization.

But most importantly, move on. You have a new job, man. It’s awesome. All upside. And nothing good comes from excessive rumination.


Lots of “research” out there isn’t research. It’s marketing, wrapped up in survey data, presented for consumption as sales collateral.

In order for research to be research, it needs to be more than just a survey. A survey is merely a method — via a form, phone calls, or even an internet website — where someone investigates behaviors and opinions of a group of people.

Using SurveyMonkey.com to tell me that leaders want better candidates is garbage. Research is deeper than that.

You also have to start with a thesis and test it. In our industry, the thesis tends to be, “Is HR doing it wrong?”

But good research doesn’t lead the witness.

Then companies use try to pass off those survey results as reliable research without telling us important facts. We should know things like:

  1. Sample size — how many people are in the group you surveyed?
  2. Sample methodology — who was chosen and why?
  3. Question construction — why did you ask those questions?
  4. The reliability of the data — does the sample size, methodology and question construction allow a logical person to make appropriate inferences?

Researchers are never afraid to lift the veil and show you what’s underneath.

So when someone tells you that employee engagement is a core issue — or that culture is a hot topic for executives — be sure to look at the mechanics behind the research.

And also don’t hesitate to ask yourself, “Does this sound right? Based on what I know and observe, how is this firm more qualified than me to weigh in on these issues?”

They’re not.

Remember — today’s HR research is marketing, wrapped up in survey data, presented for consumption as sales collateral.

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

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