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I’ve been asked to produce an online video series to help you be better in human resources.

I haven’t jumped at the chance, mostly because this is not my dream, but, also, because the verdict is still out on whether video is the great platform disruptor in learning.

Just because video is hot right now doesn’t mean it’s useful or lasting. In fact, this delivery mechanism is so new that we may discover that it corrupts the learning experience. We think we know, but we don’t.

What’s An Online HR Video Series?

It goes like this: Technology companies want me to take chunks of substantial content, boil the knowledge down into five-minute increments, and teach you how to be better human resources professionals through your favorite mobile device.

I’m not opposed to micro-learning because there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not on YouTube learning how to bevel-curl my hair or make myself something to eat. But the benefit isn’t in the instruction. It’s in the doing.

What’s Great About Quick Hits?

Quick hits are great for diagnosing an error code on your car, learning how to spank a pomegranate, or pulling a snag out of your sweater. And colleagues of mine believe that brief videos are helpful for resolving minor communication issues, reminding people not to be perverted at work, and covering the essential points of cybersecurity when you first get your company laptop.

Quick hits are also useful for entertaining people, making human-to-human connections, and offering encouragement. I love listening to podcasts and watching my friends on YouTube because it feels like my participation is part of a bigger conversation. I’m not necessarily learning, but I’m part of a squad.

But any substantial training endeavor requires a multi-pronged instructional strategy that weighs factors such as a business strategy, intended results, how you’ll measure the impact of the training, existing competency levels, and, finally, the audience’s learning styles.

I can tell you how to be a better HR professional. But are you paying attention? Do you want to learn? Will you do anything with my directions? Or will you watch the video, multi-task, and go back to bickering with Janice in procurement over who can sign off on staffing agreements?

Online Learning and HR

Ultimately, I am not the face of HR. That role belongs to Robin Schooling, who is America’s HR Lady™®. But I am interested in helping my friends and former colleagues know better and do better in human resources and recruiting.

You can’t learn how to be a better HR professional by studying human resources in college, watching online videos, or even taking the SHRM certification exam. You learn it by doing it. And you need ten years in HR before you have seen enough human behavior to be any good at solving problems.

So, I won’t be delivering online classes on how to be a better HR leader. Your lesson begins and ends right here and right now. Time and action are the best instructional tools. Now get off the internet and get back to work.

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Many of you know that my cat Jake died in November. A dear friend of mine sent a gift, and I wanted to show you.

Sometimes being on the internet is all about preserving an image and building a brand, and sometimes it’s about being authentic and showing off your cat tchotchkes.

I don’t need a brand, and neither do you. We need more people in our lives who send thoughtful gifts and offer condolences when an animal dies.

We get the internet that we deserve. More animals, less Russia. That’s my hope for all of us, tonight.

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I’ve been working on my podcast, this month, and I’ve learned a lot about work, life, and the fantastic people in my network.

My podcast is called Let’s Fix Work.

It will be out at the beginning of April. I’ve been speaking to people with concrete ideas on how to fix work. Rather than a long-winded conversation about how corporate America sucks, it’s been great to have expertise-based discussions with people who are improving it.

There’s less complaining than you’d expect, more conspiring to create change.

So far, my guest list is fabulous: Scott Stratten talking about lighting a match to your career, Scott Santens chatting about basic income, Jason Lauritsen talking about being disruptive and innovative when you’ve got bills to pay, Amanda Hite on being the change while being an adult, Áine Caine and her reporting on work-related stories for Business Insider, and Alyse Kalish of The Muse.

Wait, Are You Just Interviewing White People?

You got me.

My goal is to include different voices, so I’m working on getting an interview with a freelancer’s association that focuses on minority workers and, also, lining up a conversation with someone who thinks that work isn’t necessarily broken and that access to economic opportunity has never been better for women and protected classes.

If you know someone with a specific and distinct point-of-view on how to fix work, I’d love to schedule a conversation. Have ’em hit me up on email or just share this blog post. I don’t know if my podcast will have thousands and thousands of downloads, but it will make a difference with the audience who hears it.

I’m trying to fix work, and, ultimately, fix you by talking to experts that you might find helpful. And because fixing you is a stupid goal, I’m really just trying to fix myself. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Sign up now for more information on Let’s Fix Work and all things LFR.

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I don’t buy into the trope that looking for a job is like dating. Nothing could be further from the truth. While both are miserable, you have more power when you date. You have the option to say no and decline further contact. Can’t do that with your job.

But I had breakfast with a friend and he told me about the talent mismatch on dating apps. Here’s how it works.

• Men over 40 have indulged the mom jeans and the emotional isolation of a first marriage. They’re looking for someone younger who needs them, wants them, and won’t emasculate challenge them.

• Women over 40 are in their sexual prime and looking for younger men who aren’t caught up in nostalgia and regret.

• Younger men are dating older women because they have little interest in age-appropriate women who want them to have their shit together.

• Younger women are looking for older men because who wants to date someone age-appropriate who is trying to figure his shit out?

Seems like a lot of generational stereotyping, but what do I know? I sat back in my chair and had a moment of gratitude. I never want to know this world of one-and-done and two-and-through.

Dating and looking for a job are not the same thing, but I do know that talent mismatches are real. Happens on teams and in labor markets. And maybe in real life, too. We’re all jigsaw pieces of a puzzle that makes no sense. When it comes to work, we have a few options: cram people into roles, leave positions open forever, or challenge our deeply-held assumptions and be open to trying something new.

When it comes to dating, I’m clueless. Would like to think my friend is open to being surprised by an age-appropriate woman who will love his hang-ups as much as he loves hers.

But I’m not naive.

I just hope his second, younger ex-wife treats him better than his first!

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Work-life balance is tough for everybody including public speakers. 

It’s hard to maintain relationships when you’re always on the road. Nevermind social media, it’s challenging to stay in contact with colleagues and loved ones when you don’t sit still for five minutes. But it’s vital to make time and be thoughtful with travel and commitments. Otherwise, you’ll miss valuable moments to connect.

That’s why I attempted to see people in New York City, this week. Before I spoke to the patrons of the New Museum, I spent an hour with my ex-boss and future nursing home roommate. Then, after I went on stage, I had a late-night dinner on the lower east side with my niece and nephew.

Because I departed from my introverted work-related routines, I showed up to my speaking gig without my notes. Afterward, I went to dinner in a manic haze and had a difficult time falling asleep when I got to my hotel room around midnight.

But relationships are more important than careers. While it’s tempting to invest all of your time and energy into your job, you need people in your life who will take your phone calls, answer your texts, and bail you out of jail. I call those people my “core four” who will always be there no matter the time or distance.

If you don’t have four close relationships in your life, you have work to do.

And I have work to do with my life. Seeing people before and after work shouldn’t feel disruptive, which is why I want to practice being “social” before and after my events. If I’m living a wandering life, I need people around me who make it less lonely. Can’t lecture people about the “core four” if I’m avoiding social interaction on the road.

So, here’s to better work-life balance in 2018 for all of us including public speakers. If you’re lucky enough to have kick-ass friends and family as I do, making those connections gets easier and more comfortable with practice.

Late-night chips and guacamole — with a lot of laughter — helps! 

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I have always been taken with this quote.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. — Barack Obama

I’ve been thinking about leadership and reading lots of blog posts on what it takes to fix work. Much of it falls on leaders. We expect our bosses to be parents, custodians and guardians.

Would you ask the same of yourself?

Can you do what you demand of others?

Would you confront racism, sexism, bigotry? Protect those who go first and rock the boat? Amplify good ideas? Own your biases and work hard to overcome them? Could you be a cultural steward? Do you turn off devices, focus on the people who matter? Stay physically and emotionally healthy? Listen more, talk less?

Could you try? I think you should.

Because you’re reading this blog post, the responsibility for change falls on you. I also believe that the people closest to the problem are the ones suited to solve it. That’s you. That’s me. We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.

It’s time to ditch the learned helplessness and stop waiting around for leadership to change the work environment. Stop waiting for HR and be your own HR. You’re talented, savvy and understand the work that needs to be done.

If you can’t fix work, nobody can.

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I’m about to kick off my Men Behaving Badly 2018 world tour.

(The first person to tell me “not all men” gets banned for life.)

The tour begins in New York City where I’ll be joined by Kate Bischoff to talk about sexual harassment in the art community. Then it’s off to Boston for further #MeToo conversations and a Friday afternoon appearance on Disrupters Unite.

(Yes, TV on the internet.)

I hear three common themes when #MeToo is discussed.

1. “I don’t have an HR department. How do I know what to do?”

2. “I’m in HR, and we need to follow due process. There are rules. Gotta be careful that we don’t accuse all men.”

3. “I work in HR, but I have no power. This culture is toxic.”

So much learned helplessness at work.

There are angry, simple, flippant responses to those questions. Then there are the more in-depth conversations that create solutions. I hope that the Men Behaving Badly 2018 world tour leads to some answers.

Wish me luck, this week.

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“Another Ruettimann video?”

Yeah, man, another video. I want to relaunch my Punk Rock HR speaking career without calling myself Punk Rock HR. Your interaction (or lack thereof) helps me to understand what works, what doesn’t, and how my fans consume media.

It’s also practice. Over the past three years, I’ve worked on consulting projects and started a tech company. I did all of this, in part, because I wanted nobody to see me. In the video, I talk a little about my fears.

I can’t change the world from behind the laptop in Raleigh, NC. I’m ready to reboot my career and help people think about work. And I can’t do it without showing you how the sausage is made.

So, uh, thanks for enjoying my tubular meat, baby. 

These dumb videos are part of a broader strategy to make a difference in the world. Practicing, communicating, trying to keep my head still and my eye forward. Thank you so much for watching and providing feedback, love and support.

The world of work sucks, and we can fix it. We’ll do it one conversation at a time.

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Summary of the video: Two dudes at an airport overshare their sad, middle-aged stories while a “nobody blogger” and author downs three margaritas and looks them up on LinkedIn.

Please don’t ever complain about paying child support in public. So fucking tacky.

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I’ve been working on a podcast idea. I’m calling it “Let’s Fix Work.” I’ll talk to people who have ideas on how to fix work.

It’s not a super-complicated concept. Work sucks for most of us. The people closest to a problem are the ones well-equipped to solve it. Let’s talk to normal people in my network about fixing work.

It will either be amazing or awful. 

Reid Hoffman once said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” And I’ve learned that the fastest way to validate a good idea is to pressure-test the theory in the public eye.

So, the podcast launches in early April. The show will ask and answer one question: How do we fix work? 

Here’s my list. What am I missing? What do you think? Want to be a guest? Let me know.

– Fix yourself.
– Fix racism.
– Fix sexism.
– Fix poverty.
– Fix your posture.
– Fix gun violence.
– Fix domestic violence.
– Fix education and training.
– Fix how you nourish yourself.
– Fix your overall physical health.
– Fix healthcare and offer primary, guaranteed coverage.
– Fix inadequate access to mental health resources.
– Fix outdoor and indoor pollution: air, light, sound.
– Fix skyrocketing executive pay.
– Fix over-exaggerated expectations.
– Fix low expectations.
– Fix broken spirits.
– Fix broken families.
– Fix mansplaining.
– Fix meetings.
– Fix technology.
– Fix HR.

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