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The world of work is changing. One reason may be due to the fact that five generations are working in the workforce right now. Five generations. Let that sink in for a minute. So what does work look like? Or maybe a better question is, how does work, well, work nowadays?

I recently welcomed Lindsey Pollak to my podcast to speak more on this topic. Lindsey is a multigenerational workplace expert, keynote speaker, and author of the book, The Remix. She is one of the earliest people to talk about the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. She does not like generational shaming or stereotypes.

It’s a super confusing time to be in the workforce. Not only do you need to manage yourself, but you also have to manage the expectations of other people, understand the culture and the norms from where other people come from. Plus, the rules of work and engagement at work are changing. Lindsey shared some of the new rules facing the multigenerational workforce today.

Rule #1: Stop shaming by generation

Lindsey shared this, “My first rule is stop shaming by generation. And that means stop shaming millennials. We have criticized them and made fun of them. I mean people made fun of Gen  Xers like us. But the things we say about millennials, like they’re lazy or entitled. What if we said that about women? We would never allow it. But when we talk about millennials, we all go, ‘Oh, these young people today. Right?’ The other piece of that is don’t make fun of yourself for your age either.”

The bottom line: Stop making fun of age and see it as an element of diversity.

Rule #2: Remember common sense is not so common

Way back in the early 90s common sense at work was, “how many lines you skipped in a business letter between the address and the date” or “women wear pantyhose to a job interview.”

Lindsey explains how common sense works in the world of work today, “And so now common sense might mean if you’re going to reprimand somebody, you do it face to face. Well, maybe that’s not common sense to a young person who’s never been taught that skill as a
millennial. It might be common sense of how to post an Instagram story. Well, that’s not common sense to somebody in their seventies, so we no longer have these rules or agreed upon ways of working that we used to have. And that’s challenging.”

The bottom line: Common sense in today’s workforce is freeing, but you have to acknowledge it.

Lindsey and I talked in-depth about how we can take the best from all five generations, learn from one another, and actually have some fun in the world of work. So if you’d like to hear two Gen Xers being a little nostalgic and talking about work, you’re going to love listening to this recent episode of Let’s Fix Work.

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marijuana HR cannabisI have a friend who hates her job and suffers lower back pain and anxiety.

Wait, that’s not fair. I have at least seven girlfriends who fit this composite character. They all take cannabis in some form to alleviate symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

The transformation in my generation has been remarkable. These are white women who possibly voted for Trump — with families and serious HR jobs — who are now fluent in different cannabis strains and various delivery mechanisms like food, suppositories, oils, simple vaping devices, elaborate bongs like they’re back studying poetry at the University of Illinois in 1996.

None of them are cured, by the way. Some of them feel better, but a few have rebound anxiety. When I mention it, they jump down my throat and tell me it’s not rebound anxiety — it’s their awful jobs and lives.

I’ve asked, “Can it be both cannabis and the external environment causing your anxiety to get worse?”

No, it’s not the weed. Back off. Maybe I should do my research.

People will do anything to make themselves feel better, and I’m not here to judge how somebody addresses physical and emotional pain. I have my own problems with alcohol, and the CBD and cannabis craze doesn’t eliminate the drivers for me to drink. I know because I’ve tried. The only thing that makes me feel better is a lifestyle rooted in emotional rigor, honesty, drinking lots of water, eight hours of sleep and eating better.

I believe that we fix work by fixing ourselves. If CBD oil or sativa chocolates work for you and helps you to live your best life, that’s great. You’ll be a better employee. But I have to imagine every HR department out there is like me—making assumptions about cannabis, CBD, THC, sativa, indica, oil, tinctures, pills, gummies, suppositories, and patches without a bunch of first-hand knowledge.

I have some resources for you.

My friend, Don MacPherson, interviewed Giadha Aguirre de Carcer — CEO of New Frontier Data. They spoke about ‘Demystifying the Cannabis Industry,’

My good friend Kate Bischoff did a great DisruptHR talk called “To Pee Or Not To Pee: Drug Testing & Marijuana.”

Eric B. Meyer wrote a thoughtful article called, “Your employee uses medical marijuana. Her drug test is positive. But, how do you know if she was high at work?

Wherever you fall on the spectrum of this topic—curious observer, advocate, ally, casual user, patient, skeptic, abuser, opponent—it’s time to get educated. And if you work in HR, add this to another thing on your list.

Although I have a funny feeling that your local HR lady already knows more about this topic than the average employee. The last person to push gummies on me was a VP of HR at a conference, and she seemed to be living her best life away from the kids, in a hotel room without a husband and alleviating her lower back pain without going to the gym.

Sometimes HR ladies do it right!

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Have you ever been in a situation at work where you witnessed something uncomfortable but were too afraid to say anything? Or maybe you just didn’t know how to handle the situation. I’ve been there too and it’s not the best scenario, in fact, it can feel downright icky.  

Very early in my career, I watched a VP come on strong to a coworker, he befriended her and gave her some additional opportunities at work. Then he loaned her money and they started dating “in secret.” Eventually, he had a meltdown and abandoned her. Her career stalled and she ultimately quit. Nobody ever said anything.  Not a single person! Well, okay, I started asking questions of her, but I still didn’t know what to say. And to this day, that whole thing still bothers me.

So what can we do? What can we do to prepare ourselves to handle awkward, uncomfortable or inexcusable behavior in the workplace?

Enter virtual reality. Wait, what?

Yes, you read that correctly, virtual reality could be the solution to the problem or at least address part of it.

In a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, Morgan Mercer, founder and CEO of Vantage Point, joined me to talk about how virtual reality is paving the way to help us learn how to deal with difficult workplace scenarios with compassion and empathy.

Morgan and her company, Vantage Point, are using virtual reality to aid in anti-sexual harassment training. By using a standalone Virtual Reality headset (like an Oculus Rift), leaders, managers, and employees can now immerse themselves in a world of virtual reality where they can experience or witness sexual harassment. Then through a series of games, tests, or quizzes, they can learn how to deal with the situation.

In doing so, Morgan says, “The experience allows you to feel discomfort and we’ll tie those feelings to actions you can take to positively influence the outcome. And then we allow you to see the ways that these situations play out. Your feelings are then translated into information.”

But if VR technology can teach us to be compassionate and can teach us empathy, can it actually change behaviors and change attitudes?  

Morgan believes so, “You learn through adversity, you learn through discomfort, ultimately adversity and discomfort are what caused you to look inwardly and really question yourself. And that’s really where you shift your belief system. So through changing your heart, through changing your mind, then you change your behaviors. You can’t shift your behavior if you don’t shift your belief system or your values.”

If you want to hear some of the best ways to handle sexual harassment at work and how virtual reality is paving the way to help us learn how to deal with these scenarios, then click here to listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

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Hey, everybody, just wanted to say hello.

I’m up to my eyeballs in work that doesn’t make me wealthy, which is the worst kind of work.

When you work for a company and have a little bit of gravitas, people do things for you. When you work on your own, you watch your cash flow and only outsource the truly life-changing tasks.

But I did want to tell you about a few things.

1. I’m going to SHRM but won’t be attending the conference. Instead, I’m in meetings and heading out to celebrate my friend Jennifer McClure’s birthday. It’s what I do every year: complain about the conference, show up around the ecosystem, and hate myself for attending an HR conference instead of going to The Maldives. I don’t have time to see anybody socially except Jennifer, but, if you’re attending the show, make sure you check out the sessions from Jennifer McClure, Tim Sackett, and Kris Dunn.

2. My HR Book Club is on the backburner. It’s not a priority right now because my life revolves around running a speaking business, consulting, coaching, and writing a book. But I’m going to kick things back into gear after Labor Day, and I’d love some book suggestions. What have you read that you love? Tell me at hello@letsfixwork.com and maybe we can swap recommendations.

3. I’m speaking at a few places, this summer. I’ll be volunteering my time as a keynote speaker at the inaugural Hacking HR event in Durham, NC. Then I’ll be at Plansource Eclipse in July. You can also find me at the HCI event in Denver. (I’m leaving that HCI event and flying to Chicago to see Spoon, Beck, and Cage the Elephant and maybe my family. I’m excited about that.) Finally, I’ll be at HR + L&D Innovation &Tech Fest in Johannesburg in August. If you’re at these events, say hello like a normal person and maybe we can chat!

Those are my updates. Thanks for all your warm wishes and support. It’s been a busy year, and I’m so close to a next-level breakthrough. I just have to run payroll and reconcile my Quickbooks accounts first.

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When people ask me how I got started as a writer and a speaker, I can see a direct line between the way I used email very early in my HR career to the way that I’m writing my book today. I tell stories mostly about myself for illustrative purposes so people can learn.

This actually has a name, it is called “lifecasting.”

There’s an excellent book, Influencer by Brittany Hennessy, about building a brand and figuring out how to monetize your efforts in the age of social media. According to her book, by definition, I’m a content creator who’s an expert and uses a blog and other social media tools to share my knowledge, and most notably, I’m a lifecaster.

Some stories can get rather personal, am I right?  My question to you is, “Is it always okay to just go ahead and share them?” I mean, they’re your stories, right? Well, there are several things to consider when it comes to lifecasting:

  1. You have to be brave and willing to boldly share the truth about something interesting going on in your life.
  2. What you share needs to be meaningful – maybe the story will be able to impact someone else, touching their life or helping them get through a situation of their own.
  3. Do you have the time and patience? It takes a while to create a following. Lifecasting can be very lucrative and a wonderful experience, but are you up to the challenge?

You also need to take a look at the flipside. There are several reasons not to get involved in lifecasting, such as:

  1. If you are insecure and solely want to share stories to get back at others who have wronged you in some way. This is a toxic way of acting and not a reason to get into lifecasting.
  2. If you shame easily and don’t like negative feedback, skip lifecasting. Just skip it.

I have some thoughts on these elements as well as other considerations that I share in a recent episode of my podcast that you can hear right here. In the episode, I’ll go over some of my ideas on how to get started by testing out the waters before jumping all the way into the waters of lifecasting!

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What’s your worst quality?

I am thin-skinned, which makes it hard to give me coaching or feedback. The good news is that I’m aware of it and make an effort to slow down, thank someone for constructive feedback, and process both the intent and content before I respond.

Doesn’t always happen, but I’m trying.

Carl Jung famously said everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves, which is true. I hate thin-skinned motherfuckers on the internet, and it takes everything in my power not to be triggered and respond back.

Vicious cycle with no winners. Who needs that?

But check this out: I’ve hired a young woman to help with my Twitter, Facebook, IG and podcast inbox over the summer. She reads through my inbound inquiries, flags what’s important, and responds with templates to the rest. That way I’m organized on Sunday morning and can get through my business correspondence in a flash.

Cheaper than a virtual assistant, faster than sorting through this bullshit myself. And, to be fair, most of it is bullshit. Especially this exchange from an author who wrote a book about behavioral science.

If I unmask his name, I’m a petty bitch who causes trouble. Also, I might put myself in harm’s way. Some people are weird, and there’s always the risk of violence. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, but you never know what chaos and darkness lurk behind a random DM.

If don’t unmask his name, he gets away with proactively asking a random woman on the internet for her address and getting mad at her team’s automated response when he doesn’t get his way. Would he want his wife, daughter, intimate partner, sister or mother giving out her address to some stranger? Is this how we operate in 2019?

Honestly, here’s how I feel: conflicted. There’s a part of me that wants to be helpful. I could go back and offer marketing advice. You know, provide better language on how to approach strangers when selling a book. But that’s insane. Why would I do his job for him?

I’m thin-skinned enough that this has bothered me for a minute, but also self-aware enough to know that I was given a gift — a lesson on how not to market my forthcoming book. So I’ll take this as a win and keep this gentleman’s identity masked.

Takes a thin-skinned asshole to know one. Guilty as charged. Let’s hope we can both build character and move on from here.

(But he’s a shitty jerk, right? Right? Okay, fine, I’ll let it go.)

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Recently I had the pleasure of welcoming Patrick Lynch, President of CMP Southeast Region, to Let’s Fix Work. Now, we are all well aware that the workplace is changing and challenging. And that applies to people at all stages of their careers, from those just starting out to those who are possibly winding things down and looking forward to retirement. How do companies and individuals manage all of the growing issues with getting the right people into the right jobs? Well, that is where Pat comes in. His company is a talent and transition firm that helps HR leaders develop their people and teams across the full talent life cycle – from talent acquisition and leadership development to organization development and outplacement support.

But I wanted to put the focus on outplacement. What about the inherent concerns, stresses, and struggles that accompany transitioning between jobs? In our conversation, Pat discusses some of those issues people face when they find themselves moving from one job to another. Oftentimes, people are caught off guard by a company that has changed course and is now altering their workforce. So, he encourages people to always stay up to date with their industry and skills and be open-minded about their work and their futures. He says, “Things are moving at such a fast rate that you have to be always keeping yourself current because some industry darling all of a sudden could be disrupted in a matter of a few short years. Now, what do you do? So you have to have that ability to adapt and be flexible.” That involves networking, always putting yourself out there, and positioning yourself to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities that may come your way.

In order to be able to take advantage of those opportunities, he stresses learning.

That means being a life-long learner. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there is always more to learn. As he says, “You have to learn to be a learner.” It is so important to always be developing yourself and your skills so that you are marketable when transitioning between jobs. We all need to embrace that idea of constant learning so that we can be creative when the time comes to find a new job. You may have to step out of your comfort zone to improve your skill set.

So, are you ready to take control of your future at work? If so, be sure to listen to this engaging episode of Let’s Fix Work as we discuss the challenges facing workers of all types in this economy, ways to think more strategically about outplacement, and finding a new job.

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A few weeks ago I was scrolling through Instagram and an ad came up that read, “Get an HR manager for $99 a month!” And, that gave me pause. Really?! An HR manager for $99? Even if it was a lie or a gross misstatement, even if it was $999 a month, that’s only $12,000 a year. When I worked in human resources, I made 10 times that. Now I am not sharing this to talk about wages or salaries, although it’s loosely related.  No, I am sharing this because this ad, this one simple ad I saw while mindlessly scrolling Instagram, sent me down a rabbit hole of thoughts about the commoditization of work and human resources.

When we talk about the future of work, we often talk about digitization and automation.  Sometimes we say nice things and sometimes we call it a job killer. But for the most part, a lot of these trends are negative. From retail to healthcare to hospitality; algorithms and machines that can do certain jobs are doing them and they’re doing them better than humans (and at a much cheaper cost too).

But I think when we talk about the future of work, we’re jumping ahead. We don’t get to digitization and automation without first having an honest discussion about how jobs are commodities. We have stripped the humanness from most jobs and we look at jobs as an object that can be bought and sold on the free market. Much like the HR manager you can get for $99 a month.

What’s worse is that we’re not having an honest conversation about it and human resources.

We tell people that humans come first, and that’s a lie.

We look at the job, we look at the tasks and then it’s about people. So what can we do? How can we fix the way we look at work in today’s job market?

Well, of course, I have some thoughts and ideas, which I would love to share with you! Head over here to listen to my recent podcast episode all about human resources and the commoditization of work, where I share some strategies HR professionals and leaders can employ to put the focus back on humanness in human resources.

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In a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, I spoke with Dane Hurtubise, Vice President of Platform and Partnerships at Greenhouse Software. We talked about moments that matter, whether it’s in the interview process, the hiring process, pre-boarding, or onboarding. Dane discusses how those moments matter and that they also better be great, especially in our current talent-driven economy. He makes some great points regarding how relationships are changing between employers and their employees and how technology can enhance those relationships.

One critical element that Dane discusses in relation to making moments matter is the process of onboarding. He says, “Onboarding to me is that full development of the individual in the organization to be productive, happy, and a good citizen.” And this does not merely refer to a new employee’s orientation process or “pre-boarding.” Rather, onboarding is much deeper. It is a process which involves the employee’s growth with the company. He describes it as involving three development cycles:

  1. Personal growth of an employee where they master their role
  2. Developing meaningful relationships with others at work so that they can mentor others
  3. Embodying the organization’s values so they can represent those values outside of the company

Good onboarding sets the employee up with, as Dane says, “how to be a good citizen inside of the organization.”

The other important aspect to understand about onboarding is it is a team effort within the organization.

Many levels of leadership, recruitment managers, and hiring managers must be involved and proactive with new candidates coming into their offices. It requires the best practices within the company to prepare the employee to be successful at their job. If you want to hear how Greenhouse Software can help bring meaning back to your office, how to advance the onboarding process, or how to empower employees, then listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

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Laura Hamill, an expert in the well-being field and co-founder, Chief Scientist, and Chief People Officer of Limeade joined me on a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work. We had a great conversation about what it means to be a whole, healthy, functioning adult, plus non-toxic work environments and the actual work it takes to get there.

We also talked about the power of gratitude and recognition. In fact, I’ve heard Laura tell stories around the power of gratitude, the power of recognition, and how she sees this playing out in organizations today.  Of course, gratitude and recognition are buzzwords right now. But what is their power, truly? Today I wanted to provide you with some food for thought on this topic.

Laura thinks of gratitude and recognition from a scientific perspective and says, “There’s a lot of great research to say the more gratitude you have in your life, the higher levels of well-being you have. This kind of overall quality of life is enhanced by being grateful. I’ve also seen that it can be really life changing, that if you take the time to take a step back and realize all the things that are amazing in your life, it puts your head in a different space.”

Have you given thought to what you are grateful for lately? Take a moment and think about it.

So what about gratitude at work? Does it have a place? Well, to put it bluntly, YES!  

Laura explains, “By being grateful and recognizing another person’s contributions, it is good for that person.” To put it into perspective, people that feel appreciated and feel as though their contributions are benefitting the organization, they do good work for the organization and it also empowers them to be the best they can be – both personally and professionally.

Now I ask you, are you showing gratitude toward your team members, employees, and leaders? If not, why not?

If you’ve ever thought about well-being and wondered if it’s just a fad or thought about gratitude in the workplace, I think you’re going to love this episode. To listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work with my special guest, Dr. Laura Hamill, head over to here.

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