mushroom coffee

I let my SHRM membership lapse in 2015 because my employer will no longer pay for it.

My employer is me, and honestly, she wants me to spend $190 on spa treatments in Turks & Caicos because she believes in employee engagement. So I won’t be going to the 2015 SHRM Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, this weekend.

(I know, I know. You’ll miss me.)

I will miss being on the expo floor, too. Let’s be honest. That conference gives me a ton of good blogging material for twelve months. When some drunk sales guy lectures me on agility and tells me that HR ladies aren’t aligned with their business—and then proceeds to puke on a side of a building in Atlanta—I’m energized for months.

(I’ll bet on the HR lady any day of the week.)

In my absence on the expo floor and parties, here’s my advice on how to navigate #SHRM15.

  1. Know you’re missing out on something super amazing and be okay with it. There is a SHRM CHRO meeting that happens at the same time as the conference, but you can’t go because you’re not a white dude who likes technology. SHRM’s Foundation hosts a nice cocktail reception that you can’t attend because you’re not a donor. And I hear John Legend will be playing at a vendor’s party, but you’re not invited because you’ll never buy enterprise HCM software. Don’t sweat it. Bring the party to wherever you’re at, and be with the people you love—not the people who wander the convention hall like lost puppies looking to be somewhere better.
  2. Don’t knock what the speakers are wearing. We’ve been through multiple waves of feminism—and we’ve burned the Confederate flag and embraced the new civil rights movement—to arrive at a place and time where HR presenters should be able to get on stage and wear whatever the hell they want to wear. Is the skirt too short? Is the tie too loose? Please bite your tongue. Judge someone on their ideas, not their appearance.
  3. Don’t buy anything from the SHRM bookstore at the conference. I know, I know. My SHRM friends are going to kill me but there’s this thing called Amazon, and it’s amazing. The rent is too damn high at the SHRM Bookstore! Also, you have to carry home whatever you buy. That Dr. Mehmet Oz colon cleanse system is expensive and heavy. Get it delivered via Amazon Prime.

I wrote a piece on the Halogen website that helps you to consider how you can extend your learning beyond #SHRM15. It’s more serious than this post, so check it out because I think you get SHRM-SCP credits for just showing up and reading blog posts.

(That’s what I hear, anyway. I don’t know that for a fact.)

And here’s another secret: I have to be in Vegas for client meetings (two) and dinner (just one), so you might see my face around town. I am trying to be principled and stay away from the convention floor. I won’t go back to the SHRM conference until I write an amazing book and I’m paid $100K to show up on stage and talk about myself with Gayle King as moderator (because I need a moderator to talk about my life).

That’s not happening in 2015. I don’t want it badly enough, I guess. So you won’t see me and Gayle on stage, this year, but you might see me on the strip. So please say hi. I don’t bite. And remember that I still sorta love SHRM. I don’t have sour grapes. I’m just old, the scene is no longer mine, and I love hanging out at the hotel pool between meetings a little more.

Have fun at the event and make good choices!


  1. Yesss!! Yes, Laurie–agree with all points. Enjoy that very-well spent $190. Talk about ROI.

  2. It’s strange that it is so easy to give SHRM a credit card number for automatic renewal every year, but to unhook that card you have to call an 800 number and wait on the phone for 30 minutes.

    In October I’ll determine if my employer, me, can find something better to do with $190. Enjoy your spa treatment! I’ll probably do something else.

  3. Missed your name in the speakers line-up this year! PS I can’t believe monster still has the same swag! At least I won a $100 certificate!

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