As the entire world knows, I will be forty years old in January. I’m not afraid of turning 40. I’ve never had more fun or more opportunity in my life. It’s good to be LFR.

But 40 is something. Not only does it mean that I have a few life experiences under my belt, it also means that I’m twice as old as your skeevy uncle’s girlfriend. In fact, I was your skeevy uncle’s girlfriend back then. Then I got a job in human resources and married the guy.

So what do I know at 40 that I didn’t know at 20 when I had my first job in human resources at a candy company? Well, I know that it’s tough to be a life-long learner and a student of anything — let alone HR. There’s no time to stay current with trends when your CEO wants some shitty report that he already has, vendors are crawling up your ass, and employees are calling in sick because of Obama.

When I worked in human resources, I skipped lunch and took 30-minute naps during lunch. I parked my car at an elementary school, which in retrospect looks pretty shady, and shut my eyes. I just needed a break.

But now I think that being a life-long learner is the only thing that will save you from the monotony and drudgery of your job. Work is tough? Focus on something else. So here are two ideas.

1. You should read HR Tech Field Guide by HR veteran Jessica Miller-Merrell. It’s a quick book. I read it alone in a restaurant in New York City while avoiding small talk with a British guy who was clearly into a woman in glasses who was reading an HR e-book on her iPhone. (Sigh. What a stupid dude.) Anyway, the book is great and will help you understand HR technology in a relevant manner.

2. Attend The Master Class in HCM: Understanding the Human Capital Marketplace, its Evolution, and its Future. William Tincup and John Sumser don’t want to tell you how to do your job better. They want you to walk away with a better understanding of product trends, key players in social media, the analyst community, and things to watch with investors and M&A. It’s an excellent class for HR leaders and practitioners. (It’s on my list to attend, but it conflicts with Sarah White’s wedding. Next time!)

I hope you find those two resources helpful. And leave a comment if you have additional ideas for HR professionals who want to improve their game.

Might I also recommend a nap in the car?


  1. About 2 billion people in the world do not know you’re turning 40, Laurie. Congratulations. It’s the new 30, as you know, so now you are finally an adult. While some 40-somethings are. Trust you will be one of them.

Comments are closed.