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There’s a hurricane headed my way, and I’m sitting in my hotel room killing a few hours before heading to the airport. I’m thinking about all the times I’ve come to Las Vegas for technology conferences and human resources events that promise to change the world and make employees happy, and then all the times I leave shaking my head and wondering why I show up at all.

This is not my tribe. These are not my people.

My people believe corporations can’t be trusted. We know that leaders would screw you over to save a nickel. And the only way to change the world is to show up for the people you love, commit to improving your community, and fight anybody who gets in your way.

So what the heck am I doing in Las Vegas? Why do I keep showing up?

Well, for starters, I’m in debt. I need to pay off the expenses of my failed technology company without touching my family’s savings accounts. So, I’m here in Las Vegas to find work in my industry as a content marketer. And it’s a mixed bag because I’m a strong writer with substantial relationships in an industry that frustrates the crap out of me. Maybe that’s why I can’t pay off this damn debt. Hard to do business development while being suspicious of someone who’s bragging about the innovation behind a chatbot. But I’d like to clear the decks on this debt before my husband clears the decks on me, is all I’m saying. So that’s reason number one why I’m here in Las Vegas.

The second reason is that I love my friends. I worked with a ton of awesome HR leaders and technologists. And even though I want to barf everytime someone talks about the intersection of AI and talent acquisition strategies, I love my colleagues and want them to change the world. And, in my mind, they can’t be effective without my nagging (aka my contrarian POV). Do you want an effective talent acquisition strategy? Don’t be racist or sexist. Stand the fuck up when it matters. Vote with your feet and work somewhere else if you hate your job. I’ve got plenty of platitudes, and, in my mind, these people need me. THEY NEED ME IN ALL CAPS.

But mostly I’m in Vegas because I can’t write a book about “work” or do a podcast if I don’t stay close to the world of work. And I need the inside scoop to help employees and even leaders fix work. This is what I’ve learned:

Sometimes the inside scoop feels like we will be okay, but mostly it feels like we’re fucked. It’s not just that skills don’t align with the needs of the marketplace. It’s that companies don’t value what humans have to offer. There’s an expectations gap, and I believe we need basic income and universal healthcare faster than ever. However, we don’t have the intellectual rigor to understand that wealth is hoarded, work is broken, and that our physical efforts at “work” will never yield financial security for most Americans.

Dark? Dystopian? Cynical? Sure, but at least I got to see my friends and colleagues in Las Vegas. Here’s hoping that my friendships and professional relationships endure and that I’m wrong about work, wrong about tech, and wrong about human resources.

Now does anybody need a blog post? How about a whitepaper?