I’ve got a nice little community at Patreon where we’re building the future of Let’s Fix Work while also having a little fun.

This week, we’re talking about taking the day off. I’m still in my pajamas. It’s glorious.

We’d love you to join our crew. Any contribution opens the door to conversations about the future of work, and I appreciate your support.


I’m known for giving direct feedback and advice. Doesn’t always feel good to hear it. However, if you ask for my thoughts, I’m not gonna waste your time. On the other hand, I don’t take feedback very well unless it comes from people who hate me or rivals. Neither constituency has a vested interest in propping up my ego, which is why the comments are always honest.

Last week, I sent out a survey to friends and asked them for input on how I can monetize Let’s Fix Work.

(You can take it here. I’m like — should I do an e-course? Coaching? How about a revenue share?)

Over the years, I’ve learned that my colleagues have a different feedback style than mine. Buried in their gentle praise and encouragement? The truth. Takes a while to get there, and I’m impatient, which is why I sent the survey to people who don’t like me — fellow HR bloggers, rival speakers, consultants who are in my industry but talk shit about me — and asked for their honest insights, too.

One of them picked up the phone and said, “Laurie, why are you wasting my time with this shit? Finish your book, get connected with speakers bureaus, and go big. Television networks, NPR, a regular column in USA Today. Then it’s time to write your memoir.”

And immediately I regretted asking for feedback.

He said, “Remember when you wrote about running, food, your cats, and travel? Remember when you wrote about your family? We tolerate HR and ‘Let’s Fix Work’ to get to the good stuff.”

Thank you, I’m dead. Are you sure you wouldn’t buy an e-course from me?

“There is a business model for e-courses and online coaching. But that’s not your model. And you’re three years behind the market, anyway.”

Whoa, okay, fabulous.

“You’re sitting on a million dollar business of being yourself. Get your head right, level-up, and go all in on your life. Tell us those stories. What are you waiting for?”

Hm. I guess was waiting for this conversation.

So, that felt great. But I’m finalizing the Let’s Fix Work proposal, this week, and not creating an online curriculum to help you land your dream job. And that’s fine because awesome women like JT O’Donnell, Alison Green and Cy Wakeman are on that path.

You gotta love feedback from people who are detached from your drama. The best advice you can receive is a collection of wise words from someone who doesn’t give a shit. While it doesn’t feel good to be on the receiving end of pragmatic feedback, it’s good to know there are people in the world who will give-it-to-me-straight so I can continue to do that for you.

That’s what my entire career is all about.


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The world is small and good. Social media and the internet is pretty great.

Years ago, my husband worked for Monsanto/Searle/Pharmacia. He made drugs. The entity was acquired by Pfizer, so we moved to Kalamazoo for his career. I also worked for Pfizer and had an office in Building 88 in Kalamazoo, which was a modernist gem. Didn’t spend enough time there because I traveled too much.

The building was torn down a few years ago, and I wrote about it.

Just yesterday, someone sent me this note:

What a joy to have found you. I was recently in Kalamazoo, MI driving along Portage Road. I looked out the window and said: “Building 88 is gone!.”

Today on the Internet I found your article about said building. My dad spent his entire working life employed by The Upjohn Company. He worked in the basement of Building 41 and was Vice President of Personnel. He started after graduate school, went into the Army during World War II, and then came back to Upjohn until his retirement in the 1980’s.

I was in Building 88 a few times, including lunch. It was ahead of its time and a tribute to the era of 1950 and 1960’s America. It would not appeal to all but it was done very well by the architects and builders.

Those were the days. Upjohn had its own fleet of buses for employee transportation to and from work.
They had barbershops, subsidized cafeterias, on-site pharmacy (you could buy a 16 oz bottle of vanilla extract for cooking purposes), an outdoor picnic area and so on. There was the veterinary unit, the agricultural unit, the expansion into Puerto Rico. The fleet of corporate aircraft. The Unipet dog treats in the ceramic bowl with bell ringing lid.

Many small and medium-sized cities are never the same after a local iconic company merges or is taken over by entities out of town.

Got any good Dorothy Dalton stories? How about Sue Parish’s pink WWII P 40 Warhawk?

One could not be a Kalamazoo resident and not have in their home a supply of Kaopectate and a supply of Unicap vitamins.

One last unique place and thing related to Upjohn. Brook Lodge

Thanks for listening. Best of luck with your career.

I love how the son of a VP of personnel found my blog and reached out. What a joy.

The internet is pretty great. Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise.


I don’t believe in patting adults on the back for being adults, and I don’t believe in celebrating great places to work.

Are you a great place to work? Fabulous. Congratulations for doing the bare minimum. You’re not a great place to work? Close your doors. You don’t deserve to be in business.

You’re either a great place to work or you’re not.
Your employees love working there or they don’t.
Your working conditions are humane or they aren’t.

It’s childish to celebrate doing the right thing, and I’m done praising companies and leaders for adulting.

What’s worse are those “Best CEOs” lists. I’m especially done with CEOs who extoll the virtue of “culture” and pretend like they’re doing something right when they pay attention to employment issues like diversity, inclusion and the employee experience. Is it ever okay not to be a great CEO? Should I applaud you for doing your job? Are you three years old? Did you go pee pee on the potty? Do you want recognition for showing up?

Besides, those lists are biased. There’s advertising and consulting revenue behind the scenes that may or may not influence where a company is placed on those lists. We don’t know because the selection process is rarely ever transparent.

The world needs role models, but, as George HW Bush once said, the world doesn’t need to celebrate the soft bigotry of low expectations. I love it when companies and leaders treat their workers well, but it’s a sorry state of affairs when, in 2018, companies jump on those “best places to work” lists and make it into a marketing campaign.


Instead of celebrating great places to work, it’s time to flip the switch and use evidence to determine the worst places to work.

Who pays poorly? Where do women and protected minorities struggle to earn equal pay? What companies have the most EEOC complaints? Which hospitals in what part of the country are treating the most egregious safety-related injuries? Which companies and leaders have settled worker lawsuits? For how much?

One big database that tracks employee-related issues. That’s all we need to figure out the companies who are great and the companies who fail their workers.

Want to be known as a great place to work? Is your CEO one of the best? Don’t show us your lists, awards and accolades. Show us your data.


Robin Schooling is ‘America’s HR Lady’ and has been Laurie’s dear friend for quite some time. Despite that, Laurie has been putting off the HR episode because, frankly, HR has a bad reputation for fixing work. It took someone like Robin, who is breaking stereotypes around the globe, to make this episode possible. In today’s episode, Laurie and Robin talk about a slew of HR-related issues, from discrimination to whether HR is really needed.

  • What does it take to get the title, ‘America’s HR Lady,’ from Laurie? Robin has been in the HR profession for a long time. During her two decades of HR experience, she worked across many fields: healthcare, academia, banking, gaming, and that’s just to name a few. In other words, she’s pretty much done it all. And when asked how to fix work, Robin’s first question was how we would fix HR.
  • Robin has a fantastic analogy on the state of work – it’s a hemophiliac who has fallen down too often and gotten too many bruises. Work might be broken, but it’s in the ER and needs urgent care if it’s going to be saved. Robin shares how she thinks we got there, based on her wide breadth of experience. She also dives into the power shift happening between job seekers, employees, and employers. The day of reckoning is at hand.
  • Robin admits that HR is certainly part of the problem of work being broken, and the reason she gives is that HR as a department isn’t really sure where to place itself in the conversation. It started out as being very insular, and over the years, things have improved. But not enough. While HR departments have come to understand business, the next step is for them to understand the world. And what does that mean exactly? Robin explains.
  • There’s also a fine line that many HR people must straddle: the needs of the employees and the needs of the business. Sound familiar? Robin says it’s a ‘cop out’ in many ways. Sure, there might be a bit of truth in it, but ultimately, being an advocate for both the business and the employees isn’t mutually exclusive. It’s not one or the other, and that’s where many HR people struggle.
  • You’ve heard it many times – employees are fighting HR to get something they need. So why should anyone care about HR? Robin reminds us all that HR isn’t a faceless mass out to get you. They are your co-workers and they are people, too. In fact, Robin’s experience with other HR people is that they got into it for the right reasons and with a good heart.
  • Recruiting is a huge part of human resources; it’s one of the happiest times for both HR and employee. But according to Robin, those good feelings don’t carry over. She offers the great idea of doing the same with employees as they navigate within the company, whether it’s handling health care, mediating disagreements, or even changing positions within the company. Ultimately, this little-by-little change is fueled by people caring for one another. And equally as important, HR people need to bring the stories of employee realities to leaders.
  • Laurie asks if she’s naïve for believing that if we fix ourselves, we wouldn’t need HR, and Robin’s reply is priceless. In truth, HR as we know it will always be there. It has to be to ensure things are done according to legal requirements. Even with the automation that is becoming far more common, and Robin talks about why humans will always be needed in human resources.
  • What is the future of HR? Robin sees it splitting into two separate departments or having two divisions within the same department: administration and people. The administration side deals with compliance, payroll, PTO, and the other dry things, while the people department works with employees to help them understand what’s happening, as well as growth and development.
  • Are businesses and their HR departments ready for the reckoning that is coming? In fact, Robin believes that HR, at least, is poised for the shift. So what positions are in danger? Is the generalist here to stay? What about the firefighter? Robin shares her thoughts on who had better be ready to adapt to new roles and dive into specialties in the near future.
  • So what does the future of HR look like? Robin has settled on a phrase: she is an advocate of the workplace revolution. It’s time to change – not only should you be an advocate and ally of the people who hired you, you should also be an advocate and ally to those who come to you with their work-related issues. It sounds simple, right? Robin reveals what it actually entails.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Robin Schooling




Carnival of HR


Ever wonder what it’s like to be an influencer and someone who is important to an industry? Me too. Sometimes, people and companies want to talk to me about work-related technology and trends. More and more, I say no.

A few months ago, I got a call from Microsoft. They wanted to meet with me at the 2018 SHRM conference in Chicago to talk about their analytics product. They offered to pay for airfare, hotel, and a conference pass if I would take a meeting and learn more about their Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics tools. They also asked me to share my thoughts on my blog.

The influence game is a weird one, and I was on the fence. There are a lot of great HR bloggers out there, and I’m hardly as influential as most of them. But I’ve done work with Microsoft in the past and even keynoted a big event in Seattle with Steve Ballmer. It was a great experience.

So, I flew to Chicago for one day and had a meeting with a woman named Dawn Klinghoffer. We met in a hotel suite above McCormick Place, and she told me about her job.

Dawn is the General Manager on the HR Business Insights team, who use MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics in their day-to-day work. Those products use the data left behind when you go about your everyday work in Office 365 — like time in meetings and email — to help companies and people make better decisions about how they spend their time at work.

Honestly, I was skeptical when I heard the words “Microsoft” and “people analytics” in the same sentence. It seemed a little audacious to me because Microsoft isn’t known for much in HR beyond Office 365. If anything, they have four HR products — Outlook, Excel, Skype, and LinkedIn — and I don’t hear the market clamoring for more Microsoft HR solutions.

Can Microsoft do people analytics?

Dawn explained that Workplace Analytics aggregates and anonymizes employee data at a company level so leaders can look at broad trends across an organization. MyAnalytics allows individuals to measure and set goals to improve how they spend time at work, in meetings, and even how much time they spend on work after hours. She called it “a fitness tracker for work.”

(I was like — Can you send me notes on this stuff? I’ll never remember it.)

Dawn also told me about how her technical team works to help Microsoft’s HR team to drive better employee experiences within their own company. There are live events where leaders speak with employees through the platform, and Dawn’s team analyzes data to understand the behaviors of managers with the most engaged employees and the actions that create the most positive onboarding experiences for new employees.

(That’s pretty cool.)

She also told me that other companies use MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics to have more productive meetings, increase focus time, and understand the behaviors of the most productive sales teams.

(I didn’t get other company names, though, because I forgot to ask.)

So, that was a lot. I was tired, and my eyes were sore. Once the meeting was over, I went to a big lunch with Microsoft — where they gave me a free computer that I eventually donated to 22-year-old art student — and then I flew home.


I’ve had a few months to reflect on the experience, and it’s not like I can tell you whether or not those Microsoft products and tools are any good. But I can tell you that I enjoyed meeting with Dawn because she’s a long-time Microsoft employee and we know some of the same people. It was fun to listen to her story and hear how she is passionate about her role in “fixing work” and improving the employee experience.

Dawn also described how she fell into her role in human resources and developed as a leader. Microsoft has supported her career journey as a woman, a mother, and a manager over the past 20 years. You don’t always hear those stories from big tech companies, and it stuck with me.

So, if you are curious, being an influencer is a lot like this:

1. You get flown to meetings.
2. People pitch you on stuff.
3. If there’s gold in anything you learn, you write about it transparently.

And there was some gold in that meeting.

I’m excited that Dawn is leading Microsoft’s charge into the HR technology space, and I’m hopeful that her team does great work. We need more seasoned women in the HR tech industry — serving as examples for future generations of people who want to fix work and improve the employee experience — and I want to help advocate for someone who is doing great work.

So, I’m glad I went to Chicago and met with Microsoft. If you ever cross paths with Dawn Klinghoffer or want to connect with her on LinkedIn, please tell her that I sent you. And feel free to tell her what you think about Microsoft’s entry into the HR tech space. Good? Bad? Uneventful? You’re as influential as I am, and I know she’d love to hear from you.


If anybody is the “Voice of HR,” it’s Mark Stelzner.

Years ago, Jason Seiden and I worked with our buddy Mark to make magic happen with the #VoiceofHR brand. While we never made it work as a company, we had a booth and went to some conferences.

Isn’t that all that matters?

I have about 100 videos of Mark and I being dorks and looking like we’re in Talibani hostage videos.

Are we in trouble? Do we need help? No, we’re just at an HR conference.

Also, it’s hard to watch old videos. Sheesh, I’m insufferable.

Jason Seiden was smart and bounced from Voice of HR pretty early, but look at this old video where I talk to him about LinkedIn training.

Also, what?! LinkedIn training? And when was Jason so young?

Anyway, #VoiceofHR is now solely owned by Mark. Our collective careers have pivoted, but our friendships endure.

So, today, I wanted to wish Jason Seiden nothing but love and peace on his birthday. And I want to encourage you to donate to Human Rights Campaign, The True Colors Fund, or The Burning Limb Foundation in Elle Seiden’s memory.

The HR community is here for one another at conferences, and we’re here for each other in the real world. Take a second, donate, and remember that you are the voice of HR. You can make a difference when one of our colleagues is hurting.

Thanks for reading my nostalgic post about my friendships formed through blogging, and thanks for donating a few dollars to one of Elle’s favorite charities.


Hey, everybody. Tomorrow is A Tribute to Elle, the day where we’re remembering Elle Seiden and honoring her father, Jason Seiden, who is our HR/recruiting colleague.

For more information on how to participate, check out the website or watch the video.

Raise awareness, raise your voices, and lift Jason and his family up. Let me know if you have any questions.



The Let’s Fix Work podcast is a fun project and has opened up new relationships in my life. We recently published episode 22, and, after nearly two-dozen conversations about fixing work, I’m more convinced than ever that the modern world of work is broken.

Some people disagree with me, which makes for interesting discussions. Sometimes, people decline to be on my show because the word “broken” feels a little too strong.

Other times, potential guests object to the word “fix.” One person told me that it’s not the right word. Work is “too complex” and “fix is the wrong word” to use for such a nuanced topic.

I didn’t know how to respond, so I thanked him for his time and wrote, “I believe winners fix things.”

(Have to thank my new buddy Jesse Itzler for those inspired words.)

I don’t mind it when people say no. I decline many things. It’s all about tone and intention. When you say no with good intent, it means the world. Be kind and polite. Those are the new rules of work. But if you say no and act like a fool, you deserve to be told.

A few months ago, I invited an esteemed professor and author to be on my podcast. He has a new book out, and it’s pretty good. Wanted him on Let’s Fix Work as a guest and then feature his book in the HR Book Club. So, I reached out on LinkedIn and he invited me to move the conversation over to email.

I followed up via email, and here is his reply.

Whoa, okay, whiplash.

It’s not the worst response, but it’s not the best. And I love how he thinks my audience isn’t big enough for his time commitment — as if we’re measuring reach and resonance in inches.

I laughed at out loud and the response, but then thought about why he chose to respond so negatively.

1. Maybe he’s crusty, clueless and harmless.

2. It’s possible that he enjoys turning the screws and gives feedback to feel superior over people.

3. He is grieving in some way, and the 180-degree response has nothing to do with me.

I’m not in the business of disparaging anybody’s character, so I’ll keep his name private. But it’s curious how older white men in power still feel that it’s okay to talk to women like this. Haven’t we just had a global discussion on #MeToo and power?

Also, it’s even more interesting how someone who “knows business” doesn’t know how to write a more appropriate response. Someone needs to teach this dude some manners. Or maybe not. Maybe you don’t need manners when you’re old and esteemed. I wouldn’t know.

Here’s what I do know: People will ping you for your time for all kinds of ridiculous reasons. Not every request warrants a response, but how you respond is your responsibility. At a bare minimum, be respectful. Also, check your assumptions about the incoming request. Maybe it’s not as ridiculous as it seems?

I also believe that, in a world that’s so cruel and thoughtless, it’s easy to be kind. I’m going to use my blog and podcast to fix work. Part of my mission is to make sure you never respond to people like the esteemed professor responded to me.

Want to fix work? Have some manners. It starts right there.


Don MacPherson is an entrepreneur who built a company called Modern Survey, which he successfully sold without laying people off or taking on debt. That’s the American Dream. But Don’s not resting on his laurels. Growing up in a mining community, Don learned the value of work early and isn’t interested in status symbols like cars and clothes. He’s soon launching a new venture called 12 Geniuses focused on fixing the future of work for everybody. He’s here to talk about his journey in tech, how to be ruthlessly pragmatic with your finances, and how you can set yourself up financially for success. Ultimately, it’s about enjoying your work. Don has a unique view of the world that you need to hear, especially if you want to retire early.

  • First things first: Don isn’t a Millennial tech bro. He’s close to 50 with a wealth of experience in customer service, technology, healthcare, employee engagement, and even truck driving. Don will tell you he isn’t a natural entrepreneur, but he is a risk taker. So much so he decided to move to Germany and only bought a one-way ticket. Don shares the story of living in an attic.
  • When he returned from Germany, he took a job with American Express, and that was when Don met his future business partner, a contractor who was living the dream. Don wanted that dream life, so together, he and his partner founded an online survey company, Modern Survey, in 1999. Their startup money was $1,000 each. He took this company through to a successful exit, the American dream.
  • Don could easily rest on his laurels now, but he’s starting another company instead. There’s a driving force that keeps him moving: yes, he’s a risk taker and he loves his work, but deep down, he loves helping people reach their potential. Don believes that EVERYONE can perform at extraordinary levels, and he explains how.
  • One of Don’s guiding principles is that he pays himself first. It’s enabled him to do everything that he’s wanted. Interestingly, the thought was planted by a commercial he saw as a teenager. It was a simple commercial and the gist of it was to get started and begin saving early. Don reveals how he applied this to his life from a young age, and what “you pay you first” really means.
  • For Don, money is freedom. He doesn’t come from a family of savers, though, and what he understood from his younger years was that you took the job that paid the most money. It was essential to have an incredible work ethic, too. But taking a job that pays the most cash is how you survived. Don realized, though, that work could be so much more. It can be fulfilling, and having money allowed him to experiment and do things he couldn’t have otherwise.
  • There came a time when Don’s business almost failed, and he tells the story of how he had to abandon his “you pay you first” philosophy for a time. He and his partners had to each put in a hundred grand to save the company, and it was only because he had been so disciplined in his savings that he was able to do it. And that was how the company pulled through the tough time.
  • We’ve hinted at how Don’s success hasn’t encouraged him to be spendy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Don never invested in a brand new car, and the duplex he lived in for 15 years was partly financed by the renters he had living in the second apartment. Don shares some of his other money hacks he used to amass his wealth. He even delayed parenthood until he was nearly 50.
  • If you take Don’s advice, he believes you will never have to work at a job you don’t like. And that is powerful, especially in this era of work being broken. He talks about how we can do our best work when we have a sense of security and freedom that being financially responsible brings. You might be wondering if it’s too late for you. The answer is no, and Don explains why.
  • Have you heard the concept of being a prisoner in a workplace? You’re stuck in a job you can’t leave because you have so many bills to pay. Don says that as many as 1 in 12 workers are prisoners. They’re financially stuck, and they don’t believe they can make more money elsewhere. Most of us agree that work is broken, so you can imagine what happens with work prisoners and how they contribute to that. Equally as important, their home life is also negatively affected.
  • Laurie points out that it’s often more expensive for women in the workplace than men – they have to buy a lot of things men don’t, and as they age, they’re expected to do everything they can to look younger. Clothing, makeup, surgery… and then there’s the issue of maternity and childcare. Given that women don’t make as much as men, can you imagine what it’s like for a single mom? Don shares his thoughts on the workplace for women.
  • Don’s new company is called 12 Geniuses (coming soon). He shares exactly what it is and what he does, and you might be surprised by his belief that the world is a better place, despite what the news might have you believe. But did you realize that most people aren’t ready for positive change?

Don MacPherson


12 Geniuses — COMING SOON

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

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