Hello, everybody. I’m back from a few days in Florida. I was at a conference called WorkHuman, which is all about work-life balance and purpose.

My husband is like, “Whoa, did you get some sun?”

I’m like, “Uh, what? No. I was inside the whole time doing important things for my client.”

Meanwhile, poolside, I “worked human” and read two books: Presence and All Stories are Love Stories.

That moment when you realize your dress is the color of your hotel wall. #workhuman

A photo posted by Laurie Ruettimann (@lruettimann) on

As expected, I played my usual role of America’s big sister and had a ton of conversations with colleagues who are tired, friends who are frustrated, and readers who are fighting all kinds of battles.

It was pretty intense at times. People are hurting. Working in HR is hard, but more accurately, the struggle to find meaning at work is very real.

I nodded and absorbed the stories — all of them too intimate to share. If I’ve learned anything about business travel, it’s that hotels and airports are universal disinhibitors. We pass through TSA, and we enter a liminal state where we’re forced to spend too much time alone with ourselves and we want to talk about our personal lives with total strangers.

And when you put 1,000 HR professionals in a room and ask them to think about concepts like work-life balance and purpose, they get a little emotional. They’re not ashamed to talk about it, either.

I don’t have much to say on the topic of meaning and purpose, but I know what the experts told me at WorkHuman. They said that sometimes the first, best and only thing you can do is change the conversation in your head.

Shawn Achor told us that incorporating small gestures of gratitude can change your life. Amy Cuddy and Pandit Dasa taught us that meditation, breathing, movement, and posture alignment will help us fake it until we become it. And Michael J. Fox talked about living a full life — with or without Parkinson’s — which gave everybody a fresh perspective on adversity and grit.

I came away from WorkHuman suspicious of my certainty, and I’m totally suspicious of your uncertainty, too. None of us is as bad or as shameful as we believe. And, thanks to the conference, I feel armed with a few more tools and resources to take better care of myself.

I hope my fellow attendees feel the same way.

When it comes to recognizing and rewarding the contributions of the modern HR department, there is no other movement out there that’s paying attention to the needs of HR executives like WorkHuman.

If the story around your mission and purpose in life is all screwed up, and you’re feeling confused about your career, please talk to a professional who can offer good advice. But do find supportive, uplifting colleagues in the free WorkHuman community on LinkedIn. And please see me in Phoenix at WorkHuman 2017.


  1. I really needed to hear this message today. Although not able to attend, it lifts my spirits to know that a #workhuman movement is underway. People are hurting; some have irreversible damage and talking about the struggle as we travel is far better than drowning in a bar. (bonus points for ‘liminal’ without the ‘sub’ prefix)

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