Archive for June, 2011
My husband, Sy, hates, hates, HATES it when I mention him on Facebook. Sometimes he positively snarls a demand: “Don’t put that on Facebook!” Other times he just whines a little: “You’re not going to put that on Facebook, are you?”
Sy is a really private, very old fashioned guy who thinks that nothing he does is anyone else’s business – often not even mine. He can also be one of those cranky, irascible old men who say inadvertently hilarious things. In fact, when I first started following @shitmydadsays on Twitter, I showed it to my older daughter and her immediate comment was, “Why didn’t *I* think of that?”
I really wouldn’t mind doing as he
demands asks, though, except for one little problem: me. I am a pretty transparent person all across my social media life, and I try to tweet, post, and update the real me, whatever that entails. I want to have real conversations and I want people to talk back. So sometimes discussing “me” also requires discussing my husband.
The most recent example of this happened just this past weekend, when my husband became suddenly ill and required emergency medical treatment (see my previous post for more information). I began putting out tidbits on Facebook and Twitter for two reasons: (1) I was due to leave for a professional conference and wanted my many connections to know why I wasn’t coming, and (2) I like telling people when real, stressful things are happening in my life, because I love and appreciate the honest and thoughtful wishes I always receive. In this particular instance, the thoughts, wishes, and prayers I received on Facebook and Twitter were instrumental in preventing me from falling into a depression over my lost conference opportunity.
Did I violate my husband’s privacy by posting what was happening? He certainly thinks so. But I can’t think of any other way to be transparent and real about my life without involving him (I did leave out some of the most embarrassing parts). Would I be the same person if I had not shared?
When Justin Halpern started tweeting shit his dad said, was he violating his dad’s privacy?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
It was about 1:30 am on Saturday morning. I had not yet been to bed, which is not unusual for a night owl like me. But instead of goofing off on the computer, I was putting the finishing touches on my packing for the SHRM annual conference. My flight for Las Vegas was leaving around 5:00 late that afternoon. I generally don’t pack more than a few hours in advance of traveling anywhere, so my excitement was real and palpable.
I was in the walk-in closet with the door closed, so I would not disturb my husband Sy, who was sleeping and planning to leave for work around 4:00 am. But I heard him get out of bed anyway, and leave the bedroom. About 30 seconds later, I heard something else: “Joan! Help me!”
It took me a few extra seconds to find him, because he wasn’t in the bathroom where I thought he had gone. I found him sitting in his La-Z-y Boy recliner in the man-cave he created when my daughter departed the house for good. He was white as the literal ghost from head to toe, clammy, sweating profusely, and unresponsive.
I called 911, gave them my frantic details, and then spent a minute or two sequestering my 4 dogs so they wouldn’t interfere with the paramedics. As I was returning to Sy, I heard him mutter that he had to go to the bathroom (his eyes were still closed). But before I could reach him, he stood up, and promptly passed out, falling on the floor. “This is not good, ” was my obvious thought.
The paramedics came, sufficiently revived him for transport, and drove him to the hospital for me.
Today is Sunday, the first day of the SHRM conference. I am still home, trying to remain close to my husband, who remains hospitalized. In case you were wondering, he had orthostatic hypotension caused by hypovolemia, which is why medical costs are so high in this country. Lawyers, who, on average, make less money, call it low blood pressure resulting from bleeding. Tests and such are still sorting it all out, but he will be fine and be home soon.
So I won’t be tweeting and blogging from the conference, as promised about a week ago. After all
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
This poem, written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1785, is often translated to American English as “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Which also means that, since at least 1785, shit happens.
Just call me Marla Hooch.
Remember her from the 1992 movie A League Of Their Own? Marla is a powerhouse baseball player, but is socially awkward and physically unattractive. Even her name is supposed to be funny.
Marla’s character reaches a crossroads in the film when she is a little drunk after a night in a bar, and sings the classic torch song “It Had To Be You” to a gentleman she has met there. Her singing is horribly off key and her gestures overly dramatic and unintentionally comical. She looks and sounds, in a word, ridiculous.
But Marla doesn’t know or care how ridiculous she is, because she is singing with her whole heart and with love to her man. And he accepts her efforts with gratitude and adoration.
As a blogger, sometimes I think I may look and sound like Marla Hooch to whatever readers I have. I don’t show up on blogrolls, and I doubt that I will ever be on anyone’s “read-this-blog” list. There is probably a large audience of people who are saying to themselves (and others), “Why does she do this? Doesn’t she know how ridiculous she looks?”
I blog for the same reason that Marla Hooch was singing to Nelson: deep, heartfelt emotion, and a desire to use that stage to connect and convey that emotion to the audience – even if that audience is only one person, and even if I don’t do it all that well.
I don’t expect you to love and adore me back (that could get kind of creepy ), but I do thank you from the bottom of my heart if you have read today’s blog this far, because
I wandered around, and finally found
The somebody who could make me be true
It had to be you.
Back to SHRM tomorrow. Thanks again.
Swag. Stuff We All Get. Some people call it CPC (Cheap Plastic Crap), because it usually is. I’m not talking about all of the vendors asking attendees to “stop in and register to win an i-something”, because that’s not something we all get. I’m talking pens. Plastic letter openers. Mini hand sanitizer.
I am going to hate this part of SHRM.
My early experience with trade shows is very different than the type of conference/exhibitions that I have attended since becoming involved in HR. Before HR and employment law conferences, I attended real trade shows that existed solely for buyers to find sellers. The two shows I attended semi-regularly were the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show and the NASFT Fancy Food Show. (In fact, the first trip my now-husband took me on after we started dating was to the NRA Show. Romantic, huh? )
Both of these shows are far larger than SHRM Annual. Last year the NRA Show had around 2,000 exhibitors and more than 42,000 attendees. The Fancy Food Show, while not as large as the NRA Show, is still a behemoth compared to SHRM Annual: 2,400 exhibitors and 24,000 attendees. This year, SHRM expects around 13,000 attendees and 650 exhibitors.
So why don’t the vendors at the NRA Show or the Fancy Food Show use cheap tchotckes to lure those huge numbers of attendees to their booths? Because they sell products or services that the attendees want or need, and the attendees go to their booths specifically to see, touch, observe or demo those products. Or eat. There is lots of eating going on at these shows, which was the primary reason that I happily went. Vendors at most trade shows don’t need to bait the buyer – everyone is there to conduct business, and everyone acts that way.
So when the exhibition hall opens on Sunday, I’m probably going to cry a little bit, because I am going to be thinking about all of the fossil fuel that was consumed in order to produce and ship those tchotckes, and how many chemicals are going to leech into the ground when they end up in a landfill.
The temperature in Las Vegas is going to be 107 degrees today. By Sunday, when SHRM officially starts their conference, the temperature is supposed to cool down to a frosty 101 degrees. As a girl, I think that is just about perfect weather for a sundress and flip flops. Throw a light sweater or pashmina in my bag in case the air conditioning is blasting too high, and I’m good to go.
I wasn’t too worried that a sundress and flip flops are a violation of SHRM’s “business casual” dress code, because no one really knows what “business casual” means, not even Wikipedia: ”The interpretation of business casual differs widely among organizations and is often a cause of confusion.” The fact that Wikipedia even HAS an entry about business casual means that no one really knows what it is and has to look it up.
Wikipedia does say, though, that attire that is “inappropriately revealing”, such as flip-flops, is unacceptable as business casual for either gender. And given that everyone has advised me to wear comfortable shoes, I think this footwear is the better choice:
I’m fairly certain that athletic shoes don’t fit any definition of “business casual”, either, but I’ve been able to choose my own clothes for a really long time now, and I don’t need any assistance from SHRM.
Yesterday was the first day of summer, and what better way to start the season than with a carnival? So apply some bug spray, grab some cotton candy, and ENJOY!
Summer does not mean an escape from employment and compliance for the HR pro. Eric Meyer tells us what to know about providing employees with time off at The Employer Handbook and Jessica Miller Merrill cautions about Twitter related terminations at Blogging 4 Jobs.
Finally, in a post I wasn’t given permission to insert but am doing so anyway because I loved the title, we have the folks at I9/E-Verify discussing how the ICE has put a chill into summer.
Seasons are always about change of some kind: change of clothes, change of weather, change of attitude. Our bloggers that recognized and wrote about this include Robin Schooling of HR Schoolhouse, who discusses her worst HR job and the changes it brought.
Rounding out the change theme was Erik Samdahl at i4cp, who tells us about agility and the willingness to change as a best practice among best companies.
“In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky”
Many of our carnival writers recognize that summertime is a good time for personal reflection and growth, like Sri Subramanian of the Talented Apps team, who tells us that performance reviews come around like the seasons, and to use that self-evaluation wisely.
Jennifer V. Miller at The People Equation suggests using the summer to create a “career bucket list.” Lyn Hoyt, guest blogging at Working Girl, discusses work-life balance and making time for everything.
Rob Lockard discusses a related, but slightly different season – graduation season. A commencement address became the inspiration for his post about The Lovejoy of the Season.
Finally, we have Naomi Bloom writing Harry’s and Naomi’s Rules To Live By. Hoe many of these rules do YOU live by – and how many will you embrace this summer?
Lois Melbourne loves the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, and she uses her blog at Aquire, Inc. to analyze how their organizational talent management created their championship team. Also discussing talent mangement is Jay Kuhns of NoExcusesHR, who wants you to determine what that phrase means within the four walls of your own organization.
“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom” - from Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts
Some contributors took the theme quite literally, and contributed posts specifically about the summer season or issues that are specific to the summer, like Evil Skippy, who hilariously discusses the summer vacation request, and what to do about employees who try to beat the system. Another humorous look at summer HR issues is Stan the HR Stand-up Man (Ian Welsh), who discusses all kinds of summer issues, like dress codes.
Interns are usually a specific-to-summer HR issue, and Susan Heathfield at About.com gives you pointers on how to make your summer intern program sing.
In her aptly named post, “Summertime”, Alive HR author Krista Francis compares the organizational lifestyle to the changing seasons, and Kevin Eikenberry wants you to learn six ways to work and lead differently this summer.
Camping is a huge summertime activity in my home state of Michigan, so I was pleased to read that the Brits enjoy this summer ritual, too, according to Doug Shaw at What Goes Around Limited in his post Windy, Wet and Wonderful.
To wrap everything up, why not watch and listen to Dwayne Lay of LeanHR give a weather report from his current professional travels in Europe. He’ll talk about change management, too.
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THIS CARNIVAL – HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!
When it was announced last year that Al Gore was going to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference, the HR web exploded with a firestorm of negative comments on his selection, and a whole rash of people claimed they weren’t going to attend because of his persona and his politics. I even chimed in on the issue, although my blog post argued against avoiding an entire conference because of one speaker.
So I was a tad surprised when no one seemed to care this year that the speaker chosen to close the conference and send 15 or 20 thousand attendees forward to impact the HR field was Michael J. Fox. Seriously?
Don’t get me wrong – I loved the guy as Marty McFly in the Back To the Future movie franchise, and I applaud him for starting a foundation to address Parkinson’s disease after he was diagnosed with the illness. But in this day and age, when jobs remain scarce and HR is increasingly addressing its corporate relevancy, do we really need to hear a semi-retired actor talk about Parkinson’s disease?
SHRM says Michael J. Fox will “close the 2011 conference with his incredible story; he will talk about his struggle, his outlook on life and how to remain positive, even in difficult times.”
I would rather have a dynamic leader – or several of them – talk about how HR can help create jobs and give workers a better career experience. The Dallas Mavericks
Cheerleaders Dancers shaking their pom pons didn’t help that team win an NBA championship, organizational excellence did.
I’ll be flying home Wednesday morning and missing his speech, and I can’t say I’m too unhappy about that.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I like to write a post-conference post called Rants and Raves, telling what I liked and didn’t about the conference. You may also know that I am attending the monstrous (15K +attendees) annual conference held by the Society for Human Resource Management in less than a week. For an explanation of how I came to attend this conference with a social media pass, click here.
As the holder of a social media pass, I will be blogging from the conference on a daily basis. At least that’s the plan. Plans change sometimes, as you all know. But being the impatient, and admittedly very excited, soul that I am, I decided not to wait until the official start of the conference on Sunday, June 26 to start blogging. Besides, there are already SHRM11 things that I am eager to rant and/or rave about.
So my plan is to start my daily SHRM blog tomorrow. I will use the same title every day; you’ll have to read the blog to see if I am ranting or raving that day. Maybe I’ll do both. I’ll be taking a break from SHRM posts on Wednesday to host the Carnival of HR, but then I will be right back.
My first career job was as a police officer. I left after 11 years to marry my husband and move to another county. The decision to leave was a no-brainer.
I went to law school and then got my second career job as a litigator in a large law firm. They wanted me to work 80 hour weeks and wear nothing but skirt suits to work. I left after less than 2 years; also a no-brainer.
I became a law professor at the law school I had recently attended; a three year contract. After 3 years, the law school left me. I didn’t have a choice and there was no thought involved.
When I left the meat processing plant where I was general counsel and HR manager, it was my job or my marriage. Although hindsight and a lot of personal development since then has made me wish I could go back and re-do some things, leaving – at least at the time – was another no-brainer.
So when the news broke locally that the non-profit Michigan Humane Society euthanized almost 70% of the animals that came to its facilities last year, I was plunged into a sea of indecisiveness and dilemma that I had never experienced.
Don’t follow? Well, here’s the problem: After years of financial support, I decided to begin volunteering for MHS last year. I became a Facility Ambassador at one of their facilities, helping customers navigate the facility and make sure that people ,particularly potential animal adopters, knew the procedures and didn’t leave out of frustration or the inability to get their questions answered. I worked a regular, weekly shift and ultimately helped train other volunteers. I believed in the adage that the best way to help animals was to help people.
But I saw things I didn’t like, particularly management practices (or lack thereof) that seemed old-fashioned and ineffective. I was angered by the poor communication between the management, staff, and volunteers. I was heartbroken, though, by the number of people who surrendered their animals to the facility because they no longer had the financial resources to care for them.
So when two members of the Board of Directors quit when the other members refused to submit to an outside audit about the euthanasia practices, I knew somewhere in my heart that it was time to withdraw my physical, emotional, and financial support for this organization. My head didn’t follow as quickly, though, and I spent hours trying to run down information, checking charity ratings on CharityNavigator.org, comparing salaries, practices, and transparency with similar shelters, trying to turn my original, emotional decision into an intellectual one. I even asked for my friends’ opinions on Facebook. It worked, though, and now both my head and heart agree: it’s time to leave.
For the first time, making a career break of some kind was a hard, hard thing to do. Neil Sedaka must have been forseeing my future when he took his jaunty, doobie-do 1962 hit and turned it into a soulful ballad in 1975.
When I was ten years old, The Detroit News announced at my elementary school that it was holding a meeting for kids who were interested in becoming newspaper carriers. When I attended the meeting, I was very promptly told to leave, because I was a girl, and girls were not allowed to deliver newspapers.
The year was 1965, and that was the world I grew up in: a world where girls and women were not given opportunities and choices. We did what we were told we were allowed to do, and didn’t do what we were told we could not. Several years after this incident, when I was in junior high school, I was almost forced by my mother to take a typing class, because she told me that I needed to have a skill that would allow me to support myself. Although women were encouraged to become teachers and nurses, secretarial work was a sure-fire way for women to work if necessary, and my mother knew and accepted that.
I tried to raise my daughters differently, and to help them understand and accept that they could have, and should demand, a different world. So when my oldest daughter got engaged, my reaction was
Yes, this picture is me at her April wedding, telling the story of why I was so dismayed when she got engaged. Dismayed because I felt that marriage was a betrayal of all of the things I had worked to change, and a dismissal of all the opportunities she had that I didn’t have.
So when Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, told the graduating class of Barnard College last month that her generation of women “blew it”, and that equality for women was now on their shoulders, I totally understood. It was the same reaction, more elegantly stated, that I had to my daughter’s engagement. I felt that women’s equality was her burden, and the burden of her fellow Gen-Y-ers, and that marriage was an obstacle, not an assistive device.
I am hoping for the day that she and other Millennials prove me wrong, because they are going to do exactly what Sheryl Sandberg told them to: they are going to lean in. Their husbands or significant others are going to help, so I don’t have to hold up a sign that says WTF? at anymore weddings.
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: Women, Be Ambitious! (blogher.com)
- Facebook’s Sandberg: Men run the world (money.cnn.com)