My Last Dance

Most of you know that I used to be a uniformed police officer in suburban Detroit.

During that time, I was no stranger to dancing, partying, and generally having a good time. Once when I was working midnights, I got off work at 7:00 am and went to a neighborhood bar with a group of fellow officers. I didn’t have to work again that night, so I didn’t leave that bar until 2:00 the next morning.

We drank, danced, sang from the stage unaccompanied (pre-karaoke), danced more, and generally had an epic good time. Friends came and went during the course of that 19 hours, but a few of us stayed the entire time and created a local legend.

But when Maren Hogan crooked her finger at me from the dance floor of a bar in Atlanta, on the second night of the annual SHRM conference I recently attended, I shook my head and stayed put on my bar stool. A short time after that, a lovely young woman who had been dancing approached me, leaned down, and gently asked, “are you alright?”

I guess I looked lonely sitting there on that bar stool alone, watching others dance, talking to no one.

I wasn’t lonely at all. I was at a massive HR conference, blogging, connecting, networking, and learning. I went to the bar and had one glass of wine and networked a little, and enjoyed watching others dance. But I didn’t stay long.

I needed to get back to my hotel and blog.

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to party and have a good time in my life, you see, and I have taken advantage of all of them. But blogging, and being a part of the HR Blogger Network,  is a new an exciting opportunity that I want to maximize as long as I am able. I am part of a group of professionals that is smart, insightful, encouraging, and helpful. To be a part of that group, and stay excited and energized, all I have to do is keep writing.

Networking and developing relationships face to face is a great thing, and I love to do that. I did plenty of it at the SHRM conference. That young woman at the bar who asked if I was okay?  We had a nice discussion after I told her I was fine, and now we’re connected on LinkedIn.

I would not have made that connection if I was on the dance floor. It’s hard to make a real connection while you are partying and dancing and yelling at the top of your lungs to be heard over the music. And you certainly can’t review your notes, or think about what you learned that day, or write your blog from there.

So I hope no one feels sorry for me – or thinks I’m snobbish – if I don’t join you on the dance floor, or stand up drinking with you at a crowded bar (I’m getting both knees replaced in early September, and they can’t handle to extra pressure), or if I skip the party all together and run back to my hotel.

I’m not missing a thing, because my computer and I have a brand new dance to do. I’m having a great time at this dance – and it may be my last one. I want to make the most of it.

 

 

 

 

SHRM 12 ANTI-SWAG

I was truly amazed at the size of the bags being carried off the vendor expo floor at SHRM 12. I was even more amazed at how much stuff attendees had managed to cram into those bags. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of the bags I saw would not come close to fitting into the suitcase I brought, even without anything else in the suitcase. What do attendees really do with all of that stuff?

But I was not so smug as to come home from SHRM empty-handed. Most of what I brought home wasn’t truly swag, though, because the items I stuffed into my already-full suitcase were not Something We All Get. With a couple of exceptions, they were gifts. Many were gifts I got because I was part of a blogger team, and some gifts came from connections I made.

Here’s what was important enough to me to make suitcase space for:

 

1. T-shirts – One is pictured above and was received from Dice.com for being an official SHRM blogger. There is a Twitter bird logo on the back comprised of all of the bloggers Twitter names, which makes it a keeper. The rubber “Connect Rockstar” bracelet came from Dice.com as well. I also got a t-shirt from The Starr Conspiracy, but I wore it as a bathing suit cover-up in Atlanta and it was already in the dirty clothes when I took the picture.

2. Meet-Meme Cards – SHRM was nice enough to provide these for the blog team and I had some left over. I am a huge fan of Meet-Meme cards and I use them as my personal business card, so the extras from SHRM were a nice bonus.

3. Rubber Stamp – Also a gift from The Starr Conspiracy to their bloggers. I can’t tell you what it says because it is a super-secret conspiracy, and it is personal and mysterious. I am going to use it on my Freak Flag, though (see #6).

4. Tiny Tote Bag – This actually is swag. I got it from Baudville because I needed a small tote that fit inside the large tote I had been carrying around. I put it to use immediately, taking just my wallet and phone on multiple runs to Starbucks for tea. I also took – and ate – a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from their booth, which is really my idea of great swag.

5. Social NOTworking – This book was given to me by author Jody Katz Pritikin, who I interviewed for a future blog about employment lawyers at SHRM 12. I missed her session due to a conflict so she gave me her book to read. It has lots of cool pictures, and she likes social media,  so I will definitely read it.

6. CD – This CD of country music was given to me by another attendee, Carol Ann Timmel. She was not a speaker, sponsor, or vendor. We got into a conversation at the Skillsoft  party, and she brought the CD by the blogger lounge the next day.

7. Freak Flag – Most of this flag is white, with just the Talent Anarchy logo in the corner. I missed the Talent Anarchy presentation due to a conflict, but I am thankful that I have seen them present before because they are amazing. They want people to decorate the flag in their own way and then post pictures. I will definitely do that but I need to go to the store for some colored Sharpies to accent my rubber stamp.

The moral of this story is that attendees should choose wisely when deciding what is really important for them to take and keep. Think about how many natural resources and fossil fuels were used making and transporting things that are probably going to end up in your kitchen junk drawer and just. say. no.

What did you take home from your last conference?

Blog Copying is Thievery, Not Flattery

I guess it was bound to happen sometime, but I really didn’t expect it to happen to me. After all, I have this small, focused blog about HR and the workplace, which is not exactly exciting to the general population. My monthly readership barely gets into four figures. I didn’t think anyone would care enough to bother.

But last week, it did happen to me. This blog was copied in its entirety and placed on another site. Yes, I was credited and a link back to my original post was placed at the very end. But these were my words, not theirs, although you can hardly tell by looking at their site. It’s called a copyright violation.

At first I tried to shrug it off, claiming that it wasn’t worth worrying about, and it’s flattering when someone else likes your work enough to use it.

But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I was especially angry because the site that took my blog is full of ads from Ad Choices. When my work is copied and pasted on this site – they get the monetary benefit through their advertisers, not me.

I think that ads on most blogs are inherently a conflict of interest. Pet stores want to advertise on pet blogging sites. But what if you really don’t like the pet store? Do you take their money and keep quiet? Do you subconsciously choose your words differently so you don’t offend your advertisers?

I turned down two offers from advertisers before I allowed The Starr Conspiracy’s  HR Blogger Network, partnering with ReTargeter, to advertise on my blog. Yes – there is an advertisement on this blog, in the right column underneath the social media icons. See it?  I agreed to allow HR Blogger Network to advertise because, (1) their ads are inconspicuous and unobtrusive, (2) they target HR practitioners only, which is my basic audience, (3) there is no potential conflict of interest, and (4) I know and trust their marketing guru totally. I earn the cost of about 7 cups of Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea – black, no syrup – monthly. They are awesome and I am happy.

But when other sites take my work without permission and repost it, they are basically feeding their own advertisers instead of mine. They are stealing my earning potential, as well as the earning potential of my advertiser.  If they had asked me, I would probably have offered to write an intro and then linked back to my original site. For free.

But they didn’t ask and now I’m pissed off. Finally.

What should I do? Write them a nasty letter? (I know how to write a cease and desist!) Tell off their advertisers? Have another cup of Starbuck’s Iced Tea?

What would you do?

 

The SHRM12 Blogger Challenge

(Most of you know that I will be attending the massive upcoming conference of human resources pros held by the Society for Human Resource Management – SHRM. Most of my posts for the next month will probably be about this conference. Caveat emptor. But you never know, so you may want to keeping peeking in, just in case.)

 

Jennifer McClure, a marvelous speaker and wonderful person, is presenting a Mega Session at SHRM called “From HR Leader To Business Leader” at 7:00 am on Monday, June 25th at SHRM 12. She’s a great speaker, and you won’t be disappointed if you get up and go listen.

I’m not going to be there, though.

I will be at a legal/compliance session on workplace privacy. And I’m just not awesome enough to be at two different places at the same time.

You see, I asked members of my local SHRM what they would like to learn about if they were at SHRM 12, and legal information was the majority answer. I also offered to let members of my local choose sessions to send me to and blog about, so you will even see me blog about compensation issues somewhere along the line. My agenda as an attendee and blogger is largely being dictated by others.

I think this is how it should be. Like the vast majority of the HR pros out there, I’ve never been to a SHRM national before because the time and cost involved is just too great. So being allowed to attend as a blogger is truly a gift. And what better thing to do with a gift than to pay it forward and give something back that acknowledges how fortunate you really are?

I think other bloggers believe in this as well. Charlie Judy, in a cautionary tale about over-emphasizing vendors, said, ” . . . you should be sharing some of the really juicy morsels likely to come from the sessions and their presenters  . . .” And Dave Ryan, in a post called Social Media Mission Impossible , encouraged SHRM12 bloggers to bust out of the echo chamber. Part of that echo chamber is created by HR bloggers and tweeters attending sessions of everyone else in the chamber.

So my challenge to SHRM 12 bloggers is to do some blogging about sessions or topics that might not be on your personal radar, or aren’t being presented by personal friends, or by other people in the online HR community that we all already know and love.

Think about the HR generalist at the 200 person company in your hometown, who has to deal with boring wage and hour issues whether they want to or not. Help them learn something, because they can’t afford to be in your shoes.

The Ultimate Guide To Personal Branding

My apologies, folks, but I have been sicker than a dog for the past 10 days or so. I know I’m sicker because my dog got well in about a week and I am still fighting this. 😉

Writing anything readable is hard -for me, at least – under any circumstances, but when you have to jump up and run to the bathroom every 15 minutes or so it becomes an impossibility.

But like a white knight in the nick of time, the fine PR folks at the HR Blogger Network are allowing the network to share the following video with you, so I won’t leave you high and dry this week. It’s a preview from Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching With Social Media for Dummies.

Take two minutes to check it out – especially the part that reminds you that it is called a headline on LinkedIn – not a job title. One of my pet peeves.