Feel Better to Do Good After #SHRM14

RobinRobertsSHRM14

 

Before I attended my first SHRM Annual, I pondered the important question, “What does Michael J. Fox have to do with HR?” I didn’t understand at that time that SHRM follows a set of specific criteria when choosing its keynotes. (Matt Stollak explains that system here.)

But now I know that a motivational speaker is an important part of the SHRM plan to get attendees  motivated and inspired. I’m okay with that – and I admit that I enjoy it.

Yesterday Robin Roberts kicked off SHRM14 with a fun and often touching journey through her life’s joys and struggles. And she offered some wonderful sound bites designed to make us feel good about ourselves, so we can go back to our HR lives elsewhere  change things for the better.

“Dream big but focus small”

Have  big dreams and ideas, but focus on the details you need to manage to realize them.

“Proximity is power”

If you want to make things happen, put yourself in a position to do so.  No one is going to do it for you.

“When you strut, you stumble”

Robert’s  momma taught her that one, and she uses it to  keep herself from swaggering. It’s more effective to be true to yourself and be authentic.

“Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use”

We all have struggles and tragedy.  Keeping a positive attitude during those times can help you cope and transform.

“I’m 5’10” and worth the climb”

Yes, she told that as a little joke on herself, but I loved the message: you are powerful and worth it.

Roberts wrapped up her address with a quote from the late Maya Angelou, something HR pros should always keep in mind:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

 

I’m Thankful for People Who Work on Thanksgiving

For the first time in our 25 year marriage, my husband and I will be alone together on Thanksgiving. We will be over 1300 miles from our children and grandchildren, whose number is so large that I am usually required to roast two Thanksgiving turkeys. With just two of us to celebrate the holiday together this year, my Thanksgiving dinner solution was simple.

Eat out.

I live in Naples, Florida, which is mostly a resort town. People flock here from cold climates every November to April to enjoy the beaches and the golf courses. Winter holidays find the area packed with people who all have to eat, so restaurant dining options are plentiful on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant gets prepared and served by employees. Working stiffs. Waitstaff and dishwashers and prep cooks – people working on the holiday.  I don’t know who will get to share the tip,  but I’ll leave a big one, because I will be thankful that their dedication to their jobs allows me to have a meal without worry and bother.

As a former police officer, I have worked a lot of Thanksgivings (and Christmases, etc.), usually responding to family fights at homes where too much liquor was consumed by too many relatives. So I can sympathize with people whose job forces them to bundle up their kids and ship them off with relatives for the day while they work, because I have been there and done it.

The author, around 1978
Me, around 1978, a working police officer.

I don’t sympathize too much with people who gripe about working on Thanksgiving, though, like the workers from Target. After all, police officers, medical personnel, hotel service, restaurant workers, football players and others* have been working the holiday for years. Everyone seems to have survived just fine.

Maybe the Target workers who are complaining about the loss of  “family time” should think about what they can be thankful for – and it’s not that they have a job. They can also be thankful for others that are working on Thanksgiving, like the police officers who show up  if there is a fistfight  in their store, or the ambulance driver who responds when a customer has a heart attack. These employees, and countless others, have sacrificed family time for years in order to serve the community, keeping it safe, happy, and entertained.

And serving the community is really what working on Thanksgiving is all about – no matter what your job is.

*(Movie theaters are generally open on Thanksgiving, staffed by workers. Here’s a great letter to Target workers about that. Thanks to author Matt Stollak, as well as Victorio Milian for inspiring this blog. )