Author Archives: HR Gal Friday

About HR Gal Friday

I've been an HR Assistant/Payroll Clerk for several years now while working my way through college. I feel like I know a lot of the HR side dishes: payroll, benefits administration, hiring, training, safety, etc. Now it's time for me to learn some meat and potatoes: strategy, risk mangement, engagement/retention, recruiting, legalese, etc. I'm not currently studying HR in school. I stumbled into HR well past the point of changing horses midstream, so I'm doing this on my own. I'll be utilizing books, expert blogs, apps, magazines, HR contacts, you name it! Suggestions for study materials and topics are always welcome! My vision for this blog is for it to be a collaborative environment where assistants and/or students like myself can discuss what we're learning, and HR experts can get a refresher or steer us back on the path if we have questions. DISCLAIMER: For now this blog will be anonymous. My writing can veer toward the unprofessional at times, especially when I'm frustrated about something. Or excited about something. Or if I've had a cocktail. I am really going to try and not blog after cocktails but HR can be a dull topic sometimes and that might liven things up. Also, there will be occasional swearing. I am going to try to keep that to a minimum but dammit, sometimes there's just no other way to get your point across.

Dead Week and Finals – I Will Catch Y’all on the Flipside

HR Gal Friday’s brain can only hold so much info at once without risking that her Social Security Number or mom’s birthday will leak out of her ears and be lost forever.  So, I’m closing up shop till after finals.  Catch you guys on Wednesday!  In the meantime, here’s a photo essay of what I think/hope my upcoming week will be like.

LOTS OF STUDYING AND WORK

occupy tumblr_meh26uhsw31roxju7o1_500 zombie-meme

A LITTLE SLEEP (CLEARLY THIS WOULD ONLY BE A DREAM)

3obknkgosling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EXAMS THEMSELVES

pharma

Pharmacology

French History

French History

 

hunger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELAXING AFTER (METAPHORICALLY)

Waterfall_Lepena sai yoke waterfall beach

Prevent Mistakes or Let Them Happen? – Also Dogs

Poor A.J. Clemente.  He had the worst first day on the job EVER, recently, when he accidentally said some curse words over his microphone on the local news.  That’s a pretty big mistake in the world of mass communications, so I understand why he was let go.  I feel bad for him because he was probably so nervous, etc. but it was the right decision.

dogs2.jpgAlso in the context of mistakes, I’ve been thinking about my dad’s dogs.  (I swear I have a point here.  Don’t leave me.)  My dad has loved Boston Terriers (or Boston Terribles as they are sometimes affectionately called) since he was very young.  Almost every dog he’s ever had has been a Boston, though we did have 2 poodle/mix strays come into our lives during my childhood.

dogs1Bostons are some of the most awesome dogs in the world.  I have never seen a mean Boston; they are almost annoyingly friendly.  They love attention and affection and will lavish you with kisses and licks till your pants get so stiff from drool they could stand by themselves.  They are small enough to be lapdogs, but too big to be annoying purse dogs.  I have had 3 fully grown Bostons jump into a chair with me once but that balancing act didn’t last long.  They are super fun to aggravate with a laser pointer or play tug of war with a rope.  And if you can get them in the right position in the bed (always a struggle because they are burrowers) they aren’t too bad to curl up and sleep with.

That being said, they are not the brightest creatures on this planet.  They do have moments of cleverness, like when they used to take my dad’s laundry piece by piece out the doggy door and leave it all over the yard.  That was amusing.  But more often than not, I’m left looking at them and thinking “What on earth did you do that for?”

Picture1This is Rocky, one of dad’s 2 current Bostons.  He’s the sweetest dog ever and so pretty with his one blue eye.  No, he’s not deaf, just hard-headed.  He went through a phase (of a year or two) where he was marking (read: peeing) all over the house from time to time.  Not enough that it was a clear house-training issue, more like a deliberate marking.  His fave things to mark?  Dad’s shoes.

When I was staying there for a few days during my recovery from spinal surgery in 2011, I remember being in bed one morning and hearing what sounded like the dogs scratching on the door to get in my bedroom.  I ignored.  It persisted.  I ignored more.  It persisted more.  I rolled carefully out of the bed in my neck brace and opened the door to see “snow” all in the bathroom, down the hall, into the kitchen, the living room and the den.  Almost solid white with paw prints in it.  The dog had found a bag of Epsom salts somewhere and dragged them through the entire house.  The scratching was his paws (and Fanny’s, the innocent one) on the wood floors as they tried to maneuver a field of sharp rock salt granules on their bare feet.  I found him on the sofa, licking his feet and looking so guilty I could have died.  It would’ve been funny if I hadn’t had to clean all that up in a neck brace.

One day dad saw Rocky ‘mark’ the refrigerator and he’d had enough.  He put him on Craigslist.  Nothing came of it; I believe dad was just venting.  Still, that dog seems to have a hard time learning.  Dad recently started taking him outside in the front of the house since they live on a dead end road with very little traffic, and now that Rocky can mark more things out there, he does it much less in the house.  I think that’s maybe what he was doing when this happened:

Picture3

This is the back yard, but I feel like Rocky was investigating and trying to mark the new yard art, as it were.  Dad was trying to trap, and I hope relocate, a fox who had been spotted by the neighbors several times and was becoming bolder.  There are small kids and pets around there, so Foxy had to go.  Dad used a ham bone for bait.  First he caught a possum, and then he caught Rocky.  I haven’t heard the whole story just yet, but I know Rocky couldn’t have been in there for too long because Fanny would have alerted someone.  I even kind of wonder if my dad watched this happen and let it.  I don’t blame him; I love this photo.  And maybe Rocky, the hard-headed dog did learn not to meddle with everything?  I doubt it.  He’s a dog, but I guess it’s possible.

Between poor Rocky in the clink and poor A.J. Clemente’s 15 minutes of infamy, it made me think about the nature of mistakes.  We all make them.  But what do we do when we see someone else about to make them?  I know Clemente’s mistake couldn’t have been prevented.  No one saw that coming.  But my dad probably saw the dog going for the trap.  When is it ok to let a mistake happen (in work or life) in order to teach someone a lesson?  Obviously we prevent small children from running into the street or grabbing things off the stove.  Obviously we check behind the new payroll clerk so we don’t pay everyone a quarter of a million dollars an hour.  But other, lesser mistakes…should they be prevented or allowed to play out?

Ignoring at all costs.

Ignoring at all costs.

I feel like I have people in my life right now who are letting me make mistakes (in a good way) and I try very hard to consciously learn from them so I don’t repeat them.  Sometimes I fear I’m going to be like that damn dog, though, and ignore the lessons.  I hope not.

Thoughts?

(Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen some of these pics before.  Sorry for duplicating.  Those of you who don’t are welcome to follow – hrgalfriday there too.)

Fun Friday – I Got an Advice Question!!

You guys!  I got my very first email asking for advice!  I’m a guru!

(I’m totally kidding.  I’m a college student and office manager.  Take everything here as mere suggestions and feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments.) 

Hi Dominique:

Thanks for the follow on Twitter. After reading your bio I thought that we might have a similar path.

I have been an Office Manager in the architecture industry for 22 years (20 with the same small business). The past few years I have taken an interest in HR – in wanting to help others succeed in the workplace, etc. Unfortunately, my current employment does not allow me to gain any HR experience as we have a solo HR person who is not really forthcoming. My Masters is in Organization and Management and I am not ready to spend a bundle more money for another degree in HR. Can you give me any advice on how you are organizing your self-study? I just joined SHRM and will start networking with the local chapter but besides that I am overwhelmed with where to start … so many twitter feeds, blogs, articles, etc. Are you focusing on a specific area? Not having HR experience I am not sure what area I would like best.

Thanks,

K

Dear K -

Thank you so much for writing me!  This made my day!

I think we do have a similar path with the office manager/self-study bit, but we differ in that you have a LOT more education than I do.  In fact, with a Masters in Organization & Management, I bet you already know a lot more than you realize.  Do NOT go back to school and spend more money on an HR degree.  (Anyone disagreeing with this opinion, please let me know in the comments, but I really think further spending in that area won’t get you the return on investment that you would hope.)  Plus, you might delve further into this and hate HR.  If you do some self-study and love it and want to become the world’s foremost expert, decide that later.  For now, no.

Also, I know it’s super easy to get overwhelmed with the Twitter, blogs, articles, etc.  Don’t stress too much over this.  You’ll never read or absorb it all.  Just take in what you can reasonably handle without stressing yourself too much.  An article or two a day that you really absorb is better than 12 that you don’t.  Also, the blogs aren’t so much actual lessons as people delivering different ideas and opinions.  They are great, certainly, but you’ll want to start off with a knowledge base that will allow you to get more out of the blogs, the tweets, and endless stream of information on the internet.

I did a review of 2 iPhone apps that I currently have on my phone.  I still use them and quiz myself when I get a moment.  These have helped because they’ve given me insight into areas of HR that I didn’t even know existed, and thus am weak in.  I never had to utilize them before.  If you go that route, keep a pen/notebook handy and jot down some terms or laws that you don’t know.  Even if you get the answer correct, if the term was unfamiliar, jot it down.  They won’t teach you all the principles, but they’ll point out what you don’t know and you can research later.

When you look at the apps, or even just that post to find a list of the various areas of HR, follow the blogs/Twitter accounts of businesses in that area: benefits brokers, insurance companies, HR outsourcing, payroll companies, staffing agencies, recruiters, risk management, employment law firms, etc.  Rather than individual people musing and giving their opinions, the businesses themselves often have blogs about laws, policies, and information that will count more as a lesson.

Some that I highly recommend:  Winston Benefits, Insperity, Infinisource, My Back OfficeMonster Thinking, Workplace Prof Blog, Winston & Strawn, LLP and Presidio Group.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.

Also, joining SHRM was a great idea.  I hope you joined your local chapter as well as national.  National SHRM puts out HR Magazine, which has excellent articles and even if you don’t understand 100% of it, it will point you in an area that you can research more.  Also, reach out to your local SHRM officers.  I’m not sure how your chapter works but in Baton Rouge they have a general meeting approximately once a month.  They may not have speakers lined up months in advance, but they generally have some idea of a topic a couple months ahead of time.  It may be as general as “safety”, but you can ask about upcoming topics and study beforehand so you’ll be able to engage more fully in the meetings.  The SHRM website also has good articles and chats where you can ask questions and engage with other people.

Also, I’d encourage you to try again with the HR person at your office or maybe even a little higher up.  Do not approach this as you trying to do their job (or neglect yours), but just say you’re interested and feel that some cross-training would benefit the office.  You’d like to learn enough to be the “emergency backup”.  Not only will it help you learn a little more, it really will benefit your company.  This person could become ill, take another job, get hit by a bus or win the lottery and leave you all in a lurch. This is especially true in a small office which has a smaller talent pool to draw from.  There is no job on Earth that doesn’t need an emergency backup.  They don’t need to know 100% — just enough to keep things from falling apart till everyone adjusts.

As for me, my plans for self-study have changed/evolved a bit.  When I first started this blog in January, I had recently been unemployed and did this as a way to reach out, get more knowledge and not drive myself crazy at home with nothing to do.  I’ve since taken a job with a content marketing firm that assigns me articles and blog posts to write for our clients, many of whom are in HR-related businesses.  These require research and just doing that has taught me a lot.  I know that’s a bummer to say since not everyone has the ability to do this on the job and it’s one of the reasons I’m suggesting you try again, as nicely as possible, with your HR person at work.

In the meantime though, I’m reading blogs, I’m researching for work, I’ve occasionally got guests on this blog teaching me things (and I need to do more of that).  A delightful friend from Twitter, Liz Rominger, has agreed to loan me a SHRM PHR Learning System for the summer.  They are very expensive and I cannot afford one on my own, however, they are much less than a degree in HR, so perhaps you can.  Or maybe someone in your local SHRM chapter can loan you one.  Maybe even your local library…I never thought to check there.  You can even find older ones on eBay for a few hundred bucks less because they’re somewhat out of date.  We all know healthcare has changed since 2009, but the general principles in the rest of the materials are still the same and you can (and should) study the PPACA from multiple resources elsewhere anyway.  I wouldn’t go any older than 2009 – 2010, but that’s an idea.  Anyway, I’ll be borrowing Liz’s learning system once I finish finals on May 7, through about Labor Day.  I plan to go through the system in the order SHRM presents it and will post blogs on my progress. 

I hope you’ll keep me informed of your progress as well!  Hopefully we can learn from each other over the summer, but believe me, this is much more than a summer endeavor!  HR Pros are required to get continuing education for a reason.  Things change and the learning is constant.  This will definitely not be an overnight process for either of us, but we’ll get there!

Take care and good luck with your studies!

-HRGF

Did I miss anything guys?  Any additional advice you’d offer to K or advice of mine that was awful?  Let me know!

A Novel Approach to Intern Recruiting from MasterCard

I hate cash.  I really do.  I almost never use it and when I do, I always wonder if those bills were used for some type of nefarious purposes before they reached my hands.  Snorting coke, tipping a stripper, handled by someone who works at the CDC and didn’t properly clean the Ebola off themselves…who knows?  It’s gross.

SONY DSCWhat’s more, it’s inconvenient.  A few years back a friend and I went to a concert at the New Orleans Arena and parked across the street at the Superdome.  They gave us our ticket and we parked, went inside, and enjoyed the show without purchasing any beverages or food cause we had already eaten.  We never looked in our wallets.  It didn’t dawn on us until we were in the throes of the parking line that we’d now have to pay cash to be let out of the Superdome or be held hostage and delay hundreds of cars behind us.  We scrambled through our purses, the seats of her car, and the floorboards — and came up $1 short.  In her wallet, she had another $1 bill that she didn’t want to part with because a friend at her job had folded it into a perfect origami flower that she kept as a good luck charm.  We had no choice though, and had to unfold that masterpiece to get out of the garage.  I guess it was lucky we had it, but that seems like a poor reason to waste a good luck charm.

800px-Buick_Roadmaster_Wagon

That’s right. Grandpa was a balla’ yo!

My family also tells a funny story about my grandfather returning from a vacation in the Netherlands.  He took a cab home from the airport and did not realize until the driveway that he had not changed over any of his money yet.  I think he was able to pay the fare with a credit card but had nothing but Euros to tip this poor cabbie in Shreveport, Louisiana.  This isn’t DC or NYC where you can change that on any street corner.  This would have inconvenienced that cabbie quite a bit to accept a tip in Euros.  Instead, (and luckily) grandpa remembered that he kept an emergency $20 bill in a hidden compartment on the gas cap of his beloved faux-wood-paneled Buick Roadmaster station wagon/land yacht.  The cabbie waited in the driveway while grandpa had to get into the garage and fish out a $20 bill that had been in the gas cap for God knows how long and probably smelled of petrol enough to give the cabbie a headache.  See?  Cash is gross and inconvenient.

That’s why, when I read an article on Ryan Estis’ blog about MasterCard Worldwide and saw they were holding an internship contest around the idea of a cashless society, my eyes lit up IMMEDIATELY.   College students in the US, Canada, Italy, Turkey, China and Singapore will be developing ideas that might be implemented and lessen the need for gnarly paper money and stupid little coins.  Some people gripe about Big Brother.  Whatever.  I say bring it on!!  I can’t wait till I can pay for stuff with my retinas – and I bet these kids are going to have some GREAT IDEAS!

Add my bank balance and we have a deal.

Add my bank balance and we have a deal.

In the spirit of learning more about this global internship contest and how a huge corporation like MasterCard Worldwide runs their internships, I reached out.  Cut to – my teeny little blog here got an interview with Jen Cowan in HR at MasterCard!

mastercard_logo

Here’s our chat.  Jen’s responses about #internswanted are in BOLD.

How did you select the 6 countries?  Are those where the major MasterCard offices are located or were there other considerations? The six countries were not selected as much as they were the first to express interest in recruiting interns through this innovative social campaign method.

What do you prioritize in selecting interns?  Creativity?  Grades?  What is in the mind of the selection committee or individual during this process?   Overall, we like to see a well-rounded applicant. Our requirements are 3.0 GPA or higher, leadership experience, volunteer experience and demonstration of a work/life balance.  All of these characteristics fall within MasterCard’s vision, mission and values.

Internships will be held in areas of emerging payments, technology, marketing, issuer management and product management.  Apart from their major, how do you decide which team to place someone with?  The interviewing process gives us the opportunity to learn more about the students and what their interests are. From there, the students interview with the team to see if there is good fit.

We’ve all heard HR horror stories of interns being tasked with not much more than fetching coffee and dry-cleaning.  This sounds like a much more immersive process.  What is a typical day like in the life of a MasterCard intern?  We provide our interns with real life work experience.  Our interns will work on real projects.  At the end of the day, they can see how their efforts helped MasterCard as a whole.

Obviously the interns benefit from putting this experience on their resume and learning new skills and technologies in the corporate workforce.  What does MasterCard receive in turn from the interns?  The internship program provides us the opportunity to look at potential full time applicants.  We use this program as a 10 week job interview to see if the intern would be a good fit for their group and MasterCard.

globepic

This is the 3rd year that #internswanted has taken place, but the first year it’s gone global.  Why now?  Do you think including Millenials in Asia and Europe will give different viewpoints about the need for cashless societies?  We have seen such success with the campaign in Canada that we wanted to expand into other areas. This provides the opportunity to consider different parts of the business and different skillsets.

Are there any plans to expand to South America, Africa or Australia in the coming years? Yes, these would be locations to consider in the coming years.

Is there anything that was done in the first years that’s been changed or deleted?  Lessons learned from those programs that will make year 3 the best yet?  In the past, we asked a very broad question for the applicants to answer for the creative submission. This year, we are asking a very specific question.  From this, we should see some very exciting and creative submissions.

This process has been described as a 10 week job interview.  There are approximately 5 winners in each country, right?  Of those 30, how many do you estimate will be offered full-time employment with MasterCard upon graduation? If you come in and work hard, there are potential opportunities for full-time employment for post-graduation.  Depending on business need, we will be able to determine our full-time offers. Stefan from Canada is a great example.  He went through the program and is now a full-time employee.

Universally important.

Universally important.

What does an intern need to do to really shine and guarantee a job offer during those 10 weeks? To stand out at MasterCard, ask lots of questions, network, be well prepared, thought-provoking and punctual.

The application process includes a cover letter, resume’ and a creative/problem-solving element.  “Applicants are asked to submit an idea for a product, system, app or techniques that can help people go cashless in the future. Successful candidates will validate their application through social media using #internswanted— the more likes and retweets, the better the chances for success.”  Once selected, does the intern get to work on their idea at all or will they solely be working on other projects?  At this time, the interns will be working on business specific needs that have already been identified.

I’m sure a lot of ideas the students have are creative, but not ultimately feasible.  Do you encourage “out of the box” ideas or is MasterCard more focused on practicality? The #internswanted campaign provides us the opportunity to find those diamonds in the rough that are out of the box thinkers. The more creative the better.

What is the best advice you can give to an applicant to be successful in applying for this internship?  Think BIG and think outside the box. You have the opportunity to show MasterCard why you should be one of our summer interns.  Take the all the time you need to put your submission together. Be creative and have fun! If you have questions, reach out to the LinkedIn group for questions. We are here to help!

What is the best advice you can give to a winner to be successful during the internship? For any intern, I suggest being open-minded. Be open to feedback, ask a lot of questions and network as much as you can. You never know who may be looking for a full-time hire.

jonny_asking_questions_2networking539__1231533611_9633

This sounds like a fun program and I’m sure the winners will be glad to participate.  I was so thrilled to get to do this interview and it was very kind of them to answer my questions.  I am incredibly grateful.

There is more information at MasterCard’s website.  Even if you don’t plan to enter, the videos are cute.  I recommend them highly.

The US deadline for entry was April 7th.  The other countries will be accepting applications soon.  If you know a student in one of these other countries, I would encourage them to apply!  It will be great on a resume, it sounds like they’ll learn a lot, and if they can help the world go cashless then godspeed!!

Many thanks to @MasterCardNews, @CashCowan and @MasterCardBecca for their assistance and to @RyanEstis for that original blog post!

jen cowan

Jen Cowan is MasterCard’s Campus Program Manager tasked with identifying top innovators for their College Programs. In addition to campus recruitment, Jen is helping to shape the social media platform for HR and recruiting.  In her spare time, she is an avid tweeter, non-profit social media consultant, shopper and Food Network Groupie.

Sometimes Life Has Other Plans…

One of these days I am going to learn to not get too excited about things I think will be fun, and not get too down about things I think are going to royally suck.  I often end up wrong about both.

s-DUKAKIS-large

Saturday I got my hair done, got a brow wax, got a manicure and a last minute bug up my butt to whiten my teeth, so I got some fancy 2-hour strips…all in preparation to take tons of pics with all my fave HR celebrities and network the hell out of people.  It was not an inexpensive day but frankly the hair and the brows needed to be done anyway and were unavoidable.  I was looking a little Dukakis there.

Saturday night was not what I had planned, but it was awesome.  The few minutes I spent with some HR celebs in the restaurant while shoving food in my face were really fun, and tasty.  Picking up the fellas at the airport was an adventure and they were fabulous.  If I could only spend a little quality time with a few people there, Mike Haberman, Doug Shaw and Bill Boorman were good choices.

amigos

Then came the cut.  What I thought was not that bad before I went to bed (at 5 am) was not that great in the morning (at 9 am).  It eventually required superglue and a couple stitches.  Nothing life-threatening but super inconvenient and painful.  The tetanus shot was not fun either and the pain meds made me super queasy.  Sunday through Tuesday was largely me sleeping like the dead, sitting around with my foot propped up, and occasionally experiencing some very unpleasant things…with the ball of my foot all taped up and me walking awkwardly on the outer side of my foot, as little as possible.  The cut is kind of in a crease, so it shouldn’t even scar (which is good for future blisters, I’m told) and could have been way worse.  I’ve had way worse happen to me (ACL injury, 2 ruptured cervical discs) and I can still see poor Kevin Ware’s injury in my head, so this was NOTHING, really, and I have no right to complain.

Still, less than ideal timing.  I had a chance to hang out with Laurie Ruettimann and totally missed my chance to fangirl on her like I planned, I missed Janine and Doug from my Zombie Apocalypse team, William Tincup (and I remember we talked about it in the car but I don’t remember what the answer was…was he BORN with that last name?) plus British people!  I’ve been watching Doctor Who and I was in love with all things British up until a certain character had to leave and now I’m just pissed.  But I didn’t know that till last night!  I would’ve been FINE over the weekend with the Brits!

tardis-david-tennant-doctor-who-tenth-doctor-HD-Wallpapers

I got excellent coverage of SHRM from all the tweets and blogs coming from there.  I learned a lot and was entertained quite a bit, and wasn’t even there.  If you haven’t done so yet, take a look through all the #lashrm13 tweets and Google it to read some great blogs.

dentist

In celebration of me possibly finally learning this life lesson, rather than aim for any “fun” activities next week, I’m going to try and see the dentist, the gyno and start training for my first 5k as soon as these stitches come out.  If I get really crazy I might try and get a colonoscopy.   I’m anticipating mild to moderate fun.

Keep ya posted!

-HRGF

PS – I believe the foot is doing well.  Walking on it is less painful and it itches like a mofo.  That’s a good sign, yes?  Healing?  Let’s hope so.

A Skirmish at SHRM-ish. Evening One.

Ok, so I ran around doing a million things today.  Drove across the river to feed a friend’s cats cause she’s out of town.  Got my hair done.  Finished the greatest piece of art the world has ever seen, washed clothes, unpacked my trunk cause I realized the Brits would need room for their luggage, watched some Walking Dead cause I need to catch up to discuss with Janine Truett and other stuff I can’t even remember.  Today has been a blur.

I arrived at Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar & Restaurant around 8:15 pm.  I was supposed to go pick up the Brits, Doug Shaw and Bill Boorman, at the airport at 8, but their flight was delayed.  I had someone order me food before I arrived, ran in, met Lizzie Maldonado, Teela Jackson, Dwane Lay, Matt Charney, Robin Schooling, Bryan Wempen, Cat Carlos, Courtney Young, Jen McClure and all kinds of people.  It was great.  I scarfed my food like my life depended on it, despite that being the best shrimp and grits I have ever had EVER, right Lizzie?!  Then I ran to pick up the Brits at the airport.

Oof.  Couch to 5K starts next weekend, for SURE.  In the meantime, it was a blast meeting all these people and reconnecting with the ones I already knew!  So much fun!

Oof. Couch to 5K starts next weekend, for SURE. In the meantime, it was a blast meeting all these people and reconnecting with the ones I already knew! So much fun!

When most of my friends fly into Louisiana, they go to New Orleans.  I am much more familiar with the New Orleans airport than the Baton Rouge one.  Also, it was nighttime and I don’t know where all the parking entrances and exits are, so I lapped the airport about 17 times.  I saw the terminal with people just parked there in front of the doors but there were no spaces and cops everywhere and I didn’t know if that was allowed or what, so I just kept driving and driving and went the wrong way up some ramps a few times and I don’t even know.  No, I have not had a single drop of alcohol tonight.  I just hate this airport.

I finally figured it out and parked a grillion miles away.  Walked into the airport carrying my amazing artwork, and trying to keep it from catching air.  Then I get there and there are ZERO flights from Houston on the board.  There are about 19 from Dallas but NONE from Houston.  Now, the Baton Rouge airport only has 4 gates and 1 escalator anyway, so I wasn’t super worried about missing them within the airport, but I was briefly worried their flight had been diverted to NOLA.  That has happened to me twice, for various reasons.

A lovely gay couple became enraptured with my sign and they took my pic for me.  Then I went and sat near the escalator with my huge sign and just hoped that eventually I’d see someone.  Doug came down the escalator waving his arms gleefully like a child.  It was hilarious.  Immediate hugs and cheek kisses all around.  No, never met him, just know him from Twitter but it’s like we’re best buds already.  I love Twitter.  Then Bill came down waving also and we also hugged.  I handed out Mardi Gras beads instead of leis.  We walked to the front door and ran into Mike Haberman who had just landed and was attempting to get a ride to his hotel, so we scooped him up too.

The greatest piece of art the world has ever known.  Move aside, Guernica.

The greatest piece of art the world has ever known. Move aside, Guernica.

I left the fellas there with the sign and ran to get the car.  On the way to the car I realized that I had left my phone in my seat when I got up to hug Doug.  My superawesome iPhone with its superawesome iPhone case WAS NOW GONE.

I flipped out which did not help me find the exit from the parking lot any faster.  I actually attempted to drive out the entrance because it’s marked like 2 lanes go in and 2 go out, but no.  I’m sure I’m on security footage now with people either laughing at me or tagging my plates to put me on some kind of list.  Anyway.  I finally got out of the parking lot, headed up to the terminal, parked way at the end and did not give a damn that a cop was standing right there.  In fact, I asked him to guard my running car with my purse still in it by telling him I was picking people up but had left my phone.  Luckily he was very nice and agreed.

Greatest phone case in the world, ammirite?  You'd sprint into a state of asthma and angina for this too, don't lie.

Greatest phone case in the world, ammirite? You’d sprint into a state of asthma and angina for this too, don’t lie.

Sprinted inside, ran by the boys, told them to go find the car with the cop guarding it, and dashed for the escalator.  Phone was still there.  It was a SHRM miracle!  I caught my breath while we waited for Doug’s bag to get off the conveyor, dropped Haberman at his hotel, drove the Brits to their hotel (an adventure in itself because almost all of downtown is one way and I was using Google maps with audio.  That GPS bitch is an overachiever.  Hello, I’m at a red light!  You’re going 97 steps ahead of me and I can’t move!), they checked in, we took a pic with the sign (THAT WE ARE TOTALLY GOING TO REDO BECAUSE THAT VALET WAS AN IDIOT), walked to the bar I had recently left from and chilled with the gang some more.

All that ugly side of the hotel and you couldn't get the bottom of my awesome sign with the 2 guys it mentions?!  Come on!

All that ugly side of the hotel and you couldn’t get the bottom of my awesome sign with the 2 guys it mentions?! Come on!

They took off for another bar to hear some blues but I want to be semi-alert tomorrow, so I came on home.  I am exhausted now.  The conference doesn’t even officially start till tomorrow at 1.  My night was only from 8:15 – 11:15 and it was awesome, aggravating and terrifying when I thought I lost the phone.  I have no idea how I’d replace all that info.  I have to look into that.  Anyway.  I’m exhausted and I have to tweet golf in the morning.

You kids enjoy your breakfast tomorrow.  Look for #hrgolf tweets from the 1st 9 holes before I go to Jen McClure’s workshop!  Goodnight!

-HRGF

Update – And I just heard a ruckus outside like someone maybe breaking into cars, so I went to see…cause I’m a nosy dumbass like that, who enjoys her car.  Like what was I going to do?  Stop the criminals with my Buffy-esque fighting skills?  Why did I go out there?!  No, not breaking into cars…idiots littering beer bottles.  Part got between foot and flip flop and I stepped on it.  This better not be some kind of SHRM beginner’s curse.  The bleeding has stopped, but it’s painful and the peroxide was esp unpleasant.  Hope I don’t need a stitch.  Cross your fingers.

My First SHRM Conference – #lashrm13

Hey Gang!

The Louisiana Society for HR Management is having their conference in Baton Rouge this year and it goes from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening.  Some early birds are flying in on Saturday even, so there will be pre-conference fun as well.  I am attending the event as “press” because I will be live-tweeting most of my sessions and blogging to wrap up the day’s events.

Look for my Twitter to blow up with amazing info that I’m learning and some juicy behind the scenes scoop on some of my fave HR celebs too.

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I’ll be tweeting from my usual handle, @HRGalFriday.  My boss will be tweeting her sessions from the company account.  She’s attending some of the same things as me, so you’ll get to see two perspectives on the keynote speeches, for example, if you follow that Twitter also.  It is @RepCapital.

In addition to seeing some old HR buddies from around town that I don’t see very often like Robin Schooling and Christine Assaf, I am interested in meeting most of my Twitter buddies for the first time!  The list includes: Bill Boorman, Doug Shaw, Crystal Miller, Laurie Ruettimann, William Tincup, Bryan Wempen, Nisha Raghavan, Teela Jackson, Janine Truett, Lizzie Maldonado, Matt Charney, Dwane Lay, Jennifer McClure, Brad Galin, Broc Edwards, Mike Haberman, Sarah Williams, Michael VanDervort and probably tons more that I’m forgetting.  I am so excited.  If you aren’t following them all on Twitter by now, you should remedy that IMMEDIATELY.  They are all great and they’ll be tweeting about #lashrm13 too, I imagine.  (I am going to go so fangirl on Laurie Ruettimann, you don’t even know.  Check out her YouTube clips of her speeches. She is hilarious!)  And no, I did not link to all those Twitter accounts because I’m very lazy busy.  Just jot them down, the people are easy to find.

So far I am set to see keynotes from Dwane, Jennifer and Bill, a session about PPACA, one about FLSA, one about best practices in hiring veterans, one about social HR leadership from Doug Shaw, one about retirement and something from Brad Galen entitled “Who do YOU want to Hire?  A Monkey, Ninja, or Pirate?”  I’m getting WAY in the front for that one so I can tweet some pics, for sure.

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I know one or two other little details that no one else is privy to just yet because I’m awesome and special.  Look for some fun updates and photos on my Twitter and here too, time permitting.  Also, the blogging…some might be here, some might be at http://repcapitalmedia.com/blog/ also.  Be sure to check both accounts and both blogs for all the scoop.  It’s going to be BIG FUN!

This post originally left off what I’m almost looking forward to the most.  At the ass crack of dawn on Sunday morning, after having been drinking and partying Saturday night and arriving from their various countries/locales, a few of the guys have decided on a round of golf.  Robin Schooling’s husband Douglas will be taking Dwane and Matt to play 18 holes.  Christine, Doug Shaw and I plan to watch the inevitable tears and recriminations.  I’ll be live tweeting the first 9 holes on Sunday morning with the hashtag #hrgolf before heading back for the official workshop to kick off the conference.  I expect it will be entertaining.

- HRGF

Also, before I forget, I am currently working on a blog post about a very cool internship program I’ve discovered being held by MasterCard.  They are holding contests for these internships in 6 countries around the world and the US deadline is April 7.  My post won’t be finished by then but if you or someone you know is registered full time at an accredited university in the US and looking for a cool internship, check out the MasterCard site for more details.  The webisodes are really funny.  Or, you can check out the #internswanted hashtag on Twitter, or check out @MasterCardNews.

HR Blogs and Articles That I’m Reading

I’ve read a few articles lately that could easily each merit their own blog post but I’m a busy gal, so I’ll just share a couple and give my quick 2 cents.  Perhaps you guys can take up the mantle and discuss in the comments!

Can My Credit History Impact My Job Search?

This article, from the ResumeBear blog, really pissed me off.  So much so that I ended up doing a blog post about my own financial troubles the other day.  ResumeBear didn’t piss me off, but the idea that employers would penalize someone for being behind on their bills during this economy is maddening.  Credit can be destroyed by a divorce, a failed business venture, bad investments, etc.  None of those make you a bad person and in fact may make you a better one with more knowledge.  It doesn’t mean the employee would steal, that they’re a crack whore, that they have a chronic medical condition or that they’re lazy and don’t want to pay their bills.  I wanted to pay my bills and it killed me when I couldn’t.  That doesn’t make me a bad employee.  And the thing is, even with legislation preventing this type of discrimination, it’s so insidious that you could almost never prove it.  So it will continue.  I stayed in the zombie job much longer than I should have because I was afraid of applying to other places and having my credit score ruin my chances.  It’s crippling and it’s awful.  Employers need to stop this discrimination.

March Madness – HR Blogger Style!

I can’t remember…did I tell you guys I was involved in this #hrmadness tournament from Sparcin.com?  I lost in the first round, which I knew would happen, but I was incredibly honored to have been included here with 15 people that I read regularly and consider my HR idols, pretty much.  Plus there was some fun smack talking.  If you don’t have them yet, you should add all these blogs to your RSS feed.  The tourney is over now.  A winner has been crowned.  And that winner is:

The Tim Sackett Project – HR Madness Champion!

sackett

The above link takes you to Sparcin which has several of his posts up there.  There is a whole post about dongles which is my new fave “sex scandal” since pubes on Coke cans.  I’ve included a link for the wee little ones who don’t remember 1991.

But here’s why I love Tim Sackett, in particular:

THIS IS WHY YOU’RE AFRAID TO MAKE HR SIMPLE

This is so true that I may now start The Cult of Sackett.  People who work 60+ hours a week are not to be commended.  They need an assistant or to be replaced with someone more capable.  Now obviously, brand new employees, doctors and maybe lawyers and such are different.  Fine.  I understand not everyone has a job where they can get their work done and then go home, regardless of how long it takes.  If CVS says it’s open 24 hours then someone has to be there 24 hours a day. I get that.  But if you ARE in a position where you can come in, get your job done, and then go home…do it.  Do your work well, do it accurately, do it without screwing around in the middle, and finish it.  If you’re done early, ask others if you can be of help to them.  If they say yes, help.  Congrats, you’ve added value today.  If they say no, believe them — and leave.  Go!  Turn off the lights in your office, turn off the computer, fix the thermostat appropriately if you can — save your company some electricity and get the heck out of there.  Escape your office prison.  Enjoy the outside world.  Run your errands.  See your children, see your parents, see your bookie…whatever.  Come back tomorrow and repeat.

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This is true for people who work remotely as well.  Do your work when you need to do it.  Meet your deadlines, check for accuracy, and — if you have extra time, offer to help others as much as you can.  Then get on with your life.  There will be days that are 12-14 hours long that you didn’t plan for…websites crash, payroll won’t post or other fires need putting out.  If you’re willing to stay late when the universe hands you that crap, you should be willing to go when the universe hands you an hour or two of free time.  Now go away!

Have you guys read anything noteworthy lately?

More Spring Cleaning – Skeletons in the Closet Edition

This is about to get real people.  Buckle up. skeletons I always tell my friends that one of these days I’m going to write a book called “Uninvited to Christmas: How Email Forwards are Killing Society’s Families” because 1) I have a LOT of experience in this arena and 2) so does everyone else.  Really.  Email forwards need to stop.

100911_stop_forwarding_that_crap_t

My liberal friends and family forward me liberal jokes and articles that they know I’ll agree with, but chances are I’ve already seen it online myself.  My conservative friends and family forward me jokes and articles they know I will hate on the off chance that this one email forward will make me rethink my whole life philosophy and my positions on Obama, Jesus and Bill O’Reilly, in that order.  I really think the conservatives want me to hate Obama more than they want me to love Jesus.  It’s disturbing.

Obama-laughing_column~1384b6ce578835eb90091bbf6b8b2f3c jesus-christ-blue 1363665260_1282_Bill OReilly

Even the seemingly benign email forwards are stupid and pointless.  Bill Gates has never sent anyone money to track anything.  I have NEVER gotten flip-flops in the mail, which is the dumbest thing ever, and the recipe chain letter…well that started one of the biggest fights in Rodgers family history.

A friend sent me that recipe thing and I was the evil forwarder this time.  The year was 2005. I passed it along to my mom and grandma, both excellent cooks, and thought it would be something fun they could do on the interwebz as they were both still not wholly comfortable on there at the time.  My grandma Bonnie, the most awesome spit-fire-est redhead to ever live in the state of LA, promptly emailed me back and told me in no uncertain terms that I didn’t call her enough on the phone and talk to her enough to get any of her recipes and this was all a bunch of bullshit in which she would NOT participate.

Having been born a blonde but with a little bit of spit-fire myself, I replied.  That was my first mistake.  I should have just called her and had a fun conversation and realized that this was her butthole way of asking for attention, quite literally, because she needed it. Instead, I told her that listening to a list of all her ailments and how badly she wanted to “crawl in the grave” all the time was not fun and that’s why I didn’t call her very frequently.  I told her I thought it was especially inappropriate since she knew very well that in August of 2005, my grandfather on the other side of the family had died and I was still upset about that.  That was my second mistake.

Not my grandma, but not far off either. I’ve seen that eye roll many times.

This must have been post-Thanksgiving and before Xmas, because I’m pretty sure I’d have been uninvited to Thanksgiving also if that were near.  As it was, I was uninvited to Christmas.  We made up and everything was fine before Christmas actually rolled around, but for a couple weeks there, things were really tense…

WHICH BRINGS ME TO - 

I’m going through something like that now.  The reason my family did not visit last week was because my father and I got into an argument.  I had asked him for some financial advice (not money, advice on what to do with MY money) and I believe he was genuinely trying to help me, but he went way above and beyond what I asked and did it behind my back.  I felt left out of the process like a child.  Then he WAY overshared with the financial advisor who was supposed to come to lunch with us and accidentally forwarded it to me in an email. Email forwards are ALWAYS a bad idea.  Much like car alarms, the FWD option on email needs to die.  The advisor, looking to keep my dad happy and make a nice commission, ate it up.  ”Thank you for telling me all this.  I need to know this to make decisions when you’re gone.”

Greedy liar.

Ummm, no you don’t.  How exactly does the way in which my grandpa died affect your financial advice, jackass?  Do mutual funds only accept money from people whose grandpas died of cancer but not strokes?  No.  And now I don’t trust this man AT ALL because he helped hide these plans for my money with my parents and then flat out lied to them about needing all these horrible details of our lives that my dad laid out for him with such great clarity.  Bottom line: if someone will help YOU lie to someone else, they will also help someone lie to YOU.  They cannot be trusted.

This is but a snippet of dad’s email that I’m sure he meant to delete before I saw it: Dominique is my oldest daughter and she is the one in Baton Rouge. She spent her junior and senior years of high school at Natchitoches in the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. She got a $20,000 scholarship to LSU in 1997. She still hasn’t gotten a degree. She changed majors several times and then went to work and took classes part time. She is back in school and says she will finally get a degree.

There was a LOT more to it that led to the argument, but I was also very angry at the tone of this passage.  And then I thought…why?  It’s true.  I don’t think it was this financial advisor’s business but nothing he said in there is a lie.  Some of it is out of context, perhaps, but it’s all true.  Maybe I’m mad at him because I’m really just ashamed of myself.  I’m certainly not bragging to anyone that I wasted a 20k scholarship and racked up 244 hours of college credit without a degree.  I’m not happy that I suffered severe depression in college for many years without telling anyone or getting treatment.  I wish that mental illness hadn’t stolen about 5 of the most important years of my life, but it did and there’s nothing I can do about it now except try and do the best I can in this moment, right now.  That’s all any of us can do.  Call me crazy, call me a late-bloomer or immature.  That’s fine.  I’ve been (rightly) called much worse at times.  I’m almost 34 years old, single, childless, and still ask my dad for financial advice and run to him first any time something is wrong with my car.  I’ve made many terrible HUGE mistakes in my life, and I don’t think those mistakes are anyone else’s to share.  Basically, I’m mad at dad for bringing out my skeletons before I had the balls to do it myself.  So, I’ve decided to take a page from his book and get it all out there so no one can surprise me by revealing my secrets ever again.  So here goes – my skeletons. gloria I did fine for about the first 2 years of college and then something changed.  It was gradual, but something definitely changed.  I went out less, saw my friends less, and cared less about school and work.  I know now that I was in the first stages of my major depression and at an age at which it typically strikes.  I put on a show for everyone and never let anyone know how exhausted I was all the time or how much effort it took to give a shit about even the littlest things.  I went to the Health Center once at LSU and they assigned a student to talk to me.  She was blonde, thin, gorgeous, a sorority girl, and wore a huge diamond on her finger because she had just gotten engaged.  She was 2 years older than me.  She didn’t help me and instead I ended up really annoyed with her and wanted to kick her in the taco, to steal a phrase from a dear friend.

I kept up the mask for a few more years, running out of scholarship money.  Then for a few semesters I’d put tuition on a credit card, go to school for a few weeks, get overwhelmed, and withdraw.  Sometimes officially and sometimes not, so I have a few F’s on my transcripts. This lowered my GPA and raised my debt quite a bit, but I was working and was able to keep up with that, so it was manageable.  Then I was laid off, or more accurately, streamlined myself out of a job.  Then all the bills went on the credit card, including medications for the depression I was now being treated for.  They were not cheap, esp now that I was without health insurance.

The meds worked though, enough to make me think with every new semester that I could do well this time and the cycle repeated itself.  (This is part of how it takes a LONG time to get over depression when you wait so long to get treatment.)  I got another job, kept up with the payments and with school, made some progress, then I’d get exhausted/overwhelmed and drop out again.  I did this a few times without telling anyone.  I never wanted to hurt myself. I knew I deserved better.  I knew a girl who went to a boarding school for gifted students ought to be doing way better in life than all this bullshit, I just couldn’t seem to come out of this fog and make it happen.

Fogwilllift

It will, if you get help.

Eventually, through another job change or two, I had to declare bankruptcy.  All this was going on from about 99-05, and then I just quit school altogether, worked, tread water and tried to stay afloat till everything collapsed in 2008.  Thinking back on it, I should have reached out for mental and financial help MUCH SOONER, but I was ashamed.  I was still operating under the illusion that mental illness was a character flaw and not a disease, that I was just lazy.  Later, it would become very clear to me that wasn’t the case and that my family had a history of depression that I didn’t know about.

Anyway, I declared Ch. 13 bankruptcy in January of 2009.  I’m not proud of it, but it happened.  I wanted to pay something rather than pay nothing.  I felt horribly guilty and that was the least I could do, and a Ch. 13 worked out better for me than a Ch. 7.  It wasn’t fun.  They make you stand up in court and announce, basically, that you are worthless…and that’s how they treat you.  It’s a very humbling and shitty experience. bankrupt But…that will be all paid off and over in about a year. I am actually doing okay in school now.  The progress is slow but steady.  I have a lot of hours in several degree programs, so I wasn’t too far off from a general studies degree.  I only have about 4 more classes left, I think.  Maybe 5.  I’m not sure.  But things are looking up.  2013 is already off to the best start that I can remember in a very long time.

My argument with dad won’t last too much longer.  My hurt will dissipate and eventually he’ll apologize and explain why he felt the need to keep me in the dark about all this.  We still love each other, I know that.  And maybe it’s a good thing.  Maybe it’s forcing me to admit to myself all that is and WAS, wrong in my life.  Nobody’s perfect.  You can’t take a look at someone’s social media and infer anything about their life.  Most of the time people only put their absolute best moments up there.  For every cute “selfie” photo your friends have posted, there are a dozen they threw out because of a zit or a double chin.  Well I’m out here, world.  Here are my zits and double chins.  Some of them, anyway.  Now no one will ever be able to use them against me again.

A lot of my friends and family will be shocked to read this because I hid it all really well.  I got very good at essentially lying to myself and others about how I was doing, so I wouldn’t worry anyone or have to face myself just how bad it was.  Others will be shocked because they already knew and knew the incredible shame I’ve felt about this up to and including last weekend when this argument with dad started.  I can’t explain it.  I didn’t plan to write about this when I woke up this morning.  But the argument with dad, then this article: mrkt.ms/ZsLtZN , and it being Good Friday just got me thinking.

I also didn’t write this for sympathy so please don’t feel a need to reach out and tell me how awesome I am despite all this.  I know that.  Not being snide, I just really do know that.  My mental health is doing better now and I know that these prior events and setbacks do not define me.  I just felt like taking it back from others and sharing it myself, on my own terms. This is where I’m living now and it feels pretty good: know more Instead of reaching out to me, reach out to someone around you.  Statistically 1 out of 4 people is suffering from some type of mental illness, the effects of which can reach WAY beyond their brain, as you can see.  If you suspect it’s you, then it’s you.  Get help.  The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat.  If you suspect it’s someone else, talk to them.  Do not go behind their back and not involve them in their own treatment.  Do not let them feel tricked in any way, just reach out to them and offer your love and support.  Encourage them to get help on their terms and check in with them.  That really can make all the difference.

Everyone enjoy a great Easter weekend!  Even us non-religious folk can celebrate.  It’s all about fresh starts…and chocolate! – HRGF

Spring Cleaning Edition – “No Fun” Friday

It’s time for spring cleaning, ladies and gents.  My crap is out of hand.

Since I got my fantastic new job, I think I’ve been juggling work and school pretty well.  Some great opportunities have opened up at the office.  I’ve met all my official coworkers (all 3 of them) and they are awesome ladies.  Very smart and talented.  I’m doing very well in my Pharmacology class.  History, well…yea, new job and Pharmacology!

I’ve been balancing all this pretty well, but some other stuff has fallen through the cracks. I’ve never been the best housekeeper to begin with, and a yearly spring cleaning is always something I want to do but never actually do.  I’m okay when I live with others, but when I live alone and no one else has to see my filth, it gets ugly sometimes.

Burn it down, yes?  Is that the right answer?

Burn it down, yes? Is that the right answer? Just me then? Ok.

My family was supposed to come visit this weekend.  For reasons that aren’t important, that got cancelled at the last minute and left me pretty aggravated.  Their visit had me consuming caffeine and scrubbing like a mad woman and now the aggravation is continuing it.  I do my best cleaning when I’m nervous or pissed.  A yearly blast o’ spring cleaning ensures the health department doesn’t have to come visit me and that when I am eventually committed to the nut hatch, it will be for serious reasons, not my Everest size mountain of laundry.  The aggravation will be gone by the time I’m done cleaning AND I’ll have sparkly like-new bathroom fixtures.  Yea for everyone.

laundry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next weekend, I plan to do some spring cleaning for my social media.  I have emailed myself several articles I haven’t  had a chance to read yet.  I need to polish up the blog a bit.  My computer needs a tuneup, etc.  I need to find a new RSS reader now that Google is ending theirs.  But this weekend…oof.  Lots of cleaning to do.

I feel like there’s this perfect version of Dominique out there somewhere.  She’s a morning person.  She gets up early and does her Couch to 5k training when it’s still cool outside.  She comes home and does her writing, studies, keeps the house clean, runs errands, eats lots of veggies, saves up her money, hangs out with friends, attends the theateh — you have to say it really douchey like that…theateh — and is generally awesome.  She might even have a dog someday now that she’s home enough to take him for walks.  A rescued Boston named Edgar, maybe.

WomanRunnerCloseup portrait of a happy young woman using laptop

 

Colorful vegetables and fruitsboston

This Dominique will not be achieved with the Fuji size mountain of dishes.  My physical clutter is creating mental clutter.  So, this  ↓↓↓ will be me today!  If you see me on FB or Twitter, make me stop and go resume the Spring Cleaning Frenzy!

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In the spirit of that, here are some articles that have been helping me get motivated for my Spring Cleaning Sprint.  Enjoy!

What You Should Take Off Your Desk Right Now by @EntMagazine ”Replace the objects you remove with what is the opposite. Instead of things that make you feel heavy, guilty or overwhelmed, bring in things that uplift, nourish and encourage you. For example, replace that pencil cup with a vase of flowers or a budding branch. Your desk should bear reflection on the best things in your life.” — This isn’t so much about spring cleaning as inspiration to finally set up my office once the spring cleaning is over!

9 Steps To Organize Your Social Media For Success by @heidicohen  “Establish a social media calendar for engagement and content sharing. If you’ve already got one, ensure that it’s aligned with your current social media objectives.”

How To Transform Your Spring Cleaning Into A Paycheck by @BrokeGirlsGuide ”[W]hile we’re more than happy to help out…the world, and contribute to…humanity, we’d be lying if we said it wouldn’t bum us out to see all those hard-earned dollars end up at Goodwill. But if we don’t start cleaning up our act soon, we’re pretty sure that recruiters from the show Hoarders will be hounding us any day now.”

Skinny Up Your Kitchen by @goodhealth  “With a quick cabinet [reorganization], simple food swaps, and even a workout move to do during boiling-water downtime, you can transform a fat-belly kitchen into a flat-belly one.” — I need spring cleaning for my diet also.  For sure!

Ampersands and a Sheepskin Chair: The Mid-Century Modern Workspace by @lifehacker  “With accents like an authentic mid-century modern Danish desk, Herman Miller Eames chair, and sheepskin chair cover, this workspace definitely earns that title. It’s a refined office that showcases Cristina’s sharp eye and love of design.”  For the record, I hate that sheepskin chair cover, but I would cut out one of my kidneys myself for that desk!!!

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PS – On a personal note, some thanks for support, assistance and serendipitous introductions this week:  @RyanEstis, @MESlayter, @RepCapital, @MasterCardNews & especially @HR_Nasty.  Thank you!!