Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sorry About the Hummus, Minnesota

Ok. First thing’s first…I’m the devil for skipping out on blogging for a couple months. It’s been a crazy summer and we’ll get into that more later. For now, though, I am very sorry.

At least I didn't do this, right?

At least I didn’t do this, right?

Back to the Blog -

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about company culture. For starters, I’ve been thinking about what it actually encompasses. I think a lot of people hear the words “company culture” and start envisioning Google and foosball tables. Other people conjure memories of bad company culture and offices they hated. There has to be a comprehensive middle ground, yes? Something in between kindergarten field day and that bitch Sharlene emailing everyone fourteen times to clean out the office fridge?

One of my best experiences this summer was going on a company retreat to Minnesota with all my coworkers. We’re a very small company so it’s still possible for us to retreat comfortably to one vacation house. There were seven of us, at the time, all in a lovely home in Minneapolis for three nights.

A wonderful meal on our first night!

A wonderful meal on our first night!

For some of us, this was our first time meeting and there we were, stuck in a house together for four days. You guys know there is still a part of me (and always will be) that wants to hole up in bed 24/7 and watch “Buffy” till I starve. That’s just part of dealing with depression – making that part as small as possible and telling her to shut up 98% of the time. That part was exhausted just hearing about this trip. I’d be trapped in a house with my BOSS and EVERY SINGLE ONE of my coworkers for four days…and expected to contribute in a meaningful way despite being the only ‘non-creative’ in the room. That is the emotional equivalent of two weeks in a bridesmaid’s dress – and heels.

I could not have been more wrong about this trip, though. Yes, it was exhausting, but in a great way. We holed up, talked strategy, shared ideas, cooked meals, ate all of the M&Ms and hummus in Minnesota, drank a bit, and had an awesome time. My boss accidentally walked in on me in the shower…twice. An intern walked in on me peeing and brushing my teeth at the same time. That level of laughter and team building is priceless.

Shenanigans abound.

Shenanigans abound.

The One and Only Crystal Miller!

The One and Only Crystal Miller!

We had extended family join us for the trip – we had a great time with Chris Fleek, Crystal Miller, Caleb Fullheart and Tiffany Kuehl! We met up with some amazing clients and got to enjoy face to face time with them. Also, there’s something magic that happens between 6 and 7 in the morning when you’re all in that gray area comprising hangover, jet lag, exhaustion, and sleeping in a strange place – and you all simultaneously sneak down to get coffee still in your pajamas. We all came away super energized, focused on our goals, and more determined than ever to see this company really take off.

Fleek!!

Fleek!!

Tiffany and Caleb!!

Tiffany and Caleb!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know we’ll keep growing and one day it won’t be financially or logistically feasible for us to all get on a plane or drive to some locale and stay together for a retreat. As the Chief Culture Officer (as I have recently appointed myself), it will be up to me to create a similar vibe for everyone that works here…the vibe of a small company full of creativity and energy. I’m still refining what I want that experience to be and how we’ll achieve it, but I think I have an excellent starting point after our trip. Foosballs optional.

PS – If you’d like to see more tidbits about our trip…search Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for #repcapfamilyvacay.

Fun Friday – Ides of March Edition

A dear friend of mine is about to leave her job.  She’s taken a great new position, resigned her current job with class, integrity (and notice), and is excited to move into a new phase in her life. Her emotions right now are very mixed, understandably.

mixed emotions

The job she’s holding today and all of next week has been her home for the past 12 years.  She’s 33, by the way, so that’s more than 1/3 of her life.  She’s grown up, literally and figuratively, with this company.  She started out as a payroll clerk, moved into an HR position, worked her way through school and her PHR, and eventually became the HR Manager.  This company has seen her become an aunt, a great aunt, and get married.  She’s had many friends and mentors there, has tons of funny stories, and a few events and people she’d like to forget.  (Don’t we all after we’ve worked somewhere more than 6 months?)

Her new position will have her coming in as the boss.  Her last position enabled her to watch others and see what was expected before she became the boss.  That opportunity will not be the same here.  Here she’s the HR head honcho from Day 1.  She’s very excited.  This job is in a new industry, has great pay and benefits, and will be intellectually challenging from the sheer breaking of patterns she established at her old office.  See former post about zombiesIt was time for her to be killed.

She’s also very nervous.  She hasn’t had a “first day on the job” in 12 years!  She asked me for advice and since I’ve had a few jobs in the past 12 years, I thought I could pretty easily come up with some stuff.  Then I realized that I’ve always come in as an underling, not the boss.  My first day at my current/new job was probably sitting in front of my laptop in my jammies, so it doesn’t really apply.  I do have a few words of advice that I think are universal, but otherwise I took to Twitter for suggestions and got some gold.  I’ll share that here also.

One thing we know is certain – she doesn’t need to march in like Caesar conquering Rome.  We all know that ended badly!

caesar

My advice to my friend:

Do not bring your lunch the first week.  This is how I would like to see your first week of lunches go.  Monday – your boss should take you to lunch.  If they don’t, call me.  Tuesday – you take your two assistants to lunch if it’s ok for all of you to be gone at the same time.  Be friendly and social and do not discuss work stuff.  Find out if they have kids, pets, parents, etc.  This is the being nice phase.  It may not last long, so enjoy it while you can.  Wednesday – take Minion 1 out and talk shop.  Thursday – take Minion 2 out and talk shop.  Friday – have lunch with me (and maybe our mutual atty friend if he’s available) and tell me everything, my treat.  I know buying lunch for yourself and other people 3 days in a row will not be super cheap, but it doesn’t have to be super expensive either and you can really get to know people when they are relaxed and out of the office.

dralive-banana-minions-mi-villano-favorito-despicable-me

Minions love food.

Carry a notebook/pen with you EVERYWHERE.  Every time you hear a tidbit, a name, a position, a potential problem, a potential solution…write it down.  Don’t jump in and immediately fix anything yet, just write it down.

Don’t bring all your office décor in at once on the first day.  Don’t be like, “I’m here and I’m taking over.  Clear a path.”  Will the previous HR Manager be there to train you at all or are you coming in totally alone?  I forgot to ask.  Esp if he/she is still there, don’t bring stuff.  That’s tacky.  Even if they aren’t, just bring a few things each day that first week or two.  A) Bringing everything at once looks pushy.  B) You need to feel out the new space first before you start throwing crap on the walls, etc.

The red Swingline stapler has to come with you IMMEDIATELY though.

The red Swingline stapler, however, has to come with you IMMEDIATELY. This is non-negotiable. If this is still someone else’s office for a while, just keep it in your purse for luck.

Be friendly, but on guard, esp outside your own department.  Listen 80% and speak 20%.  This is a new and fresh start.  You can be a whole new person here.  You may get overwhelmed with being nice and friendly and laughing and then accidentally tell someone the story of that time when you did ______.  That story cannot be unheard.  You don’t know who to trust yet.  No politics, no religion…abortion is off the table, any story that took place while drunk, your gambling addiction/meth lab – hide all of that.  Not saying don’t be yourself; just be yourself-lite.  And seriously, don’t talk too much.  Better to be thought shy and aloof at first and then gradually come out of your shell than stick your foot in your mouth by accident.  They’ll get to know you and see you aren’t shy or aloof and are wonderful, in time.  (And yes, I was obviously kidding about the gambling addiction and meth lab.  Not about that time she did _____ though.  That was real.)

Now that I’ve put in my 2 cents, let’s check out some of the advice from the Twitterverse, shall we?

jennifer jim

shannon donald

danyel Gemma

sarah

The blog & book links from above are:

Danyel’s – http://thetalentpoolhr.blogspot.com/

Jenn’s – http://www.thedailymuse.com/career/3-ways-to-kick-off-your-new-job-the-right-way/

Sarah’s – http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-Become-Boss/dp/1432714287

PS – My last bit of advice is to get yourself a semi-professional Twitter account very soon.  Put your name on it, own your credentials, and participate in the HR community on Twitter.  It has been a lifesaver for me.  I now have friends all across the globe who help me when I have questions, laugh with me about mistakes, and encourage me when I’m down.  I learn from their blogs and tweets.  They answer me when I have questions and are just fun and friendly when I don’t.  The community is HUGE but the variety is amazing.  (As an aside, when the Zombie Apocalypse occurs, I already have a survival team put together consisting of myself, 2 guys from England, a lady in Canada, and another lady in NYC.)

As a further example, in the above pics…Donald and Shannon are in Baton Rouge.  Jim is in Amarillo, TX.  Danyel is in Raleigh.  Jennifer is in the Bay Area of California.  Gemma is in Leeds, England and Sarah is an Aussie ex-pat now living in Singapore!  And they all reached out within a few hours to help me help you.  It’s a very supportive community and you’ll fit in seamlessly.

As much as it’s an excellent professional resource (I can name you 100 people similar to our idol, Ask A Manager, off the top of my head), it’s also not a stiff and fussy “always on” networking crowd.  I can name you 25 off the top of my head who drink and swear regularly, cuss all day on Sundays during football season, or soccer, and freely admit to hating some of their employees or the whole of HR sometimes.  It’s a wonderful resource when you need professional guidance and also when you need to let loose a bit.  As much as I know they can help you, I know that your intelligence and expertise would benefit the community as well.  We’d love to have you.

I know you asked for this post, and I hope it’s helped a little.  I think you helped me more than anything though.  I needed a good topic for today and I can’t imagine someone with your skills and personality not hitting it off at this new job instantly.  So thank you for the post idea, disguised as helping you.  Much appreciated!  XOXOX

-HRGF

Did I miss anything?  Anyone else have additional advice?  Hit us up in the comments!

Accusations, Allegations and Apologies – Saturday Edition

You’re all going to have to forgive me.  I really am trying to keep a set blogging schedule of Tuesdays/Fridays and maybe more if time permits, but that may be shot to hell for the next couple weeks.  Between midterm exams, new job, a few school/house projects and LASHRM right around the corner…I can’t commit to those days and deadlines.  I will keep blogging though!

I'm a busy beaver!

I’m a busy beaver!

A few upcoming topics (so you can be excited about them and so I don’t forget):

ERISA Pt 2 – now that I know a little more, I have more questions.

My take on the Yahoo! mess, which won’t be timely by then, but it will be MY 2 cents.  Literally, as it relates to me.  No, I don’t work for Yahoo! but I am self-centered so I’m going to talk about ME.

My recent experiences with Ambitesh at Hewlett Packard and Victoria at Amazon – or how customer service can place someone on a ledge, or talk them down from it.  Hint: I hate Ambitesh.

murder

This gif works for Napoleon AND Ambitesh!

I have to go read about Napoleon some more.  Everyone have a great weekend!

- HRGF

Survey Saturday – Business Cards – Contest & Giveaway

business card smartass

Ok, so…I am looking to buy some business cards to promote this little blog I’ve been working on.  I’m liking everything but that second line.  I cannot decide what to put there.  A few weeks ago I had “Freelance Writer & Blogger” but I’m too busy for any freelance work right now, so I need something else.  Just “Blogger” is blah.  Just “HR Student & Blogger” is a bit inauthentic since I’m not actually studying that in school.  “Rogue” is totally lame and I don’t even know why I put that there, ever.  Please ignore.  I’m no Sarah Palin here.

Smartass feels pretty authentic, I won’t lie and I sort of think people should know what they’re getting into when they visit this blog.  Plus I think a semi-curse word would set me apart from the crowd a bit, but in what way?  Super unprofessional?  Funny but not to be taken seriously?  Genius and innovative?  Ugh.  I can’t decide.

Suggestions for that 2nd line, please?  Slander, accusations and allegations all welcome.  Thanks!

OH!  The person who submits the idea that I eventually go with gets a little treat!  Put it in the blog comments to win.  Thanks!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Ok gang.  Mini-post here:

changes

1. I have a new logo.  The awesome Trevor Reid at Don Reid Designs made over my old logo.  Check out his website at  www.donreiddesigns.com or follow him on Twitter @DonReidDesigns.  He is super talented (and very patient)!

2. I have added some extra visual stimulation and color to the blog itself, including a new background, some new sidebar services (some were also deleted) and some images have been added to old posts.  Take a look and tell me if we like or if it’s too much.

3. I’m posting this to get feedback and praise Trevor, but also to test some other functions that I’ve added as far as automatic publishing to FB, etc.  So here goes nothing.

Teaching Tuesdays & Fun Fridays

I’ve been reading a lot of blogging tips this week and no matter the source, they all have one thing in common: blog posts must be consistent and regular.

This isn't what they meant, but I'm perpetually a 12-year old boy, so it's what I thought of!

This isn’t what they meant, but I’m perpetually a 12-year old boy, so it’s what I thought of!

With that in mind, starting next week, I am going to attempt to keep a regular blogging schedule.  Between this, school and work (yeah, I’m kinda sorta working again!), I need to get a schedule down and keep myself sane.  Or as sane as possible given the head start on crazy that I inherently have.

Not a danger to myself or others.  I'm medicated.

Not a danger to myself or others. I’m medicated.

SO…I’m aiming for Teaching Tuesdays & Fun Fridays.  Tuesdays I’ll be receiving a lesson of some sort (this coming Tuesday, a lesson about FMLA from @HRHilary!<—-follow her; she’s cool.) and Fridays will be something fun.  A television article, a funny HR story, book/app/study material reviews, cocktail recipes to get ready for the weekend, something totally off-topic…who knows?

In the meantime, if you’re an expert (or at least very familiar with) HIPAA, FLSA, USERRA, EEOC, or any other lovely acronyms or HR principles and would like to be my guide for another weekly lesson, please say hi on Twitter to @HRGalFriday or email me at: hrgalfriday@gmail.comYou don’t need to be the world’s foremost authority on whatever.  Just enough to answer some questions from me and if you don’t have the answers, I’m hoping people in the comments will guide us.  That’s the purpose of the blog, ultimately.

Collaboration!

Collaboration!

If you have an idea for Fun Friday, like a TV show you think relates to HR or something funny that happened to you on the job, a book you’d like to recommend…same thing!  I want to hear about it.  You will get full credit, I promise.  I never envisioned this blog being all written by me, so you slackers need to pick up the pace!  :-)

Quick updates…

I know, I know.  This is an HR blog and I promise I won’t stray too often, but I did promise an update in my earlier post.

1. I started the cleanse last Friday.  I began by weighing myself and measuring my waist, my right thigh, and my right bicep.  Oof.  I did the cleanse about 75-80%.  I stuck to the main principles which were to eat a TON of vegetables and avoid most carbs and processed foods.  Done.  Mostly.

Vegetable-art2 Vegetable-art-2

Today I would like to report to you that in one week I lost 10 pounds and 2.5 inches off my waist.  I figured such a dramatic waist change might be due to measurement error but I did it multiple times the first Friday and again today.  And I also buttoned a pair of pants that weren’t even close a week ago.  Lost a half inch on thigh and no movement on the bicep.  Yet.  A lot of this is water weight, I know.  Still.  TEN POUNDS!

Definitely going to keep it up. Not as strict as this week, but in the same vein.

Also it finally stopped raining so I can walk and bike now!  Yea!!

2.  I am still reading and enjoying my book.  Look for a post about that soon-ish.  I’m back in school now so I have a gigantic Pharmacology book and a lot of French history texts to read as well.  My brain kinda hurts just thinking of it all.

3.  I am no longer applying for this position.  I got a little more inside info and it’s not for me.  The job search continues.  I’m trying to stay upbeat.  The sunshine is definitely helping.  I’ve also decided that I’m just terrible at cover letters.  I can write anything else in the world but not cover letters.  Might have to find a pro for assistance.

4.  I have another post in the works (absolutely HR-centric) about my favorite thing in the world EVER (it’s a surprise), and I’ve lined up my first guest blogger who will be teaching me all about FMLA, a topic on which I am far from expert.

fmla

So…things are moving right along!  I’m going to take the long weekend to do some studying (and a mountain of laundry).  You guys enjoy your holiday and inauguration weekend as well and I’ll catch ya next week!

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”   ―  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.