Philip is so fat

Now, what was your first thought when you read the title of this blog?  Be honest.  I’m sure more than one of you uttered “WTF” under your breath.  Truth of the matter is, Philip is fat.  He’s a fat, fictional baby that is depicted on NBC’s The Office, which happens to be one of my favorite television shows.

philipFlipping to today on my desk calendar of quotes from The Office, I read the comical interchange to the left.  Yes, I may have snorted.  Yes, a coworker may have heard me and chuckled.  Oh well, I’m new here.  Who cares?  Right?  Wrong.

This interchange reminded me of a few blunders I’ve made in the past when communicating with coworkers and/or friends.  I bet we’ve all had more than one “Damn You Auto-Correct” moments thanks to our trusty smart phones.

Why have I chosen to write about this topic?  Honestly, I thought it was funny and too good of an opportunity to pass up in reminding people how important first impressions are.  See, I just started a new job recently and I have an impression to make.  While I am not worried, I do think about assimilating into my new role and employer strategically.  I need to be able to quickly gain the trust of my new team and demonstrate why I was hired above all other candidates.  I need to do all this while being authentic to myself.  The last thing I need to do is set off some red flags and get the wagons circling.

Now, share with us some thoughts.  What are some other things someone starting in a new job should not overlook?  I’m sure all of us have had some interesting on-boarding experiences.  Share the wealth!  What happened?  What did you learn?  Did it change how you handle yourself in any way?

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Risky Business

changeIf you’re a cynic like me, the last thing you want to read or hear about is all the sappy Valentine’s Day stories.  Blah.  My Valentine’s Day was spent dealing with a difficult break-up of sorts.  I quit my job.

You see, I moved to my current  home in sunny Florida from what I refer to as the Great White North (upstate New York) just under eight and a half years ago post college.  My goal was to escape the snow and find a job.  I packed all that I could into my little Honda Civic and zigzagged my way down the east coast on a site-seeing adventure with a college buddy until I arrived in Tallahassee, land of the Seminoles.

Over the past eight plus years I’ve worked for several different companies in various industries but always in a human resources capacity.  Also, shortly after landing my first gig I joined the local SHRM chapter, started volunteering and quickly worked my way to the board of directors and eventually as chapter president.  This volunteer role paved my way to join the HR Florida State Council as a volunteer, which is where most people know me from.  Throughout my time here in Tallahassee I have networked like no other.  I have volunteered for civic organizations and professional associations.  I have put in the time and grown in my career, far exceeding even my own expectations.  Eventually, however, I began to feel like I hit a limit on my career growth, a “ceiling” if you will.

As a visible leader of the local SHRM chapter I quickly networked my way into knowing the majority of human resources professionals and business owners in the community.  I reached a point where I honestly felt like there was no where else I was interested in going to further my career here in Tallahassee.  I wanted something new.  A new challenge.  A new chapter.  That being said I put some feelers out with colleagues across the state and within no time I found an awesome opportunity in a new city.

The dilemma?  I love the HR team I work with at my employer.  How could I even think of leaving this rockstar team at the start of our busiest time of year.  I asked myself a lot of questions and weighed all the options.  All of this led me to my final decision.  Change it is!

In the next week I will be leaving a team I’ve grown to respect and care about and moving across the state to Jacksonville, FL to start a new gig.  I am thoroughly excited and ready for whatever life has to throw at me as I embark on this crazy adventure.  In the back of my head I am scared but I truly believe it is worth the risk.

Here’s to taking something new and exciting and running with it!  

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Bleh, performance reviews.

Generation YPerformance reviews – everyone’s favorite time of year. Err, okay, maybe not.  While some cannot wait to hear about their performance others get the sweats just thinking about the process.

Me? I’ve only ever had a formal review once in my seven years of professional work experience.  While of course the review was fantastic (blatant sarcasm), the process was mundane and provided little value to me.  Maybe it’s because I have very high expectations for myself and do whatever I can to exceed them.  Maybe it’s because I let criticism soak in (for the most part) and try and learn from experiences.  Or maybe it’s because the process didn’t cater to my personality or professional outlook.  All I know is…snoozeville.

I’m all for forms and policy and procedure. I’m a nerd who grew up in a strict Catholic-based home.  I even went to a private, formerly Catholic, but tries to exude non-denominational-ism, college in upstate New York.  I thrive in well structured work environments.  I don’t like to break the rules unless I believe they should be broken.  Why do I think the formalized performance review process isn’t for me? Hmm.

I prefer constant feedback – positive or negative.  I don’t want to wait to get reviewed once a year.  How can you honestly remember all of the good and bad from the past year.  Be realistic, managers/supervisors have enough to worry about.  Remembering every little instance of an employee’s performance is just not possible.

Just thinking about it annoys me.  I understand as a manager you need to give me, a Gen Y’er, a realistic outlook of my performance and develop goals for the next six months to a year.  How do you get me to listen and take you seriously?  Just because you are my boss doesn’t necessarily win me over.

I read a post recently by from Software Advice that discussed this topic  in a post called A Generation Y Perspective on Performance Reviews.  It is definitely worth checking out.  I really enjoyed reading his insight into how managers can take a proactive stance in reaching out to their Gen Y population and helping them “elevate their game” so to speak.  To briefly summarize:

  1. Make the most of the review.
  2. Lose the cream filling, and challenge us to succeed.
  3. Don’t just talk to us – connect with us.
  4. Positive reinforcement isn’t a bad thing.

For me, I expect my supervisor to be honest with me.  Be responsible and invest the time to help me develop.  Make an honest effort and build a solid business relationship that we can mutually benefit from.  I prefer this so much more than a gold star or a report card.  Be smart and it will pay off.

Image by TooFarNorth

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Super Stressed

I recently read an interesting post from Heather Vogel – the HR Whisperer – over on the HR Mouth of the South blog called “Superjobs or Super Stress.”  She cites an article from the Wall Street Journal about how with the continuing economic instability, employees who have been forced to take on multi-functional roles will be required to maintain them in order to keep their employers happy.  These multi-functional roles or jobs have been dubbed “superjobs.”  Heather provides some great tips on how to help employees cope with this situation.

Stress KillersReading Heather’s post really hit home for me so to speak.  I started a new job back in January, changing industries from higher education to engineering consulting.  I was extremely excited for a new opportunity with a rapidly growing company where I would be able to learn and grow my skills as a human resources professional.  I was hired on as the divisional human resources manager.  Today marks my six-month anniversary with the company.  I must say that these first six months have been an absolute whirlwind and have not gone exactly as I had expected.

Rather than having a real opportunity to transition into my new role I was forced to immediately start running…and the running hasn’t stopped.  I still have piles of paperwork and tasks from the previous HR manager that need to be dealt with but no time to take care of them.  On top of that our division is growing rapidly and I have been consumed with filling highly specialized positions for an office in another state and the complete re-branding of our company, including a name change.  It’s been a very long time since I had a normal 8 to 5 work day.

Yes, I am completely exhausted and super stressed but I still enjoy my job.  Every day I get to do something new and challenging, it just feels like it is enough for 4 people.  I have had an opportunity to work in areas of HR I have never had a chance to before.  I’ve handled a multitude of issues that one normally only reads about in articles from HR Magazine.  I believe I’ve done an excellent job with multi-tasking but there is a limit for every person and some days I do get maxed out.

One big change for me has been my inability to carryout my volunteer duties with the HR Florida State Council.  As the social media director and a voting member I have specific duties that I am expected to uphold.  My dedication to SHRM groups, specifically HR Florida has had a great impact on my career and I do not take that for granted.  Unfortunately, with the very long work days, travel and other time consuming responsibilities I have with my paying job it has become very difficult to do my part.  For a month or so I even had to admit that I couldn’t juggle everything any more and took a temporary leave of absence from my duties to support the annual state conference so that I could manage extended hours with my paying job.

During this time I was upset with myself.  I do not like to back out of things that I agreed to take care of.  I really do not like to disappoint people.  Fortunately I had the forethought to be completely honest with our team of volunteers.  I explained my situation and we worked to develop a plan to keep things moving forward.  It was also during this time that I had an epiphany about why I constantly step up to volunteer for so many things.

I enjoyed my past two jobs a great deal.  I experienced so much and learned a great deal about myself and the industries in which I worked on top of continuing to develop my human resources and management skills.  However, they did not seem to fully “complete” me professionally.  They left me longing for more knowledge and opportunities for growth.  Hence I began the volunteer with my local SHRM chapter and have been a dedicated supporter ever since.  I took all that free time that I had and devoted it to volunteerism.  Now with my new job I simply do not have that problem.  All of that extra time I had is taken up by working with my managers to integrate new policies and procedures, roll out new standards of practice, and primarily full-on recruiting.

Yes, I admit that I feel super stressed, but it is not all bad stress.  I am thankful to how fulfilling my job is but I also acknowledge the fact that I can only push myself so far.  This is what I am trying to deal with as we speak.  Continuing to be successful in my job while also finding balance across both the personal and professional plains.  I know that if I do not I will snap at some point.  With this challenge comes even more opportunities for growth.  Specifically, I hope that I can lead our management to take on some of the ideas shared in Heather’s post to use for our company and continuously improve our culture for our employees.  We all work towards the success of our company but we also have to understand and acknowledge how much effort we each put forth.  If we don’t, I fear we will find ourselves as one of those Conference  Board statistics.  I look forward to the challenge.

Image by @boetter

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Carnival of HR: The Worst of HR

The Worst of HRLast week I got an email from the HR Minion herself, Shauna Moerke asking for some help in getting the next edition of the Carnival of HR out.  It was to be hosted by my friend Paul Smith of the awesome blog, Welcome to the Occupation (one of my favorite names of a blog, by the way) but due to some unforeseen circumstances he was unable to host.  Enter Mr. guy who can’t say “no” – that’s me by the way.  All kidding aside I am very happy to help Shauna and Paul out.

When I first heard of the theme Paul was running with – Worst of HR – I instantly loved it.  Far too often you hear “best practice this” and “best practice that.”  Very infrequently do you hear of mistakes or the worst things in HR that people eventually learned from and grew both personally and professionally.  In addition, this is one of my favorite topics to chat with my buddy Ben Eubanks about.  We are constantly trading ridiculous stories.  With that said, I give you the Worst of HR in all of its glory…

Worst of HR Practices

Does the espresso maker in the break room get more peer nominations for Employee of the Month than anyone else at your company? Ouch.  Check out Choose a recognition program that will inspire, not backfire from Baudville’s Allison.  Love it.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership shares an interesting study that describes how most new managers are blind-sided by the job and fail to produce.  They just don’t get how to succeed in their new role.  Why? Read to find out!

The HR Introvert makes reference to social etiquette in The Phone Call I Screwed Up.  Not everyone can be a bubbly socialite like Kim Kardashian.

Shauna Moerke, the HR Minion gives us Worst of Me in which she actually admits a mistake she personally made, unlike most of you other cautious HR folks.  From her mistake, she learned that inaction is still a choice, and a fear of being wrong cannot stop you from doing your job, not when you work in HR. HR can’t be passive and still function.

Here’s one from Mark Stelzner.  In 6 Ways To Destroy Your New Hire, Mark literally describes six ways to destroy your new hire.  I love how he begins the list…”Congratulations – you’re about to ruin someone’s life.”  I’ve experienced more than one of these situations myself. Ridiculous!

In Interview #fail, Mervyn Dinnen describes one of the worst interview experiences he has dealt with in his career.  I’m not sure how I would have reacted to this one!

You can’t handle the truth !! by Steve Browne made me cringe.  Steve discusses a past experience in which he learned the real power of confidentiality.  Yikes, there’s no way I would have wanted to be attending this meeting!

Amy Wilson of Wilson Insight discusses being a hoarder of cats, err, knowledge in Are you a knowledge hoarder? The fact is, intentional or not, knowledge hoarding isn’t going to get you anywhere.

“Incentives Gone Bad” – sounds like the title of an episode of The Office. Classic.  In An Incentive Fairy Tale (sort of), Lisa Rosendahl describes the major failures of a company’s incentive program.  She likens it to blackmail. Read it.

Worst of HR Posts

Trish McFarlane of the HR Ringleader shares this gem, HR – It’s Not “One Coat” Paint, in which she compares human resource professionals to you’ve guessed it…paint.  As she shared, “this one seems pretty trivial and I have no idea why I wrote it!”

The Working Girl, Laura Schroeder shares some “dreadful poetry” (her words…mine too) about Tiny Budgets.  Very funny!

Random Worst

Ben Eubanks shared How to set an ATM on fire as his worst HR, err, wait a minute, this has nothing to do with HR.  However, it is pretty hilarious and I felt like including, so enjoy!


So that’s that. Read on, laugh, learn, and grow.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of the Carnival of HR, brought to you today by the letter W…as in Worst.  Props to Paul for coming up with an entertaining theme!

Image by purpleslog

Carnival of HR

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