Friday, November 15, 2013

Philosoraptor on Adversity in the Workplace

Have you seen the video 'Meet My Rapist'? It's a comedy - try to trust me on this one, it is actually funny. But it's also harrowing.

The workplace dialogue:

Employer: Have a seat. What kind of individual attributes can you bring to this company?

Girl: I'm a multi-tasker, go-getter - I'm really well rounded. Really well adjusted.

Employer: Says on your resume you're CPR certified, speak Spanish, are a survivor of rape. Survivor of rape; what is that?

Girl: Like, I got raped, but I don't have issues about it. I'm fine, I'm like totally still fine... I was raped, but I wasn't like raped.. so it's like fine...

Employer: That's good to hear, because this office is all about fun.

Girl: (interrupts - shouting at rapist that has been playing with her hair etc throughout the interview) Stop it! Just stop it!

Employer: Woah! No-one here wants an angry woman, ok? When you come to work, you hang up your coat, you leave your problems on the coat hanger.


I don't know... it's all pretty obvious isn't it? If we're still making jokes about it and it feels relevant, then there's still a problem. Emotions that aren't to the employer's advantage are discouraged. When we work, we feel like we're not just selling our skills and our time, but a bit of our soul too. 

Except - here's the problem with it - getting through adversity is a catalyst for future success.  Henry Fielder explains "He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the later." They're the people you want in your organisation, taking you to new heights of success, and keeping a level head. They're the people that become the boss, often minus the huge douchebag ego.

Now let's not swing the pendulum too far. Supporting people during adversity doesn't mean letting all standards go - they still need to call in the mornings they can't come to work, they still need to be present if they are present at work, they still need to be contributing more harmony than disharmony to the team dynamic. 

I suppose the most important thing to remember is, when working with someone who has been through or is going through adversity, it's not just them that is affected by how management treats them. The whole organisation takes that person's treatment as a cue for what would be their fate at the hands of management. It's good to show that management is capable of at least some emotional intelligence. Have you got anything in place to ensure that, or are you just hoping common sense will prevail? 
      Take it away Philosoraptor:


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Keeping A Message You're Passionate About Fresh

    Anyone who has met me in real life will know that I'm a raging feminist, and I'm not exaggerating, I'm dedicated to this cause. I just simply don't see why half of the world's population isn't a big enough number for us to care about. Females are intrinsically different to males in almost every single way, and those who are different to the creators of 'how things work' are always going to struggle. Females are a permanent Struggletown population - it's just the deal. And it's fascinating, complicated, nuanced, historically linked and emotional. It's a crazy big issue.

    It's also a crazy boring issue if it's only ever presented with one angle. The angry feminist has been flogged to death by the media - all the way down to crappy HR media that reports on the latest survey. The angry feminist issue is so entrenched in fact, that women struggle to call themselves a feminist for fear of implicating themselves as an angry man hater. It's a really, really frustrating rut for feminism as a whole to be in.

    Personally, it's a frustrating emotional rut to be in too. My poor partner has had to endure many of my red-wine-fuelled lectures shouted at the TV, as yet another trivial thing sets me off. Seriously, the man deserves a medal. And I seriously need to add some angles to my repertoire.

    There are angles galore to explore, and not only does it make the message interesting, it also makes it relevant to someone who would otherwise tune out. Nobody ever really gets fired up about an issue until they have a personal investment in it, and it's hard to create their personal investment just by presenting them with angry messages. 

    So whatever your issue, whether it's at work, a personal cause, or just a message you have been mandated to share - my piece of advice to you, as a long-time-cause-advocate, is to work the angles. Not all happy, not all sad, not all angry and not all informative. Take people on the journey with you, of what it's like to live the cause and survive life believing in it. Bring it to life with everything life has in it: humour, frustration, sarcasm, hard facts, personal experiences, elation, disappointments, misunderstandings, successes and boredom - it's all got to be there.

    Because, quite simply, the message will be lost if the image equates to just a bunch of permanently angry people.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Some Really Easy Shit To Get Right

    My favourite tumblr ever in the world (Obnoxious Expats in Singapore) makes me laugh so much, one, because it's funny because it's true, and two because I'm outta there. *cue manic laugh* So it is from this tumblr I am going to illustrate a very important concept that we, the people managers, must sweat out our glands. Here it is: inclusion will always be more attractive that exclusivity. Got it? Live it, breathe it, and avoid this situation below like the plague...

    Let's just set the tone for living in Singapore, as Obnoxious Expat says:

    So it's no wonder the event hosted by Singapore, in Sydney Australia, went a little pear shaped. You see, Singaporeans are leaving Singapore because it sucks to be a local. The place is crowded, to the point of mental health risk. Please explain Obnoxious Expat:

    As a result, Singaporeans are emigrating like crazy - US, UK, Canada, Australia & New Zealand tend to be the biggies. (My partner and I ecstatically emigrated to Australia just a few months ago - and we're still on a high about how good it is!) And to counter losing its population, Singapore hosts events overseas to try and attract Singaporeans back. The latest event, held in Sydney, was advertised as 'for Singaporeans only'. A couple of Australian's tried to enter and were turned away for not being Singaporean. It turned into the headline:

    Another news source included a quote of a Singaporean's sentiment of the 'exclusive' event:

    Can't you just feel the big warm fuzzy of inclusiveness? No? Huh, neither could I (a white Aussie girl) and my partner (a caramel Singaporean boy). After this recent episode, I can't say either of us are attracted at all - in fact, repulsed might be more correct. It just reinforces that awful stereotype of Singaporean insularity, or as Obnoxious Expat captures so well:

    You know how the overblown headline, and bad taste from this could have been avoided? Inclusiveness.

    Targeting is different to excluding. When we target a market, we are pitching something to be as attractive as it possibly can be to a particular group. But targeting this group does not mean disallowing anyone else from being interested in the product. It means pitching it, hopefully hitting that particular target, and having some happy coincidences of interest from an unexpected market. 

    Exclusion is saying who is, and who isn't allowed to even be interested in the product. Limiting the market before even making the product attractive! And that's not to say humans don't like the idea of exclusivity - we adore it in our ivy leagues and little clubs. But we like the idea because it 'could be' open to us. A little like capitalism hey? We like the idea because it 'could be' us who is the one getting rich. We will forever be enamored with the fantasy of many things that 'could' happen to us. Unsurprisingly, the appeal of exclusivity comes from an inclusive message.

    So for forever and a day, if you are going to be involved with people, think inclusivity. Think open, and transparent, and attractive. Of course, attraction is always harder than exclusion, but that's the deal. A bit more work, a lot more reward. Oh, and it also makes you open to happy coincidences, which are pretty excellent things to be open to - just think Norma Jean and a snap of her working in a munitions plant.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    A Bit of a Top Dog Trashing

    It seems to me, the gift in being 'gifted' isn't the ease of doing something well, but in the permission to do it at others' expense. Talent and drive are a socially acceptable obsession, and our permission for bad behaviour is in direct proportion to our reverence of their work. Simply said, brilliant artists are excused for being terrible human beings.

    Take, for instance, Stella Bowen, who got together with Ford Madox Ford and lived with him in Paris during the 1920s. They hung out with the likes of Gertrude Stein and Hemingway. And then a 'houseguest' became Bowen's financial burden as Ford carried on his writer's life but required his ex-lover-houseguest to be muted. Finally Bowen decided enough was enough and left Ford.

    After many years, Stella Bowen wrote a memoir, recalling "I don't think it matters much whom the artist gets his nourishment, or his shelter, so long as he gets it." It's an incredibly intimate and vulnerable insight to share with strangers. And sad - seriously sad - because it's an admission that despite all her best efforts and perception of importance, she honestly believed with hindsight that she was simply a meal ticket.

    Despite using up those around him, Ford, ends up a bitter old man. Quoted as saying while sobbing, "I helped Joseph Conrad, I helped Hemingway. I helped a dozen, a score of writers, and many of them have beaten me. I'm now an old man and I'll die without making a name like Hemingway." A bitter, self pitying, jealous old man comparing himself to Conrad: attempted suicide and a wife purely for housekeeping reasons, and Hemingway: multiple failed marriages and suicide. Ford's attitude denied him a graceful exit.

    And why I don't want the top job comes down to Ford's phrase "many of them have beaten me." Life isn't a competition, there is no ranking and awards on our headstones. But goddamn we like to make it one. And it's that competitive mindset that gets us into this pickle of brilliance excusing bad behaviour. That stretch for money, prestige and fame. That expectation that shoulders are there for standing on.

    Are these the altars we want to be worshipping at? Are these the leaders we want to be following? Are these the masters we want to be copying? Is that the pinnacle that will really fulfil our lives by conquering? What about having something to do, something to look forward to and someone to love you? Could that be enough?

    Or by simply being the musings of a middle class white girl who has never contemplated anything in life below Maslow's 3rd rung, is this whole train of thought moot?

    Either way, I don't want to be the meal ticket of any brilliant star, and I don't want to be the brilliant star standing on my loved one's shoulders. I would just like to do something well, contributing with creativity, dedication and with as little taxation on the rest of my life as possible. Honestly show me a CEO who can do that, and I will gladly change my tune. In the meantime, I will leave the 'gifted' to it.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Introverted or Extroverted - excellence won't happen in a vacuum

    I keep a notebook next to my bed, because my brain likes to come up with things I need to remember just as I'm falling asleep. I am confident it's a universal condition.

    A few nights ago, my brain decided to throw this out into the world:

    Staying at home becomes like a cocoon - a safety net that brings fear & isolation.
    Home is comfort - comfort fosters laziness.
    Success comes from getting out.

    (picture of a goldfish jumping into another goldfish's bowl)

    Introverted  or extroverted - excellence won't happen in a vacuum.

    I wonder if Marissa Mayer had a similar brainwave a few months ago?


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Friday, September 27, 2013

    The Question That Landed Me in a Psych's Office

    What do you want to be?

    This question always baffled me, because I knew I was supposed to list a profession, but ultimately I would just like to 'be' happy. The amount of pressure I felt on my shoulders to choose a profession that would not only bring me success, prestige, riches and respect - but would also make me happy - landed me in a psychologist's office. After hours of testing and my parents' considerable financial support, I was presented with a list of jobs that I knew could make me very happy indeed, except for that issue of stability. I adore stability. I adore bills paid, heating/cooling to my heart's desire, having mutliple lights on around the house, credit cards named after stupid metals and buying everything to do with a hobby before I even have started the hobby. I adore money. So despite my innate creativity and ensured happiness, the offer of being an illustrator or fashion designer was just not going to cut it. Regular pay checks are where it's at for me.

    And there in lies the harsh bitch of life. We ask children "what do you want to be?" and expect them to interpret this as a question about their ambitions and interests. But let's examine the question - especially the question we bombard teenagers with as they prepare to leave school - the 'be' isn't so much as about doing something, as it is about being labelled as something. We're asking our children, our teenagers, ourselves - "what label will you happily wear for the world to see?" And I don't know about you, but labels scare the bejeebers out of me! Labels are so easily manipulated into discrimination, exclusion and reputations. 

    Michael Bolton from Office Space nails it:
    "No, you're working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there'd be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars."

    I like the question "what do you want to work as?" At least we're keeping it clear that this is a section of life, not a whole life. Once we're adults, we even acknowledge that work isn't our life because we don't ask "what are you?" We ask "what do you do?" But we still answer as though it's our label... "I'm a HR Manager" At least we're asked with the benefit of the doubt that we may answer "9-5 I work in HR, other than that though, I'm mad keen on comedy." 

    I don't know when it started, but I certainly enjoyed the golden age of work advice about choosing a passion, following your dream etc etc etc. And now the fashion is moving away from that fluffy advice (or is the economy wisening our asses up?) Either way, I believe a very quick way to change the dialogue is to keep questions about our future endeavours of 'being' to a strictly holistic approach. We are beings.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Julie Waddell did a fantastic response to this post on her blog 'Accidental HR'. I love Julie's point that "NO ONE grows up wanting to be in HR." I certainly didn't amidst my plumbing and ferry captain ambitions. Have a read of Julie's conclusions here!

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Society Needs to Move On From 'Man Up'

    You know how swearing is supposed to be some terrible anti-social act? Well I think swear words are pretty alright, they add colour to language and make it a tasty mouthful to spit out. There is no phrase that will ever truly capture the mood and sense behind "fuck that" or "bullshit" - I mean yes, the Christian camp mentors will say things like "good golly", but we all know a "holy shit" would have far more convincingly conveyed it. So, keep up the colourful and ever evolving language.

    But if you're looking to eliminate something, may I suggest the phrase 'man up'? I hate, hate, hate it with everything in me. I mean, what is a 'man' meant to be anyway? People say it's kind of like this unexplainable concept, but the only unexplainable concepts I will allow are issues such as grace, God, and child/parent dynamics. The dictionary says it all pretty clearly for me that a man is "an adult human male", but that's not what we mean when we say 'man up'. We're talking about this concept of strength, reliability, and stoicism, all linked in with undertones of heterosexuality, media-shaped body types and unfair burden. A female can be told to 'man up', but it's not really suggesting she emulate Priscilla Queen of the Desert. 'Man up' isn't just another version of a swear word, it's a deeply rooted cultural stab at each other.

    If we want to bring women up to equality, then we also need to dismantle 'manliness' from its pedestal - and you know what? That's a damn good thing, because 'manly' stoicism is such a huge contributor to male illness, depression and suicide. I love men so much, I mean, you can see it in my posts. But I don't need men to be 'men' for me. I need men to be themselves for me, if they're straight, gay, happy, sad, strong, weak, capable, useless, or anything and everything in between. And when I need them to stop whining, pitch in, and make an effort, I will never, ever tell them to 'man up'.

    So here's some suggested replacements, if you want to convey that sense of 'get over yourself, get in there and get it done'. What about "step up", "own up", "take it on the chin" or "get with it"? 

    Or here's my ultimate favourite, "push harder, your mother did!"


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    HR is a Luxury Item

    I once had weekly debates with a colleague over the importance of HR, and of course, being an accountant, she argued that first comes the money - then comes the people management. As a fresh HR grad, of course, I argued it should really be first comes the team of excellence - the comes the money. And, of course, both of us were kind of right. (That's the best and worst kind of debate, repeating and ending only for the mercy of the friendship.)

    So here I am back in a small city run by small business and the demand for HR is low. It can be spoken about like it's a luxury, something only affordable to big business. But I think it ties in with the argument my colleague and I had. It's both right and wrong.

    It all depends on how you look at it:

    Business owners will invariably look at Graph 2, looking at the affordability of the headcount and rationalising that HR only becomes a necessity at point B. HR folk would definitely identify more with Graph 1, and fight to the death that HR only ever really becomes a luxury at point A. And they're both kind of right.

    The thing is, if they were able to negotiate and understand each other, there is a clear-as-day middle point. They both are saying the same thing. It just requires one of them to flip the continuum of HR to being a luxury-necessity so their graphs match. And that's what HR can do, so easily, so convincingly, so professionally - if we just have some business operation perspective to aid us. And a little worldly perspective doesn't hurt either.

    And I think that's the differentiation between a HR professional and an outstanding HR Godsend. Because if you understand and can see that HR is being perceived as a luxury, rather than a necessity, you'll do anything to deliver incredible HR outcomes. But if you don't see your good as a luxury, you'll never understand the expectations on your delivery. So yes, value your profession as highly as you should, but flip the axis and deliver the outcomes as a privileged luxury goods provider. Even though we think we are the recyclable shopping bag required by every household, we are seen as the luxury bag bought only when someone 'arrives'. It's not ideal, but work it girlfriend.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Crap Jobs Make Crap Resumes, But Better Eulogies

    There's a passage that stuck in my mind from 'The Story of the Trapp Family Singers'. I can't find the words (because my copy of the book is still in shipping, somewhere around the world at the moment) but I distinctly remember Maria talking about her poor friends in New York that couldn't let go and get on with it. They were the migrants in dank New York apartments, too poor to pay for heating, yet sitting in their fine furs from Europe. They waited for the USA to recognise their brilliance, but had already been forgotten by a war torn Europe and were just not enticing to an American market. As Maria reminisced, 'They never really "made it"; they live[d] unhappily between two continents.' The Trapps never really "made it" either, if they compared their success to their European stature and wealth. But they certainly let go and got on with it in their new USA home, singing wherever they could and establishing a farm. It's not exactly like Baron von Trapp, a Navy officer, was really knowledgable in the art of farming. But the family was good at making friends, and with the help from their friends, they could claim to having "made it" truthfully.

    That seems to be a pretty key element in making a success after a major change - letting go and getting on with it. My pride is high after my previous role in Singapore - I want a job that's not only good, but continues the impressiveness of my career. I am good at getting what I want, but in this case, it's just not happening. And so, I am at the point of needing to let go and get on with it.

    Here are some of the reasons for my resistance to the process of letting go:

    1) Pride. Personally, I find pride to be like the heroin of human emotions - first it's wanted because it feels so damn good, but then it's required not to get sick. A seriously deadly, scary substance that is not qualified to be making life decisions for anyone. But it's such a glamorous thing, isn't it?

    2) Sentimentality. It's a bit like looking into a fogged up mirror, of course everything looks wonderful, you can make it look like anything in that distorted reflection. However, the only person being fooled is the one looking into the mirror. It's such a fun, self-idulgent past time though.

    3) Practicality. The questions come up one by one of "how will this affect my ability to get a good job later?" and "am I going to be bored out of my brains, am I going to be unhappy?" And one by one, every question is answered with a utility bill and general bodily requirement for food. But life's necessities are so boring - there's so much more self-importance to be found in worrying about how it will all affect me.

    But I gotsta pay the rent! So it's time to get on with it. It's time to practice (or perhaps acquire) some humility. It's time to get a crappy job, pay some bills and move on with life.

    And if you are experiencing some major career change too, I hope you are able to "make it" in your new circumstances. Maybe this will be comfort to you, because it's certainly a comfort to me in times like this: I have never heard a eulogy based on the deceased's resume, it's just not what our loved ones really care about.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Friday, July 26, 2013

    Career Advice: Exiting With Grace

    It's super exciting, but also a little sad, because next week I finish up at my dream job. I'm moving to Australia, and am looking forward to a good cleanse of the soul. But I'm also really going to miss my job.

    However, I know it's time for me to go, because I'm just not feeling it any more. If we were sitting on a beach, having a few brewskies, maybe rubbing off the sand that had dried onto our legs, I'd explain it to you like this:

    "When you surf, you need to have momentum to actually catch a wave. You need to turn the board around, face the shore and paddle for your life until that wave swells under your board and carries it away (hopefully with you now standing on top of it). 

    And your feelings during that whole sequence is your cue for when you need to leave your job. It's time to go when you see the swell in the distance and can anticipate a wave coming, but instead of meeting it with enthusiasm, your whole energy drops. You just can't be bothered, you're over it, it's a pain and you know exactly how it's going to pan out and you know that another wave is coming right behind it. Instead of enjoying the process, you're dreading the repeat.

    And so you force every last piece of enthusiasm out of your being, turn that board around and paddle harder than you have the whole time, pushing yourself to ensure that this wave is a success. And you catch it and you stand on that board with strength and expertise that's come from all the other times you've done it before. And then you ride all the way into the shallows and exit the surf, off to find another adventure. 

    Cos every single surfer gets tired. And every beach has a turning tide that can create perfect waves or a shitstorm of whitewash that nobody enjoys. The trick to it is exiting with grace."

    And then I'd give you a Hawaiian name, like Pipiopi or something. Maybe we'd have another brewskie before we head off for dinner and forget this deep moment. Or maybe you don't like the beach and we'd never be friends in the first place. Whatever man, peace out.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    The Mystique of Being Busy

    There's a state of being that is often mistaken as a great tool of mystique. The wearer feels needed, important, engaged in a task and distracted from deeper thoughts. To put this cloak of mystique on, one must simply declare they are 'busy'.

    To me, the current usage of the word 'busy' doesn't indicate an activity. People can have a lot to do and not be busy, and people can have very little to do and declare themselves to be busy. Busy-ness is not a statement on volume of work now - busy has become a frame of mind.

    The frame of mind is evidenced clearly in work team situations. In a close-knit environment where you generally know each other's work, the busy person is equipped with a well rehearsed monologue on their crazy schedule and a brightly polished veneer of frantic-ness. All to disguise their lack of contribution. But very quickly, the bullshit grinds on the team.

    And this is why the mystique of being busy is one huge fail - it fools no-one. Volume is as evident as the ocean's tide. Everyone around can see how high the water is and nobody is fooled by the panicked thrashing of arms and legs in the shallows. It's the fool keeping their face in the water who's assuming everyone is believing their act.

    Successful managers of high volumes float. They're organised, have support, are honest about the demands on them, maintain their health and stay focussed on the floating. They have an air of capability about them, that kind of atmosphere that makes you want to give them problems to solve. And there's no swan act - no little legs kicking underneath. Successful managers of high volume don't channel Dalai Lama at work and them crumble into Homer Simpson at home.

    But please, don't interpret this as a call out to martyrdom of 'doing it all'. Screw that. Shout your achievements to the rooftops and get rewarded. I just don't think anyone ever achieves much when they are in the state of mind of being busy. Nobody likes being around busy people. And opportunities generally don't abound for those that nobody likes being around. There's no mystique about it, no respectability or attractiveness to it, no fascinating power - the poor busy fool.

    And it's that poor busy fool that yet again bites your head off with "I don't have time for that right now! Look - I'm not even going to get to you until at least the end of the week." How much more they could achieve in life if they simply re-phrased their high volume into "I will look into that, are you happy to hear from me within the week?"


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    The Street Art Flow of HR

    There's a transiency in street art, the fact that you participate in the street art movement is pure
    acceptance that nothing is permanent. It's an invitation for other artists to erase your contribution, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't a contribution to the community. 

    Faith47 explains this philosophy well as "I embrace the fact that the work is temporary on the street. I'm also specifically looking for places that often are broken down factories or I know they're not going to last very long. You know, like old rusted gates, things like that. I really like the idea that there's something so fragile about it, and... for me that's kind of like life, you know, you can't hold on to things. So if you get to see that image while it's in its space at the right time, you know, that's like a special moment. There's something quite beautiful about the fact that it's not permanent."

    Working in HR is like displaying your goods up on a wall for others to tear down. Have you ever created a form template? You think 'now this will solve a problem!' Your form looks good, and it captures the information you need. By the time your successor sinks their teeth into your position though, your precious form will be changed. There might be a new format, different information prompts, perhaps the form will be scrapped entirely.

    Does this make you feel like a victim sometimes? Like your work isn't revered enough in comparison to your best buddy in finance who has prepared the same report for 20 years? Perhaps it makes you feel defeated after half your ideas and solutions are shot down. Maybe you've looked back over your old work and wondered where that spark went, because you've just stopped bothering to create anymore. 

    If you want to work in a studio, as a solo painter, never to have your work critiqued - then don't you
    dare set a foot in the profession of HR. Because HR is street art. It's interactive. It's brutally transient. What worked yesterday may not work again tomorrow. It requires risk taking and a healthy level of disregard for authority. It is fresh and fast and furious. It can be serious but it can also just bring a bit of joy to an unrelated bystander's life. It has reach beyond the street artist's comprehension.

    And you in HR, you hold the power to bring that little bit of joy to an unrelated bystander's life. Work affects everyone. You are in the business of making work, well, work. So keep creating, and trying, and just seeing what might work. It's encouragement to others, pushing forward, striving for better, and forcing the whole community to aim higher. Whether in your HR team, or for your successor filling your shoes - your work is contributing to the HR community as a whole.

    Legacies are rarely pinpointed to one creation. The harsh truth is that you're probably not good enough to create that one piece of legacy-making work anyway. Case in point, for a world-wide movement, how many street artists can you actually name? But each and every one of us is capable of creating a legacy with our attitude. So contribute, and let the world move forward from your contribution with your blessing. You will be remembered by those who matter.

    The John Lennon Wall in Prague via


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    How A Public Service Career Can Make You Millions

    Catch me today over at Careers in Government, talking about
    How A Public Service Career Can Make You Millions

    It was written very tongue in cheek - and then I re-read it and saw that I was kind of right. Oh dear.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Pessary Problem Solving - 19th Century Gynaecology & HR

    What is Pessary Problem Solving?

    It's where, instead of addressing the real reason for a problem because it's too culturally entrenched, we just address the secondary problems. It's like damage control - just so that damaging practice can be continued.

    The Hodge Pessary, invented in 1866 - during the corset craze.

    You know, like women 100 years ago who wore corsets because 'that's just what women wear'... and then the corsets squeezed women's innards like sausages and their uteri starting falling out of their bodies... so then they popped in a pessary which acted like a little cork bottling up that uterus inside their pressure drum bodies... and then they continued to wear their corset?!?

    Yeah, that is Pessary Problem Solving.

    Don't you just love the irony? The corset, designed to attract male attention, also breaks the one part of a woman most straight men actually care about. And check it out - "fits baby too."

    You heard it here first folks, and you're never going to forget these images. So next time you see a damaging practice that's just too culturally entrenched to deal with - don't you dare even try to use that pessary - get in there and rip that corset off!

    HR Challenge yo! Here's a pessary I'm sick of seeing in use, and some corsets I'd like HR to bust off: 
    • Not contacting unsuccessful recruitment candidates. That's a corset of lazy, rude, and crap behaviour being patched up by a pessary of "due to the overwhelming response, we will not be  able to contact unsuccessful candidates". 
    • Team building days in formal workplaces. That's a corset of too-much-risk 'we don't do fun' management being patched up by a pessary of lame activities. 
    • Weak-ass training for everyone. That's a corset of 'we don't really develop anyone' being patched up by a pessary of 'but you all get to do a day's training aimed at someone with a primary school reading level'.
    You see it. You get it. You can change it.


    Btw, if you're wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR - here's my explanation.
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