… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Special Unicorns

You know who they are. The “special” ones. The people who always insist, whether consciously or not, that regardless of the rules or the process, that they get treated differently. Their situation is different. Their work is more important. They are too critical to the companies success. They even may be right. And that’s what makes it worse.

Pusheenicorn is very special.

Pusheenicorn is very special.

I have a hard time with these special unicorns. On the one hand, I don’t think that HR should be a road block. If something needs to be done because it is critical to the company, well, process be damned. Get things done and file the paperwork later. But what if everything they want is critical because they couldn’t plan ahead or because they sat on information for months? What if it puts the company more at risk giving them what they want than taking a little extra time to make sure it is done correctly? It’s frustrating because these are no win scenarios.

Sound familiar? Special unicorns aren’t so hard to find as they exist in every workplace. If you are unlucky you might have more than one running around. So what can you do? In some cases, nothing direct. HR can advise, document, and give them enough room to let karma sort themselves out. These type of people will eventually push things too far. Other times, we can help stop them before the drama starts. Besides having a good hiring process to screen them out, as a rule companies should never have a position where one person is the only one who can (insert company critical function here). No one person should be so important that they cannot be put in check.

I like unicorns best when they are either the stuff of legend or soft and plushy stuffed animals. Either way, they probably don’t belong in the office.

Calling all HR Superheroes!

When it comes to attending conferences, HR professionals these days don’t suffer from a lack of choices. From the large national conferences to the small edgy unconferences and everything in between, you don’t have to try hard to find the right conference for you. Even the state conferences have been bringing it in a big way.

You may not be aware of this, but Alabama has quite the awesome collection of HR professionals. I’m not saying that to pander or even because I live here; I say that because I’ve always been impressed with the dedication and commitment I’ve seen from our local HR professionals. You can see it in our crazy active SHRM chapters and in how each year the AL State SHRM conference keeps getting better by bringing in excellent speakers and thought provoking educational opportunities. The 2016 AL State SHRM conference is no exception.

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If you haven’t thought about attending the AL State SHRM conference before, then I would like to cordially invite you to come on down. After two engaging days and 10.25 CEU’s later you’ll be happy you did. And for only $325 for both days and $225 for one day it’s very reasonably priced, especially for tight HR budgets.

Check out the schedule of sessions and you’ll notice that some amazing speakers will be here covering a wide range of topics from employment law, diversity, recruitment, analytics, and even engagement. Dude, we even have Tim Sackett keynoting. How could you possibly pass up his session?

Even better, the conference is being held May 17 & 18 in Birmingham, AL; A city which is going through an exciting revitalization of its downtown area. That means amazing food, craft beers, and fun entertainment options for you to enjoy after a great day of professional development. And when they say Alabama the beautiful, trust me they mean it.

Check out the view!

Check out the view!

I’ll be there, live tweeting and blogging the event and I want you to join me. Follow #alshrm16 on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram to stay up to date on all the excitement and to join in on the conversation.

So why hesitate? Register here today and help discover your inner superhero!

Love it or List it: Part II

Last week, I confessed that I devoted too much of my TV viewing time to HGTV. I also discussed how to tell if you should Love or List your career. Because when your job is no longer giving you what you need, you need to honestly assess your situation and figure out what is best for you. Before continuing, you might want to go check out Part I first.

Back? Great. Now that you’ve made your decision to Love it or List it, what steps do you need to take to get what you want?

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Love It

    So you’ve decided to Love your current job. Awesome! That means you are in a good place, like your co-workers, and believe in what your company does. You just need to make a few changes. So where do you start?
    1. Figure out what exactly is bothering you. Is it boredom? A lack of responsibility or leadership opportunities? Have you recently learned a new skill that you aren’t getting to use? Or could you really use a raise or a better work/life balance?
    2. Once you have a better idea of what you want, update your resume. This may sound odd considering that you are loving your job, but if you want to make a change, you need a resume that can help you sell your skills and experience to managers. Focus not only on the new role that you want, but on all your accomplishments in your current role.
    3. Express yourself. If you have a good relationship with your boss, have a frank discussion with them about your goals and what they can do to help. Talk to HR about openings, development opportunities, job shadowing, or even mentorship from leaders within the company. Talk to co-workers and managers in other departments you are interested in and find out what it’s like and what they look for in new team members.
    4. Go after what you want. Apply for internal promotions. Volunteer for that special project or committee. Ask for that raise. Go back to school to learn a new skill or finish that degree. Whatever it is, it’s up to you to make it happen.

    List It

    So you’ve decided to List your current job. Fantastic! You are ready to take on a new adventure and see what opportunities are out there. But where do you start? (Hint: Not by quitting your job immediately.)
    1. Figure out what you want in a new job. More money? More responsibility? Less responsibility? Do you want to make a complete career change or maybe try a new industry? Something more creative or a chance to live in a different country?
    2. Update your resume and your online professional profile. An obvious step but still an important one. Focus on what you want and make sure your resume speaks to your accomplishments and what you can offer. “Google” yourself and make sure that up to date and appropriate links show up as the most relevant search results. Even if it’s only your LinkedIn profile, you want to be searchable.
    3. Network. I know, I know. Unless you are a big extrovert, no one really likes networking. But people do it anyway because it works. Talk to people about what you are looking for, ask questions, volunteer, join professional organizations, seek a mentor or be a mentor yourself. People want to help and if an opportunity comes up, you want to be the first one people think of.
    4. Go after what you want. Put yourself out there and push past your comfort zone. Focus on companies you admire and locations you want to be. Be open to something different; even if it means a step back or to the side if it will help you get where you want to be. Down size your life to make a change more affordable or find ways to boost your confidence. Invest all your free time into a hobby so that you can turn it into your career. Be brave.

    Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that whether you Love It or List It, the steps you take are basically the same and they both require a great deal of work and even sacrifice. Change isn’t easy. But the best things in life rarely are.

Love it or List it: Part 1

I watch an embarrassing amount of HGTV. I know all about shiplap, grading problems, cracked foundations, and demolition. In fact, I’ve watched enough to know that everything involved in buying, building, or even renovating a house is kind of intimidating. Home ownership is an expensive and serious commitment. If I’ve learned anything from shows like “Love it or List it”, it’s that the decision to stay or go requires a good deal of drama and a commitment to make it work.

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Choosing to stay or leave a house can feel a lot like when you are unhappy at work. Maybe when you started, everything was great and it was only over the years that you’ve noticed the imperfections. Or the job was once more than enough to meet your needs when you were just starting your career, but now it feels confining and limiting to your professional development. It could be that it was never a perfect situation but it paid the bills and you’ve just hung around longer than you planned. Whatever the reason, you find yourself wondering, “What now?”. Do you stay in your job and try to find some ways to make it work, or do you check out the job market to see if you can find something better?

Well, let’s break this choice down shall we?

Reasons to Love It:
1. Do you like who you work with? Boss, co-workers, clients, etc?
2. Do you believe in the mission/purpose that drives the company and what you do?
3. Do you feel that a few changes in your current role, such as a change in responsibilities or better resources would alleviate a lot of your concerns?
4. Do you feel that there is room to grow if you could move into a different role or team?
5. Has the company demonstrated a willingness and desire to develop your skills and do they reward hard work?

If you find yourself saying yes to a lot of these questions, then you might find that with a few changes, you are exactly where you need to be.

Reasons to List It:
1. You dread going into work in the morning and you can’t get excited about what you do everyday.
2. You career goals have changed and where you are currently is no longer a match for your skills and education and you have nowhere to go.
3. Do you find yourself thinking that if Sue from accounting steals your creamer for her coffee one more time you are going to steal all her good pens…, er, I mean do you find yourself having problems with your co-workers?
4. Do you find that your job is keeping you from what you want to do in life (Travel, family, being an entrepreneur)?
5. You’re burned out from the long hours, the horrible commute, all the travel, or even the bad food in the cafeteria.

If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of these concerns, then it’s time for you to start looking for a new opportunity.

In the end, no matter what you decide, think carefully through your options and have the courage to do what you need to do. Because there is nothing worse than being stuck in a bad job and not being brave enough to do something about it.

Come back next week and we’ll discuss steps you can take to both “Love or List” your job.

Advice you won’t want to take

I’ve dedicated a good deal of space on this blog over the years to offering advice. Advice, after all, is kind of the bread and butter of blogging. Advice and navel gazing; the stuff that blogs are made of.

If you’ve got the time, I’d even encourage you to dig through the archives, though I cringe thinking about some of the stuff I wrote in the early years. I’m sure some of it was good though. Probably.

It’s kind of funny then that even when the advice is sound, sometimes it is better not to listen to it. Sometimes, you need to make mistakes for yourself in order to learn anything. They can be hard lessons to learn, especially if it means losing out on a job, or embarrassing yourself, or hurting someone’s feelings. We’ve all been there, even if some of us won’t or can’t admit it.

Which makes me wonder about people who can’t admit their mistakes. Life must be so much harder when you can never be wrong. When you are never wrong your relationships suffer at work, at home, and in the community. Life becomes a battle; You against the world. There is no such thing as constructive criticism or compromise. People who are never wrong are incredibly unpleasant to be around. I’ve seen too many people escorted out of offices with a box of their belongings who could have avoided all the drama with a little bit of self reflection.

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It’s only when we take ownership of our mistakes that we become both vulnerable and strong. We become more honest and relatable. We are more compassionate and empathetic. We learn to forgive because we want to be forgiven in turn. Others will go out of their way to help someone who is able and willing to admit that they need help. The world becomes a better place when we accept that we are all just human.

Unfortunately, anyone who could learn something from this blog post probably wouldn’t be able to internalize it anyway. That’s ok. I didn’t write this for them. I wrote this as a reminder that the next time you are sad and ready to beat yourself up over a mistake, there are a lot worse things than being wrong. Forgive yourself, ask for help, and move on with your life. You’ll be just fine.