MonthJanuary 2012

Look What I Wrote!

As you may have heard, I joined a great group of HR professional and bloggers as a contributor at “Performance I Create.” My 1st post on the site went live this week.

Here’s a snippet …

 

January means Annual Performance Review time at the job. And Annual Performance Review means I get a raise!! Woo hooo!! This got me thinking about compensation, rewards and recognition as it relates to employee performance. I was mindlessly mulling this over during a lunch by myself when my server came up and asked if I was going to pay by cash or credit. And I thought …

Both.

At least, at work and as it relates to performance.

 

To read the rest, click HERE

 

Enjoy!

 

Is the HR MS Really BS?

A friend of mine decided to enroll in an online Master’s Degree program. She’s been working on the peripheral of HR for a while and wants to move into a more traditional HR role. She doesn’t have the professional experience to take the PHR yet. So she decided to get her Master’s, make the transition into HR and get certified later.

I was excited for her. Unlike a lot of people out there, I don’t balk or bicker about the value of degree programs. Brick/Mortar versus Online. Small college versus Major university … Bloods versus Crypts! Jets versus Sharks! Whatever. I think everyone loses in those battles.

All education has value. And, ultimately, the decision to pursue higher education and the completion of a 2-, 3- or 4+ year degree program demonstrates a committment to learning, a capacity for retaining practical knowledge and a basic ability to organize, set priorities and work independently. Those are highly desirable skills for any career or workplace. Combined with experience and enthusiasm, higher education should produce a level of savvy, sophistication and shrewdness that equal a formula for success.

Her courses started right after the MLK Holiday last week. We met up for lunch recently and she had her school stuff with her. I looked at the syllabus … and I was unimpressed. Later, I googled the curricumlum … and I was really unimpressed!

There were no traditional business-focused classes on there. No accounting or marketing or statistics. Not even a strategic HR class.

I asked her about it. She didn’t seem bothered. She said she didn’t want to take all the business stuff anyways — she wanted to learn HR. I tried to explain to her that HR is “all the business stuff” but she wasn’t trying to hear it.

And suddenly I became one of those people judging someone else’s degree program. It didn’t feel good.

I knew her program was a Master’s of Science, not a Master’s of Business Administration (which is what I have). I’ve encountered a few other people who chose the MS over the MBA. I didn’t think there was too much difference between the two. But I remembered them saying their programs didn’t have a lot of traditional business-focus to them either. I also remembered they struggled with strategy and analytics and financials than I did …

Is the HR MS really BS?!? Is the MS curriculum failing to really prepare its students for a career as an effective HR professional?!?

After digging a little deeper, my answer is “most likely, no.” Any degree or certificate program a person chooses needs to be thoroughly researched to make sure it is reputable and designed to prepare you for whatever you want to do with the knowledge gained once you are done. MBA vs MS vs MM vs MA — they each have value and can help advance your career. Learn the difference and all the other options available to make the best choice for you.

 

 

 

Ultimately, we all want to be a MBA though … Major Bad-Ass!!

 

I Still Love Paula Deen

Food personality Paula Deen revealed she has Type II diabetes earlier this week. This wouldn’t seem like such a big deal, except she’s built a cooking empire with recipes that are dripping with butter, sugar and carbs.

I’ve tried a couple. Yummy — but not the healthiest, especially for a diabetic.

And she’s known about her illness for about 3 years now but chose not to disclose it or change her style of cooking to be a little more … light and balanced, shall we say.

Now she’s getting paid a buttload of money to be the spokesperson for diabetes medication. Reports say something like $10 million. And she simultaneously announced the launch of a new site that is dedicated to healthier eating and living.

A friend of mine likened it to a drug dealer opening a rehab.

And I say, “And?!? So what?!?” I still love Paula Deen. I might love her more now than I did before, in fact.

You see, I was Paula Deen.

About 4 years ago, I separated from my husband. The relationship had become emotionally, financially and physically unhealthy; I made the difficult choice to end it before it became completely toxic. About a month after it happened, I was offered a promotion at work. So while I was in the midst of severing marital ties, I relocated with my children and dove headfirst into my new role, which was challenging and demanding to say the least.

And I didn’t tell anyone at work what was going on. Not a word for over a year.

I didn’t think they would be un-supportive. Quite the opposite. I thought they would be too supportive, too concerned at a time where I needed privacy and quiet to hear my own voice and make my own decisions and figure things out and just feel normal from 8am – 6pm, 5 days per week. I didn’t want to deal with having my moods and decisions second-guessed or marginalized because of a personal struggle. I didn’t want every time I closed the door to take a personal call or went outside for a walk to de-stress or took too long in the bathroom to be interpreted as something it wasn’t. I just wanted to be and do and figure it out.

People were mad at me when I finally told them. Mostly because they felt robbed of the opportunity to support me. Others felt like I was a fake, fraud and outright liar for choosing not to say anything until I was ready. It changed the dynamic in a way that probably won’t ever be repaired. I accept that consequence … but I still wouldn’t change what I did.

And Paula Deen shouldn’t either.

It is difficult to experience a major life change when you’re in a highly visible position. People are looking at you to see how you will react and judging all of your actions and interpreting all of your motives through the lens of something that is none of their business and may/may not have any impact on the work you’re doing. And when you choose to disclose immediately, they are looking, judging and interpreting during a time when you are still trying to process and adjust to the change and all it means for you.

Think about it. If Paula Deen had announced her diagnosis immediately, everything she ate and drank would have been scrutinized. If she had announced her diagnosis immediately, but didn’t immediately change her cooking style — regardless of her reason– she would have been vilified. I admire her for taking the time to get herself, her disease and her brand under control.

We all have aspects of our lives that we don’t want on front street. We all have things that we’re dealing with or figuring out and we’re not necessarily ready for the world to know. HR sees this more than anyone else! We hear heart-breaking stories about the lives of our employees. But we don’t tell it. We can’t tell it. It isn’t our story to tell. So we don’t get to decide how it is done. We have opinions. We make suggestions and recommendations. But we don’t tell. We can’t tell.

So I’m not mad at Paula Deen. I’m sure her decision was a tough one. I’m sure she struggled with it. I know I did.

I only hope now that she’s shared her story, she will use her status as a platform to help people. It sounds like that’s what she’s trying to do. I know I am.

And I hope I just did.

No Shame in the Game

A friend of mine posted this video and article from the Huffington Post a little over a week ago.

In the video, tennis star Serena Williams says she isn’t feeling especially passionate about tennis and marvels at how she became a pro athlete because she hates sports, exercise, etc.

Then writer Peter Bodo basically rips her a new one for it, calling her “unprofessional” and “discouraging” and “unaware.”

Well, I say “Shame on you!” to Mr. Bodo and those who agree with him.

  • Mr. Bodo says Serena Williams should have realized 20 years ago that tennis wasn’t her interest to save everyone the time spent supporting her.

Uh … 20 years ago, she was a child. She really didn’t have a choice.

  • Mr. Bodo says Serena Williams isn’t a professional because she doesn’t know “the unwritten part of the definition is the mandate to continue doing whatever it is you’re good at, and to do it at an extremely high level, even though it can no longer be called ‘fun’ and it’s no longer something you ‘love’ in the most romantic, infatuated sense of the word”

Um … What kind of definition is that?!?

  • Mr. Bodo says Serena Williams should just suck it up and keep playing because “backtracking isn’t an option.”

Urr … Since when?!?

I think Bodo should replace the D in his name with another consonant because he’s acting like a clown!

It’s clear to me from watching the video that Williams had a bad day. She clearly says “I don’t love tennis today … but I’m here. And I couldn’t live without [tennis].”

Who hasn’t had a day like that?? I just had one last week (Read about it)! It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. It happens to all professionals — and it’s OK!

There is no shame in the game!

No shame in making a career change. The person we are and the things we want to do at 20 are not necessarily the same person and things at 35 or 45. There’s nothing wrong with that. With proper planning, patience and time, it is possible to make a successful transition from one career to something new and different.

No shame in having a bad day. Or a string of bad days. In Serena’s case, she plays a sport that is physically demanding and it’s taking a toll on her body. I would imagine she’s in pain a lot and that her body doesn’t do what it did when she stepped on the scene 10+ years ago … I can’t do what I used to do 10 years ago, either! I worked 60-80 hours and never felt tired back then. I was able to work faster, remember more in the short-term and grind harder. Now, I have greater responsibilities and years of HR stuff rolling around in my head. My perspective is different. I am wiser and my grind is different. I love what I do — but there are days when I’m not in love with it. There are bad days. Really, really bad days.

No shame in expressing frustration. I get frustrated with newbies who don’t know what I know and can’t do what I do and don’t want to invest the energy to learn. I get frustrated with those who criticize and tear down HR without fully understanding how and why it works. I vent to my co-workers and my friends and I send tweets and status updates about my frustrations. So what?!?

Perhaps Mr. Bodo can’t understand this because he’s from a different generation? In his day, you got a job at something you were good at and you worked that job until you retired, no matter how much you hated it or wanted to do something else. Those days are gone though. These days, people reinvent themselves. These days, people have multiple careers — sometimes at the same time. Sure, times are tough — but there is still a lot of opportunity out there.

But none of that matters for Serena Williams because I seriously doubt she’s quitting tennis. She just had a bad day. And since then, she’s pulled it together and she’s back to kicking ass and taking names on the tennis court.

You and I, on the other hand, might seriously be ready for a change. The HR grind is a tough one and burnout is all too real! Here are some signs.

Just know that you are not stuck as Mr. Bodo would have you believe. There are opportunities! We can talk about them, if you want. Holla at me.

There is no shame in the game.

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