CategoryManaging Workload

Stop Whining And Start Winning At Work

So I wrote a post in November and caught some flack. In “How To Delegate Effectively – Part 2”, I said you should never delegate to your boss because it’s essentially whining.

But but but Buzz, sometimes I really am super busy. Just because I’m not the boss doesn’t mean I don’t have lots to do, too. You’re telling me that if I’m honest about that with my boss, I’m wrong?

Maybe I didn’t accept the assignment because I’m not interested in learning that task. Are you really saying that’s not OK? Are you telling me I can never say no? Are you telling me I just have to do whatever work my boss give me?

In a word … Yes.

Yes, you’re wrong. Yes, that really is not OK. Yes, I’m telling you that you can never say no. Yes, I’m telling you to do whatever work your boss gives you.

Yes. All the yes.

Unless you’re being asked to do something illegal, immoral or unethical, you should do what you’re asked — even if you’re really busy doing other stuff and even if the task isn’t something that especially interests you.

Here’s why:

  • All tasks have value … Whether it is some really important, highly visible project or taking out the trash, all tasks add to your learning, knowing and professional experience. That’s how you should embrace the work that is assigned to you, even if it is not something you’re especially interested in doing or learning more about. Refusing work delegated to you, no matter the reason or how politely you do it, flies in the face of this — and you’ll come off looking unappreciative and unwilling.
  • No one cares that you’re busy, especially your boss. If your boss cared that you’re busy, your boss wouldn’t have assigned the task to you … I know that’s harsh — but it’s generally true. Your boss knows the work you’re doing. And if your boss knows and is giving you more work, there’s a reason. Maybe it’s a test. Maybe it’s for learning. Maybe it’s because you’re busy but your boss is busier. Maybe your boss is a lazy, stupid, arrogant jerkface who likes to watch you suffer (because that’s what you’re really thinking). The reason is ultimately irrelevant because …
  • Not doing the tasks assigned to you is insubordinate and grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment … I know no one likes to hear that — but it is still true. I’m not sure who started the rumor that refusing assignments and talking negatively about and to your boss was acceptable and cool. It’s not and it isn’t. Doing it could get you in more trouble than you want. Don’t hurt your reputation or your livelihood by being insolent and argumentative.


Fine, Buzz. I get it. But if I can’t refuse the task, what can I do?


Try this instead:

  • Ask about the learning goal is for the task. “Hey boss, is there something specific you want me to gain from this? I just want to be sure so I know what to look out for and focus on as I’m working on this.” Understanding the objective can help you get into the spirit of the activity, even if it’s not something you love or truly want to do.
  • Ask for help setting priorities. “Hey boss, can I have about 10 minutes of your time to go over my to-do list? I could use your help setting priorities so I can be sure to meet all my deadlines.” With your boss fully aware of your work and on your side for the order in which things should be done, you’re free to attack all the tasks without worry for what might get missed.


Approach the tasks assigned to you with an open mind and a willing spirit. Always and in all ways.

What Will I Do After The SPHR?

On Friday, January 31st, I sit for the SPHR exam — one of the hardest professional certification exams on the planet. The exam I’ve run from for almost a decade because I hate standardized tests more than I hate peas.

And I really hate peas. Just ask my mother.

To say I am nervous about it is an understatement. But I know I’ve done everything possible to prepare and I believe I will conquer this beast on my first attempt. It will not be easy — but I will do it!

For the last 3 months, I’ve spent roughly 2 – 3 hours each day involved in some study or exam prep activity. I am amazed at how I was able to find the time considering the other demands of my life.

As I get closer and closer to my exam date, I am regularly asked What will you do with all your time after the SPHR is over?”

Admittedly, I found the question annoying at first. It’s not like I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do before I began my SPHR study! I stay busy … However, when I thought more about it, I realized this priority shift has shown me how I really can do more with my 24 hours. And I don’t want to lose that habit or the momentum it has given me.

So, here’s what I am going to do when my SPHR Exam is over …

  1. Cry … Yes, I said cry. I fully expect I will openly weep tears of joy and relief and pride when the test is over and I pass. I might even post an ugly cry video on Instagram for posterity. Stay tuned.
  2. Party … I will celebrate on Friday with my family. Then I will visit Richmond, VA to celebrate my BFF’s birthday and meetup with Melissa Fairman to toast both our passing of the exam. Then I will come home and enjoy Super Bowl Sunday with my friends and family, especially since my friend and fellow University of Richmond alum is playing in the game. Go Broncos!
  3. Watch TV … I have abused my poor DVR. It is over 70% full as I write this post! I will find some down time to relax and catch up on my favorite shows — and delete the stuff I no longer care to watch.
  4. Work … I have a busy year of projects, rollouts and new initiatives in my 9-5 job. There is never a dull moment in what I do at work. I love being an HR practitioner and my SPHR certification will be put to good use.
  5. Blog … I miss writing. I’ve been on an inconsistent schedule for too long now. I’ve missed a lot and missed out on a lot. I’m not happy about that and it must change! The things I’ve learned and refreshed thru my SPHR prep have given me lots of new content to share. Get ready get ready get ready!
  6. Speak … I will speak at several conferences this year. Up first is the Louisiana SHRM Conference in April. This will be my 3rd year straight at LASHRM; I am so honored and excited to be going again!! The speaker lineup is truly extraordinary and I recommend you get yourself to Baton Rouge for this conference if your HR budget will allow it. I am even more excited that my blog-FF crew from Performance I Create will also be there as presenters and covering social media. It is going to be a fantastic time! Chimay!! (You’ll have to ask Czarina of HR Janine Truitt what that means)
  7. Other stuff … My mind is always running with ideas on how to make a greater impact thru HR, both at the job and in my other ambitions. I will turn more of these ideas into plans and those plans into actions and those actions into accomplishments.

That’s what I’m going to do when the SPHR is over … But for now, it’s back to studying

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Fall

I am no good at waiting. I want to find the root cause of problems so I can repair it or remove it or replace it.

I have no tolerance for foolishness. Or laziness. Or any form of passive-aggressive douchebagery. I want those around me to share my enthusiasm and committment to excellence. And when they don’t, I want to repair, remove or replace them too.

That’s not to say everything has to be my way or go my way. It doesn’t. I just don’t like confusion. And I think people who claim to thrive in constant flux and uncertainty are either lying or crazy. Or both.

Because confusion doesn’t get stuff done. Confusion doesn’t move things forward. And confusion doesn’t help others grow or develop.

However, I’ve learned that not everyone shares my intolerance for waiting, foolishness or confusion. There are lots of people who are fine to just go with the flow and wait for things to work themselves out. They are fine to wait for the other shoe to fall. They are fine to just sit and watch in suspense as that pesky other shoe teeters back and forth.

I say knock the shoe over and let’s get on with things.

But sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, it’s not your shoe to knock over. Sometimes, the decision is in someone else’s hands and there is absolutely nothing you can do.

You have to wait.

Waiting for the other shoe to fall isn’t easy. It’s annoying. It’s uncomfortable. It makes you feel inert and stifled.

Waiting just sucks.

But whatever the “shoe” is in your organization, there are some things you can do to make wait a little easier

  • Share concerns. You need to tell someone in authority when you see a dangling shoe. Be respectful and empathetic in your approach — but say something.
  • Don’t compromise. Just because someone else is letting their shoe dangle doesn’t mean you should. Maintain the integrity and ethics of the work within your control.
  • Find calm. Seek people, places and projects to take your mind off the dangling shoe. Everyone needs a respit. This is even more true when faced with the stress of a dangling shoe.
  • Get ready. Eventually, the shoe will fall. Have a plan for what you’re going to do when it happens so your plans and work are not derailed when it happens. Position yourself to be apart of the solution.

Waiting isn’t easy but sometimes it is unavoidable. Control and contribute what you can so the final result is something worth waiting for.

2-Week Notice Is A Joke

I learned a lot of things in my journey from one job to another in the past few weeks. I plan to share a few lessons this month — and a few later once time and distance have given me better perspective.

However, the one glaring lesson that stands out to me in all of this is …


About 3 days into my notice, I mentally checked out. Don’t get me wrong — I did the best and the most I could to make sure the people handling my duties where set up to be as successful as possible. I was on time, worked hard and I stayed late just about every day, including the very last one! But in my mind and my heart, I’d moved on. I accepted I was leaving. I wanted them to accept it, too. I wanted them to wish me well and let me go.

But they couldn’t. Why? Lack of cross-training. No one was prepared immediately to pick up my duties and keep going if I got hit by the proverbial bus.

Not good.

I have never been a person who hoards duties. In fact, I really can’t stand those people! Duty-hoarders think by not sharing knowledge with others, they make themselves invaluable, irreplaceable and untouchable.


Everyone is replaceable. The work has to keep going and someone has to do it. If you get to keep being the person that does the work, that’s great! But if not, that’s ok, too. You don’t want to stunt your growth, someone else’s growth or the organization’s growth by staying in a position you’ve outgrown. No one wins in that scenario. So when you don’t share what you know so others can learn and rise up, you put damaging limits on everyone.

What makes employees invaluable is their attitude, candor and integrity — NOT just being the person in the room who knows the most stuff. You distinguish yourself by being the most authentic version of yourself that you can be in that organization and role. That is what makes a person untouchable — because no one can “beat” you at being you.

Yet somewhere along the line, I got lazy … or comfortable … or arrogant … or all of the above … and cross-training was no longer a priority. New processes came, others changed — but I didn’t share the knowledge. And when that proverbial bus came along, we were all “hit” by it!

I could blame my boss or my co-workers or the culture of the organization. But I won’t. If there’s no one in your organization who can do your job duties, the real blame lies with you! We have a responsibility to ensure work keeps flowing and that everyone is current on procedures and practices — especially in HR!!

No one will ever do what you do like you do how you do when you make it do what it do … Duh. That’s a given.

But that doesn’t mean you stop cross-training or refresher training or back-up training or having a plan for what happens if you get hit by the proverbial bus. Because whether by our own choice or someone else’s choice, we will all leave a job eventually. In most cases, it shouldn’t take 2-weeks to put an interim plan in place to keep the work flowing smoothly.

2 days? Definitely. 2 hours? Geez, I hope so! But 2 weeks? That’s “2” much.

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