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Workhuman–Sugar Plums

Workhuman is just a little less than 24 hours away, and I’m so excited that I can hardly contain myself.  Tonight I will have visions of #sugarplums.

That I am so excited, in spite of the fact that I’m terribly distracted with other things right now, surprises me.  But it shouldn’t be surprised.  Workhuman is an absolutely awesome conference and I’m sure everyone who has been to Workhuman is looking forward to it.

Let me put this into perspective.  My life has been the epitome of upheaval these past six months.  I’m exhausted.  It has been a whirlwind of hiking, moving to a new locale, and more work than I should’ve taken on.  If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been blogging much, this is why.

But I wouldn’t miss Workhuman for anything, exhaustion and all.

This year the conference is taking on a slightly different theme.  It feels more timely than ever.  Sure, Workhuman is about great people practices, but it takes on more urgency this year than in the past.  I can’t hardly wait to hear from the speakers, many who are actively involved in #metoo.  I am especially interested in hearing from companies that have chosen the high road on things like pay transparency and pay equity.  These are lofty and important ideals, but in a world of supply and demand not always so easy to hold to.  How did they implement?  What had to change?  How did they/will they get past the notion of it being compliance and more importantly good business?  How did it/will it become a part of their culture?

Workhuman is also a reminder to me that life does sometimes go in odd twists and turns but it is important to get back to the things that matter.  While there I will be with people I love, try to get enough sleep, get around on my feet, eat well, experience new things, and learn.  I am reminded that I learn best when the other aspects of life are in balance.

For those that are attending, I’d like you to write down how you feel right now.  Identify your general mood, and the personal goals that are closest to your chest.  In addition, identify what at your workplace has to change for you to feel like you’re making a difference.  Then, when the next four days are over, look back on what you’ve written and determine what you have gained by attending and what you’ll do next.

I can hardly wait to see what we all come up with.  Here’s to Workhuman.

When We Are Distracted

Photo Credit Roman Boed, Flickr9

I wish I had some really great opening sentence for this post, but I don’t.  I actually wish this was a really great post, but it isn’t.

Every year since that fateful day sixteen years ago, I have written a blog post to remember September 11, 2001.  These posts talk to memories, fear, kindness and safety.  It would be wrong for me to break with this tradition, even if I don’t have a whole lot to say this time.

This year feels different.  I’m distracted.  The date kind of crept up on me. Perhaps it is Harvey and Irma.  My mind has been everywhere except on remembering one of the worst days in living memory.

These hurricanes suck.

Harvey was beyond imaginable.  51.88 inches of rain is crazy.  To give you some perspective, that’s nearly twice the annual rainfall of Toronto, in one day.  But it has been really cool to see stories of friends, HR friends, rising to the occasion.  In particular, I’d like to give a shout-out to Franny Oxford, who has really supported her community during tough times.

The damage from Irma at the point of this post is unknown, but it has made landfall twice so far in the U.S., causing the seas to rush out, and expectedly, come back in with a vengeance.  I have many friends and family in Florida and those who sheltered in place who show pictures of downed trees, flooding and destroyed property.  And that’s just the U.S.  I can’t imagine the destruction in Cuba and the outer islands of the Caribbean.

Hurricanes make us vulnerable. We get so busy focused on picking up and rebuilding our lives that we fail to notice the signs of things that could be so much worse.

I want to live in the free world.  I want to live in a world without fear.  I will fight to keep this, if I need to. Our enemies strike when we are not looking.

One of the great legacies of September 11th was seeing the sheer volume of generosity and kindness that was displayed in the days, weeks, months and years following that day.  Already, North Americans are showing their kindness to those in need.  Whether Harvey or Irma turn into a Katrina is yet to be known but we’ve prepared.

Stay vigilant.

That is all.


To say that I am busy right now at work would be an understatement.  I have a list of things to do that is extremely long.  Anyone in HR with a compensation element to their practice this time of year knows exactly what I am talking about.  I have a commitment to client service which means delivering on commitments on time but being in a small firm, sometimes we are short on manpower and I need to focus and crank.

For the last couple of years I have been working from home more frequently. This actually works out OK for the most part.  I have a comfortable place to work where I can focus on analysis, reports and recommendations, and conference calls.  I save the time of driving to my office; and interesting enough it is often a shorter distance from my house to a client than from my office; giving more productive time during the day.  Modern technology itself is helpful; I can screen share and participate in video conferences whenever I need to.  The office is there when I need it and sometimes I do.  For the most part, I’m happy with my circumstances.

Things go swimmingly until they don’t.

Case in point, this past Monday.

During the day, most of the time my dog Mars is asleep on the couch beside me.  If I am careful, I can avoid being on the phone during his barking times (like when the mail arrives) so as not to startle those on the other end.  I’m mostly successful.

So imagine me coming back from a meeting; task list in hand, starting to get down to work right away, and discover Mars is agitated.  Whining.  Pacing.  Jumping on the couch and off.  Barking.  Something is clearly wrong.

Then I hear it. That clicking sound.  It’s the smoke detector, telling me that the battery is dying.  Every two minutes, a click.  I try to pet him and tell him it will be alright.  I text my husband to tell him he needs to buy a battery on his way home.  I look to see if I can get up there on my own to take it down and can’t unscrew it.  I sit back down and the next thing I know Mars is in my lap.  Cue the video.

Human resources professionals have all sorts of interruptions.  What are yours?