When I started formally posting blogs on the web, I received some well-intentioned advice from several HR Professionals in the U.S. that I respect. To paraphrase their comments, “Great blog, but don’t overdo the Toronto bit”.
The first time I read that feedback, I immediately thought of The Tragically Hip. Tragically Hip is known in these parts for their use of Canadian history and factoids in their lyrics. A classic example:
“Bill Barilko disappeared, that summer (in 1951),
He was on a fishing trip.
The last goal he ever scored (in overtime), won the Leafs the Cup.
They didn’t win another, until 1962, the year he was discovered.”
From Fifty Mission Cap
Tragically Hip are practically royalty in Toronto, but few outside the country have ever heard of them. Obviously their style doesn’t appeal to everyone.
This is true of a lot of things in Canada.
Like virtually everyone I know here, I’m not a native Torontonian. This place is a mishmash of people from everywhere else in the world. The diversity is legendary and is what makes living here so interesting. 48.6% of Mississauga residents are foreign born. I didn’t make this up.
I can’t help but blog about the place I know and love. There’s a unique form of human resources practiced here. It is ultrasensitive to the level of diversity and forces HR Pros to be quite innovative in terms of how they attract, retain and motivate people. I think if I lived in most other places, I wouldn’t have an appreciation for things like internationally-educated professionals, as well as the amount of planning needed to deal with leave requests around Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Hunting Season, Moving Day in Quebec and July.
I have worked in HR in both the U.S. and Canada, and for the U.S. folks who read this, I emphasize this. HR is practiced very differently here in Canada. There are cultural differences as well as legal differences. Some differences just have to do with the weather.
I don’t want to suppress being Torontonian. It is what I know. It is precious and it is cool.
I’m also not ready to give up my Americanisms. I still love football, Mustangs, fried turkey and metal bands.
Speaking of Americans, Toronto lost an important icon this week, Mark Dailey. I was a huge fan of Mark Dailey. He was a news anchor, humanitarian, and a former Windsor disc jockey. Most important, he was the voice behind “This is CityTV, EVERYWHERE”. Mark grew up in Youngstown, OH.
Mark was more than an American, however; he was a Torontonian. He embraced this city with gusto.
I find it interesting that for a time on Monday, one of the highest trending topics on Twitter was the announcement of Mark Dailey’s passing. Briefly, this makes me think that Toronto is truly the centre of the universe. He is after all just a guy on a local TV station. He was tall and geeky looking and never fit the stereotype of a broadcast reporter.
But I digress. Let me get back on point.
In the larger world of blogs, the conventional wisdom is to try and appeal to a broad audience. I guess I’ll never be world famous, as I can only blog about what I know and I feel most comfortable writing about.
If this means anything, I really wish there were HR bloggers who would write more about HR life in places like San Diego, Portland, Bangor, or Baton Rouge. I promise I would read those blogs.
And to act a little more Torontonian than my American roots might show, sorry if that in any way offends you.