I don’t buy into the trope that looking for a job is like dating. Nothing could be further from the truth. While both are miserable, you have more power when you date. You have the option to say no and decline further contact. Can’t do that with your job.
But I had breakfast with a friend and he told me about the talent mismatch on dating apps. Here’s how it works.
• Men over 40 have indulged the mom jeans and the emotional isolation of a first marriage. They’re looking for someone younger who needs them, wants them, and won’t emasculate challenge them.
• Women over 40 are in their sexual prime and looking for younger men who aren’t caught up in nostalgia and regret.
• Younger men are dating older women because they have little interest in age-appropriate women who want them to have their shit together.
• Younger women are looking for older men because who wants to date someone age-appropriate who is trying to figure his shit out?
Seems like a lot of generational stereotyping, but what do I know? I sat back in my chair and had a moment of gratitude. I never want to know this world of one-and-done and two-and-through.
Dating and looking for a job are not the same thing, but I do know that talent mismatches are real. Happens on teams and in labor markets. And maybe in real life, too. We’re all jigsaw pieces of a puzzle that makes no sense. When it comes to work, we have a few options: cram people into roles, leave positions open forever, or challenge our deeply-held assumptions and be open to trying something new.
When it comes to dating, I’m clueless. Would like to think my friend is open to being surprised by an age-appropriate woman who will love his hang-ups as much as he loves hers.
But I’m not naive.
I just hope his second, younger ex-wife treats him better than his first!
Work-life balance is tough for everybody including public speakers.
It’s hard to maintain relationships when you’re always on the road. Nevermind social media, it’s challenging to stay in contact with colleagues and loved ones when you don’t sit still for five minutes. But it’s vital to make time and be thoughtful with travel and commitments. Otherwise, you’ll miss valuable moments to connect.
That’s why I attempted to see people in New York City, this week. Before I spoke to the patrons of the New Museum, I spent an hour with my ex-boss and future nursing home roommate. Then, after I went on stage, I had a late-night dinner on the lower east side with my niece and nephew.
Because I departed from my introverted work-related routines, I showed up to my speaking gig without my notes. Afterward, I went to dinner in a manic haze and had a difficult time falling asleep when I got to my hotel room around midnight.
But relationships are more important than careers. While it’s tempting to invest all of your time and energy into your job, you need people in your life who will take your phone calls, answer your texts, and bail you out of jail. I call those people my “core four” who will always be there no matter the time or distance.
If you don’t have four close relationships in your life, you have work to do.
And I have work to do with my life. Seeing people before and after work shouldn’t feel disruptive, which is why I want to practice being “social” before and after my events. If I’m living a wandering life, I need people around me who make it less lonely. Can’t lecture people about the “core four” if I’m avoiding social interaction on the road.
So, here’s to better work-life balance in 2018 for all of us including public speakers. If you’re lucky enough to have kick-ass friends and family as I do, making those connections gets easier and more comfortable with practice.
Late-night chips and guacamole — with a lot of laughter — helps!
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. — Barack Obama
I’ve been thinking about leadership and reading lots of blog posts on what it takes to fix work. Much of it falls on leaders. We expect our bosses to be parents, custodians and guardians.
Would you ask the same of yourself?
Can you do what you demand of others?
Would you confront racism, sexism, bigotry? Protect those who go first and rock the boat? Amplify good ideas? Own your biases and work hard to overcome them? Could you be a cultural steward? Do you turn off devices, focus on the people who matter? Stay physically and emotionally healthy? Listen more, talk less?
Could you try? I think you should.
Because you’re reading this blog post, the responsibility for change falls on you. I also believe that the people closest to the problem are the ones suited to solve it. That’s you. That’s me. We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.
It’s time to ditch the learned helplessness and stop waiting around for leadership to change the work environment. Stop waiting for HR and be your own HR. You’re talented, savvy and understand the work that needs to be done.
I hear three common themes when #MeToo is discussed.
1. “I don’t have an HR department. How do I know what to do?”
2. “I’m in HR, and we need to follow due process. There are rules. Gotta be careful that we don’t accuse all men.”
3. “I work in HR, but I have no power. This culture is toxic.”
So much learned helplessness at work.
There are angry, simple, flippant responses to those questions. Then there are the more in-depth conversations that create solutions. I hope that the Men Behaving Badly 2018 world tour leads to some answers.
Yeah, man, another video. I want to relaunch my Punk Rock HR speaking career without calling myself Punk Rock HR. Your interaction (or lack thereof) helps me to understand what works, what doesn’t, and how my fans consume media.
It’s also practice. Over the past three years, I’ve worked on consulting projects and started a tech company. I did all of this, in part, because I wanted nobody to see me. In the video, I talk a little about my fears.
Rebooting My Life: Doing 2018 Differently With Your Help - YouTube
I can’t change the world from behind the laptop in Raleigh, NC. I’m ready to reboot my career and help people think about work. And I can’t do it without showing you how the sausage is made.
So, uh, thanks for enjoying my tubular meat, baby.
These dumb videos are part of a broader strategy to make a difference in the world. Practicing, communicating, trying to keep my head still and my eye forward. Thank you so much for watching and providing feedback, love and support.
The world of work sucks, and we can fix it. We’ll do it one conversation at a time.
I’ve been working on a podcast idea. I’m calling it “Let’s Fix Work.” I’ll talk to people who have ideas on how to fix work.
It’s not a super-complicated concept. Work sucks for most of us. The people closest to a problem are the ones well-equipped to solve it. Let’s talk to normal people in my network about fixing work.
It will either be amazing or awful.
Reid Hoffman once said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” And I’ve learned that the fastest way to validate a good idea is to pressure-test the theory in the public eye.
So, the podcast launches in early April. The show will ask and answer one question: How do we fix work?
Here’s my list. What am I missing? What do you think? Want to be a guest? Let me know.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the CEO of SHRM, wants to strengthen the relationship between education and employers. He accepted a volunteer advisory appointment from President Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos to the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
You might say, “That’s not much of a story, Laurie. Slow down if you’re about to go off on the CEO of SHRM for being an advocate for education. We have to rise above partisanship. Also, SHRM’s in DC and can’t just ignore the current administration. The world works on relationships. Be where the conversation is happening if you want to change the world. Don’t pick on SHRM.”
Before I talk what’s happening at SHRM, here’s my theory about HR leadership. There are three dominant archetypal characters in HR:
1. The guardian-ally embraces her role as protector of the organization. She wants all workers to feel engaged and have a great experience at work. The guardian-ally is the staunch defender of a company’s culture. She believes you can achieve your personal and professional goals. However, if you violate her trust by slacking off or violating company policy, she will fire you. The guardian-ally has a warrior’s heart and a best friend’s warm touch.
2. The hero-mentor is the seasoned HR leader with no agenda. My friend Kris Dunn has described this person as the Oprah of HR. I also think the character is like Ellen DeGeneres. She’s an influential figure and here to help the organization grow. She’ll manage executive egos to shield her team from the political drama. Before you even think about crossing the hero-mentor, you’re gone. She can see what you’re doing about six months before you do it, and she’ll make all problems go away.
3. The trickster-shapeshifter is right on paper and has excellent bona fides, and you feel inspired when you hear her speak. But every operational experience with her is blurry. Is she here to help? Is real work getting done? Why are factions popping up around the office? The trickster-shapeshifter has a tremendous personal brand she’d like to leverage for your organization to make it great, again. Cross her, and you’re gone. Thankfully, the tenure is short, and the board will oust her in 24 months.
SHRM members and the rank-and-file SHRM staff are guardian-allies. They’re passionate and committed to the cause. While they’re not naïve, they bleed the brand. They believe human resources can change the world.
I think executive HR leaders are hero-mentors, and they are too busy doing good HR work to join SHRM. The association doesn’t offer a product or service to meet their personal or professional needs.
You know where this is going, right?
Throughout the years, the leaders of SHRM have been trickster-shifters. Like most political associations that deny they’re political, they’ll seize an opportunity to show power and influence — and words come out of their mouths — but their actions don’t benefit the members and staff.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. could be the hero-mentor the membership deserves. I believed in him. He could move the industry towards sensible and pragmatic positions on gun violence in the workplace, immigration, and healthcare. It’s possible to leverage his brand and talk to employers and educational institutions about the workforce of the future.
But his appointment to the Trump advisory board so early in his tenure at SHRM makes me feel like it’s déjà vu all over again. I’m not here to disparage this gentleman’s good character, but I think there’s a valid critique of his decision to partner with the Trump administration. Sitting on that advisory board doesn’t benefit anyone within the field of human resources. Furthermore, it normalizes a turbulent administration that hasn’t yet proven itself worthy of HR’s seal of approval.
Also, the hero-mentor doesn’t need an appointment from any political figure to make an impact. The choice between being on an advisory board and having no seat at the table is a false choice. In fact, politicians need hero-mentors because they are inherently trickster-shapeshifters. And hero-mentors don’t play that game.
SHRM’s leadership doesn’t listen to me, but you listen to me. If there’s ever a time in your life when someone offers you a promotion or an appointment to assist a high-profile committee, you should question why you’re being asked to help. Don’t do the political calculus; do the human calculation. Channel your inner Oprah and try to understand what purpose your appointment serves.
You should know that the hero-mentor can see beyond her immediate self-interests and think about how her actions impact future generations. When she leverages her brand, it’s for the good of the entire community. And she does it without fanfare. Other people sing her praises because it deserves to be sung.
SHRM and its members deserve a hero-mentor. Someone who is naturally charismatic and does good work without feeling the need to play ball with hackneyed politicians who don’t have the best interest of anybody at heart. Yesterday, I was pretty excited about the new leadership at SHRM; however, with the appointment of Johnny Taylor to the White House Initiative on HBCUs, we got a glimpse of something else.
I believe in healthy, soothing rituals. I’m talking about behaviors and practices meant to achieve physical, spiritual or emotional comfort.
For example, my husband and I try to have dinner on Friday night and then see a movie. Then there’s my grandmother, who had a cup of hot English breakfast tea daily and savored the moment when her cold hands came into contact with the warm mug. Or my friend who wakes up before dawn every weekday and laces up his sneaker to run.
Small and healthy rituals are important. They anchor our minds to the present and provide a modest level of comfort when other aspects of our lives aren’t going so well. If work sucks and your kids are monsters, it feels good to take an evening bath or have that one piece of Dove dark chocolate every day.
That’s why it’s so hard for people to quit smoking and drinking. The self-soothing ritual of the morning cigarette? The glass of champagne at the end of the day? Replacing it with a goddamn cup of tea is dissatisfying, and, honestly, depressing.
But finding a wholesome, daily ritual is worth a look. Whether it’s five minutes in a dark closet where nobody talks to you — or your favorite Starbucks drink on the way to work — there is something out there for everybody.
You deserve one moment every day that feels great and requires no apologies. I think you can find something special that doesn’t harm your body and soul. One good thing you do for yourself that nobody else can do for you.
– My retweets
– Mentions of me
– Photos of my good side
– When you share my blog posts
– Looking at your followers
– Loud bands that shred
– Baby animal videos
– TSA’s Instagram
– Yo mama jokes
– Travel snaps
I need to smash my phone. You probably need to smash yours, too!