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    Thursday
    May282015

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 213 - Try Again

    HR Happy Hour 213 - Try Again

    Recorded Wednesday May 27, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Featuring: Ben Eubanks

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the show Steve and Trish (calling in from an undisclosed location in Arkansas), talked about the the most valuable brands in the world, how work and workplaces are pretty much forever changed, and the how it isn't really cool to let someone know they are a loser when they didn't even know they were competing in the first place.

    Additionally, Trish made a big and very exciting announcement, Ben Eubanks dropped by with the next installment of Ben's HR Book Review, and Steve showed incredible ignorance of the quality of the fish that one can catch in Arkansas.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below: 

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio
     

     

    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    This was a really fun show. Thanks to everyone for listening and subscribing!

    Wednesday
    May272015

    I deny a problem with my attitude

    You should stop what you are doing right now and watch/listen to 'Work For Food', one of the very best songs from one of the very best bands that never really made it big but absolutely should have, Dramarama.

    In the video, (embedded below, in all its 80s glory), the band's lead singer practically snarls the line 'I deny a problem with my attitude' as he tells the sad tale of how his life hasn't really worked out the way he had hoped for and planned.  It's a pretty sad tale as I said, not just for how things have turned out for the subject of the song, but for how it is almost certain to never get any (or much) better since he can't accept neither the responsibility for his circumstances nor the reality of his situation. But it is easy to miss all of that in the guitars and drums and catchy hook of the song.

    And it is also hard when we are the guy in the song as it were, hard for us to realize sometimes when it is actually us who has the bad attitude or the bad idea or are the one that is simply being a jerk when it is much, much easier to blame the other guy, or our colleagues, or society, or the faceless and uncaring government.

    We all hate Congress, but re-elect 'our' representative something like 90% of the time. Everyone on the road is a terrible driver, (except us). And I can't believe the guy in front of me in the express check-out line has 11 items!  Can't he read the sign that says '10 Items or Fewer?'. We'd never do that...

    The first step in making work, workplaces, heck anywhere better, more civil places is for folks to own up to their own bad attitudes and actions. Admit it, you've been the guy to leave the coffee pot with about 3/4 of an ounce without firing up a fresh pot. Just own up to it. And if we can all start there, and not live in some kind of state of denial about how wonderful we are, things will get better. They have to. Unless all the jerks out there don't cooperate...

    Dramarama, 'Work For Food' (email and RSS subscribers need to click through)

     

     Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    May262015

    The Invisible City

    Business travel is (mostly) terrible because we spend comparatively more time per trip dealing with the worst aspects of the process of traveling, (airports, delays, long cab rides, crowds...), and less time actually doing the fun parts of traveling, (sightseeing, trying some local restaurants and shops, meeting new people, catching a ball game). No, most business travel is actually two stressful, periods of 'travel', interrupted briefly by a little 'business' in the middle. And if you are a frequent business traveler you sometimes are faced with pressure from home (partners, spouses, kids, the dog), to minimize all non-essential elements of these business trips so you can get your butt back on the plane and come home. Which might make for some peace on the home front, but does nothing but increase the traveler's angst and to some extent guilt. After all, jetting to San Diego for a meeting or a conference in February sounds a hell of a lot more fun than dealing with the 27th Winter storm of the season back home. Just let's not talk about spending 9 hours at O'Hare after you missed your connection and nothing is going out due to the snow storm.The Invisible City, Chermayeff & Geismar Associates

    But you usually (and usually rightfully) give in to the demands of home and family and work, and minimize the time you spend away. You will willingly take Monday at 5:45AM flights on the way out and red eye flights back home so you are not giving too much of the appearance that you actually might, you know, want to take a little time to have a tiny bit of fun on one of these trips. And you do that so often, in so many places, that after a while everyplace starts to seem kind of the same. Starbucks in every city tastes the same. So does Chipotle. Sure, it would be better to try something unique and local, but the Starbucks is in the hotel lobby and the Chipotle is right next to the rental car drop off. And you need to get home, so if you grab something fast you might be able to stand by on an earlier flight.

    And that is probably the worst part of business travel, especially for folks that travel frequently. That we allow it to become routine and ordinary and mind-crushingly the same no matter the destination. Lao Tzu is said to have said that 'A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving'. Which is the opposite of what we make business travel. We always have plans, we are obsessed with getting in and out as quickly as possible, and eventually we turn these experiences into the mundane, and not the remarkable opportunities they should be.

    And I don't mean just the opportunity to see another conference room or a hotel ballroom or the Starbucks in the lobby. 

    Monday
    May252015

    Incoming Email Subject Lines, Ranked

    Most Email is terrible. But some emails are actually fun to receive. Some. So for your day off from work/school/whatever it is that you have to worry about tomorrow but you are trying not to think about today reading pleasure, I submit this incomplete, yet definitive ranking of Incoming Email Subject Lines.

    Here we go...

    15. 'Whitepaper: 5 Tips for Managing Gen Y'

    14. 'REMINDER: 'Your credit card payment is due in 5 days.'

    13. 'You may already be a winner!'

    12. <Subject: Blank>

    11. 'It's time to check-in for your flight tomorrow.'

    10. 'New comment on 'Easter Candies, Ranked'.'

    9. 'Steve, please add me to your LinkedIn network.'

    8. 'Up to 70% off for the Brooks Brothers clearance sale!'

    7. 'Your Amazon.com order has shipped!'

    6. 'New price drop on Las Vegas Hotels!'

    5. 'Out of the Office: I am out of the office today...'

    4. 'This meeting has been canceled, and removed from your calendar.'

    3. 'ALERT: A Direct Deposit has been received into your account.'

    2. 'Your upgrade on Flight 239 has been confirmed.'

    1. 'You have no scheduled events today.'

    Have a great Monday and for folks in the USA, a nice Memorial Day. Thanks to all the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense and service.

    Friday
    May222015

    What are you afraid of?

    Note: This week on the blog I am trying out a little experiment - writing on the first five (or so) subjects that popped out at random from a cool little app called Writing Exercises. The app provides suggestions for topics, characters, first lines - that kind of thing. I tapped the 'Random Subject' button a few times and will (try) to come up with something for each subject I was presented. It may be good, it may stink - who knows? But whatever the topic, I am taking like 20 minutes tops to bang something out. So here goes...

    Today's (and this little exercise's final) topic is a question: What are you afraid of?, and like yesterday's post, I am going to try and keep this more in a work/workplace/career context. I mean I am afraid of Sasquatch and the a guy sitting next to me on a plane who decides to take off his flip-flops and films with subtitles, but no one cares about that.

    So what am I afraid of? Not sure I if I am still afraid of these things, but I probably was at one point or another (or should have been). Here goes...

    1. Continuing to work with people that you don't trust - There is always a kind of weird and interesting dynamic in organizations and office politics where on the one hand if everyone succeeds then everyone is happy, but in most organizations 'everyone' isn't who or how we reward that success. Said differently, and hopefully in a way that makes sense, most organizations value team work and collaboration, but when come promotion and raise and bonus time it is literally every man and woman for themselves. Naturally these circumstances lend themselves often to people having to work in their own self-interests, and their self-interests are almost certainly not aligned with yours. Once you get the sense that the big, happy family of collaborating colleagues is actually a pack of loosely organized bloodthirsty pirates, you had better be able to either play the game to win or get yourself out of there. 

    2. Staying too long in a job or at an organization that is making you unhappy - Similar to Item 1, I know that there has been a time in my career I lingered at a little too long at a place where I had ceased learning, developing, and being excited to be there. It was for all the usual reasons that I stayed - finances, location, family obligations, etc.  The same reasons you are probably gutting it out in a job you don't like either. But even though we can pretty effectively rationalize the 'stick it out' decision, in the longer term it is almost always one we will regret. 

    3. Letting someone else (or expectations) manage your career choices. One of the things most folks should do, at least early in their careers, is take the time to experiment. I am talking about taking at least some time to try a few different roles/industries/kinds of jobs in order to figure out what you are actually good at doing. It is so easy to come out of college as say an accounting major and then take your first accounting job which leads to the next accounting job and so on and so on. Until 18 years later you are the Assistant Controller and you realize that you don't really like accounting. But your Dad told you to major in accounting because it 'Would be easy to get a job after you graduate' and so you did and then, well, you know the rest. So take some time to ty out some things when you are young and you only have to worry about supporting yourself. Finding something you actually enjoy and are good at will make you infinitely happier in the long run.

    Ok, that is it from me for the week. And that is the end, (thankfully), of this week's Writing Exercises experiment. Thanks for indulging me. 

    Have a great weekend!