When the Union strikes…

One of my favorite sessions from #SHRM13 was “A Portrait of a Modern Labor Dispute”. There are sooooo many reasons why I enjoyed this presentation. Some matter and some don’t.

1) Hope is adorable. She’s just fun to be around and she’s so sweet.

2) I feel like we have a bond through a previous employer of mine.

3) Unions fascinate me.

4) They were honest.

5) They didn’t back down.

6) Cliff has a snarky sense of humor that I happen to enjoy.

The story they shared with us was the violent labor dispute between EGT and ILWU. EGT opened a facility in an area that the ILWU claimed fell in their territory and EGT chose to not staff their facility with ILWU workers and things got ugly. What they showed us was real footage. It’s the stuff the union reps don’t share with your employees when they are trying to infiltrate your organizations. I can remember a few years back at an AL State SHRM conference the speakers that closed the conference were two former union guys that shared their secrets with a room full of HR pros on how they would turn facilities. The stuff they shared with us was mind-blowing! Black mailing executives, threatening managers, harrassing employees, some real dirty stuff. And this specific example between EGT and ILWU is a prime example of how manipulative and ill-natured the union can be when they strike.

Here in AL we are a “right to work state” so I have stumbled upon plenty of HR pros that think their facilities won’t go union because of that. My own digging has turned up quite the opposite information. We happen to have a large presence of union reps going after plenty of facilities in AL, specifically in south AL where we have more automotive facilities. They are persistent, they are hardcore, they do not give up. So, how will you handle that?

Here’s the deal, we all hope that our facilities won’t go union, but what would you do if it did? What would you do if it did go union and your facility had to deal with union protests? How would you handle a stack of grievances every week? How will you handle the unions intimidation tactics? How are you preventing this from happening? Unions are not just a manufacturing facility problem either, if you think that you are living under a rock in a nice cozy HR office with no windows or doors. As a disclaimer let me just add that not all unions are nasty and untrustworthy and neither are all union employees. A lot of times employees join a union because they don’t know any better or maybe because their dad did and his dad did and so on. But, the word “union” typically paralyzes an HR professional. There are so many things that we want to say to our employees that we are prohibited from saying so we freeze up and chase our tails waiting for the whole thing to play out. That is not okay.

What Hope and Cliff of Thompson Coburn LLC did was fight for their client. They didn’t negotiate some kind of deal and tell their client to abide by the ILWU’s wishes. They pushed for what was right, when no one was on their side. Even when local law enforcement chose to stay out of it, they continued to push for what was right. I think that’s outstanding and we don’t see that enough from companies & attorneys. We don’t see companies willing to battle something out until the end because they are afraid of negative headlines. I believe that organizations should fight when they haven’t done anything wrong and these attorneys felt that way about this particular case. They did a wonderful job presenting to the group! These are people you want in your corner when you’re in a fight like this, no doubt.

It starts with you though, yeah HR professional, I’m talking to you. Make sure your organization is taking care of its people. And I don’t mean go put tequila shots in the break room and a slide from the 4th floor to the basement. I mean listen to your people, talk to your people, grow your people, give them opportunity, pay them fair, give them fair benefits, be honest with your people, connect with your people. Don’t guess what they want either, seriously, go have conversations with your people.

Heather, Hope and myself at #SHRM13
Heather, Hope and myself at #SHRM13

Do you have any union experiences to share? As previously mentioned, I’m completely fascinated by unions so please do share!



This is Chicago day 2 and I have to say SHRM knows how to have a conference. I’ve been in complete awe since I stepped foot in the McCormick center. The volunteers are the friendliest people you could ever meet and beyond helpful; turns out there is hope for customer service yet! HRCI is sponsoring free 10 minute massages today-Heck yeah! There is a lounge for chapter volunteers to kick back and enjoy some snacks and win some cool prizes. There’s vendors for every little thing your company could need from pet insurance to some kind of breast pump solutions (?). There’s people here from all over (78 countries) like Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia and even, you guessed it, Alabama! Just thinking about how much knowledge and expertise is sitting in this building with me seriously gives me chills!!! The SHRM store is here selling some really cools stuff for all of us nerdy HR pros. The HIVE is set up next to the SHRM store to answer all your social media questions and tech recruiting questions. And there’s plenty of time and opportunity to network and have fun with your HR friends! I’m quickly making new friends and connections and already learning things to take back to work and share with my coworkers! I’m so excited to be here at #SHRM13 and if you’re here then come seek me out tomorrow in the HIVE from 10-12, I would LOVE to meet you! If you’re not here at #SHRM13 my blogger friends and I will be working diligently to keep you in the know!


I’m going to Chicago suckas! #SHRM13

I’m so stinking excited about attending my first annual SHRM conference that I can’t even stand it. I still feel like it’s too good to be true! I’ve wanted to attend one ever since I’ve been involved with NASHRM/SHRM and I finally get to go. And I’m pretty excited that my first conference is in Chicago-I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago and haven’t really had the time/resources/reason to do so yet. I’ve been reviewing the content on the SHRM website and today playing around with #SHRM13 app for my smartphone-seriously go check it out, it’s pretty cool. I honestly cannot think of any reason an HR professional should not attend SHRM national. So what are some reasons you should go?
-I’m going
-A lot of other really cool people I know are going
-They have some super excellent speakers
-RECERT CREDITS!!! Shout out to you PHR/SPHRs
-If you’re a Kelly Clarkson fan, she’s going to be the entertainment
-Uh, it’s in Chicago!

Want to know more? Go check out the app! #SHRM13! Need to register? Do it now (before the 17th). Want to make sure you have someone cool to hangout with? Hit me up-I’ll be there! @HRecruit.

the screw you fund

I have a friend that believes strongly in the idea of the screw you fund. She once had a professor advise her and her classmates that it was important to their adult life to obtain such a fund for that day that you say, well you know, and quit your job. I always cringed at this story when she would tell it. It went against every logical piece of information I believed and worshipped as a recruiter, you never EVER quit a job without a back up job. Without a plan. Without at least an updated resume. Until you do. Then suddenly this magical “F YOU FUND” would solve all your problems. Real life has made me realize that sometimes you have to let go of a job before you can find another job. It’s a risk and it’s not appealing on a resume, but if you have a job that’s eating up all of your waking minutes then it’s not realistic to think that you can find a job before you leave your job. And no matter what shape the economy is in you never can be certain how long it will take you to land your next gig. What happens if you find yourself in a jobless scenario without a back up job or an F YOU FUND…? Sometimes you wait tables or bartend. Sometimes you do work you never thought you were going to do again. Sometimes you eat your words. So maybe I’ve found myself as a supporter of the f you fund… get you one!

Dave Ramsey always talks about our generation and how we are so quick to think that we need to start our adult life with everything our parents have: a nice house, nice cars, all the furniture and home decor, etc. when in reality our parents accumulated things over years and saved and worked hard and purchased things as life progressed. So don’t feel like you have to decorate your first house from top to bottom when you land a nice job, instead start an f you fund. You honestly never know when you are going to need it-worst case scenario, you never use it.

On the other side of that, I have once had a job where we all came in and were told that “today is our last day” as in they were closing the doors to the business at the end of that shift and that was it. If you already have your f you fund in place then you don’t have a huge need to panic (yes I realize that you should be eligible to draw unemployment in this scenario, but seriously, who can live off of just unemployment?). There are multiple scenarios where an f you fund is logical. My recommendation as a recruiter is to avoid leaving a job without having one if possible, but if you’re going to leave  without one have a solid case for it and have your f you fund.

I told you so!

i told you soSometimes I lack a filter and it’s okay, I embrace it mostly. Sometimes my lack of filter gets me in trouble… and that’s okay too. It ultimately means that I learned a lot of lessons the hard way (for example, maybe you shouldn’t call someone at corporate an @$hole in an email to the VP? ehhh… that’s not really a good example because I didn’t really get in trouble for that one. I do however, realize that probably wasn’t my best idea). What I struggle with the most, filter wise, is the “I told you so”. Pretty much my entire adult life has been spent as a recruiter, yet a lot of times my knowledge and abilities are underestimated. For a lot of reasons like I’m a young, adorable female; my experience is mostly in the staffing industry and that industry as a whole is under valued and because I have no filter. I can tell you all day why I’m good at recruiting and I can even teach you how to recruit-the truth is, I know my #@!%, so when someone goes against one of my hiring recommendations the majority of the time I’m going to get an opportunity to say I told you so. I realize this isn’t always the case, I am aware that I am not 100% right. The point isn’t that I rock, the point is that I’ve also learned the hard way to not say I told you so. The recruiter version of me 6 years ago took every opportunity to say I told you so, the recruiter I am now knows better. I can’t expect the [customers] to respect my experience and recommendations if I don’t respect their perspective. I have to step back and look at things from all angles and to think of how I would want the news delivered to me. When I go against a hiring decision I provide the reasons why, all of them, and document them. I also find out as much information as I can as to why they want to hire this particular person and ask do their likes outweigh my dislikes. When a hire goes south we revisit that file and see what I saw and how it relates to where the hire went wrong. I help the customer see what I saw just like they help me sort through the job description and determine what is necessary/important to them and what isn’t in the beginning of the process. You not only have to be able to communicate this information, you have to be able to communicate it across generations and communicate it well.

Some important lessons that I’ve learned from my “I told you so” moments:
-Someone will always be around to also tell YOU “I told you so”
-No one likes a know-it-all
-It’s immature
-It’s not worth it

Your 1st job should suck

My 1st job  (that you read about here) didn’t suck that bad, but it kind of sucked. I had to work with my arch nemesis for starters… on a team…ick. Your first job should teach you teamwork. Teamwork with people you don’t want to be on a team with. Your 1st job should suck because you should work for people who piss you off, but it’s your 1st job so you can’t afford to quit. Your 1st job should teach you patience. Your 1st job should suck because you should have to work harder than you thought you would ever have to. Your 1st job should teach you appreciation. Your 1st job should suck because your parents will get a call at 12:01 when you’re not there yet, ya know because you were scheduled to be there at 12:00. Your 1st job should teach you to be punctual. Your 1st job should suck because you don’t understand the decisions the boss man makes, but you’re not in a place to speak up. Your 1st job should teach you trust.

I believe your first job should suck. You have to work some sucky jobs to appreciate a good job. And you can learn a lot from crappy jobs to apply to good jobs! I know this for a fact! If you haven’t had a crappy job, you’re really missing out on some good lessons and probably not appreciating your good job as much as you could. So go out there and get you a crappy job and learn as much as you can … and then… move on.

The 30 Day Update!


We have all had someone in our lives tell us that it is a good idea to keep your resume updated and as HR professionals we have probably given this advice to others, however too often we do not take that advice. I firmly believe in the 30 day update (now). It is much harder to remember all of your AWESOME achievements (say over the last 7 years) than if you were to have just updated your resume every 30 (or at least SIXTY) days. It is also fairly easy to forget how much you’ve grown in your position (again, maybe over the last 7 years?) if you’re not constantly updating.

Sometimes we tell ourselves this silly little line “I’m not really planning on going anywhere so I don’t need to update my resume…” [pffffffft!] While this may be true, what about if an internal job opens up? Won’t you need to submit your resume when you want to be considered for an internal transfer? In most organizations the answer to that is YES.

BUT- I KNOW for a fact that I am not leaving my company. Well, do you have a LinkedIn? Keep it updated. I believe that an up to date resume or LinkedIn profile is good advertising for your company if you truly believe you aren’t going anywhere. Having a document ready that showcases your skills can be an asset to your employer. It could be just the thing they need on hand to win a contract or to set their business apart from a competitor?

But I don’t want to OVER UPDATE my resume. Listen-it’s easier to cut out the unnecessary when it comes time to pull your resume off your jump drive than to add all of the relevant tasks you’ve done over a career. I still think it is important to keep your resume at a reasonable length, so if you are finding that your resume is growing into a novel you should pick the top achievements and cut the other ones into another document for reference down the road if necessary.

I can’t tell you how many times in my recruiting career I’ve talked to someone who said something along the lines of “I haven’t had to do a resume in over 10 years… I don’t even know where to start.” That has to go. Scarily enough, some of those comments have come from HR professionals. We take for granted that we spend a lot of time looking at resumes and critiquing them that we will have no problem doing our own. That is not always the case. Resume writing can just as easily be overwhelming to HR professionals as anyone else.  You never know what is going to happen, your company could close its doors in 60 days, you could get laid off without notice, you could get angry and quit (hey, everyone has a breaking point). The job hunt can be a lot less stressful if you have your resume almost ready to go! Again, I know 30 days sounds kind of often, but you’ve done a lot in the last 30 days. Maybe you just wrapped up an audit. Maybe you just learned a new line of business. Learned to operate a machine you haven’t operated before. Joined a committee. Created an award-winning presentation. Earned a certificate. Do you get the point yet? Now get off my blog and go update your resume!