Flipping off customers

I got behind the wheel with road rage from day 1. Like an embarrassing amount of road rage.

From the time I was 16 until I was in my 20s I did not dial it down one single bit. No matter how much my parents or any other responsible adult in my life told me my road rage was out of control. (I know, I was just soooo coool).

Two things finally made me lay off the horn and stop screaming at people. 1) That crazy “Normal” episode of Criminal Minds. 2) Pulling into a potential customer site behind someone I had just yelled at for cutting me off.

The first reason is reason enough, if you haven’t seen the episode no need to go and watch it. If you know, you know.

The second reason was an eye opener because I could quickly quantify what that road rage just cost me if that was the person I was in a rush to meet with.

get off the road

Seriously, what if that person who cut me off was the decision maker for the meeting I was headed into. I wouldn’t have known the difference.

That experience made me realize that once you’re in certain roles, you are always wearing that hat any time you’re out in the community. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. It probably just means that you should be respectful from the jump and make sure you don’t misrepresent yourself to a stranger… that could become a customer.

Or an employee.

Or a boss.

Or a co-worker.

Road rage isn’t healthy anyway so it was a good habit to break.

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Is anyone really on time?

I am fortunate enough to have a job where my boss doesn’t watch what time I roll into the office every day. She is very much of the mindset that you get your job done and that’s what is most important. I think she also knows that when I come in late I typically stay late, or make up for it over the weekends, but the point is I don’t clock in and out.

I am not a morning person. Yes, I will get up at 4:20 am and go to boot camp, no I am not nice to people at 4:20 in the morning.

I’m not pleasant in the mornings. I’m focused (usually on my coffee) and I need to be left alone. If I see something that needs to get done, I’ll have to do it before I leave the house or I’ll be thinking about it all day while I’m at work. What can I say, I guess something is wrong with me like that.

When I’m driving to work and I’m going to be more than 30 minutes “late” I always think about my first day on my first job where I wasn’t there at 12:01 (my shift started at 12) and the person training me called my house to see if I was coming in. I walked in the door a minute later and she never said anything to me about calling my house.

When I got home my dad asked me why I was late to work. I was convinced I wasn’t late to work and he took the opportunity to make sure my 16-year-old brain understood that 1 minute late, is late.

Here’s what I’ve learned: he wasn’t wrong. Late is late, and even though I have flexibility in my job now I’m still embarrassed when I’m more than a few minutes late. I also know that one day I may have to have a job where I have a boss that cares what time I get there, or I may even have to actually clock in and clock out.

I get it. I manage teams of employees who have to get to work at a certain time, some of them have to actually clock in. My husband has a strict schedule at his job and he needs to be there at a certain time (or so he says). What we do and who we support typically dictates how important a set schedule is.

why you so obsessed

Even in flexible environments strolling in whenever ‘you get there’ can become a problem. Be sure and know your audience. It doesn’t hurt to be aware of big projects going on that require more of you and your co-workers time and trying to get in earlier during those tasks. And, for what it’s worth, if you’re the newest member to the team, or you are working on getting a promotion, or you have a new boss – get to work on time.

Also, take the time to let people know where you are or what your usual hours are. Whether it’s a group calendar, verbal conversation, or a sticky note on your door. The easier you are to find, the less frustrated people will be with you.

 

HR doesn’t make the rules

This one deserves more attention than I’m giving the short 33 career lessons, but this one is important so don’t let the brief summary fool you.

HR friends, you don’t make the rules. You may get to make some decisions, but you don’t make the rules.

If HR is sitting in their office making rules from afar that impact managers and employees we are doing business wrong. Our primary business service to the organization is to help facilitate solutions. Yes, we have to take into consideration all the data that helps us do a reasonable risk analysis, present solutions, and partner with folks for the right answer-but we don’t make the rules.

rules

We may offer guidance on what the safest solution is, but we don’t make the rules. We may even recite case-law and updated state and federal  laws, but we do not make the rules…

If you get defensive when a manager has an idea or suggestion and have to flex on them so they know you are in control, you are in the wrong field my friend. You’ll be miserable at work and you’ll hold your organization back.

If you hold up a process so you can remind people HR is an important function for getting work done, they are going to think less and less of HR and start working around you.

Don’t flex on folks and embarrass HR in 2019. Be useful, collaborate, build solutions and take your organization to the next level. Otherwise, you may be building the case for your company to not value HR at all.

 

What’s really going on here?

blogposts

I’ve had this blog for many years now, but every year I write less and less on it. I still write for other people (some under my name and some ghost writing), but I’ve neglected little ol’ hrpockets.

I’ve been thinking about ways to reunite with my blog and get back to putting out regular content. So many times I think of this great idea for a post, start my notes, say I’m going to finish it (lets not talk about how many draft posts I have) and push it further and further down my to-do list.

The truth is I enjoy putting out the occasional blog. I find it helpful to connect with readers and engage via email or social media to learn other folks perspectives, I just haven’t made myself sacrifice other things to focus on writing here.

I remember Sarah Morgan talking about how she was advised to find a 30 day writing challenge to reconnect with her writing and I finally decided maybe I could do that to re-engage here. FYI, Sarah created the #BlackBlogsMatter movement from her writing challenge and its about to start for 2019 so please bookmark her page and follow the hashtag and twitter account, she (and many others) are going to be bringing the content!

My writing challenge is just for me, it’s sort of a new years resolution, I guess? A stab at building a habit of showing some attention to where my writing started. 33 days of career lessons in honor of turning 33 (today).

Today makes lesson 10. We will all find out together if I make it through all 33. No writing ahead, no set time to post by, no word count, or ultimate goal other than the 33 lessons I made a list of back in December.

Lesson 10 is do what you want to do. Sure you have to get some experience, but don’t do something you don’t want to do for too long-you may get stuck there.

You have to figure out for yourself what you want and you have to learn to articulate that to your managers and mentors. If you can’t articulate it, you’re losing out on resources you need. Being able to articulate your goals and what you really enjoy working on will help you facilitate conversations where you get the most useful feedback from others and have the opportunity to ask valuable questions. Rarely do things just fall in your lap and work out exactly the way you had hoped, you have to use your voice.

This also means you are allowed to leave good opportunities without guilt. You can have a great job and enjoy your co-workers, but need to leave for your own career path and professional development. That is OKAY! You shouldn’t feel bad for leaving a good company if the new opportunity is right.

The easiest way to navigate how to get to where you want to be is honesty and transparency. If you’re working for someone who doesn’t value your honesty and transparency, you’re probably not where you ultimately want to be anyway.

In 2019 I hope you find yourself doing what you want to do.

Why are you doing that?

Man, some days just stink. You can have a great job and have a crappy day. Maybe you had it out with a co-worker, a boss made you mad, fire after fire popped up for you to put out, and you just head home defeated and with your head down.

A bad day doesn’t have to derail you. You can get back up.

The best way for me to refocus and move forward is to revisit my ‘why’.

why

If you don’t know ‘your why’ then what are you even doing?

Your why should help you solve problems. For example, when we get into a group to collaborate on a problem, it can get away from us with lots of opinions and ideas. Taking the opportunity to define the ‘why’ behind the project helps determine what solutions make sense and what solutions aren’t a good fit.

Your why can motivate you on the days you don’t feel motivated.

Your why can define your personal goals.

Your why will drive your actions.

Your why should help you look past those bad days.

If you don’t know your why where you are right now, I want you to think about it until you do. Once you have it, put it front and center in your mind as you carry out your work. If you can’t define your why, maybe it’s time to find a new gig.

 

I can be great all by myself

You can have great ideas all by yourself, but you can’t always be great all by yourself.

be great

Everyone needs a mentor. I need a mentor because I’m the blunt friend/co-worker/employee and I’ve found that it’s very hard to find someone to be blunt with you when you’re the blunt friend/co-worker/employee. Its’ fine, it’s just the way the world works.

What you can get instead is a mentor. I find that mentors are more willing to give it to you straight and set you back on the right path.

Find you a mentor.

Don’t wait for a company to assign you one as a new hire, find your own. Your mentor should be someone you aspire to be like or value. They should be someone who is an example of what/who you would like to be like. Strong mentor/mentee relationships are the ones that are grown organically, not the ones paired up through a program.

Be honest with your mentors.

Don’t paint stories of work challenges in a way that make you look more favorable than you actually were. Mentors can’t help you correct if you don’t tell the whole truth. The reason you have a mentor is to be better, so don’t cover up the ugly.

Listen to your mentors.

Didn’t you choose your mentor for a reason? You don’t have to do everything they say, but listen to what they share. You can’t take your professional development to the next level without perspective.

Mentors aren’t always forever.

Like many other relationships sometimes mentors are only for a season. Don’t ignore the signs to move on.

In 2019, find you two mentors. Find people who will be excited to help you be great.