Why you need a smile file

how rudeI had a really crappy day. A real bummer of a day. A terrible, no-good day. Someone said some really mean things to me and had me second guessing what kind of employee/recruiter/hr professional/person I am. Lucky me I have some wonderful co-workers and friends who had encouraging words for me. A few friends reminded me that those words were just one persons opinion and they don’t define me. I appreciate the support, but I still let this person get in my head and as I was responding to emails later in the evening one came across that deserved to be moved into the “smile file.” As I moved this email into the smile file I decided to read through all of my other smile file emails and by the time I was done I was laughing so hard I was crying, I had the biggest smile on my face, and I was reminded that many people have taken the time to let me know they appreciate my work.

I actually have two smile files: one in my email and a folder in my desk. The one in my email is obviously for emails I receive and the one in my desk is for thank you notes or other random things that make it my way. There’s a fun paper airplane in there, a button that made someone think of me,  and of course handwritten thank you notes from candidates, employees, other NASHRM volunteers, as well as current and former co-workers. I needed these today. I needed to be reminded that I’m loved and appreciated and that I’m a hard worker and an excellent recruiter. I’m a tough girl, but today was rough and I needed these.

You need a smile file for days like these. Days where someone says something that you let crawl into your head and dwell. Days where you forget why you do what you love. You need a smile file for days where someone thinks its okay to make you feel like less than them.

Everyone should have a smile file! If you don’t have one I’m challenging you to make one today! Send me your email and I’ll send you something for your smile file!!

smile

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About that apology

Growing up I wasn’t ever really forced to use my manners very often, including apologizing. My dad was dead set on teaching me to tell the truth, this was number one for him. Teaching your kid to tell the truth and then making your kid apologize for telling the truth (like when you tell the babysitter that she cannot keep house as good as your daddy) can be tough to explain, so as far as my memory is concerned we mostly skipped that lesson. I did have to apologize for lying, I vividly remember that. I believe this important truth lesson that was hammered into my brain from birth is a huge contributor to my lack of filter. It’s a blessing and a curse. Seriously, my parents taught me more than just telling the truth with this one, they also taught me it was perfectly acceptable to be who I am.

This is also tricky territory. It is perfectly acceptable for me to be who I am, but certain situations call for certain behavior. It’s not okay to text during the National Anthem, even though I’m a texter. It’s not okay for me to walk into an executives office and prop my feet up on their desk and act like I own the place, even if that’s my style. It’s not okay for me to call someone else an @$$hole in an email to corporate, even if they are one (c’mon y’all, we’ve been over this one). It’s not okay to be mean, rude, disrespectful, and downright hateful. It is okay for me to choose not to compromise my values, to hold onto my beliefs, to be honest, to chase my dreams, and to choose not to apologize. It’s okay for me to choose not to apologize for being myself. It’s okay for me to not apologize for the way I think, or for what’s important to me, or for what I believe in. It’s not okay for me to be mean, rude, hateful, ugly and not apologize. Are you with me?

Please don’t use this post as an excuse to not apologize for being a jerk. If you’re a jerk then you should apologize for it and then stop being a jerk, k? Moving on.

Im sorry

Apologizing in your day job. I work with some very talented individuals (in my day job and in my field). It’s truly amazing to watch a group of professionals collaborate and tackle problems together. What hurts my heart is when one professional in the room’s thought process doesn’t align with the rest of the group and that person feels remorse for that and spits out an apology. Do you work for a place that you think falls victim to groupthink? Do you sometimes feel like one of the few people on the outside of that groupthink just looking in? This can happen at even the best of organizations. You being on the outside of the groupthink is a POSITIVE thing, so listen up!! I want you to STOP apologizing. Stop apologizing to those groupthinkers when you have a new idea that they don’t like. Stop apologizing to those folks when your thought process isn’t the same as theirs. Stop apologizing to those folks when you try to do something a different way and it isn’t 100% effective or successful the first time. For the sake of your organization (and possibly your sanity) stop apologizing and hang on to your ideas! Keep them coming. Groupthink cannot be broken by doing the same ol thing we’ve always done, we need YOU and your innovative ideas, fresh perspective, questions, and outlook! You’re making a difference, it’s probably just happening slower than you’d like. Just do me a solid and promise me the next time you’re talking with one of those folks and you didn’t see the same thing they saw, don’t apologize for it-share with them how you came to your conclusion!

Like meeting the ex-girlfriend?

Meeting the ex-girlfriend is full of awkwardness right? It’s sometimes a competition of who chose the better path. The ex-girlfriend is all “I got rid of that loser” and the new girlfriend is all like “he’s not a loser, you were the problem” or something like that. Here’s the deal though, being a grown-up affords you the opportunity to be polite, civil, and to skip the judgement on both sides, so here it is.

Yes, I know who you are. Yes, I have it on good authority that you know who I am.

Yes, I used to do the job that you are doing now (quite well in many ways). No, I do not wish you failure or hardships in any way. Contrary to popular belief I wish you lots of success and for you to exceed my biggest goals that I met there.

I’m not the ex-girlfriend of the place, I’m part of the history of the place. Let’s be the professionals that we are and skip awkward.

feel the awkward

Instant expression

So I haven’t been loyal to the blog recently because I’m working on one of my issues… instant expression. I’m one of your typical gen y kids that loves instant gratification, instant recognition, instant feedback, etc. I have no time to waste so instant is ideal! I’m also very guilty of expressing my thoughts/feelings (good and bad) instantly. I’ve worked very hard towards delivering my disgust towards an idea in a more upbeat cheerful kind of way these days, but a girl can only be worn down so much before her instincts to be blatantly truthful take over. Turns out, staying away from the blog did nothing for keeping things in because there’s still email (and y’all know I can get myself in trouble over some emails). It’s easy for me to not a post a status after second thought or send a tweet, but that’s because hundreds of people would see it! When I evaluate if making a public status/tweet is a good idea, I usually take into consideration the ramifications of at least ten people who would see the post and then bam, just like that I know to delete what I was going to say. Email (and text) is a completely different story. An email between two people is understood to be a one on one conversation and private (but for some reason there are organizations out there reading their employees emails anyway) so it’s a lot easier to let loose some frustration in an email or text. thatsnicedearUnfortunately, that doesn’t mean its smarter than tweeting or blogging or anything else. It’s too easy for someone to forward your email, or screen shot, and pass it around to several people. It’s too easy for them to delete their part of the conversation and have your words taken out of context. It’s too easy to look like an a-hole! How can you avoid the terrible mistake that is venting out all of your frustrations in the wrong kind of way? Walk away from your electronics. When you’re mad, or disgusted, or angry, or fed up… walk way from your electronics. Maybe you go write what you wanted to say and then put it through the shredder. Maybe you call someone you trust, please make it someone you undoubtedly can trust and not a co-worker that you thought you could trust, but find out too late that you cannot. Maybe we seek guidance from someone who knows better than us millennial or another millennial  that has this figured out. If you’re one of those people who has this figured out, please do hit us up in the comments!

 

Won’t you be my… friend?

Frequently over the last two weeks the topic of ‘HR and friends in the workplace’ has popped up in conversation. I have mixed feelings on this topic, but after the 2nd time it came up I decided to shut up and listen to what others had to say. Most professionals are feeding me a line that you can separate your work relationship from your friendship and while I hope this is true, I’m not naïve enough to think that it’s always that easy. I found some people who work in HR and have friends at their work place (or have had friends at their work place while they were in an HR role). Here are some of the things I heard:

Everything was always pretty much fine until she was nearing the end of her employment with us and she suddenly had a sexual harassment complaint. As her friend I felt like she probably was not harassed and because of that I was able to recognize and explain to her that if she wanted to file her complaint officially she needed to talk to someone else in the HR department.

This scenario is tricky because for a personality type like mine I’d be 100% one way or the other… I’d either be team “you’re-overreacting” or I’d be team “lets-beat-him-down-knock-out-all-of-his-teeth-and-tie-him-to-a-tree” (we are woman hear us roar). The HR side of me would take this very serious and start the formal process immediately. How about your friend? Does your friend even realize what position they have just put you in, especially if they are just venting and over stating a situation only to come back later and respond with “oh they weren’t harassing me”. It can happen folks, it. can. happen.

In another conversation I approached an HR pro that has two or three very close friends that work outside of the HR department for her company. It went a little something like this:

Me: How do you feel about HR having friends at work?

Her: I used to have friends in the HR department, but they did me kind of shady so I prefer to have closer friends outside of the department.

Me: Do they ever fish for information they know you have?

Her: Sometimes. One respects that I have that boundary, at least one of them is questionable in that aspect and one of them has a degree in HR so I think she gets it, even though she does different work. The harder part is if one of them complains about an employee or their manager and I have to decide whether I’m friend first or HR first.

Me: Who do you talk about your day with?

Her: No one.

The cool thing about my HR friends is that we swap stories. Sometimes it’s how we reacted to an OFCCP letter, sometimes it’s how we reacted to the S.W.A.T. team jumping off our employers building, hunting an employee down, while we were big-months pregnant, but a lot of times it’s about something off the wall an employee did or said. You know who we can’t have those conversations with? Other people who work at the company and don’t have the same obligations of confidentiality. I can’t imagine not having anyone to swap these crazy stories with. The other thing that stood out to me about our conversation was that she preferred her close friends in the company outside of the HR department vs. inside the HR department. My instinct is to be friends with the HR department over outside of the HR department, generally speaking. will you be my friend

It would be cool if we all had grown-up-like friendships where we could say “while I’m here, I’m HR, please understand that and I’ll understand your role”, but there are these sneaky little things called human emotions and sometimes those human emotions impair our judgment. I’ve often heard the response from the HR pro in the scenario that “I would choose not to be involved in their disciplinary action,” it’s not always a disciplinary action that makes that relationship awkward! These emotions could be in response to a policy that HR is in charge of, the termination of a co-worker that your friend liked, your friend being overlooked for a promotion or pay increase, not hiring a referral your friend gave you, so on and so on. So I ask you, fellow HR pros, can you have friends in the workplace? How do you maintain those friendships? Which comes first HR duties or friend duties?