Email Heroes – Are you one?

For most of their careers, my parents could never check their work email at home.  It did mean that they probably stopped working when they got home, unlike most professional employees today.  My parents also rarely made it home at 5 pm and worked in the office many Saturdays and Sundays when the work needed to get done. The world changed, we can now get work done almost anywhere.

When did we start defining work as sitting in the bathroom at home and replying to emails in five minutes as work?

Let’s face it, most people aren’t really working when they are home if they don’t normally work at home.  They like to believe that what they’re doing is real work, but if can also wait to be done the next morning when you arrive at the office, you’re not doing real work, you’re just narcissistic.  Oh, I better immediately get back to John and tell him I can definitely do that interview at 8 am, next week Friday…

We act like checking work email at home is the same as donating a kidney or something.

Studies show that 59% of males and 42% of females respond to emails when out of the office.  Those numbers actually sound low to me. The survey also shows that younger workers are more likely to think about work when going to bed and when waking. Just wait! Pretty soon thinking about work will be the same as work!

Are we losing our f’ing minds!?

Seriously! I want to know.  Having the ability to check and respond to emails outside of the office increase your work-life flexibility, but we talk about it like it’s an anchor.  That iPhone is only an anchor if you make it an anchor!  I have a son who plays baseball and I watch as many of his games as I can.  In between innings I always check my email and respond to work if necessary. I do not consider that work. I consider that watching my son play baseball!

Making the decision to take a half a day to watch my son play baseball is easy, because I know I can balance both jobs I have, running a company and being a Dad.  Does my son care that I’m checking email while he’s warming up in between innings?  No. He doesn’t even notice.  It’s not like I’m behind the backstop giving a performance review over the phone while he’s up to bat! I’m just checking and following up on some emails.

If you decide you want to stay connected to your job and organization while you are out of the office, that is a personal decision. Don’t act like you’re a hero going above and beyond by keeping up on your emails. You’re not, everyone does that.

If keeping up with your emails is the real work you’re doing, you’re highly overpaid and easily replaceable. If telling your coworkers you checked emails while out of the office on some personal time to show how dedicated and better you are than them, you need to get a life, email hero.

5 New Rules of Work

I’m usually a big fan of Fast Company articles (in fact my friend Lars Schmidt is now a regular contributor to FC and his stuff is awesome!)but this one seemed like the biggest contrived piece of new-aged garbage, I just had to share!

The article has a great premise: These Are The New Rules of Work.  You know, one of those articles that will show us all how we use to do work and how we now do work. Well, maybe, but also how we hope we could do work like they talk about in magazines like Fast Company, but we really don’t because we live in the real world.

Here’s a taste:

Old Rule: You commute into an office every day.


Cute, but I actually work at a job where we go to the office each day, like most people in the world. So, while it would great to work in the Cayman Islands, my job is in Flint, and if I don’t come in, I don’t get paid. Which makes trips to the Cayman more difficult.

You get the idea.  It was written by a professional writer, not by someone who actually works a real job. Writing isn’t a real, normal job. When you write freelance, you can actually work from anywhere, because you basically work for yourself!

Here are the others:

Old Rule: Work is “9-to-5”


Well, you’re not really on call 24-7, you choose to be ‘connected’ 24-7, there’s a difference.  I do believe that ‘leaving’ your job at the office was a concept that was overblown for the most part in our parent’s generation. They claimed to do this, but only because they didn’t have email and smartphones and laptops. Let’s face it, our parents would have been just as connected given the same technology.

Old Rule: You have a full-time job with benefits.


There’s no doubt there is a rise in the use of the contingent workforce, but this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily chosen by the worker.  True, thoughts have shifted that many people no longer want to work at one company for forty years, but much of that has been shaped by companies and economics. When you live through an entire decade of layoffs and downsizing, you begin to think of the work environment as more transient. The crazy part about this mindset is organizations still feel like candidates should want to stay at a company for forty years, even though they can’t, and won’t, guarantee that for you.

Old Rule: Work-life balance is about two distinct, separate spheres.


This is the one rule I actually agree with.  Again, from a day when you could actually separate yourself from your work and personal life. In today’s ultra-connected world, it becomes very difficult to do this. I think most people get tired of living two separate lives, and just want to live one. This is who I am, professionally and personally, take me a whole person, or not.

Old Rule: You work for money, to support yourself and your family.


This is actually the single worst piece of advice ever given to mankind! Bar none.  If this was actually the case, how do you think anything would actually get done on this planet? How would store shelves get stocked? Gas stations get to run. Your dinner gets cooked and the dishes washed at your favorite restaurant? Do you really feel there are folks “passionate” about washing dishes for you? That they want to wash dishes for your cause of having a chicken fried steak and gravy for dinner?

Get some freaking perspective.

I think it’s great if you can work at somewhere you’re passionate about, good for you. But it’s definitely not necessary for you to have a great life. Have a cause that is special in your life? Perfect, go for it. You know what really helps most causes? Money! If you have a job that makes great money, just imagine how you can truly help that cause.

So, what do you think about these ‘new’ rules of work?

Hi, My Name is Tim, and I’m a Lonely Middle-aged Guy.

Middle-aged men face this weird life-path. You start a career. Get married. Move to the suburbs. Start a family. Become a little league coach. Watch your kids graduate. Then you get ready to die.

I feel like I’ve got more friends than ever in my life, but if I stop and really put down on paper people who I would consider a ‘close’ friend, that number is very small. Part of this is the social world we’ve created. Staying in touch with hundreds or thousands of people at a very surface level, but never really going that deep. “Sorry to hear your cat died. So, awful…Hey, this video is hilarious, I better share…”

The reality is I grew up in a generation that was much different than my parents. I don’t think my parents really cared if I lived or died, as long as I wasn’t too loud in the house, and I didn’t do anything to embarrass their station in life. My generation then went to the extreme opposite and became helicopter parents!

The Boston Globe recently had an article titled: The biggest threat facing middle-aged men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness. And while I don’t really want to admit this is me, it’s probably more me than I realize! From the article:

Beginning in the 1980s, Schwartz says, study after study started showing that those who were more socially isolated were much more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected neighbors, even after you corrected for age, gender, and lifestyle choices like exercising and eating right. Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s. One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking.

The research doesn’t get any rosier from there. In 2015, a huge study out of Brigham Young University, using data from 3.5 million people collected over 35 years, found that those who fall into the categories of loneliness, isolation, or even simply living on their own see their risk of premature death rise 26 to 32 percent.

I like to tell my wife she’s my best friend, and the reality is, that’s true in every form of the phrase. I’m sure she likes knowing that, but boy does that add a lot of pressure to a marriage relationship! I’m thankful for having such a great relationship, but she doesn’t like Tosh or Deadpool, so I probably need a guy friend for that stuff!

I have a dog. He’s pretty great. Wish I had a pickup truck for him to ride with me in it. That would be even better. I call him my best friend every day, and I think he actually believes it. I know I do.

I have others I call my ‘best’ guy friends, but some of those on that list I rarely see and sometimes go weeks or months without actually communicating live. That doesn’t seem best friend-ish!

Because I write in the HR space, I have a bunch of women who I communicate with often, and I would definitely call them my ‘best’ friends who are ladies. Most guys don’t have this luxury because their wives wouldn’t take to kindly to other women talking to their husbands. I’m lucky that way, but still, most of these ‘friends’ I rarely see live or talk to live, it’s mostly a social relationship.

The moral to this story? Stop reading blogs and go touch someone. Not inappropriately, but physically see them and talk to them. The human body needs real life relationships to thrive.

Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food foods of All Time

So, I’m a big fan of sportswriter Bill Simmons. I love his writing and his podcast. About a year ago he started a website called The Ringer that basically develops sports and pop culture content, and last week they released a list of the Top 50 Fast Foods of all time.

On his pod, Simmon’s admits that the millennials who work for him screwed up the entire list (they had Chick-fil-a waffle fries as the number one choice! Those aren’t even the number one choice on the Chick-fil-a menu!), but it’s a fun list to look at any way to see where your favorites fall. To me, the list was flawed as it just measured all fast food foods in one category, which is really hard to do. S

So, I’m giving you my Top 10 Fast Foods based on the following categories: Main dish, Side dish, Breakfast, and Desert.

Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food Main Dishes: 

1. Chick-fil-a Original Sandwich – I first ate a Chick-fil-a sandwich on spring break in Florida when I was nine years old and I thought it was the best thing I’ve tasted. Since I was in Michigan, I only got Chick-fil-a once a year when we would go to Florida for Spring Break. So, when I got older and traveled all over the country, I would go to great lengths to get Chick-fil-a and bring Chick-fil-a home to my family! These sandwiches are so good I actually look past their awful social stances! Until I’m done with the sandwich, then I go back to thinking how bad of a company they are.

2. Shack Burger from Shake Shack – The single best burger on the planet. Some could argue it’s not completely fast food, but when you order at a counter and wait to pick it up in minutes, it’s fast food. More expensive than most fast food, but another item I go out of my way to get! And stop on In-and-Out burger. You lose all credibility with me if you actually think In-and-Out is better than Shake Shack. Cheaper? Yes. Better? Not even close.

3. Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s – The original spicy chicken sandwich and for my money the best. Chick-fil-a is close, but when the original is so good, you can’t bring yourself to order the spicy. Wendy’s sandwich has the right amount of heat and a juicy piece of chicken!

4. Joey Bag of Donuts burrito from Moe’s Southwest Grill. Qdoba’s burrito runs a close second to Moe’s. Chipotle isn’t even close. Look, when I get a burrito that’s as big as my head, I don’t need to hear your organic, free range bull shit. I know I’m eating something that will likely kill me, just let me enjoy it! Moe’s makes a great burrito and you always feel welcome!

5. Double Cheese Burger from McDonald’s. The double cheese from McDonald’s is the grease-soaked burger type item that just tastes good, even though it shouldn’t.  Also, you can’t just eat one, it’s a two order minimum, they should just come that way. I’m not proud, but I’ve been known to order more than two. It’s a great 2 am meal.

6. Arby’s Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich. First, you actually feel healthy ordering this as compared to most fast food items, But throw on a ton of turkey, bacon, and ranch and it’s no longer a healthy choice, but it sure tastes good! This replaces all subs on my list. Sure there are great subs shops, but they’re all local. National sub shops are usually awful.

7. Shredded Chicken Burrito from Taco Bell. This is my go-to road food. If I’m in the car and in a hurry, this Taco Bell burrito is a winner in my book. Look, I don’t trust Taco Bell beef, but for some reason, I trust their chicken, and I can eat a few of these.

8. Little Ceasars Hot & Ready $5 Pepperoni Pizza. Not fast food? It might be the fastest food on the planet! I walk in. Ask for a hot and ready and I’m out in a minute! Not only is it not an awful pizza, it might be the best value of all fast food, ever! Sure you can find way better pizza, but for $5 bucks you can’t beat this pizza.

9. Philly Cheesesteak from Penn Station. Regional chain alert. I don’t consider a Cheesesteak a sub, and Penn Station has a great Cheesesteak. Sure, you can find way better local joints, but not fast food cheesesteak places in the midwest like this!

10. Chicken Club Toaster Sandwich from Sonic. Okay, I’m a chicken sandwich fan and I like Texas Toast, Sonic gives me both on this sandwich. It’s my go-to sandwich at Sonic.


Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food Side Dishes: 

1. Potato Ole’s from Taco John’s – I’m a sucker for tater tots and these are the small ones, deep fried with a blend of spices that you can dip in nacho cheese. Stop it! I want some right now!

2. McDonald’s Fries – I think 99% of American’s grew up on these and they’re still a favorite. Consistently great for about ten minutes. Once they get cold they taste like something awful and they can never be warmed up. This leads to eating the fries first, usually before you even get the bag home.

3. Sonic Tater Tots – Like I said, I like tater tots. It’s my list, not yours. Dip them in ranch and welcome to the Midwest of awesome!

4. Kentucky Fried Chicken Mashed Potatoes – I don’t even think these are real potatoes but you put that brown gravy on them and I can eat way too many.

5. Qdoba Queso and Chips. Great spicy white queso and fresh chips, if they only had a margarita in a to-go cup this would be perfect.

6. Long John Silver’s Hush Puppies. What the hell is even in a hush puppy? I don’t know and I don’t care because they’re so good!

7. Crab Rangoon’s at any Chinese takeout place. Usually, this is another no-wait item in the Chinese takeout world, especially those takeout places that run the hot buffet counter all day long.

8. Waffle fries from Chick fil a. You don’t find waffle fries in many places and they do these pretty good. The one thing that holds this back is when you get that one waffle fry that isn’t really a waffle fry but more of a half of potato that didn’t get fully waffled!

9. Onion Rings at Burger King. These aren’t great onion rings overall on the onion ring scale, but these are fast and good. The problem is you never get enough of these in an order, but you do get usually get a bonus fry or two.

10. Crinkle Fries at Culvers – close second place are the Shake Shack crinkle fries. The key to a great crinkle fry is making sure you get the done enough. The worst tasting fry is a half done crinkle fry. Culver’s does these really well!


Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food Breakfast items: 

1. Steak Breakfast Crunchwrap from Taco Bell – So, let me get this straight you put a big hash brown, eggs, steak, and cheese inside a flour tortilla shell and grill it? Yes, please!

2. Krispy Kreme Donuts – Okay Krispy Kreme’s aren’t even my favorite donuts, but donuts had to be high on the list and we all have our favorite local places! To be fair, a hot box of Krispy Kreme’s is like eating Lay’s Potato Chips, you can’t just eat one! My favorites in order: Quality Dairy (Michigan), Glazed and Infused (Chicago), and LaMar’s (Midwest, KC).

3. Chick-fil-a Chicken Biscuit – It’s the Chick-fil-a sandwich on a biscuit instead of a bun. What’s not to love?!

4. Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle’s from McDonald’s – Okay, sausage, egg, and cheese between two warm griddle cakes that taste like maple syrup. My diabetes gets excited just thinking about it!

5. French Toast Sticks from Burger King – Perfect fast food breakfast. You don’t have time for a fork and knife. Just let me dip these deep fried pieces of bread into some syrup.

6. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Croissan’wich from Burger King – Back to back BK items on the countdown. This is a solid breakfast sandwich and the flaky croissant pushes it over the top.

7. Cinnabon Original Classic Role – My teeth hurt just writing this, but OMG these are too good to be real! I actually feel guilty ordering one of these and eating it in front of people.

8. Steak, egg and cheese Subway Flatbread – Under-rated as a breakfast stop. Their sandwiches are awful, but the breakfast is actually pretty good and you can make it semi-healthy is you decide that’s for you.

9. Grilled Breakfast Burrito at Taco Bell – Taco Bell is killing it at breakfast as compared to most fast food places, I could probably list most of their items on this list and feel good about it.

10. McDonald’s Hash Browns – It doesn’t seem like a breakfast item by itself, but many folks I know just order these. What’s not better for breakfast than fried potato cakes!?


Sackett’s Top 10 Fast Food Dessert Items:

1. The Chocolate Chunk Cookie from Chick-fil-a – I have this number one on my list and I think it’s underrated! Every time I give someone one of these cookies they can’t believe how great it is and they can’t believe I got it from a fast food place. I could buy these in bulk, put them on a plate in my house and pass them off as homemade.

2. Blizzard from Dairy Queen – The most copied fast food desert on the planet, almost everyone now has their version of the original, but it started at Dairy Queen. Vanilla ice cream and your choice of mix-ins, it’s one of the perfect summer treats.

3. The Chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s – Another original which is basically an extra thick chocolate shake or just a cup of soft serve chocolate ice cream, it doesn’t really matter because this is the perfect fry dipper!

4. Strawberry Slush from Sonic – Okay, you could call it a drink, but it’s a dessert. Most people will say this isn’t event the best dessert at Sonic as their shakes and malts are good as well. Plus, if you don’t like Strawberry, go ahead and pick your flavor, there are like twenty-five to choose from.

5. Apple Pie from McDonald’s – It might have been the first fast food dessert ever created, so it has to make the list. I mean, warm apple pie you can eat with one hand while driving! That can’t be beat.

6. Cookies from Subway – You can’t miss with Subway cookies. My oldest son likes these so much we had them at his graduation open house. What makes them good? Usually, they’re half-baked, making them super soft and you can’t just eat one.

7. Cinnabon Delights from Taco Bell – These double as a breakfast food and a treat. Basically, they’re a traditional Cinnabon ball filled with Cinnabon icing, plus they come warm! So sweet your teeth will hurt.

8. Cheesecake from Fazoli’s – Plain or with strawberry topping, the Fazoli cheesecake is a great compliment to your Italian fast food meal.

9. Frozen Custard from Culver’s – Super creamy, thick frozen custard tastes so much better than your normal soft serve ice cream. Plus, they always have multiple flavors and toppings, plus the flavor of the month. It’s hard going to Culver’s and not getting custard!

10. Rootbeer float from A&W or In and Out – It’s a throwback to when America was great. I remember my grandparents making root beer floats for us as kids on a Saturday night and everyone, including the adults wanted one.

Hit me in the comments if I missed one of your favorites on the lists above!

I’m not an “Us” or a “Them”

Politics are ruining my friendships. Look, I don’t really want to know what you care about, because most of us care about crazy shit that others don’t understand, or can’t understand. You getting me to understand your crazy, probably isn’t a good thing!

I have true friends who are pro-life. I love these friends. I don’t understand how they can’t understand my pro-choice stance, but they don’t. They can’t understand how I can be a baby killer. I’m not, but we all have our positions. We’ve been able to have a great friendship in spite of this one difference.

Maybe there should be a difference of belief scoreboard. Only having one difference of belief is fine, we can still be close friends, even two or three. Once you get to four, you begin to be a person I don’t want to hang with. Once you get to six, maybe you turn into a horrible person I would rather see dead. I’m not quite sure at the math, but I’m sure we could come up with a system.

I want to be friends with all kinds of people, but recently it seems like all kinds of people don’t want to be friends with me because I don’t believe in their crazy, to the exact specifications they want me to believe.  I see their points. I respect their points. But, I’m not flying their flag. So, apparently, that makes me part of the evil empire.

I like puppies. I fly that flag, for sure! I love babies. All babies. White, brown, yellow, any color baby is alright with me. I’m definitely pro puppy and pro baby. I like gin and tonics. Marry whomever you please, I support that. Single moms, I was raised by one, that’s the toughest gig on the planet. I’m not a church-goer, but I’m not an Athiest. I like the Spartans, probably too much. I like money. I hate giving money to people who don’t deserve it or appreciate it. I’m definitely, pro-money. I like helping people. I try and do that as much as I can.

I’m not a ‘them’. I’m also not an ‘us’. I’m more of a ‘we’.

Both the Democrats and Republicans are extremely happy we are all going ‘us’ and ‘them’. By doing this we keep both parties in power. The last thing they want is that we become a ‘we’. The establishment has ‘us’ exactly where they like to have us. Against each other. That gives them the most power. If we find a middle ‘we’, you’ll really see some shit happen!

The reality is, our current government is fine with the other party winning. All that does is give their own party more power for the next four years. Until they come back into power. Then the cycle repeats. Don’t you think if one side had it ‘right’, I mean really ‘right’, they would keep winning each year? But neither do. So, we yo-yo back and forth. Feeling passion one cycle, beat down the next, on top again the next.

Morals matter, well about once every four years, then we go back to forgetting morals matter. Walking by homeless like they’re not there. Laughing a comics tell crude jokes but she’s a woman so it’s okay to say those things. Letting our government drop tens of thousands of drone-bombs on people different from us, killing anyone in our way of a $1.99 gallon of gas.

I know this sounds naive, but I just want my friends back. I want to be able to have a conversation that isn’t filled with hatred and absolutes. I didn’t vote for him because he’s a bad person. I didn’t vote for her because she was an awful liar. I voted for someone I thought was different than the establishment because I truly want a change that benefits us all.

I’m stuck in the middle right now wanting to be a “we”, but surrounded by “us’s” and “them’s”.



2017 Isn’t Your New Beginning

Okay, 2017 might be your new beginning, but for most people, it won’t be. January 1, 2017, is just another day. It’s not a start, it’s not an end, it’s just one more day you can either do something with or waste.

The reality is the end of year and beginning of a year isn’t an end and a beginning. We made that shit up, a long time ago.

I’m not big into New Year’s Resolutions. I’m into getting stuff done. That’s not a resolution, that’s a lifestyle. If you need the beginning of a year to remind you to get stuff done, you’re probably not going to do much anyway.

If 2016 sucked for you. Most likely 2017 will suck for you. It sucks to hear, but for most people, that’s a fairly accurate assessment of your life.

So, how do you change it?

You just do it. Like the Nike slogan says. You don’t need a special day. Or a special coach. Or a special outfit (although I always like to be dressed correct if I’m going to do some shit). You just freaking do it!

You can do it on January 1 if that makes you feel better, but guess what? I’ve got a little secret for you! You can also do that shit on January 2nd! Oh yay! Or even the 3rd, or March 4th, or July 17th, you can do any freaking day you decide.

Let’s face it. 2016 didn’t suck, you sucked. 2017 won’t be better unless you make it better. New Year’s Resolutions are for suckers. Just do stuff. Make your situation better one little baby step at a time. Maybe that first step will be today, maybe the next step won’t be until February, just keep taking those steps.

By the way, I’m losing weight and writing a book. I started yesterday.

Officially Announcing My Candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election #ACatInEveryPot

Apparently, we will now campaign for four years to become the President of the United States for four years. Makes sense. I like the Canadian system of campaigning way better than what we have here! 90 days or less and we’re done! Doesn’t that sound like a smart law?

Until then, I’ll have to live with what we have. So, since I’m a U.S. born citizen, over the age of 35, and I would prefer to run under a third party as neither the Republicans or Democrats come close to meeting my needs, I’m officially running under the HR Party!

If I know anything, I know HR loves a good party!

Here is my platform, as of right now, but there’s a good chance I will change often depending at which conference I’m at and what part of the country I’m in at the time:

  • The only way you can now vote for any office is to first fill out a change of address form, completely (even if you haven’t recently changed your address), in black or navy blue ink, and you also must have completed your annual open enrollment.
  • Wine and Chocolate will no longer be taxed, and companies selling these products in the United States must sell them at cost. That should get me at least 51% of the popular vote!
  • By law, you will now not be allowed to talk to anyone before 9am on Monday mornings at your workplace.
  • If you miss an interview due to “car trouble” you will be publicly hanged. This is the single most overused excuse for missing an interview, get more creative or die.
  • If you are a no-call, no-show for an interview, or your first day of work, you will be deported to Siberia or Fargo (they’re basically the same).
  • Grammatical errors on resumes will now cost you a hand. You can pick which hand. I actually think this is dumb, but I need to pander to my electorate.
  • By law, you will no longer be able to call in sick for work on Mondays or Fridays. Because we know you’re lying.
  • Organizations caught paying less to women, for the same position, same skills, will be forced to fire every man that works for them.
  • All colleges will now cost the exact same amount. $10,000 per year for full tuition and books. Living expenses depends on where you can get in – i.e., it costs more to go to college in New York then Omaha. Private or Public. You still have to get accepted based on their admission policies.
  • Cats and dogs will now be allowed in all workplaces where there is not a health concern. No, you can’t bring your pot belly pig, or your snake, or your fish. Cats and dogs, we’re in America.
  • You will not be able to manage other people until you have worked for a minimum of five years in real jobs. No, going to school that mommy paid for and working four hours per week in the library doesn’t count as work.
  • We will now have CEO pay be directly paid in proportion to that of the average worker salary of the companies they lead. That proportion will be 25 times the salary of your employees. If your average salary is $45,000 for employees, the CEO can make $1,125,000. Don’t worry the 95% of white guys in those roles will be just fine. The extra corporate profit will be paid to the shareholders and employees in equal amounts.

I think that’s enough to get started. The HR Party will be huge! What do you think HR Pros? What platform items would you add?


Okay, Your Candidate Won, Don’t Be An Asshole!

I’m writing this before the election, because either way it turns out, I would feel the same way!

Congratulations! Your candidate won! It’s like when OJ was acquitted of murdering his wife and Ron Goldman. A bunch of people ran around so freaking ecstatic that he ‘won’. Chris Rock famously said,”We won, we wonnnnn!” “What the fuck did we win? Every day i look in the mail for my OJ prize and it ain’t there.”

I’m waking up today, knowing 100% I won’t be getting a Hillary check or a Trump check! In fact, regardless of who won, there’s a great chance I’ll be getting an invoice!

When Michigan State plays the University of Michigan and MSU wins. I’m going to be an asshole to a lot of UofM fans. Why? Because mostly their douchebags and that’s kind of how fandom works in college athletics. If you beat your rival, you can be an asshole until they beat you, then you know it’s your turn to take it for a year, or whenever you beat them the next time.

Politics are not college athletics.

Voting for President isn’t about winning or losing. We’re all on the same team! The team is called America.

That’s the hard part. America has turned into this giant multi-national organization. Within that organization you have mergers that have taken place, we’ve tried some spinoffs, we’re constantly trying to launch startups, we have our main product line that is a cash cow but every new hire thinks it sucks, etc.

America just got a new CEO. Regardless of who that CEO is, some employees aren’t going to like it. A few will actually leave the company, but it’s mostly employees blowing smoke. Leaving takes real work, most people say they’ll leave and then have selective amnesia when the topic comes up after the fact.

So, I’m in HR. It’s now my job to get as many people as possible to follow the new CEO. That’s how a company stays successful and/or turns itself around. Develop a vision, get behind it and see how good we can make it. Americans for the most part, have always been fairly decent employees. We’ll voice our opinion, but when stuff gets real, we support each other.

So, today, when you walk by that co-worker who voted for the other person and lost, don’t be an asshole. Be sympathetic. They want, what you want, to be the best country we can be for those here now and for those who will be here in the future.



Notes to HR Tech Vendors – #10 – Your Real Competition

I’ve done a few presentations titled something like, “HR Tech Buyers Guide”, “How to Buy HR Tech”, etc. The presentation is designed for HR and TA practitioners to help them become better buyers of HR Tech. To understand the crap that HR and TA Tech vendors do and say to get you to buy stuff you might not need, want, or will use.

The interesting thing about these presentations is that half the audience turns out to be the actual vendors themselves wanting to hear what it is I’m telling the real HR and TA leaders! It’s smart for the vendors. It helps make the better sellers as well. Well, at least some that actually listen!

Based on these interactions I decided to build a series of what has come out of interactions to the vendors themselves, aptly named “Notes to HR Tech Vendors”. Look I don’t alway have to be creative! Enjoy!

#10 – Your Real Competition

Unless you’re buying some giant watered-down enterprise level HRIS or ATS/Talent Suite you almost never have competition!

Yes, you read that correctly. 90% of HR Tech vendors have “NO” competition! But, you believe the opposite.

Here’s the deal. HR and TA Tech buyers are fairly naive to the industry. It’s not our full-time job to track every new ATS that is being launched. We’re just trying to get people hired and stop people from quitting. Takes up about 99.9% of our job! So, when it’s time to buy new Tech we usually buy the first thing we’re sold!

The competition you face is not your real competitors. The competition you face is a “no sale”.

Almost all HR Tech buyers will buy your product, or they won’t buy anything. Primarily because they don’t even know you have competition. Well, they didn’t until you actually told them! “Hey, we’re the #1 CRM on the market, so much better than #2, #3 and #4.” What? There is more than one CRM!?

If you’re Smashfly (a CRM Tech) almost every single sale is going to be a “Yes” or a “No, we’ve decided we don’t need this right now”. It’s almost never “hey, we’ve decided to buy Clinch, or Avature, or Ascendify, or Talemetry, or Beamery, or”…you get the picture!

Almost never!

Your real competition is you. It’s your ability to sell your solution to a buyer that has some sort of pain around HR or TA. It’s shocking at how often this fails. I mean what can go wrong when you throw a 15-year-old on the phone with a twenty year HR vet on the other end, telling them how to fix her shop!?

And you think I exaggerate on the age! Almost every single HR and TA Tech sales person I speak is under the age of 30 and most have never worked a day in HR or TA. This leads to a ton of “no sales”.  If you can’t tell me how your solution is going to solve my pain, in my language, I’m probably not buying.

HR and TA Tech vendors, your competition isn’t the problem. Your technology isn’t the problem (it’s usually really awesome). Your sales strategy is killing you. The cute, little, naive babies selling your products is the problem. They don’t know me. They don’t know my pain. They don’t speak my language.

Your real competition is you.

5 Steps to Becoming the Most Liked HR Pro Ever!

The old adage “I’d rather be respected than liked” was made up by people who didn’t have any friends!  And it’s been perpetuated for centuries by HR Pros who didn’t think it was professional to have friends in their organizations.  “I’m not their friend, Tim, I’m in HR and there is a reason we lock the doors to our department!”

I look it this a bit differently. Make friends first.  That is all.  No, “then” or “after that”, just make friends.  Do you know why HR Pros don’t make friends with employees? Yes, you do, it’s because “We don’t want to fire our friends!” or “We need to remain impartial” or “I’m stupid” (I made that last one up, which if your stupid you probably didn’t know).

The reality is, we do things attempting to stop stuff that probably will never happen.  When is the last time you truly had to fire a friend?  “Never – because I don’t have friends that work for me!” No, really, when? Most of us would say, “Never”.

The problem with not allowing yourself to be friends with non-HR employees is that you lose a major source of influence within your organization.  Also, it sucks eating at your desk every day.  And you decrease your eventual dating pool. But, really it’s the influence!  So, here are 5 steps you can do to be more liked and make more friends at work:

1.  Stop being a know it all.  HR people act like they created Congress, everything is legal this or legal that. Stop it! Be normal. 99% of stuff HR thinks might happen, doesn’t happen. Trying to mitigate 100% of the risk in your organization makes people hate you and it doesn’t help you do your job better.

2. Make a fool out of yourself once in a while.  You’re not that important that you have to act like Mr. Manners all the time. Having employees laugh at you because you did something silly, foolish and/or crazy, will help them believe you might be normal.

3. Hang out with the smokers! Let’s face it smokers are cool and know everything that goes on in your organization – you want them as friends.  I don’t smoke because it’s gross, smells and will kill you, but I love hanging with smokers, especially if they have one of those voice boxes they talk out of!

4. Go out to Lunch with Non-HR Employees.  Preferably not with the smokers because that isn’t appetizing at all.

5. Kiss another employee on the mouth at the office Christmas party! Kidding, just making sure you were paying attention.  Don’t do this, unless you’re really drunk and want to leave a legacy. Here’s the real #5 – Spend 50% of your time away from your desk visiting employees and hiring managers, even the ones you don’t like.  This will change your professional life forever.

Being liked in HR is important it allows you to do your job in a much more efficient manner than when people don’t want you around.  It’s not about respect – you can have both – and given the choice of having respect and being hated or having respect and being liked – well, let’s just say I hang out with smokers.