Being Fully Authentic Is The Worst Advice You Can Give Someone!

I went to the SHRM Annual Conference this past week. I bet there had to be six different sessions, all jammed packed, with speakers telling HR Pros to “Become their Authentic Selves”. Just typing that makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

I call this content, HR Lady Candy. You might think that is sexist but it’s just data. 80%+ of the SHRM audience is female. Those of us that speak at SHRM are building content for women. Viewing the packed rooms, HR Lady Candy sells and it sells well!

But, it’s awful advice!

If you are truly authentic and bring your whole self to work, you are bringing all of you and I’m just going to take an educated guess that there are parts of you better off left at home. Parts of you that you yourself aren’t extremely proud of at certain times. Yes, these parts are part of you, but just as I don’t walk around outside my house naked, there are certain things I don’t need others to see.

I don’t judge these speakers and their full rooms. It’s so good damn empowering to feel like you aren’t true to yourself and have someone on stage in a power position telling you to “just do it!” It’s freeing. You want to run out of that room and just let your freak flag fly! But usually, in reality, that freak flag isn’t the freeing and empowering tool you hoped it would be.

The vast majority of us in the world, need a good-paying job with good benefits. The vast majority of us want to work hard and get promoted. We want to be the best version of ourselves as much as we can. We want to be wanted by others and grow our relationships with like-minded people. “Like-minded” means how we think like most of the time. Not how we think in our worst and most vulnerable moments. No one wants to be judged in those moments. Yes, that is part of our true self, but it’s not the true self I want others to see.

But, that content isn’t very sexy. No one wants to go sit and watch a speaker say, “Just be more normal!” it’ll work out, on average, a ton better for your career!

Freak flag flyers are awesome. We celebrate them. It usually works out for about 1 out of 1,000. Are you willing to bet your career on a .01% chance of success? What if I said the freaks are successful 1 out of 5! Oh, 20% of the time they are successful. Will you stake your career on that? Doubtful, that’s still really risky!

We love to believe the SHRM HR Lady audience is super conservative. That tends to be the profile of HR professionals. This just might be why we are so attracted to the “live your true self” content. We like it because we know we’ll never really do it, but it feels so good to dream!

Are you “Rainbow Washing” your corporate logo for Pride Month?

I know you’ve seen this going on in June, but you might not have known what it was called. “Rainbow Washing” or “Pride Washing” is when a corporation turns its logo, for the month of June, from its traditional colors to rainbow colors to show its support of Pride Month.

Here are some examples:

Is there any harm in doing this?

My initial impression was “No”. I’ve got gay people in my life and for far too long most companies were scared to even acknowledge gay people were real, let alone show their support, so for me, this is an amazing time. We have billion-dollar corporations willing to come out publicly and state they support their gay employees and customers in a very public way.

But, we also have the bad marketing side of the world.

We have organizations that will Rainbow Wash their logo for June, to act like they are Prideful of their LGBTQ workforce and customers, but then do nothing else the rest of the year. Wait, how do you pronounce “Cinco De Mayo” or isn’t February the shortest of the months for Black History? I joke, this is classic in most organizations. We say we care, but we do the least amount to show we care.

The worst of this is when the organization says one thing, like, hey, look at our rainbow logo, but then goes and gives political donations to politicians who are actively working to reduce or eliminate gay rights. Yes, this is happening. This is far worse than those acting like they care but doing the minimum to increase sales. This is actively lying to employees and the public through behaviors and dollars working to support the other side.

Do you have to rainbow wash your logo to have Pride?

Nope. In fact, I’m sure the LGBTQ community would prefer you not wash your logo and just actually give a damn through your actions and funding of policies that support their community. But, doing those things and washing your logo is also awesome!

Signs and symbols of support shouldn’t be discounted. They are important. A corporation could be the biggest donor to gay rights but hide the fact they do it, that also isn’t great. “Pride” is about having pride for the LGBTQ community and showing your support in a public way that will show those who don’t support that you do and you’re not afraid to show it. Because for way too much of our history way too many were afraid to show their support.

Can Rainbow Washing go too far?

Well, maybe if it goes down the male genital route, you go too far!

This isn’t real, but it demonstrates how a brand can go over the edge with Pride!

Now, you might love the OG and be Gay, and I’m here for it! Everyone loves those breadsticks and salad!

Rainbow washing goes too far when you are doing it for promotion and marketing and not because you want to show Pride for the LGBTQ community. I know, for 100% fact, that some CMO and Revenue officers have had the discussion, “hey, what happens to our sales if we wash the logo? Oh, it’s up 7%! Should we keep it a rainbow for July!? No! That’s the American Flag washing logo, you idiot! Sales went up 8% last year with Red, White, and Blue!”

Rainbow wash your logo. Show support. Give to Gay Rights and Politicians who support Gay RIghts. Show your Pride!

Sackett Tips: Advice for Grads and Dropouts!

Every year around this time the content machine delivers an endless amount of “Graduation” advice to new grads. “As you leave the manicured lawns of your youth…” I’ve actually done the “wear sunscreen” posts myself from year to year. They are easy to write because it allows the writer to just wax poetically about all the mistakes we’ve made ourselves, which in turn becomes the advice for you to do or not do (thanks, Yoda!).

I realized just yesterday the problem with the grad advice columns is we’ve completely forgotten about dropouts! In today’s world, with declining higher ed enrollments (college starts are down 5 quarters in a row) it’s even more important that we talk to the dropouts as well. Of course, we see many more dropouts when unemployment is very low as it is now. With a ton of jobs open, young people can make really great money without going to college, so it’s a natural phenomenon.

The Sackett Tips for Grads and Dropouts

  • Work for the biggest brand possible right out of the gate. You most likely won’t have a great experience, but it will help your career out way more in the long run. We are all enamored with the person who worked for Amazon and Apple over JBE Automation in central Iowa. Like somehow that Apple job where you got to focus on a sliver of a project is way more valuable than actually owning an entire project. But that’s life. Go work for a giant brand.
  • Calculate the value of leaving a job and people you really like. You will hear estimates from “experts” telling you not to change jobs unless you get a 10-20% increase. And that is really a lot of money. But, what if the new job sucks and the new people suck. Is that $5,000-10,000 worth it? Each of us has to make that call. What I find is most people will tell you it’s not worth it. 
  • Maintain relationships with peers and co-workers from other jobs you left and with those who left your company. That network will pay you back in the future like nothing else you have.
  • Say, “Yes” to jobs no one else wants. Those are the jobs that get noticed by executives. We all know the stuff no one else wants to do, so when someone steps forward and “takes one for the team” you stand out above the rest. 
  • Protect your time, but have a reason. Executives totally understand the person who says, “I can’t this weekend, I’m coaching my little girl’s soccer team and I have to be there for her” vs. someone who just says “No”. 
  • Every executive is looking for people who treat the organization and the brand like their own. I get it, they make a crap ton more than you, but they always didn’t make more. At some point, they made peanuts as well but treated the company like it was their own. Protected assets, spent budget wisely, etc. 
  • Diversity isn’t about color, gender, etc. But it also is about all that. You want to hire great people who fit your culture and who are also from diverse backgrounds. Most organizations fuck this up by just hiring color or gender and forgetting about the fit. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. 
  • Don’t wait for an employer to develop you. Find ways to develop yourself. Build a business case as to why your employer should pay for you to take a class that costs money. 
  • Make yourself as pretty as possible. Every single study you can find will show that the more attractive you are the more money you make, the more likely you are to get promoted, work for a great company, etc. Turns out, everyone loves pretty people. You, like me, might not have been blessed with “pretty” DNA, but we can all make ourselves the best version of ourselves! Don’t believe people that tell you looks don’t matter. They matter greatly, they’ve just given up.
  • Put on your own oxygen mask first. I run into so many kind souls who are trying to protect and help co-workers, peers, etc., but not helping themselves. Take care of yourself, so you can properly help others.

Oh, and wear sunscreen.

So, what’s the difference in advice between the grads and dropouts? None. Turns out, once you start working no one gives a shit whether you have a degree or not, now you have to actually perform.

It’s a great time to be a hard-working, attractive, smart person in our society. Take advantage.

Are you a people-first company? #Open22

I’m in NYC this week for the annual Greenhouse Open. Greenhouse is a best-in-class ATS with over 7,000 customers, and this is their annual user conference. So, a whole bunch of recruiters and recruiting leaders nerding out on recruiting stuff! Meaning a perfect place for me!

Greenhouse has a philosophy that they are the perfect hiring engine for organizations that consider themselves “People-First”. What does that mean? That’s the big question because every company I know, or at least every executive I know, would claim to be People-First. But, what I know is very few actually are people-first.

Daniel Chait, the co-founder of Greenhouse laid out what he considers people-first. The hallmarks of people-first companies:

  • Organizations that invest in tools that allow employees to be their best selves.
  • Organizations that work to improve collaboration amongst employees, cultivate belonging, and increase fairness.
  • Organizations that really care about culture, values, DEI&B, and allyship.
  • Organizations that care deeply about recruiting talent because the only way you lead and stay competitive is through great talent.

The hard part about being people-first, because I will tell you right now, every single one of your executives will read the list above and go, “yeah, that’s us!” is just that. They, being an executive, believe you are people-first, but as move down the food chain, it begins to feel less and less like people first.

I think about my own company and go, “yeah, we are people-first!” but I know for a fact that the feeling of individuals is very different based on a lot of variables. Great performers vs. low performers. New employees vs. experienced employees. Higher paid vs. lower paid. Etc.

That is the difficulty of being a people-first company. It’s the difficulty with the concept of belonging. It is super hard to make every single person in your company feel like they belong every day. You can do all the right stuff, and one day, one employee with a certain mindset, comes in the hears the wrong thing, and all of a sudden, they don’t feel like they belong. Does that not make you a people-first organization?

I think what Daniel is saying is that you espouse to do all the hallmarks the best you can today, and you keep trying to improve. Part of having a great culture and a great hiring process is finding a diverse and inclusive set of employees who match your culture. The feeling of belonging is critical to your hiring process and selection, as much as the environment you will ask them to work in.

Why is a recruiting software company talking about people-first? Because what they have discovered over the past ten years of being in business is you can sell software to anyone, but if they don’t share your same values and beliefs, it probably doesn’t work out very well for either party! Your tech isn’t just lines of code. It was built on a philosophy and continues to be developed and improved by a certain philosophy. A true partnership with your technology comes when your philosophies align.

Check out the Greenhouse Open this week virtually if you can!

Ugh! Being an inclusive employer is a lot of work!

It seems like being an ‘inclusive’ employer would be super easy! You just accept everyone! Can’t we all just get along!?

The reality is, that being an inclusive employer is hard because being inclusive isn’t about accepting everyone. What!? Oh, great, Tim has finally lost his mind, buckle up!

I wrote a post about Jeff Bezos’s annual letter and how he lays out a great framework for how organizations and leaders should manage performance. Many people liked the post, but there was also a strong reaction from a lot of people who hate Amazon’s culture.

They hear and read media accounts of Amazon being a bad place to work. About Amazon’s hard-charging, work a ton of hours, you don’t have a great work-life balance, etc. Some people go to work for Amazon and tell themselves during the interview process that “yeah, I’ve heard the stories, but I’m different, I want this, I want to be a part of a giant brand like Amazon, I can handle it because it’s a great step in my career.”

That’s when they find out they actually lack self-insight and they should never listen to their inner voice because it lies to them!

So, what does this have to do with ‘inclusion’?

If you truly believe in inclusion, you then believe that Amazon is a great place to work, for those who desire that type of culture. It might not be a culture you would ever choose to work in. Amazon actually likes the people that self-select out! It makes their job easier because they don’t want you anyway!

If you stand up and shout Amazon is an awful employer, you don’t understand inclusion. No one forces you to go to work at Amazon, and Amazon does not hide who they are. In fact, Amazon might actually be the best company on the planet to show exactly who they are as an employer and what you’re signing up for if you decide to go to work there.

Amazon is giant and the vast majority of its employees love working for them. Those employees thrive in that environment. It’s what they were looking for. It’s how they are wired. If you put them into another what you might consider, an ’employee-friendly’ environment, they would hate it and fail.

Inclusion is hard because it forces you to think in a way that theoretically every environment is potentially a good fit for the right person. We struggle because in our minds something that is opposite of what we want must be bad. Because it’s so hard for us to even consider someone else might actually love an environment we hate.

Being an ‘inclusive’ employer is about accepting all types of people (race, gender, religion, etc.), but it’s also about only accepting all of those people who actually fit the culture you have established. That’s the hard part! Amazon accepts everyone, but you better be ready to go a thousand miles an hour and never stop.

Being an inclusive employer is hard because if it’s done right, it’s not just about being an accepting employer of all, it’s about being accepting and then only picking those candidates who actually fit your culture. The outcome can be awesome. The work to get there can be overwhelming. And if done incorrectly you go from being inclusive to exclusive.

The Big Regret! How’s that new job treating you?

When 4-5 million people per month change jobs, mostly for more money, there are going to be some consequences! Turns out, the grass isn’t always greener when you get more green!

A Muse survey, reported in the WSJ, recently found out that nearly 75% of workers who’ve changed jobs recently have regretted it, and 50% of those would try and get their old job back! That’s a lot! But it’s not surprising.

The biggest stressors we have in life are having kids, buying a house, and changing jobs. We tend to make bad decisions when stressed, and when you have 4-5 million people per month making that decision, well, that’s a lot of bad decisions!

What will we learn from the Big Regret?!

1. Money isn’t everything, but once you get more of it, it’s hard to go back to the old money level.

2. The old job and the old boss didn’t really suck, and the stuff we thought sucked at the old job, suck at the new job as well. It’s called “work” for a reason.

3. The power of someone paying attention to us and making us feel pretty is the most powerful force on the planet. Never underestimate it.

4. You can go back to your old job, but it will be different. It’s like going back to your ex. You are both a bit smarter and a bit more cautious now. There are some scars. Same people, same company, same job, but it’s not the same. Doesn’t make it bad, but you can’t expect it to be the same.

5. You can’t really judge a job until a couple of things happen: 1. You actually know how to do the job fully; 2. Co-workers stop seeing you as the newbie. In every case, that timeline is different. Be patient and do the job before you judge it.

6. If you find that you have an asshole boss at every job you work, the asshole might be you, not the boss.

7. In the future, when we have more jobs than available workers, let’s not act surprised when people start changing jobs. It’s happened in every similar economic cycle in the modern world. It’s called oppotunity. Don’t confuse that with the world has changed.

What should you do if you hate your new Great Resignation Job?

  • Take some time to really determine what you hate. Was that different from the old job? Was it the same? Will it be that way at the next job? Too many folks don’t know what they hate and they just keep selecting the same jobs they hate time and time again, but with a new pay rate and new address.
  • Some of us immediately want to return back to our old job. That might work, it might not. A psychological thing happens to so many managers once you leave them. It’s like you broke up with them and now you want to run back to that comfort. You’ll find many have no interest, and it has nothing to do with your value and performance, and everything to do with them feeling like you’ll hurt them again.
  • Try and find something you like to do, but call it “work”. This is different than the B.S. you’re told about work doing something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life! I’m no life coach, but that crap doesn’t work. You call it “work” even if you love it, because one day you’ll show up to do what you thought you loved and find out its work, and you’ll be depressed and broken. You don’t love work. You love your family and your God and puppies. You work to put yourself in a position to be able to do what you love. If you’re super lucky, every once in a while those two things will overlap.

Is Humor in the Workplace Dead?

I have at times in my career been a part of teams where each day I laughed. The team was a joy to work with and while we still had work and stress, we found times to laugh. I had a group of folks I worked with in Omaha, NE that I specifically recall laughing so hard each week that my stomach hurt, sometimes daily!

I’m not known professionally as someone who is frequently serious. I joke a lot. I love humor and making fun of all the dumb stuff we do. It’s how Kris Dunn found me and I started my blogging career over a decade ago at Fistful of Talent. My entire job was to make people laugh on a Friday.

This past week I posted this tweet on Twitter:

Tim trying to be funny

Now, if you know me, you know this is a joke. If you don’t know me, but you spend twelve seconds looking at my feed, you know this is a joke.

Way too many people thought this tweet was serious and took offense to it!

Let’s dig into how strange it is that someone would believe this was an actual exercise I would do professionally:

  • Your on Twitter and you see this guy with 40K+ followers say he makes candidates write wedding vows and recite them back to him, and you immediately think to yourself, “Well, that’s not good! Why would he ever do that! I must comment! This offends me!”
  • At this point, you’re eihter clinically naive or flat out stupid.
  • What’s the offense you ask? “Well, if you only do this with “attractive” people, you have BIAS!” Okay, I’m listening, but understand, we all judge attractiveness in our own ways. Someone I might find attractive, you might find ugly. So, you’re fighting for a view that is nebulous at best. There was no gender attached to the tweet, so if you think that I’m talking about females, now you are showing your own bias. Maybe in this clearly hypothetical exercise I only do this with attractive men, or attractive non-bianary people!
  • The joke is really around the concept of an interview and wedding vows. That’s what makes it funny. Imagine being asked to write wedding vows to someone you’re interviewing with and then reciting them, in a sense, actually getting married in an interview? Which is in a sense what interviewing is all about, do I want to spend the rest of my life with this company.
  • Foks were beside themselves that I would actually have someone do this. They were OFFENDED! Of course, I would never actually do this, it was always a joke. And if I can pat myself on the back (which I love to do!) it was really well written! It was tight. Not overly wordy. It was, what I thought, fairly innocent, so clean fun in the workplace. It also made fun of crazy interview questions and exercises we make candiates jump through. All in 26 words.

Where are we at with Humor in the Workplace?

We are in a very strange place.

I grew up in my career where very offensive jokes were told in the workplace all the time. Stuff that would get you immediately fired and most likely canceled today. Thankfully, most of us are away from most of that today.

Today, we can basically have humor around very certain topics and can only be told by very certain people. The vehicle of humor is very important in today’s world. Here’s kind of how it’s broken down:

  1. People of the same gender, ethnicity, etc. can fun of each other, to each other.
  2. White dudes can make fun of white dudes, but nothing else. (Oh, there it is, Tim’s Fragility is showing!)
  3. Everybody else can make fun of white dudes, and their own identifiers.
  4. We can all make fun of people and things we’ve deemed culturally fair game – Putin, Kanye, Trump, old white men, Dudes getting yelled at by their spouses, the CEOs of big companies – but only the bad ones, not the ones we like, etc.
  5. You can’t make fun of anything someone would ever, at any time in histroy, find offensive in any slightest way. Like the color purple. “OMG! TIM! Purple stands for safe spaces for puppies! How could you!”
  6. You can always make fun of yourself! (hat tip: Patricia in the comments)

We right ditched, left ditched humor in the workplace, and in many cases socially as well. I hated that people in the workplace could feel attacked by what someone would consider ‘humor’ early in my career. I also hate that humor Nazis are now the norm in our lives believing they can regulate everything that can be considered humorous.

There’s a fine line with humor in the workplace and that line has gotten even thinner in recent years. The problem with humor Nazis is that many employees want to work in environments and cultures that include humor. They want to laugh each day. it helps with engagement. Of course, that humor must be appropriate.

Maybe we just have the dial turned so far up on our offensive meter we struggle to even recognize humor anymore. The best part of this is all those who found my tweet offensive would also say they love humor, just that I’m not funny, and nor was my tweet. That’s their right for sure, but I would argue they’ve lost context around what’s funny.

Just do your damn job, Timmy!

It seems like frustration is at an all-time high. On a daily basis people are coming unglued over things they have no control over, and never will.

We are told to be more empathetic. We are told our employees need us to be “X”. You fill in the “X” because it changes pretty much article to article, generation to generation, leader to leader. One day I’m just supposed to care more. Then the next day I need to listen more. The next day I need to understand more. Today, I need to be more flexible.

Somehow we’ve gone from running businesses to managing a daycare.

I’ve stopped listening to people who don’t do the job I do. To the people who haven’t done the job in the past decade. To the people who claim to be experts but haven’t worked in my field, maybe ever, but certainly not in the past few years with the massive transformation that has taken place in the workforce. 

Instead, I’m going out and talking to my employees. The young ones, the old ones, the ones in between that we’re not supposed to pay attention to anymore because they don’t matter because they’re not young or old, or female, or a minority, or gay. I’m going out and talking to them all equally. Since I need them ‘all’ to move my organization forward. Especially, today with all the issues we have in finding talent.

It doesn’t matter what my employees are telling me. That’s for me, to help them. The thing that will help my employees, most likely won’t help your employees. You work in a different culture, location, industry, climate, etc. No one is a better expert on my employees than I am. 

Just like you will be the expert of your employees, your team, your department, your organization.

 But, here’s what I think you’ll find out:

 – Your employees are all individuals with very specific problems, concerns, and desires.

– Their problems start close to them and then move outward. Sure it sucks Trump is making massive change and they want to help America and the World, but first, they have an issue with daycare and paying student loans, and a health scare. Those problems are bigger than the world problems you keep shoving down their throat. Help them solve the problems close first, then solve the world.

– Your millennial employees became adults, and you keep treating them like they just left college and are still kids.

– Your ‘new’ youngest employees are much different than millennials, and they’re not. They’re still young people with young people’s problems and passions.

– Your employees want to be successful. Across the board, it’s a driving and motivating force. You helping them become successful is the most important thing you can do as a leader. What’s successful? That is also very individualized. Your challenge, as a leader, is to find a way to tie their success to the organization’s success. It’s hard to do, and you have to figure it out for your employees.

We keep letting other people tell us how to do our jobs. Have fun with that. I’m going to do the job I was hired to do, the way I know it needs to be done because no one knows how to do this job, better than me.

You Do NOT Have a Short-term Recruiting Problem!

I’ve been trying to preach this for what seems like forever, but we tend to be so short-term focused in almost every business process and decision we make in the modern world. How can we make a profit today, F the future!

Your current recruiting issue is not a short-term problem that eventually will just go away on its own. Also, your current recruiting problem has nothing to do with the “Great Resignation”. That was a made-up term by a professor trying to explain a short-term issue we were currently facing, amongst a much larger long-term problem.

The “Great Resignation” is simple economics. We have more jobs than people looking for jobs, so workers have “buying” power. Other companies will pay me more for the same work or give me a promotion with my lessor skills because they have no other options. Straightforward supply and demand economics.

We are already seeing the “economics” of this situation play itself out with higher inflation driven by wage growth and we’ll see more and more adjustments made by organizations to figure it out. Most likely that involves technology replacing parts of jobs, adding human capacity through technology, etc. Organizations can only eat so much in wages before they’ll find a “better” way to skin the cat.

Our problem IS and will continue to be, we have a shrinking workforce that we are doing absolutely nothing to turn that demographic fact around.

Peter Shanosky, wrote a good piece on our aging issue:

The median age in the United States is currently 38.1 years old — a number that reflects a consistent rise in recent years, but not too terrible. That number has been moving up about .15 per year as our largest generation, the oft-discussed boomers, age…

In our professions, then, we would expect to see a median age of around 38. Naturally, that’s not the case, specifically when you get into some of the trades or other professions that aren’t necessarily glamourous. Still, these jobs are essential to our everyday lives. We should not ignore them.

So how far off are they? Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve got some wide discrepancies. Looking at just a few:

· Real estate agents: 49.1 years old

· Automotive mechanics: 47.4 years old

· Facilities managers: 50.1 years old

· Bus/Shuttle drivers: 55.6 years old

· Housekeeping/Janitorial: 50.1 years old

· Home health aides: 47.2 years old

· Electrical trades: 46.8 years old

Yikes. There were plenty of professions even older than that, but I picked these for a reason — there’s little barrier to entry. You don’t need a $200,000 piece of paper, and they’re located across the country. You don’t need to live in a growing metropolitan area to have any of these jobs. In other words, based on ease of access, they should be younger. But they’re not.

Why aren’t younger people moving into these roles?

Basically, we have a problem with younger generations not actually wanting to work. There are probably a million reasons, social media, NFTs, influencers, Bitcoin, Meme stocks, etc. If you are 18-30 in today’s world, you are inundated with examples, constantly, of how you can be rich, by not really working, and it all looks so easy!

The problem is, we can’t rely on GenX and young Baby Boomers to keep building our shit! Eventually, they’ll be dead and you’ll be sitting there wondering why the fucking lights won’t come on so you can film your next TikTok video about how to make a million dollars trading make-believe money. Turns out, we need folks willing to get their hands dirty from time to time.

The obvious solution is to increase immigration and create a constant pipeline of workers who want to come to America and actually work. Turns out, regardless of want mass media is trying to get us to believe, millions of immigrants still want to come to America! We actually have jobs that pay money and benefits and overtime and provide training, simply if you have a work ethic! Isn’t that a crazy concept!?

I don’t want young people to think this is all their problem, it’s not! Your parents own a portion of this as well. Someone should have made you work when you were younger. Mow a lawn, babysit, work the fryer at McDonald’s when you were 16, but they were doing pretty good and you were basically not annoying them with your face in your phone, so you didn’t get the opportunity to value work. I think older Millennials, GenX, and Baby Boomers all worked when they were 16 for two main reasons: 1. Our parents refused to give us anything, so we needed money if we wanted something. 2. Our parents couldn’t stand watching us sit around and do nothing, so we were forced to leave the house.

All of this rant about how young people suck, still isn’t the problem!

We aren’t having enough babies!

Probably starts with we aren’t having enough sex, but that’s another post.

Turns out, babies and puppies are a god damn lot of work, and if you don’t like work…well, it’s kind of comes around full circle!

There are 3 ways this will be fixed, and I do believe it will be:

  1. More Immigrants, like millions and millions more. (BTW – every industrialized, rich country is in the same boat as the US, we just really such at immigration)
  2. More automation and technology to replace workers. (Already happening, get used to it happening a lot more)
  3. More babies! Won’t happen anytime soon, and I would guess we might never be able to turn that around.

Or, you and your organization can just believe this great resignation thing will play itself out and we’ll all be back to normal by summer. Have fun with that!

And P.S. – Get off my lawn!

Be Flexible Loudly!

I was on a leadership call last week and a startup founder, Jennifer Henderson of Tilt.com, made this comment when talking about one aspect of how she is building culture at her company. (BTW – Check out Jennifer and Tilt, amazing leader and a great company that is reimaginging employee leave management.)

“Be Flexible Loudly!”

Meaning, flexibility isn’t flexible if your employees feel like it might be a trap.

Just “allowing” flexibility isn’t enough. You must build a culture of flexibility. Leader’s must show and demonstrate that flexibility is valued, so when you do use flexibility in your work environment, you should make it known, loudly!

Too often, as leaders, we say we value and offer flexibility, but then our actions we portray are the exact opposite. Signs and symbols speak loud. Instead of quietly sneaking out of the office on a Friday afternoon, make a scene “Yo! I’m taking off to go play at the park with my kids! You guys have a great weekend!”

Be Flexible Loudly!

In a remote, digital work world this become even more important. Too often when we are working at home or work from anywhere, we tend to actually never leave work! It seems like we are always available and on. A leader should purposely send a note out on Teams or Slack and say, “Hey, all! I’m unplugging for the rest of the day! See you all tomorrow!” Or, “FYI – I’m in late tomorrow! I’ve got a chance to jump out on the slopes and get a few runs in before some meetings I have in the afternoon!”

If we can’t physically show our staff we are being flexible, we need to find ways to inform them. This also goes for times when any of us decide part of our flexibility is doing some work when others most likely aren’t. I love to catch up on email on Sunday evenings, so I don’t feel overwhelmed coming into a thousand emails on Monday morning. It’s critical to reply with a message that lets folks know, this is part of my flexibility, but not yours! So, I don’t expect or want a reply from you tonight.

Be Flexible Loudly!

This isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for leaders that have grown up in an environment where leaving early or focusing on your own wellbeing was viewed as a sign of weakness. I’ll be honest, I started working from home on Wednesdays each week, and I feel guilty. I feel like I should be in the office if anyone is in the office. At the same time I want my team to feel empowered to be flexible, but that means I need to do it way more loudly!

The key to being flexible loudly is trust. Trust that your team will actually act like adults and value the company the same way you value the company. Trust that their performance will actually be better because of the added flexibility and empowerment.

What I find is 99% of people handle this exactly like we all handle it. We are actually concerned about our performance and the success of our teams and organizations. So, we probably don’t use enough of the flexibility given to us. 1% are assholes and take advantage and don’t perform well. Great leaders, get rid of the 1%, and cheer on loudly the 99%. That is the culture we should be striving for.