It’s Time for our HR Community to Give Back! #SHRM

I’m asking a favor. I do this extremely rarely as a blogger. But I know the power of our HR community worldwide! We have a bright, shining star in our industry who is in need of a miracle.

If you haven’t heard SHRM’s Field Service Director, Callie Zipple has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.

Callie isn’t her diagnosis. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting her you know she’s a tiny ball of pure energy and smiles. She loves her job. She loves our industry. It pours out of her like a fountain.

She graduated from St. Norbert’s College’s HR degree program in 2010, under the mentorship of my friend and Professor at St. Norbert’s, Matt Stollak. He wrote a post about her – check that out.

This is from Callie’s Go Fund Me page that he sister set up for her:

“Callie is a 31-year-old, Harry Potter loving midwestern girl. She loves her husband Shane and Frenchie Gryff madly. She is an HR professional and wonderful wife, daughter, sister, human being. This past week Callie was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer and started chemo immediately post-diagnosis. It’s a very aggressive cancer but she’s young and going to fight as hard and as long as she can.”

I got a chance to spend time with Callie twice this year. Once at a local SHRM event in Kalamazoo, where she showed up and we got to meet in person for the first time. And then at SHRM National this year where I was drilling her with questions about her popular podcast she does with SHRM.

Callie is the perfect spokesperson for SHRM. She’s positive. She’s high energy. She’s helpful. She’s hopeful. Callie sees the best of our industry. She sees potential in all we do. She isn’t naive to the realities of how hard HR can be, but she leans on the side of ‘we’ll figure it out together”.

Callie’s Go Fund Me page is seeking $100,000 to help her battle her diagnosis. Currently, she only has $25,000. She has a gigantic battle in front of her. She is going to go through hell to beat this. She needs our help.

What you begin to understand, even with great health insurance, is beating cancer takes money. Insurance only covers certain treatments. It won’t cover everything and it won’t cover stuff like travel and loss of income from missing work, etc. Beating cancer becomes Callie’s full-time job and it’s an expensive job, but the most important job of her life.

So, I’m asking for your help. Help Callie in her fight. If you can give $5 dollars, give $5 dollars. $10, $100, whatever you can do, please do. If you can’t afford to give money, please share this post socially online – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Give to Callie Zipple’s fund to Beat Cancer! 

I tried an Impossible Burger and Here’s my opinion…

So, I’ve been hearing for a while all the great publicity of the Impossible Burger (or other plant-based meat products). I even got pictures sent to me by my friend Laurie Ruettimann who was cooking Beyond Burgers and Sausages over the holiday weekend. It seems like meatless burgers that taste like real meat burgers are a thing, especially for people who don’t eat meat because it’s murder but they want that great murder burger taste!

Let’s be clear, I actually didn’t order the Impossible Burger or make one for myself, one of my son’s, Cameron, ordered it and said I could have a bite of his. I actually took two bites.

Very first thought that came into my head when I could actually taste the burger in my mouth:

-College cafeteria burger. I’m not sure if you remember your college cafeteria in the dorms, but this literally was the only thought that came into my head. Not a bad taste, but instantly I was transported back to eating a burger that was looked like a burger, somewhat tasted like a burger, but didn’t really seem 100% like a burger I was used to getting at home off the grill. Those cafeteria burgers are cooked and then they ‘float’ them in hot water for hours until the college kid comes and says “give a burger”.

-A bit of different texture to a real burger, but not that drastically different. I wasn’t mushy or dry, it was actually kind of juicy in a weird way.

-Looks like a burger. Talks like a duck, walks like a duck, it must be a duck, right?

Thoughts after the experience:

-If you like a real burger, Impossible Burger isn’t a replacement. When I go to Shake Shack and order a double cheese Shake Burger and the bun is completely soaked with grease and you take that first bite, well that my friends is what life is all about. Clogged artery deliciousness and gold old red meat, ground chuck, just run it by the fire until it stops mooing love!

-I will say I had a strange sense of wanting to vote for further environmental regulations after eating the Impossible Burger, but I think that had more to do with the “Soy Protein Isolate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Methylcellulose, Zinc Gluconate, Cultured Dextrose, etc.” in the ingredients than it actually changing my political identity.

-Science is amazing. If you gave me this burger on a plate with fries and never told me it was an Impossible Burger, I’m not 100% sure, after five gin and tonics, that I could tell the difference.

I’m not a person who’s going to go all red-blooded American who eats meat on you. I like all kinds of foods and I could care less what you want to eat. I’m not, and will never be Vegan or Vegetarian or Gluten-free, but if that’s what you like, good for you! More power to you. I love a great Filet from a really expensive restaurant, with asparagus and some kind of cheesy potatoes. I cook some kind of meat on the grill at least twice a week on average all year long.

What was your experience with Impossible Burger? Did you like it, love it, gotta have it? I’m 100% sure I could make it up into meatballs and put it in sauce and no would know the difference!

Hit me in the comments.

The 1 Thing You Need to Do to Get the Job You Always Wanted!

Last week I got a call from an old work friend. He wanted to have lunch.  He just left a position and was in transition.  Not a bad or negative job loss, just parted ways.  When you get to a certain executive point in your career, it’s rare that bad terminations take place. It’s usually, “hey, we like you, but we really want to go another direction, and we know you don’t want to go that direction, so let’s just shake hands and call it a day, here’s a big fat check.”

Executives get this.  For the most part, there aren’t hard feelings, like when you were young and lost a job. I usually find that the organization the person is leaving from are super complimentary, and usually takes the blame for the change.  Executives in corporate America are like NFL coaches. You get hired with the understanding that one day you’ll be fired.  It’s not that you know less, or aren’t going to be successful in your career, it’s just that the organization needs change, and you’re part of that change.

Welcome to the show, kid.

My friend decided that he was going to find his next position not through posting for positions online, or trolling corporate career pages, he was going to have lunches.  About two per week, with past work friends. Let’s connect, no pressure, we already know each other and I want to catch up.

You see, in 2019 you don’t find great jobs by filling out applications in ATSs and uploading your resume to Indeed. You get great jobs because of the relationships and personal capital you’ve built up over your career.  Having lunch and reconnecting turn on a relationship machine. I believe that people, innately, want to help other people. When a friend comes to you with a situation, and you have something to offer or help, you will do that.

The problem is most people who are looking for great jobs don’t do this. They lock themselves in their home office and apply to a thousand jobs online and get upset when nothing happens. Great jobs aren’t filled by ATSs and corporate recruiters.  Great jobs are filled through relationships. Every single one of them.

Want to find a great job in 2019?

Go out to lunch.

What do you love to do?

We have a hard time really telling others what we love to do. Many times it turns into this humble brag of stuff we don’t really love to do, but it sounds impressive and we know others won’t judge us based on the answer.

I tell people all the time I love fishing!

I do love fishing, but not as much as I probably tell people. Sometimes going fishing sucks. It’s cold. The fish don’t bite. You get sunburned. You have to get up super early.

What I really love is being on the lake by myself, fishing, when it’s a great mild temperature. It’s quite with a slight breeze. I can hear the water and the birds. And it helps if I’m also catching some fish, but the serenity is really what I love.

Too often I find people define themselves by what they hate versus what they love.

I don’t like recruiting, I just want to do my HR stuff! What stuff is that? You know doing the benefits and the employee relations things, and the… Oh, the stuff that has no accountable measures? Okay, I get it, having pressure on your sucks! But what is it that you really love to do?

It doesn’t really help us by defining what we want to do around what we hate, because in any thing we do we probably will have some hate and some love. If that’s the case, the best way to decide what you’ll do is by deciding what is it that you actually love to do because if you love some portion of it, the stuff you hate really doesn’t seem to bad.

The opposite would be that you decide you want to work at a job because you don’t hate anything about it. Well, okay, so you don’t hate it, but is there any part of it that you love? Because if you don’t love any of it, you probably won’t end up liking it either.

It’s not just work, this works in all aspects of our lives. If you are out in the world telling everyone what you hate, it will probably push most people away. If you are telling them what you love, it might not bring everyone to you, but it will definitely bring some folks to you that share that love.

Define yourself by what you love, not what you hate.

10 Things That Scare Me

I listen to NPR in the mornings on my way to work. It helps me keep up on how my ultra-liberal friends are thinking, plus it’s my only access to news outside the U.S. on a regular basis. It’s important we make ourselves aware of all sides of the conversations taking place.

On a recent ride in I was introduced to an NPR produced podcast called “10 Things That Scare Me” which is a podcast about our biggest fears. The interview struck me with the idea that I’m not sure what my biggest fears are because my brain subconsciously helps me not think of them! 

I thought a good experiment would be to try and list ten things that scare me, with how I rationalize these fears. Here’s what I came up with in random order:

  1. Bees – My wife laughs at me about this. There’s an actual video of me she took of me freaking out about a bee chasing me. There’s no logical reason that I don’t like bees. Oh, wait, yeah there is, bee stings hurt!
  2. Heights – Let me preface this by saying I’ve jumped off the Stratosphere in Vegas and I’ve done many Zipline adventures. I love roller coasters. But have me climb a ladder and walk on the roof of my house and my legs are shaking like crazy! I think the difference is all about safety harnesses. I don’t mind heights if I’m safe, I mind heights when I could fall and die.
  3. Horror Movies – I don’t go to them, I don’t watch them, you can’t make me. Again, completely stupid I know, but yeah, I’m out!
  4. Something Bad Happening to my Wife, kids, or dog. I think I spend too much time thinking about this, but not half as much as my wife, but it’s still a fear. Probably will always be a fear.
  5. Not being able to pay my bills. This might seem irrational to many people. I’m a successful person. It comes from childhood and being raised by a single mom, who was trying to launch a business, and many times being at stores where they wouldn’t allow her to write a check because she had ‘bounced’ so many. And we definitely didn’t have any cash! Taking food back to the shelves of a store because you can’t afford it doesn’t leave you. That walk, with the employees staring at you feels pretty bad.
  6. Not knowing the right answer. For most of my life, in almost any situation, I’ve felt like I’ve had ‘the’ answer. School, work, life, love, okay, way less in love, but most things! So, I’m fearful of not having the right answer that will solve the problem. Turns out, some problems don’t have answers, or at least not a ‘right’ answer.
  7. Dying unexpectedly. I have this notion that I’ll die with some warning. I’m planning on it. There’s really only one time in life when you can truly tell people what you think, and I do not want to miss out on that time! We see random death every day, and it’s hard for me to understand it.
  8. Embarrassing people who are important to me. To know me is to know anything might come out of my mouth. Mostly that’s been a great trait over my life. Every once in a while, not so much. I truly care about my family and friends, and if I say or do something that embarrasses them, it truly impacts me deeply. Just not enough, apparently, to change my personality!
  9. Access to guns. Guns don’t scare me. I grew up around guns. I’ve shot guns. Hunted. Shot skeet. Etc. The access that mentally unstable people have to guns scares me because of fear #4 above. Guns are too readily available in our society and I can only pray and hope for the safety of those I care for.
  10. Failing my Mom’s company. For those who don’t know, I run the company my mother started and ran quite successfully for decades. 2nd generation family businesses have an extreme failure rate. I work and stress every day to not be a statistic. So, call me and do work with me! Help me conquer this fear!

So, what do you think? It feels pretty good to get your fears out there in the open. To look them in the eye. To introduce them to the world. They are definitely more scary when they are locked in my head!

What fears do you have that you have admitted? Hit me in the comments and let’s do this cleanse together!

Want to make more money? Do what your spouse does!

I rarely find a person who believes they don’t want to make more money. “No, I’m fine Tim, no more money for me! I make $75,000 per year and you know what that one study says, it’s all I need to be happy!”

Good for you pal. I prescribe to different study that says if you make $175,000 per year, you’ll be happier than at $75,000, and if you make $1,750,000 you’ll be so much more happier than at $75,000 per year you’ll actually hire two people making $75,000 per year to tell you how much happier you are!

A recent study out of Princeton shows that if you want to make more money all you really need to do is be in the same profession as your spouse!

“Individuals who work in the same occupation as their spouse have significantly higher earnings on average than similar people whose spouses work in different occupations. For instance, a lawyer married to a lawyer makes more than an otherwise identical lawyer married to a physician or a teacher. The earnings effect associated with such “same-occupation marriages” is negative for less-educated men but positive for other groups and stronger for women than men.” 

So, let’s unpack this concept a bit:

  • I can understand that if I worked in the same job as my wife, let’s say we are both teachers. We would be a bit competitive (editors note: my wife and I, and our kids, are super competitors!) in our careers. We would both strive to be the best teacher with the most awards and education, continuing to push each other to reach the highest levels.

So, the concept makes sense so far.

  • I could also assume that two people in the same profession, let’s say doctors, would also be more willing and able to start their own business in that profession. It’s hard to hang your own shingle, but two of you and now you have a practice!

I really struggle to find how this doesn’t work in most cases. When I worked at Applebee’s we constantly had partner teams and it was rare that either partner failed. If your partner worked in your same profession, you constantly have this close person to share your pain, frustrations, celebrations, etc., with someone who truly understands!

All of this is predicated on finding a spouse that loves to do what you love to do, professionally.

Did this study just uncover a hidden secret to successful relationships? I’m not sure, but it makes sense that if you love what you do and find a partner who also loves that same thing, and you are both pushing each other to be successful, and because of that you both earn more money, well then, that relationship at least has a chance!

What do you think? Could you do what your significant other does? Would you like if they did what you did?

What is your most prized possession?

I’m heartbroken watching the California fires. The stories coming out of California are just gut-wrenching. I’m struck by how people find the strength to stand up when they’ve lost everything but the clothes on their back.

I was listening to the podcast, Broken Record, with Malcolm Gladwell and, world-renowned music producer, Rick Rubin, who literally just lost his famous house in a fire. Now, I know, Rick is super-wealthy, but he also is a person who probably has a ton of irreplaceable things he’s gotten in his life. Awards, artifacts of his industry, etc.

He said he didn’t really care about the ‘things’ the fire took, but he was brought to tears by losing the hundred-year-old trees on his property. The trees, the land, was what made his home special and a sanctuary for his peace. While he could replant trees, he would never live long enough to see them as they were.

It made me think about my own possessions. What do I have that if lost I would be crushed? Not people or pets, but inanimate object-type of possessions. If I could only grab one possession before getting out with my life and my families lives, what possession would I grab?

It definitely wasn’t anything like of a material nature. I could replace clothes, furniture, and electronics. At first, I thought I knew, oh, for sure it would be pictures. Pictures of my boys as babies, but most of these have been converted to digital and they are in the cloud, so while there would be a few pictures lost, I would still have many that were probably similar.

Maybe it was something someone gave me to me, but I’ve already lost my most valued possession. After my grandfather died, I was twelve, my grandmother handed me a tattered brown envelop, aged by the years. Inside it was a few pictures of my grandfather in the Navy, along with his medals. I had them for years, but somewhere along the way they got misplaced and I’ve never been able to find them. I still think about that loss. It was the only thing I had of my grandfathers.

I came to the realization, while it would be painful to lose everything, there wasn’t one thing I would have to keep for myself. There was one thing I know my wife, though, would want. She keeps a box with letters and notes I’ve given her over the years. I’m sure there are letters and notes from the boys as well. She would definitely want those, so my one thing would be that box. I know those momentoes are important to her.

So, as you get ready for Thanksgiving I’ll ask you the same question, what one possession would you grab if you could only grab one and everything else would be lost? Hit me in the comments with what you came up with, and if you’re struggling for great conversation at your Thanksgiving table, ask your friends and loved ones this question.

“Overqualified” is Just another word for Age Discrimination

Had a really talented lady reach out to me the other day. 49 years old, college grad, great portfolio of work. She has been interviewing and is being told she is “Overqualified”.

There is some truth about her being called this. She does have more qualifications than the position requires, but she fully understands what the job is and she wants to do that job, with no notion of wanting to do more than that job, unless her performance shows she’s capable of moving up and the company needs her to move up.

“Overqualified” is just another way to say “Hey, I think you’re too old to work for me!”

Tell me I’m wrong! Give me all the reasons someone is “Overqualified” for a job they want to work at and understand what the job specs are?

I’m a Heart Surgeon but it’s a stressful job, so I decided to take a step back and just do some Cardiac Rehab work. Still get to work with heart patients, but it’s a less stressful workload and pays a heck of lot less, you need less education to do that job.

Am I overqualified to do Cardiac Rehab if I have experience as a heart surgeon? Only if you tell me I am! It’s a job I want, and I have the skills and desire to do that job, so I would say I’m quite qualified to do that job, not overqualified.

TA pros and hiring managers say someone is overqualified when they’re too stupid to come up with another reason about why they don’t want to hire someone who has great experience and more years of experience.

“Oh, Tammy, yeah, she’s overqualified to work in that job. I mean she wouldn’t be happy long-term reporting to me, and I mean she has more experience than I have!” Oh, she told you that? “Um, no.”

I constantly run into retired people who aren’t ready to retire and want to keep doing valuable work. They have great skills and knowledge, but 32-year-old Steve won’t hire them because Steve believes they won’t take his direction. That’s a Steve-issue, not the candidate’s issue!

By the way, this isn’t a young-to-middle-aged guy problem, women are just as bad! Turns out we all love to discriminate against old people, equally!

Tech companies are the worse. Creative companies are the second worse.

Tech companies believe only young people know technology. Creative companies think the only people who buy products and services are 26-year-olds on Instagram and Snap.

“Tim, you just don’t get it. I don’t want to hire someone who is going to retire in 5 years!” What’s your average tenure at your company? “4.2 years” Yeah, having someone for 5 years would really suck for you!

I had a hiring manager tell me this once when he interviewed a person who was 52! “I need someone who is going to stay long term!” Um, 13-15 years isn’t long term?! You’re an idiot!

I find telling hiring managers “You’re an idiot!” is super effective in getting through to them, and cutting straight through to their bias. It has worked 100% of the time in my career. It really works across all biases.

So, now tell me, why don’t you hire someone who is ‘overqualified”?

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener…

This is HR’s go-to advice for employees who put in their two-week notice, especially if that employee is heading to a competitor:

“Just remember! The grass isn’t always greener!” 

HR is mostly right. I’d say here’s the actual breakdown of ‘greenest’:

  • 50% is actually about the same shade of green. You’re moving to just move. You’ll find the job, the people, the money, everything is almost the same. The only change is the name and maybe the location by a bit.
  • 30% is going to be a nice shade of light brown, meaning the grass isn’t green at all, it’s dead! HR wants to believe this number is higher but it’s not, but it’s high enough to give some folks some pause before making such a big decision.
  • 10% is way greener! Like green M&M green. Dream job green! Everything is better and you’re so happy you made the move. You found your dream job!
  • 10% isn’t grass at all. Someone replaced the grass with some other material, like in Phoenix where grass can’t grow so they pave the front yard and paint it green, or just put in rock and cactus. This is completely something you didn’t expect. You were hoping for a better job, and you got something that isn’t better but not worse, it’s not even the job you expected, so you can’t really compare.

So, you have about a 10% chance of getting what you think you’re getting. Not good odds, but like I said, most employees way overthink their odds on this and probably believe they have a 70-90% of bettering themselves when they move. Most will just stay the same or get slightly worse.

Why do we believe moving is better?

1. You’re being sold. Sold by a recruiter and a hiring manager that you’ll be moving from a trailer park to Disney World. You really, really want to believe that’s true, so you buy!

2. You over-value that what we don’t know, over what we already have. This happens in so many areas of our life. Relationships. Jobs. A table at a restaurant.

3. You over-value what others have, over what you have. Think about this for a minute. You’re so eager to get out of this job, yet others are so eager to get this job. What does that say? You’re brilliant and everyone else is an idiot? Probably not. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

Everyone keeps telling me all these ‘new’ young workers just want to jump from job to job. They don’t have loyalty, etc. The reality is much less about their desire to move, and more about them being more naive to the realities of changing jobs.  We all loved changing jobs until it backfires and you leave something good, for something crappy.

Once that happens, you’re less likely to change jobs the rest of your career, even if you’re in a bad job! Don’t underestimate what you currently have. It’s probably way better than you’re making it out to be, and the new gig isn’t as good as it sounds. That’s not sexy, that’s just reality.

Mailbag Question: Should Our Receptionist Hug Clients?

So, yes, I’m the “World’s Foremost Expert on Workplace Hugging” so it seems appropriate that this week I would get the following question from a reader:

Dear World’s Foremost Expert on Workplace Hugging, 

My boss asked me to do something this week and before I did it I wanted to ask an expert, like yourself, and get some other opinions. The situation is our CEO has asked me to ‘tell’ our front desk receptionist that she will now be required to hug each client that comes into our office. Our CEO feels this will create a more welcoming and friendly environment for our clients. What are your thoughts on doing this?

Thinking this doesn’t right in Middle America! 

Yes, this was an actual exchange that I had this week! I made up the name, but everything else is as accurate as I can make and still protect the innocent!

So, in 2017, a CEO of an actual, successful company, wants “Mary” the Receptionist to start hugging every client that comes to the office. Wow. Right? Just, Wow!

Here’s my response:

Middle America,

First, being a hugger, I actually understand where your CEO is coming from. When I go into a business and I’m met with a friendly (natural, unforced) hug. I feel very welcome! When I’m down south, I seem to get more hugs than if I’m on either coast or in a big city. So, part of me actually understands the psychology behind this request.

That being said, I have one question for your CEO (and I encourage to ask this question): “If Mary leaves as your receptionist, and you hire “Mark” to replace her, will your CEO still want “Mark” to go and hug every client?” I’ll take make a ‘big’ assumption here and say, no, probably not!

This is a very quick and simple way to point out how harassing this action would be viewed by normal people. If you decide to go down this path of making hugging an actual work requirement, you will end up in a lawsuit at some point!

Okay, I’m a hugger, so let me tell you how you get most of what you want, without the lawsuit! Go hire a natural hugger to man your front desk and never discourage this behavior! You’ll get most of what you want, especially if your CEO and others mirror this hugging behavior to every client they meet in front of this person.

Good Luck,

Tim The World’s Foremost Expert in Workplace Hugging!

I love HR because of this very real, innocent question. You never actually know what the heck you’ll walk into each day, and there is no way of planning for the insane things that happen!

Have a great Friday HR Pros! You deserve it!