The Rules for Office Romances

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple of weeks. As HR pros we know what this means, which is usually a lot of unwanted advances by horny dudes who think they have a shot at the hot co-worker, who has absolutely no interest in them at all.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I’ve given out some rules in the past. Everyone on the planet has read my Rules for Hugging at the Office, but Office Romances are a little more complicated than the simple side-hug in the hallway. So, I thought I would lay out some easy to follow, simple rules for Office Romances for you to pass out to your employees on Valentine’s Day:

Rule #1 – Don’t fall for someone you supervise. If you do fall for someone you supervise, which you probably will because this is how office romances work. In that case, get ready to quit, be fired, be moved to another department, and or get the person you’re having an office romance with fired, moved, etc.

Rule #2 – Don’t fall for anyone in Payroll. When it ends, so will your paycheck. At least temporarily, and even then it will be filled with errors from now until eternity. It’s a good rule of thumb to never mess with payroll for any reason.

Rule #3 – Don’t mess around in the office, or on office grounds. Look I get it. You’re crazy in love and just can’t wait until you get home. The problem is the security footage never dies. It will live long past your tenure with us, and we’ll laugh for a long time at you. So, please don’t.

Rule #4 – Don’t send explicit emails to each other at work. It’s not that I won’t enjoy reading them, it’s that I get embarrassed when I have to read them aloud to the unemployment judge at your hearing. Okay, I lied, I actually don’t get embarrassed, but you will.

Rule #5 – Don’t pick a married one. Look I get it, you’re the work-spouse. He/She tells you everything. You get so close, you really think it’s real, but it’s not. You’ll actually see this when the real spouse shows up and keys your car in the parking lot.

Rule #6 – Don’t pick someone who has crappy performance. Oh, great, you’re in love! Now I’m firing your boyfriend and you’ll have to pick between him and us, which you’ll pick him, and now I’m out two employees. Pick the great performers, it’s easier for all of us.

Rule #7 – Inform the appropriate parties as soon as possible. Okay, you went to a movie together, not a big deal. Okay, you went to the movie together and woke up in a different bed than your own. It might be time to mention this to someone in HR if there is at anyway a conflict of some sort. If you don’t know if there’s a conflict of some sort, let someone in HR help you out with that.

Rule #8 – If it seems wrong, it probably is.  If you find yourself saying things in your head like, “I’m not sure if this is right”, you probably shouldn’t be having that relationship. If you find yourself saying things like, “If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right”, you definitely shouldn’t be having this relationship.

Rule #9 – If you find yourself hiding your relationship at work, it might be time to talk to HR. We’re all adults, we shouldn’t be hiding normal adult relationships. If you feel the need to hide it, something isn’t normal about it.

Rule #10 – Everyone already knows about your relationship. People having an office romance are the worst at hiding it. You think you’re so sneaky and clever, but we see you stopping at her desk 13,000 times a day ‘asking for help’ on your expense report. We see you. We’re adults. We know what happened when you both went into the stairwell 7 seconds apart. Stop it.

There you go. Hope that helps as you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

Guest Bloggers Wanted! #Rant

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

No! I don’t want your stupid Guest Blog Post! 

Several times a day I have “writers” reach out to me and ask me if they can submit a guest blog post to my blog. Anyone who blogs, in any industry, has this happen to them. The more traffic your blog gets, the more requests for “guest blogs” you get.

The problem is, all of these guest blogs aren’t what they seem. But, these folks pitching their guest blogs act like the people who own blogs have no idea what they are really trying to do.

The seedy underbelly of the blogger world! 

You didn’t know I was going to open up the kimono today and let out all the secrets, did you!? Here’s the real deal, 99.9% of folks who request to write a guest blog are only doing it so they can put up marginal content that is loaded with links that go back to a client site they are getting paid by.

They don’t care about the content.

They don’t care about my audience.

They only care about getting paid and getting their below-average content on as many blogs as possible.

Welcome to the show, kids!

I don’t want your guest blog, I want to punch you in the face! 

Look, I get it. We all need to make a buck. I’m not trying to stop you from that. I’m trying to stop you from having to lie to people all day, every day. I think the better ‘sales” strategy for pitching me a blog, should be:

“Hey Tim” (No, not just “Hi” so I know 100% you have no idea who I am) 

“I’ve got a piece pre-written with 7 link backs to my client. I’m getting paid $X for this piece if I can get it on your blog and promote the crap out of it. I’ll Venmo you $X if you work with me and getting this posted.” 

“Here is the Title and what it’s about. Are you game?” 

Here’s why you suck, super hard! 

  1. You contact me and ask to use some of the most valuable real estate I own, but you only give me your Gmail address and your first name. No company name. No LinkedIn profile link. No phone number. Why is that? Because the vast majority of you are frauds and you don’t want me to know who you really are.
  2. Your content, at its best, is vanilla. While your client loves it because you blew hot air up their asses, everyone else thinks it’s crap.
  3. See #1

Guest Blogs that I Accept

Rule #1– I don’t accept guest blogs.

Rule #2 – When I do accept a guest blog there are personal reasons for me doing so. I had my son guest blog to help him find a job. I had friends in the industry guest blog for me while I was on vacation because I love their voices in our industry and I want more people to meet them and hear them.

Rule #3 – You can’t sell my audience a bunch of crap disguised as content with a ton of link backs, where you are getting paid and me and my audience are getting your lame content!

Rule #4 – Pay the dude who owns the blog! I’m like all the kids – I have PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, etc. You can pay me in U.S. Currency, BitCoin, Gin, Puppies, etc. but if you’re getting paid, I want to get paid. It’s a fairness thing. Why should you get to put up your work for free on my blog and get paid, and I’m not? Does that seem fair to you?

So, here’s the deal! 

There are about 13,000 ghostwriters, link-back, guest blogger types right now that have bots set up reading this title “Guest Bloggers Wanted” who will start emailing me constantly, without ever reading this post believing I truly want their shitty content. I don’t. But, like everyone in the world, I’ve got a price. If you pick the right price, we can probably do business. The odd of you picking the right price, are not in your favor!

Guest Blog Inquiries Can Be Sent To: 

YourParentsDontEvenLikeYou@Gmail.com

Creating friendships at work during a pandemic is really hard!

We’ve been told for years now, based on the Gallup research, that having a best friend at work is one of those anchors that will lengthen a person’s tenure with an organization. New research is proving this might not be as easy it sounds! Business Insider:

A Study by Plos One asked students to rate their friendships and also rate whether or not the ‘friend’ would reciprocate by telling researchers they also believed they were friends. Here the results:

In 94% of these perceived friendships, students expected them to be reciprocal. So if John rated Jack as his friend, he expected Jack to rate him as a friend also. But this was so in only 53% of cases; less than half of the students had their friendship beliefs about others reciprocated.

Ouch! Almost half of your friends, do think of you as a friend!

The researchers point to the social network-style of so many friendships today of why people have this wrong perception. People are now building so many friendships with individuals they rarely see or interact with but feel like they have a strong friendship with.

So, what should you be doing as an HR Pro to take advantage of the Friend Anchor?

1. Help provide real-life interactions with your employees to build ‘real’ friendships, not just social network friendships.

2. Give employees the opportunity to work with employees of their choosing on projects. Give an employee a project and let them pick their team to work on it.

3. Don’t ignore those employees who don’t interact with anyone. This is usually the first red flag you’ll get that a person is unhappy at work and more likely to turnover.

I know you didn’t get into HR to play a friendship matchmaker! But, if you value retention and want to lower turnover, being a great matchmaker might be the best tool you have in the HR toolbox!

To increase the difficulty of the position of being a matchmaker, what will you do for a remote workforce to increase friendships? The truth of the matter is it easier to create friendships in person, face to face, then it is when everyone is remote. The process of workplace friendship building has to be purposeful, and again this will mostly fall on HR pros to lead.

Also, remember, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Unless they’re a really, really, really good friend, but even then, that’s creepy, don’t do that.

Recruiting Brainfood Tribune: 20 Questions with @TimSackett by @HungLee

One of the great things that blogging about recruiting and HR topics over the past decade has given me is a bunch of international friends and contacts. One of those friends is the founder of Recruiting Brainfood, out of the UK, Hung Lee.

You won’t find a nicer dude, doing great work for the recruiting space around the world. If you haven’t heard of the Player’s Tribune, it’s a sports website where instead of journalist writing, it’s the athletes themselves. You hear very personal stories from the athletes in their own voice.

Hung had the idea to do this for our industry (The Recruiting Brainfood Tribune) and he asked me to do this for his site through answer a series of twenty questions. I hope you like it, and make sure you subscribe to Hung Lee’s weekly Recruiting Brainfood newsletter – it’s exceptional!

  1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

Ruth Kemp, high school English teacher. She forced us to journal, and this was in the 1980s! So, each day we had to just write for 20 minutes a day. Write about anything, but you had to write even if you just copied text from a book or magazine. The cool part is she would read everything you wrote and respond with comments. So, even though I didn’t want to write, I loved her reactions to what I wrote! For me, it became a game to try and make her laugh or be shocked. She was smart and playful and always played along with my creativity. She taught me that I actually loved to write, I just didn’t know it. I ended up being her teacher’s aide for my junior and senior years. We would talk for hours about anything and everything.

She retired years ago, but when I wrote my book, The Talent Fix, I wanted to send her a copy because she was really the reason that it happened. I found out, through the school, that she was doing some volunteer work at the local airport assistance desk with some other senior citizens. I fly a lot, so I thought eventually I would run into her. One night on a last flight of the night coming into the airport at almost midnight, I finally ran into her on her very last day of volunteering ever. It had been 30 years since we had seen each other (she totally looked the same!). I walked up to the counter, and she asked me if she could help me. I said, “I’m Tim Sackett!” and she replied, “Of course you are!” We hugged and shared stories, and it brings tears to my eyes as I write this that I could see her one last time and let her know what a dramatic impact she had on my life.

  1. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

I don’t think my wife thinks I’m an adult yet! I tell people I was raised by all women. My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family. She had five daughters, my mother being the oldest. The first grandchild in our family was my sister. I was the second. My parents divorced when I was four, and my grandparents help raise me a lot, being that my Mom was a single parent working a ton launching her business that I currently run. My grandfather passed away when I was twelve. At his funeral, I was sitting between my Mom and my Grandmother. My Grandmother leans over during the service, puts her hand on my knee, and whispers into my ear, “You are the man of the family now.” I’m quite sure I wasn’t an adult at that moment, but it definitely shaped so much of my life moving forward! To this day, I still hold the title as the senior-most “blood” male of our family, and my 90-year-old Grandmother still expects me to be the man of the family.

  1. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?

I think if you fail a lot, you are more likely to keep failing. Our society tends to believe the opposite. Fail more! Fail faster! It’s all bullshit. I coached baseball, and if I had a…

Read the rest of the twenty questions over at Recruiting Brainfood – it’s all about me and stuff, but I think it’s pretty good. Hung asked some great questions! 

 

Pandemic Job Searching with @LRuettimann and @CamSackett

I’ve been exceptionally fortunate in my career to find friends and mentors willing to give me their time and resources to help me succeed. One of those people who help support me when I first started writing is Laurie Ruettimann.

I tease her a lot and frequently call her HR’s Big Sister because she helps so many people! When you write, speak, have a successful podcast like she does you tend to get a lot of people reaching out for advice and Laurie finds time to help out so many folks.

Today, she’s helping out my son Cameron, who is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and in the middle of his first ‘real’ job search. Enjoy their podcast together!

Resources from this episode:

Cameron on LinkedIn

HR Famous Podcast

Laurie on Instagram

Laurie on LinkedIn

Read more from Laurie

Work with Laurie

 

Happy Thoughts by Tim Sackett

My local news station is doing just positive news for one of their half-hour shows on Thursday early evenings. I’m a cynic, I suspect it’s a play to grab ratings on a low ratings time, but you know what? We could all use some good news!

So, I sat down to think about all the Happy things that are going on that I could share. It’s not easy! There’s so much negative, I can’t even with the news anymore, but here goes:

The All-In Challenge!

Have you heard about this? A bunch of celebrities are auctioning off stuff and they’ve tried to make it inexpensive so everyone can have a chance, not just rich folks. So, you can be in Kevin Hart’s next movie and get the chance for $10 to put your name in the hat! Or Justin Beiber will come to your house and sing a song! You can play in the NBA Celebrity All-star game, etc. The entry fee for each is just $10 with all proceeds going to provide food for those affected by the pandemic. I’m obsessed with this, I want to do half of the stuff!

Hourly Workers Getting their Do! 

To be honest, I’m not a giant fan of everyone calling themselves heroes. I like to save the “H” word for those who really put their lives on the line for my freedom and safety on a regular basis. All that said, hourly workers usually just get dumped on with crappy pay and crappy jobs, and right now many of those folks are holding this country together. I was in a gas station today and the lady in front of me was running a laundry mat and she said, “I’m an essential worker! I’m needed right now!” Yes, you are my dear! Get all the feels you need right now!

Family Tik Tok Videos! 

They are corny. Some funny. Some not. All of them are families doing stuff together and I quite frankly think it’s awesome. Even those where they are just having their Mom or Dad hold the camera. At least you are finally doing something with your teenage kids! Family Tik Toks and Puppy Tik Toks, keep them coming. If you haven’t downloaded Tik Tok, it’s 99.9% stupid short videos and every once in a while some pure gold.

Conversations at the Dinner Table! 

Yep, we are all sick of each other by this point, but in a couple of months, I have had more real conversation at my dinner table than the combined past two years! That is awesome and makes me smile! My wife and I are actually getting tired of cleaning up after dinner because it’s happening every single night! I have boys so you usually don’t get a lot of conversation anyway, but it turns out if you actually sit down every night, they start talking.

The Return of Civility! 

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone is a nicer right now. I mean I guess any of us could kick the bucket at any moment so we tend to just be a little nicer to each other. Of course, early on we were all fighting each other for toilet paper, but once we got settled in I think people are truly caring about their neighbors and community. Even in my work interactions, everyone seems to be really concerned for each other’s safety.

I like thinking Happy Thoughts. I’m reminded of a great quote by Viktor Frankl:

 

The Top 5 Gifts to Get that Special Someone at the Office for Valentine’s Day!

Let’s get creepy today!

Remember back when you were in elementary school and your mom or dad would take you to the store and you would pick out your box of Valentine’s to give out at school? You had to make one of those little ‘mailboxes’ out of shoebox so everyone in your class could drop off one, and then you would go home after school and analyze each one like the Zapruder film!

Did Amber make me her ‘special’ Valentine or did she use a generic message card on me!?! Why did Jill put a ‘heart’ on top of her “i” to me? Why did Billy give me the card with kittens? Oh, the humanity of trying to figure out who loved you through the meaning of store-bought valentine cards!

Talk about stress! I’m not sure a kid goes through something more stressful than getting down to those last two or three cards and having to decide which crappy card you have left to give to the school bully so you don’t get beat up!

Thankfully, we are now all adults! Now we just have some weird or creepy person at work who believes they are in love with us and also believing that Valentine’s Day is the day they should profess this love! I’m going to make it easy for you, weird, creepy peeps! I’ve been there. I’ve been in love and struggled for the right gift! No worries, I got your back:

1. Their favorite work-appropriate drink. That special someone likes Starbucks double-shot, low-fat caramel mocha whatever, get them one! If you don’t know their drink order, you aren’t even trying to be a proper crush! This says, hey, I like you, but I’m not a completely insane stalker. Drop it off and be casual, and just say, “I got you your drink, wanted you to have a good start to your valentine’s day”, then walk away, don’t make it awkward!

2. Something sweet. Candy, cookie, cupcake. It’s traditional. It’s thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be consumed immediately. You can drop it off when they are at their work station or when they aren’t with a little note. Don’t be weird and make some creepy note (“I got you something sweet because I bet you taste sweet!” Vomit!)

3. Flowers from Anonymous. If you really want to win the day. Send that special someone flowers, but make it anonymous, and keep it anonymous! The great thing about the anonymous flowers is that person will talk about it all day, if not longer. The downfall is they might assume they came from the person they are really attracted to and that person might not be you! This doesn’t work if you’re already “kind of talking” to this person.

4. Jewelry! Kidding, don’t ever give jewelry to a co-worker that you are not romantically involved with! This is super creepy! Plus, it’s poor taste to do that level of gift at work. Only give jewelry to that special someone when you’re alone. Those idiots who propose to their special someone in a public place should be shot.

5. An invitation. You don’t know until you know…The reality is we all want to be wanted, but they might not want you, or they might. An email that says, Happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to take you out for a drink or dinner or a coffee. Let me know. Big risk, big payoff or big rejection. But, it allows the person in their own space to make a decision. If you don’t push the issue, you can survive this in the workplace. Pro tip: if you get rejected on this attempt, never do it again with this person and never mention it, ever, to anyone. Lock it away! The most creepy people in the world will turn this into a public thing at the office. Don’t do that!

So, you’ve got your one-week warning! Next Friday is Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day on a Friday is like the holy grail of Valentine’s Day. Crazy stuff happens because you have the weekend to fall in love or recover from your heartbreak! Are you ready!?!

Do you want to work with Tim Sackett? This video will answer that question!

I’m a big fan of DisruptHR and the format! I’ve been part of the team that has run the first three DisruptHR Detroits and in 2020 we’ll do our first DisruptHR Lansing. Five minutes, 20 slides, each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds. Simple, yet so hard to pull off effectively!

There are now well over a hundred DisruptHR cities and hundreds of events worldwide taking place each year. My friend, Jennifer McClure, is the co-Founder of DisruptHR and it might the single best thing that’s happened to HR this decade! Truly. To get HR leaders and pros out of the office and stretch our minds, have a little fun, push the envelope of what HR could become. Give me something better than that in the last ten years!

You can start your own DisruptHR (input city name here) for $500! It’s easy, just contact Jennifer through the DisruptHR website. It’s fun. It really engages the HR community in your city. It’s fairly easy to get a few sponsors to throw some bucks at you to help with the cost. And even bad DisruptHR talks are some of the best DisruptHR talks!

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak at DisruptHR Grand Rapids this past fall and I went with a topic that started on my blog as a series – Rap Lyrics that have shaped my leadership style over time. On my blog, I think I counted down twenty-five in the series a number of years ago. I even once did a presentation for the local SHRM chapter in Jackson, MI on the concept and watched 40 mostly white HR ladies look at me in horror! 😉 Actually, they asked me to do it! Which shows how disruptive they are!

In the comments hit me with your best Rap Lyric that shaped your leadership style!

Let’s face it. If you hate the video, you probably don’t want to work with me, and I probably wouldn’t have much fun working with you! But, if you like the video – we can probably be fast friends! Let’s talk!

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! 

The First Gay Person I Ever Met. #Pride

June was Pride month and as it wrapped up on Sunday I was loving all the pictures on my social feeds from New York and really all over the world. It really made me think about why I’m an Ally for this community. Where did it all start?

I was in seventh grade when my middle school basketball coach said he had an opportunity for us to jump higher. I’m short and white, so I was totally interested. Turned out, the opportunity was to play volleyball for a boy’s team, the only boy’s team in Michigan. The coach was local to my school district and looking for male athletes.

This coach was also a gay male.

Of course, as a 13-year old boy, I had no idea that he was gay. I went out for the team. Made it, and it really set me off on a path I could never believe. I traveled nationally with this team. I made the best friends from all over the country. I had a mentor in this coach who supported me as a coach, a dad, a friend.

It became apparent very soon to me that playing volleyball on the only all-boys team in Michigan had some advantages and disadvantages. I got used to being called “gay” by ignorant people when we tried to do some fundraising. “Hi, I’m Tim, and we’re fundraising to attend the Junior Olympics to compete in boy’s volleyball! We would love your support!” Boy’s volleyball? What are you gay or something?

It was a strange experience to be called “gay” because I was playing a game that I loved, and that people weren’t used to seeing boys play. To have someone assume because I liked doing this one thing, you could determine my sexuality. I’m like, no I really, really like girls, but still, so you don’t want to support us because you think only ‘girls’ play volleyball and because I’m a boy playing volleyball I must be gay?

I also got used to attending weekend tournaments where our team of 8 boys would be playing in gyms with hundreds of girls! It was a huge advantage for a short, red-headed, goofy teen boy who liked girls! I needed those odds to be in my favor!  

Eventually, my dad had a conversation with me. “You know your coach is gay, right?” By then I got it, but it didn’t matter to me. He was my coach. He just happened to be a gay male. Thankfully, for me, my dad was pretty accepting and could see I loved the experiences I was having.

This coach had a life long positive impact on my life. He was gay. I only say that because I think I was lucky enough to know this and have such a great experience that I grew up believing gay folks are great folks, and some folks are just assholes that judge you based on stupid stuff that has no correlation to anything.

I did grow up understanding that my gay friends face major prejudices and biases walking into life events that I don’t, even though they shouldn’t. We’ve come a long way since I was in seventh grade, but we still have such a long way to go.

I grew up an Ally without even knowing I was an Ally. I looked at those friends and mentors who were gay, not as gay friends and mentors, but as every other friend and mentor, I have in my life. My life is now filled with friends and family from the LGBTQ community and I’m so proud of the bravery these folks show every day. I hope that #Pride had a positive impact on you in June!