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.

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.

Happy John Jorgensen Day! @jkjhr

January 23, 2012, my friend and super HR influencer, Laurie Ruettimann, new my super fragile ego needed a boost, so without me knowing she rallied the other HR influencer in the space that had blogs and she created the first-ever “Tim Sackett Day“! We used that date moving forward each year to recognize other individuals in our space who we felt were awesome but underappreciated.

Today, that same friend, Laurie, wants to start a new day for those who have put tireless effort into the profession of HR, but are not as recognized as they should be, for the effort they’ve given! Which is why she reached out to that same group of influencers and bloggers and asked us to write about our friend John Jorgensen.

So, what can I say about JJ on his roast day? 

– John is an old white dude. He’s so old, he’s become diverse. I think he might have been SHRM Member #1. That’s his actual SHRM number: 00000001.

– John has the worst twitter handle of all time. I’m guessing he made it so he could remember it, not so anyone else could remember it. “jkjhr”? The two “j’s” I get, we can guess the “k” is probably his middle name. Let’s just say it’s “Ken”. Ken is very white and old, so it fits! “John Kenneth Jorgensen HR” – there, now we can all remember how to find him on Twitter!

– JJ (what I call him, but I’ve never heard anyone else call him that) is an undying Big Ten sports fan and loves to interact around that subject. The Iowa Hawkeyes are his team, so you know he’s a glutton for punishment!

– SHRM Illinois would not be where they are today, without his tireless and bitching volunteer work.

– John is SHRM’s biggest fan and one of their biggest critics. This makes an organization like SHRM better. Support them, and work to make them better from the inside.

– John invented the phrase ‘resting bitch face’. This is his actual LinkedIn bio photo! 

– John has forgotten more HR than most of us will ever know.

John tries to come off as mean and ornery, but the reality is he’s a big teddy bear. He’s the first one to volunteer, and he just loves this profession!

So, today, search out John Jorgensen and get to know him. He’ll act like all of this is annoying, but deep down he will enjoy the attention, and when you’re at SHRM National in 2019, make it your mission to search him out and take a selfie with him!

Happy JJ Day!

Are Work Friends, Really Friends?

So, I get pimped on the daily by PR firms to share their stuff with you guys and I rarely do! But, every once in a while a PR firm gets that I only read the headlines and sends me a good one! Like the one above!

So, this is the juice from the study

“Only 15% of people believe they have a ‘real’ friend at work.” 

Okay, the full breakdown was actually this:

  • 41% are just Coworkers. We work together. We get along. But we never hang.
  • 22% are Strangers. They work in the same place I do, but I have no idea who they are.
  • 20% are Only At Work Friends. We sit at lunch together, we talk about our families, but after work, we have separate lives.
  • 15% are Real Friends. These are my people. We work together, but we also vacation together, go for drinks, play on the same softball team, etc.
  • 2% are Enemies. I spend most of my waking hours searching or ways to ruin their lives.

The Gallup friend research from two decades ago showed us that one critical component of having an engaging work-life is if you have a “Best Friend” at work. In hindsight, I’m guessing Gallup was probably talking about this ‘real friend’ category. Someone you actually have a relationship with outside of work, someone you look forward to seeing when you go to work, etc.

For me, this really brings up the entire concept of Friendship. I’m a middle-aged dude. I’ve got a wife and kids and a dog. Middle-aged dudes and friendships are weird. I’ve got people I would consider super close friends that I’ll go weeks without communicating to. Some of my closest friends I only see a few times a year in person. So, when you ask me if I have a ‘real friend’ at work I need some defining traits about what that really looks like.

For me a ‘real friend’ probably has one or more of these characteristics:

– I’m willing to share personal stuff with them and know they won’t break my confidence.

– They’ll come and help me move to a new house/apartment/etc. Let’s face it that’s a real friend!

– We spend time together outside of work on stuff not associated with work because we enjoy being around each other.

– The friendship is two-way, meaning, we both think about and do stuff that is important to each other.

– The friendship would not go away if you stop working with each other.

That last one is the real defining characteristic of a real friend vs. a friend at work, right? We have so many people that we actually enjoy working with and we would introduce them as ‘friends’ but if we stopped working with them each day, we would probably just become Facebook friends and maybe never see them again!

So, I’ll ask you to think about all those people you work with right now and determine do you have a real friend at work? The study says 85% of us don’t! What do you say?


5 Great Excuses for Missing a Co-worker’s Wedding & 3 Bad Ones!

I had one of my Recruiters ask for some advice this week. It wasn’t work advice, it was a little more personal.  She had told a person she would attend a wedding of a family member with them but was having second thoughts. It was one of those Holy Crap moments! I don’t really like this person that much, and I don’t want to go to a family wedding with him and send the wrong message.

So, what was my advice?  It started out pretty straight. Tell them the truth!  “Look, dude, I’m just not that into you, and the last place on earth I want to be on Saturday evening is sitting at a table with your parents and Aunt Betty with them thinking “ours” is next!”

As you can imagine, that wasn’t going to do.  Not that she didn’t want to tell him the truth, but she also didn’t want to hurt him. She was looking for a softer way to cut him loose.  You know! A how-do-I-get-him-to-not-want-me-to-go excuse – like he can’t stand my breath or I have hammer toes or something!?

Now, she was truly diving into my end of the pool!  You want a “Fake Reason” why you can’t go!  YES! I’m in HR. I’m in Recruiting. I’m the king of fake excuses for why people don’t get the job!  I’m on it!

So, here’s the first 3 I gave her:

  1. You have “Explosive Diarrhea” (No one ever follows that up with another question! Okay, thanks, good luck with that…)
  2. Your Dog has Cancer! (Sketchy I know, but girls and their pets…this one might work.  Funny Fact: Her dog actually did have Eye Cancer but was cured, so not technically lying…)
  3. You have to Babysit for a Co-worker! (Now this one is fraught with a problem – guys have gotten this one before and they might pull a. “Oh, I’ll come and help!” then you’re stuck and have to find some brat to babysit for the night. Funny Fact: She was like “Oh, Hell No! I have a Real Job, why would I babysit!”)

All of this brainstorming got me thinking of how I’ve personally gotten out of going to Co-workers Weddings that I didn’t want to go to.

Here are my Top 5 Excuses to  Miss a Co-worker’s Wedding:

  1. I’ll be on Vacation! This is good because you usually find out about the wedding of a co-worker way ahead of time. All you have to do is actually plan for this and take your vacation during the weekend of the wedding. Far, far away from the actual wedding.
  2. My kid has a sports tournament out of town that weekend.  A little sketchy, but it is really hard for them to verify you really didn’t have a sports tournament, and let’s face it, I’m going to my kid’s sports game (the 127th of this year) vs. your once in a lifetime moment.
  3. I came down with the “Flu”!This one nobody believes, but it’s the go-to excuse because everyone uses it and it has been internationally certified as an acceptable lie to get out of anything.
  4. My Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa/Great Aunt Betty/etc. fell and are at the hospital. I needed to go see them. They needed my help. It was serious.  Let’s face old people fall. In fact, it might be the only thing they have left to do. You hear about old people falling every day. Very usable excuse in a pinch because it’s somewhat believable and old people don’t remember later on when someone asks “How are you doing after your fall?”, and they’ll go “better” and then complain about their aches and pains.
  5. I’ve got another Wedding that same day! Again, believable, but what you’re really saying to the person is “I’ve ranked you lower than someone else in my life. I hope you understand, but I didn’t buy you a place setting off your registry!”

What is your top excuse for not going to a co-worker’s wedding?

A Tribute to Elle Taylor Seiden #ATributeToElle

Today I get the privilege of introducing you to a brilliant young lady who unfortunately left this world too soon. I was introduced to Elle by her father and my friend Jason Seiden. Today, our community is celebrating Elle by doing a day of giving to her favorite charities.

Here’s how I remember Elle back then in 2010, Elle was around 7 or 8 years old:

One thing you have to know about Elle, she is beyond her years when it comes to most things in life and her writing was off the charts. Jason would share things with me and it was impossible for me to believe a child could write with such deep passion and meaning. I would joke that I felt inferior as a parent as my boys could barely speak let alone write so beautifully.

Here is one of her poems – remember – this is from an 8-year-old!


By Elle Seiden

It cannot be life

Of the vibrations, they come

Over a force, they leap and twirl

Many rise, many pray

No, no God, we’re okay.

Leave the creatures of Earth at their own level

They will rise to only the vibrations of love

When time ends.

Jason would do videos on his blog with Elle on his lap, asking her normal life questions to get a ‘normal’ child response to life. Elle never gave a normal ‘child’ response. She shared a wisdom that would sometimes take your breath away. I loved those videos. Every time I would see Jason I would ask about Elle because she was so remarkable and I was just fascinated.

I think G*d knew Elle needed Jason on her journey. Jason is an amazing person himself. Like his daughter, he always sees the world a bit differently than the rest of us. I try to steal time from him because I’m always smarter when I leave him.  It’s not often when you have a child that is smarter than you from almost birth. I know all kids think they’re smarter than their parents, but almost none really are. Most parents couldn’t handle that situation. Jason loved it.

I’m going to miss Elle, she was an awesome person. The world was better with her in it.

I hurt for Jason as a friend and a father and can’t imagine this kind of loss. What I know, though, is Jason will live on and thrive because that’s how Elle will live on and thrive. He was the exact Dad that Elle deserved and needed. He was supportive and loving and helped her reach out to the world in every way she chose.

Today I celebrate Elle Taylor Seiden. Please join me in supporting her favorite charities. It’s really a great way to celebrate who she is!


DisruptHR Detroit Speaker Applications Now Being Accepted!!! But, you probably can’t handle it! #8Mile

Look, I just like being honest. This isn’t DisruptHR Brentwood or DisruptHR Nantucket! This is Detroit! We do real HR in the D!

Come on, just be real with yourself for a moment, you can’t handle Detroit. It’s okay, you’ll do fine at DisruptHR Sun City. Just slow down and do some tour stops before you come to Detroit!

You see, we actually make stuff that sells for money in Detroit. We have employees who get their hands dirty. We have to live in snow and cold for six months out of the year, which tends to leave us a little less likely to be willing to consume your weak B.S. When you come to DisruptHR Detroit, you better bring it!

Alright, I hear you feeling yourself. You just might be ready to hit 8 Mile and the rap battle that is HR in Detroit. DisruptHR Detroit will take place on September 20th onsite at Quicken Loans awesome event space in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Want to speak at DisruptHR Detroit? (what you need to know) 

– It’s 5 Minutes, 20 slides, the slides automatically move every 15 seconds (this is not something you can change!)

– If you’re a vendor you try selling your product in the 5 minutes, we’ll Gong Show your ass right off the stage!

– DisruptHR is about emotion – make us laugh, make us cry, make us angry, make us motivated. Just make us feel something!

– There will be over 250 HR and Talent Pros in the audience cheering you on. (FYI – many in the audience will be drinking!)

– You will get a video recorded, professionally produced copy of your presentation!

Apply to Speak at DisruptHR Detroit! 

The Real Value of Conference Speaker Feedback

I had a friend call me last week. We spoke at the same conference and we both just got our feedback from those gigs. His feedback was mostly fine, but there were also some pretty hurtful statements people made.

I took a look at mine. To be humble, I rocked my session at the conference! So, I anticipated it would be pretty good. It was, mostly. I had 165 responses that were like this (these are actual verbatim responses):

  • Great storyteller and engages his audience.
  • Great presentation. Lots of good takeaways.
  • The BEST session I attended!!!
  • This was my favorite session of the conference! Tim was awesome! (thanks, mom!)
  • Very meaty information that energized my recruiting battery!
  • Wow! I couldn’t write fast enough!

I could go on, but you get the picture! So, there were 161 of these little nuggets of love and affirmation that I’ll carry around in my pocket for a while! There were also 4 nuggets like this:

  • The session did not meet my needs.
  • Made some bold statements that I considered to be offensive and insensitive.
  • Left the presentation with no takeaways. Content was lacking. (With “NO” takeaways! Really? Not one? Not even, I don’t think short white dudes should wear bow ties! Nothing?!) 
  • He bad mouthed Aerotek Staffing on four different occasions which I found tasteless. (it was only 3 times, FYI!) 

One big thing conferences don’t want you to do is also sell your products or services. 8% of the audience said I was trying to sell to them! I never once mentioned my own company! I talked about my blogging, which I give away for free. I guess I was trying to sell my ideas…

When I dug into my friend’s comments, what I found was he basically got the same kind of stuff. The majority was really, really positive and thankful, but there was a minority of these people that for whatever reason just didn’t like it the presentation. It could have the content. It could have been the style. It’s probably more the commenter and the day they’re having.

This is what happens when we get feedback as adult learners. We ignore all the positive stuff and we solely focus on the negative stuff, even when the negative stuff is just a minority of the overall message.

“Hey, you are a 4.7 out of 5! Awesome! Wow! Also, could you tighten up your project timelines a bit? That would just be a bonus.” Yeah, so, well, I guess I now suck at getting my projects done on time and my boss was soooo pissed!

I know many speakers who refuse to read their conference speaker feedback comments because they’ve figured out this about themselves. They’ll overly focus on the negative, obsess over it, and basically waste hours of their life overmuch to do about nothing. It was an hour we spent together. I hope you liked it, I’m sorry if you didn’t, I’ll try to better next time.

There is value in the feedback and think it basically boils down to this: 

1. Did the majority of people receive my message in a positive way?

2. Did I offend anyone, that in a normal worldly way, should feel offended?

3. If I was going to be speaking on another topic, would most of the audience be interested in hearing me speak on that topic?

I want people to get some value out of hearing me speak. I don’t want anyone to be offended, but I know some people might. I hope that number is extremely low, like one or zero. In the end, I want people to say I like how he presents and I would like to see him speak again if given the chance about another topic.

Conference feedback is about polar extremes. The people who leave comments either loved you or hated you. The person that just felt like it was ‘just fine’, has no desire or passion to leave a comment, and that would be the actual most valuable feedback a speaker could actually get!


What Happened to America’s After-Work Pub Culture?

I’m returning from London today and there was something I noticed on my trip that we don’t really have in America. In fact, in the past year, I’ve visited Australia, South Africa, and now the UK, and in each visit to these countries I’ve noticed they have a very strong after-work pub culture.

When I talk to my grandparents it seemed like at one time in America we also had this after-work pub culture. We would go to work, do our job, and afterward we would meet our workmates and friends from, old and new, for a drink or two before heading home.

I love the after-work pub culture!

It’s not really about drinking, although a lot of that happens, it about true connection. The one thing you instantly realize about the pub culture is that no, absolutely no one, is looking at their phone! It’s so strange because you realize how much we are on our phones in America when you see this!

It’s adults, sharing a pint, having conversations. Laughing. Hugging. Just sharing their daily frustrations and joys. Then they head home and finish their day.

Somewhere in our history we stopped heading to the pub after work and started heading directly home. Why?

Part of the pub culture is a city culture as well. When you don’t get into a car, by yourself, but you walk to the train, or bus, or ferry, or to where you live directly, you put yourself in a position to stop along the way for a drink with a friend, or to meet up with some friends. As we moved out of our cities, we moved away from the after-work pub culture.

We became addicted to busy. Around the world parents have their kids play sports and do activities, but, in America, we’ve become completely insane in over-scheduling our kids. It’s not enough to have them play little league on the weekend or take piano lessons, they have to be on travel teams, or prepare for concerts, etc.

We stopped having real relationships and we started having social relationships. I’ve found other countries place a higher importance on having a real face to face interactions to consider someone a friend. They want to break bread and share a drink and really get to know the person that is you. For many Americans, we’ve grown uncomfortable with real relationships!

I think there is a balance. I’m not sure I want my Dad or Mom showing up a 7 pm each night because they’ve been at the pub, but I think it’s okay if they do this a day or two a week. I think it’s healthy for adults to have adult relationships.

I like the concept of the neighborhood pub where you can go and you know the staff and the patrons. I think an after-work pub culture acts sort of like adult therapy in so many cases. I’m wondering if the Millennials and GenZ will turn the tide and re-create the after-work pub culture in America, as we see more and more young people move back into our cities? I hope so!

Hit me in the comments on your thoughts about an after-work pub culture. Are you for it or against it, and why?

I wanted to be Anthony Bourdain.

I didn’t anticipate that Anthony Bourdain’s suicide last week would have any impact on me. I loved watching his show. I love to cook, but I don’t consider myself a foodie. I love to travel, but I don’t consider myself worldly.

Anthony allowed me to be a foodie and worldly from the comfort of my own home, but even that wasn’t what I really loved about watching his show. He had this quality that I envied. The quality where you would find yourself saying, “when I grow up, I want to be like him”, except I’m grown and I still want to be like him.

Anthony went to some great places in the world, and he went to some shit holes. What I loved about Anthony was no matter where he went, he found beauty. Usually, the beauty he found was in the people he met. A simple meal, great conversation, moments. That was the true beauty of his show.

He was able to show me what was really important in life. Not that I didn’t know, but it’s rare for a personality to do it in such a way where you felt like you were sitting at the table with him. In fact, you felt at any time he could be at your table and the show would work just as well.

It didn’t have to be some exotic, out of the way, locale. When he came to Detroit, he said he wanted to be from Detroit. Come on! No one really wants to be from Detroit! Anthony did. He was a rare creature that wanted to be from everywhere because he saw the beauty in everywhere.

It wasn’t naïve. He also saw the shit. He saw the awfulness, which made him appreciate the beauty in all places. That’s what I envied most I think. It’s easy to beauty in beautiful places, it’s hard to see beauty in the worst places.

In the end, we don’t get enough of the moments that Anthony was creating. Some good food, some great company, with real conversations where we listen to the beauty and the pain. Where we take the time to have a two-hour meal and just enjoy each other.

Years ago, one of my most favorite people in the world past away, Leo Buscaglia (the Love Doctor). It was another death that impacted me more than I thought it would. I just knew I would desperately miss him.

An interesting thing happened, though, in that I didn’t miss him. I carried him with me. When I re-read his books, I heard his voice reading them to me. I could watch his talks on YouTube. I have a feeling I won’t miss Anthony as much as I think, because I’ll watch endless re-runs of his show, and it will feel like he’s still here with me.

I’m happy to have found Anthony Bourdain, along with millions of others. My life is better for having known him, even if he didn’t know me. He taught me how to be a better traveler. A better person in a small way. I so appreciate this.

I mourn for his friends and family that knew him intimately. For his daughter, that will spend a lifetime wondering why, and never being able to find an answer. I hope his death will save others, and maybe inspire all of us to sit down with friends more often and break bread and share a glass.

Regardless, I still want to be Anthony Bourdain…