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! 

Who has been your biggest influence in your life?

Great personal story to share today of a very cool interaction that happened this week.

So, if you’re reading this blog post you’ve by now guessed that I write a bit. This all started ten years ago and I have frequently told you to blame my great friend, Kris Dunn, who got me started in blogging, but there’s more to this story!

When I was a freshman in high school at Godwin Heights High School in Wyoming, MI (basically a neighborhood in Grand Rapids, MI), is when I really started writing. Godwin Heights was a blue-collar high school. We actually walked by a GM plant on our way to school. Our baseball field was next to the plant parking lot and the workers on break would throw the foul balls over the fence so we didn’t have to climb the fence.

So, ‘start writing’ is a bit of a stretch. I was forced to write every day by my freshman English teacher, Ruth Kemp. Ruth was one of those great educators, a throwback in public education to a time when individuals became teachers because they just love teaching kids. They would have probably done it for nothing if they could. Always excited to see her kids learn, and she was super passionate that writing was like any other skill if you wanted to be good, you had to do it every day, so she made us journal for fifteen minutes every day.

I didn’t matter what you wrote, but you had to write for fifteen minutes. To me, this was torture. At first I actually just copied articles out of magazines (which she allowed) but that got super boring. The other crazy part about Ms. Kemp (not a Mrs., never married) was she would comment on each kids journal. Sometimes just a word or two, sometimes paragraphs, even more than you wrote yourself.

Being a class-clown type, I wanted to see how far I could get her to interact with me ‘in the comments’ of my journal, so I started to make up random stories about people in the class. She didn’t bite, but instead played along and expanded the stories. Asked all these probing questions about my stories, etc. She got me to write more in a creative way and I was energized by her feedback and interaction with me, I couldn’t wait to get to the next class to read what she wrote back to me.

So, this isn’t the story I wanted to share, but you need the context. 

When my book got published last year, I tracked down Ms. Kemp’s address through the school, even though she had retired, and sent her a copy with a long letter explaining her influence on me. Again, she wrote back, and it took me all the way back to my freshman year of high school, her words, tone, energy were still exactly the same.

This week I’m flying out of the Grand Rapids, MI airport. I usually don’t, because it’s not the closest to my house, and it’s fairly small so no direct flights, but there was a direct flight of Minneapolis, so it was going to be easy. I probably go out of Grand Rapids 3-4 times per year. One of my high school classmates I had mentioned on social media a few years ago that Ms. Kemp was a volunteer at the Grand Rapids airport, so each time I fly through I look, but in years have never seen her, so I figured she probably didn’t do it anymore.

On Tuesday night I fly in at 11 pm. 11 pm airports are pretty quiet. Especially small airports. I’m walking from the gate to the parking garage and I spot Ms. Kemp, at 11 pm, standing at the visitor desk packing up her things. I hadn’t seen her in person since my senior of high school.

I walk up and she looks at me and says “Can I help you?” I say, “I’m Tim Sackett”, and she says “Of course you are!” And gives me a giant hug. We catch up, I get to thank her again for her influence on me in person, and I say goodbye. Turns out, that Tuesday night shift was Ms. Kemp’s last shift ever at the airport, and now she is fully retiring. It was done at 11 pm. She was packing up to leave for good.

We have some pretty crazy things happen to us in our life. The fact that I got to see Ms. Kemp again, probably for the last time ever, by a chance meeting in an airport at 11 pm on a Tuesday is insane. One of the biggest influences in my life, and call what you will, Karma, etc. , the universe let me have that moment. Student, teacher.

Enjoy your retirement, Ms. Kemp. You influenced countless blue-collar kids to be better than we thought we could be.

I’m Afraid of Being Me Too’d!

For the last ten days, I’ve been at HR and TA conferences. It was the longest, consecutive run of speaking I’ve done in my career. Basically, in ten days I did a total of 14 sessions. I now want to crawl into a dark sensory deprivation chamber for a week!

If you haven’t seen me speak, I do some hugging!

At one of my stops, I had a fellow come up to me during a private moment and ask me if I was afraid. “Afraid of what!?”, I asked. “Well, you are doing this hugging thing and I’ve seen you hug people outside of the sessions as well, aren’t you afraid of #MeToo? (I added the hashtag, he just said Me Too’d) I’m afraid if I did that, I would be #MeToo’d!”

I might be super naive, but I said, “No, absolutely not.” I hug in a context around my speaking. It’s about rules, and rules of hugging. It’s not me, drunkenly throwing myself at HR Ladies, trying to hit on them. In fact, it’s the opposite of that, I’m telling them we have rules about this kind of thing! (half making a joke about us HR pros and our rules!)

He persisted. “Doesn’t matter, Tim, it only takes one who feels like they might want to make an example out of you!”

Yeah, still, hard No. I’m a hugger. I’m an equal opportunity hugger. I hug all pronouns, very comfortably.

I think someone who is afraid of being MeToo’d is probably doing some stuff that they shouldn’t be doing. I’m not saying that someone couldn’t take a hug from me and spin it, but I hope with all my being someone wouldn’t do that. I also hope I’m smart enough not to put myself in a position where anyone would even consider that a hug from me was inappropriate!

I’ve had a career in HR and I’ve investigated some pretty nasty stuff where people were willing to do some pretty bad stuff to each other, for a million different reasons, mostly around hate and anger. So, I think I know what someone, improperly motivated, is capable of. I still was uncomfortable with the conversation, because it made me feel like somehow this person was trying to lessen the power of #MeToo.

“Well, someone could lie!” Of course, ‘someone’ could, but we would need to ask ourselves, why? And in 99.99% of those cases, there isn’t a why only some dude doing something stupid.

I’m going to keep hugging. I like hugs. I love the feeling of hugging someone who hugs me back for real. It makes both of our days a little better. I’m going to keep asking those I hug if they actually want a hug. That’s one of the rules!

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.

Forced Hugs will Continue in 2019, and you’ll Like it!

Let me make this perfectly clear, I never forced anyone to hug me!

I did for 30 straight days once make one of my sons give me a kiss goodnight, or he wasn’t allowed to buy an airsoft gun. That was different, I only did that because I felt, as his parent, he needed to feel comfortable kissing another man. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. He needed to know it was alright to give a kiss to his father. I mean, he kissed his mom good night, what’s wrong with me!?

I’m a hugger, you all know that I wrote the rules on hugging in the workplace, and clearly, the CEO of Ted Baker, an iconic British fashion company, Ray Kelvin, did not read my rules! (editor side note: I love me some Ted Baker shoes, without hugs from Ray!)

For those who didn’t see (I had about a dozen of my friends and readers send me a link!) Kelvin got himself in trouble for what has been perceived in his company of “Forced” hugs:

“Thousands of people have signed an online petition to end a practice of “forced ‘hugging'” and demand a better way of reporting alleged harassment at fashion chain Ted Baker.

More than 2,000 members of staff and customers of the UK retailer have called on the firm’s founder and CEO, Ray Kelvin, to alter his behavior, including “inappropriate touching,” which they say is “part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged.”
The call has come in an open letter to the company’s board of directors on the online platform Organise, which runs workplace-specific campaigns.”
Ray! Ray! Ray! All you had to do was follow the rules, Ray!
Look, I love giving a hug as much as the next person, but ‘forced hugs’ are super creepy!
I don’t want to let one creep stop the practice of hugging professionally. I mean, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, people! Hugging is fine if you follow the rules. Forcing someone to hug you is not fine. That’s pretty clear, right?
Now, this is the fashion industry and Ray is worth $660 million dollars, and if my career in HR has taught me anything, I’m fairly sure we’re about to see a lawsuit trying to make Ray worth less than $660 million. If Ray was worth $660 dollars he probably wouldn’t be able to force hugs on anyone, or if he did, he would be in jail!
It’s hard being a middle-aged white dude in 2018 with all the other middle-aged white dudes running around like they’re in an episode of Game of Thrones. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you can do whatever it is you want. Like you can’t just be the President and just say whatever is on your mind on social media and grab women by the, oh wait…
So, I’m a middle-aged white dude who likes to hug. The question is, should I stop?
That would all depend on whether or not my hugs are making you uncomfortable (don’t comment Kris Dunn, your words are irrelevant here, I know you like my hugs deep down in places you’re afraid to bring up at your therapist) and/or are unwanted. That’s why I put together the rules people! Over 1 million people have read the rules. Also the updated New & Improved Version! The Rules on Hugging in the Workplace, work, if you follow them!
Rules people! Let’s make HR great again!

You might decide, your job just isn’t worth it.

Linds Redding, a New Zealand-based art director who worked at BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi, died at 52 from an inoperable esophageal cancer. Turns out Linds didn’t really like his old job and mad hours he spent creating a successful career. Here is what Linds wrote before he died:

“I think you’re all f—— mad. Deranged. So disengaged from reality it’s not even funny. It’s a f—— TV commercial. Nobody gives a s—.

This has come as quite a shock I can tell you. I think, I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole thing was a bit of a con. A scam. An elaborate hoax.

Countless late nights and weekends, holidays, birthdays, school recitals and anniversary dinners were willingly sacrificed at the altar of some intangible but infinitely worthy higher cause. It would all be worth it in the long run…

This was the con. Convincing myself that there was nowhere I’d rather be was just a coping mechanism. I can see that now. It wasn’t really important. Or of any consequence at all really. How could it be. We were just shifting product. Our product, and the clients. Just meeting the quota. Feeding the beast as I called it on my more cynical days.

So was it worth it?

Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling.”

When faced with death, I wonder how many of us will look back on all the time and effort we put into our career and will feel the same?

That all being said, sometimes I think a job might be worth it as well.  Here’s the other side of the coin.  I frequently see articles and blog posts, recently, written by people who have given up their careers to travel the world.  It all seems so glamorous and adventurous. Until you realize you had a career and job to pay for all those glamorous adventures! From Adweek, “The Couple Who Quit Their Ad Jobs to Travel the World Ended Up Poor and Scrubbing ToiletsThe uglier side of a year-long creative journey”:

 “You remember Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger, the South African couple who quit their agency jobs this year to travel the world and document the experience. It sounded like a dream, and the lovely Instagram photos have made it look like one.

But halfway through their year-long odyssey, they posted a reality check on their blog—a post titled “Why We Quit Our Jobs In Advertising To Scrub Toilets”—in which they share “the uglier side of our trip.” It turns out that following one’s dream—while working odd jobs in exchange for room and board—involves a lot of dirty work, and more than a few tears.

“The budget is really tight, and we are definitely forced to use creativity (and small pep talks) to solve most of our problems (and the mild crying fits),” Cartell writes. “Don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shoveled, 60 meters of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished.

“You see, to come from the luxuries we left behind in Johannesburg … we are now on the opposite end of the scale. We’re toilet cleaners, dog poop scoopers, grocery store merchandisers and rock shovelers.”

We work for a reason. Your reasons might be vastly different than my reasons, but we all have reasons. I hope if I look death in the face I won’t regret my choices to work and create a successful career. I’ve missed my fair share of school events and sporting events that my kids have participated in. I’ve missed many of their most joyful and sad moments. Those I already regret. What I won’t regret is that I work to allow my family to have so many of these moments.

I’ve lived poor.  I lived with a single mother who wasn’t quite sure how she was going to pay for dinner that night. I work because I never wanted my family to feel this anxiety.  Sometimes a job is worth it, sometimes it isn’t.  It’s all up to you to decide, though.

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.

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?

DisruptHR Detroit 2.0 – September 20th! Tickets Available Now! #Detroit #DisruptHR #HRParty

Detroit Metro HR and Talent Peeps!

We’re back!!!

On September 20th in Midtown Detroit, DisruptHR Detroit 2.0 will be taking place onsite at our host Quicken Loans! The cost to attend this event is $30 which includes some great food and drinks, an exceptional list of speakers, and great prizes!

Here are our 2.0 speakers for this event:

Speakers for the 2018 DisruptHR Detroit 2.0:

Tina Marie Wholfied

Don’t Fear The Peacocks! Embracing Organizational Change through Diversity

Melissa Fairman

Make Work Suck Less! 

Melanie Stern

Hiring for Culture Fit Not Add

Becky Andree

CODE RED!  Leadership Development has flatlined!

But I have a Defibrillator!

Kimika Garrett

Planning with a Twist

Danielle Crane

Nobody Smokes in Church

Kat Hoyer

Stop trying to make your employees Happy

Josh Schneider

The Tingly Feeling Compass

Michelle Clark

The Power of Purpose – Stop Sucking the Life Out

of Your People!

Chris Groscurth

Hustle Smarter: Future-Ready Human Resource


Iris Ware

They said we couldn’t do it, but we did!

Cody Grant

The Dynamic Art of Job Descriptions

Not only will this event be awesome, but this year we added an “After Party” to take place onsite for continued networking with peers and friends!

DisruptHR Detriot 1.0 had over 200+ participants and it was a sellout. This event is almost half sold already, so get your tickets today!

Register for DisruptHR Detroit! 


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!