In 2050, all education will be online. If so, how will we create adults?

I read an article the other day where a guy (a futurist, if you will) decided to give his best explanation of what the world would like in 2050 based on technological, environmental, societal, financial, etc. advances or regressions.

I’ve talked about this before, but being asked about the future is a fun thought experiment because you can be wildly wrong and no one really cares. It’s all a guess. I get asked all the time to talk about the future of TA and HR Technology. I love it! I can say anything I want you can’t tell me I’m wrong. Well, you could, but by the time one of us is right, it’s in the future and we don’t care.

So, this dude, Erik Hoel, says that in 2050 all higher education will be done solely online. No big campuses with gothic buildings and manicured lawns. No student unions and big libraries. No dorms and cafeteria food. No fraternities or sororities. Just you and a laptop sitting in your parent’s spaceship doing Econ 101.

Sounds dreadfully awful!

I don’t have a problem with education being online. In fact, it could be the most equitable thing the future will bring us. Everyone could now have the best professors from all over the world! Harvard could have 1 million graduates a year, instead of a few thousand of the most privileged students on the planet. We could bring world-class education to everyone.

But, only one type of education…

Part of the college experience is the socialization, both good and bad, of becoming an adult in sort of a lab-like environment. You get to go out and experiment in a community of mostly like-minded folks, of similar ages and test your ideas, your looks, see what you like and what others like about you. You get to begin to build a network of friends and peers that you can carry into your professional world.

University just doesn’t give you book smarts, it helps prepare you to deal with real-world stuff, but not all at once. You get to live on your own away from your parents, but someone is still making your food and paying the heating bill. It’s a period, for those who get a chance to experience it, to gradually move into the world of adulthood.

I get it, going from high school to the military, or working on a factory floor is also another type of becoming an adult, and in a much quicker way! We all have our paths, I’m not judging any of those as being more or less valuable. All I’m saying is full online college for everyone, if the future brings us this, I think is a mistake.

How did college make me an adult?

I can look back at my undergrad college experience at the University of Wyoming and think most of what I learned had very little to do with the classes I took. It might have helped if I showed up to most of my classes, but that’s another story.

After I blew through all of my college savings in my first semester, I quickly had to learn how to survive, to pay bills, to use the system to help me, to ask for help, to help others, to build a network of support, and sometimes to just call home and cry and tell my parent’s life sucks being an adult!

Gawd, how stupid was I to think my “little” problems as a college student were adult problems! What most of us wouldn’t give to go back to those problems.

College taught me how to barter. I really only had one skill, I mean besides my charm and dashing looks, I could work hard, or at the very least I was reliable to show up and work as hard as I could. My hard work got me many meals, many free drinks, tickets to entertainment to take my eventual wife. College towns are mostly run by college kids. To barter was life! I will do this for you and you will do this for me, no money has to change hands! I worked many bar shifts for free, for food and drinks. I traded out many movies passes at the theater I worked for dinner.

College taught me that people will take you in when you have no place to go and treat you like family. Every holiday when going home was too far and too expensive I always had multiple offers to stay and feast. When I had my own kids, they knew our house is always open to anyone who needs a place to stay and feel like they are home.

College taught me that you can live on almost next to nothing and still be completely happy and thriving. Great friends, conversations, challenging things to learn. No one really cares what you are wearing, or what car you drive or don’t drive because you don’t even have a car. They only care that you add to that conversation in a positive way and accept others may think differently, but that’s the fun of learning and interacting.

I’m not sure what 2050 will bring. I’m sure it will be different. I hope we can find ways to give more people the gift of a higher education, but also the gift of slowly learning how to become adults before they really have to be adults.

What’s Your Code?

Everyone lives by a certain set of rules. Morales, ethics, values, experience, call it what you will, but when you put it all together it kind of creates this code you live by. Like any code, it’s all about trying. We aren’t Yoda – do or do not. Life isn’t usually that simple.

The code evolves and changes over time. You are probably born with a base set of codes that nature has given you like it’s nice to survive. Your environment and upbringing teach you another set of codes, and your life experiences along the way give us a bunch more code to add to it all.

As we grow, we might learn that certain pieces of code are outdated and just flat-out wrong and hurtful. As a child, I know I recited racist playground songs about catching a “tiger” by its toe, but we didn’t use “tiger”, and honestly, I was a pre-teen with a best friend who was black before I knew it wasn’t “tiger”! That’s bad coding. That had to go!

I was listening to something recently and the person speaking was talking about the code they lived by and it made me think, “what is my code?” I mean I have to have one, but I’ve never really sat down and thought about it. What are the pieces of code I’ve picked up along the way that I’ve decided at this point in my life to hard-code, or can I even say I’ve got hard-code?

What is my code?

As I mentioned above, some of the code you live by is many times aspirational. I know this code is right, but day-to-day, man, this is hard to live by. The goal, I think, is you know that certain code is better if you can use it more than you do. So, you strive to use it more each day. Also, none of our code is unique. Remember, all of this we’ve picked up from someone or somewhere along the way.

I try to help people whenever I can. Sometimes to my own detriment, and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Because there are people out there with code that says “take” and if you are a giver and a helper the takers can really work you over some time. My dad taught me this. It’s both good and bad, at times, because helping people means sometimes your own family takes a backseat to others.

I love to love, I don’t love to be loved in return. This is a tough one because we all want to be loved in return, it’s a basic human need. But I truly try to love others because I just love them regardless if they love me. It brings joy to my life.

I believe the glass is half full. I’m not a negative personality. I love pessimistic humor, but I live my life believing a lot of stuff is possible with the right work, the right network, the right support, and some good timing. So, I guess I’m really a believer in people because I rely on a lot of people in my life to continue my belief that the glass is half full.

I believe in hard work. Sometimes that’s actual back-breaking hard work that makes you sweat and hurt. Sometimes that mentally draining hard work that leaves your brain tired and exhausted. I’ve rarely ever met a very hard-working person who isn’t doing pretty well. They might not be the most successful, or the richest, but I’m not worried they won’t make it. Hard work has always been the one thing I could control on my own.

I like to laugh often. I’m coded to laugh and smile. It’s both my best natural state and a defense mechanism. When I’m stressed, I like to make others laugh because I think it reduces the stress, but that’s not always true. Still, I prefer laughing to most other emotions. I love children for this reason. They laugh all the time because the world hasn’t beaten it out of them yet. Hanging out with little kids is so much fun! And if you throw puppies into the mix with little kids, watch out!

I like to win. I mean I like to win at everything! Not just games, but debates, and life, and money, and love. Winning is so awesome, it’s way better than losing! By like a trillion million! The thing is, you have to have some big losses in life to really enjoy the big wins. And you have to be playing.

If I look at my codes I would say, “yeah, that’s me” but it’s also just a portion of me. It seems so incomplete. It’s probably why I’ve never really put a ton of thought into “my code”. When someone says, “Oh, I live by this code…” I find that as a challenge to discover when that isn’t their code, which is probably another piece of my code!

I married a Jewish girl. Because I was not Jewish when we got married, a Rabbi wouldn’t marry us. So, we used a Cantor (a singer in the Jewish faith, that can still marry people). This Cantor made national news by bringing in a former disabled Nazi into his house to live with him.

This Nazi was coded to hate Jews. But when the world turned its back on him and no one would take him in, this Jewish man did and cared for him. Fed him, took him places, etc. This man hated Jews because he was coded to hate Jews without really knowing any Jews. This friendship obviously changed his code. He realized that part of his coding didn’t fit reality.

We all have a code we live by, and I think the greatest part of that is we all get to choose and change that code as we see fit.

What is one of your favorite pieces of code?

What a Big Ten fan Learned Going to an SEC game!

This past weekend I went down to Alabama to attend the Auburn v. Georgia game at Auburn. I was a guest of the one and only, Kris Dunn, Auburn season ticket holder. Earlier this year, Kris went with me to watch Michigan State play Miami, in Miami, but that wasn’t the true Big Ten experience.

The Auburn v. George game is billed as the “South’s” oldest rivalry (I mean minus the North), as Auburn and Georgia started playing each other in the 1800’s. Both teams were ranked, but Georgia was the favorite (and now #1 team in the country) so Kris and I knew coming into the game it would be a tough one for Auburn to win.

What did his Big Ten guy learn about SEC football games?

1. If I get invited by a friend to go to a game, I’m cheering for their team (assuming they aren’t playing MSU!) and I’m wearing their colors! So, I told Kris I needed an Auburn t-shirt for this beautiful fall day in the 80’s, and maybe an Auburn hat. Kris comes out wearing a polo, no Auburn logo, but Auburn colors. KD’s boys did the same thing, polo shirts, no Auburn logo, Auburn colors. KD’s wife, no Auburn logos, Auburn colors. I’m decked out like a f’ing cheerleader with “Auburn” colors and logos all over my body!

First Big Learning – SEC dudes don’t wear t-shirts, they wear collard shirts to games. Only knuckleheads who don’t know anything would wear a t-shirt! Also, apparently sporting name and logos of the university isn’t really that big of deal. In the Big Ten, it’s the opposite. The more logos and colors and better, and it’s t-shirts and hoodies up north! Also, southern folks (KD and his family) are too nice to tell the Yankee to drop the t-shirt and put a collard shirt on like a gentleman. Or maybe that’s just the south’s way to profile northerners who try to sneak into games!

2. College football and students go together like peanut butter and jelly. Up north you see beautiful young people all over campus on game day. Down south in SEC country, it’s a completely different level. Gameday is a must-attend event. It’s not a game, it’s a social event. The boys wear shirt, tie, and a blazer and young ladies dress up likes they are going to the club.

Second Big Learning – G*d damn I’m sure thankful I didn’t have girls! Okay, when I say the young ladies dressed up like they were going to the club, this is not a joke. It’s like “oh, hey, there’s a football game, what’s the shortest skirt I can find, with a blouse and chunky boots, let’s party!” First, it does not look comfortable AT ALL! Second, where are these girls’ fathers!? The girls up north do not dress like this, even when it’s warm, not saying short shorts are any better, but at least up north it gets cold and the yoga pants, jeans, and hoodies come out for a few games!

3. SEC fans get to the stadium earlier than Big Ten fans. The stadium at Auburn was 80% full with 25 minutes before kickoff. The entire student section was packed way before that. Also, the student section was loud and proud.

Third Big Learning- The SEC has male cheerleaders that are called something like “Yellers”. They give these dudes a microphone and they lead the stadium through cheers. This is a huge honor to get this title and be in the middle of the field pre-game leading all these cheers and it’s loud and folks are into it! College football, nationally, is known for tradition and pageantry, but the SEC takes it all to a different level.

4. You know, people from the south are just more polite. It’s hard coming down south from up north and constantly hearing “Yes, sir!” “No, sir” “Thank you, sir!” And that’s coming from the young men and ladies. The respect level, on average, for adults is at a different level, or at least the show of respect, which I think leads to actual respect, either way, you think about it.

Fourth Big Learning – Civility often starts with words and leads into actions. It’s hard to be uncivil when all of your words towards each other are civil and you have folks doing civil things towards each other. The traffic to and from the game is more civil than up north. The people walking to and from the game are more civil towards each other. Heck, they won’t even cross the street until it says cross!

5. I’m not sure if this is a north vs. south thing, I know the tailgating is huge in SEC country, but I didn’t see the alcohol consumption, publicly, on Auburn’s campus, as I see on Big Ten campuses. Of course, you see some drunk folks, but at Big Ten campuses, you can’t walk twenty feet without seeing someone drunk. At Auburn, it was not that frequent, and I didn’t see anyone totally fall down drunk.

Fifth Big Learning – I have no research to back this up, but I would guess there is way less alcohol consumed at SEC games than Big Ten games on average. The tailgates are much more spread out around campus which might help with this, or maybe it just goes back to being dressed up for games, acting like ladies and gentlemen, so yeah we’re going to have fun and drink, but let’s not be stupid.

Choose Your Hard…

I was at SHRM Annual last week and a very common story from everyone I spoke to, know matter their title, was the fact that recruiting talent is extremely difficult right now. Most organizations are in desperation mode, and I’m not saying that to be dramatic.

There’s a concept that motivational folks have been using for a while now. The concept is “Choose your hard.” Meaning, a lot of stuff in life is hard. It’s hard to be overweight and not feel good about yourself, it’s also hard to work out and eat healthily. Choose your hard.

It’s hard to get up and go to work each day and put in long hours to make ends meet. It’s also hard to be unemployed and figure out ways to survive. Choose your hard.

It’s hard to recruit talent.

There are so many things organizations can do to recruit talent better. You can hire great recruiters and give them the right tools. You can actually fund your recruitment marketing and advertising appropriately. You can measure and performance manage your recruiters and sources. You can work with your hiring teams to help out as employee advocates to produce more referrals. You can shop out your entire recruiting to RPO or Agency. You can hire great employees who love your brand and train them to be recruiters. You can go out and lead the market in pay and total compensation packages.

All of this stuff is hard to do.

It’s hard because most of this stuff comes with accountability. If I can talk my CEO and CFO into funding us correctly, this will come with some expectations of performance. I will put a bullseye on myself and my team.

It’s hard to get fired from a job because you didn’t perform. Because you didn’t do the work that was needed to be successful. That you didn’t put in the work to build the plan, to acquire the needed resources, to lead your organization to success.

Don’t get me wrong, working harder is not a strategy. Working harder is a short-term fix, that eventually leads to failure and burnout. Hard is doing the work that needs to be done so your sole strategy is not just working harder.

At the end of the day, we all have to choose our hard.

The LinkedIn Invite That Got Me to Click!

The recruiter in me is constantly trying to figure out the best subject line for emails and Inmails to get a response. At the end of the day, I need people to click to open so I can potentially recruit them. That’s how we become successful in recruiting, getting people interested!

My #1 go-to subject line for years has simply been my last name “Sackett”. Just that one word in the subject gets more click-throughs than anything else I’ve used. Now my friends Stacy Zapar and Angle Verros will both kill me if I don’t mention that the real #1 click-through subject line is really anything personal to the person you are sending it to!

For me, being a huge Michigan State Spartans fan, if you sent me an Inmail or email that said, “Go Green” I would definitely open that message! It’s specifically personal to me and I know you had to take a few seconds to understand me as a person.

This Lady Got Me!

Here’s the LinkedIn Invite that got me to accept:

Brilliant LinkedIn Invite

So, I’m not making fun of Yvonne! I’m admiring her marketing brilliance!

I only accept about 40% of my LinkedIn invitations because, like you, I get so many that are just spam and/or sales outreach for things I do not want or need. The moment you accept comes some cheesy sales pitch and you end up hating yourself for accepting! So, I’m pretty picky. This one got me!

Right away I was leary. “Private Coach” – no thanks! “Business Owners” – Ugh, sales pitch coming…but Yvonne did something special. She personalized it, or at least it felt personal to me! “I’ve decided not to send you the generic LI invite…” And then the magic, “Fingers crossed”!

FINGERS CROSSED!

I got duped by a generic mass invite message, by a person saying “THIS ISN’T GENERIC” and then saying “Fingers Crossed”! My mind couldn’t comprehend that this wasn’t an actual personal message. It seemed so personal and yet was not personal at all once you really dig into it.

I was the idiot. The moment after accepting came the auto-response cheesy sales pitch! Ugh! Damn you, Yvonne (if that’s even your name!) you go me!

I actually was super impressed and told her, right after removing the connection! Give credit where credit is due. She got me and I had to give her a hat tip. It’s pretty rare that I find a truly magical wording that can get someone to click, and I think she found it. And I think we all should steal it because it’s actually marvelous in its simplicity!

G*d Damn, fingers crossed got me. I feel like such an amateur right now!

Reactions From My First In-Person Conference Since the Beginning of the Pandemic! #SHRMTalent

Out in Vegas at one of my favorite conferences, SHRM Talent, this week. I love and missed interacting with all the TA pros and leaders, so this week was really energizing!

There are so many takeaways from this week at SHRM Talent. It seemed both odd and familiar all at the same time. I’ve been going to conferences for over a decade and very few put on a better conference than SHRM, it’s always first-class, and the 2021 SHRM Talent was at the new Cesar’s Forum conference center which is super nice.

The Reactions:

  • SHRM has opened up their 2021 conferences to be both in-person and virtual. This combination has been unique. After a year and a half of only doing virutual, as a speaker, you have to get back into practice of the cadence of in-person speaking. In virtual, you have very little audience reaction to what you’re saying, so you just plow through the content. In-person you get reactions, so you have timing that you have to be concerned about. Funny line, hold for laughter, wait I actually heard some laughter!
  • At the same time, you still have a virtual audience that you have to engage. What I found, across many sessions, that quesitons from the virtual audience were usually 3-4 times more than the in-person audience. I think in the future, SHRM and others, will figure out a way for people to ask questions all through one format, so those in-person attendees can have the same comfort level of asking their questions as well.
  • Those attendees who chose to be in-person seemed to be very engaged! It’s like these were the folks hungry for real-life interactions and they are making the most of being out in the wild for the first time in long time. Everyone has been very friendly, talkative, welcoming. I think we are all just happy for a bit of back to normal.
  • SHRM has caught some criticism for going back to in-person, but I applaud them for making the hard decision to figuring this out. It’s not going to be perfect, but at some point we must rip off the band-aid and get back to some normalacy, while trying to be safe. Masks were required and you were reminded immediately if you forgot. I was asked upon checking in if I was vaccinated and had to sign off on that. It wasn’t required, but highly encouraged, and definitely tracking attendees.
  • The difficult piece of all of this Covid/Vaccine stuff. You go to breakfast and sit down at a round talbe with four or five peers and all of sudden no one has masks on and everyone is talkign and interacting. You go from your hotel room through a Vegas casino cesspool and into the conference and back and forth. Is anyone really believing that any one is safe? It’s all kind of a game of make believe. This isn’t a SHRM issue, this is an issue every single in-person conference has to navigate. The HR Tech Conference has mandated vaccines, but the same reality will be experienced there as well. The reall world is all around us, just because we protect ourselves some part of it, doesn’t mean the rest isn’t all around us.
  • The content and the practitioners desire to learn and grow is still so inspiring to witness live. To see people really getting nuggets they can take back to the office and make them better, and see a speaker talking passionately to an audience can not be replicated virtually. I think we’ve found that when you can’t do virtual and good second place is virtual, but in-person just hits differently.
  • I don’t think SHRM will ever be able to put the toothpaste back into the tub when it comes to having virutal attendees. I also think this is awesome for those pros who can’t afford the travel, or can’t travel for so many reasons. But it does mean that in-person SHRM audiences will probably be smaller moving forward. SHRM National is rumored to be around 11,000 attendees this year, down from over 17,000 (in-person) for 2019. Also, around 25-40% of those 11,000 will attend virtually. Virutal attendees are very profitable for SHRM, so it’s not all bad to the bottom-line for SHRM. I do think in the future SHRM, and others, will have to figure out some unique things to do for virtual attendees verse the in-person. Transform Recruitment Marketing did an unboxing for their virtual audience, and I can definitely see SHRM working with vendors to put something like this together to help make those virtual attendees feel more connected to the conference experience.
  • Finally, I got some “real” hugs this week from friends I haven’t seen in a long time and it felt amazing! And, yes, we were all masked and vaccinated!

Shout out to the SHRM staff for putting on a great event under a lot of uncertainty. As always they handled it with class and professionalism, and I’m sure it was a great trial run for them to get ready for the upcoming annual conference!

SHRM Annual Conference is happening on September 9-12th and I’ll be back in Vegas to present to a live audience again, and I’m so excited to see how this goes as well since the numbers will be much larger, and then soon after back again to The HR Technology Conference in Vegas on Sept 28 – Oct 1. Come join me!

Don’t Mistake Credentials for Intelligence!

I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. I was the first person in my family to obtain a master’s degree. I continue to have the grammatical skills of a middle schooler!

My parents are “real” people and have “real” conversations. My family has reached high levels of what most people would call successful. My Mom and Dad didn’t go to college, but both I would consider being very intelligent. They “get it” at a very high level, but one of their biggest strengths was never assuming someone was smart or dumb based on a credential.

This fact allowed them, in their careers, to speak to anyone on an equal footing. The guy swinging a hammer, or the woman running the billion-dollar company, both started on the same level in my parent’s eyes. Both the hammer guy and female CEO have great knowledge, although most likely different knowledge, to share and learn from. Depending upon the specific time, each brought high value to the interaction that was being had.

I get told all the time, “oh, you are just like your mother”, and I see why people make that comparison. I also believe I’m very much like my father, in that both of my parents feel very comfortable fitting into almost any situation. Because they don’t measure a person’s value based on their credentials or the size of the bank account, but on the value, that person brings overall to the interaction that they are having in that exact moment.

At the same time, I’m very pro-credential!

I married a woman who has her master’s degree. My oldest son, at 24, already has his master’s degree, my middle son has his bachelor’s and I’m sure eventually something beyond that, and my youngest son will attend university very soon. So, if credentials don’t equate to intelligence, why did I push my own children to obtain said credentials?

Just because a credential doesn’t equate to intelligence, doesn’t mean that most people don’t make this mistake as a first impression! Also, we are still in a society that overvalues a credential for the most part when it comes to getting jobs and promotions. So, you set your kids up the best you can with the hope this will assist them in being successful.

The real challenge is to get them to understand that just because you are educated, doesn’t mean you’re smart! To have that super valuable skill my parents have! That I hope I have some of! To truly value those around you without the credential that many times have so much more to offer you than you have to offer them.

I believe the best leaders in the world have this skill. The ability to look at each individual and know they probably possess all kinds of strengths that I don’t have, regardless of pay grade or formal education, and to treat them accordingly. It seems like an easy concept, but every day I see examples of highly credentialed people looking down on those less credentialed than themselves.

It goes both ways, we all judge…

I also understand that this type of judgment goes both ways. I have many friends and family who are blue-collar and tend to think less of those who are credentialed for the simple fact they view these people as less hardworking. Sure, they might not get dirty and sweat on a daily basis, but it doesn’t mean they don’t work their butts off.

Covey has the classic line, “Seek first to understand”. You swing a hammer, I try to sell the project that allows you to swing a hammer. Without each of us, business does not happen. One is not more important than the other, and both are keenly needed for success. If more of us understand this very simple concept, the world would be a much more civil place to live in.

I Already Failed my Post-Pandemic Promise to Myself!

I know the Pandemic is not over. I’m traveling again, almost like it’s back to normal. 3 cities last week, 6 airports, 4 different hotels. Felt like Fall 2019! Well, almost.

You see, going through the Pandemic, I found myself very fortunate. Personally and professionally, I’ve come out on the backside of the Pandemic feeling extremely fortunate and grateful of where I find myself. So, I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated or have travel stress. Prior to the Pandemic when I traveled, you would run into mean people, bad employees, weather issues, poor service, long lines, etc.

All of it caused stress and frustration, and quite frankly made travel kind of pain in the ass.

But, I’ve got a new outlook on life. Traffic jam? No problem, I’ve got so many podcasts I want to catch up on, plus, it gives me extra time to catch up with people on a live call! Delayed flight? Oh, I really needed to get some writing done, this is perfect! Long line at the rental car desk? No big deal, look at the one employee working her butt off, I need to make sure to tell her how grateful I am at her showing up today and making sure I got on my way!

Sounds very life coachy of me, right!?

It all lasted about one flight!

Turns out, I can tell myself that none of this will stress me, but then I ran into people! You know just normal people who are trying to also get out on long awaited vacations and meetups with family they haven’t seen in so long. I mean really stupid, dumb people who have forgotten completely how to travel. Like, OMG, look, that’s an aeroplane! Let me stand right in the middle of this walk way with a suitcase that’s two big blocking everyone from moving on to their flight!

My scientific assessment of the situation is Covid-19 made people dumber when traveling. Like we took 12-18 months off of traveling and I completely forgot what to do. Wait, I can’t have a can of gasoline in my carryon luggage!? Why not!? This is America! And my rental car in Jacksonville might not have gasoline!

It’s not just air travel. Have you noticed how people drive right now? I mean pre-pandemic is what bad, but now almost everyone seems to be a complete imbecile when it comes to operating a vehicle. It’s almost like states just gave out driver’s licenses during the pandemic by mail! Like just send us a check and a picture and we’ll send you back a valid driver’s license! I’m sure you know how to drive, we believe you, it’s a Pandemic, why would you lie!

What was my tipping point?

I’m a Delta guy. I’ve almost already hit Diamond status this year and it’s the end of June. The one thing I hate about every airline is how they jam you on the plane knowing it’s not going to take off, but they want their on-time departure. I’ve learned to live with this, again, more time for me to catch up on stuff. But this week, Delta did this to me for an hour and half. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t get someone to fuel the plane, but let’s just all sit here and wait. One fueler for the entire Detroit airport on a Saturday morning. I get it, no staff, we’re doing the best we can. I truly appreciate that dude, but this was the end of a long week of travel and little issues like this one.

I failed myself, but I vow to keep trying. The premise stays the same, I live a blessed life, I’m the one making these choices to travel knowing the world is far from back to normal. I promise I’ll keep trying.

In the mean time, people please stop trying to be stupid! Get your sh*t together. Understand there are other people around you again. You’re not stuck in your house by yourself. Pick up your pace a bit. Did I mention stop being stupid?

Yeah, this won’t last long…

How can you become a great HR/TA Pro?

I met an aspiring HR college student recently. The question was asked, “Tim, how can I be great at HR?” I told them to buy my book and read my blog and that’s really all there is to it! Just kidding, I said something after that as well! 😉

It’s a great question that ultimately has very little to do with HR or Talent Acquisition. To be great at HR, or anything, rarely do you have to be great at that certain skill set. For some things, it’s important: doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc. But in most professions, you can learn the skills, so it’s about these other things that I told this young Padawan:

Go deep on a few things. The world needs experts, not a generalist. Don’t kid yourself to think being a generalist is really what your organization wants. People say this when they are an expert in nothing. Be an expert in something and a generalist in a bunch of stuff.

Don’t be super concerned with what you’re going deep on, just make sure it interests you. While it might not seem valuable now, at some point it probably will be. I’m not in love with employee benefits, but someone is and when I need help with that I’m searching for that person.

Consume content inside and outside of your industry. Those with a never-ending appetite to learn are always more successful.

Connect with people in your field outside of your company. We are in a time in the world where your network can be Pitbull Worldwide! Use that to your advantage. There is someone smarter than you a thousand miles away just waiting to help you.

Just because someone older and more experienced than you might think something is unimportant, don’t give up on it. We all get used to what we are used to. Older people think Snapchat is stupid and it might be, but it also might unlock something awesome in our employment brand. Experience and age are super valuable until they aren’t.

Constantly make stuff and test it. Some of it will fail, most of it will be average, some of it will be awesome. Give yourself more chances for awesome! Don’t let someone tell you, “we tried that three years ago and it didn’t work”. Cool, let’s do it again, but this time change the name!

Take a big chance early in your career. Find a company that you absolutely love and just find a way to work there in any position, then be awesome for a couple of years and see what happens. Working for a brand you love is beyond the best career feeling you’ll have.

Don’t expect to be “HR famous” overnight, but the work you do right now will make you HR famous ten years from now. Do the work, fall in love with it, the fame will come down the road. “I want to blog and speak just like you, Tim!” Awesome, I started doing this a decade ago. Let’s get started right now!

Don’t discount social skills in the real world. You can be the smartest most skilled person in the room, but the one with a personality is the one people will pay attention to. This is a skill that can be learned and constantly improved upon if you work at it.

Spend time with Great HR and Talent pros. No one is really hiding their secret sauce, you just aren’t asking them questions. The key in spending time with others is not asking them to invest more in helping you than you’re willing to invest in making it happen. I get asked weekly for time from people who rarely are willing to help me in return.

Get Tech Savvy. This does’t mean you need to learn to code, but you have to be comfortable with the capabilities and advances that technology is having on your specific field. You should demo technology consistently. You should put yourself in a position where you feel knowledgeable enough to make technology decisions for your function, so someone else is not making these decisions for you. Especially as a young professional, because most old pros won’t have this skill and few have any desire to acquire this skill late in their career.

Okay, as internships are concluding for the summer let’s help these aspiring professionals out! Give me your best advice in the comments!

The Rules for Hugging at Work Post-Pandemic

Okay, I’ve been known as the guy who likes to hug, and I’m not sure why I have this designation but it might be because of this post here. Also, I tend to like hugs! And, I might have hugged a bunch of folks to kick off my speaking engagements demonstrating the Official Office Hugging Rules!

My mate (that’s what English male friends call each other) Chris Bailey (who is a world-class hugger in his own right) and I were messaging back and forth the other day on WhatsApp (Editor note: Tim has to tell you he was messaging on WhatsApp so he seems cool and worldly) and he said, “Mate, you need to write the rules for Hugging at Work after Covid”. He’s right, it’s time.

The key to great rules is you get them out before people start making up their own rules. Since organizations are just not figuring out return-to-work strategies, and a bunch of people are getting their Covid Juice (vaccines), the world, or at least Chris Bailey, is clamoring for how can we start hugging again!

The Rules for Hugging at Work, Post-Pandemic

1. Read the Original Rules of Hugging at Work, they still apply, but we needed some additions.

2. If both parties are Vaxed you are free to party! Hug away! Hug me like you missed me! Hug me so hard it might start an HR investigation! But only hugging, Sparky, don’t get too excited!

3. If one party is Vaxed and one party is stupid (err., not vaxed), Hug that moron if you want. Now, if you are vaxed and the non-vaxed person is wearing a mask, well that probably just helps knock down that coffee breath.

4. If you are not vaxed and the other party is not vaxed, please not only hug, but lick each other. The world is built around natural selection and there is nothing more exciting than watching natural selection take place in the wilds of the office!

5. Understand coming back into the office, Post-Pandemic, the world has changed a bit. Everyone is a bit on edge. There’s a good chance you hugging someone at work will get you fired. So, my recommendation is to hug anyway, no one wants to work in a world where “Karen’s” rule the world!

6. Don’t hug someone who is trying to give you an elbow bump. That person is weird.

7. Don’t hug someone who says, “It’s just a little bit of allergies” as they are hacking up a lung. Also, if you’re sick, have enough self-insight to let folks know so they don’t come in for a snuggle!

8. If it looks like someone needs a hug, ask them, and if they don’t say “No”, most likely they need a hug! The world has been an especially hard place the past year or so. A lot of folks need a hug!

9. Some of your folks are remote and they need a hug. Great leaders, in a new world of remote, hybrid, and on-premise, will travel and deliver hugs. It might be the single most important thing you do as a leader all year. Hug delivery.

10. Hug with DEI in mind! Have you hugged a person of color today? What about one of your Transgender co-workers or peers? What about someone of the same sex? If you only hug the opposite sex of the same color you are, you might want to ask yourself why is that? I’m an equal opportunity hugger! Come get some!

11. No group hugs. Let’s stay civilized, people! It’s a special kind of crazy the person who initiates a group hug. In HR we use “group hug” as profiling the truly psycho employees we have working for us! “Come on guys! Let’s all do a big group hug!” – Um, No!, Trevor!

Cancel Culture Can’t Cancel Hugs!

I did a survey recently and it turns out 89% of people want a hug, and the 11% who don’t like hugs, also hate puppies (this is my own survey, don’t @ me!). Here’s the thing, as we get back to work and see folks we haven’t seen in a while there will be emotion! We missed a lot of these assholes! Enough that we will want to give them a hug!

Also, if you have folks working hybrid that you don’t get to see as much, when you do see them you will want to do more than a cold handshake or fist bump. The world needs one big giant hug, and we certainly have some co-workers who need more than a few hugs!

Hugs don’t need to be canceled. Hugs are great! What needs to be canceled are creepy dudes who hug inappropriately and make the people they hug feel uncomfortable. Fix that problem! Leave hugs alone!