#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

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

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)

If You Are Efficient You’re Doing it the Wrong Way!

I read this interview with Jerry Seinfeld recently and I wanted to share a piece from it below:

A few thoughts on this…

  1. You know I’m all about efficiency when the process calls for being efficient, like in recruiting. When you start talking about being creative, like Jerry is above, that’s when you have to throw efficiency out the window. Genius doesn’t have a timeline. Sometimes working smarter not harder isn’t the right answer.
  2. “Who’s McKinsey? Are they funny? Then, no I don’t need them.” Too often we ask for help from folks who don’t know what we do or how to do it, but they have an MBA from an Ivy League school so they must be smarter than us, right? Right!? Well, they might be smarter at somethings, but you know your business and you probably know what needs to be done. The question is do you have the courage to do it or are you using a consulting firm because you want someone to share the blame?
  3. “The show was successful because I micromanaged it.” When I speak to really successful entrepreneurs almost all are successful because they micromanage the crap out of every aspect of their company. We like to act like this is a bad trait because it can be destructive, but most of the great leaders find ways to micromanage and still treat people really great. It’s not one or the either, it’s both.

 

I love reading and listening to really successful people talk about why they are successful when they aren’t trying to be impressive. When you get the real stuff. I think this was some real stuff from Jerry.

 

Happy Thoughts by Tim Sackett

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

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

The All-In Challenge!

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

Hourly Workers Getting their Do! 

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

Family Tik Tok Videos! 

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

Conversations at the Dinner Table! 

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

The Return of Civility! 

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

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

 

Are We Still Pissy About Unpaid Internships?

Back in the height of the Great Recession (think 2008-2010), when we had double-digit national unemployment numbers. It was dark times, especially for those students who were graduating and those trying to get internships.

Most organizations in hard times cut internship programs. It’s not that they are not important to recruiting, it’s just the ROI drops as unemployment numbers rise. If you have a lot of candidates, it’s tough to spend valuable resources on interns who aren’t really adding much value, if any, to most organizations.

Internships, at its core, is mostly a one-way proposition on the front side. We hire you to get experience. We pay you. We hope you’ll come back and take one of our open jobs and in the future help us be successful. It usually works out, but it’s not a guarantee. In hard times, “not a guarantee” is a hard budget item to get approved!

During the Great Recession the idea of offering “Free Internships” was being used by many organizations and a lot of people lost their minds!

“You have to pay people for the job they do!” “All Interns should be paid fairly!”

Basically, this all went away pretty quickly because the economy took off and we got to the point where we weren’t just paying interns, we were competing for interns and developing all kinds of programs and incentives for interns because talent was so scarce.

The argument wasn’t really solved, it just disappeared because it was no longer relevant. Well, say hello to my little friend! The Free Internship concept is back! Thanks, COVID!

Let’s talk a little bit about our current internship situation!

  • Most organizations have canceled internships for this summer. There will be significantly fewer internships for the summer of 2021, as compared to summer 2019
  • As unemployment rises and layoffs grow, more will cancel these programs.
  • New graduates who can’t find jobs, need experiences to build their resumes.

Should we offer Unpaid Internships? 

YES!!! 1000% YES!!!

Now, let me explain. If you can afford to pay your interns, but be a dick and not pay them! If you can’t afford to pay interns, but you can afford to give students and graduates valuable experiences, give them those experiences!!!

I never understood the argument that you must pay interns for their time. I did student teaching as part of my undergrad degree. I worked a full semester as a teacher and I paid full tuition and never got a dollar for that work! My wife is a Physical Therapist and she did many practicums (medical internships) where she had to pay for school, work full time without pay. Many professions have this happening.

We turn a blind eye to these examples and just believe it’s part of getting that degree, but it’s truly no difference. The reality is, the experience you get, the ability to put that brand on your resume and have a professional reference is very valuable. So, working for free almost always works out for the best for those who take on those experiences and give it there all.

For the record, I have paid my interns. I will pay my interns this year. But, I can’t tell you I’ll always be able to pay interns. At that point, I have a decision to make. Not have interns, which only hurts those kids who need an internship, or have unpaid interns. I’m completely comfortable having unpaid interns, as I know the value it gives those individuals.

I’ve gotten questions recently about unpaid internships, as I hear so many people canceling their internships for this summer. “Can we have an intern work remotely and be unpaid?” Well, it’s not officially an employee, but if you want to “mentor” a student, and that student what’s your mentorship, nothing is stopping you from helping that person out!

Understand, if you aren’t going to pay someone, you get what you pay for. But, I also truly believe that a student who says, “Hey, I can give you twenty hours per week to learn the business” we have a moral obligation to help these students out in a time of crisis!

Okay, hate me in the comments – but we need to be open to Unpaid Internships!

Would you choose to live at your job 24/7 for a month? These workers did!

40 employees of Braskem America in Marcus Hook, PA unanimously decided they would lock themselves in their plant for 28 straight days, so they could safely make N95 masks for healthcare workers. Day and night, they worked, ate meals with each other, and slept at the plant to ensure there would be no spread of the virus to the products they were making.

The workers spent 12-hour shifts making polypropylene and a non-woven fiber in N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes.

Braskem has given the workers “enhanced employee compensation” for their work.

They were provided an onsite kitchen and supplies to sustain them as they operated the manufacturing facilities in isolation, according to Braskem.

Workers got TV breaks and drive-by visits from family during the 28-day period.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I would do the same thing!” Especially given that most of us have just spent a full month or more with our families in lockdown in our houses! And I believe many people would have sacrificed as these employees did for the betterment of the healthcare workers who desperately need this PPE.

But don’t kid yourself, I’m sure this was an emotional decision for many! It’s not like the workers of a manufacturing facility do this on a normal basis. Most probably don’t travel for work, so they see their family and friends every single day. Going a month without that contact had to really difficult! I don’t like going for three days without seeing my dog!

The HR person in me loves this story and also knows that somewhere out of this probably comes a wedding, or bad breakup, or a baby! You just don’t keep 40 people together for 28 straight days, day and night, and not have some stuff go down! If HR has taught me anything, it’s humans will be humans!

I know the reality of this situation is this company was doing what companies do. Because of a crisis, they have a very short-term opportunity to make some great money and in the process help healthcare workers, help their employees, and help the stakeholders of that organization. It’s a win-win-win all the way around. It doesn’t stop this being a great story and we need all of those we can get!

So, my question for you today is, would you be willing to spend 24/7, for a month with your co-workers and your co-workers only!? Working, eating, sleeping, side by side? Hit me in the comments!

I loved that one of the workers being interviewed said one of the things they took for granted was being able to work next to someone and sit down to eat next to someone and not have to be six feet apart or even worry about that. When they came out into the ‘real’ world they realized they took stuff like that for granted.

Zoom Bombs! Let’s have some fun!

Okay, if you’ve been working at home for the last month or so, you’re getting bored with video conferences with your team! You’ve also probably heard of some Zoom meetings getting “Zoom Bombed” by folks outside of your organization that figured out your public link and come in cause all kinds of havoc.

I want to Zoom Bomb your weekly team meeting! But not to cause havoc, but to just have some fun and talk shop!

Most of us set up weekly meetings with our teams. The same day, same time, same meeting link. It doesn’t have to be Zoom, could be Web-ex, Bluejeans, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, etc. The key being you have a normal meeting where you talk shop with your team.

I think it would be fun to drop in on some of your meetings and shake things up! So, let’s play! Here’s my promise to all those leaders out there that might have interest:

  1. I’ll be fully dressed.
  2. I’ll be as professional as I am on this blog. That means no porno images or hate language! I might bash the University of Michigan if you consider that hate language please don’t invite me! 😉
  3. We’ll have some fun and learn some things, and I’ll try to help you out.
  4. I will not tell you if I’m coming on or not!

Are you interested in having me Zoom Bomb your Team? 

All you need to do is send me a quick email to sackett.tim@hrutech.com and let me know you have an interest. Give me the day, the time, and the link for your meeting. Also, tell me who’s on the call and what you guys usually get on the call for.

I mean what could go wrong!?!

Like, please don’t send me a link to your meeting and then decide to use that meeting to lay off your entire team! I mean, while I would have a great story to share, I’m not sure your team would really appreciate that! Or maybe they would, no judgment!

I hope to see a bunch of you by surprise over the next coming weeks!

Leaders Aren’t Best Judged in Crisis, No Matter What You’ve Heard

We are in a crisis. Everyone would agree with this.

It’s been popular since the beginning of time to judge people based on their best moment. Stand up tall, when others are small and you are destined for greatness in history. No matter when you did before or after.

Rudy Giuliani, by most, is considered a great leader of our time for his leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He was in charge when the towers came down. He said and did the right things during that time. He will be forever remembered for that time in his legacy.

The reality is, leaders are not best judged in times of crisis.

Great leaders should not be judged by how they reacted in a once in a lifetime event, but how they act every day. On good days, average days, bad days, and very rarely on crisis days. The problem is we aren’t paying attention on normal days. We don’t see the greatest. So, we judge them on the few times we see them, which are either celebrations or catastrophes.

Crisis management is incredibly difficult by leadership teams at organizations. You try with all of your might to put your own situation aside, but it’s always there in the background, while you try and do what’s best for all involved. The hardest thing a leader will ever do is make the decision that some will have to lose their job, so the majority can keep their job. Even putting your own name on that list of cuts, isn’t as difficult.

Nobody wants to be judged by his or her worst moment. In crisis management, we tend to have a lot of worst moments because we are often making quick decisions with limited information that in hindsight looks foolish.

As we are all going through some level of crisis management currently, I wanted to share Professor Scott Galloway’s three steps of crisis management from his NYU class he teaches on the same subject:

  1. Top Guy or Gal Takes Responsibility
  2. Acknowledge the Issue
  3. Overcorrect

Overcorrect is the key. Well, I’m not sure if we should do this, let’s just wait a little while longer and see what happens. NO! Overcorrect. Make the safest choice possible. Make the best choice possible for your people. Act swiftly.

If we watch, we will see great leadership moments in any crisis. Some of these moments will be by great leaders doing great leader stuff. Some of these moments will be done by idiots who just happen to be in the right place and make the right decision. Don’t confuse a moment of leadership competence with being a great leader.

Great leaders don’t just show up for a crisis, they show up every day.

 

Momma always said, “Stupid is as stupid does”

Do you think we, Americans, will be able to self-quarantine?

I don’t. Let me give you two examples of why not:

  1. It’s this past Saturday. We are getting ready to hunker down at Casa de Sackett. Part of our nesting process is to get some projects done which means a quick trip to the Container Store to get some materials. The Container Store is very close to the Cheesecake Factory. In my mind, “No one is going to be out, let’s just slip into the Cheesecake and get the last supper in before the big shut in!” We arrive at the Cheesecake Factory to find a 30-minute wait to get in. A giant gathering of people inside around the host stand all squished together. Breathing on each other and acting like none of us are really sick.
  2. Pictures have been circulating (like the one below) from this past week in Florida as Spring Breakers are just out doing Spring Break stuff, during a global pandemic. By the way, similar pictures were spreading about 3-4 weeks ago from Italy before they had to shut down the entire country and start making death bed decisions on who gets care and who dies.

There is a line in the musical Hamilton from the second Cabinet Rap Battle where Hamilton says to Jefferson:

“You must be out of your god damn mind!”

Most of us, right now, are out of our god damn minds. The fact is the vast majority of us, around 97% will survive the 19 without much issue at all. So, we think what the hell, extra Spring Break suckers! I’m outta school!

The reality that will soon hit home is when we are attending virtual funerals for our Mom’s and Dads, and Grandparents, and aunts and uncles, the little boy down the street who has asthma but I thought it was a great idea to bring him a stuffed turtle from Clearwater Beach and kill him.

For all those folks who think the flu is worse and we are just overblowing this entire thing, answer me this – if I gave you one hundred Skittles in your hand and said, no, they taste great, only three of them will kill you, would you eat any of them?

Apparently I would, because I thought going to Cheesecake Factory for one last meal was important enough to put myself and my family at risk, and I’m the average American right now…

But god damn are those sweet potato fries are amazing!

See? We’re all Fucked! Keep safe out there my friends, and for the love of Saint Pete stay away from people! And stop buying all of the toilet paper!

4 Great Things About Your 401K Taking a Dump!

The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!

Oh, just give me a minute to explain…

Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.

The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.

Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.

So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?

1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.

2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.

3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!

4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!

I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)

We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.

Also, Gen X Lives!

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

Let’s get creepy today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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