Hey Kids…it’s @Animal! #TimSackettDay

animal3Today, January 22nd, is our own little holiday in the HR/Recruiting community. On #TimSackettDay we celebrate the unsung heroes and inspirational folks in our community. Past honorees have been Tim Sackett, Paul Hebert, Kelly Dingee, and Victorio Millian. It’s always a surprise to the honoree…even more fun!

This year we’re honoring that master radio host and the guy who you either know as (1) a creepy clown avatar or (2) the dude donning a huge furry hat (hey..its COLD in Canada!).

Hail Animal. (Yeah…I also never think of him as Michael.)

He’s been blogging since 2004, started the Recruiting Animal blog in 2006 and then, in 2007, he launched the Recruiting Animal Show – the first online call-in show about recruiting.

It’s still going strong.

And it’s loud and raucous and lively (well, depending on the guest one could argue). It’s a place for recruiters and those in their orbit to speak their minds.

Sometimes….I’m not the only one who says this BTW….it scares me just a little.

But Michael (he’s not Animal in this case) is thoughtful, generous and caring. I guest hosted a twitter chat of his a few years ago  and had a blast; I’m waaaaaaaaay to intimidated to ever be a guest on his show. Goofball. He runs a Facebook group where I sweat to you I hear his voice just reading his works. He applauds people when they’re doing great things, sends wishes, shares pics, highlights new and cool ideas. He welcomes everyone into the orbit of recruiters and HR practitioners and vendors.

But, perhaps more valuable to all of us, he’s not afraid to poke people/ideas/BS with a stick when it’s called for. He doesn’t stand for nonsense, false bravado or bluster. He was the very definition of social practically before anyone even called it “social media.”

Love this guy.

animal2

 

Happy #TimSackettDay Animal!

 

 

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Why I Can Be a Feminist and Still Support #MissUSA

MissUSA-CrownLast night we had the kickoff meeting for the #KreweDeCrown; a team of 8 members of the Baton Rouge Social Media Association (note: the #krewe thing is total Louisiana). We’ll be serving as social media ambassadors for Visit Baton Rouge by covering events before, during, and after the 2015 Miss USA competition. We’ll be hanging out at the preliminary competition, chilling on the red carpet, tweeting from the live telecast, and taking assorted trips with the contestants to various picturesque venues.

I’m covering a beauty pageant. Once again.

Last summer the pageant was held here in Baton Rouge and it was such a success that, needless to say, the mayor and business leaders clamored to entice the Donald to bring it back for 2015. That’s right; Donald Trump runs this show and he will, once again, be bringing his comb over and misplaced presidential ambitions to the Bayou State.

It was a fascinating experience last year; I wrote about it here and here and here. We also had a blog site up for the local newspaper which is (hold on!) soon to be resurrected.

Now I certainly have my problems with the entire pageant trope; the perpetuation of unrealistic standards of beauty, the objectification of women, the virtual pimping and unabashed money-making off young women (and their families) who are powerless to resist the sirens’ call of the pageant world. Spare me, I beg of you, the numerous aspects that just make me cringe. In a country with fringe religious groups perpetuating the patriarchy I have often found the hair on my neck standing up at the mere thought of a spectacle that celebrates the unmarried (and subliminally virginal) woman and categorizes her via European standards of beauty while minimizing any personal attributes beyond her ability to smile and speak coherently into a camera.

Yet, at the same time, I detest stereotypes and will never – with every ounce of my being – relegate people to expected behavioral norms. Therefore I find myself supporting the choice of those women (and men) who freely and actively participate in pageants. “Freely,” of course, is the codifier; I get absolutely ill at the prepubescent glamorization of girls, toddlers and babies in the children’s pageant world. I’m not quite sure where the age of consent sets in but I’m fairly certain that the average 3-year-old pageant contestant hasn’t made the decision to get hair extensions. Mama Rose is lurking there; exploiting and manipulating while skipping hand-in-hand down the garden path.

But, for young women, does it have to be a choice between burning one’s bra or parading around in a swimsuit? Must it be an either/or? Does one or the other validate the worth of the women who decide to compete in these pageants? Nope Jim-Bob; it doesn’t.

So in 2015, just as in 2014, I’ll have my moments of angst. During last year’s pageant I left the theatre during the swimsuit competition because I just couldn’t stand to watch women in bikinis and high heels marching around the stage like animals at the county fair. I mean really – who were Ian Ziering and Rumer Willis to judge? Ugh.

But feminism means ensuring that every individual, regardless of gender, is free to make the choices he or she wants to make. Stay out of my womb. Don’t patronize me in the board room. Respect my choice to either stay at home and raise my children or to work outside the home. Don’t pay me less than my colleagues merely because I have a vagina.

Let me wear the crown.

If that’s what I want.

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The Pace of Business. The Pace of HR.

Atlas Rockefeller CenterI grew up in Wisconsin. I spent my childhood and HS years in the Milwaukee suburbs, headed off to college in central Wisconsin, and then returned to live and work in Milwaukee. It’s a bustling city and I’ve found that unless you’re from the area or have reason to visit you generally don’t have any awareness that the MSA is quite so sizable. We moved at a brisk clip and took care of business; might be that whole Socialist and Germanic heritage. Or because we knew a beer was waiting at the end of the day. I dunno.

Thirteen years ago we moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One hour up the I-10 from New Orleans (let’s face it, the most unique city in the USofA), Baton Rouge suffers from an identity crisis usually articulated as “we are NOT New Orleans!”

There are certainly many things to love here in the Red Stick; the food, the ever-present music, a fascinating history, and super friendly and welcoming people. We have gorgeous scenery, exotic wildlife, and LSU football … if that’s your thing. There are also characteristics that reside firmly in the negative column; a general aversion to anything progressive, the absolute worst traffic ever, an atrocious education system, and institutional racism and sexism that still snuggle companionably alongside the Sazeracs served to Tripp and Tiffany at the local country club or at the annual power-broker crawfish boils.

Oh…and we move slowly. V-E-R-Y slowly. And that, other than learning how to pronounce a whole new bunch of words, was the biggest area of acclimation for me.

Is it because of the heat? Any day now we’re destined to hit the upper 80’s/90’s and then resolutely remain there until October and, of course, our heat is like wrapping yourself in a wet woolen blanket. Do we take our time because we’ll break into a sweat if we pick up the pace?

Or is it, as some have postulated, because we believe in enjoying life? We like to stop and smell the roses (or magnolias)? We wonder “what’s the rush?” Laissez les bon temps rouler.

There’s something to be said for that.

Yet whenever I head out of town I notice the remarkable differences in how we not only “live” but also in how we “work.”

I spent part of last week in NYC with a colleague working with an HR team full of energized, super smart, young, and hip HR professionals. Well, certainly more hip than me. We rocked through a ton of content at a fast clip all day long and then, because unlike Baton Rouge there are things to do in NYC past 8 PM, we went out for drinks and festivities.

No moss growing under their feet.

And, it goes without saying, this team was not an anomaly.

I took a stroll through Grand Central Station, purposefully at commute time, to revel in the frenzied activity of harried suburbanites catching their trains. I sat at a table, mid-day, in Bryant Park to watch the go-go young investment bankers grab some Jamba Juice before continuing on with their important phone calls. While scoring some cocktails I chatted up a marketing dude (finance industry) at the bar; he was still in his suit (tie loosened) and had his computer bag at his feet…4 hours after the workday ended. He paused, mid-conversation, to take a 30 second phone call, send off a quick email (another 30 seconds), and then resumed our conversation.

That shit doesn’t happen in Baton Rouge.

Is that good…or bad? Certainly the desire for a certain lifestyle…fast pace vs. slow pace… boils down to personal preference. There are many individuals who purposefully choose to escape (isn’t that how it’s usually put?) so they leave DC or Chicago or pick-a-big-city and relocate to a less frenetic metro area or even a small town.

More power to ‘em.

I got to thinking though; does the speed at which the overall business community moves impact how HR moves? Does an HR team or an HR professional working in a sluggish environ become … well…sluggish? Can human resources professionals ideate and innovate and ACT when those around them are content to live by the mantra “don’t be in such a hurry; we’ll get there someday.”

What would Atlas do?

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Celebrate Others with Random Tweets of Kindness #RTOK

thank_you_pink_and_blue_love_birds_post_card_postcard-r5d63853a7bdd4f678c5cfcd5b5b32499_vgbaq_8byvr_324Last March my friend Lars Schmidt (@ThisisLars) chose a day and dedicated his timeline to “Random Tweets of Kindness.” He spent the day tweeting to people who had helped, supported, and inspired him over the years.

And we’re going to do it again!  As Lars wrote at Amplify Talent the other day:

Random Tweets Of Kindness Returns

The original #RTOK was conceived as an experiment. I had no aspirations beyond that day for this day of recognition, but when friends began suggesting we make it an annual event it was a sell. I’m excited to announce Wednesday 3/11/15 will be the next Random Tweets Of Kindness day (#RTOK). 

How To Participate

If you’d like to join us this year, here’s how:

  • Help spread the word with your networks ahead of 3/11
  • You can share this post, or even better write your own, and promote it using the #RTOK hashtag
  • On 3/11, send tweets throughout the day to anyone you feel deserves recognition for their work – or just some kindness
  • Keep an eye on #RTOK throughout the day on 3/11, RT any tweets you feel compelled to share

 

I’m in. Are you?

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image: zazzle

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