I just learned that it’s best to make a pecan pie and let it sit in the fridge overnight so that the sugars get a little stickier and sweeter.
Man, I love pie. There is no way imma let a pie sit overnight. That is criminal.
My preferences? Give me pecan pie or pumpkin pie. I am not a huge fruit pie fan — but if it is cooked, I will eat it. When I lived in Chicago, I always ate at a place called Bakers Square. Even though it aggravated my irritable bowel, I ordered the French Silk pie.
(I sacrifice like that.)
You like pie? Got a recipe you want to tell us about?
Mmmmmm. I need to know.
There were several Human Resources conferences, this month, that I was unable to attend. A few of them looked pretty good. The rest were weak sauce.
I have spent the past four years at conferences. I’ve spent the past few days checking in on blog posts and twitterfeeds. Because I love you, here are six things said at every major HR conference out there.
“I am slammed with resumes. I don’t want volume. I want quality.”
Okay, Mr. Recruiter, let me get this straight: You want an algorithm to do your work for you, sort through resumes and tell you who to hire? Be careful what you wish for because LinkedIn is about to make that happen.
“The recruiting model is changing.”
This is what lazy people say when they don’t know how to recruit.
No, clean water matters. Proper hygiene and sanitation in developing countries matters. Social justice matters. Let’s use that word properly.
Mobile only matters after everything else about your recruiting process has been fixed. Prioritize what’s broken. Get to work. When all of those other issues are addressed, you can then think about mobile tools and the actual adoption of mobile strategies in your applicant population and with your hiring managers.
“Recruiting is a hub of innovation.”
No matter how many times you say this, nobody believes you.
“We should treat our employees like our customers. After all, they are our brand ambassadors.”
You don’t pay your employees enough to be customers. Start there.
“It’s all about relationship-building.”
This is why people hate HR. You are there to hire the best talent and help the business gain market share. You will build relationships to get your work done, yes, but that’s a tactic and not a strategy. It’s really all about winning.
I know I have missed some obvious ones. I am guilty of saying many of these things, too. This is why I am doing penance (and real work) to make sure that I only contribute unique ideas at these major conferences. If I don’t have anything different to say, I won’t go.
It’s sad. I like attending HR events and line dancing like the rest of humanity, but new ideas come at a price. Back in the real world, we still have a broken labor market. Hundreds of thousands of positions go unfilled in this country. Qualified people apply for jobs and fall into a black hole. Executives lie and tell you that there is a war for talent.
At some point, you are either part of the problem — sitting at conferences, drinking beer, attending vendor parties, tweeting about the candidate experience while your open requisitions go unfilled — or you are part of the solution.
I think most HR conferences can do better. I hope I can write a blog post with six new things said at HR and recruiting events in 2013.
I just finished 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans after a blogger told me it is a great template for my book.
She said, “Laurie, it’s positive. It makes people feel good. And it’s one of the best career books in 2013. You can do this.”
Hm. Okay. Have you talked to your grandparents lately? Old people are unreliable narrators. But I read the book on a flight to Orlando. I will say this:
- It was sweet and charming.
- If you feel down about your life, it will pick you up.
- It is definitely meant to inspire you.
But there is no real data behind the advice from old people — especially when it comes to careers.
And that bugs me a little.
I remember when my grandmother was dying. She rewrote much of her personal history to make sense of what she experienced on this planet. I just nodded. I wasn’t about to say, “Hey, this sounds great but my Mom and aunts have a different version of the story, yo.”
No way. I just let it go. I knew that my Gramma wanted her life to matter. She wanted to be heard. And she had already given me excellent advice long before she died.
- Go to college. Have a career. Don’t have a baby before you’re married.
Gramma knew firsthand that an education was the only way for a young woman to move up in America. And she felt that passion is for fools. Passion is for lazy people. Passion gets your pregnant.
What she really believed in — not for herself, but for me — was the theory of delayed gratification as demonstrated by the Stanford marshmallow experiment.
The Stanford marshmallow experiment refers to a series of studies on deferred gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward (sometimes a marshmallow, but often a cookie or a pretzel, etc.) provided immediately or two small rewards if he or she waited until the experimenter returned (after an absence of approximately 15 minutes). In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI) and other life measures.
The lesson of the Stanford marshmallow experiment is simple: if you say no to the easy things in life, especially when good things are promised to you in exchange for your sacrifice, life get better. Rewards get bigger. Your patience pays off.
And the lesson from my grandmother is simple: Don’t throw yourself at the first guy who loves you. Work hard and learn something. Build a good life for yourself as a woman. Save your money in a sensible bank account so you can be 81 and live somewhere other than the nursing home you saw on 60 Minutes.
(That’s almost verbatim.)
This is easier said than done, of course. Men are charmers. College is hard. And putting up with a crappy career — and all the complexities of a white-collar job with neurotic coworkers and stupid bosses — can be hard on the soul. Boredom and complacency can creep into your life. Depression can follow.
The good news is that delayed gratification can be taught and learned. You can make better choices today to set yourself up for success tomorrow. And while making seemingly “tough” choices, you can be passionate and have fun. You can enjoy your job. You can eventually follow your dreams.
But a little struggle never hurt anyone.
That’s not a very fun or romantic message. And that book won’t be written any time soon. Especially by me.
Now get off my lawn.
When there are major incidents in the world, corporate risk management teams and global security professionals come together and try to figure out who is in the danger zone and how to get them home safely.
HR is usually in the mix.
It’s not a sexy or flashy process. In the absence of good information in the aftermath of a tragedy, many emergency response teams use old fashioned phone trees and reconnaissance protocols to make sure everyone is okay.
One of the rules I learned? It’s not enough for someone to tell you that your employee is okay. You must talk to that person — or an authorized person who can speak on behalf of the employee — and confirm his/her status. And this can get tricky with HIPAA.
So I wanted to recognize HR leaders (and other corporate professionals) who sprang into action on Monday. You did good work. I know you are exhausted. I hope you and your employees are unaffected by the bombings. And I hope you got some rest.
And for those of you who are on the road, I want to tell you that a whole lot of people care about you as a human being when you travel for business.
That’s 100% true. Your safety really does matter.