Category Archives: HR

HR, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

“It’s” a Shame, Not Me.

I wrote and I published.

I recently published a post about an incident in Dallas while I was traveling for work. I was drugged at a trusted restaurant by a bartender / night manager, who followed me into the bathroom and subsequently tried to pull me in the men’s room. This happened in the middle of April, and it has traumatized me far more than I like to admit. I have kept up a good front and tried to smile through it all.

I originally wrote the referenced post a few days after the drugging occurred, but I was unable to actually hit the publish button until 4+ weeks later. I still suffer from nausea, dizziness, insomnia, digestive issues, and headaches. What I don’t know is if these are the ill-effects of the drug or is it how I have reacted mentally to what happened. I will survive, trust me and I will scream what happened to me from the rooftops. I will post, comment, tweet, snap, pin, insta, and link it to as many different sites, to as many different people, as possible.

Why the Follow-Up?

I write this follow-up because I have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who have messaged me in public and private about their own terror and their own brush with this type of drugging. Innocent women AND men who felt the shame I felt, who still carry those scars with them, who were violated in one way or another, who were raped or robbed, abused and broken.

In conversations, written and spoken with friends and others in my own town of Laguna Beach, I have heard from or about dozens of individuals who experienced this here, in their own town – they weren’t traveling and they were at popular, local restaurants or bars. Most had been raped.

I know I was lucky

I know this – I know that my situation could have been far worse. There have been times when I wish it had been, so medical professionals and law enforcement officers, and even some friends and family, had taken me more seriously. That is sad – that is horrifying. I KNOW it could have been worse, but saying to me, “At least you weren’t raped” doesn’t ease my suffering or take away my nightmares. It makes me shake with anger for the many who were, scream for the men who were robbed or beaten, and cry for the young girl whose boyfriend betrayed her, beat her, and dumped her outside of her apartment. And continue to weep for those who hide their shame, who still haven’t told anyone of their terror – because they fear, because they want to forget.
But they won’t ever. I won’t ever.

I know why.

I have also heard why they keep it a secret. Why they cloak their faces. Why they avert their eyes.
Why they feel shame.

“Well, you shouldn’t have been drinking.”
“See what happens when you drink?”
“You shouldn’t travel alone.”
“You need to be more careful.”
“Stop talking to people you don’t know.”
“Maybe you need to slow down.”
“This only happens at frat parties or on college campuses.”
“Such a new and horrible thing that is happening.”
“What were you wearing?”
“Did you show cleavage?”
“Did you flirt with him?”
“Why did you give him your name?”

“You shouldn’t have been drinking…”

  • I wasn’t drunk – I didn’t drink too much.
  • This happened to individuals drinking water, Diet Coke, Red Bull, Lemonade, and so on.
  • I have to travel alone AND I like traveling alone.
  • Yes, I will be more careful and will never again take a drink from someone I don’t know or don’t see them pour. Nor will I leave my drink alone or turn my back on it. This one I accept.
  • I will always talk to people I don’t know – it’s who I am, it’s what I do.
  • I’ll slow down when I’m dead.
  • No, it doesn’t only happen to young women in college. I’m 52.
  • NOT new. One friend told me about how it happened to her 40+ years ago. Oh, and Bill Cosby. Not new.
  • I was wearing a tank top with a sweater and baggy pants from Talbots (better known as the old lady store – because guess what? I’m an old lady)
  • Yes, cleavage was showing. Guess what? I have cleavage.
  • I wasn’t flirting, but if I had been – would that have made it ok? I was smiling. I was happy. Was.
  • He had my name because I paid the bill with my credit card
    (Which, interestingly enough was refunded a few days after the incident.)
  • And this happened because it just did and it does to too many people all the time, every day. And it happened because it is a crime that bad people get away with. No one presses charges because it is nearly impossible to get a conviction or even charges. And because someone close to them says or asks the things above. Because we, the victims, are shamed.

No, your Diet Coke won’t protect you.

Blame it on alcohol or the fact that I had a couple drinks?
Blame it on me for traveling alone?
Blame it on what I was wearing?
Blame it on me for being gregarious?

Blame it on everyone or every thing but the man who did this to me and the restaurant who covered it up?

This is real – this is a real danger we all face in our world.  This could have been your daughter, mother, sister. It could have been YOU.

No one “deserves” this.

I didn’t get what was coming to me and I refuse to be a woman who plays the victim, who locks her door every second of every day, one who carries a stick with her everywhere.
Because I fear. Because it could happen again. Because there are bad people.
There are also good people. There are more good people.
And there are MORE people than you know who have been drugged by someone who wanted to take advantage of them in one way or another. 

We need to make it NOT alright for someone to get away with this.

MANY people have messaged me privately and publicly to say this has happened to them, too. Thank you to those who were brave enough to do so, and I’m so sorry. To those who couldn’t or didn’t message me, I get it, I understand. You are not alone. And I am so sorry you went through this and felt you had no recourse, no one to share it with, no one to report this crime to.

It’s not just women who are raped.
It’s not just women.
It’s not just someone drinking alcohol.
It’s not just someone dressed sexily or one who flirts.
It’s not someone was out or traveled alone.

Not my first rodeo

This happened to me before at an industry event in Las Vegas, at a Human Resources and Recruiting Conference. Someone I knew drugged me. I kept quiet because I was embarrassed. Because I didn’t know what I could do. Because I felt shame. Because I wasn’t sure who did it and I was worried about them and not me.

I will not ever be quiet about this. I won’t be quiet again.

HR, LEADERSHIP

HR Latte: When HR Kills Innovation Efforts

Part 1: Guest Josh Berry in a new #KeyPointPodcast series
“When HR Kills Your Innovation Efforts”

iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 85

Series: When HR Kills Innovation Efforts

HR is a core piece of the innovation equation and can make or break your innovation efforts. Econic helps corporations map and execute innovation. After working with many corporations in many different industries, Josh Berry, Co-Founder of Econic has discovered some barriers to successful innovation that have their roots in HR.

In Part 1 of this series, Rayanne Thorn invites Josh Berry to talk about People and whether or not everyone is cut out to be part of an innovative company. Just as the opposite can have a negative effect on any company, bringing the right people to an innovative company and then providing them with the right opportunities can promote incredible success.

Tune in as Josh discusses what he has discovered from his years of consulting and working with HR departments.

Discussion Points for this episode:

  • Recognizing the HR barriers to innovation success
  • Why disruptive companies need to be so disruptive
  • Does technology actually provide a solution?
  • Necessary shifts to HR processes in an innovative company
  • Not everyone is cut out to be an innovator
  • Getting the “People” part right
  • How to Identify Innovators

    On Twitter

    @Josh_Berry
    @Ray_anne
    @HRLatte
    and @intrepid_NOW

    *Click here for past Episodes 1-66

    HRLatte is made possible by:

    Dovetail Software logoDovetail Software delivers web-based solutions & help desk programs that enable organizations to reduce administrative & support costs, diagnose & resolve complex business problems, and increase efficiency, while improving support.

    Rayanne loves hosting talk radio and continues to hone this craft in every way possible by creating and hosting several educational and promotional radio shows, hosting & moderating webinars and podcasts, as well as a featured host on intrepid.media.

    For more information about how you can use online radio or podcasting to educate your target audience or customer, compliment your marketing efforts, and grow your brand recognition, feel free to message Rayanne on Twitter, LinkedIn, or via email at rayanne@intrepid.media.

     

BUSINESS, HR

Stress Relief: The Danger of Over-Consumption

Stress Relief: The Danger of Over-Consumption

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” ― Charles Bukowski

#truestoryMany of us in the recruiting business find ourselves sitting at a desk all day with our only exercise being typing on a keypad or a phone pad. Our cardio is our mouths screening and closing job candidates while selling to managers and trying to smile through unrealistic requirements put upon us.

This, unlike most of the things in our irrational choice to become a recruiter, is something that we actually can control. Some do, most do not. We merely slip into a comfort zone of drinking to relieve the stress. It’s like our version of exercise, instead of running to stave off stress, we drink alcohol. I have been to, and have spoken at, many conferences and have seen firsthand how the one constant communication tool is the copious amounts of alcohol that is consumed after the conference and exposition. I am not one to cast aspersions, as I have in the past had my fair share of binges and late-night revelries, but we need to make sure that this the exception to the rule and not the common thought out there. I was once asked in an interview how I dealt with stress. My answer was that I drank heavily.

Oddly I got the job.

I have to admit I was being interviewed by fellow recruiters so looking back, it makes sense, I guess. Also, I was, and am, snarky as hell – so at the very least, I thought it was funny.

This #truestory is about the person who took a chance on me those many years ago who got me into recruiting and the downward spiral that his life became as a warning of the dangers of alcohol abuse. Now, I am not saying that every recruiter is an alcoholic per sé, but we do seem to want to grab that glass of wine or whiskey and drink our troubles away. Hell, even now I am writing this at a bar waiting for the traffic to die down on the beltway, in other words, I’ll be here a while, but I am just going to sip on that beer. I like using relatively generic names when I speak or write to protect the identity of the person, so we are going to call my first mentor, Mike.

Have You Met My Friend, Mike?

“I like to see the glass as half full, hopefully of Jack Daniels.” 
― Darynda Jones

Mike was a great guy, who became a friend. He showed me the ropes of how to find, select, and close candidates. He was a master at it. He was a few years older than I, but he had grown up in the business since getting out of college with a literature degree. Since he could not find any other role for himself, he fell into recruiting, much like most, if not all of us, have. He was the silver-tongued devil who you just had to admire. When he spoke, you wanted to listen because he was eloquent and chose his words with precision. It was like watching a surgeon operate; he knew just how to cut through the bullshit and get to the real story. He was a good-looking guy, which complemented his charisma, and he could put on the charm at a bar, for a while.

Mike liked to drink, and when I say drink – I mean he REALLY liked to drink. He was a bourbon man and knew a great deal about the history, distillery process, and the nuances between manufacturers. I believe if you drank the way he did, it was not out of the question that his expertise would allow him to be a bourbon sommelier. I am not sure if that even exists but hey this is my story, and he can be an expert if I want him to be.

The thing about Mike is, he wasn’t a mean drunk, or loud, or even stupid. He was, shall we say, a dejected drunk. He would stare off into the distance, sometimes while telling a story he would lose his eloquence and sometimes, he would just stop talking altogether; in the middle of a statement. Other times he would cry, not bawl or wail, but sort of as a release of emotion that had been bottled in for too long and was being let out painfully slow.

I was still in the part of my life that hitting the bars after work was what you did. Happy hour was indeed happy, and you could get over priced drinks for a much lower price and when you are only making $15 an hour, that means one or two more libations. Mike knew this, and since he almost always picked up the check, and he was making a hell of a lot more than $15 an hour, he was happy to pay for a drinking buddy that would look out for him. I was happy to oblige as the drinks were plentiful, the stories flowed with the bourbon, and since Mike did not like to drive, I always wanted to make sure he got home safely by putting him in a cab or drop him off myself.

I had seen plenty of drunks, in my past, having been a bartender in my former life; I had learned how to control the situation and talk them off the ledge. After a few months, I came to realize that Mike was, in fact, more than a drunk, he was a functioning alcoholic who was spiraling out of control.

He started keeping a bottle in his desk and since the owner went out for lunch, every day and Mike’s desk had high cube walls he was able to take a shot or two during lunch time. Then, it was three or four, then, well, you get the point. It got bad, so bad that he was slurring his words by 4 pm and was even losing cognitive functionality at times. The owner of the company was clueless as to what was happening as Mike was making him cash and that was all he cared about, mostly. Caring about an employee who was crashing and burning was something that would make him a human being, which turned out – he was not. Yep, it was an agency, so would you be surprised? Probably not, if you have ever worked for one. Money makes the world go round.

The News…

“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.” ― Jay M. Bylsma

Mike had been out all week; I thought he was on vacation but, apparently from the messages I got, he was on a bender. I went out with him on Wednesday telling him the boss was not thrilled that he kept calling in sick, he shrugged his shoulders, slammed another glass of bourbon down his throat, and said, “So what!”
I got into work on a Friday morning after taking the night off from going out with him; I needed the break. When I got in that morning, the mood was somber in the office. The place was not exactly a bustling habitat of activity, but there was usually a buzz, people on the phone or tapping away on the computer, instead there was only the sound of silence. There was something in the way people looked at me when I came in. It was as though they wanted to tell me something but did not feel that it was their place to do so. I made it to my desk, attached the leg iron to my ankle, and began my work day. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of my coworkers staring at her screen with red swollen eyes, the kind brought on by tears. She was not typing or reading she was just, staring as if she was in some trance. The owner came out of his office and came to my desk. He looked me in the eye and with the emotion that would have been emitted by a stone spoke.

“Mike is dead, sorry I know you were friends, but we need to move on. Seats need to be filled.”

He then walked away, without another word, right to his office and closed his door. The bullpen all looked at me at that moment for my reaction, my response, I had none. I sat there for a minute to take it in. I stood up and walked over to his desk, his cube, empty. I opened the drawer where he kept his bottle, empty. There were no pictures or even the notebooks he kept with the notes of candidates. The desk was cleared out; there was no evidence he even existed in our office. I was lost and I was not going to be found anytime soon. What happened? Was it an accident? What kills a 43-year-old man seemingly in good health?

Alchohol.

He had drunk himself to death; his liver had given out, and he had passed out not to awaken. Taken too soon and I did absolutely nothing to deter his behavior or get him help. I just took the free drinks & wings not ever asking what was behind those eyes that would stare into space. What were the demons that haunted him? Was the pressure to succeed, the daily push, was it too much for his constitution, to the point of no return? I know the answer, and it is simple; I’ll never know because I never asked. Shame on me.

Two days later, I quit to go to another agency and start fresh. The emotion of sitting across from, and staring at, Mike’s cube was too much to bare and frankly, plus working for a man who gave me grief because I wanted to attend his funeral wasn’t worth the paycheck. The price was too high.

This is the END, My Friend

“Take a drink because you pity yourself, and then the drink pities you and has a drink, and then two good drinks get together, and that calls for drinks all around.”  ― H. Beam Piper

#truestoryIn 1995, the movie Leaving Las Vegas came out based on the book of the same name. I saw this film in 1997, the first year I started recruiting, and I think, in a way, Mike could have penned that story – as his own did, unhappily, become eerily similar to the author. Most people don’t know that the book was an autobiography and the #truestory of John O’Brian. It is one hell of a movie and an even better book. Sadly, it reminded me of Mike, a good man who didn’t know how to control his stress or his demons; he just spiraled down the rabbit hole while we all just witnessed and did nothing. There was a sadness in Mike that was daily exacerbated by the stress of the job we did and frustrations we faced, I suppose. Time to fill, the cost of hire, number of resumés sent, it is all bullshit, we are in a people business, we are not accountants.

I miss Mike. I miss my mentor. I miss my, friend.
He should be here with me smiling and laughing like he always did, lighting up a room.

I’m going to tell you what, after writing this I think I am going for a run, instead of running to the bar, the truest of #truestories.

#life