Tag Archives: human resources

BUSINESS, HR

Part 2, Harassment and Assault Prevention: Statistics & Personal Experiences

Part 2: Guest Expert Lauren Roselle stops by HR Latte to talk about the HR and workplace issues surrounding sexual harassment and assault. 

iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 114


Series:
 Harassment and Assault Prevention 

“The Legal Definition: Unwanted sexual advances or visual, verbal, or physocal conduct that is of a sexual nature.” – Lauren Roselle

Harassment and Assault Prevention

Lauren Roselle is a nationally recognized expert in harassment and assault prevention, having led more than 1,000 workshops. Through her company Esteem, she has reached over 27,000 participants with her lively and enthusiastic teaching style. Lauren’s mission is to empower those around her to walk through the world with less fear and more confidence.

Lauren and Rayanne continue their discussion about sexual harassment issues in the news today and Rayanne shares a personal story of being drugged while on a business trip and how she handled that.

Esteem

Ms. Roselle is offering a discount to listeners who would like to participate in her sexual harassment prevention training, please visit this link at Esteem Communication.

Discussion Points for this episode, Part 2:

  • Harassment and Assault Prevention
  • Official Stat: 1 in 3 Women have experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • Informal Poll: 95 out of 100 women and 1 out of 2 men have experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • The Elephant in the Valley
  • The Story at Uber
  • “This not acceptable behavior”
  • Any workplace that is male-dominated, sexual harassment can be an issue
  • The media’s attention on this issue has created an opportunity for victims to speak out
  • Harassers don’t just do it once, to only one person
  • Rayanne shares a personal experience where she was drugged by what should have been a trusted service provider while on a business trip
  • The victim of sexual harassment or drugging is NOT at fault

Series
Part 1, Harassment and Assault Prevention –  Basics, What HR and Individuals Can / Should Do
Part 2, Harassment and Assault Prevention – Statistics & Personal Experiences
Part 3, Harassment and Assault Prevention,  Verbal Assertive Skills & Holding Management Accountable

On Twitter

@Esteem4u
@Ray_anne
@HRLatte
and
@Dovetail

*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 TwitterLinkedIn, or via email at rayanne@intrepid.media.

BUSINESS, HR

HR Latte: HR.com on the Road!

HR Latte Hits the Road to Catch HR.com on the Road [14 min]

iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 109

HR.com

Deb McGrath, Owner/Entrepreneur – HR.com
HR.com is the largest online destination for HR professionals, we focus on making HR Executives Smarter by
1) Connecting 1M plus HR executives with collaboration, training, certification , community, social, and best practices
2) Certification and Training programs supporting HRCI & SHRM
3) Our educational events – over 4000 webcasts, 80 virtual events and LEAD the world’s largest leadership events focused on inspiring the world.
4) “Ask the Expert” Services and our e-mentoring solution

HR.comDeb joins Rayanne during the middle of the HR.com Bus road trip for a lovely Laguna Beach sunset  – they kicked off the 5-week HR.com road trip on May 21st – in prep for the year-long road trip in 2018. Learning the tricks to a successful road trip and spotlight HR professionals around North America.

“We are really trying to help the average HR person get smarter. We are building a large repository of content -with over 4000 courses. The HR process has become so complicated, we are building courses and materials to help.” – Deb McGrath, Owner – HR.com

To learn more about HR.com, visit their website and follow their social channels.

What you will learn:

  • What does HR.com think about the push toward A.I?
  • Bringing Humanity back to HR
  • The Re-Branding of HR.com
  • Helping HR get smarter
  • HR Tech World Congress
  • Great Swag – Snarky HR Stickers!
  • Prepping for the 2018 year-long road trip

You can connect with Deb McGrath on LinkedIn and email her at: dmcgrath@hr.com

On Twitter

@dmcgrath
@Ray_anne
and @HRLatte

*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

Kane Frisby, “By HR, For HR”

Kane Frisby, “Using HR Data to Serve the Whole Organization”

Kane Frisby, Chief Strategy Officer – Dovetail Software

“The majority of HR teams are probably running unhealthy and getting fit takes a bit of effort. We like to help HR departments run themselves and we keep our product up-to-date.” – Kane Frisby

Check out this great interview and learn what’s on Kane’s mind:

On Getting HR Fit: “If you are running on-premise software or are still using post-it notes and spread sheets, there are products out there for you, like Dovetail to help you get HR fit. You are probably running unfit software, take a good look out there.” – Kane Frisby

**For more interviews from our live #HRTechConf coverage, click here. Our goal is to bring you the brightest and most talented individuals in HR and those who develop, market & sell  technologies which benefit and support HR processes & practices.

HR, HUMANITY

The Danger of Living Within Our Own Mythos

“A myth, in its original Greek meaning- mythos- is simply that: a story, one which seeks to render life transparent to an intelligible source.” ― Jules Cashford

mythos

My Discovery

When I was a little kid I was a voracious reader with the imagination of a 10-year-old boy that thought magic was real and trolls lived under bridges.  Princesses needed saving and dragons were to be slain.  However, my greatest love was the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, and Vikings.  I remember reading every tome I could find in the library or begging my mother to buy me books that spoke of the mythology within the binders.  I did not understand, at the time, that these stories were to not only entertain people but also to deliver sarcasm and knowledge about life and how to live it.

I happened upon my own mythos just recently on a Sunday morning which literally saved my life and this, my friends, is the story.

PANIC!

At 9AM I awoke with angst, this was going to be the first day of our annual College Hire Interview Event and there was an all-hands-on event to start promptly at 9:45 am.  The recruiters were expected to be in the office by 9AM to prep and get any and all things out of the way and then walk candidates in to begin their interview process and hopefully impress us to start their careers. This was going to be my first time working this event and I was nervous as I don’t live close to the office and traffic in DC can and is a nightmare. I panicked when I looked at the clock. Clearly, there was no way I would make it to the office by 9 as it was 9 already. I scrambled to dress, no shower for me this morning; I sprinted to the door and was off.

Once in the car, I called my boss and co-worker to let them know I was going to try my best to get arrive before the interviews started.  I turned on the radio to listen to my favorite morning drive-time show and floored the pedal, going way too fast on an interstate. The Radio DJ was talking about his costume choice for Halloween, which was Monday, today, but was alluding to the fact that was, in fact, tomorrow.  I thought to myself, did you screw up the loop or something? Today was Halloween, not tomorrow

I focused on the task at hand thinking in my mind the strategy I would employ with parking and arriving to the meeting on time. The Radio DJ, after every song, was babbling on about Halloween, tomorrow. I got off I95 and turned onto the beltway to a surprise.  The road was clear, SCORE! I was, of course, shocked, Monday morning and there was no one on the road? Did Halloween become some kind of National Holiday now? Personally, I was ok with it since my commute was going to be easier than expected but there was a nagging thought in my mind, all be it a small one, that I might be missing something.

Reality

Just before I go to the office, my boss called, and I immediately answered with my heart in my stomach.  He said, “Dumbass, it’s Sunday, enjoy your day off, and I will see you tomorrow.”  He laughed saying, “It’s going to be a long time until you live this one down!” I sat at the red light staring off in the distance, humiliated and realizing I am getting old, how did this happen? Well, at least I have the rest of the day to reflect on this.
However, life was going to take a different direction.

More than I Bargained for

Earlier in the month, I had contracted a skin virus on my right calf leg. Not having a primary Doctor since changing jobs and insurance companies, I just went to the ER to get checked out. They agreed it was a viral infection, gave me a prescription and I was on my way.  Since the hospital was near my office and my leg was, once again, showing signs of the infection, I decided, since I was here, to swing by and get another dose of antidote and hopefully fix my leg permanently.
I was in for a great deal more than I had bargained for.

Reston Hospital is a pretty pleasant place, considering it’s a housing facility for the ill and dying. Plenty of sunshine in the lobby and lots of magazines and helpful, friendly nurses. Just as my previous visit, they checked me in and before I could sit down, they had me in a room taking my clothes off and asking me the same questions I answered before. I tried to explain that I just needed some antibiotics and they could look up my chart. Not to draw this story out, it turned out I had blood clots in my leg and in my lungs. Not good. I was told by everyone I was lucky to have caught this as I was a walking time bomb, and could have died at any moment, as time was not a friend in this instance.

My point to this story you ask?

Simple: my mythos saved my life, this time. I chose to believe that I was firmly correct in my assumption that it was Monday and I would not consider anything else, no matter what the facts presented to me were that morning. I had to be correct, and everyone else had to be incorrect.

After this election, I have struggled to determine the same thing within the United States and the world, in general.

Communication is defunct, we, being bombarded by email, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, etc. We are chasing each other around in a virtual fishbowl we cannot seemingly get out of. Why?

Listen, I have lost my shit at times, believe me, many of you have seen it or read it from me. I get it. As I glide towards seeming senility, I want to at least understand the human condition better. Seemingly, there are not two sides to this coin called human life, just the same ugly sides covered with a different coat of paint.

What I have seen in the last week from both sides of this virtual coin is more disturbing than I ever thought. People are unaccepting of reality, and are acting in a way that they despise or were called out for and are emboldened to show their true colors.  People who extoll mercy and acceptance when they don’t get their way turn to violence? Those who were afraid and silent, that were belittled by one group, now rise in anger and benevolence to chastise something we thought long dead? The ignorant and intolerant feeling embolden to act in inhumane ways in order to prove one side or the other correct? Protecting the mythos and it is shamefull.  The profiteers on both sides who are making money by extolling the anger and hate, always keeping us apart.  The mythos that we cannot and seemingly refuse to release is tearing us apart. 

My leg is going to be better, or so they tell me. My silly reaction to the arrogance that my personal mythos that day could have very well saved my life, yet that same mythos-type mentality is tearing our very world apart, and we, like sheeple, are allowing it to happen. That, my friends, scares me more than the loss of my own mortality.

Take the time…

Take the time to listen to all opinions and do so without bashing or rhetoric. Listen, truly listen, and check facts. We need more talking and less yelling, more understanding why someone feels the way they do, then demanding they think like you.

Both sides just need to make better choices.

#truestory

HR, LEADERSHIP

Healthcare HR: How to Manage Bullying

Part 2: Guest Catherine Mattice, in this #KeyPointPodcast series discusses Workplace Bullying in Healthcare
iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 96


Series:
 Bullying in the Workplace

“I’ve said for along time that people who feel good about themselves produce good results, and people who produce good results feel good about themselves – so they want to stay and contribute. There is little doubt that people seldom leave organizations because of compensation. Most often, they leave because of how they are treated by their boss or the people around them.”
Ken Blanchard

This series touches on what can be done about Workplace Bullying, why it happens, and how to change or alter this destructive behavior. Businesses today are becoming more mindful of corporate wellness and the impact this type of behavior and other employee issues can have on overall company success.

workplace bullyingCatherine Mattice is the co-author of Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work – her expertise and research allow her to present and speak on this topic all over the world. As a former HR Practitioner, Catherine is well-positioned to understand and assist this on-going issue that is not confined to the school yard.

In this episode, we discuss the impact of Bullying in a Healthcare Organization.

For the Target of Bullying: “You have to stand up for yourself and it’s hard because it takes courage. A bully will pick on people who will not push back.” – Catherine Mattice

Discussion Points for this episode:

  • The Myths of Bullying
  • What Healthcare HR Professionals can do about Bullying in the Workplace
  • Healthcare is on the Worst Environments for Workplace Bullying
  • The Perception of Power in Healthcare: How Bullying Thrives
  • Joint Commission’s Leadership Standard

Series: Bullying in the Workplace
Episode 1 What is Workplace Bullying?
Episode 2 Healthcare HR: How to Manage Bullying
Episode 3 Higher Ed HR: How to Manage Bullying

On Twitter

@CatMattice
@Ray_anne
and @HRLatte

*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, WELLNESS

NEW Series: Bullying in the Workplace

Part 1: Guest Catherine Mattice, in a new #KeyPointPodcast series discusses Workplace Bullying in 2016
iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 94


Series:
 Bullying in the Workplace

“There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility foe changing them.” Denis Waitley

This series will touch on what can be done about Workplace Bullying, why it happens and how to change or alter this destructive behavior. Businesses today are becoming more mindful of corporate wellness and the impact this type of behavior and other employee issues can have on overall company success.

workplace bullyingCatherine Mattice is the co-author of Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work – her expertise and research allow her to present and speak on this topic all over the world. As a former HR Practitioner, Catherine is well-positioned to understand and assist this on-going issue that is not confined to the school yard.

Join us for this quick hit series, as we address workplace bullying and its damage. “Workplace Bullying is systemic aggressive communication, manipulation of work, and acts aimed at humiliating or degrading targets. Bullying creates an unhealthy power imbalance between the bully and targets, and bullying often results in psychological  consequences for targets and co-workers, and in enormous monetary damage to an organization’s bottom line.”

Discussion Points for this episode:

  • The Legal Definition of Bullying
  • The Three Concepts of Workplace Bullying
  • Repeated, Power Imbalance, Resultant Damage
  • The Psychology Behind Bullying
  • If you are a victim of bullying, what can you do?

Series: Bullying in the Workplace
Episode 1 What is Workplace Bullying?
Episode 2 Healthcare HR: How to Manage Bullying
Episode 3 Higher Ed HR: How to Manage Bullying

On Twitter

@CatMattice
@Ray_anne
and @HRLatte

*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.

HR, LIFESTYLE, WELLNESS

Getting Fit: My Journey

Getting Fit: It’s been an interesting life, thus far.

Fitness was my personal battle against asthma, which often incapacitated me as a child. I missed many trick-or-treating outings because of chronic bronchitis or uncontrollable coughing and wheezing. I remember one quiet Sunday when I was about 10 years old, sitting in a comfy chair alone at home – everyone else at church – body shaking because of the asthma meds I was on. I wondered then, how I would ever ride a bike again or play sports. Or even become an adult.

As medicines improved and my asthma became incrementally better, I maintained my physical fitness. I played softball, volleyball, water polo, swam competitively, and even did “shot put” quite successfully – as a scrawny, skinny teenager. As I moved through adulthood, I stuck with softball and volleyball, playing well into my third trimesters of each pregnancy.

But my knees slowly gave out and 6 surgeries including complete ACL repairs on both, using my hamstrings, were in order. Power walking and bike riding replaced volleyball and softball. I love the restored energy of consistent workouts, but it has been a battle my entire life to stay fit. I am sure I am not alone in feeling this way.

The Power of Wellness

For twenty years, I worked as a dental assistant, fifteen of those years working in a children’s dental office. It was a little easier to maintain my fitness when I ran up and down hallways, lifting and chasing other people’s kids, in addition to my own four. When I left the dental field and joined a recruiting firm, my physical activity during the work day halted almost completely, as I sat in front of a computer making cold calls for 7-8 hours every day. The last fifteen years in recruiting, HR, retention, and HR Technology have not helped maintain my fitness.

HRfitI have power walked, sought the refuge of yoga, hiked, and biked over the last several years in an effort to slow my heart rate and beat any and every affliction that might stop at my door. I have thought a great deal about fitness over the last year as “Wellness” became a trending topic for the human resources industry. Keeping an HR department and its processes fit is imperative to maintaining the wellness of a workforce – just as keeping a body fit is imperative to the wellness of a person, an individual.  Much of the content I will be producing and distributing on behalf of my company over the next several months will dwell on this topic.

I am excited to come to you with a crossover of this topic.

Let me explain. A few months back I started biking more consistently, investing in a quality bike rack for my car and a little bike trailer to attach to my bike – I know – silly, but I love taking my dog with me. I have an adventure coming up in November where my dog, Spikey, and I will be doing an extended road trip which includes about 4000+ car miles and over 300 biking miles – I (we) are training for this now.

Now, the crazy part…

Getting Fit: My JourneyI just decided to jump off the deep end.  Last week, I took up spinning. Or what I like to call “suicidal stationary bike dancing” – Spinning is a catchier name, right?

I thought, as a long-time biker that this would be an easy endeavor for me. Nope. Not even close. I finished my third and final free spin class this morning at Rhythm Ride – my local studio. I have made the decision to invest – my body, time, and money. And I am going to take you on this ride with me, I will be writing about this journey, documenting every pain point and success, failure and injury.

I am in pain, I am exhausted, I am drained, and I love it. 

I am getting fit. For work. For life. For love. Some day.

Upcoming?


Rhythm Ripped. This combines arm weight training with spinning. Kill me now. 

Glossary (words I learn along the way!)

Free Wheeling: Having no tension on the wheel and doing a sprint – this can be very dangerous. No kidding. 

BUSINESS, HR

HR Latte: Josh Berry – Hiring for Innovation

Part 5: Guest Josh Berry in a new #KeyPointPodcast series discusses Hiring for Innovation
iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 92


Series:
 When HR Kills Innovation Efforts

Hiring for Innovation is a core piece of success for innovative companies and can make or break your breakthrough 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 5 of this series, Rayanne and Josh discuss how hiring the right people can make a difference in innovation efforts. Getting the right people on the right teams is fundamental to transformation innovation success.

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

Discussion Points for this episode:

  • Hiring for Innovation.
  • New ideas can distract from doing the “basics of business” right.
  • Hiring and equipping the right employees.
  • How we can encourage exec teams to listen to challenges of hiring?
  • Disagreement and Discord: Are these really negatives when it comes to innovation?
  • Complacency and Chaos
  • Succession Planning
  • Hiring Tools for Innovative companies

    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

HR Latte: Chip Luman – Digital Disruption at HireVue

Guest Chip Luman, COO & Co-Founder, Digital Disruption at HireVue
iHR logo

HR Latte, episode 88

Series: Digital Disruption

HireVue kicks off its 3rd Annual User Conference Digital Disruption at HireVue today. In this Quick Hit Podcast, Chip Luman, COO and Co-Founder visits with Rayanne to discuss what’s happening in digital today, why not only Recruiting but also HR need to take notice and how HireVue is making a difference.

***HR Latte launches this new series to discuss how digital has changed the human side of our work, and how it will continue evolve.

HireVue will be LiveStreaming various Digital Disruption sessions throughout the conference, check out http://www.hirevuedisruption.com/ for more details and follow the hashtag #VueDD16 for details.

Discussion Points for this episode:

  • Chip gives his background in technology, data and gaming, He has grown up in tech!
  • Digital Disruption: The Changes we’ve Seen
  • Customer Appreciation: Talent Acquisition Leadership
  • How HireVue benefits Recruiters and what they have done to expand in human resources
  • Automating the process of hiring and talent management
  • Behavioral-Based interviewing: Insights, assessment
  • Using Math and Data to benefit HR
  • Users of HireVue, acquisition and management of talent
  • Expectations for 2016 and how they will help their customers win

    On Twitter

    @CLuman
    @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