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The Top 100 Movie Quotes for HR Pros: #91 is from Fast Times at Ridgemont High: "Learn It, Know It, Live It..."

New series at the Capitalist: The Top 100 Movie Quotes of all time for HR Pros.  In no special order, I break down the 100 movie quotes that resonate most for me as a career HR pro.  Some will be funny, some will be serious... Some will tug at your heart like when the Fox voice-over guy said, "Tonight - a very special episode of 90210"... You get the vibe... I'll do it countdown-style like they're ranked, but let's face it - they're ALL special..

#91: "Learn it, Know It, Live It..."

That's right, the #91 Movie Quote of all time for HR Pros is from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  I'm Fast times sure this movie will be back later in the series.  

The scene is pretty simple. Jeff Spicoli comes into the fast food joint where straight-laced Brad Hamilton is working, leading a crew of stoners to remove their shirts in a willful challenge to the "no shirt, no shoes, no dice" policy.

Hamilton, who's an assistant manager as a high schooler and clearly on the fast track, shows why he will live in corporate America and be successful well into his 50s.  He sees the Spicoli crew come in, and rather than avoid the problem, he engages said stoners in an effort to get them to put their shirts back on.

HR people have to be cops sometimes.  The key in being a cop is how you approach it.  People break some rules and you're the one who has to deal with it.  You can be formal and stiff, which is the approach many HR pros take.

Or you be like Brad Hamilton.  Conversational.  Making fun of the rules a little bit while you enforce them.  Without question, Brad is the one who put up the sign.  Instead of going with the standard, "No shirt, no shoes, no service" line, he spices it up with the "no dice" tag.


Then, he does what great HR pros do when they see a problem:  He engages immediately, but what makes him different is the fact that he's not stiff as he does it.  He points it out, then comes out from behind the counter.  At this point, he's not looking to simply kick them out, which is the approach the stereotypical HR pro would have.  Instead, he even mocks the seriousness of the rule in the big scheme of things a bit with the "Learn it, know it, live it" tag.  Is it life and death?  No.  Do I need you to put your stoner shirt back on?  Yes.  I'm mocking the rule a bit to give you a wink and tell you I get it.

So put your freaking shirt back on and help me out...  

It's a lesson in problem resolution for HR pros.  And a great stoner scene to boot....



I have never seen this movie. I'll turn in my Gen X card by midnight.

Bill Kutik

Kris, I assume you will include moviedom's most famous HR quote ever, from the second "Dirty Harry" movie. Consultant Marc Miller in NYC used it for years in presentations.

In an attempt to keep him in line, cop Dirty Harry is threatened with a transfer to "personnel."

Close-up on Clint Eastwood gritting his teeth. "Personnel?!? Personnel is for assholes!"

Dwane Lay

One of my favorite movies. (I see to find myself saying that a lot with these posts.) In fact, of all the movie quotes I use on a near daily basis, and there are more than I like to admit, this film features a throw away line by Spicoli that gets the most use be far.

"Hey, I know that dude..."

(I'm not great with names, so I use this to buy myself time. By now, it's come to be expected.)

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