Do You Have a Direct Report With Writing Talent? You Should!

Look, I get it - some of you won't be hiring for a while based on COVID and the resulting economic struggles. 

Which makes now the perfect time to look at your team of direct reports and ask the following question:

"Do I have someone to carry the writing load in this department?"

I'm not talking about hiring a writer as a standalone position. I'm talking about the need for you to always have someone on your team of direct reports with writing as a key secondary skill. Why is this important? Because you need someone to take the great reactions/outcomes/action plans from you and your team and create effective communications to the masses.

Simply put, you can be a great leader with a great team - but if you can't effectively win in how you communicate what's going on to the masses, you'll never realize your potential as a leader or a department.

If you're not managing others yet and think you have the ability to write well in a professional setting, it's time for you to figure out a way to make writing one of your key differentiators.

The topic of great writing on teams is why I taped an episode of BEST HIRE EVER (my podcast on recruiting topics) with Lance Haun, a former HR pro turned professional writer and editor. Take a look at the rundown for the podcast below and give a listen (please subscribe and rate if you like it).

--KD

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In Episode 5 of BEST HIRE EVER, Kris Dunn connects with Lance Haun (Starr Conspiracy, ERE, Former HR Pro) to talk about why hiring at least one great writer for your team makes incredible sense as a leader – regardless of your functional area or line of business. Lance and KD chop it up about how to spot, find and engage a candidate with writing skills in your hiring process, and how professionals looking to leverage their writing skills for career gain can get noticed.

Never satisfied with one great topic, KD and Lance also explore the Haun family’s history of sustainable meat and how Lance’s dad sees an explosion of business at his butcher shop when things like COVID hit the American marketplace.

Please subscribe (Apple) and follow (Spotify) to get the latest delivered to you.  Email subscribers click here if you don't see the player below:

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

1:35 - KD starts by calling Lance Haun a killer writer. Lance blushes and begs off and calls his writing history a humbling experience.

2:04 -  KD breaks down Lance. HR pro at the start, starting one of the first HR blogs, then becomes a professional writer in our space at ERE and Starr Conspiracy. Lance describes when he knew writing was his differentiator.

7:30 -  Lance talks about “social proof” as being the addictive side of writing. Translation – reactions to your writing are good.

9:05: Lance and KD talk about the need for great talent to have writing skills. Lance talks about learning styles still including and being influenced by the written word. KD balks and says he thought that the world was being changed forever by video. #joking

12:55 – What’s the best way for a leader to test and confirm that someone can add value as a writer on their team?  Lance recommends communicating more than normal via email as a test – long email threads.  In addition, getting into someone’s process of creating written work product is key to understand their approach to the craft.

16:00 – Lance talks about knowing who the communicators are in your workplace and how that can help drive internal mobility in your company.

19:30 – KD talks about why all leaders – even if they are great writers – need to hire for writing skills so that leader can become an editor rather than a production writer.  #delegate

20:00 – Lance and KD talk about the right way to show your writing skills as a candidate. Maximizing your LinkedIn profile and presence is the path of least resistance and greatest reach for most professionals.

24:00 – Lance and KD talk about negative bias that may exist towards professionals who share their thoughts via blogs, LinkedIn and social.  Being vocal and sharing your thoughts may limit overall opportunity, but you’ll be a candidate of choice for many of the companies and hiring managers that remain.

28:30 – Lance talks about his dad, the butcher shop and how his dad’s business has gone up during the COVID crisis. KD thinks Lance could be the Gary V of meat. Lance talks about surprising his dad by running Facebook ads to drive traffic to the shop during normal times.  Haunsmeats.com


Links for Lance:

Lance Haun on LinkedIn

Lance Haun on Twitter

Haun’s Meats in Walla Walla WA!

KD's GPS

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram

 


VIDEO: Using BHAGs as a Goal Setting Technique for High Performers...

Big, hairy, audacious goals, or BHAGs, are visionary, strategy statements designed to focus a group of people around a common initiative. They traditional differ from our other goal setting techniques because BHAGS are usually positioned toward by a large group (rather than individuals) and they typically span a large amount of time than any of our other goals. They’re huge.

Even though BHAGs are generally goals for companies and collective groups, smart managers are increasingly using them for individuals as well. I explain the merits of using BHAGs in this fashion in the following episode of TalentTalks from Saba Software.

Take a listen (email subscribers click through for video below if you don't see it) and hit me in the comments with a BHAG that's been useful in your career or managing a talented direct report!!! 


You Think Your Work Enemy Has Declared War: She Just Thinks It's Thursday...

"Some men just want to watch the world burn."

-Michael Caine in "The Dark Knight"

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Intent is a funny thing.  You're in the workplace, and the workplace has established norms: Some men

--We talk to each other before we make decisions or take meaningful action

--We give people a heads up before we announce something that won't feel good to them

--We try to play nice and if confronted, we try to make the person confronting us feel good about our intent.

Of course, those are norms - guidelines if you will, not hard rules.  Every once in a while, you run into someone that does not give two ****s about your norms.  They do what they want, when they want and generally don't give you heads up that it's coming or make you feel better if you ask them about it after the fact.

You know, ass####s.  We're pretty quick to assign full villain status to people who don't play by the rules.

What's interesting about the people like this you think are enemies in the workplace is the following:

You think they're out to get you based on chaos they cause.  They probably think it's Thursday.

They aren't even thinking about you.  Tearing shit up is just what they do.  In the age of Trump, we're likely to cast them as villains and think they're out to get us. That might be true, but in my experience, people who cause chaos can be factored into 3 categories when it impacts you:

1--They're out to get you.  It's what you thought.  They hate your guts, you're in the way and it's takedown time. 10% of the time, this is the reality.

2--They have a plan and a place they want to be unrelated to you.  They have a POA (plan of action) that's bigger than their relationship with you. You're taking it personally, but the "tearing shit up" and chaos impacts multiple people, not just you.  They're not even thinking about you, Skippy. 70% of the time, this is the reality.

3--They don't have a plan but love to keep everyone off balance as part of their managerial DNA.  Again, it's not about you.  Their business is chaos and by the way, the more positional power they have, the better that business is. 20% of the time, this is the reality.

Unless you're experiencing flavor #1 above, your best strategy is to keep an eye on it but ignore it.  Go about your business.  You do you, let them do them and save your emotional reaction and gun powder for when it really matters.  

If you're high sensitivity, this is going to be hard.  They're going to wear you out.  You think it's the workplace version of Normandy.

It's actually Thursday.  What's for lunch?


BEST HIRE EVER PODCAST - Liz Desio, NYC HR Pro Impacted by COVID...

Hi Gang - ramping up a new podcast called BEST HIRE EVER, where I'll be talking about hiring top Liz talent with undeniably talented corporate leaders, recruiters and candidates. Today's guest is EPIC as
I talk to Liz Desio, a resident of NYC and HR Pro. Great talk about Liz’s personal experience with a COVID-19 lay-off, writing, and HR.

Liz's story makes this a must listen - use the show highlights below to spin to what interests you most, but Liz's story about heading to NYC and hustling to be a journalist before landing in the world of Recruiting/HR is a doozy. Talented lady that you should figure out if you can hire 100%. Enjoy the pod and don't forget to subscribe, rate and review (if you love it) on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.


Show Highlights:

1:08: KD introduces Liz, HR Pro and Candidate! KD gives some backstory on how they were introduced and why she’s on BHE

4:45: Liz takes us through her career. UVA grad, move to Brooklyn, hustling, getting hired in first HR job (hard knock life), getting out, getting a really good job in HR and then hitting COVID.

14:33: Liz’s take on being a new manager and the challenges she faced dealing with imposter’s syndrome.

16:05: KD asks Liz to share the story of getting laid off during Covid – You can check out her article here: https://medium.com/@lizdesio/making-peace-with-getting-laid-off-9bead164c43a

25:33: KD then pivots to reflective Liz, the one that wrote the post comparing herself to an early character on The Wire who gets killed off in season 1 - https://medium.com/@lizdesio/when-trying-to-switch-career-fields-makes-you-feel-like-dangelo-from-the-wire-4102c0bded99

33:48: KD and Liz discuss his take that recruiting prepares you to be an HR Generalist better than most.

40:15: KD asks Liz what your dream job is in HR. They discuss.

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

Kris Dunn on Twitter

Kris Dunn on Instagram

KD's Book - The 9 Faces of HR

Liz Desio on Medium

Liz Desio on LinkedIn


There Are Six "Manager of People" Brands - Which One Are You?

Any manager of people has a lot on their plate. After all, a general pre-requisite to getting your first manager job is being a great individual contributor. Then, at some point in your first month in your new manager role, you realize the reality – you still have a bunch to do on your own as well as managing your new team.

Just because you're a manager doesn’t mean you stop cranking out individual contributor Proposalgreatness. You’re expected to that PLUS lead a group of people to team greatness, individual success and career fulfillment.

Inside all of us there’s a preset – a type of manager we’re most likely to be based on our behavioral DNA, the folks who have managed us in the past, etc.  Who you are and how you were raised in corporate America has a lot to do with how you manage.

What type of manager are you?  What’s your brand as a manager?

To dig into this topic, I reached out to my good friend and BOSS Leadership facilitator Dawn Burke to record an episode of my new podcast - BEST BOSS EVER - and talk about the "6 Manager of People Brands" I have identified - Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

Take a listen and be sure to subscribe via the links below as well!

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Welcome to Best Boss Ever, the podcast dedicated to helping you develop managers who build great teams. In this episode Kris Dunn talks with colleague and friend Dawn Burke, facilitator for BOSS Leadership and senior consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, about managing people and the six types of manager brands.

Don't forget to subscribe, rate and review wherever you get your podcasts - Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

4:00: KD brings in the topic, what is your manager brand? Dawn claims a lot of managers don’t know what their brand is, it even took her some time to figure out her brand.

6:22: A Manager’s brand is based on their behavioral DNA and how they were raised. Dawn says that’s a classic case of nature vs. nurture. Both play a part into a manager’s brand, and a lot of times we fall back on our nature but it’s important to focus on the qualities of leaders we admire and seek training and guidance to form a brand.

8:45: KD and Dawn run down the list of the 6 manager brands: The Doer & Individual Contributor, The Friend/Pushover, The Control Freak/Authoritarian, Trend Spotter/Reader of the Best Seller, Performance Based Driver, and The Career Agent.

11:09: “The Doer.” The first-time manager brand. Dawn talks about her personal retail experience with her first manager roles and the struggles first time manager. KD says: don’t change too much – it’s okay if this is your brand to an extent. Be a doer – but you need to grow your people, too. You can’t do it all yourself. Find training and learn to delegate and lead.

15:38: “The Friend/Pushover”. KD talks about how this brand showing up in a lot of former teammates that become managers. It’s also in folks who have high levels of empathy in their DNA. Dawn says you can make the best of the past team relationships by keeping the trust throughout your working relationship. She also asks “How much are you complaining about working together?” It might effect your credibility.

18:50: Dawn says “The Friend” also applies to managers who come in, and is a manager who tries to be friends, which isn’t inherently bad, but if you’re relying too much on the friendship, you’re heading in the wrong direction. KD says past friends especially have trouble as new managers if they are low on the assertive scale, Dawn says you can mitigate this with a 1:1 reset with those friends, acknowledging the new structure in the team and what it means. KD says you’ll have to be assertive to do that, which is why training from other managers is good to have!

21:22: “The Control Freak” introduction. KD talks about a recent WWII watch that was riddled with authoritative manager brands. Dawn says she’s seen this in new managers, too. When they become a manager they are thinking about their past managers and maybe more old school managers. She claims this brand doesn’t work anymore, even though it still exists in certain work places.

26:52: “The Trend Spotter” KD says reading and growing is good, but you can’t change up your brand every time you read a new book. Dawn says this has good intention but it’s gone off the rails. You can be a life long learner, that’s a sign of a good leader, but you take the best of what you’ve learned or read and build your own style/brand – you can’t copy and paste.

29:59: “The Performance Driver.” This brand is all about the performance, they aren’t hesitant to ask their team to reach those organizational goals. Dawn says every manager’s brand should include a little bit of the Performance Driver. KD says sometimes you can be a little detached with your humanity here – just driving for results is okay, but it’s not growing your employees and as a result, over time it can fall flat.

32:22: “The Career Agent” KD claims this is the fully-evolved manager. The Career Agent is approaching their team to get the results through the lens of the employee. It benefits the company and the employee. Overall, Dawn agrees this is the fully-evolved manager. KD says part of being a career agent is investing, developing, and helping people grow and approaching every conversation from the view of the employee – what’s in it for them?.

37:50: KD runs us down the six brands again and the team closes it out.

Resources:

Boss Leadership Training Series

Kinetix

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Dawn Burke on LinkedIn

Recruiting Toolbox

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

KD's Book - The 9 Faces of HR


You're Employed and Confident, Awesome - But Stay Lean, My Friends...

If you watched the NFL Draft because you were starved for sports, you saw an unusual event. Due to COVID, the entire draft was held virtually, which means we got to peek in the homes of drafted players, coaches and executives.

And yes, that means you got to peak in the home of Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Yes, he spells his name that way. Yes, his home is fabulous. Yes, those are designer shoes with no socks while other coaches shown had dip cups and sneakers.

Take a look at this photo of a live look-in from the Draft (email subs click through if you don't see the photo), then let's discuss.

Cliff

What a spread, eh? FANTASTIC.

I show this as we enter into a recession. It's a well known fact that 30M+ people have filed for unemployment in a span of 6 weeks.

Then there's everyone else. I hope you're feeling good about your situation, but here I am - Uncle KD - encouraging you to stay lean for what's to come. 

The connection to the picture of Kliff?  I'm a fan of the Ryen Russillo Podcast, and on a recent episode in the last month, he recounted a story that Kingsbury told when he had him on as a guest late in his first season with the Cardinals (2019). Kingsbury had righted the ship after a tough start, and Russillo playfully asked him what he was thinking in a game earlier in the season when he was down 20+ points.

Kliff Kingsbury's Response?

"I wished I wouldn't have bought that f**king mansion."

LESSON: There's no better leverage for any situation you face professional than staying lean and not running up a lot of debt.

Stay thirsty and lean for the rest of 2020, my friends.


HR Trails Almost Everyone Other Career Related to Freelancing - Let's Discuss...

Welcome to the recession, team! It's just like any other recession, except that it was caused by a Global Pandemic, which seems a bit - extreme.

But I digress. If we're no longer in the peak economic cycle and over 30 million Americans Sidehustlehave hit unemployment since mid-March (WTF, and the number is likely much bigger if you count all the underutilized employees that companies are holding onto via cash reserves and stimulus programs like the Payroll Protection Act), it seems like a good time to talk about freelancing, because all of us might need an alternative source of income at some point in the near future.

You know, a side hustle.

Who's good at having a side hustle? According to research conducted by The Hustle, a nifty little business newsletter you can get delivered to you daily, it's who you would expect. Professions most likely to have a side hustle are first and foremost creative pursuits, the kind where companies often have difficulty justifying a full time position. Graphic design, online media and photography all lead the charge in freelancing and putting together portfolio careers rather than relying on (or being able to rely on) a single source of income (email subscribers, click through if you don't see the charts below).

Hustle 1

What's that? How's HR doing related to having a side hustle?

Shitty.

I regret to inform you we are neither good at it or comfortable with it. See the chart below from the same research, which shows HR as the third least likely profession to have a side hustle, behind the sexy, risk-taking tribes that are lawyers and engineers (woof).

Hustle HR

For god's sake, bankers experiment more with a side hustle than we do. #sad

If you're reading this post as an HR or talent pro, I've got good news for you - you're already hungry for knowledge and experimentation with the status quo, or you wouldn't be here. 

Why do HR people rarely experiment with the side hustle?  Some thoughts:

--We write the policies on the people side and it feels a little hypocritical to do our own thing after we wrote the blurb on moonlighting.

--Our profession is made of up of rules people, and having more than one job doesn't feel like it's in compliance.

--Our skill set doesn't lend itself to side hustle as the work product isn't as transferrable as the graphic designer. 

--We simply aren't a profession full of entrepreneurs. #truth 

Let's examine some of those reasons. We ARE full of rules people and if we wrote the policy manual, we're compelled to follow it. But that sounds like it might be time to reexamine the policy in a gig economy. 

As far as whether our skill set lends itself to the side hustle or not, well, all you really need to do is look at the tens of thousands of HR Consultants who have hung their own shingle to help small business in American and it's clear - the transferrable skill set argument doesn't hold water.

The real reason for such a low side hustle score is we are full of rules people, and HR for the most part doesn't have an entrepreneurial spirit.

And that's 100% ok.  But in a recession that looks like it may be deep and long, it's probably time to figure out what you could sell if you had to.

There's never a better time to look for a side hustle writing an employee handbook for a small company than... wait for it... when you still have a job.

Recession = get ready to bootstrap.


Time to Transform Your Personal HR Brand By Saying Yes! (Even When You Mean No!)

Let’s talk about your personal brand inside the world of HR.

More to the point, let’s talk about saying “yes” as an HR leader/HR pro. The biggest stereotype the world has about HR is that we’re the corporate people police, there to say HYFno to everything we can – regardless of our level.

Our function declines a lot of things inside companies that need a hard “no.” The problem, is that a large percentage of our profession is behaviorally wired to say no—to everything.

And that, my friends, is bad for the brand. Your brand, the one that’s supposed to print money for you the rest of your life.

Being behaviorally wired to say no means you don’t say yes when you should. The people in our profession who are genetically programmed to say no are often the first people your peers in other departments experienced in HR, and as a result, most of the world hasn’t experienced a key HR pro or leader looking to say “yes.”

Those people suck. They’re bad for business.

But Kris (you say), it’s complicated. I feel you, HR.

How do you say yes more as an HR leader or a line HR manager? It’s simple:

1--Listen to someone’s problems. As Jay-Z and ASAP Rocky have explained to us in the last decade, the business leaders around you have many, many problems.

2--When they ask you for permission to do something that feels icky and risky, resist the urge to say “no.”

3--After fighting off the surge of blood to your throat to avoid saying “no,” say “yes.”

4--After saying yes, quickly follow the affirmative with a list of things you need them to do to make the “yes” a reality.

Need an example? Let’s help a manager looking to fire an employee we’ll name “Shirley”:

Manager: “Shirley’s killing me. She’s gotta go.”

You (the HR leader/HR pro): <huge gulp as you resist the urge to say no>

You: “I agree, if you say she’s gotta go, she’s gotta go. You have my support, but here’s what I need from you in the next thirty days to get it done.”

Instead of saying “no, you can’t, because you haven’t done this,” you said, “I agree, here’s the plan.”

Breathe deeply, control freaks of the world.

You said yes instead of no. That’s freaking huge, and here’s why - you interrupted a ten-year pattern of that manager thinking HR was going to tell them no. The list of things they need to do to make it happen is exactly the same, but the difference is that you just agreed to partner with them to make it happen.

Saying yes doesn’t mean “go crazy, manager.” Saying yes means “I support what you want, so here’s what I need to help you get that done.”

Advantage: You and your personal brand in HR.

This Just In: A Lot of People Are Counting on HR to Say No

So you said yes, rocked their world, and ceased to become a corporate cop. Oddly enough, some of these managers are actually looking for you to say no.

They’ve grown addicted to you saying no because it means they don’t have to deal with their own s***.  You’re the excuse, the reason they can’t do proactive work on behalf of the mother ship.

Here’s a list of things that the managers in your company are counting on you to say no to:

--Firing low performers. It’s just easier if you say no, especially if they haven’t been manager of the year to the person in question.

--Paying high performers more money. “Want more money? I’d love to give it to you, but any pay increase request out of cycle is going to be denied by HR.”

--Giving the highest rating on a performance review. One of my favorites is hearing the following from employees: “My manager said she’s been told that no one can get the top rating.” Grrrr.

--Proactively coaching their employees on tough issues. We ask to be in those coaching meetings too much. At times that’s for good reason, but our need to be part of tough conversations makes the manager move slower, or not at all.

Some of you are looking at that list and thinking, “That seems like a level or two below where I’m at.” Don’t kid yourself, if you’re an HR Leader, you’re saying no too much and being a cop for those that won’t deal with their own problems.

The managers and leaders you support have grown addicted to HR saying no. When you say no, it means they’re off the hook and don’t have to have the hard conversations. They simply report your “no” to the requesting employee or candidate.

They love when you say no, because the alternative is messy. If you say yes and quickly follow it by what you need to execute the “yes”, the burden is on them.

I say screw being the fall guy/gal for bad managers. I say let’s embrace saying “yes” with a bunch of conditions that looks like the Treaty of Versailles and see what happens.

Start saying yes to change the narrative of how you’re viewed as a leader and build a better brand as an HR leader/HR pro.

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Looking for help in enhancing your brand as an HR Leader? I recommend you take a look at SHRM Education Spring 2020 Catalog and pay close attention to these programs and e-learning modules:

  • 32 – Consultation: Honing your HR Business Leader Skills
  • 33 – Investing in People with Data-Driven Solutions
  • 34 – Powerful Leaders – Transform your personal brand and executive presence. Strategies for Leadership in HR.
  • 35 – Future of Work Fast Track

 Use the code “HRRocks” when registering for a Spring or Summer SHRM Educational Program and receive $200 off until May 15th! (excludes SHRM specialty credentials and SHRM SCP/CP prep courses)


Raymond K. Hessel (Fight Club) and Thinking About Wasted Time During COVID-19...

By now, most of you are approaching the 30-day mark of the great American COVID lockdown. That means the fear has started to subside, and at some point, you started thinking deeper thoughts.

You know the deep thoughts I'm talking about - the regrets, the analysis of your current situation and the "looking inward" planning for how you're going to approach all of this s**t different once the world opens back up.

I hope we all approach life differently. That would be a cool outcome from an otherwise shitty time in all of our lives.

How we hold ourselves accountable 12 months from now when we're all back to our normal lives and the COVID lockdown isn't even in our rearview mirror anymore? 

That's where we need the equivalent of Tyler Durden. That's right, Tyler Durden from the book/movie Fight Club. I stumbled across the movie late one night when I couldn't sleep about a week ago.  There's a great scene in the movie where Tyler Durden pulls a QuickTrip-typle store worker in an alley and threatens to kill him, then starts questioning him about what he wanted to be before he started working as a clerk.

The answer was a Veterinarian. Tyler hears that and then does what he was going to do all along. He says that he's going to let the clerk (Raymond K. Hessel) live, but if he's not on his way to becoming a veterinarian in 6 weeks (a year in the book), he's going to kill him.

Talk about an accountability partner.

Keep reflecting deeply about how you're going to change when things get back to normal.  Find someone to hold you accountable, just make sure it's someone more stable than Tyler Durden.

Video clip and book excerpt form the Raymond K Hessel scene below (email subscribers click through for video). Watch, read and reflect. COVID sucks, btw. Stay healthy and help flatten the curve.

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Book Excerpt from Fight Club quote (Chuck Palahniuk)

“Listen, now, you’re going to die, Raymond K. K. K. Hessel, tonight. You might die in one second or in one hour, you decide. So lie to me. Tell me the first thing off the top of your head. Make something up. I don’t give a shit. I have a gun.

Finally, you were listening and coming out of the little tragedy in your head.

Fill in the blank. What does Raymond Hessel want to be when he grows up?

Go home, you said you just wanted to go home, please.

No shit, I said. But after that, how did you want to spend your life? If you could do anything in the world.

Make something up.

You didn’t know.

Then you’re dead right now, I said. I said, now turn your head.

Death to commence in ten, in nine, in eight.

A vet, you said. You want to be a vet, a veterinarian.

You could be in school working your ass off, Raymond Hessel, or you could be dead. You choose. I stuffed your wallet into the back of your jeans. So you really wanted to be an animal doctor. I took the saltwater muzzle of the gun off one cheek and pressed it against another. Is that what you’ve always wanted to be, Dr. Raymond K. K. K. K. Hessel, a veterinarian?…

So, I said, go back to school. If you wake up tomorrow morning, you find a way to get back into school.

I have your license.

I know who you are. I know where you live. I’m keeping your license, and I’m going to check on you, mister Raymond K. Hessel. In three months, and then six months, and then a year, and if you aren’t back in school on your way to being a veterinarian, you will be dead…

Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you’ve ever eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your life.


COVID-19: It's Probably Time You Doubled Down Professionally On You...

Here we are - calendar dates vary widely, but by mid week, I'll be entering week 4 of my personal decision to shelter in place. I say personal decision because like a lot of states, mine was a bit late to the whole "mandate" thing.

COVID-19 sucks. I hope you're healthy. If you're not or you're taking care of people who aren't healthy, Hader godspeed to you.  

With that in mind, I'm going to switch gears and talk about everybody else. If you're still employed as a white collar professional, you fall into one of 2 camps regardless of the industry or your profession (HR and recruiting pros aren't exempt from what I'm about to say):

1--You've got a lot to do. Based on the circumstances and your company, your hair is on fire and you're working long hours with no breaks. Thank you. Nice job.

2--You don't have a lot to do. Many of you will refuse to put yourself in this category, mostly because it's dangerous thing to admit to yourself - and it comes with current and future responsibilities. But for any business with declining results, no one buying and an employer fortunate enough financially to retain you - many of you are in this group.

If you fall into group #2, this post is for you. I write it out of respect, with compassion, etc - but mostly to give you some tough love.

So you're still employed as a white collar professional and you don't have as much to do. You've probably got at least another month at home and some hours to fill.

Stop reading the news, get off your a**, out of the fetal position and use the hours you have - as well as the relative peace - and invest in you.

Get busy building the projects, work product or skills you always said you would do/chase if you weren't so busy.

The next month is a tale of two professionals in your industry/at your career level. You both have the same educational background, relative skills and career attainment at this stage in your career.

One of you is going to stay in the fetal position over the next 3 months (regardless of when you return to the office, things are going to stay slow, I'm calling it a minimum of 3 months, more likely 6), talking about how bad everything is, bitching about their 401k, etc.

The other one? That person is less available on demand to hop on a social Zoom call or a Slack/Glip/Whatever chat like everyone else.

The reason that other person is a bit less available? Because they're in the lab, taking blocks of time to work on the aforementioned projects, work product or skills that will add value to their company or themselves after this thing ends and the economy recovers.

The person in the lab becomes at least 5% more valuable to their company and the marketplace at the end of this 3-month period.

COVID-19 and what it's done to the world is awful. Most of us have some form of fear on a variety of levels. Take care of yourself and others, enjoy some time being physically close and present to your family, and meditate a bit.

But if you have down periods at work, It's time to flip the switch. Start planning and working for the June 1st or September 1st version of you.

Being 5%-10% better than your peers might make all the difference in the world over the 12 months - for you and your company.

Stay healthy. Do you.