Archive for December 31, 2010

Fare Thee Well 2010

I’m not going to list predictions here, nor will I list resolutions (if you really want to view some HR resolutions, including mine, visit XpertHR). 

Tonight at midnight I’ll be saying “welcome” to 2011 and the future.  But for now I want to think about what 2010 has been like:

  • I made a trip to HRevolution, having missed the inaugural 2009 event.   Every superlative I could toss at it would fit – amazing, incredible, outstanding. I met fantastic people IRL, all of whom continue to inspire me, challenge me, and make me a better HR leader.
  • I began to blog – tentatively at first with guest posts on other sites (thanks Trish, Charlie, Ben!) and then over at the fantastic Women of HR site.  Ultimately, a trip to HR Florida was the catalyst I needed to start HR Schoolhouse.  I know I won’t be setting the world on fire here, but I am quite enjoying my little corner of the interwebz.
  • I joined the newly formed Baton Rouge Social Media Club – 100’s of members – 1 in HR.  Uh yeah…it was me.
  • I stayed the course and steered the HR ship at work, hopefully doing the best for my organization as we undertook some pretty huge initiatives and worked though some significant change – industry change, organizational change and regulatory/legislative change.  Things were certainly never dull. 
  • I saw friends and family members deal with loss of job, loss of savings and loss of hope. 
  • I sat on some business and HR panels at events/conferences, did an on-camera interview (!), got involved with Geaux Veterans, and attended some conferences where I watched HR people dance, muscle each other out of the way for swag, and make an end-of-the-day run through the drive-thru daiquiri shop.  (OK – that last one was me).
  • I championed our profession and tried to promote what we, as HR professionals, can be and should be.  And yes, I may have taken a gentle jab or two, but I continued to work from within the system – SHRM.  It was a frenzied year with duties at the chapter and state level, and an ASTD board role as well, and I spent many a night/weekend doing volunteer duties.

Oh – and lest anyone forget, the Saints just happened to win a little thing called SUPER BOWL XLIV!

So dear 2010 – let me just say – fare thee well and adieu.

Why HR Hates Clip Art

Clip art is evil. 

Those seductive images and beautifully rendered graphics are so enticing aren’t they?  They lure you in with their sophisticated ways and flashy demeanor.  They ensnare you in their web of treachery, debauchery and decadence.

An ill-placed, inappropriately utilized art-of-clip will surely cause mayhem and havoc in the workplace.  A misplaced logo will lead to rebellion, misconduct and flagrant employee disobedience.

Or so I’ve been told.


A friend of mine who works in the techie field, we’ll call her Liz, had an interesting clip art encounter yesterday.  It’s quite the ‘norm’ in her company for employees to utilize clip art in various in-house communications.  They often use the standard Microsoft clip art (**) that adorns many a powerpoint presentation and company memo.

So Liz, being in the festive pre-New Year’s mood, searched the Microsoft clipart gallery for New Year’s images, and, as one would expect, the first image that popped up was of a champagne glass.    This makes perfect sense to me.  In that part of my brain where clichés reside, tucked neatly away in the New Year’s corner are two distinct images:

  1.  A baby wearing nothing but a diaper, a Top Hat and a “Happy New Year” sash
  2.  Champagne, in either a bottle or a flute, with little bubbles floating above the rim and escaping into the air


So Liz, who apparently thinks very much as I do, figured that the glass of bubbly perfectly captured the essence of the holiday.  “I’ll use that as my holiday clip-art, per the company tradition,” she thought.

But it was not to be.  For shortly after utilizing this well-rendered graphic in an in-house communication, Liz was chastised by The Boss and asked to remove the spirited clip art.   The reason being, per The Boss:

“Cocktail pop art is not good from an HR standpoint”



Did The Boss attend some employment law seminar for managers and executives where the attorneys scared the crap out of the attendees and told them if they allowed pictures of alcohol-related items it would be offensive?  Maybe.

Did the HR Director inform The Boss that it’s best if he minimizes his exposure to claims of harassment by removing all references to sex, drugs and rock-n-roll from the workplace? (cuz those things lead to sex, which leads to harassment, which leads to lawsuits… which, well, you know).  Probably.

In an effort to make sure no one could be offended by anything at all, has The Boss now chipped away a little further at the withering soul of an American worker?  Perhaps.

But I really can’t blame The Boss here.  For all I know he thought that picture of a fizzy, bubbly glass of champagne was the greatest thing ever.  But as a leader in the company and a titan of commerce, he knew what he had to do – he had to speak “from an HR standpoint.”

And obviously, HR hates clip art.

(**) hat-tip to for the clip art !

Tracking Santa

If for some reason you find yourself in front of the laptop screen or just can’t help glancing at your smart phone on Christmas Eve, you can enjoy tracking Santa’s journey courtesy of NORAD.   You can even track Santa on Google Maps and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Thanks to the good folks at the North American Aerospace Defense Command for continuing this tradition they’ve kept going since 1955.

image courtesy of

Holiday Heroes…The Mail Carriers

During the mad rush of the holiday season, you see them everywhere – UPS, FedEx, DHL and US postal Service staffers are on the road and stopping at your door.  Couriers from florists and other companies that handle their own deliveries are hopping in and out of their trucks nonstop. 

The lines are long at the post office (someone on twitter told me that their local post office ran out of stamps!), and I read an estimate that this past Monday alone, the US Postal Service anticipated hitting their peak volume and would move more than 800 million pieces of mail in one day.  That’s a lot of parcels and packages.

Of course, to get all these packages through the pipeline, the delivery companies hire seasonal workers, many at an hourly pay rate between $8.50 and $10 per hour.  They lift, sort, pack and deliver Christmas cheer right to your door.  They work behind the counter, smiling as lines get long and tempers flare.   They stand on their feet for long hours and they go home with aching muscles and sore backs.

Some of these folks work on the holiday itself.  All of us procrastinators last-minute shoppers who were too busy to mail packages early, depend on the delivery companies and US Postal Service to make sure that gifts are delivered on/before Christmas Day.

So here’s a Santa hat-tip to the delivery staff and mail carriers who get our parcels to their intended destinations. 

Cheers to you.