Thursday, March 31, 2011


Turns out I have a bit of an issue with tension in my neck and shoulders.

Shocking, I know.

It's always been there, but it seems though that things are not getting better and, in fact, may be causing other physical issues. Not to mention it can make me downright bitchy.

So I've sought some help with this - visited my first registered massage therapist and received some homework in the form of stretches.

The therapist recommended that I tape the pictures of stretches up in my work area to remind me that I need to do my stretches. I am a visual person, but I really don't want these crappy sketches taped to my cubicle wall. My solution was to keep them in my drawer for reference, but I typed up a relatively inconspicuous one-word reminder that I put in front of me.

The word: Stretch

When my neck starts to bug me and I look at this word it does remind me to take a few minutes. Interestingly enough, there have been other times when I've felt like I'm just going through the motions and not getting anywhere new and I've found myself glancing over at the word and it reminded me that perhaps I need to stretch more than my neck muscles.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fav's

And here are the things that helped me make it through my first week back from vacation:

1. Candied ginger
2. My slightly neurotic, but completely hilarious admin assistant
3. Paramore
4. Lunch-time conversations with my colleague (why yes, we are 12 years old)
5. Planning summer vacation get-away
6. Grass has been sighted (the snow is almost gone)
7. No bootcamp (yessss)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Warning signs

This week we had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with an emergency evacuation in our building. No, this wasn't an ill-timed fire drill, but reaction to a real threat made to our organization.

As is the case in many of these scenarios, it turned out to be a hoax. Oh, the call was real, but there was nothing that materialized. Whether it was some jackass having a good laugh or a seriously upset person - they made a claim that we couldn't ignore. You can't take a chance and need to follow procedures, because you just never know.

The fallout included an incredibly unproductive workforce the next morning, numerous meetings, a realization that the procedures in place are not really adequate and loads of theories and gossip. It also prompted an awareness among everyone - suddenly people were a bit more sensitive to their work environment.

When I arrived home early and thought about the situation further, I mulled over something a wise man (oh, alright, my husband) said - "it's not the one's that call in before you have to worry about.." And it's true. It's the ones that call in after to claim responsibility that chill the bones.

And because I'm in HR, I have to over-apply my revelations and in this case, I'm thinking about those employees that often gripe and complain that they need to find a new job, or they hate their manager, or they are feeling stressed out. It's because they are so vocal about it that we are able to talk to them about whatever is pissing them off that day and can hopefully help them (or their managers).

My thoughts are that it's the ones that you don't hear from that should worry you. They are the employees that just quietly show up at your desk one day to hand in their resignation letter.

Really, there are always warning signs - some are very obvious and easy to see/hear - these are the ones we tend to focus on. We can't ignore them, because you never know.

However, it's other warning signs - the subtle and almost undetectable - that we need to watch for because they are the ones you are not prepared to handle. And it's here that a sensitivity to the work climate can come in handy. You need to be able to sense when something's off with an employee or a group. And when I say you - I mean HR, Managers, colleagues, whoever...

Really - why would you wait until after to make the call on something like this?

Monday, March 21, 2011

From nothing comes much

A funny thing happened to me on my week’s vacation. I did not think about work at all. Therefore, by funny, I mean interesting and not ha-ha.

The week flew by with equal parts of being busy and doing absolutely nothing. In fact, there were times when I did so little that it made me tired. Ever feel that way? It’s a great feeling.

During my week, I puttered away with spring-cleaning. I attacked piles of stuff that have been lingering in closets and backrooms for years. After a brief moment of reflection on whether I would truly need some items – I purged.

We are also in the process of re-painting, which as any good re-painter knows, involves completely emptying the rooms. As such, we need to decide what will go back in the room and I’m adamant that only those things that we want in there will make it back. This means that many a knick-knack or picture that was a gift will be relegated to accessory purgatory. (An advanced apology to anyone who gave us something that we have now deemed unworthy).

And to complete my cleansing, I dumped my bootcamp class. I know that it’s normal to not “enjoy” exercising, but for christsake, if I have to mentally verbally abuse my self into doing something that I don’t want to do – then it’s time for the old heave-ho. Honestly, I’m HR right? What would I tell someone who came to me and presented the same story. Give it up – you don’t need more guilt in your life. Find something you enjoy doing.

And so I took my own advice.

Turns out, I like doing nothing.

Of course, like most indulgences, it should be enjoyed in moderation, so I will savour those moments and try to balance it out with a little chaos, some business, and a dash of stress - that’s where work comes in.

Happy Monday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This week's top 5

I may have been on vacation this week, but there are still things that make it that much better (as if not working wasn't good enough):

1. Dark chocolate
2. Dire Straits (feeling kind of nostalgic)
3. The smell of's true, I can practical smell the sap in the maple trees)
4. My freshly painted hallway/entrance/, 1 down..2 rooms to go
5. Unrestricted reading time

I hope to have something more stimulating to share, but without the inspiration of workplace follies, I'm somewhat at a loss. The good news. I'm back on Monday, so that's likely to resume.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drip. Drip. Drip.

There are often points in the interview when the candidate pauses just a few seconds too long before they continue their thought and I just know what’s coming.

The big reveal.

The moment when they cross the line and say something that you really don’t want them to say. Honestly, with the amount of information available out there on what you should or shouldn’t say in an interview, it’s incredible how people just don’t know to shut the faucet off.

When I really think about it though, it’s not that much of a surprise. People have become so use to sharing everything about their lives (what they ate for breakfast, where they are standing, what they are thinking) that it really isn’t far fetched that they would continue this in an interview scenario.

Think about it, many people I know don’t think too long and hard about their Twitter and Facebook posts – seconds after they have a thought, they post it. This is much to their detriment since nothing can make an intelligent, balanced person look like an emotional idiot as quickly as an ill-timed and hastily typed tweet.

So, when people get use to thinking/sharing like this, it’s only natural that the same thing will happen in a face-to-face interview. Instead of telling me that you’ve overcome some personal challenges, you decide to tell me that you took your two kids and left an abusive relationship. Instead of telling me that you did have difficulty managing stress, but now practice yoga and exercise – you tell me that you had a breakdown, had to take Prozac and were warned by your doctor to find better ways to deal with it.

Maybe it’s me with the issue. Maybe my nature to keep my private life private (except as a blogger who hides behind a cute picture and witty name) is the problem. Perhaps I need to be able to sift through all the blah, blah that you are sharing and recognize that you will hopefully use more discretion in the workplace. That the fact that you feel comfortable enough to talk about personal and irrelevant parts of your life with someone you doesn’t really know is a sign that you are an open communicator and good at building relationships.

Yeah. Maybe it is my issue.

But the reality is that since I’m the one sitting on the other side of the interview table, my issue is now yours. I’m no plumber, but when a faucet won’t stop dripping, I know how to make it stop.

It's Friday. Finally.

Here are the things keeping me sane this week:

1. Raspberry-Lemonade lip balm (if there was any kind of nutritional value – I would eat it)
2. The view out my back windows at home
3. Coldplay
4. Coffee
5. My colleague at work
6. The fact that I’m off on vacation next week

This week I needed every last one of them to help me make it through.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A few of my favourite things....

In an attempt to remind myself that not everything sucks (melodramatic much?!), I have been creating mental lists of thing that I like.

I’ve decided to share what’s on that list and Friday seems like a good day to it. I need to point out that I am not going to list my family and friends, as they are a given and transcend any list that I could ever make. I’m talking about the little things, the not so obvious and the sometimes very trivial things that make me smile.

So, as of today – these are the things that are helping me get through the week:

1. Goat cheese – on pretty much anything and for any meal
2. The Kings of Leon
3. Ginger tisane
5. Planning the redo of my main floor (as inspired by #4 on the list)
6. My son’s stories of what happens in a grade 5 lunchroom (you couldn’t pay me to be a monitor in that room)
7. Listening to Breaking Dawn in the car (to numb the pain of my commute)