I’m a Poet, but didn’t know it. #SHRM15

I’m a poet?

Over the last four years at the SHRM National Conference it’s become a tradition for a group of HR professionals from across the country to gather and hold a fundraising event for Share Our Stength and their No Kid Hungry campaign.  In previous years, we’ve played street hockey, kickball and gone bowling.  This year’s event was a poetry slam.  Several of us stood up and read poems to about 50 other HR professionals and three judges.

I wrote my poem during the event, and read it with humorous intent.  It was a good enough presentation to get me into the competition for the top spot.  You may not be able to tell that from the posting which follows, but maybe you’ll take pity on me and make a small donation to #NKH.

I’ll post a link to the video when it becomes available.  Meanwhile, here’s my poem – composed of actual texts off my phone and some personal side notes.

Texts from my phone (with side notes)

The House stopped Fast Track but didn’t kill the zombie fast track trade bill. It’s back in the Senate + worse than before. tell your Senator to ‘vote no’. Kevin, AFL-CIO

30 min til Fisher & Phillips Reception Hyde Bellagio  RSVP required.

(Oh shit I forgot about that one) not very inclusive

30 min til LGBT Happy Hour AquaKnox at the Venetian. 7PM-?. No registration required. (Inclusive  and Could be fun especially this week)

On the 1st Day of Christmas, Mercedes gave to me…an employee handbook that isn’t guaranteed

For those in southwest Florida, join us for a spirited protest at the grand re-opening of the Publix on Longboat Key

Volume issues in the global supply chain session are causing problem for auto companies. U could be laid off.

No problem. Just double checking to be sure I didn’t miss anything.

Planning on looking for some local resources tomorrow.

Breaking news: President Barack Obama will this week release a long-awaited overtime rule aimed at raising wages for 5 million people as soon as 2016, according to sources familiar with the plans.

Are u in the bar?

is Lauritsen with you?

Sorry, over slept- too much celebration.   Be down about 9.

We don’t have a guest for Drive Thru.  Should we call Robin Schooling?

I’m missing u this week. Will be glad when you get home.

Hey! It’s Sam with No Kid Hungry. Today’s our Summer Action Day – take action to make sure no kid goes hungry this summer #nokidhungry

And the HR Horror Stories Just Keep Coming


This past week on Drive Thru HR, the shows all featured guests who came on to share some of the more weird and unusual things they had dealt with during their HR careers. It was a fun week filled with great stories.  The theme of the week was #HRHorrorStores. If you didn’t catch them, go listen in the archives.  They are a blast.

Right now I’m in Bloomington Indiana, where I worked as an HR practitioner for many years.  Being here brings back some memories, and reminds me of a couple of HR stories of my own that I didn’t share.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

We were doing a lot of hiring at one of the plants I worked at in Bloomington, staffing a flexible supplemental factory workforce with a few hundred hires.  People were pouring through the doors for a pair of 15 minutes interviews, an aptitude test, and if they made the cut – a physical.

We interviewed one person who made it through everything including the physical.  As I was talking to the person about their final steps, one of my administrative staff came to the office and asked me to step out for just a moment.  As I listened, she explained to me that the guy with a beard in my office was actually a woman that she had gone to high school with, and that “she” had obviously falsified her application and we couldn’t hire “her”. I nodded and told her I would respond later, whereupon I went back into the interview and finished hiring Dale, who turned out to be a great employee.  Here’s what my staff member didn’t know. Dale had divulged his transgender status in the interview, and at the physical, and he had been very open and transparent about it – in the early 1990’s!  We hired him and he worked out very well.  I reviewed all that with my staff member later, and that Dale had also undergone a legal name change.  Not a horror story perhaps, but a great example of why you should’t judge a book by the cover.

My horror story happened at the same plant in the same year. I got a call from the security office who reported to me asking me to come down to the gate and meet with some police officers who wanted to enter the property.  We had a general policy that we didn’t allow police to come onto property to conduct police business like serving summons or arrests for warrants as it could be very disruptive to production. Instead, we would bring the employee to the police.

On this cold winter morning, as I approached the gate I saw two plainclothes officers, and knew this was something different. I introduced myself and began our standard explanation of policy related to police officers on property.  One of the detectives turned to me and said “We are here to investigate a homicide. You are going to let us in to talk to the people we need to see, or you will be arrested for obstructing a police officer. Do you follow what i’m saying?”

Talk about a wtf??? moment.  Homicide? Arrest? Not how I planned to start my day!  We let the cops in, and put them in my office. I asked them to give me a list of who they needed to see and we brought those people up one by one and they asked questions for several hours before finally leaving.

One of our employees was missing and foul play was suspected. It later turned out to be a family member, not a co-worker who had stabbed her to death.  That’s a for real horror story!