Thursday, June 21, 2018

On the 13th Day -- 2 Years and 8 Months later

It's been 13 days since I walked away and it's time to check in again. Hoping to document the process for remembrance and to help others. I've spent the days cycling, swimming, having great home cooked meals, reconnecting with family and neighbors, sleeping the proper 8 hours at night, and checking out Impulse (on YouTube Red). David and I (now married, wedding, honeymoon) went to the theater, sleep in late and exercise together. It's been pretty incredible. And I'm scared. Who steps away from a full-time job without a new one? And this aging business -- I need a new right hip and a great surgeon who will tell me I CAN run again. I want to run. It releases endorphins that tell me it's all going to be ok. And I need to know it's all going to be ok. I put all in the last gig. I did amazing work. It was hard -- politics, the founder culture (letting go is hard), 360 reviews and telling the truth when everyone loved the drama so much it was hard to see that it was cancer level damaging. Solve the problem, but we're taking no responsibility and none of the action items are to be ours. We will continue to do exactly what we were doing before, we're sure it's the others. What others? I kick myself for failing to go harder, stronger and trust my gut -- I am the grown up. I am the adult. There is no other one. No others. AND, it's my job to draw out the others to join me in being the grown up. Adulting is hard. It is demanded though, now more than ever. We all need to bring our ADULT game to the office. All the time. We can cry into happy hour drinks but the drama stays outside the office. I've also spent some time going over everything I've learned in HR for over 15 years. It's all true. All the things -- values are critical and need to be explicit, mutually agreed on and then put into action. It's not ok to step on them. Intel CEO resigns -- over a relationship. Of course he knew...and still he persisted. And so it goes. It's the HR job to be the one to call that stuff out from way before and going forward. And it sucks that it will always be that leaders will push the bounds of the agreed on values and rules of the game -- because that's what made them successful in the first place. Marcus Buckingham is right with StandOut and it is my job to enact what we know -- use the intelligence derived from the HR research and apply it in situ, live. So we can live well, work well, love each other. And it's very hard. Very very hard and we have to do it sustainably. Call out behavior that's a no go, manage the strengths, push for values, coach for success across business goals, keep people human, radical self care. I'm excited really, for the next gig. And so it goes. I know what I must do next time to stay on the beam, focused and perform, while being good to my husband, godson and those I love and recertify by 2019. Live and love well.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


At times, I'm in a hallway. I've closed a door behind me, I'm setting off in a new direction, and I feel a bit lost. This is a perfect time to ask about what I've left. What did I learn? What did I bring to the table that I'd love to discard once and for all? What was good about that past room experience? Can I carry that forward? Kindness, transparency, good communication, a sense of myself as an adult dealing with adult situations. These are assets to treasure. I took the best care of myself I knew how. I was confidential, almost to a fault. Maybe I can even be more open about who I am and what's important to me. Ask for what I want--for sure. Ask for help. Yes, lots more of that. And working more collaboratively. I can certainly stop trying to lift the world on my own. Nobody is asking for that. The demands are great, and constant, but I believe people want to help. So there's that. I learned that life is hard. It is. There's no way around it. And I learned that I have a tendency to try too much, and get bogged down. A clean, organized desk at ALL times, every day. That is key. So onward. Let's see what the new day brings. Live and Work Well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stay on Brand

Life throws hardballs. And as spring rides in waves of pollen--triggering my allergies--I learn to ride with it. Work's been challenging--lots of projects at once and a huge learning curve for much of it. And, there are the daily tasks and the clerical pieces. Managing demands that I prioritize, and that includes time for sleep, friends, family and tending to my health. My doctor was so upset with me for skipping appointments and staying on top of bloodwork to monitor my levels. Granted all my hard work training for races and the vanity of lifting to look good for summer pay off in good bloodwork tests, but I'm a far cry from being a doctor, and we all need the help of those wiser about these things. And so it is with my career. It's time to connect with other HR professionals and get their suggestions and ideas about how to build a solid role at my current gig. And so it is with my clutter, finding a new partner--all of it. Life is so much more fun with wisdom of others. And there's healthy risk--for some reason, I have the balls to apply to be the Men's Health cover guy for November. I remember all the stabs at fame I've taken in my lifetime, and they make me smile. This time though, it's all about service. I'm glad I've lived a life worthwhile. And though I have miles to go (I believe) before I sleep, I love taking a pause to celebrate--I'm me. Live well. It's good to be back.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


There's so much I've written. There are essences I want to remind myself about--however, it has been written about Thanksgiving, the Holidays, end of year rituals, performance reviews, quiet time and reflection, holiday office parties, even about death. That all is happening now. As a Human Resources Manager for a small team, it's devastating to experience the death of a colleague. And as we say goodbye, and honor what he brought to our team, sadness and grief, and wondering if there's anything anyone could have done more of to keep his brilliant candle burning just longer--a decade, a year, weeks to say goodbye properly... I sit here at a loss. I think about his mother, and friends, and at this time of year. And I bless them--hold them in love and we'll see what the right action is. He is. He was loved. I ask myself (and we ask ourselves about the importance of things at this time of year anyway), what is most important. I want to go to some deep thought. However, it appears to me that being in the present is all there truly is. Be here now. Be with the grief of suddenly losing someone vibrant, alive, caring, trustworthy, upstanding, who just wanted to be of service so intensely. Be with the love of those who remain--thoughtful, kind, available. Be the one of whom love will be written when we too draw our last breath. Imagine our last encounter with a being is the one we're in now, and find a way to have that be our best moment--the one we treasured. I find breathing helpful in the moment. The simple act of letting the air into the body, and exhaling completely. This is life. And let that breath inform the process of thinking, and doing, and resting. There's much written about gratitude. This year, I'm simply grateful to be alive, and to be able to call on many significant others who are still with us. Bless the departed.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Celebrating Happiness

I suppose I will continue to learn how to celebrate the happiness and achievements of others for the rest of my life. It's hard sometimes to let go of the nagging thought that their is a limit to good in the world and I have to hardscrabble my way to get mine. James is now happy with someone else and it's all public out there. It's time to really let go. My dating adventures after have been less fruitful and I wonder if I'll be single for the rest of time. There's really no way to know and it's really none of my business trying to figure that out. What is present now is my loving relationship with my godson, those I mentor, my dear friends, family and my new colleagues. There I can focus for now and celebrate that others have a love that wafts sweet warm kisses in the morning to go with New York's most romantic fall dawns. For now, it's me and my pillow. Celebrate happiness.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Swimming Through Uncertainty

And we're back in the workforce. As an HR Manager, it's a whole new world. There is so much to manage at once, and as a new HR Manager, I have to find my rhythm in asking questions, making decisions, prioritizing, taking actions, pacing, rest... There's so much to do.

It's very similar to swimming in the Long Island Sound, which I did yesterday during the Jarden Westchester Triathlon. It's amazing how intimidating something can be, and yet if you train hard for it, and show up, amazing things happen. I was fairly peaceful, even though two years ago this 0.9 mile swim would have been a crazy impossible thing for me to do.

Gently, over time, with lots of help, I got to yesterday at 7:24am. When the horn sounded, I stepped into the water with some confidence, some fear, and a decision to do this well. And I had moments when I felt lost, and WAS lost, and I recalibrated. There were times I swam alongside others, and I noticed it was easier to make a go of it. So it is in life.

The water is a fully pressurized situation, and lots is unknown. There were floaty things in the water, and I had no idea what they were, and in the moment that was less important than focusing my energy to move forward along the prescribed path of the race--the sooner I was out, the more energy I'd have for the remaining tasks. There were people who bumped and pushed, there were helpful folks who gave direction and support. I rolled with it.

There will be much I'll have to adjust to in this new role. I must be present for the first 90 days. It's a time of "probation" but moreso, it's a time to share who I am. The story of me in this organization will be writ in a few days and has already begun. It's harder to rewrite than to start the story well. It's in the way I show up each day, my temperament, the questions I ask--what's important to me inside and outside the organization's foci. I need to rest, learn, ask. Soak it all in as a sponge, and share what helps others to connect with me, join others so they see me as a good addition to the whole--someone valuable to the success of swimming ahead, rather than dead weight dragging all down.

Nobody wants to swim in the ocean of uncertainty for too long. We all prefer sure land. We know another dive into the ocean of life is on the horizon. Work well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I'm a big fan of time off.

There's an hour or two or maybe time when we sleep. If practical or if needed just once in a while, turn the electronics off. Give your mind a time to be quiet. Loved the NY Times take on this--

Take a weekend, or a treasured holiday time. Again, give the body time to recharge and engage with the people, connect with the places, learn from the things that fuel your passion.

But I've discovered the value in some time off in between gigs. I'm thinking of a couple months of sabbatical each five years or so, to recalibrate my career engine. Creative folks often have this naturally between plays, movies or television shows, whether they are in front of the camera or supporting the production. It is often a time of nervous frantic grasping for the next gig as a person at sea grasping for a buoy. It can be a calmer endeavor with appropriate search actions along with a time for reflection on the past work. What went well? What could I have done differently for greater effectiveness in myself and with others. What goals were met and what did I do well that contributed? What goals were missed and what was my part? How can I make a different choice next time?

It is in this pause, that we can soberly and thoughtfully reflect in preparation for the next go. It's hard to review your form while running, or swimming or working. It's easier in that pause between. And so it's been for me. This has been two months of asking hard questions about work and showing up and being a good teammate, a good co-worker, while being a family member, a good friend and a mentor for others. Was I a good citizen, a good neighbor and fellow commuter? What would I change next time I'm in the race to go to work again? Statistically, we're out of work a couple times more than prior generations during our careers. See these sabbaticals as times for reflection, pause and rejuvenation, rather than give in to the nervous energy. We work so hard now, this is a new way to pace the self over a long career. Many of us will work more total years than our parents. I got a good sense of how much I'll enjoy my retirement and what I'll do to fill the time in addition to my many volunteering service gigs. It was lovely to taste that now, as an appetizer to the main course. The only regret is that I've poorly set aside the funding for this important part of my career development. Must attend to that next gig.

It's a favorite thing of mine on vacations in new cities, to watch workers dash to work. How do they treat themselves, their bodies as they throw themselves into the effort of work? How do they treat the people they pass, the homeless, the less fortunate, the less symbolized? And I remind myself, once back, to hold the most important things important. We are human beings, rather than human doings.

Live well.