26 September 2010

Will The Real Happy Employee Please Stand Up?

Nope, the real Happy Employee won't stand up anymore on this blog.

I enjoyed writing on www.thehappyemployee.com, but it's over now.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that "I've moved on" or anything stupid like this. But here's the places where you can find me now:

And since this blog is hosted by Google, you can also visit my Google Profile:

Finally, here are some of my favorite posts:

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear from you on the Twitters!

Etienne - The Happy Employee

19 February 2009

HR Communication, 24-style

Frank Roche at KnowHR often mentions that HR communication should be surprising. Episode 3 of the new 24 season (it's already the 7th) is a great example of how to surprise your audience.

Granted, episodes 1 and 2 were nice, although not earth shattering. But the third episode was just packed with goodies and surprises.

(HR) communication at its best!

Plenty of unexpected turns, awesome reveals, old friends showing up out of nowhere, fun tech hacks, etc.

But then again, if you're working in HR, you certainly don't have two trial runs because by the time you fire off your gem to "group: all staff", nobody will be reading your messages.

My recommendation:
Safely store drafts one and two in the Recycle Bin or feed them to your hungry shredder (you might know the saying: a shredder is a HR Pro's best friend...) and only publish the glorious version 3 of your communication!

18 February 2009

ROWE-y: Doing Personal Stuff At The Office

The other day I learned an important lesson from my new colleague. The cool thing is that she just joined our team less than a month ago and she's 15 years younger than me.

Like most Gen-Xers, I was "raised" professionally by Baby Boomers who have a strong sense of values in terms of working hard, making sacrifices and strictly separating their work and personal lives. Except, of course, when they bring work home.

Lately, I've been realizing that I'm unconsciously trying to keep my personal life away from the office. For example
  • I'm slightly annoyed when a friend calls me at work
  • When I need to call the authorities or some service provider, I usually forget about it until their offices are closed anyway.
  • And when I check my personal email at the office, although I don't get out of my way to hide it, I do it discreetly.
Now to the good part:
Our boss announced that she was going home. Trying to be funny, I said to our young Padawan:
Cool, now that she's leaving, lets watch some YouTube.
For a split second she looked at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world. Or at least that was my interpretation of her facial expression. So I asked her what she was thinking. She simply said:
I didn't understand why you couldn't watch YouTube before.
Of course, I could have answered that, duh, it was just a joke. But I kept my big mouth shut realizing that I had an opportunity to learn something.

Now that I'm writing this I realize that I already made some progress today:
  • I saw an add for a nice apartment and called without second thoughts
  • I checked my personal email several times today
  • I had a long lunch
  • I had some fun with colleagues in the afternoon
  • I visited the PortableApps site (PDFTK and Toucan sound very promising and OpenOffice v3 is available)
Of course, I didn't count all of this as work time, so I know that I'm not cheating my employer. But today I didn't worry about people thinking that I might be slacking off. I was just having a good time.

I learned a lot from my Baby Boomer colleagues and mentors. But for now, I'll listen to some Millenials.

And thus concludes my second attempt at trying to become more ROWE-y (or become ROWE-ier).

14 February 2009

HR Wench And Boobs

Did you read the title of this post? Really?

I'm having fun right now and it might not be healthy in a long-term kind of way. When Jenn reads this post, she will either hate me forever and a day or uncontrollably roll on the floor and - between spasms of giggles - shout "what an idiot, I'm laughing so hard every fiber in my body hurts when I even try to breathe. I will never ever again eat Swiss chocolate!"

Okay, now that I wrote this flamboyant introduction, it's actually not half as wild as you might have expected.

I went to my RSS reader, checked out Wenchie's new post about staying positive while looking for a job (it's a great post, you really should check it out), thought I might add some smart-ass comment so I opened a new tab to her blog page, read the existing comments, clicked on Kerry's link and read the boob post. It's a funny post. If you work in HR, you know that it might happen. And if you work in HR long enough, you know it will happen to you eventually.

Tip: google "career change now, and-I-mean-RIGHT-NOW!"

Oh phooey, I still need to post a smart-ass comment on Wenchie's blog...

12 February 2009

Link: In Defense Of HR Professionals

I'm certainly the first to admit that there are a lot of numskulls working in HR (like everywhere else). When asked about my career choice I often reply that I certainly wouldn't work in HR if I had a choice. And everybody who ever shared an office with me heard me groan that I should have learned an honest profession when I was young.

Fact is that I love working in HR. Last week a manager said that it was obvious that I felt comfortable working in HR. I think I'll buy this man a beer.

Here's what Bob Sutton wrote on his blog:
HR people often get more abuse than they deserve because they are so often put in a position where no one notices them when they do something right, but they get blamed out of proportion when things go wrong.
If you're an HR Pro, do yourself a favor and go read it.
If you think all HR departments all over the world are populated exclusively by idiots, go read it and have some pity ;-)

08 February 2009

ARSE Used Over 180'000 Times

The ARSE (Asshole Rating Self-Exam), based on Bob Sutton's book "The No Asshole Rule" was used more than 180'000 times.

Don't be an ass, go do the ARSE now.
It only takes 5 minutes. If you did it before, find out if your score changed.

Today my score was 3 (0 to 5 points: "you don't sound like a certified asshole, unless you are fooling yourself"). In March 2008 my score was 4. I had just quit a job that I loved very much but I badly needed a change. In December 2007 I scored 5 ("borderline certified asshole") and was looking for a new job.

Conclusion: The ARSE may not be scientifically valid, but it's certainly interesting.

24 January 2009

Geeky: Listening to music at work

"My boss told me the other day that I was spending in average 6.5 hours per day on YouTube according to the company's Internet statistics. But I'm only using YouTube to listen to background music while I work. Are they allowed to check what I'm doing online? What about privacy?

This is not an actual reader question. But I heard this story from a friend and decided to turn it into a fake reader question.

Secondly, I could start an analysis of the Swiss Data Protection Law, but I just don't feel like it at the moment. Me know, me am lazy ;-)

Thirdly, using YouTube extensibly at work doesn't make much sense to me. Whether your employer uses legal or illegal means to track your web traffic isn't the point. Anybody could walk by your desk five times a day and see that you're on YouTube.

Furthermore, streaming videos all day uses a lot of bandwidth and although many people still think that the Interwebs are for free, connecting to this cyber maze still costs a lot.

Besides, using YouTube to listen to music doesn't really make much sense to me. But that's just lil' ol' me...

So here's my geeky solution:
  • buy a USB stick. The last one I bought had 16 GB and didn't cost that much anymore
  • download CoolPlayer+ (a portable app) and copy it to the stick
  • fill up the remaining space on your stick with your favorite mp3 songs
The beauty of portable apps is that you don't need to install the programs, you just copy them somewhere. Even if you don't have admin access to your work computer, you can use programs and it costs your company zilch in terms of bandwidth.

Of course, you could just copy your mp3 files to the hard drive and use the pre-installed media player. But this wouldn't be geeky, now would it ;-)

@JT: Thank you, the Twitter message that you wrote 17 days ago and which I only saw today motivated me to write again! And your new site logo looks really cool!