26 December 2007

Movie: Enchanted

I saw Walt Disney's Enchanted the other day and couldn't switch off my built-in HR filter.

First of all, Enchanted is a very beautiful movie with some funny moments. The only complaint I have is that there's hardly any cynical jokes (that's usually my problem with beautiful movies). And any singing in Disney movies still drives me crazy.

New situations and how to react
Here's what happens at the very beginning of the movie: the Princess Giselle is thrown out of her perfect fantasy world and appears in New York. The Prince follows her to bring her back.

Both their situations and the way they react are different.

The Princess: passive and dependent on others
The princess doesn't realize what is happening to her and reacts in a passive way. Instead of trying to take control of her fate she just waits for the prince to rescue her, letting circumstances and other people make decisions for her.

The Prince: dumb, arrogant and focused
The heroic prince starts the search for Giselle the second he arrives in New York. Since he's arrogant and stupid, he doesn't take even a few minutes to assess the situation and adapt to his new surroundings, but at least he's focused and determined to reach his goal.

What we can learn from this
Even if you find yourself in a new and unexpected situation, a general attitude of readiness can help a lot. Try to take control instead of being the ball in a game of pinball.

A goal will give you a direction and help you focus. If you can't make things happen on your own (e.g. the princess needs the prince to save her), at least try to find a way to help (e.g. make sure the prince will find her when he shows up).

Additional observations
Here are other things I noticed while happily munching some popcorn:
  • saying nothing but "no" isn't a good long-term strategy
  • being angry from time to time can be very liberating
  • calling everybody a "peasant" might be resented by some people

And finally a warning: I'll probably watch Alien vs Predator 2 in a few days...

24 December 2007

Quote: Travel Abroad (Dave Barry)

Posting a quote is still a quick and painless way to increase your post count, especially if you have neither the time nor the desire to come up with something clever ;-)
Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.
Source: Dave Barry quoted by Tim Ferriss.

Frohe Weihnachten allerseits!

23 December 2007

Quote: Saying "No" (Your HR Guy)

Posting a quote is a quick and painless way to increase your post count. Besides, I love quotes. So here we go:
I am in the business of telling people «no» all day. What makes them think I am actually going to not say «no» to a person that gives me a good reason to do so?
Source: Your HR Guy

21 December 2007

J-2: Scare Your Friends While Making Your Enemies Happy

This is a guest post by my friend Johnny. He knows stuff about me. So I let him use my blog...

By Jaded Johnny (J-2)

Scaring your friends is fun. And it's also a great way to find out who really cares about you.

If you're a man with long hair, some or all of your co-workers will ask you stupid questions like "When will you finally cut your ugly hair?" Here's what you should reply:
I'll cut my hair the day I'll start looking for a new job.
Don't say this too often. And select the right people to say it to.

Ideally, they shouldn't know you too well, so they won't be 100% sure whether you're kidding or not. They must also have a good memory, so they will remember what you said when the time is right. And finally, they should like to talk to people from other departments. This way, the day they remember what you said, the news will spread like wildfire all over the company.

Of course, this takes a lot of careful preparation and you can't rush it. But when you're sure that the time is right: Go and cut your hair!

If you don't have long hair, growing a beard will be faster (and probably just as ugly).

Women can play this game too. It's less dramatic with the hair, but it can work if you never put on make-up or wear a miniskirt.

And it's also great for teamwork. Find a partner in crime and have this person ask the question in a public situation. Possibilities are a meeting with people from other departments or at the cafeteria when everybody is pretending not to listen to your private conversation.

Be creative. Do evil. Have fun!

20 December 2007

Link: Krusty for CEO

Wally Bock at Three Star Leadership mentions in "Your Concerns Are Their Concerns" how less and less people will really tell you what they think the more you move up the hierarchy.

I just had to quote this paragraph, both because I believe that's it's true and because I love the way Wally formulates it:
The higher you move up the hierarchy the more people tell you what you want to hear, filter the information that you get, and avoid telling you unpleasant truths. The natural human reaction to this is to believe that everyone agrees with you and that you're doing a great job, even when they hate you, think you're a jerk and think the place would be better off with Krusty the Clown at the helm.

Challenge: Asshole Rating Self-Exam (ARSE)

In my last post about Robert Sutton's book "The No Asshole Rule" I challenged all HR Professionals to do the ARSE and report their personal score in the comments.

Congratulations to all the courageous ones who disclosed their scores! Here's an update
  • 7 people participated with an average score of 5.43
  • no Certified Assholes participated
  • Laurie came up with the (not yet) scientific term AQ (Asshole Quotient)
I've published some statistics here.

Both in the book and in the online ARSE, the test consists of a total of 24 questions to the following topics:
  • What are your gut reactions to people (8 questions)
  • How do you treat other people? (10 questions)
  • How do people react to you? (6 questions)
All "true" statements are counted which leads to the following possible results:
  • 0-5 true: you're not a certificed asshole (if you answered honestly)
  • 5-15: borderline certificied asshole
  • 15 or more: full-blown certified asshole
To make my little statistics project possible I tweaked the categories to 0-5, 6-15 and 16-24.

The challenge is still open! Don't be afraid and don't be shy!

18 December 2007

Book: The No Asshole Rule

I finally finished reading the famous book by Robert I. Sutton (PhD), professor at Stanford University. Bob's book is called "The No Asshole Rule".

Professor Sutton won't bore you with politically correct, scientific lingo. In fact, the first sentence of the book is:
When I encounter a mean-spirited person, the first thing I think is: "Wow, what an asshole!"
This book manages to combine scientific research with real world stories in a way that everybody can understand and relate to.

You will get information about studies regarding bullying, emotional abuse and harassment at the workplace. But in the end, Sutton will still call the "über-jerks" (see chapter 3) by their real name: assholes.

The book contains descriptions and definitions of abusive bosses and co-workers, examples and tips for surviving and leaving an asshole-infested work environment and, probably most important of all, recommendations that will help you realize that you're an asshole or help you avoid becoming one.

Chapter 6 is almost shocking as it describes the advantages of behaving like an asshole. But this only shows that Sutton analyzes a topic from every possible angle as the true scientist he is.

Here are some of the references that the trivia fans and celebrity addicts will enjoy: The Godfather, Virgin's Richard Branson, Disney's Michael Eisner, Google's Sergey Brin and many more.
(Prize question: which ones are the assholes? Oh, I forgot to mention Steve Jobs!)

And still, in the end there's no doubt that this book is not trivialized pop-science, but rather solid research explained in a way that even I can understand.

Bob Sutton's blog: Work Matters

The Self-Test from chapter 4 is also available online:
ARSE (Asshole Rating Self-Exam)
It's not really about "Am I an asshole or not?" but rather "where do I, or may I, behave like an asshole?".

2 weeks ago I was a 4 ("You don't sound like a certified asshole"). Today I'm a 5 ("You sound like a borderline certified asshole"). I'm not as nice as I used to be...

Do the test and post your score in the comments!

The Morning After (The Office Party)

Office parties have been a hot topic these last days. Here's my morning-after-advice.

You made a fool of yourself at the office party and feel embarrassed, maybe even guilty. Now what to do?

First of all, don't come to me.
If nobody complained to HR (me), then I don't want to hear about it.

If you feel that you should apologize to somebody, then do it.
But don't do it in public. Otherwise you might further embarrass yourself if there was nothing to apologize about in the first place. And if you actually did behave in an inappropriate way, the other person certainly doesn't want to be reminded of it in front of everybody else.

If you think that other people talk behind your back, take it like a man (or woman).
Perfect people only do perfect things. The rest of us learn from our mistakes and live with the consequences.

Like I said, don't come to me.
If you crossed an important line then I don't have time to talk to you since I'm preparing your termination. In this case you'll hear from me as soon as I'm done.

And if it was only something really funny or stupid, then I probably already heard about it, closed my office door and laughed my ass off.

17 December 2007

Tag: Christmas Meme (And: Who Wants To Be My Friend?)

I've been tagged by HR Wench so now I need to answer some questions about Christmas.

The Rules
  • Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog
  • Share Christmas facts about yourself
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs
  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
The Meme

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
I usually do the packing at my parents' house 30 minutes before the gift distribution so I have to use what's left (my parents don't buy bags).

2. Real or artificial tree?
No tree at all. Artificial looks stupid and real makes too much of a mess. My parents happily stopped buying a tree as soon as my brother and I refused to do the decorating.

3. When do you put up the tree?
The what?

4. When do you take the tree down?
About 15 years ago for the last time.

5. Do you like eggnog?
I never had any, but Stephen Colbert enjoyed it on his show in huge quantities last year. So It must be good.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Money to buy my first bass guitar (although it wasn't at Christmas and I was a teenager).

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Nope, but I have a Matrix scene all year long with Morpheus, Trinity, Neo and Tank. And also a Star Wars scene with figures from Kinder Schokolade eggs.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A pair of socks and some milk chocolate (the most boring kind).

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I hate writing cards so I don't do it.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Long Kiss Goodnight with Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis. Closely followed by Die Hard 1.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I try to "gift pool" so somebody else does the shopping. When it doesn't work it's usually 2 hours before the shops close.

12. Favorite things to eat at Christmas?
Whatever my brother cooks. Every year he treats us with fantastic dishes we never ate before.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Stop it already with the stupid tree questions.

14. Favorite Christmas song?
Idlechatter's punk-rock version of "Frosty The Snowman". And the Roten Rosen album "Warten Auf's Christkind".

I'm Tagging

I should tag 7 random people, but I hate harassing innocent bystanders. And since I work in HR, I have very few friends by definition. So I'll only tag 3 people:

Deb at 8 Hours & A Lunch and my HR blogging heroines Evil HR Lady and Ask A Manager.

Do You Want To Be My Friend?

I have currently 4 slots left for people who want to be my friends. Just post a link to your meme in the comments and I'll retroactively tag you ;-)

Guest Post: Rachel On Communication For Managers

This is a guest post by Rachel from The Employment File.

Rachel posted her Deathbed Managerial Advice in response to my "5 Things to say to Managers" challenge. Then I challenged her on her #5 "COMMUNICATE".

I must have said something like "this is great advice, but how do you motivate managers to really communicate when most of them will say that their voice mail is always available and that they have an open door policy (they usually say this when they work in an open space)."

Without missing a beat, she sent back the article below and allowed me to publish it. Since I like to have the last word, I wrote back some feedback, but she qualified my suggestions as "selling and schmoozing" to managers.
...and she challenged me to write a follow up post on "selling an idea to managers".

HR Advice to Managers: Communication

Having your door open or your lines clear is not communicating. There's nothing wrong with being available for these types of communication, but they should not be your primary communication vehicle. Communication is a two way road. While on the one side of the road you have employees "driving" towards you, that lane should be relatively free. On the other side of the road, you're approaching the employee, that lane should be bumper to bumper traffic.

So, let's say that you're on the road and you're ready to initiate communication. If it doesn't happen in voice mail and email where does it happen? Hopefully it's face to face. However, we're aware that it's not always easy to get face time with an employee. You should have set times to communicate with the employee on a weekly basis and work "on the fly" on a day to day basis. It means stopping for a second and checking in. What do you check in about? Well, think of how angry you would be (or your spouse would be) if you came home from work every night, asked how their day was, and then moved on to read the paper. While this is communication, it is communication at a very basic level. This is not the level of communication you want to give your employees or your spouse. Instead of, "how are you" try something like "I know today must have been hard for you working alone. I want you to know I appreciated it." Or instead of "This is the new policy, make sure you follow it" try "Here's the new policy, take a day to read it and come up with questions and then we'll have a staff meeting where I can address your concerns." See the difference?

One of the best ways to communicate with an employee is to provide them with feedback. Everyone loves to be praised! Make sure you reinforce their behavior when they do something right. This does not mean going on about how your administrative assistant can measure coffee, it means telling that assistant that you appreciate her getting your coffee with a smile when you know she'd rather be working on a more challenging project. Now, the opposite of praise is criticism. Don't worry! People don't hate criticism as much as they say. Most people want to better themselves and the best way to do that is to receive criticism. Now how you communicate that criticism matters. Don't tell Jim that watching him do a presentation is like watching paint dry. Tell him that he should look into it, and then....give advice on how to do that. Make sure criticism is always followed by advice on how to improve. It's just good communication.

As for HR, since full communication can be difficult to maintain, we like to give you reminders to keep you on the right path.

08 December 2007

Employees 2.0 And HR In General

This is a guest post from a friend of mine. He prefers to remain anonymous, but he swears that everything is true.

Thank you for writing all this stuff about HR "persons" being also employees, this really opened my eyes. It would never have occurred to me that people in HR are also employees (let aside humans).

Recently, I've heard the term "Employee 2.0". It's about the future employees who are now attending schools or universities and who use "new" technologies. The rationale goes like this: a company has to keep up with these "new" technologies and integrate them in the work flows as not to alienate the future workforce. The idea is that these employees will be more productive if they encounter familiar tools like Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis and YouTube clones.

Personally, I believe it's only an excuse for the IT guys to introduce new toys and seem innovative instead of solving the real problems. In my company, they even introduced something similar to YouTube and started a pilot with portable players for Podcasts. They're just crazy bastards!

Last week I met a friend who works at a company of the [bleep] group in [double bleep]. I was quite surprised at how much he praised their HR. It seems that they are not understaffed (maybe they don't have enough beds so some HR people actually have to do some work) and they do more than just hire and fire resources, sorry, employees. It seems they really help you plan your career at their company. This seems odd since I had never heard that this was a task for HR ?!?

Additionally, the yearly employee survey is at over 85% satisfaction and they want to introduce measures to increase it even more. In our company, HR gets a big bonus and starts partying if we are over the destructive mark (which actually hasn't happened in the last few years).

06 December 2007

Turnover And Retention: Be Careful What You Google For

When researching information online, you can sometimes come up with true gems. But you'd better choose your search words wisely...

This was definitely not the kind of retention information I was looking for:
Determination of rumen fill, retention time and ruminal turnover rates of ingesta at different stages
(link leads to a pdf file).

Link: Career Advice For HR Professionals

The wise but evil HR Lady replied to a reader question from an HR professional who doesn't know how to continue his career.

The article is awesome as always and the comments are also full of great recommendations to think about:
  • there's no clear career path for HR, but the possibilities are almost endless
  • what do you really want and what are your strengths?
  • management / leadership with a more strategic role or continue to get your hands dirty?
  • ...and much more!

Funny fact: specialist / generalist is mentioned a few times. I don't know about other countries, but in Switzerland an "HR Specialist" is usually the most "generalist" you can get.

04 December 2007

Turnover: A Quick And Dirty Online Search

A quick and dirty online search confirms that there's a lot of interest for turnover and that it's very difficult to calculate its costs.

Absolute costs of turnover
Many opinions about the costs of turnover range from 25% to 250% of a position's annual salary costs.

How to measure the costs of turnover
Elements that can be included in the calculation are:
  • job ads
  • recruiting agencies
  • temporary staff
  • salary of interviewers
  • lost productivity
  • training of new hire
  • severance costs
  • ...and many more
The Internet is also full of online tools for calculating the costs of turnover. Most of these tools are developed by consultants who will sell you their services once you realize how much money you loose due to turnover.

As everything out there in the Cloud, some tools may be very good while others are probably a joke. But they can give interesting input for developing one's own list of costs elements or calculation tools.

How much turnover is too much?
Specific figures are tricky since in one situation 10% can be a lot while in another it can be absolutely acceptable. A good idea could be to find info about the industry average or the turnover rates of direct competitors. But in general, an increasing turnover rate is mostly bad.

Why isn't turnover always bad?
A bad performer may be replaced with a better one (although it's usually the good ones who leave). Or an exit could give the opportunity to promote a rising star.

And I even heard that there are still a few companies where employees stay for 20 or more years. In this case low turnover can become very costly due to continuous salary raises over a long period of time. And since new employees often bring new ideas, innovation could also suffer.

Turnover or retention rate?
Some articles recommend to measure the retention rate instead of turnover. This way you can analyze who is leaving when and after how much time instead of just measuring how many percent of your staff are leaving.

What I learned from my short virtual trip
  • turnover exists (I read about it on the Internet!)
  • it costs a lot, but nobody really knows how much
  • consultants love turnover
  • zero turnover shouldn't be the goal
  • "retention rate" sounds like something worth looking into

02 December 2007

Quotes: Too Much TV

I've been watching some tv and stumbled across the following quotes:

First of all, a quote from The Patriot. I saw it on a German channel and when researching it online, I didn't find the final script (only drafts), but what I heard in the movie goes something like this:
A shepherd needs to be there for his herd. And sometimes, he also needs to keep the wolves away from the sheeps.
(The Reverend, when joining the militia)
What it tells me: I spontaneously thought of assholes. I'm currently reading Robert Sutton's book "The No Asshole Rule". Managers need to protect their employees from abusive jerks.

Don't take it personally, just take it seriously.
(Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares, season 1 episode 9)
What it tells me: not often enough, but still occasionally, some people may tell us what they really think. Take it seriously, it's a great chance to learn something. Don't be annoyed, don't pout. Consider it. If they're wrong, forget about it and move on. But if they're right, do everything you can to learn from it and become a better person and a better professional.

There's 3 choices in this life: Be good, get good or give up.
(Dr. House to a dying punk-rocker on House, season 4, episode 9)
What it tells me: Some are born good at what they're doing. I don't know many of them. Others give everything they got to become great. But sometimes the best thing you can do is quit. And then you can focus all your energy on things that can really make you successful and happy.

This reminds me of Seth Godin's "The Dip: a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)".

That's all, folks.

01 December 2007

Poll: Why did you start working in HR?

I love polls. "Do you like a, b, or c better?". Somebody wants to hear my opinion? No problem, here you go... But why did you start working in HR?

If you're anything like me, you won't be able to resist clicking on the little button.

The only downside: you have to go to the blog page (you can't vote from an RSS reader).

Admittedly, I've predefined the possible answers, but if you take this survey with a grain of salt, you will certainly have fun.

And if I get more than 10 answers, I will create a pie chart and post it on the Companion Page.

30 November 2007

Challenge: J.T. O'Donnell's 5 Things

I was checking out Technorati and found by chance a link to J.T. O’Donnell's Deathbed Advice To Managers.

I absolutely love this statement:
There’s just no room for poor management styles anymore because employees are fighting back by quitting. HR knows best: replacing ineffective management is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce turnover.
And if you think that "Employees hear what they see" sounds intriguing, then you absolutely have to read J.T.'s full list.

PS: My Technorati rank went up 2'879'935 in the last 40 days. But maybe this just means that almost 3 million people registered their blog after I did ;-)

J-2: Template for Resignation Letter

This is a guest post by my good friend Johnny. He knows stuff about me, so I let him write on my blog...

By Jaded Johnny (J-2)

The other day an employee asked me for a resignation letter template. We in HR don't accept additional work lightly, but in this case it makes sense.

When no employees leave the company, the turnover is low and there's no need to recruit replacements. So who needs HR in a perfect world? Therefore "high turnover = job security for HR".

So I created two quick and dirty templates for resignation letters. The first one is boring, the other one should only be used if you're really pissed off.

27 November 2007

Lifehack: Don't Forget Your Lunch Tomorrow

The last time I cooked something for the next day, I arrived at work and realized that my yummy lunch was still in the fridge at home.

But today I was very proud of myself.

Last night I prepared a chicken-egg-salad. But when I went to bed, I thought "Oh no, tomorrow I'll forget to take it with me again." So I picked up an empty food container in the kitchen, put it on the table next to the door and laid my wallet and keys next to it.

Today I had a chicken-egg-salad for lunch. Looks like my obsession with productivity and life hacks is finally starting to pay off.

PS: Does anybody know how to avoid chicken getting dry when you heat it up in the microwave?

22 November 2007

Laurie's Challenge: Expressing Gratitude

Laurie, the great HR Punk Rock Lady, issued a challenge:
[..] If you’re going to express gratitude, this Thanksgiving, I’m challenging you to be honest. Tell me what you’re most thankful for and don’t lie to me.
How could I ever lie to Laurie...

Read her list (see link above), it's much funnier than mine will be (once I come up with something)...

The lovely HR Wench also accepted the challenge and posted her own list. She had plenty of time to come up with some cool stuff since everybody's celebrating Thanksgiving in the US and apparently nobody bothered her at work (if only we could have Thanksgiving in Switzerland, if only...).

But enough stalling, here's my "honestly, I'm grateful for these things. Really!" list:
  1. A few days ago, my ISP upgraded my upload rate from 40kbps to 70kbps.
  2. I don't take care of my lawn as well as a Swiss person should. And yet none of my neighbors ever complained.
  3. I can do grocery shopping online and they even feature my favorite Vodka brand.
  4. My boss fully supports the HR version of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".
  5. I have a wonderful family (my mom doesn't call every week, my dad shares his moonshine with me, and my brother always tells me what he thinks, especially when I'm wrong).
  6. The new season of BBC's Spooks is awesome.
  7. I recently started my own blog and many HR Bloggers have been very friendly and even supportive [1].
  8. My monthly US comics package has arrived. As soon as I manage to leave work early, I'll be able to pick up 59 new issues of comics goodness at the post office [2].
  9. Firefox: pretty much the best invention since sliced bread
  10. After almost 10 years in HR, I still don't take drugs, never had a nervous breakdown and haven't beaten up an employee (yet).
  11. I get along (surprisingly) well with my colleagues at Finance.
Okay, I didn't post 10 things, but that's just "Spinal Tap"-style [3].

[1] comments are welcome. Really! Please... Pretty please... Ah, come on, just leave a comment. Just something, anything... ;-)
[2] what are The Boys up to? How can Ellis make Black Summer and Doktor Sleepless even more crazy? What happens to Faith in Buffy Season 8? Captain America is still dead, but what are Bucky and Fury up to? Will Catwoman really leave everything behind to protect her daughter? Madame Mirage... looks a bit like Laurie?
Yeah, turn it up to 11, baby! And the bass player still has the coolest walruss moustache ever. Lemmy is getting pretty close, though...

21 November 2007

Link: Laurie's Marketing Statement

What do you do when you think of something again and again and you just can't get it out of your head?

According to GTD [1] you write it down. Once it's on paper, it should be out of your head.

Laurie Rüttimann posted her Personal Marketing Statement.

I read it, closed the browser and went to bed.

The next day I tried to get some work done (TTGSWD), but in the end read the whole post to my boss. She disappeared under her desk and all I could hear were hysterical giggles [2].

Later on, I emailed the link to my colleague abroad. The reply was:
remove "big-breasted" and use Laurie's statement on your CV.
(do they want to see me gone?)

All I'm trying to say is: read Laurie's Marketing Statement!

She's too cool and life's too short to miss this.

[1] GTD or Getting Things Done is a productivity system developed by David Allen. Some people say that it's worthless and spawned a cult-like following, many others love it and some even found ways to adapt it to geek's needs (see 43folders, Lifehacker.com). And since this blog is supposed to be also about productivity and lifehacks, here ya go! Follow the links ;-)
[2] This is just a test. If tomorrow my boss is pissed at me, this means that she's secretly reading my blog...

20 November 2007

Challenge: Frank's 5 Things

Frank over at The Employment File joined Rachel (also from The Employment File) and posted his own morbid advice.
if it ain’t broke, break it
This is certainly some controversial advice and of course I posted only part of it as it sounds more provocative this way.

This really makes you want to click on the nice link above and read Frank's "5 Things", right?

16 November 2007

Challenge: Rachel's 5 Things

Rachel over at The Employment File posted her Deathbed Managerial Advice. After the somber organ music etc. now we even got a deathbed. I definitely don't want to see what your HR offices look like...

Here's my favorite:
Don't let the title go to your head.
I also read on The Employment File that Rachel just completed her Master's degree in HR this summer. Congratulations!

Of course, ze liste has been updated (mais naturellement).

Oh yes, and in case somebody asks for "the Swiss HR Priest who started the HR Death Cult", please tell them that I disappeared without leaving a forwarding address. Thanks.

I wish you all to live long and prosper!

Founder, Owner and Proud Contributor to the THE Blog
(also President, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer for Global Publishing and all around Executive Nice Guy)

15 November 2007

Link: Carnival of HR (Guerilla HR)

The HR freaks are partying again. This time, the Carnival of HR is hosted by Patrick Williams at Guerilla HR.

It's all about sports, sports... and HR.

In the introduction to the Carnival, Patrick links to an article about Home Depot. Quote from a Home Depot employee:
If you think being a customer at Home Depot stinks, try being an employee.

Some people pretend that I once said:
It's not that I really want to work in HR. But unfortunately, I'm not qualified to do anything else.
The newest Carnival of HR shows once again why working in Human Resources is so fascinating: lots of different people with different points of view writing about completely different topics.

And in the end it boils down to this thing we love so much: HR.

14 November 2007

Challenge: Ask A Manager's 5 Things

I asked a manager and she answered!

Ask A Manager's "deathbed advice" features the 5 final things she would say to managers.

And yes, I did say in the challenge: "Imagine, you're an HR professional and you will die soon". But I never thought that so many people would take it literally ("last gasp", "somber organ music", "things I must tell you before I go", "deathbed").

I guess it's true, HR people have a wicked sense of humor...

And the list has been updated.

Correction (2 December 2007):
I always thought the wise one was a man. I was wrong and corrected the text above.

Challenge: Liz' 5 Things

Liz Williams over at Collaboration Zone accepted the challenge and posted her "Five Things I Must Tell You Before I Go".

My favorite is no. 5: Leave room for others to add their thoughts.

I've added Liz' 5 things to the list.

13 November 2007

Is It Okay If HR Says F*** (...oops, almost said the F-Word...)

As I always say, HR is supposed to represent the company. So saying "fuck" is a big no-no! Really?

To Cuss Or Not To Cuss?

Deb over at 8 hours & a lunch made me think about this. I already linked to her post How Sensitive Should HR Be? (where she dropped the f*** bomb. Just "f***", mind you, she's a decent girl!) and she even left a comment on this blog (this means a lot to a rising star (heh?), wanna-be blogger! But like one of my role models recently said: "It takes a while to build a blog up").

The Fucking Bleeps!

So you have MTV or various Gordon Ramsay shows [1] where people are using all these dirty words but you can't hear them because they're bleeped out. But you know exactly what they mean. Or, if "u'r inglesh ain't that guhd", you assume it's just shit and fuck. Although when you have three bleeps in a row, it gets a bit hard to translate.

Back to the initial question

But the question was, should HR use these ugly words or not? I'm a "find the right balance" guy. I believe in wrong or right, but in day-to-day situations, I also believe that what's black today can be white tomorrow.

If your conviction is that cussing is always wrong, then don't ever say "shit". If somebody just told you that the CEO was addicted to heroin, the CFO was under investigation for insider trading and that right now the FBI was looking through all your personnel files, then stay true to yourself and just say "oops".

White can mean to be polite and to choose your words wisely. But in some private discussions with employees, spicing up your message with a few strong words can help the communication. After all, outside of work, most of your employees wouldn't say "Oh phooey, I burned the darn muffins." [2]

Be Wise!

So, as always, it depends on the situation. During a job interview you wouldn't say "this company is fucking cool" unless the candidate is borderline comatose from nervousness and you're absolutely sure that this statement will help him relax. If you're working in ER (=employee relations, not emergency room, although sometimes the lines can get a bit blurry), then you probably know your customers quite well. So saying "I damn well understand what you're going through" might help. Remember the "darn muffins"?

My Theory

Cussing is often bleeped out on US TV (not so much on British programs, though). This may seem to confirm the theory that Americans are rude hypocrites while the British are cultured, decent and polite.
But this explanation just seems too easy...

My Theory. Now really...

My theory is that it's just a cultural-linguistical problem. Somehow the US culture has developed these F-, S-, L- and whatever words.

In French and German there are no S- or C-words. Either you say "Scheisse" or "Mist", or you say "con" or "idiot". There's nothing in between. No F*bleep*k or buhl**shh***i*d**.

My recommendation

If you want to be rude, then spell it out! Say the words. Period! (".")
Otherwise, use polite words.
And if you're convinced of what you say, then you won't need any strong language.

[1] Gordon Ramsay is a world-class chef who owns several restaurants all over the world and hosts a few TV shows (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, etc.)
[2] this is a quote from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight with Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis. They don't use "pure HR speak" all the time.

09 November 2007

How Does HR Cope With Stress?

HR often has this huge advantage: we have offices with doors. This makes sense since we have to conduct confidential conversations.

But then there's the open door policy...

There are days when employees almost queue in front of the HR office. Closing the door from time to time can be very helpful. After all, what are we paid for: talking to nice people or getting stuff done?

Find a soul mate

If you're lucky, you can talk to your boss.

Otherwise I recommend finding a soul mate. If you're the only HR SPOC (Single Point of Contact) in the company, it could be somebody you trust (and you know can keep their mouth shut!). This last recommendation can be tricky. After all, this trusted person also has to deal with their own worries and needs to talk about them sometimes.

Friends? What-cha-mean?

Another possibility is to have friends. This might sound strange, but I recently heard of this revolutionary new idea:

Don't spend every waking hour at the office!

Instead, have a social life and meet people working for other companies (or not working at all). They will have a different perspective and might give you valuable advice or ask interesting questions.


=if("HR headcount" > 1, "this might help", "you're screwed") [1]

If you're the only HR person in your company, this might not work. On the other hand, keep in mind the unofficial US Marine Corp's motto [2]:
Show some fucking adaptability!
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Close the door to the HR office and say whatever you want (as long as your HR colleagues are fine with it). You might say "this is such a wonderful day, I feel like hugging everybody" or "I hate procrastinating, why do we have so many documents to file?" or even "the guy from Purchasing is such an asshole, why do I have to put up with his shit?".

And when the next internal customer (in Dilbert speak: "valued employee" [3]) shows up, you'll be all smiles and say something like "Hi there, what can I do for you?"

[1] I know, I'm an Excel geek. I just couldn't resist ;-)
[2] Actually, I'm not sure if this is really the US Marine Corp's unofficial motto. But I thought it sounded cool. This is a quote from Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I luh-ho-huv this book!
[3] Dilbert is a comic strip about business and IT. I've been working for IT companies for a long time, but I'm always surprised how many people don't know about Dilbert. Anyway, I couldn't stop smiling for the next 15 hours after an employee once called me "Catbert".

08 November 2007

Weblog Awards: Evil HR Lady Won A Medal!

The polls of the 2007 Weblog Awards closed 20 minutes ago and the absolutely un-evil but totally sarcastic (in a good HR way) Evil HR Lady made 3rd place in the Best Business Blog category!

And since I'm not just a touchy-feely HR Guy, but also a hands-on numbers geek:
  • 4'354 votes in total
  • 508 (11.7%) votes for our girl
  • the winning blog didn't even make the majority ("only" 36.4%)
This is nothing new to those who are familiar with the blog of the Mistress Of Precious HR Advice, but:


Challenge: Wally's 5 Things

Wally Bock over at the Three Star Leadership Blog has accepted my challenge and posted a great article called Last gasp advice for managers.

But sharing wisdom from his rich experience isn't enough for him. He also took the "you will die soon" part seriously, even including "somber organ music".

Finally, he calls me the "Swiss HR Priest". Do I see new business cards in the near future?

The challenge is still open! You can get more information here and also read HR Wench's "5 Things" whose article "I Say Good Day Sir!" inspired this challenge.

04 November 2007

Challenge: 5 Things to say to Managers

Imagine: You're an HR Professional and you will die soon. What are the 5 things you would say to the managers in your company?

Remember, you're dying. You have nothing to loose. And if you believe in Karma, lets assume for the sake of this challenge that your comments don't count against your Karma score. So you can say whatever you want.

What would you say?

Here is some background information. I challenge every HR Blogger to write about their "5 Things" and send me the link to their post.

Link: How not to reply in a job interview

Here's a great post from HR Wench about what not to say in a job interview.

The Perfect Candidate, is the description of a phone interview. The candidate is so honest it almost hurts...

I'm all about honesty, that's not the question here. But if an HR professional gets these answers and doesn't reject the application, this could almost be a reason for termination for cause (depending on the national or local legislation, of course).

Needless to say, it's hilarious. Example:
Well he's used to being paid more but it will do while he looks for something else.

Go read it, it's worth it!

Link: Carnival of HR

Carnival means party. Carnival of HR means... well, it's not like us HR freaks didn't know how to party... really...

Anyway, the other day I posted a link to the incredibly evil, oops... incredibly wonderful Evil HR Lady's post about Halloween and Terminations. But I forgot to mention that this article was part of the newest edition of the Carnival of HR hosted this time by the HRO Manager.

The beauty of the Carnival is that it features articles about many different topics written by people from various backgrounds with sometimes very different points of view. But at the end of the day, it's all about HR!

The articles I read so far:

Evil HR Lady: of course. See above.

Ask A Manager: How should new managers be trained?
You want to see a diploma when hiring a Systems Administrator, but who trains your managers? Lots of useful information.

Michael Wade: Dangerous beliefs
You know how to behave in a company and what to expect? Read this post. Even if you already know everything mentioned in this post, read it and enjoy. Sometimes it's good to be reminded and to think about what we thought we knew.

Deb Owen: How sensitive should HR be?
Sometimes it's our job to listen and be understanding, other times we must be able to say no. Deb also doesn't mind if somebody drops the "f*** bomb" (translation for non-US readers: "fuck bomb". The Yanks like to write in riddles, or in the case of MTV, in bleeps).

Actually, the HRO Manager's comments are much better than mine, so go check out his quick summaries here and then click the links for the original articles.

The other day somebody asked me:
"What do you want to do when you grow up?"

My answer:
"I want to participate in the Carnival of HR!"

I've been told before that my sense of humor is kinda strange ;-)

03 November 2007

J-2: HR cares

This is a guest post by my good friend Johnny. According to him, he's the bestest HR Manager in the world. But he also knows some stuff about me and thus convinced me that it was in my interest to let him use my blog to voice his opinions from time to time. Or else...

By Jaded Johnny (J-2)

The other day an employee interrupted one of my numerous "quality thinking sessions" (QTS). Since my office door is always closed, the knock on the door alerted me and gave me enough time to safely store my trusted cushion in the file cabinet. But I digress...

The good man had a question for me. I don't remember what he said exactly, but it had something to do with "yadda yadda... unfair... me want raise... are you actually listening... I'm entitled to... blah blah... right now."

After giving him my full attention like any HR professional would do, weighting both sides carefully and taking a sip of cold coffee (a good QTS session takes its time and coffee gets cold after some time), I asked him one question. After that the case was closed and he left.

That's the way to do it: listen closely! And instead of telling people what to do, ask them a challenging question and help them find their own answers. I think the appropriate buzz word is "empowerment".

My question was:
Just out of curiosity, what was it exactly that gave you the impression that I care?

01 November 2007

Recruiting: Send regret emails efficiently (2/2)

Part 1 was a walk down memory lane. Back then when HR still received applications by snail mail.

In this part I'll describe how you can send a regret email within seconds.

If you receive all applications by email (to your personal email address or a team mailbox) and need to answer each message individually, this might be helpful.

The tools: Outlook with a few shortcuts and Texter

Texter is a nifty little tool developed by the great people at Lifehacker [1]. It's Windows only and also portable, this means that you can launch it from a USB stick if you aren't allowed to install programs on your work computer.

Once started, right click on the Texter icon on the task bar (usually on the lower right corner of the screen) and add a standard text. Example:

Thank you for applying with The Rebellion Inc.
However, we regret to inform you that your professional experience doesn't completely match the requirements of the position.

We wish you all the best and hope that you will soon find your way back to the light side of the Force.

Best regards

Mon Mothma
Leader of the Alliance
Assign a keyword or an abbreviation to this text snippet, but make sure that you use something that you wouldn't usually type. So instead of "regret" you could use "eemregret". Finally, define a key that will activate the text insertion, for example the space key.

Faster than the naked eye can see

First put all emails you want to reply to in a single folder.
  1. select the first message and click "Enter" to open it
  2. press Ctrl+r to reply
  3. select the tab key until you're in the body of the email
  4. type "eemregret" and press the space key to insert the text
  5. use the arrow key to go to the 1st line and type "Mr. Vader" after "Dear"
  6. select Alt+s to send the message
  7. press Ctrl+d to delete the original email and activate the next application

And if you want to finish with some cleaning up:
  • all deleted messages are in the "Deleted Items" folder. Sort by date, select all applications and move them in one quick swoop to your archive folder
  • repeat for all sent replies (you will find them in the "Sent Items" folder)

The secret is to always keep your fingers on the keyboard. If this is too difficult, hide the mouse in a drawer.

Practice until the movements become automatic and your fingers are just a blur.

[1] Lifehacker.com is a productivity blog with something for everyone from utilities under Windows, Mac or Linux to time management and even clever household tips.
[2] Mon Mothma is a character from Star Wars.

31 October 2007

Link: Halloween and Terminations

The wonderfully evil, wonderful Evil HR Lady posted a great article about how HR can support managers who need to terminate somebody.

Trick Or Treat Training (Or How to Train for Terminations)

She starts by describing how she trained her 4-year old daughter for trick or treating and then adapts the learnings to terminations.

For HR professionals, I also recommend to have a quick chat with the manager just before the termination meeting and to check up on him afterwards. Being fired can be traumatic, but having to terminate somebody isn't exactly a walk in the park either.

After all, one of the reasons why HR people are so highly paid (uh, what?) is because we sometimes have to share the emotional burdens of others.

But who shares our pain? Well, this could be a topic for another post. How does "The Bottle: an HR professionals best friend" sound for a title?

26 October 2007

Lifehack: HR and dirty pans

Lets assume you're a hard-working HR professional. Or just hard-working, period. You come home late at night, you're hungry and you don't want to eat microwave food.

Coming home late, tired, lemme watch some TV...

So you use a pan for meat and a pot for pasta or rice. Or just a pan for meat and an egg. Once the food is finally ready, you sit in front of the TV and watch something enjoyable because you think you've earned it (or you're just tired and want to watch TV).

Your dirty pans are still sitting on the stove. But by now you're watching a movie and afterwards you'll be too tired to do any cleaning. The bad news is that tomorrow morning you'll rush out the door so you're not late for work and on the weekend you'll be faced with dirty, crusted, and just plain disgusting pans.

The best and the almost "bestest" solution

The best solution is to become a better person and to clean up everything just after you've used it.

The second best solution is to fill up your pans and pots with water, to add some dish cleaning stuff (takes 10 seconds or less) and to enjoy the movie.

Face the consequences

When you finally decide to spend some quality time with your beloved kitchen (i.e. cleaning pans and pots), it will take you only seconds to clean the greasy pans since they're not disgustingly crusted with stuff.

Perfection is for... somebody else

Just so we're clear: it's not about being perfect human beings, it's about making life easier and more enjoyable ;-)

25 October 2007

Recruiting: Send regret emails efficiently (1/2)

Part 1 is a walk down memory lane that leads to today's challenge: how to process hundreds of regret emails efficiently.

In part 2 I'll describe how you can send a regret email within seconds.

A recruiter is unlucky if he gets only 3 applications in response to a published job ad (especially if none fits the required profile). But he's also a poor sod if he gets 50 or even 100 CVs per position.

The illusion of personalized regret letters

At my very first HR job the HR Director instructed us to send personalized regret letters to each and every candidate. For some time, we were hiring up to 30 Customer Care Representatives per month. One day, we actually bothered to analyze the available data and realized that we hired around 5% of all applicants. This means that we processed close to 5'000 applications to build up a call center with 250 representatives (by then we already had to replace the first leavers, of course).

Needless to say that we silently ignored our orders (of course, this was never held against us). I also became an expert in using the MS Word "mail merge" function.

The cyber age: more bits, less paper

Back then we received most applications on paper. Personal email accounts or even Internet connections at home were brand new and revolutionary. Applications were measured in piles (start a new pile when the current one is starting to keel over). Best practice: start a new pile when the old one reaches 24.5 centimeters [1].

Jobsites and email applications

I love the Internet and I love email (except when I get 50 emails per day and 2/3 of them require some action from my part that can take between 2 min and 2 hours).

It's so easy to send an email application. Either you already have a profile on a job site or you just send an email with a copy-pasted text (if at all) and a few attachments. 3 years ago I used to get a lot of applications from India, nowadays it's often Romania, Poland or Russia.

Warning, here comes an ugly word: BACKLOG

If you don't have an efficient recruiting tool that allows you to automatically send regret emails, you might know this situation: you're at your desk at 1 am, feeling very, very guilty because you still haven't said "no" to dozens or even hundreds of hopeful job applicants and you're asking yourself when too late is "too late". After 1 month, 3 months, 6 months?

Automated regret messages?

From a job seeker's point of view: it's tough working on your CV for hours and trying to come up with the perfect motivation letter... and then you receive a well-drafted, polite, but still standard regret message.

But I'd say it's still better than receiving no answer at all. As mentioned above, applying is becoming almost too easy nowadays. Some applicants don't even bother to write "Hi, here's my CV. Regards, Billy" anymore. Some just send a CV without any text and even without mentioning the job title in the subject (this is really annoying if you have 10+ open positions in different departments and maybe even in several countries).

Automated regret messages: YES!

The next part will be about sending regret messages very quickly and very easily.
Stay tuned...

[1] 24.5 cm = 9.65 in

22 October 2007

Do you work in HR, Personnel Administration, HCM, or something like this?

It's funny how words can mean a lot sometimes and become void of any meaning other times.

Call a geek a nerd an he might forget about his conviction that non-violence is the way to go.

HR, Personnel or HCM?

Ask an HR, Personnel or HCM professional what HR, Personnel or HCM means and they might just look at you blandly.

Now is this important at all? I don't think so, but I've decided to post a dozen articles before I told my friends and family about this blog, so here are a few random thoughts.

From what I understand (this is what I usually say when I'm too lazy to research the actual information), this is the history of the terms:

Personnel Administration

This term was used way back when HR only drafted contracts and termination letters. And they did a lot of filing. Actual recruiting was too important, so it was handled by the head of department or the direct manager. Payroll was about money, so it had to be handled by responsible people (Finance). Therefore HR meant mostly using a typewriter and filing paper.

Human Resources

Employees were now considered a resource, meaning they were valuable to the company. Sounds good. But resources are also timber or oil. But still: valuable.

Human Capital Management

This is a designation that many companies started using a few years ago. Funny thing is, most of them went back to "HR". I think the main idea was that "capital" is something you invest in or that you use to invest while "resource" is something you use. Somehow capital sounded better, but it didn't stick.

A bit of psychology?

We could analyze the deeper psychological meaning of the words "resource" and "capital" and try to match them with studies about the psyche of CEOs, managers in general and the mindset of the general public in the western world during the last 10 years.

Conclusion, happy me and fun fact

But lets make it easy: sometimes you launch a new product or brand name and it becomes a trend. Sometimes it just fails and everybody forgets about it after some time.

Me, I'm happy with "Human Resources". I'll choose it any day over "Personnel Administration" (I hate filing).

Funny fact: I noticed that companies providing financial services like to use HCM in their job ads. Does "resources" sound too industrial?

Excel functions every HR professional should know

Although my cute widdle heart beats for HR, it's true that I'm a bit of an Excel geek. I probably shouldn't have spent so much time with my good friends over at Finance.

But it's a fact that a handful of Excel functions learned from helpful colleagues have made my life much, much easier and I'm now using many of them on a daily basis.

Before it gets interesting: how to learn Excel

I can't sit down and learn something if I don't already know how to use it. Maybe you're the person who can sit through a training or read an online tutorial or book and remember a special function 6 months later when you need it. Unfortunately, I'm not like this.

So here's what I do. When I realize that my current skills can't help me solve a problem, I look for tutorials. For example, today I needed to create a waterfall chart but didn't remember how to do it, so I googled "tutorial excel waterfall").

Another strategy is to talk to your friendly friends at Finance (they're weird, but they're also the masters of spreadsheets). Have a coffee with them. They're usually happy to share their knowledge. If you're not comfortable talking to the bean counters, try to find an HR controller somewhere.


I already hear the duh's in the crowd. I know they're not difficult to use, but I think that many people could benefit from using filters more often.

I use them everyday in my "Entry process follow-up checklist" where I have always a few dozen active lines (one line per new hire, active until the very last step of the entry process has been successfully concluded).

Need to work on one line? Use filters so the other lines don't get in the way. And instead of scrolling through the list of names, filter first for "department", "country" if you work for an international organization or "job title" if you hire many people for the same position.

Once the entry process is over and the person in question has become a "real" employee (from an HR admin point of view), exclude this line. One way to do it is with a column you can call "status". Add "okay" in this line's status column and filter for "blanks". You will then only see the "unreal" employees.

Or you might have a list with several dozens or even hundreds of employees and need to look up all female employees in Marketing with a car allowance sorted by last name? Too bad, Excel only allows to sort for three different criteria, but you need four. And you don't want to spend hours scrolling down the file anyway.

So lets use a filter for gender (it's quick because there's only two possibilities), then department (if you have departments with only male employees some departments will already have been excluded, so the list gets shorter) and then use a filter for "yes" or a custom filter ("car allowance" not equal 0) if the column contains amounts (e.g. "0", "200", "500", etc.). Finally, you can sort by last name.

Vlookup [1]

The vlookup function can be useful in the following situations:
you need to combine two lists with different information, for instance one list with entry date and salary and the other a list provided by the department heads with the annual bonus results. You need one cell that contains the same information in both lists, and then you can combine them to a single list (possible information is "employee number" or "name").

And maybe a Concatenate might even come in handy.


If you have "LastName FirstName" in one list and two separate cells for last name and first name in the other list, use the Concatenate function.

Example: Last name in column A and first name in column B: add the following formula to column C (assuming the title of the column is in row 1):

=A2 &" "& B2

This will combine "Benson" from column A and "Steve" from column "B" as "Benson Steve" in column C with a nice space in between. Then copy the formula in cell C2 to the following lines (C3 to Cx).

To avoid problems, I recommend to remove the formulas (mark column C, select "copy", then click "edit", "paste special" and "values").

Finally: in case I've offended you...

If you're an HR professional and still think that the title of this post is too strong and maybe even offensive, or if you're offended by this post because you've known everything for years: please accept my apology.

I'm aware that not every HR professional needs advanced Excel skills, but I never had the opportunity to go to an "Excel for HR peeps" training.

One late night experience

One experience I'll never forget is how I tried for hours to get some budget figures ready. At 1 am I walked over to Finance because I needed a clarification. The graveyard shift guy gave me the info and said: "Great, in this case I'll get the HR figures in 10 minutes." When I told him that I needed at least 2 hours he taught me the secrets of pivot tables. This is why I think that many HR people could benefit from additional Excel skills.

And if you're still offended... well, you know, it's hard to get any attention as a new blogger. So please tell all your HR friends about this rude new blogger and don't forget to include the link ;-)

[1] for more information on vlookup's, lets google "tutorial excel vlookup"

18 October 2007

The Happy Employee: because it sounds cool

This is one of the reasons I chose "The Happy Employee" as the title of this blog. It's catchy, it has to do with HR and it mentions a feeling, which hopefully makes me look more human (it may often not be obvious, but this is a secret desire of many HR professionals).

Fact or wishful thinking?

Although it's my job to represent my employer, I'm also an employee at the same time. I'm a happy person and most of the time a happy employee (except when Pinocchio completes an employee satisfaction survey). So "The Happy Employee" is both a description of myself and the expression of my longing for more of this enjoyable feeling. Happiness is like Haribo's Gold-Bears [1], eat one and you'll want more of the stuff.

An agenda

This blog's name automatically opens a can full of questions like: Are you a happy employee? Really? What makes an employee happy? Lots of money, a manager who loves you, free lunches [2] ? What can a company do to make their employees happy? Are happy employees really something a company should strive for?

And my personal favorite: Should we try to achieve perfect bliss or is it more important to learn and grow? Don't we usually achieve the latter during tough and often unhappy times?


I love acronyms. All the better if they're silly. GNU stands for Gnu's Not Unix [3]. THE stands for The Happy Employee.

Maybe I should start referring to this blog as "the THE blog".

[1] Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo.
[2] There's no such thing as a free lunch (TINSTAAFL). Except at Google (see no. 10)
[2] GNU is a Unix-like operating system which is free as in freedom (not as in beer)

Don't wait until it's too late

Sometimes I have a great idea. So I write it down because my brain is like a Swiss cheese, full of holes.

A good wine needs time to mature

If it's a really great idea, I'll think about it for some time. Sooner or later I'll want to write it down and make it available for others to read. But is it good enough yet? Better not rush, let the idea grow and mature slowly. Good things come to those who wait. Good wine and all that.

Don't let life pass you by

Let a good wine mature for too long and one day it will taste like vinegar. I admit that I'm no wine expert, so I might be wrong about the good wine maturing for too long. So lets go with another analogy. If you wait in front of a train for too long, the doors will close and the train will leave without you.

Grab life by the horns

Paraphrasing a former boss: when you have too many things to do, don't think it through to the nth dimension. Make a quick decision and go for it. In case you were wrong (which is usually the exception) you can still correct it later. Just don't waste time instead of getting things done.

Good enough is good enough

Sometimes it's the obvious things that are the most helpful. Six words in a Dan Kennedy book [1] really opened my eyes:
Often, good enough is good enough.
Or to use a few lines from "The Zen of Todoist" [2]:
The longest journey starts with the first step.

Celebrate any progress.
Don't wait to get perfect.
What I learned today

I've been thinking about several articles I could write. But now I decided to just start writing about how I approach the process of writing. Results: my 2nd blog entry is almost ready and I had fun. Of course it won't make Digg's most popular, but did I mention that I had fun?

Sometimes it's about results - sometimes having fun is the result

The end. For now.

[1] Kennedy Dan, No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs
[2] Todoist, an awesome, fully intuitive online ToDo List (click About Todoist)