No crying in the toilet!

I read an article recently about how people (ok women) can keep their emotions in check at work. Basically how not to cry at work, for women.  One of the tips was to take it to the toilet, if you’re going to cry, just make sure no one sees you.

But I say NO to crying in the toilet!

I am standing up for all the blubbers like me out there. I have cried at work – when frustrated, in interviews ( mostly when being interviewed), when angry… I can face a room full of trade union colleagues scrutinising sheets of my statistics with a fine tooth comb, I can be questioned by a hostile solicitor in a tribunal BUT I crumble in front of three lovely people asking me questions and only wishing me well.  All they want to know is how I  make sure appraisals are aligned to organisational objectives.
Why cry?
I have done it in front of people, do they think I am weaker? That I am not good at my job? I got one job after crying at the interview, another job I didn’t get. I’m assured that throught the tears I gave good answers and that had nothing to do with why I didn’t get the job.  They were very kind.
Here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt from my own crying in the workplace -
At times I have been overly worried about what people thought – I was doing things that I thought I ‘should’ do, how I thought I should do them.  Not doing things in a way that felt right to me – I wasn’t being myself and that is stressful.
Most recently I was applying for a job I didn’t have any recent experience of, it didn’t feel right – why did I apply? I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t interested, that I wasn’t committed. I ignored my gut feeling.
I believed that work had to be hard, really really hard,  otherwise why would anyone pay you for it? I’ve learnt that working on what you are good at and amplifying your awesomeness makes life much less stressful than working on the gaps & focussing on the deficiencies,  except where absolutely necessary.
Learn to say no when things aren’t right.  Don’t qualify it, don’t apologise.
Surely we don’t want to ban emotion in the workplace?  We want people to engage, be brand ambassadors. To do that we need them to feel.  If people are crying lets not cover it up, it’s a sign we need to change something – whether it’s yourself or the culture around you.
Posted in Feeling Fabulous | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 50 Shades of Grey of valentines day

We don’t really do valentines day in our house.  Mr HR Em works in the restaurant business – apparently he’s a bit busy at this time of year.  So instead I’m off to see 50 Shades of Grey with the HR Em Director of Procurement & Sailing.

However, I am a bit worried. I did read an alarming blog earlier in the week warning of the danger of grievances, or worse, arising from discussing 50 Shades of Grey in the workplace. Now, I haven’t read the book and I’ve stayed away from the publicity so as not to spoil the film.  I am a bit confused about how a film about interior design might land me in trouble in the office.

Apparently it’s quite steamy, maybe they have to take the wallpaper off before deciding on which shade of grey they are going to use.

I’ll let you know when I’ve seen it, just don’t mention it in the office.

Christian Grey

Christian Grey

Posted in Random ramblings | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Funny rumblings in Social Media

I’ve blogged over at theHRDirector!

Posted in All things social | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out of Coffice

I’m supposed to be on a digital detox, it turns out I’m not very good at it.  I started this because pretty soon I will be somewhere with, pretty much, no internet connect and no WiFi.  NO WIFI.

I’ve got 5 twitter accounts for different things, which I nurture with varying success! Sometimes they leak into each other by accident, which can be embarrassing.  But hey, who doesn’t love a cute cat picture from #CatFriday or (new this week) #Caturday.

I’ve got my personal Facebook account, a Facebook page and am member of various groups.

I’ve got four email accounts – not bad for someone who doesn’t ‘do’ email.

I’m not even counting – yammer, pinterest, google+, linkedIn & a Linkedin group.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got a Vine and an instagram account lurking somewhere.

Then there’s my employer’s internal online social networks too.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh and You Tube, I nearly forgot You Tube…

Basically I think in blogs, posts and tweets.

I’m not saying this to show off, I know there are people with more than me!  It’s just a reflection that since having virtually no digital footprint four years ago to now, I was actually quite surprised when I added it all up.

So what?

Well, I stated my intention to do a ‘digital detox’ partly so that I would stick to it and then it started feeling like I was saying to all my friends – I’m sorry, but you’re cluttering my brain up, I’m not speaking to you! Which is just a bit rude and not true.

I also wanted a way of saying I wouldn’t be online, without telling burglars to come and help themselves, A social ‘Out of Coffice’. (Don’t, there are people in my house while I am in the place with no WiFi and a big dog.)

The idea of the ‘digital detox’ just serves the argument that being online, social,  is bad for you and I don’t agree with that. It gives fuel to the people who just don’t agree with Social Media.

What I do agree with is that sometimes it can be difficult to juggle it all, even with Hootsuite. The other thing is that given that a lot of my work is to encourage other people to get involved* – what does it say to them. No wonder they look at me like I’m a crazy woman when I try to persuade them that this stuff actually makes their life easier!

Arianna Huffington describes her life just before she collapsed with exhaustion “The space, the gaps, the pauses, that allow us to regenerate and recharge – had all but disappeared in my own life”.  I don’t have a media empire and I don’t know anyone who does.  I’m not about to collapse with exhaustion,  but I will be thinking about how to help people to navigate all this better when they are already overwhelmed with email, so that it does actually add something worthwhile to their days.

So consider this my ‘Out of Coffice’ message.  Emma can’t answer your blog, post or tweet right now.

When I get back I’ll be putting many more pauses back into my day – I think it will be better for everyone.

(*My other mission is to encourage use of the work ‘Awesome’)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shoulda, woulda, coulda…

Well, it’s that time of year and I might be slow off the mark but I can’t help but write a topical blog on resolutions!

Setting goals can be a surprisingly emotive thing I reckon, for me it really sets my inner critic (lets call her Penny) loose. She’s got my best interests at heart, wanting to keep me safe. Penny starts sentences with words like –

• You should…
• You must….
• If only…

So not helping.

In my head I am rubbish at running and in real life too. This is not false modesty, I really am crap. I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter. However, it turns out that what I am pretty awesome at is getting out of the house for 30 minutes, getting some fresh air and some space to think – whilst putting one foot in front of the other wearing dodgy running kit.

For so many year’s I’ve stopped and started running because I haven’t really been specific about what I wanted to achieve. I thought I wanted to run a 5k for charity, probably because that’s what people do. But it’s never motivated me, only making me feel more gloomy and giving Penny more ammunition to say things like –

• You should run faster…
• Why can’t you run 10k…
• If only Stella McCartney did running kit in size 16 you would be better… (what do you mean she does?)

It was only when I realised what motivated me that I was able to tailor my goals for me and so instead of run 5K by June it became – Create space in my day, get outside and move around a bit.

My measurements of success then became more approprate. Out with ‘Run 5k in 20 minutes’ It becomes ‘I will not leave more than three days between 30 minute runs’.

This is much more realistic given my lifestyle (hectic, natch, working on that!). I also set mysefl chunks of time, 20 days, in which I really focus on making my goal happen. At the end of the 20 days I reflect, learn, tweak (not twerk) and I have a little celebration.

And, no, Penny is not invited.

Before you go… If you like this blog you might like

Posted in Feeling Fabulous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

I’m going to be logging out soon and having a digital free holiday until the new year!  Thanks so much for reading and for all your comments. I’m looking forward to the new year and having lots to share and learn about my ongoing adventures as a HR person in social media! I’m especially exctied to bringing some chums along with me in 2015, keep an eye out for them.  I know you will welcome them as much as you have me :-)

Until then – have a peaceful Christmas and an outrageous new year!

Not many people realise how much Rudolph loves a #HRblog

Not many people realise how much Rudolph loves a #HRblog

Posted in All things social | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HR in 2020



I’ve just finished the first module of the CIPD MOOC and here is my response to the first challenge, write a post about a typical day in the life of a HR Professional in 2020.  To be honest when I was little I thought we would all be living in space by 2020, but as it’s not actually that far away I’ll leave out moaning about the commute to the moon

I start my day by getting the HR Em Director of learning & Leisure (now aged 9 3/4) to school by threatening to take away all his wearable technology for a week.  Just before he slams the door he reminds me that I can’t because he has to analyse his personal data on his activity for the week as part of a school project.  Technology may advance but children still have all the answers.

With the Director of learning & leisure safely at school I grab a coffee, make myself comfortable at my desk at home and set my alarm for 90 minutes, which I do throughout ‘desk days’ to remind me to have a break.  I sit down to concentrate on the tasks in front of me.

First, I quickly check in on various social platforms (whichever ones exist in 2020). I say hello to a few people, add a few comments to ongoing debates and discussions, share my latest blog.  I check the social platforms internal to my organisation and update my

profile with what I am up to for the day.  I drop into staff forums to check out what debates are happening online.

My ongoing task is to try and get a feel for the general mood, what people are happy about, not so happy about.  I join in some of the discussions, flag up feedback with colleagues who may not have seen them.  Make sure that HR’s voice is heard, that we are adding to the discussions and visibly responding to feedback.

In 2020 – I am also able to have a look at some real time data to check mood on engagement and wellbeing, are people saying they are happy / engaged,  any pressure points for wellbeing concerns.  I can use website analytics to see what news items people are clicking on, what is interesting them / useful.  I make adjustments and interventions as necessary and tweak any communications that might not be performing or engaging people as we would like.

By understanding new technology the HR team have been able to join in the conversation and influence the direction of IT.  Making sure that new technology is implemented in a way that supports a ‘social organisation’ culture – promoting authenticity, transparancy and helpfulness. By (safely) opening up access we have been able to address the ‘digital divide’ between front line staff who rarely sit at a computer and office staff – with many more staff accessing internal platforms via work’s or their own mobile devices.  Many communicate with the communities they serve through open platforms, further blurring the lines between the ‘internal’ and the ‘external’.

I can then move on to my work with trade unions and check in on our collaboration site for new comments on new policies and consultations we are working on jointly.  Based on these notes I update the agenda for next week’s face to face meeting which, although we still have a healthy debate,  go much more smoothly with the work done collaboratively beforehand.

Next I  use  the social platforms to research challenges facing my organisation,  ask for help and make new contacts with people working on similar things.  I’m going to present the ideas I collect at our senior leadership team tomorow.  I’ll also record the presentation and put it on our team social network afterwards so that everyone can see it and join in the discussion.

Since 2014 entreprenuers have been innovating and creating apps that meet the needs of the city – for example Casserole Club or Good Gym.  In 2020 many have had a big impact on the way that local authorities deliver front line services.  I have a video chat with the manager of one such service to have a look at how the team might adjust and how the manager might manange the change.

In 2020  – At the end of the day I look in my emails , just to check my subscriptions to newsletters and blogs.  My manager video calls me and we laugh about all the emails we used to send in the old days…

I log off at the end of the day, jump on my hoverboard to go and collect the HR Em Director of Learning & Leisure (aged 9 3/4) from school.


Posted in All things social | Tagged , , | Leave a comment