Eight Questions About Work

1. If you weren’t working here, what would you probably be doing right now?

2. How did you become a Human Resources manager?

3. What surprises you most about your current job?

4. What’s the craziest thing a boss has ever asked you to do?

5. Would you rather work four 10-hour days or five 8-hour days?

6. If you were guaranteed to be successful, what job would you want?

7. What was your first job? Did you like it?

8. Whats the best career advice you’ve ever received? How about the worst?




The other day, I was waiting by Portland Harbor. I had my camera with me. Truth be told, been there before and all the same stuff was there & typical stuff was going on. Then osprey from a nearby nest decided to put on a show.





Continue reading

Get A Handle On It

By the end of the week, develop some pithy introduction. This week’s live work blog~an experiment. 

Monday:  The alarm was not set, got up 15 minutes later anyways.  Forgot that I wore my safety shoes home on Friday, thus I am now here at work sans required safety equipment.  Thus, I will remain safely sequestered in my office for the day.  Now it’s time to put together the weekend injury report.    

And now for the weekend injury report. One torn pec muscle and one biking accident that includes broken ribs, collapsed lung & skull fracture/concussion. 

How excellence erodes towards mediocrity. “Just this once”, becomes next time’s “It was okay last time.”

It’s time to stick my head back into the uniPoint oven.  Doubt it will stick, but any tool is only worth the value of time spent learning to use it efficiently. Unipoint is a safety mamagement system.  


As I See It


In my professional interpretation, every entitity involved in the administration of an employee benefit plan has a high degree of fiduciary responsibility.

Tier I responsibility lies with the Plan Administrator. This is the role of whoever whoever is the lead stakeholder in charge of human ressources management. This position has full and final authority & accountability. Every other entity typically exercise a degree of plausble deniability.

Continue reading

Excuses are Uselesses

I didn’t (wouldn’t) do it.  The dog ate my homework. Nobody told me. I didn’t know.

Excuses are part of the primal human habitual defensive instinct of denial. Denial leads to shame, blame and various other avoidance tactics.  If you think this doesn’t apply to you, welcome to Stage One Denial.  It does apply to me. I wish I was better.  It does apply to you.  If you think otherwise, welcome to Stage One Denial.

Continue reading

Have it Your Way

How is it in your house, over or under?  Why does it matter? Why should it matter?  Truth be told, it doesn’t matter at all, or does it?

Truth be told, this trivial nonsensical issue is a source of domestic intranquility and may violate the constitutional clause of ensuring domestic tranquility. 

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The over and under issue has been resolved by the federal government. The images supplied with US Patent No. 465,588, dated December 22, 1891 clearly show the over position. Thus proving that the under position is a patent use violation.  Okay, this too is now nonsensical. Have it your way, either one way or another. 

I’m on the road this week.  This picture was taken in the private stall of a gender specific bathroom. It offers the end user a choice, over or under.  

Have it your way!


Triple X

This is where I am coming from. Nearly 20% of the total compensation budget is spent on indirect compensation. Specifically, this means major health benefits. Extreme due diligence is required. This expense is a blend of company funds and participant contributions.  The only path forward is eXtreme eXcellence and deliberate due diligence from all parties involved – the carrier, the broker and the employer.

One word can describe the recent results achieved – Sloppy. This is after last year’s equivalent experience.  Errors were made that impacted participants. This is unacceptable. Strike Two.
Continue reading

Choices & Consequences 

Remember the cola taste wars back in day? They were all a variety of which one tastes better or can you taste the difference. Then along came diet this & that with bottled water eventually winning the largest beverage market share. 

So far as carbonated & caffeinated beverage market, Mountain Dew carved out its own niche. Sponsoring the NASCAR 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr must have positively influenced market share. 

Myself? I’ve settled into water from my well and Starbucks Pike roast for my own fluid & caffeinated thirst quenchers. Having a soda is rare, but not unheard of. 

So where is this going? Good question. The other day, well it was Fathers Day, My son and I stopped at the local convenience store. I offered to get him a beverage of his choice – a one liter bottle of Diet Pepsi. Easy enough, right. There are only two known types of Pepsi, right? Wrong!  

There are now four types of Pepsi – regular – diet – sugar free – natural sugar. Something for everyone. And thats okay. 

In HR, how often is the effort made to reasonably accomodate a variety of tastes?  Or is everything an either/or with no range in between?  Duality is always a false forced choice. 

It is more important to add at least a third choice. Say good, better & best. 

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.  William Blake. 


Business Library Cleansing 

Are you more of book collector, a consumer or connesiour?  Either way, I’ll bet you have a pile of books that you are going to get to someday or another.  This past weekend, I emptied out most of my business bookshelf.  The books were donated to Goodwill and I hope that they all find good homes.   Pretty much every book that you see has been read.  Most exactly once.  Some exactly never.  

They are all good books, were good reads, and written by good authors.  Not every book took that one way trip. Some were saved, usually for sentimental reasons.  

I’ve been looking down this path for awhile. See on Reading More in 2017 over on my Maine Forest Cafe blog. 

This picture was first posted on my occasional Instagram.  One of the first respondents challenged me to describe effective v ineffective business books. Intriguing inspiration.  But I’ve never been in the habit of writing critically acclaimed book reviews.  (There are some, very few, that I have endorsed.) 

Some books teach us what to do, others guide or influence, and some should never have been written in the first place.   That’s as good as it gets.  Business books tell us what to do and what the results will be.  A fairly declarative intent.  Only you will know for sure when you get to the last & final page. 

But what about the why?  The why is always the business bottom line.  A shallow why of numbing numbers. Better books teach us the why of the people. Empathy comes from better reading. 

This was more of genre redirection. Not to mention the first phase in decluttering my study.  The next genre of sustained interest will be the humanities. Is that even a genre?  Maybe the old, new and to become – The Classics.  

The far right of my bookshelf, beyond view, is three shelves of the Havard Five Foot Shelf of Books

The Five-Foot Shelf, with its introductions, notes, guides to reading, and exhaustive indexes, may claim to constitute a reading course unparalleled in comprehensiveness and authority.— Notes on the Lectures by William Allan Neilson

What is on your reading list?  Do you have piles of unrealized intentions cluttering and clogging precious physical and intellectual space?  How many books are on your someday stack? 

This genre redirection starts with a reading Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.  Early in the first several pages, he mentions that the road trip that he and friends are in is a Chautauqua. This looks like a worth entry portal into this genre redirection.  

Now, about all that all that other visual clutter…..


On Writing 

The mysterious art of writing is either dying or enjoying a renaissance. But this is not the long hand writing you may have done in high school, especially if you graduated in the 1970s. Long hand writing is dead. Long live the electric typewriter, computer keyboard, WordPerfect & now paperless smart devices. 

Anyone with a smart device and WordPress account can now be a writer.  Having the tools does not make a good writer.  Any more than a table saw & a hammer makes a good carpenter.  But there are some models worth following & practicing that may hone your skills. 

One model is presented by Laurie Ruettimann in her blog titled How to Write a Great HR Blog.  Laurie is a well known & respected HR Blogger, author & thought leader. The term HR can be substituted by your passion. 

In my case, on my other blog – the Maine Forest Cafe – you may find me infrequently writing on traveling, our RV, or other superficial brain dumps influenced by the Post of the Day

Back in the day, I taught business writing at the Air Force Senior NCO Academy. The five paragraph model is similar to Laurie’s excellently presented expert advice. 

That template is as follows. 

Paragraph 1. Introductory sentence that hooks the reader.  TPOTPIT = The purpose of this paper is to make you think of something. Hook – why you should read it.  The three main points will be this, that and something else. Transition. 

Paragraphs 2 – 4 are the three main points. Topic sentence. How it relates to the hook. Cite a source that agrees with your purpose. Clarify statement that states your own original (or thinly plagiarize thought). Transition.  

Paragraph 5 Summarize the main points.  Relate the main points to your purpose. And end with the answering the hook.

Back in the days, you had two pages, 500 words and the Times New Roman font at 10.  Computer savvy and verbose writers would condense/tighten the font and tinker with the line spacing.  Points were given for crafty manipulation of available technology. 

The more successful students would accept peer reviews and advise.   Then I had to grade it.  Over the course of several years, and limited library resources, I pretty much read most available topics from similar perspectives. Not only that, could detect plagiarized sources.  This eventually stalled me on my own writing 

The challenge that lies ahead is to escape from the 140 character twitter blast, the me too shared facebook post.  Take the time to read, think and state what is on your mind.  Overtime, and with sustained practice, you too can become a successful blogger.

What are you waiting for?