But I don’t have time!

Well, I have to fess up.  You may not have seen a blog post from me in a few weeks and it is because I haven’t written one.  I apologize for casting aside what I do believe to be a very important dialogue but the experience has inspired this blog post, so something good came from it!

Consider the title of the post, what’s the first thing that you think of?  For me, the first thing that comes to mind is, “well I’ve heard that before”.  I’ve heard it from friends, colleagues, teachers, and of course, myself.  Time is a scarce resource!  (For the record, I am not just realizing this now).  This is a phrase that is very common in our society.

So, what can we do about it so that I don’t disappoint you next week by again missing a blog post?  I can’t say I have the perfect answer, but I can say that repeating “but I don’t have time” won’t be helpful.  The phrase itself takes all responsibility off of myself and gives the power to elements of my external environment that I have no control over.  Instead of blaming the lack of time (which is a very disempowering statement), I should take ownership over my decision.  For example, last night, I chose to watch Glee instead of writing my blog post for Fireside HR.  Was it the right decision?  Maybe not (I do really like Glee…).  But it was my decision and I have the power to make the same or a different decision the next time.

Now that the answer lies in my own power to make decisions about how I spend my time, the question is, how I decide where to spend my time?

One example of a useful tool is the Time Management Matrix presented by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  In this tool, Covey maps out on a grid two components of the ways we choose to spend our time:  Urgency and Importance.  He asserts that we often spend a lot of time in the urgent but not important quadrant, neglecting things that are important and not urgent.  He argues that we should focus on these tasks as well in order to truly be effective at managing our time.

What I really like about this tool and find useful is that it reminds me that just because something is right in front of my face, doesn’t mean that it is the most important thing in my life right now nor is it necessarily where I should spend all my time.  The other reminder it gives me is that I need to be clear with myself about what is important.  I’m not saying it’s easy but identifying your priorities gives you the freedom to make decisions about how you spend your time, rather than leaving you a victim to ‘not enough time’.

So yes, the next time I’ll tape Glee and write my blog!

Krysty Wideen is a learning and organizational development consultant with The Refinery Leadership Partners, based in Vancouver. Failing to leave her day job at work, she often finds herself relating every day, commonplace observations and activities to insights about leadership, business, human resources, and anything, really. Now she has a place to share her observations and insights.


Remember when it was called a weblog?

A few weeks back I received an out of the blue email from a fellow HR professional, Stephanie Andrews of Alberta, asking if she could be one of our featured bloggers.  How flattering!  Thanks to our team of bloggers, this blog’s readership has grown in the last few months and now we’re starting to cross borders.  I feel like a proud mama… the HR world is coming of age and feeling more and more comfortable participating in the Web 2.0 world.

Although the internet is borderless, I unfortunately must do the sometimes uncomfortable HR policing thing and enforce the rules:  Stephanie didn’t belong to the BC HR association and therefore was not qualified to participate.  But being the rock star that she is, Stephanie submitted a draft post for my creative feedback and subsequently posted on Renegade HR.  Now she’s looking at starting up a blog with her HR association.  Can’t wait to see it and all of our writers should be thrilled that they are inspiring their profession.

So, here’s an open recruiting call to B.C. HR professionals if you want to join in on Fireside HR.  Do the self-sufficient thing and check out the details here.

 Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association.  Besides editing this blog, researching and running the HR Metrics Service, she ponders when the next season of The Bachelorette will begin.

Quitting time…

Well, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later.  Marry the fact that jobs are becoming more available, with the fact that employees are disengaged in their current jobs more than ever before (according to the Conference Board), with accessible social media and what do you get?

Public resignation letters.

What happened to a simple “I quit” and leaving it at that?  It looks like people have grown tired of putting up with whatever they’re putting up with and are making their grievances public.  Ignoring the Steven Slater story (because that’s turned out to be more of a Balloon Boy-type of publicity stunt than anything), check out  this and this example of bridge-burning at its most public.

Some of you may have just become inspired by those honest declarations.  How cathartic would it be to tell your boss to take this job and shove it?  But before you make a video, write a song or send nasty email, instead I hope you’ve become inspired to do the scary thing and move on to a better gig.  Like you should.

But don’t get inspired to slash and burn your employer anytime soon.  Sure, you may have been treated poorly but getting even or bitter will just give you wrinkles.  Take the time to respect yourself, not to disrespect others (even if they do deserve it).

Helen Luketic is the manager of HR metrics & research at BC Human Resources Management Association.  Besides editing this blog, researching and running the HR Metrics Service, upon discovering her walkman, she ponders what will replace the ipod.

Business trip etiquette: just some thoughts

I am going on a trip to a conference as well for training to two separate companies.  I am interested to know what people believe is the correct dress code.  As many may know, I work for a yoga apparel company where I wear stretchy pants, tank tops, flips flops, runners, and so on all day long.  If I worked at a bank or another corporate type of environment this really wouldn’t be an issue.  Now if I am going as the guest to a conference, does that mean I need to go shopping and wear clothes I wouldn’t otherwise?

I figure since I am the “customer” in both situations that I should be allowed to wear and do as I would at my normal job.  But the question does arise – am I pushing the boundaries, does dress code really matter to the other company, and would they find it offensive or refreshing?

To make things more interesting, when we have consultants or vendors come to our office, we ask that they wear comfortable clothing (even if it isn’t stretchy pants) and have people come in wearing 3 piece suits, sweat pants, short shorts, dresses, and jeans.  Never have I seen anyone receive it as offensive if the person didn’t wear athletic wear.  What should I do?

Agata Zasada is an HR generalist in a fast-paced company no one in Vancouver ever has heard of, lululemon athletica.  She has three years of experience in HR supplemented by a BBA in HR. Outside of her love for her career, Agata has been learning to run as well as practicing yoga (mainly Savasana), and is known for her witty humour.

I cried at work, and it’s ok

I am very passionate about what I do.  Everything in life is either full on or just off.  When I make mistakes, I am very accountable to fixing them.  When someone gives me feedback I take it as a gift and not a personal attack.  I am committed to my work, just like everything else I do in life.
My fear in life isn’t dying, getting ill, never falling in love, growing old alone, not being successful, but disappointing those who I respect (or love).  So when I make a mistake at work that disappoints my boss/bosses that I trust and respect I get upset, when I feel upset I cry.

So why does even Martha say “women in business don’t cry” when clearly I did?  I read multiple articles after crying at work and there is a lot of tactics and strategies on how to deal with a crier or if you are the crier, but when it boils right down to it, aren’t we all just human?  Why can’t we behave at work the way we would outside of work?  Why do we need to be robots at work and emotional wrecks at home?
My incident has made me more open, better understood, and more – of what drives my performance, motivates me, and what I am truly passionate about.  Today, I am taking a stand for all the criers out there and say its okay to cry (sometimes).

Agata Zasada is an HR generalist in a fast-paced company no one in Vancouver ever has heard of, lululemon athletica.  She has three years of experience in HR supplemented by a BBA in HR. Outside of her love for her career, Agata has been learning to run as well as practicing yoga (mainly Savasana), and is known for her witty humour.

Do you love your job?

With summer now upon us, I am finding it harder to keep my nose to the grindstone and focus on the tasks at hand.  And in talking to friends, I have realized that this really is the time of year that people start to have qualms about their position and are sometimes itching to move on to a new opportunity. 

When it is hot outside, do you really want to deal with employee problems, hiring new staff and conducting training sessions?  Of course not….who would?  You and I know that Bob who tells you he needs time off because his second aunt twice removed is in hospital and asking to see him really has a tee time with his buddies.  Can you blame him?  No.  Do you envy him?  Yes. 

Instead of focusing on everything you are missing while working, and how guys like Bob are shirking their jobs to go golfing really tick you off, take some time to regain focus and learn to love your job again.

Here are a few ways to help re-focus your energies and to start feeling the excitement again that you had when you first started your position:

  • What were your reasons for taking this job?
    • Make a list and keep it handy for those days you really don’t feel like being at work.
  • What is wrong with your job?
    • Write down everything you don’t like about your job and then make a list on how you would change these things no matter how ridiculous these ideas are.  Having a plan will make you feel better.
  • Dress for success.  Remember how you much time and care you took getting ready when you first started?  Dressing for success will make you feel good about yourself and in turn you will perform better.
  • Socialize.  Get out of your chair and go say “hi” to your colleagues.  Don’t just email your question.  Go ask it in person.  Not only is it good for you physically, it is good for you to emotionally connect with the people you work with.

When the honeymoon is over and the job relationship is in full swing try to rekindle some of the old excitement.  You and your job will be better for it.

For further reading on this topic check out the following books:


Dana Sebal has over 10 years Marketing and Human Resources experience.  Outside of her professional career, Dana’s passions include her family, rowing, running, tennis, skiing, yoga, and Beagles.

Approaching HR from the sidelines

I’ve recently accepted a full-time position at the Robson Square Provincial Courthouse where I’m working as a Registry Clerk.  It’s ultimately an administrative position.  Although I’m not directly serving a human resources function, I think I’ve made a wise career choice by joining the team.

On the upside, this government job offers stability – a rare characteristic in today’s job market.  And although friends of mine who have worked in a similar position would argue against me, I can imagine that there will be some room for internal movement once the Province’s hiring freeze has been lifted.

On the downside, I recognize that I’m not working in an HR job.  This means that in the future, I may still be rejected from openings because I lack HR experience.  But since my resume lacks administrative experience altogether, I still see this new undertaking as a good move on my part.

I’ve also heard concerns with choosing to work in the public sector and then trying to move into the private business world.  Some recruiters view the stability of public sector jobs as a negative trait, believing that because public jobs are so secure, its workers lack drive.  I plan to counter this stereotype by knowing and maintaining my direction:  I want to work in human resources.

Isn’t this what “paying my dues” looks like?  I’ve met so many HR professionals who found their foot in the door by working an unrelated entry-level position, so I’m thinking that this one’s mine…

Geraldine Sangalang is an HR pro who just started her first job post-graduation.  She volunteers with BC HRMA, the Canadian Cancer Association and the Terry Fox Foundation.  On her private time, Geraldine loves scrapbooking, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying the company of friends on a local patio.