Thursday, 16 January 2020

I had a dream

Silk slippers
For the last week to ten days, I have had the same dream every night, at times several times a night.
My coach is presently out of town, so I'm jotting down this dream right here so as not to forget it.

It's 11 PM and I'm sitting in my office which overlooks the R&D open space, where our 400 nerds work in near harmony. The Spanish nerds have just ordered in supper, whilst the other nerds have eaten at an earlier hour, as per their tribal custom. There is a whiff of spicy food in the air, as well as the scent of Chinese food, hummous, and Frankfurter. I have eaten like a horse but I am thin and desired. A white owl is pecking away at the leftovers, with its back towards me.

An English lad is playing with his blockchain outside my office, and its parts are scattered hither, thither and yon.

Comrade Carl comes into my office and tells me that the nerds need to work all night. The comrade is holding a joint and wearing his PJs and satin slippers.

I call Ms Axe so that she relay the news, and she does so, using our PA system which broadcasts in 87 languages, 90 of them from India as well as German with a Viennese accent.

At midnight, the nerds all turn blonde and start speaking Danish. They work all night long, happy as a lark, all of them. They sign on a petition refusing to take money for the overtime.

I call up a Scottish lady to inform her of the meaning people have found in hard work, but the call is diverted and there is a pre-recorded message in some east-European language that no one understands.

At 7.00 AM, my name changes to Francine Ramsbottom and as the nerds shuffle out, they kiss my ring.

Then, I wake up.

Friday, 10 January 2020

2020 HR strategy of the 1st lady of HR includes Liminal Space Meditation

Nose to the ground

If l keep my ears to the ground, I notice there are plenty of external factors I need to take into account in order to forge our new HR strategy. 2020 presents some interesting challenges. By the way, I always keep my ears to the ground.

Following my survival instincts, I decided that I need to "put my foot on the gas" vis a vis (French) climate change. Thus no one except senior management will fly for business trips any more. For "rank and file" travel needs, I am presently negotiating a corporate discount with Greyhound Buses, Arriva and Amtrak. So that takes care of 2020 social responsibility and our carbon footprint plan, as it were.

Wellness is also a major issue on my plate. In previous years, we have provided free 10 mgs of Cipralex for Sales Staff, and Pervitin stuka tabletten for our nerds to ensure that they meet our benignly aggressive deadlines.


To meet my 2020 wellness goals, this needs to change pronto. I am upping the dosage of Cipralex to 20 mg, and adding an Ariply (Ablify) tablet; this should keep our sales people happy and jocund. 

For the nerds, Pervitin will be replaced by Liminal Space  Mindfulness Seminars, piped into the open space areas of R&D, including the toilets.

I do know that HR is not the most popular function in the company and I need to address this in a timely fashion. So I am doing a survey of who exactly does not appreciate us, after which I will take corrective action, to be carried out by a recently energized Ms Axe, who in now on Pervitin.

Finally everyone needs to develop their own “skilly skill skills“. 2020 is no different. I have planned an Improve your English Accent Training Video, which will be available to all our staff who blubber, confuse, tap-dance, mutter, dither and fumble their way through communicative tasks due to their tribal tongue interfering with proper English.

Our Swiss blockchain will provide me a dashboard which will monitor progress, daily.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Sexual Relations Monitoring Unit established in HR

Thanks Arlene

It become very "au courant" to deter employees in the same firm from engaging in hanky panky, which is what my Dad Pierre Elliot Rambottom used to call illicit sexual relations. Some firms outlaw these relationships "totalement" forcing these liaisons to take place in sordid hotels, in the parking lot, or within cubicle 3 in uni-gender toilet on the 18th floor between midnight and 2 am.

However, I was raised in a liberal household; my Dad voted NDP, which is the Canadian version of the Labour Party, without Corbyn, without antisemitism, and without empty promises. As a result, I have a laissez-faire attitude about sex between consenting adults, as long as we ladies of HR (and Hugh White), are aware of what is going on. After all, people can do whatever they like, as long as HR knows and cares.
This, by the way, in no way reflects on my personal life.

I had a short discussion about this very subject with my chief down-sizer, a certain Miss Cynthia Axe, and Hugh White, the straight white boy who runs Diversity. I emphasized the need to be "with it", whilst maintaining our core values of "work life balance and limited freedom". In this spirit, we will set up a the Unit of Sexual Scrutiny, under the auspices of HR.

Effective immediately, Axe and White assume responsibility of gathering both warm data and hot data about people in our company who are intimately engaged, as it were. This excludes married couples, who are rarely intimately engaged, if you get my drift.

Axe and White will have at their disposal a French blockchain with Swiss spare parts. Ms Axe will handle most of the populations' aberrations whilst Hugh White will monitor interracial affairs and inclusion issues when more than 2 people are involved.

Comrade Carl Marks, our chief nerd, heard this news and sent me a SMS: "Gloria-Pierrovna. Get your sticky  fingers out of our knickers". 
This was followed by a Whatapp message from CEO Stan who suggested: "Get thee to a shrink, young lady. You are fired". Two minutes later, he rehired me when he remembered that I know a few things about him and the venerable Ms Axe.

I love it when Stan calls me "young lady". 

Get thee to a shrink

Monday, 25 November 2019

Gender Equality Day

I don`t care about your wives or sisters

Our white-skinned and sexually straight Head of Diversity, Hugh White, conducted a survey which shocked the living daylights out of me. The dashboard on my German-made blockchain was flashing red with these messages.

89% of the nerds (many of whom speak poor English) believe that it is legitimate to avenge someone who has slept with their sister.
110% of our nerds prefer that ladies wear high heels and short skirts to work.
99.17% of the nerds want to take the elevator alone with Ms Cynthia Axe, our down-sizer-in-residence; 100% want to keep abreast of her comings and goings.

I forwarded the survey to our CEO, Stan, who did not read it. In order to get his attention, I told Stan  that the Ladies Lobby was going to sue his ass off, and an aggressive, 19 year old "ladies affairs" TV reporter wants to interview him tonight. Stan ran into my room screaming, `get me out of this mess, Gloria, or you are out on your cold Canadian ass`. Stan gets upset sometimes.

In order to address the findings in Hugh White`s survey in a timely fashion, we declared today as Gender Equality Day. All nerds received a T shirt with a picture of Ms Axe and me and the slogan-"2 HR ladies are worth 6 nerds with C++ skills".

T Shirt 

Then, as coached, Comrade Carl Marks gave a speech to his nerds, which unfortunately did not go as I planned.

Comrade Carl stated  "Boys, we need to appease the ladies, who are on the warpath in recent times. Beware. Write this down. All men and women are apparently born equal; the only difference between the sexes is our reproductive organs. I hope you all remember your biology lessons.  Show respect to the broads. No whistling, no cat calls, don`t stare at anyone`s chest and open the door for the ladies, especially those in HR. I do not care what you do at home with your wives or sisters, but get your act together at work, kibinimat. Don't fuck with me.  No questions needed. Get back to work, pronto. Spasiba."

CEO sent me a Whataspp message- `Wasn`t Carl grand``! 

After Carl's speech, I gathered all the ladies who work for us in the Gertrude Bell Conference Room, and gave each one  a voucher for a free manicure, OTH, which means, on the house. 

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Nuanced Role of the HR Business Partner

You nailed the bastard

Thinking (as opposed to just doing) is a major component of being a C level  HR lady, believe you me. I did not reach the top of the corporate ladder just because of my sycophancy and attractive stems, as it were.

I estimate that I think about an hour a day, but not all at once. I break up my thinking into smaller parts, to ensure that I appear to be constantly  pondering the quintessential essence of my role. 

This thinking pays off. On Friday morning, I gave a key note session at an annual HR conference in NYC. In the Q&A session, a sleazy, manipulative but impressive CEO asked me, "Professor Ramsbottom, don't you see the role of HR business partner as overly nuanced?"

My Dad used to say that some of his bosses "need their fucking head examined", but I would never talk like this.

Instead, I asked the aforementioned CEO to ponder three situations.
1) Getting nerds to travel to 3rd world shit holes, whilst cutting travel expenses by travelling on Ryan-air, American Eagle, Alitalia or El Al, nevertheless allowing the CEO to travel first class on Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific.
2) Maintaining cost effective nerds from developing countries after they get their green card, who are willing to invest discretionary effort because they are "proud" of our non functioning product.
3) Work people to the bone, day in and day out, relinquishing weekends, sleep and sexual activity, whilst winning a prize from a leading trade journal as the wellness capital of the industry.

Inviting the CEO to stand up, I asked him "on which part of the nuance do you wish to forego, for heaven sake?" The CEO, who was not white or even American, nevertheless blushed and sat down.

To my surprise, Comrade Carl Marks, our chief nerd and one of my major internal clients, rose to his feet with a joint between his fingers and yelled, "Kibinimat, you nailed the bastard Gloria. What a thoughtful lady you are!"


Friday, 13 September 2019

The importance of cultural training for dealing with the Swiss and Italians

Constructive feedback

Comrade Carl Marks, our chief nerd and self appointed product-ambassador-at-large for embryonic blockchain-based  products, just returned from a trip to potential clients in Italy and Switzerland, which is a neutral country, much like Sweden.

Comrade Carl had planned the trip for  6 months, claiming that Italy-based customers are important because when they buy equipment they don't necessarily expect it to work, as opposed to the Swiss, who will not buy anything unless is it is fully functional, except in certain areas of Switzerland where German is not spoken.

When Comrade Carl landed in Milan, the car rental agency would not rent him a car, because he had brought with him only his international drivers' license, forgetting  his US licence at home. Carl texted me and told me that "HR should be halved and quartered for not taking care of administrative issues. Gloria, you waste all your time in your data mine, and we the simple folk, get fucked. Brexit now. To hell with HR. Love, Carl."

Two hours later, I received a Whatsapp message that Comrade Carl had nonetheless rented a car! I texted back, asking the ever-so-innovative Comrade Carl how he had "pulled this off". 

Before I continue this lovely yarn, I want to inform my somewhat unworldly readers in the USA and parts of Canada that "CPSU" stands for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

So, to continue...Comrade Carl told me that since he still carries his CPSU membership card, he told the Italian rental car service agent that  the card is in fact his drivers licence, and he pointed to his date of birth as the license number, duping the Italian rental agent.

I wandered into our R&D department and told the story to 2 Italian nerds in our Blockchain team who, unfortunately, do not speak English, but rather speak English in Italian. They told me that Comrade Carl is very wise; Italy can be very broken, from an HR perspective. ``But if Comrade Carl gets (ah) caught in (ah) Switzerland, his goose (ah) is cooked (ah)`.

I texted Comrade Carl and suggested that he drive to Lucarno, Switzerland  for the weekend. "Comrade Carl, I suggest you have a few drinks before you drive back to Italy. Parking on the sidewalk is ok, because the Swiss have loosened up; the Swiss police want all tourists to have a wow user experience.  Love Gloria."

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Letters from my in-basket

In line with my core value of transparency

Dear Gloria,
Do you have any scientific proof that nerds who are severed at the age of 40 have an improved work life balance?
All the ladies in our HR department reads your every post and worship the ground you walk on, and we would appreciate an answer asap. Btw, there are no men in our department.

Dear Gloria,
Thank you for recommending travel by Greyhound. Our travel expenses have dipped since we implemented this change. True, the amount of travel has dipped even more, but we have a set of graphs that can prove almost anything.

Dear Gloria,
Our HR department reads your blog and you serve as a beacon, especially in the area of well-being, evidence-based HR, Spinoza, engagement and backstabbing. Do you have any ideas how to augment respect to HR during a reduction in force?

Dear Gloria,
Pleze dont be zo hardt on your CFO Mister Herr Krebbs. He is just doing his Jop.

Dear Gloria,
Do you ever visit Russia? If so, keep your eyes open. I'll find you.
Tak and spasiba

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Setting priorities on the fly

Our chief nerd and system architect, Comrade Carl Marks, was sitting in his office with his bare feet on the desk reading a newspaper called Mundo Obrero. I asked the Comrade about the origin of the newspaper and Carl told me. "Gloria, you are a running dog of imperialism but I love you! How can I make your day more pleasant?"

I told the unstable, restless Comrade that as per a survey that HR/Data ran last Friday, "priorities are confusing and this impedes my focus" received 100% "totally agree" ranking. I told Carl, nicely, that he need to "clear up his act".

The Comrade offered me a Cinzano, which I turned down in line with my core value of sobriety. Carl offered me a joint, but I told him that I would prefer a Zero or Pepsi Max. Carl told me I was a "laflaf". I googled the term but did not find it.

The Comrade went to a cabinet, opened a drawer, and took our a megaphone. Carl apparently thought that I am hard of hearing or sorda. 

The Comrade then bellowed at me for 5 minutes. Here are a few choice quotes- "Priorities are a thing of the past, like liberalism  and solidarity. Everything is important and nothing is important; this polarity needs to be managed. Clients don't know their ass from their elbow (even if they have a German or Swiss blockchain), yet they pay the bills. This is intolerable, and a derivative of crony capitalism. Gloria, tell the forces that be to shove that survey, and I will not elaborate".

I know what Comrade Carl meant. No, I do not read Marcuse at breakfast, but I am not stupid.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Whipping up support for managements' action using Data and Evidence and Leverage

A priori or ex post facto (Latin) 

Wifey, our CEO's brainy better half, read an article  about data and evidence from a prominent British scholar. 
The article elaborated on the use of data to whip up support for management actions, especially if the data can be twisted to provide evidence that managements' intelligence/action plans are unmatched, be it apriori or ex post facto, or both! (My Latin is quite functional).

Nothing is more prominent that reading an article penned by a Brit, if you ask me. Even if no one uses a pen anymore.

Stan our CEO sent me a Whatsapp at 3 AM, having been hen pecked by Wifey since midnight to "take immediate action on the data issue". The message from Stan was clear-"hire a cost effective data "slash" evidence intern to provide answers for 5 questions. See email from Wifey. Stan".

I ran like a bat out of hell to my new PC and lo and behold was an email from dear Wifey.

Dear Gloria
We both know that Stan's days may be numbered. His blood pressure is high and YTD revenue is low. However, if you hire an intern to generate some data, I think we can save my husbands' ass, if I can be so crude.
Here are five questions that need an answer, within a week.
1-Who is not fully aligned with discretionary effort, and when does their visa expire?
2-What are the leverage points we have on nerds who want to put the life back into work life balance? When does the next flight leave to their native homelands?
3-What are the sexual fantasies of nerds who dare to leave the office before 11 PM? What are they up to, if you get my drift?
4-What is the best bang-for-the-buck perk for nerds who have an American passport?
5-Is there a long German word to describe all this?

One more point Gloria. My sister's grand-daughter Daphne is perfectly suited to be your Data Dame. One day, she could even replace you as HR manager! How wonderful that would be. Please bring Daphne on board on Monday morning. Thank you my darling Canadian girl.

Love, Wifey

Friday, 3 May 2019

Loyal Opposition in Organizations

I got stuck with the lunch tab

Comrade Carl invited me to the Plan of Records Committee Meeting, during which product release dates are set in stone. 
Carl asked that I film the meeting and “show it to your HR cronies to illustrate what real leadership looks like".

In the meeting, Comrade Carl stated that a new product version to a Cook Islands client needs to be released 6 months earlier than planned and asked for comments. Sanjay, Sanjay, Sanjay, Svetlana, Svetlana, Svetlana and Igor all claimed that the new commitment  was "doable". 

Nguyen, true to style, kept silent. 

Aaron claimed that the new release date is delusional but the "client does not know his ass from his elbow, so we can blame them when the product backfires".

Comrade Carl told Aaron that he appreciated his openness, and asked me to escort Aaron to Ms Axe, for a “choppy choppy” session as well as a new membership card to our Early Bird Involuntary Retirement Plan. Aaron had a brief meeting with Ms Axe, and he left the building with his head tucked underneath his arm.

I challenged the comrade over lunch an hour later, noting that “in my correspondence with the British and Scandinavians, I have noticed that dissent may have a positive function in creating commitment”.

The Comrade downed 2 cheeseburgers, four brandies and a martini and was silent for ten minutes, during which I texted my sister and picked at my chicken salad. Then Carl lectured me as follows.

“Gloria you don’t have a fucking clue. Dissent is important only the decadent west, where opposition is “loyal”. Loyal opposition?  Are you crazy? Jesus Christ. In the west, the opposition serves as a check and balance, and protects the minority. That’s why the west is fading. Everywhere else, opposition is silenced, killed or stowed away in jail, kibinimat. There is no room for opposition in my regime. That’s why I’m so revered. That why I pay your salary. Btw  Gloria, read up on Comrade Lazar Kaganovitch, a fine administrator of creating firm commitment to a regime. And look how the good dentist Dr Assad of Syria bounced back from the brink - dumping his 4 millions dissenters in the heart of Europe".

I reminded Comrade Carl that none our products have been sold in 7 quarters. “That’s another issues Gloria. Don’t mix apples and pineapples”. 

Then Carl upped and left the table to pee, and apparently fell asleep on the can. I paid the bill, and went back to the office to play with my new German blockchain.

Carl's role model
Tovarish Kaganovitch

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Comrade Carl returns to work immediately after surgery

After a kila repair

As HR business partner, I often wonder around the cubicles, eavesdropping, gossiping and picking up tidbits of minutia in an effort to be ahead of the pack.

This week, I had planned to spend my time wandering around Comrade Carl Marks' Blockchain Department. The comrade underwent surgery on Sunday for a triple inguinal hernia (which he called a "kila") so I thought that this week would be a good time to gather information about Carl's leadership, in the opportune time of his sick leave.

When I entered the physical domain occupied by Comrade Carl's nerds this morning, I was surprised to see them sitting on the floor, surrounding their leader who had come straight from the hospital.
Comrade Carl was gaunt and he certainly was not sitting down, but he appeared clearly in charge. He told his nerds that it took 12 men to strap him down to the operating table, and that he talked on his cellphone giving orders even as he was put to sleep "by a Russian anesthesiologist named Vlad".  

Comrade Carl told his nerds that hernia surgery is "nothing at all" and although he feels a twinge here, there and don't ask where, he is in full command and "I will shoot the first nerd who tries to move into my space. Don't fuck with me".

Comrade Carl told his nerds that "I could have had sex an hour after surgery, but decided not to, because risk assessment is the duty of the commander".

Carl then asked all of his nerds to kiss his ring, and wish him "refuah shlema", a full recovery in some strange tribal ritual. 

"Gloria let's go to a stand-up lunch table", suggested Carl, who walked slower than usual, more like a duck that a person.

Carl said, "I am not a liberal leader, sweet Gloria. My nerds come from 3rd world shitholes where weakness means "here is a chance to take control and ax the leader. All that bullshit HR theory teaches compassion, but there is no compassion, just power. You are either a hammer or a nail, kibinimat."

Carl handed me a $20 bill and said, "lunch on me. I'm going out to run a mile. Lunch is not good for my Gesundheit".

I saw Carl get into a taxi, slowly, and head home.