The Blurred Lines Coming to HR

Blurred Lines - AmericaIn 2013, Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams brought us a song called “Blurred Lines” that  reached #1 on the charts for 12 consecutive weeks and sold 14.8 million copies. If you aren’t familiar with the song itself, you probably are familiar with the stir it caused when Thicke performed it at an awards show and Miley Cyrus came out and started twerking.

As I look at the happenings around us, whether it be economic, political, personal, professional – there seems to be a blurring of the lines that is beginning to take place that I believe will dramatically impact the way companies recruit and retain employees over the next 2-3 years. In most cases, forecasting changes on the landscape excites me, but what I see coming actually disturbs me and causes great concern. I am seeing, and I bet you are too, that an individual’s point of view on social or political matters can now put them at great risk of losing their current employment and making it very difficult for them to find new employment.

In recent months, news broke of the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, having to step down from his position because of the outcry of those who were offended that 6 years prior, he donated $1000 to a California Proposition 8 cause aimed to defeat those who wanted to legalize gay marriage. The effort to make Eich pay for his financial support was led by OKCupid – a dating website. They instructed their subscribers to make Mozilla aware of their outrage at promoting him to be CEO. Keep in mind here, Eich has never been accused of any type of discrimination of gay employees or anything along those lines, he just wrote a check 6 years earlier to support a cause that another group was opposed to. Now he’s unemployed after 13 years of employment with Mozilla.

We are rapidly losing our sense of civility, kindness, and tolerance. We no longer debate, persuade, or influence. Instead, we target, attack, mock and label. I’m curious, if we are only allowed to have a single opinion on the various issues of our lives – who gets to decide what is acceptable? If there can be no debate, if you cannot express altering opinions, then how will the best course of action for a group collectively or for an individual singularly be decided? What if there could be no debate or dissenting opinions in our past? We would still have slavery. Women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Schools would still be segregated. Abortion would be illegal. Alcohol would be illegal. Prayer would still be allowed in schools.

Where are we headed? I’m afraid that if things continue as they are, our government, lobbyist,  and those with a platform will begin to dictate to us all what is acceptable and anything beyond that will be a crime. You may think that’s a good thing, but you likely won’t when they tell you that you must believe, support and verbally praise something that you vehemently oppose internally or risk losing your job.

Yes, the blurring of the lines has started. Will laws need to be altered so companies can now ask about financial contributions to causes or charities that each applicant has made? Will recruiters start coming up with clever ways to find out which political side of the aisle someone is on under the banner of “cultural fit?” Will this cause further divisions in our society as all left leaning people work at companies A, B and C, and all right leaning people work at companies D, E, and F? Oh, and if you work at or do business with one of those sets of companies and the political party in power at the moment disagrees with your stance, get ready to be audited, regulations to increase on your business, and other ways to make it impossible for you to survive.

You may think all of this is far-fetched and ludicrous. You may be right – quite honestly, I hope you’re right and things don’t continue to move in that direction. But go ask Brendan Eich if it seems far-fetched to him. Ask Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. Ask the people from Hobby Lobby. Ask the people at Chik-fil-A. Ask those who claim to have been targeted by the IRS in the last election. I hope I’m wrong, but I would love to hear your civil and respectable opinions on this topic.



The Revised and Balanced Bucket List

bucket-listBucket Lists. They used to just be referred to as “goals.” A few years ago, I went through cancer and I created a short Bucket List of things that I wanted to accomplish in the near future. I’ve done all but one to this point. I guess my teenage daughter liked the concept and she created her own Bucket List…and as a dad, I have been trying to find ways to help her accomplish the things that are important enough to her for her to add to her list. About a month ago, we crossed off the #2 item on her list (go to an 80’s concert). I took her to see Journey when they came to our area – great show by the way! As of this past weekend, we have crossed off the #1 item on her list (to meet Dirk Nowitzki). Dirk plays basketball for the Dallas Mavericks and is in the top 10 in NBA history in scoring, and he’s an all around great guy and role model.

I mentioned to my daughter that now she can dream even bigger and set new goals to achieve as we have completed the top items on her Bucket List. I need to do the same as most of my items are completed. I think we, as people in general, get to a point in our lives when we accomplish a few things – maybe even big things – and then we get stuck not knowing what to do next. I see many businesses who are the same way. We put our goals out there and day-in and day-out we work to accomplish those things. When we set the goal initially, we thought it was big and maybe unattainable – but slowly as we worked our way towards it, it started to be achievable! Then, it happens…we accomplished what we set out to do and it leaves us not knowing what we’re supposed to do next.

I’m assuming that when McDonald’s started, they had one burger joint and they wanted to just survive the first year or two. Excuse me if this is untrue because I am not a McDonald’s historian. But like most businesses, we just want to make enough money to survive and continue to exist early on. Then we want to grow our market share. Maybe next we want to expand into new geographic regions. We set sales goals. And eventually, if you are one of the rare companies that pulls it off – you’ve become a massive global brand that everyone knows. But then what? What do you do next? What is the big dream that you set out there as your target to work towards?

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

If that’s true, and I believe that it is, we must always have a revised Bucket List, regardless of who we are, what we do, big or small, well-known or not. It gives us a target, a direction, and a purpose. In a poll that I read a few months ago, 78% of employees say that they would leave their current job if someone would offer them something else. That amazes me! 78% is a huge number of dissatisfied workers, and I have to believe that a good portion of them feel this way because they either lack direction or feel as though they serve no importance in the life of that company.

I have no idea what types of things my daughter will add to her Bucket List now. She’s going to be a Junior in high school next year, so I’m sure I’ll start to see things about colleges that she wants to attend, fields of study and degrees, but I’m certain I’ll also see a few things on there that just put a smile on her face because they’re fun and quirky. I think we need those too. A balanced Bucket List that holds personal, professional, and family/friend goals. I’ll get started on my revisions today…will you?