What’s It All About Al-friday – Rebuilding the World Trade Centre, Politics, and Surrendering

You know – what’s it all about Alfie?

Why do we do what we do? Why do we go to work? Why do we practice HR?

Lots of important questions to answer on Fridays, as a reminder at the end of the traditional work week of why we are working, and what our life is really all about, before entering the weekend.


Have you read this article “The Truth About the World Trade Centre“?

It reads like a thriller of just how disgusting money, power, greed, politics and unethical behaviour can be. It shows the destructive force it brings upon the common good. It is like reading a real life version of “Wallstreet Money Never Sleeps”, but instead it’s about the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre.

Mike Pinelli and Marc Becker have been here from the start, supervising the Freedom Tower’s construction. The politics mean nothing to them, nothing worth saying.

“I know it’s gonna happen,” Marc Becker said in 2005, standing at rock bottom of the empty pit, where construction had stopped dead before it ever really got started. “I just don’t know when. It’s very personal to me — I saw what the poor souls looked like after they jumped out of the buildings. What they pulled out of the debris, I saw it. It’s personal. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to build.”

And at the end of the article, you see what it’s all about really.

Humans are survivors, and rebuilders. We all live with this political crap in our workplaces every day, but we persevere to get that pay cheque or see that task complete. We may be below the political noise, but we rise above it in our pursuit of real accomplishment.

Here’s to you and your week. Whatever your political play has been, I hope it gets left at your workplace’s door and you enjoy a wonderful weekend experiencing the real joys of life. Because power isn’t joy, joy is love, and love doesn’t keep record of wrongs – love is total surrender, release and freedom.

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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Has University Replaced Unions?

An article from Australia recently listed that “in August 1992, 43 per cent of male workers and 35 per cent of females were union members in their main jobs. The figure [in May 2012] is now 18 per cent for both male and female workers.” That’s a marked drop in union membership numbers, and it’s clear that the new generation of workers have even less interest in joining a union. Do we think our university qualifications have replaced the need for union representation?
Personally, I’ve just never known what the benefit was. I’ve worked in places where individual employment contracts were used, rather than a collective bargaining process. I have always perceived unions to be redundant for employees who hold degrees and aren’t public servants. I never knew what the benefit was.
Until I moved to Singapore.
Then it became very clear what the power of unions are. Because when they are effectively muted (i.e. Singapore’s ‘National Trades Union Congress’ is very good at running a supermarket chain, not so great at getting minimum wages for Singaporeans), workers are individualised and isolated completely. And it’s not like all the Singaporeans holding degrees are entering a better job market because of their qualifications. The absence of a minimum wage means the starting rate for a degree holder is bargain basement low.
Yes, there are very low participation rates in Australian unions. But they still hold power, and can create a voice that applies to employees who aren’t even in the union. No, I don’t agree that all union action is positive – I prefer people in jobs over meeting every principle of good employer/employee dynamics. But yes, I do attribute a lot of Australia’s workplace culture and rights to the work of unions.
A large number of qualified individuals may be effective at their jobs, but pretty useless at bargaining on a national level about their expectations of work life in general, unless they speak as an organised group. So although we may think we are powerful through our skill set, it’s clear to me that university most certainly hasn’t replaced the role of unions
Here’s to the minimum wage – it’s a bloody nice thing to have.
Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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Movers, Shakers & Monday Game Changers – Johnny Cash, the Truth, and the Next Gen

Monday is about remembering the movers, shakers and game changers, of things that look incredibly trivial now, but challenged many on arrival.


Scaremongers like to write a lot about the insane changes the next generation will bring. Here’s some changes already brought, against all odds and discouragement, and it all turned out alright.


Some perspective for your back-pocket, to think about when the times are getting tough as a change maker.


The Man in Black – what an absolute legend. This song says it all for me. Generations are different, it’s met with opposition, but the fear is often unfounded.

And I love his introduction to the song, about him and his wife seeing all the hippies and how peaceful it all was. Yes, they dressed differently and had funny hair, but they were just kids finding their own truth in this world.

The old man turned off the radio
Said, “Where did all of the old songs go
Kids sure play funny music these days
They play it in the strangest ways”
Said, “it looks to me like they’ve all gone wild
It was peaceful back when I was a child”
Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys
Are trying to be heard above your noise?
And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”

A little boy of three sittin’ on the floor
Looks up and says, “Daddy, what is war?”
“son, that’s when people fight and die”
The little boy of three says “Daddy, why?”
A young man of seventeen in Sunday school
Being taught the golden rule
And by the time another year has gone around
It may be his turn to lay his life down
Can you blame the voice of youth for asking
“What is truth?”

A young man sittin’ on the witness stand
The man with the book says “Raise your hand”
“Repeat after me, I solemnly swear”
The man looked down at his long hair
And although the young man solemnly swore
Nobody seems to hear anymore
And it didn’t really matter if the truth was there
It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair
And the lonely voice of youth cries
“What is truth?”

The young girl dancing to the latest beat
Has found new ways to move her feet
The young man speaking in the city square
Is trying to tell somebody that he cares
Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
“What is truth”

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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What’s It All About Al-friday – Pam Poovey, Director of Human Resources at ISIS



You know – what’s it all about Alfie?

Why do we do what we do? Why do we go to work? Why do we practice HR?

Lots of important questions to answer on Fridays, as a reminder at the end of the traditional work week of why we are working, and what our life is really all about, before entering the weekend.

You’ve seen the TV Series Archer right? Please tell me you’ve seen this series, because it is AWESOME.

But the best thing about it is Pam Poovey, Director of Human Resources.

She is the epitome of the anti-HR-cat-lady.

Pam grew up on her family’s dairy farm known as Poovey Farms, where she helped raise Holstein cows and produce dairy products like milk and cheese. She is an extremely tough person, probably because she grew up on a farm and paid for college by participating in an underground fighting ring. Pam has an opportunity to demonstrate her strength when a group of kidnappers try to force her into a van. Later, while they are beating her, she taunts them for being weak. She kills the last surviving kidnapper by snapping his neck.

Pam is generally not a good human resources director, doing such things as gossiping around the office, and constantly trying to sleep with co-workers, or keeping tons of dolls around for suspect identification in an office gang bang(with her fingers crossed).

Check out the details at Pam Poovey’s Wikia page 

She also has a healthy appetite for tagging her name around the office, is a highly accomplished drift car racer, can fit four pool balls in her mouth, and can consume incredible amounts of alcohol.

She lives, she parties, she rorts the employer health insurance for her colleagues.

She knows what it’s about.

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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I Wish I had Done Less, It Would Have Given Me More

Don’t we always aspire to be someone who conquers huge challenges and reaps rewards for it? I do, and I used to think that required me to push myself in things I’m not very good at. And yes, some of the time it is rewarding, but a lot of the time I have found concentrating on strengths is far more effective.

My mistake was at highschool, when I studied Mathematics as my final year subject, along side French, English, Music Theory/Piano Performance/Clarinet in Orchestra and Visual Art. Seriously, if I needed the science unit so badly, I should have done biology because I SUCK at chem/physics/pure math. SUCK I tells ya!

But I pushed myself to continue in Maths at the 2nd level of difficulty – the state offered four levels of Math, 1st being specialist, 2nd level, 3rd level and then 4th level which was called ‘Maths Applications’ ie. maths you will use in daily life.

And it was a really stupid thing to do, because if I failed, I would have drastically affected my university entrance scores. But no, I kept at it, and with the amazing support of my parents who cheered for me to get a ‘scrape your ass pass’, I finished with a 13/20 (12 being a fail).

Looking back on it now, I can only wonder why. Why push myself to do something that was a complete up the hill battle, and had no real benefit other than pride? It certainly bruised my pride to see the results on my score sheet when I scored above 17/20 for everything else.

But you know what really stung? The only math I needed to do my Bachelors of HR Management – study that is meant to be far beyond my high school education – was math I covered in year 10 as a 15 year old. I completed my first year uni course using math I had learnt 3 years earlier, and got a High Distinction.

What a waste of tears, angst and energy in my last 2 years of high school! All for nothing!

Ah well, now I’m a little more strategic about what I forcefully apply myself to. I like to understand if it is something I’m doing just because it’s a pride thing, because everyone else is doing it, because I have some natural flair for it, or because I genuinely need it? Perhaps I’m also more willing to cut my losses earlier too.

Hahaha I have to laugh at it all now, but I wish I could tell that poor crying teenager stressing about it all – “Give up! It’s ok! Do something you’re good at!”

Have you ever applied yourself to something incredibly difficult that you could have done without? Do you regret it, or are you glad for the experience?

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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