HR, Roller Coasters, and Conversations

Our dog’s boyfriend has been staying with us while his owners are on vacation. They will be returning the favor for us while we go away, too. Saves us some big bucks on boarding fees and the dogs keep each other occupied. This experience, while a little wild and crazy at times, has given me a few moments to spend with my daughters. For the past several evenings after dinner, we’ve been taking the dogs for a long walk. And what was supposed to be a very purposeful walk to get these dogs to do their business, has turned into some special moments and conversations that will last a lifetime.

So what does this have to do with HR and roller coasters? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, it was supposed to be about that, but I changed my mind.

As I was walking with my oldest daughter, yesterday evening, we were talking about the day. She asked how my day went and I was telling her it wasn’t the best of days. Nothing too great and a few things that made the day feel just like a Monday. She asked if I had written any blogs lately. She obviously doesn’t keep up with my work.

I told her about that day’s post and then asked her for some blog topics. I’m always looking for some inspiration and you’d be surprised at the wisdom of an 8th grader. She throws out some zingers. “Hey, dad, why don’t you write about HR, running, yoga or Oprah?” Glad to see she’s got a bit of her parent’s wit about her. She then said that I should write about Six Flags because she’ll be spending the day there.

And that’s when the hamster wheels in the brain started turning. We went to Six Flags about a month ago and, if you don’t know me, I have a great fear of heights. Roller coasters fall into that fear category. Sure, I’ll ride them with my kids, but it’s like a death sentence to me.

What a perfect post to write about. I could write about how I conquered my fears. I got out of my comfort zone, looked the Goliath straight in the fastest wooden rollercoaster’s eyes, and slayed my inner demons. But that’s not me.

I could write about how HR and the workplace were just like a roller coaster. The workplace is filled with ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. But I didn’t want to sound like the grandmother in “Parenthood.”

I just thought about those walks and the value of conversations. The conversations about who they will sit with at lunch, this fall. The atrocities of not being able to get an Instagram account when one already has Snapchat. (I agree. They are the same.) The love of school and reading and theater camp and friends. The justifications of why bedtime needs to be later now that they are older. The commentary on how weird and goofy their dad is as he talks about work and running.

Take advantage of the time someone wants to give you. Be grateful for that person who wants to stop by to catch up. Sure it can take a few minutes out of your busy day, but you have your whole life to work and to listen to others complain. Cherish the conversations that aren’t about work. You’ll learn the most from them.


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