The HR Bitch Knows Shit HappensNo Comments
And then some.
In my previous post I told my story. That was my making. Who I am today.
What I left out was the second tragedy of the summer of 1991. At the moment of posting I felt I needed to edit and give my dad the autonomy he deserved.
However, now I give credence to my mum and others who have since told me I shouldn’t have stopped sharing our summer of 1991 there.
This post is about Ziggie. My grandfather (I asked my Nana if I could name my firstborn, Ziggy, but that’s another story).
Ziggie was driving the car when my dad was killed.
The accident was an accident, I believe it wasn’t anyone’s fault. They were driving at 70 mph on the inside lane of a motorway when the car overturned.
Ziggie never forgave himself. He had been a trooper all his life, but never shared much of his story. Ziggie was born in Poland, now Belarus, in the countryside. During WW2 his father was taken by the troops, and in his mid teens Ziggie was too. He escaped from Siberia crossing borders eventually managing to join the Polish Airforce by lying about his age, giving him a passage to England where he met my Nana.
In the weeks after my father died I remember telling Ziggie he wasn’t to blame. He became my father figure, a new sounding board. Someone I respected, even if he could be grumpy at times!
We spent much time at my grandparents house in those first few weeks, sharing our loss, adapting to the changes in our life, changes in our family.
I regularly called my grandparents, however 4 weeks to the day my dad died, when I spoke to Nana she was worried.
She explained that Ziggie had had an angina attack, was grey and was in bed resting and she couldn’t get hold of the doctor. I asked her to phone an ambulance, which she did and he was taken to hospital.
Mum came back from work, expecting to have her first evening out at a party as a widow. I didn’t know how to tell her plans had changed. We ended up at the hospital where my grandad was in a critical but stable condition having suffered a major coronary, we were told the next 24 hours were imperative.
Although the we had heaved a sigh of relief, a little after 24 hours later my Nana was also a widow.
What I shared about my learning in the previous post was hugely important here as well. See it here. I cannot separate it.
I also learned to live life to the full each day.
I learned every day is a new day with fresh opportunities.
I learned to accept shit happens.
I learned that well-being is important.
I learned mental health is precious.
I learned to find my inner strength, motivation to carry on.
I learned how strong women can be.
I will reiterate the sense of family, offering accolades to my Mum and Nana (and also my brother and my Uncle). Together we were guided through a second tragedy by those wonderful women.
We learned that when shit happens you can move forward and enjoy life whilst always keeping memories close.
#Well-being #motivation #mentalhealthawareness #womenarestrong #shithappens
The HR Bitch is Resilient1 Comment
I remember describing the worst summer of my life also being the best summer of my life.
I’d returned home after my first year at university with my boyfriend. The same evening we drove to a country pub for a bite to eat and a drink with my Mum and Dad. I remember thinking it was great my Dad had now become my friend, how close we were. I hold special memories of that evening.
The next morning, Friday, Mum and Dad left home to go on holiday with Nana and Grandad. On Saturday I went for a job interview for Summer Work, after which I returned home and suddenly felt glum. Luckily, that evening friends Kelly and Kellie came round before heading off on holiday themselves, we enjoyed raucous laughter and fun together.
Little did I know, that that was the last day of my life as a ‘child’.
At 7am on Sunday morning the phone rang. I rushed to the phone, to hear my Uncle’s voice. He had had a car accident the night before, whilst on holiday in Scotland, and wanted details of the insurance broker, which I shared.
At about 10am the doorbell rang. I rushed to the door saw my Mum’s Uncle and Aunt on the doorstep, with her cousin.
They told me that there had been a car accident. I responded that my Uncle had called me earlier in the morning. I remember someone saying ‘she knows’. But I didn’t know.
They were talking about another accident. I sat at the bottom of the stairs and heard that my dad had been killed in a car crash on the motorway in East Germany the previous afternoon. He had died instantly. Mum, Nana and Grandad were injured and taken to hospital, but ok and were staying in a hotel until they could get flights to return home.
My life changed. Shock took over, followed by strength.
That day, I had to tell my brother the news over the phone (he was staying with his girlfriend’s parents in the Lake District). It was possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done and can still remember that call vividly. We arranged for family friends to collect him.
We had visitors from my Grandpa (Dad’s dad) to the Minister from Church (I saw the lighter side of life occasionally – giggling about saying ‘more tea vicar’?). It was the Wimbledon Tennis Final, which I couldn’t concentrate on, so we watched ‘The life of Brian’ as the remainder of the day was a waiting game, for my brother to return, and also my Uncle, who’d always been like an older brother to me.
I organised for messages to be left for my Uncle to urgently call me when he arrived back from Scotland later in the afternoon. He was the second person of our family I felt I had to break the news to, it was more tricky because I didn’t know when he would phone. We arranged to meet for dinner, although none of us had an appetite.
A giant hole had been created in my life. My father was my friend, my thesaurus, my sounding board, my rock. Not only did I miss the dry sense of humour, the logical brain, the perfectionist, the person who I aspired to be like, the pride he showed in me and how unassuming he was, I missed day to day life, our mini competitions, such as swapping cars to see who could get the best miles per gallon, his quirky way of getting me to learn. But most importantly I missed his resilience. I got through difficult times by feeling he was over my shoulder, so I could talk to him and ask him a question. Even now, I often think, ‘What would dad say?’
During that year I was resilient and found my inner strength, a future focus. At the beginning it was one day at a time. With the goal of completing university and support from different networks, student friends, school friends, family friends and most importantly family, luckily my ‘new normal’ day to day life could continue.
At the age of 19, I had had my eyes opened to death through an accident. The realisation of support from others became my strength. The knowledge that I was not alone, allowed me to become who I am now.
I learned not to think ‘What if.’
I learned to think how lucky we were my dad had died instantly without pain, and had not ended up with life changing brain injuries.
I learned to think, ‘What would Dad say/ want/ do?’
I learned to grieve.
I learned to cry.
I learned to share.
I learned how to be strong.
I learned how to be resilient.
I learned that having support from family and friends will buoy you, if you ever need support, ask for it.
That learning has never left me.
WORLD DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ROAD TRAFFIC VICTIMS – 21st November 2021
Time Stops for the HR BitchNo Comments
‘Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day’, a favourite line from that cult movie (Withnail and I).
It’s apt this week, as the clocks are going back, days will become shorter, winter draws closer. On the plus side we will be blessed with an extra hour on Sunday.
What’s your plan for the extra hour this weekend?
My extra hour will allow me to consider the change in seasons; what I will do to counteract the last year; to get motivated and ensure I make the most of life. I will assess what targets I want to set to get through the impending winter, and how I will work with my coach.
The past 18 months (for those of us that have worked remotely) has meant we have been in a virtual world, staring at screens too much, too often and for too long. There’s no break for the commute to work, the walk to the car/ bus/ train/ workplace. And how often do you have a phone call rather than zoom/ hangouts/ teams?
In lockdown 1 hubby and I lost track of a few evenings – forgetting to stop work at a sensible time, not eating dinner, still in front of our screens until 11.30 pm. We soon realised:
- Our input is only as good as our rest. We cannot think straight without taking time out.
- Having a time allows us retune: our bodies, our relationships and what makes us tick.
- Giving ourselves the gift of time helps us plan what else we can do to get the most out of life.
During summer 2021 the holiday cottage we stayed in had a stopped clock. It was always 4.21 pm. Or am. We didn’t mind. It was fabulous not to clock watch, to enjoy down time.
Since then, I have taken time out regularly – whether it’s 10 minutes to stare at the sky, take a walk around the block or park, to reset my mind. A longer ‘break’ offers a rebalance and chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved to help us focus on what’s next.
Having an extra hour is super precious, please make the most of it. Use the hour to work out how to best utilise your time to get the best results for YOU.
Performance conversations can help you, HRsource holds Meta-Coaching sessions (allowing us to go above and beyond). We are offering two people 4 x 1-2-1 sessions if you answer the following question by midday on 6th November 2021.
If you had an extra hour every week, how would you use it?
Respond in chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be contacted by 8th November 2021 if you are a chosen one!
Thank you from the HR BitchNo Comments
How often do you get taken aback by someone?
A few weeks ago, life was slightly more hectic than normal:
Kids moving, needing our removal services. Husband with a painful infection, rendering him unable to assist. A big birthday to move from plan to action. All along with the normal fun and hard work which life brings. We got through it, and thankfully all is well.
One Saturday morning, I was woken by hubby in the early hours, in agony. I called NHS Direct (thank you to the stars who work for the wonderful NHS). By 10am hubby had had an emergency appointment, and a prescription. However, he now wanted something to eat that we didn’t have in the house, so I popped to the shops. Lack of sleep, trickled in with a bit of concern, it was the last thing I felt like doing.
I parked the car and noticed a couple of ladies, dressed smartly, talking to each other in the car park, so smiled as I walked past. A few minutes later, I was heading back to the car empty handed due to lack of stock. I was feeling that much wasn’t right in the world for me that day.
The ladies I’d seen minutes before were walking towards the pathway I was on. Socially distancing, I stood back to let them pass.
Instead of passing, the elder lady, who I assume was Mum, took an extra step towards me and stopped. In a quiet voice, she said, “Thank you for your beautiful smile.”
I responded with. ‘Thank you for saying thank you,” and once she’d continued a few paces, squealed “Smiles are infectious, lets pass it on!”
Seconds later, when sitting in the car, I burst into tears. I was stunned at someone saying thank you for something so natural.
How much does it cost to smile? How much does it cost to say, ‘Thank you’?
Nothing. It costs NOTHING to make a change to someone’s day.
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, I’d like to thank you for smiling back and saying thank you.
Let’s get those smiles spreading… please share!
HRBitch (aka Adelaide) is an HRConsultant, Social Media Addict and HeadNerd at HRsource. Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn or via email. Find her other ‘Rants’ here. All views are my own.
The HR Bitch Takes Her LeaveNo Comments
20 years ago this week I started maternity leave. My professional future looked bright. The plan was to take 5 months’ leave as I’d worked hard, excelled in my career and was the consistent bread winner of the family.
My son was born on the first day of my Mat Leave, probably the biggest life changing moment I’ve experienced!
The world was changing too, just five weeks later 911 happened, I vividly remember breastfeeding and watching the first and then the second plane crash into the twin towers, those harrowed moments where the world watched live footage in disbelief.
Being a working mother was quite different 20 years ago, we were entitled to six months leave and my employer had agreed I could return part-time for the final month, to ramp myself back up into full time work. There would be no flexibility to work lesser / different hours.
I was exceptionally lucky that my grandmother wanted to treat her offspring to a couple of weeks away in the following January, so I visited my workplace to introduce bubba, and explained I’d like to extend my mat leave to the full six-months.
The response was something along the lines, ‘but you’re putting family first’. It didn’t take me too long to make another life changing decision. Resigning from that role.
At times it was tough financially, however I found roles which suited me and the family. Work : life balance was hugely important. I reflected I hadn’t given birth to a child to not see him between 7.30am and 7.00pm (if I was lucky, he slept 7 through 7!).
During my career in HR my clients have responded to dramatic changes in UK legislation ranging from the increase to 52 weeks Maternity Leave with 39 weeks’ pay, Paternity Leave to be paid and more recently Shared Parental Leave.
Fast forward 20 years and I’m very grateful I made that decision to spend time in those early years bringing both my sons up, I wouldn’t change anything! Yet, I sometimes question what might have been, had companies back then offered what is quickly becoming the norm.
Raising a family can be shared between both parents far more easily with gender neutral parental policies, which are becoming more and more regular. For example from this autumn John Lewis is offering both parents paid parental leave after they’ve been with the partnership for 1 year. Each being able to receive 26 weeks paid leave (14 weeks at full contractual pay and 12 weeks at 50% contractual pay). Following in the steps of other industries, John Lewis are the first retailer to offer this.
The chance to share leave would have been a game changer for my circumstances. Studies show sharing childcare can improve gender equality and reduce the gender pay gap. I am hopeful that my sons’ generation will see equality as the norm, when we consider how far forward the world has moved in 20 years, that many aspects are changing for the better.
The HR Bitch loves wearing different hats!No Comments
‘If you do it for love, the money comes anyway.’ I’d jotted this phrase in my ‘happy’ notebook, the place I go to seek inspiration, or when I have felt empowered and motivated.
How many of us have felt stuck in ground hog day? How do you remove that feeling?
Four years ago, I took a leap of faith. I knew I loved working with people, however I had persisted in a role I had outgrown. I loved the company, the culture and more importantly our team. But, I recognised something had to give.
With some savings under my belt, I started up a company. I had no idea what the future might hold. I felt brave. I had knowledge and experience backing me up. What I needed to ‘sell’, was me. The unique me, the HR generalist whose values lie in helping others, making change and developing people to be the best they are able to be, the person who injects motivation and humour into situations.
The first few months were unknown. I wrote a business plan, financial forecast, the administration involved in starting a company, dipped my toe into marketing, developing a web page and learning about sales. Within 3 months I had various clients, and suddenly was busy every day, doing something which I loved, and to my amazement, making money.
By the end of the first year I was able to use some earnings to build a garden office, separating work from home. I have since invested in courses to further develop my skillset. My business foundations have allowed me to offer a range of services today.
Me, the HR Bitch, I love hats… I wear several different hats each week. This week has been pretty normal, including:
- advising a personal client about their Wrongful Dismissal
- assisting SME businesses with HR challenges
- addressing the content of a business client’s handbook
- holding 1-2-1s with clients in attaining a short-term goal in alignment with their long-term vision
- mentoring business start-ups in making the next step of their journey
- facilitating several motivational sessions in business start-up/ Continual Professional Development and networking
The people I have been lucky to work with this week see the real me, who loves working, problem solving, guiding and getting results. They have the HR Bitch on their side, although they haven’t seen my hat collection.
I am proud of my accomplishments, about my capacity to jump from one thing to another, to add to my assortment of hats!
Affectionately Known as the HR BitchNo Comments
When a friend referred to me as the ‘HR Bitch’ some years ago I laughed. I would occasionally divulge stories of life at work, so for this particular group of friends the nickname stuck. The result being that I often refer to myself as the HR Bitch when talking with clients.
I suppose it’s the way I say it. Generally, with a giggle. The humour element of the statement is important. I prefer to lighten the mood wherever possible; I know even in complicated situations a smile goes a long way.
Loving to connect with people and making sure everyone is happy is one of my key values. From a work perspective I have my feet in both camps – that of the employer and the employee. Finding solutions that fit and communicating the reasoning behind decisions is a key aspect of my role.
The ‘bitch’ element is my willingness to confront difficult situations, provided there is evidence and process behind them. As a professional, I rely on statistics and the information I have. That is what makes decisions. When push comes to shove, I remove the emotions and manage any bias, basing the outcome on cold hard facts.
In my early career I remember having to fire an employee with 7 years’ service for taking a loaf of bread. I found this process extremely tough. I explained to him that if each of the 100 employees took a loaf of bread every day the profits would dissipate and so would job security. He left the meeting understanding and apologetic, and I learnt an early lesson in how reasoning, communicating and gaining clarity is important. I felt like a bitch because it was so minor, I felt empathy, but also knew the outcome was fair.
Developing working relationships is important, I ensure I build camaraderie, will sing karaoke at the Christmas Party, have a few drinks and bond in a team. But, next week when there is a redundancy, disciplinary, restructure or grievance, my role takes precedence. It’s not being nasty or nice – I have a job to do. The role of HR Bitch returns.
This attitude has always earned me respect, I suppose people can look up to a bitch. This may help answer my conundrum that when moving on from previous roles various staff members have said, ‘take me with you’ or ‘contact me if there’s a suitable role’. I contemplated the only way I could keep these people as colleagues would be to be in direct competition with the other business… and that’s not my career choice!
Members of my Motivational Mornings group talk about my fast pace whilst working. HR Bitch also highlights my ‘get it done’ nature, and my need to resolve problems whilst ensuring processes are followed. I maintain ‘doing what’s right’ and offer advice based on my knowledge and experience. Prolonging tricky scenarios is unfair on individuals, however I also realise gaining a full picture and different perspectives are equally important. I listen and reflect, but if something needs doing I will accomplish it in a timely manner.
The friends who call me HR Bitch often ask advice on professional matters, in fact some of my clients have evolved through this network. The nickname is a label of my profession and describes the HR professional who does what it says on the tin. Being the HR Bitch is something I have worked hard to be.
My Team LunchNo Comments
One of the challenges of working remotely and continuously being cooped up in the confines of our homes during 2020 has meant we’ve missed out on our social calendar, even when it is work related.
It was June before I found myself ‘home alone’ midweek, having juggled the space to accommodate 4 people with different work schedules and all getting on with what we needed to do. Whether working, studying, redundancy, being furloughed – we had a bit of everything under our roof in the 3 months since March.
That June morning I realised I’d missed out on 4 team lunches, an opportunity I relish to explore a new eatery and have a proper ‘out of work’ catch up with some good food, generally something I wouldn’t cook for myself.
Restrictions hadn’t yet been lifted, the restaurants were all still closed, but I thought it was time to celebrate with my team. As I’d taken the chance to further develop my business, I was no longer contracting with anyone, and therefore my team was me!
Risotto sprang to mind. Fairly easy to make, one of my favourites, but needing constant attention whilst being cooked, so time consuming… I decided to become my own chef and take time to enjoy cooking process whilst listening to some music and then deservedly sitting down to enjoy every last morsel.
The sense of achievement, contentment and complete self-indulgence was extremely motivating. I had entertained my senses and taken care of me, a hugely empowering feeling.
The lesson I learned that day was to be good to myself, treat myself occasionally (the treat doesn’t have to cost very much) and enjoy the opportunities each day brings.
The Powerful Art of ListeningNo Comments
Wow! Thank you for all who participated in this morning’s motivational session, where we delved into relationships and focused on the skill of listening.
Who listens to you?
Sometimes we need a sounding board to vent frustrations or concerns or to share celebrations.
Other times we want advice, from a family member, friend or colleague. Yet, would the person you ask know any more than you?
As you are the expert in your own life, should you take advice from anyone else?
Ultimately if decisions need to be made, they have to come from you as you are the key stakeholder in your life. This is the reason 1-2-1 sessions offer amazing results.
During today’s group discussion a member described how writing down frustrations assisted her in tackling issues. Referring to her ‘vomit book’ as the place where she is able to vent, to let off steam and to put challenges aside. Whilst this is one way of tackling mind chatter, talking to someone is immensely important, providing that the other person is actively listening.
One of the small group exercises today allowed each participant the chance to talk uninterrupted for 3 minutes on any topic they chose. Their partner listened intently – not making any judgement or asking any questions until the time had passed.
The result was extremely powerful for both individuals. Speakers took the opportunity to share and talk about what really mattered in that moment. As a listener we noticed far more. Taking the time to hear was instrumental in the success of our session, even when we listened to silence for a few minutes at the end of the session.
I am so grateful to have the chance to facilitate these group motivational sessions. Sharing experiences, knowledge and discussing with each other, and above all else everyone having the chance to be heard. One thing we have in common is that we are all human. The interaction with others helps us learn about ourselves and offers us inspiration as a group.
Listening is a skill. We need to learn to listen and teach those around us to listen, it should be taught to our children.
I returned to the office todayNo Comments
I recognised my need to separate work and home a couple of years ago and had invested in a cabin in the garden.
When my son returned from university in March, way earlier than expected, he transformed my cabin into an architectural studio, the space became a hub of creativity with models and A1 drawings. The uncertainty of his future at Uni due to COViD meant until he was settled into his 2nd year, I didn’t want to encroach on my garden office.
Today I started my morning in the office, facilitating my regular, ‘Motivational Mornings’ Zoom call.
When I popped back ‘home’ for a cuppa I was suddenly taken to put some washing on… it struck me that I knew I had been right about having a space to work away from the normal life of home.
For months I had procrastinated in so many areas. I’d taken a day out of my week to undertake the humdrum jobs of shopping/ cleaning/ washing…
Working prior to COVID, my routine was a well-oiled machine. Train to work, train back, out of the house, 11 hours per day minimum. Fitting in washing, cooking and cleaning around my schedule.
How come when living and working from home continuously I struggled with self-motivation to fit housework in?
It could have been suddenly 4 of us in the house, all beavering away at one thing or another, meaning a lack of space to achieve these things. But, in early lockdown this didn’t pose a challenge as we rocked our way into the ‘new normal’.
I took the unusual circumstances as a personal challenge – cooking new recipes to entertain our taste buds with a variety of dishes; spring cleaning and keeping our home as immaculate as possible.
When restrictions were lifted and we edged into some sort of normality during June and July, the slog of my being at home constantly started to grind. I lost interest in the housework (luckily for the family this did not extend to my cooking, I see that as a hobby!) and the routine dissipated as the others returned to work, uni, engaging with friends.
I had spent time in 1:2:1 sessions discussing my ‘move’ down the garden, I had a plan. The plan was thwarted along the way, set back by the cabin not being vacated as quickly as I’d hoped.
Last week I moved my office equipment, paperwork and everything to my new space. Yet I still wasn’t ready to make the move…
Procrastination? Fear of change? Not wanting to bite the bullet?
I had excuses such as, ‘What if I can’t get broadband to hold Zoom meetings?’
In hindsight (which is always a wonderful thing) all of these were ridiculous!
Today is a new beginning. My opportunities are endless.
Now is the time I am extending the portfolio of motivational sessions I run, to engage with different groups of people and offer a platform to provide inspiration and boost energy.
I am excited that I will be able to see old and new faces, develop a rapport and discuss topics which will assist us in our journey to make dreams our reality.
HR work and 1:2:1 sessions will continue (in person if they wish!).
Most importantly I am now enjoying my workspace, I’ve attained that goal! It is just what I wanted, a personal, safe and confidential space, even if it’s only a few metres from home.
For booking motivational sessions contact me or use the following link: