When Neil Diamond sang the iconic song Forever in Blue Jeans, I don’t think he knew he was dealing with such a taboo subject for the workplace !! Seriously, you do know that denim is evil, don’t you ??
This coming week I’m traveling to Washington, D.C. for the annual SHRM Leadership Conference (#SHRMLead). I’m very excited to go because I have the honor of being the next SHRM State Council Director for Ohio in 2012 !! I can’t wait to work with the 26 SHRM chapters in the State as well as with other leaders throughout the country. I think it will be a great way to continue to keep the profession relevant in general as well as another way to keep trying to bring our whole profession together and connect them !!
A true highlight for me will be on Thursday when I get to join other HR professionals on Capitol Hill to visit lawmakers and lobby on behalf of HR. I really am geeked !! To get ready, those attending listened to a webinar put on by SHRM to get an overview of what the visit would entail and the issues we were going to focus on.
It was very well done and was just a glimpse of what we needed to learn in order to have a successful visit and leverage the time we had with our representatives and their staff. During the webinar people could post questions, which I thought was cool. I think it’s amazing that I live in a country where I can go to have an audience with the national leaders of the government and express my opinion to them. It truly is astonishing !! I submitted a question asking who the two people were in Congress who had an HR background because it was noted in the webinar.
So, when the moderator started to relay the questions to the leaders of the forum, my jaw hit the floor !! We spent the first 15 minutes of the 20 minutes we had left for questions talking about clothing. “What should we wear?” “Can I wear blue jeans with a suit coat?” – and then the firestorm happened. People sent in myriads of comments (not questions) about the evil of jeans.
When I hear my peers question why companies don’t take HR seriously – here’s your answer . . . We continue to focus on the splinter issues when we miss the lumber all around us !! When we could have been focusing on the issues for this lobbying opportunity, people chose instead to focus on proper attire !! I’m not sure what I’ll wear to visit Capitol Hill.
On Friday, night our State Council, Ohio SHRM, is up for a Pinnacle Award which is the highest award for volunteers from SHRM, and we have a tradition of wearing logo’d clothing to these things. At the banquet we’re wearing these great gray fleece jackets . . . . and blue jeans !! I wonder where the focus will be ???