The HR Juggler

With A Little Help From My Friends

Posted on: April 19, 2012

I have had a sore throat lately…metaphorically at least…and temporarily lost my blogging voice over the last few months. I’m happy to report that it seems to be well and truly back, due in no small measure to some of the brilliant people I have around me.

Whilst I was on holiday, my good friend Flora started her own blog (if you haven’t read it yet, you really should, it’s excellent) and what struck me most when reading it, is how her voice jumped off the page to me. Her voice, her style – undeniably, emphatically her. It reminded me of why I had started blogging and gave me some insight into how honest, personal blogs can be so rewarding and refreshing to read. It also inspired a little spark of recognition that I still have plenty to say and a voice and style of my own to articulate it in.

The other thing that struck me in reading Flora’s first post was the great way that she described her network – vibrant, full of varied, precious friends and family, people she loves and respects, people who she helps and who help her. That reminded me of the general fabulousness of the people that I am privileged to have become friends with through ConnectingHR and Twitter, as well as those who I have met through more conventional means.

And then, a chance conversation in Twitter with one such lovely friend of mine, Anthony Allinson, led to him emailing me some really thoughtful feedback on what he likes about my blog, things that have helped and inspired him and some ideas for future topics, should I feel like returning more regularly to the blogging fray. Reading his email not only lightened my heart, but somehow also had the effect releasing lots of ideas about future posts and musings and generally cheering me up and inspiring me no end. I was, and am, touched beyond measure that he had taken the time to think about me and about my blog and what would be helpful to move both of us forward. He will be blushing furiously by now, I know, so I will simply say that I am hugely appreciative of his consistent, understated kindness.

The lesson for me is that asking for and accepting help from friends, family and colleagues is not only OK, it is more often than not absolutely essential in order to continue to grow and develop. There is undoubtedly a fortuitous element of right words, right place, right time to all of this…but the simple fact is, you have to be open to being helped, as much as you are willing to offer and give it yourself. And it feels great…I shall be practising doing it more often!

So to Tony and Flora, thank you! Beers…or rather red wine, whiskey and cocktails…are on me :).

5 Responses to "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Almost a week has passed since I flew out to Minneapolis (I went from Plymouth Devon, UK to Plymouth MN, USA in three days) and scribbled some ideas and appreciation for Alison’s blog. I felt a bit bad for not commenting on the amazing results and Alison’s touching gratitude for so long. I was a bit busy this week, with work, but also socially. The suit that fitted me on Monday doesnt any more!

Communication, Conversation and Fabulousness

So, you told a story, and asked a question. I am back on a plane. Here goes:

I come on these long haul trips, typically to the USA or India and sometimes to even more exotic places three or four times per year. It’s April, but I am up to three trips already this year. The first two were also to the USA, twice in ten days. I was tired in February. There is always an agenda, a purpose. It is almost always the case that something random and brilliant happens that later turns out to have been the point.

This week was the same, but on several fronts:

– I played racquetball (squash with a powerball and goggles, hilarious) with someone I unintentionally offended in Jan. We played twice, both times at 0600. They were good conversations. Albeit breathless and brief. Fences mended. Friends made. It turns out that tales of our matches are doing the rounds in London. 

– A woman I work with took me out for beer with her team. She is an educated professional from the mid west. She swore at me lavishly all evening, laughed endlessly and they responded to my silly stories with better ones. I felt like I fitted in with that gang because of these things, but mainly because she swore at me. That was a huge compliment because all the frustrating protocol went away with it. She and her team are in London next week. I will take them to a pub where the men have whiskers and there is a whiff of danger. I hope we will swear at each other again.

– A colleague and I were helping the guys who deliver our professional services with some process and organisational changes. For much of the day this involved us dominating whiteboards, hogging laptops and talking a lot. At 3pm one of the team took the lap top and his pal joined in. The conversation that followed was a microscopically brief exchange of glances between me and my colleague. We shut up. Five minutes later, we contrived to meet in the coridoor barely able to contain our delight, only to be joined by the  HR chap (a proper HR guy who wouldnt know one end of a payslip from another) who had watched the millisecond in which we had silently signalled, agreed and executed our decision to back off and came out to join the moment. Meanwhile the guys who do the work were blatting out a new organisation and process that was there’s and not ours.

– I went into work every day this week with Flora and Alison’s blogs, an amusingly random Fairisle jumper reference on Doug’s blog and updates on Mrs A’s newly started PHD ringing in my ears. It was the conversational subtext to my week on the road. There were occasions, especially due to the time differences, when my phone buzzed at odd times. Including a few when I was actively involved in work and in one case mid presentation (naughtily, I replied!).

– Finally, I re enacted the video in FM’s Stand By Me at a restaurant last night. So much for me being understated 🙂

Yes, I did blush:) But thank you for your triumphant return. As usual, you made me think.


Thanks as ever Anthony, for your comments and your thoughtful stories. I love all your communication examples…perhaps my favourite though is the one with the lavish swearing, for the image of cameraderie that it evoked 🙂

[…] was very well described by my friend Alison Chisnell on her most recent blog – in which she comments about the first blog from another of our friends, Flora […]

You know that voice you describe above, that jumps off the page? Well, I’ve somehow had a hard time putting that into words so that I can reply to your blog post! I guess that’s just because I want to simply grin my biggest grin and raise that martini glass with you.
Anyhow, I’m ever so glad that your blogging voice has returned. And how! I guess our motivation to write will ebb and flow. That’s a good thing though – it’s important to have some quiet time. Isn’t that what we tell the kids?!

It is easy to think that an online community of HR and other business people has always been here on twitter, blogs and so on. It’s very recent though. I was re-reading the incomparable My Hell is Other People recently. I noticed a post from January 2010, where the HRD bemoans the lack of a UK HR blogging community, and writes about his early ventures on twitter. Read it here:

Amazing really, to think that just 2 years later it’s hard to describe this community as anything other that a real community. And a truly vibrant one at that. So I am grateful that I took those first hesitant steps with twitter back in the mists of c.2010 and that I discovered via Mr HRD that blogs could be a thing of joy, discovery, community, provocation. And friendship.

And Anthony – I just hope that there is a video of your video re enactment.

[…] With A Little Help From My Friends […]

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