I majored in fashion design in college. When you watch the video above, that will be hard to believe. I wanted to wear something that conjured Americana, something that screamed, “USA! USA! USA!” Unfortunately, no number of stars and stripes could save my ensemble. And speaking of, this clip proves that, no, vertical stripes are not always slimming. So much for my fashion education.
Shame on Me
Notice how I haven’t yet mentioned the content of the video. Shame on me for obsessing about my appearance when what matters more are my ideas and opinions. I need to get better at not judging myself so harshly. There are enough other people that already do that for me, or to me.
I guess that comes with public speaking, though. Numerous peers of mine have mentioned some of the feedback they’ve received after their presentations. If it’s not about their shoes, then it’s their shirts, or their hair, or their makeup. Sure enough, I’ve had well-intentioned people point out my wrinkles and fat.
Now, I’m pretty self-deprecating and have no trouble poking fun at myself. (I’m also fairly self-aware and have already identified ways to present better next time. And incidentally, you should check out Jennifer McClure’s “5 Mistakes Successful Speakers Never Make.”) But at some point, the focus really does need to shift to Herbert Robinson.
Who Is Herbert Robinson?
I spoke to Herbert many years ago about how his employer fired him for behavior outside of work. I was naive then. I didn’t know that it was entirely legal for so many companies to terminate so many people for any reason, or no reason.
Today, I’m the Madonna of HR. I know better. And I feel just as strongly now as I did years ago about the ways in which corporations can violate the spirit of our democracy. That’s why I wore what I wore. And that’s why I decided to deliver a DisruptHR presentation about the subject, especially important these days given the ominous clouds forming around our freedoms.
With the help of Alexis, Krystle, Blake, and the cast of Dynasty, I explored numerous questions, including:
- When should it be OK to punish someone for behavior outside of work?
- What are the social, civic, religious, and political ramifications when Big Brother Businesses act in ways we’d never tolerate from Uncle Sam?
- What role should—and shouldn’t—companies play in a free society?
Lastly, after my official presentation ended, I gave the audience a surprise ending, so I encourage you to watch the whole extravaganza. (And if you like this piece of theater, check out my other shows on my speaking page.)