What HR isn’t Telling You…

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Every Human Resources Professional has seen some quirky, crazy, and eyebrow raising things in the office. Chances are, unless you’re involved in disciplinary action, a complaint, performance review, bucking for a raise, being onboarded or prepped for exit interviews, you will never see them. But don’t be fooled. HR knows more about you than your manager, and some of your closest coworkers. Here’s a look at what they are really thinking when it comes to employee relations…

1. “The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive

2. “If you’re accused of sexual harassment, even if you’re found to be not guilty, people will always look at you funny afterwards. It can kill your career.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C .

3. “Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” –HR representative in the manufacturing industry.

4. “If you have a question, come to my office. Don’t corner me in the bathroom.” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

5. “Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

6. “You’re right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there’s a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C

7. “I was asked by one CEO to hire the long-legged girl with the long dark hair even though she didn’t have the right skills. Another time, I was instructed not to hire anyone with children because the company had too many people leaving for soccer games. That kind of thing happens all the time.” –Cynthia Shapiro

8. “I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” –Senior HR Executive in Vancouver, BC

9. “Generally speaking, you only put someone on paid leave if you’re pretty certain that they might be terminated from the company once you do your investigation.” – Jenny Gantham

10. “Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” –A human resources professional in Seattle, WA

11. “If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

12. “If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in Victoria, BC

13. “Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” –Cynthia Shapiro

14. “I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.’” –HR Manager at a Loblaw

15. “One time a candidate sent – I love this – a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it.” –HR director at a financial services firm

16. “Don’t ever tell me that you have to have this job because you’re going to lose your house, your kids have nothing to eat, your mother has cancer. Companies aren’t a charity.” –Suzanne Lucas

17. “Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” –A human resources professional in Hamilton, Ontario

18. “We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” –HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

19. “98 percent of the résumés we receive when we post a position on a big jobs site like hotjobs, monster or careerbuilder are junk, people who are nowhere near qualified. We’ll get a guy who’s a bar manager applying for a director of public affairs position. Or a shoe salesman. That’s why we like posting jobs on websites that target specific industries.” –Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency.

20. “I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’ ” –Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

21. “Don’t stalk me.” –A human resources professional in Vancouver BC

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The “Let’s Catch You” Interview

ImageI had a great learning experience last month I kept on meaning to write about. I was on the other side of the table as the “interviewee”. Not totally foreign territory, especially since I do primarily contract work in change management, system overhaul, risk assessment, and policy development, for anywhere between 2weeks-2years for a single company, nevermind the policy writing and training seminars I hold on the side. However, a lot of my work has me by recommendation so the interview process is very lax and usually involves a CAO/CSO, Director, and possibly a senior management personnel or the former HR (yes, the one who either quit or was let go), and myself having lunch or a brief meeting on what my proposal for the company is, and how we can tailor it specifically for their needs. This interview however was just stellar.

I met with the CAO, and the HR Director. Originally it appeared to be laid back, however the questions were so broad and general, and yet they sought such specific details, it kind of threw me for a loop-but in a good way. The questions were designed to see if you were telling the truth. Bravo! Questions such as, What do you think your day would look like? (as opposed to, list some of your typical tasks) How do you think managing employees would be best here? (as opposed to, what’s you’re management style) What kind of retention programs would you like to implement? (as opposed to, how do you earn the trust and build relationships to keep employees) What do you think it would be like to coach our team of Executives and Floor Manufacturers? (as opposed to, how do you build relationships with people), etc…. And then mid interview they expressed that they would give me an opportunity to ask questions now, but not at the end. Huh. Interesting….. I realized they give no room for error. How great is that! It allows basic human error, as people are supposed to have nervous reactions to stressors, however it makes it much harder to bluff your way through basic tasks and responsibilities that you should already know about. I must say, this is my new favorite interview technique! Good on them!

As it was, congratulations are present, as I was offered the job. After pulling their files on interviews, I have no idea who their former trainer and change manager was, but they were a genius! The questions and programs are a goldmine. I wish more people took this initiative in their career!

Why Feeding Your Staff Could Be the Best Employee Retention Plan Ever

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When free coffee hit the office, it was the best thing since jams and jellies. But when work began providing snacks, lunches, and treats here and there- it tied over more employees through rough company patches than any other tactic. 

  • 70% of the workforce is actively or passively engaged.
  • 41% of employees understand what defines their business against competitors.
  • Companies like Ross, Google, and Amazon have some the highest turnover with the average employee staying between 10months-1.2years. Lowest turnover companies include, Kodak, Xerox, and General Motors.
  • One study for women found that 42% would leave their job for increased compensation, 35% to develop new skills or competencies, and 33% to pursue greater advancement opportunities. The same study for men found that 51% would leave for increased compensation, 32% to accept a new opportunity promising development for skills and competencies, and 30% to pursue greater advancement opportunities. 

Specific Form of Unfairness Experienced % Who left workplace

Public humiliation-14.8%

Passed over for a promotion-14.9%

Being compared to a terrorist-18.8%

Being asked to attend more recruiting or community related events-15.6%

Bullied on the job-13.5%

Having your identity mistaken-12.7%

Unwelcome questions about skin, hair, or ethnic attire-12.8%

Everyone knows you make more money when you make your employees happy. So why are 59% of employees sitting around twiddling their thumbs, not knowing why their organization is different from all the others? In this article, we will blame incentive. My personal belief is at least 1/3 is to blame poor hiring practices, however that’s a discussion for another time. Food makes the stomach churn, the tastebuds dance, the nose perk, the body warm and happy. It’s reliable, consistent, and takes care of a basic need in tough economic times. So when you consider providing regular lunch for staff, consider these reasons:

Productivity. Employees who stay onsite for lunch are more likely to eat faster, spend less time walking to and from lunch, in couple with catching up with coworkers, and may possibly eat while working. Do not discount the importance of regular breaks from work, but those breaks are better spent in small chunks. Taking an hour for lunch is more than one person needs everyday. By offering lunch onsite, you give the option to stick close and get back to work faster. Typically if an employee can take a 20-30minute break for lunch and if they have an untaken 30-40min remaining, they are happy to leave early- but feel fair about it because they had a short lunch but were rewarded for their efforts because it was provided for them. Staff who have busy personal lives will especially appreciate this, as this is one less thing off their plate, literally, when it comes to self care. One less thing they need to worry about, and feel bad about spending money on when they realize they forgot to brown bag it.

Retention. When you offer free lunch, you are giving your employees a bonus because they will spend less money on meals every month. When recruiters approach your employees, or your competition tries to steal them away, they will start asking if free lunch is offered. Since most companies do not offer free lunch, you’ll find your employees are less likely to leave. Retention is a huge cost saver to your company, even if you only keep an employee for an extra six months.

Tax Benefits. Both you and the employee will benefit from your free lunches. Consult your accountant first, but in most cases buying your staff lunch is a tax deduction for your company.

Talent Acquisition. Even in today’s market, finding and hiring the best talent is a challenge. Giving your hiring manager as many perks as possible will increase your chances of snagging hot prospects. The faster you hire the best employees, the more productive and profitable your company will be.

Stronger Teams. Instead of wandering off on their own, employees who eat in one central location tend to spend more time getting to know one another. This brings them closer together, strengthens your teams and boosts your company culture. By offering free lunch, you help facilitate conversations and team building. Because food is personal, your employees will feel that more initiative is being taken towards their care, well-being, and keeps them bonded with their coworkers and surroundings.

Can’t Afford Lunches at Work? No problem. As an HR professional, I advocate for my workers well-being regularly. A part of that is when I go to Starbucks and request a portion of their weekly donations go to my hard working staff, or when I go to Chapters and ask them for coupons and gift cards at Christmas, don’t forget Subway, Quizno’s, Safeway, and your local restaurants. All to often they have vouchers for me to give to my staff so everyone gets a minimum of 4 free meals a month, and that doesn’t include gift cards we receive from Ardene’s, Reitman’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, and more. In addition to this, I hit the local flower shops and ask them for their disposed flowers, the one’s that have minor imperfections that they throw out because they can’t make a full sale on them. Then I make bouquets with a couple volunteers like reception or another manager, and we make flower arrangements for the office and other employees. When people care, it’s amazing how it impacts the office environment.

 

Why Psychometrics is Driving Us cRAzY

The latest HR trend is using psychometrics testing. Oh no. This as bad as telling a racial minority to look “less coloured”. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Psychometrics is a variety of tests performed to evaluate the competency of an applicant or employee. It involves tests such as knowledge tests, personality traits, educational assessments, and personality assessments. Let’s examine why this is a great idea, and why it will prove majority wrong in most evaluations.

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1) It’s based off of psychology. There’s our first problem. Psychology is the study of the brain, cognitive ability, and circumstance that make the brain respond and react in different ways. Ultimately, it is the science of the brain. This is why if you want a good counselor, you avoid psychology majors at all costs. Why? Because psychology major’s use a lot of branding terms, and are very diagnoses driven. Without a diagnoses, a psych major is mostly useless at their job. So in a counseling session, they will want to do genograms, discuss your childhood, and want you to talk about your past trauma. This can be very dangerous. It’s great for the psych major because they are trained they need this information in order to calculate a diagnoses, however there are many other ways of uncovering why a person behaves a certain way without bringing up trauma for them. This is why the best counselors, therapists, and workers are always Social Workers. Once you complete your C-6 training, you can do anything. Why? Because they teach you more about circumstance and how you can outrun your genetics, and your past does not necessarily determine a one way ticket in your future. They are also more focused on problem solving and lateral thinking as opposed to linear thinking and hard evidence.

2) It’s HR using assessment tools. Oh no. Would you give your copy repair guy some lessons in assessment and then let them hire and fire in your agency? No. HR education is so conveniently wrapped around administrative work, they can learn all they want about assessment, however unless they know their strengths themselves, have been through counseling and worked on themselves, overcome their personal issues, and have a developed sense of empathy and compassion. This is like giving a banana milk shake maker to a clan of monkeys. It’s gonna get used and abused. This power can go to your head pretty quick. So who is counseling them on using this, keeping them accountable, and making sure they are not using these skills for their own agenda?

3) It’s not reliable. Personality testing and knowledge testing is hugely complex. It’s possible for someone to get a low score on an IQ test, and yet be brilliant. So much is culture specific, experience specific, and of course encompassing both of those- what information has made itself available to them. Furthermore, personality testing is not necessarily going to reveal to me if an applicant is drugging, heavy alcoholing, has anger issues, draws out complex pathology, etc… It’s just going to tell me if they’re an introvert, extrovert, aggressive, passive, creative, high achiever, low achiever, etc…. It’s kind of like a glamorous cosmo quiz for employees.

4) It’s online. The majority of testing is online. Especially for large organizations such as the Fairmont or RBC. We all know how accurate computer testing is. I adore what a special bond my computer and I have, and how I have a limited number of answers, none of which encompass my true personality. It’s just so much more fun that way.

I would take my final example from Frobes who recently published an article on hiring NCO’s over anyone else. I would agree. Next time hire the war studies major. They will be devoted, loyal, goal oriented, and will cut through all the personality nonsense like a crew cut.

Want good psychometrics?- Make sure your HR has some experience managing crazy. That’ll do it.

The Recruiters Guide to Being a Good Recruiter

ft_interview_mainThere’s a lot of blogs and articles that focus on recruitment, searching for the right employee, getting to know them, determining if they are a good fit, steering clear of not so kosher applicant’s and so forth… However, very little articles focus on tricks and tips the recruiter can use not only to be a better recruiter, but to actually make informed decisions.

human-resources-by-onurdongelJob recruitment is based on whether or not an applicant can complete the job description. This is determined by 3 things, education, experience, and WHO you have worked for. No doubt, that getting on with Bombardier looks better on your resume than Mom & Pop’s Coffee Shop. So why are there so many dysfunctional employees in an office, why is no work getting done? Because people lie. It’s plain and simple. People have a natural incline to want to be better than what they really are, after all, we are all struggling to get ahead. People lie about their education, work history, job titles, and oh so much more. Well, in an attempt to weed out the liars, psychometric testing was introduced. What a joke that is. It guarantees results with personality testing, education testing, and profile compilation- all by asking some questions on a computer screen. Something about this smells of lazy 4 day old tacos to me. You want a better example?- Check out how accurate eHarmony testing was. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Success rates are almost as high as a spider outrunning liquid chocolate at the factory. So in an attempt to help todays recruiter be a better recruiter, and draw out more information from their candidate than any CPU screen could do, check out these tips:

1) Get Over Yourself. I have met a lot of men and women who think hiring and firing is all about being able to read people and determine whether or not they can do the job. Ultimately I find a lot of recruiters to be stuck up because the truth is, they have a lot of power- being able to determine your employment fate. So as a forewarning from an HR Strategist to the Recruiter, get over yourself. When candidates walk into the office and are more nervous than a shaved terrier, let me remind you that you could be the Hamburglar, and they will still be just as nervous. Employment is nervous for everyone. This is not about you.

2) You Don’t Know Everything- and neither do they. Some recruiters have a misconception that because they may interview high profile candidates that means that they themselves are either high profile, or they have a superpower that allows them to soak up all the knowledge from this individual and whammo-bammo, they are now Executive Directors! Just because you have a list of questions in front of you with four syllable words on the paper, does not mean you know everything about the job. A good recruiter researches the job title in different capacities so they can provoke incorrect answers or detect lies from a fraudulent applicant. You need to know how the Executive Assistant looks, acts, and what the language differences are between one that works in a non-profit office, and one that works in a corporate office. In addition, if the EA has been responsible for community liaising and social networking, don’t be so horrified if on their resume it says, “Melissa Dupree, #awesomechick99 FBMellimelonD, pursuing meaningful career as an EA w/ Global Assistants where I can use my skills to 3xx capability.” Admittedly, it could be seen as a little unprofessional, but check the job history- did this person just rock out on the community service awards and demonstrate incredible ability to build relationships and an agency’s reputation? The culture difference on paper just made sense. So take it for what it’s worth.

ss-recruiting-bootstrapped3) Get to know Transferable Skill Sets. Why? Because silly goose, this makes you money! I once had a recruiter tell me that because I had a Social Work degree, my job was with families, I had no place in the corporate world. Needless to say, I walked out of that interview. Many people don’t know that in your Social Work degree you can specialize in Law and Business Management like I did, where they teach you how to start and run your own business, apply for funding, hire, fire, work with difficult people, know the in’s and out’s and many loopholes of legislation, and develop finely tuned management skills. How do you think the average Social Worker does such difficult work?- they have to know everything there is to know about all the critical stakeholders to their job that includes, municipal/provincial/federal government systems, funding, systems, policy, human rights, networking, business management, people management, conflict resolution, threat analysis, and more. So when someone says I have a degree in PoliSci, don’t just think they’re good for working at City Hall. Remember that they have to learn diplomacy, tact, systems, order, legislation, current affairs = strategy, history, and more. This just made them a prime candidate for working with grants and funding, being a community liaison, technical writing, and other related things. People have potential. Don’t forget it. Please don’t oppress them into one role. Give everyone a chance at greatness.

4) Use Your Body Language to Test their Boundaries. One thing as a war strategist they teach you is terrain. Know what lays ahead of you and test whether it is an illusion by making smoke and watch where your enemy appears. This is metaphorical (Sun Tzu) and can be applied to so many scenarios. This time, we are using it with body language. I once was teamed up with a psychotherapist, during an interview who kicked the applicant under the table  twice, feigning “Whoops!” What was he doing?- he was testing the applicant’s boundaries. How did they respond? Were they even more nervous, did they get angry, did they kick back, did they not even really care, were they put off? So many possibilities. In another interview, I had a colleague come in late to the interview, pull up a chair RIGHT beside the applicant and sit down so close next to them, they were almost on top of them. Again, same questions, how do they respond? Do they politely pull away, offer to make room, get angry, get nervous, what? It doesn’t sound nice to put minor stressors on people applying for jobs- however with the number of people that apply for jobs who are committing fraud- I think it’s fair to employ tactics to soft out the liars. Other tactics include a ridiculously firm handshake, constant unwavering eye contact, give the applicant the wobbly chair, turn up/down the heat in extreme, give them hot water instead of cold water…. there are so many tricks of the trade used when interviewing. Have fun :)timemachine

5) Don’t Judge, Ask Questions. I have an extreme scenario for you, but none the less based off of a true story. I had once interviewed an absolutely lovely applicant, polished, poised, a little over dressed for the job, but who cares- they fit the bill and had amazing potential. My interview companion spits out, “They slept their way to the top, you can totally tell.” Whoa!? Wtf?! I didn’t realize you had a MA in behavioural studies to know that!? Stop being so judgemental! Just because someone is younger than you, has climbed higher than you, and has way more potential than you, does not mean they have gone about it in unscrupulous ways. Put aside your own issues, your own insecurities, and judgements, and be honest. This is why as an interview panel, we ask questions. Don’t assume someone is lying, or playing you. Typically the one’s who boast the expertise are the one’s who are working the hardest to sell you something. Don’t overlook that with your panel, the applicant, or yourself.

6) Trust Your Gut. Too many times there is one person on the interview panel who says, “I don’t know. Something just wasn’t right.” Remember the expression, “One of these things is not like the other.” Chances are, this person has picked up on this. Occasionally you really like someone as a professional, but personally you detect something chilly, creepy, eerie, offputting, foreign, or you just can’t put your finger on it.” I would forewarn you to stay away from these people. Ten years ago the stats for sociopaths was 1/99. Today, the stats are 1/10. Strong pathology alone is a statistical achievement at 1/4. Now, very few people can diagnose a sociopath and other sorts of pathology. It can take up to 20 years to really know if someone is a sociopath. But on that note, be safe, and be careful. You don’t know who you are bringing into the workplace, and you are ethically liable as a recruiter, and as HR.

7) Interview Applicant’s Who’s Name’s You Can’t Pronounce. HR stats show that for every Anglosaxon name on a resume, they receive 1/10 call backs. Every African-American or Latin name is 1/15. Every Arabic, Slavic, and other name is 1/20. Tough crowd. That means that valuable, educated, promising candidates are being overlooked for their name. You may have read the article I wrote previously on this topic exclusively. It’s tough to get a job if your name happens to Ryseai Aminoltajari. It’s surprising to learn on top of this how many applicants have already shortened their name to Rys Amin, and still don’t get a call back. Yet they have ample education from accredited western universities, excellent work experience, stellar references, and a local address so you know they can make it into the job easy- but no. They are still not getting callbacks. This has almost become an untapped hidden source to the job market. As a recruiter, it would be wise to contact these individuals and cash in on this high standing wealth of applicants. Remember you can always google how to say their name, or simply ask them. They will be too thrilled they got a callback to even notice you asked how to pronounce their name.

I hope this helps for now my HR cohorts! Good luck, and Happy Headhunting!

Good Morning Embezzlement!- What Will You Be Drinking Today?

The slap tickle offenses at the office take a back seat when corporate criminal charges are involved. So when I learned an office I had previously worked with through change management had the CAO and minion assistant in bed together with potential embezzlement charges, I was oddly pleased and disgusted.

ImageAfter an 80% overhaul of staff, management, policies, systems, and the monthly coffee subscription- you would have thought positive change was approaching right? No. My recommendation to put the CAO on suspension along with dirty faced said minion was because the two were power mongers, and I could smell trouble but couldn’t put my finger on it. They were too smug, smooth, and what I did find when I audited the assistant’s files, were personal information files on all the employees. No, no, not  employee files. You may have misheard- information files- as in, potential blackmail files. I recommended disciplinary action immediately and to launch an internal investigation. What was interesting, was the CEO felt she was desperate for cash, had huge amounts of compassion for her and instead offered her a few extra vacation days, time off, and benefits. Shoot me now. I do have a love for this particular CEO, as my cohort called him, “the eloquent beast”. He truly is a beast of a man, looking vicious…. sort of like you wouldn’t be surprised to find out if he ate candied hearts for breakfast. You know the sort. But after many years of being my favorite kind of crisis intervention worker, he had grown a tremendous soft spot for people who simply do not know any better. This was his first time as a CEO, and he did indeed want to be fair, diplomatic, and merciful (getting what you don’t deserve). Coupling this with his faith as a man of God- the goodness in his heart truly makes up for other people’s wrong doings. I respect this man, he is one of my mentor’s, and I understand his decision in this matter, however I do not agree with it.

I understand mercy and grace. However, I agree with limitations on it when thousands of dollars are being discovered in embezzlement. Not to mention harsh and unfair treatment of employees, blackmail, and fraud. Sounds to me that some lay off’s are in order. But that’s only because my values tell me not to associate with this kind. What happened to David’s strategies? He acted swiftly, with compassion, and had mercy for the soul of man but it did not stop him from keeping with natural consequences. I suppose I have something to learn here. I will chat more with the CEO after his txt the other day of, “I would welcome your return here!!!” I bet. The truth is, I would love to go back. It was a fabulous office, despite the problems. After doing so much change management, I have learned that every office has problems (I know a lot of you are thinking, what else is knew?). But so many of us associate problems with money, bitchy people, stupid people, office cliques, budget cuts, and so forth. My kind of usual problems are typically fraud, blackmail, embezzlement, theft, sexual harassment, labour disputes, and so forth. It’s just a matter of if you’re comfortable with the toxic tactics your opponent is using. Here, I get it. I know what the problems are, I like the people (even the stupid ones), and I enjoy working with all of them. Heck, the crazy just makes my day a little more interesting and shakes things up a bit.

A Dinner Party with the Unusual Suspects

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I promote dinner parties for a few different reasons, a) they are a great way to have a blast without relying on club music and heavy alcohol b) even better way to destress with a group of friends and get ample support c) fabulous strategy to network and build professional and social connections- d) and the last reason?- Food among good people of course!!

2 of the best dinner party gifts I have received include a giant pack of smoked, extra thick, bacon, and the next was a set of coasters circa style 1950’s with a classy woman on them quoting, “Wine is how classy people get shit faced”. Typically I host dinner parties in exchange for the guest pass of a bottle of wine, craft beer, dessert, or an item for my home…. (I have some tres chic napkins and napkin holders thanks to the savvy shopper who got them on clearance).

But among the friends and good company, of all the dinner party themes I have had at my home, James Bond, Murder Mystery/Sleuth, Super Hero, Star Wars, Classy Corporate, Seasonal, Spooky Mystery, Greek, Arabian Nights, Witchy Woman, and Alcoholics Unanimous….. the most interesting trinkets left behind were that of a no themed party with the guest list of, 2 MCFD workers, 1 FMEP worker, 1 Social Worker, 1 Border Security, 2 Military (1 Marine vet, 1 foot soldier active), Executive Chef, and an Events Photographer. Our menu was a classy bacon themed night among professionals equipped with an appy of mini bacon caesars and bacon wrapped scallops, the main of garlic focaccia grilled topped with bacon jam, pulled pork, bacon bits, and petit onion rings, and finally for dessert was a (no bacon for overkill) Jewish cheesecake served with optional blueberry sauce. That night was a great night full of craft beer and good wine. By the time the night had ended, I was cleaning up (admittedly throwing almost everything that didn’t have food in it, into the dishwasher, playing Maytag tetris) when I came across some things I had to take a double look at.

The first was a saran wrap bag of mushrooms in a napkin on my sofa…. the second was a tiny baggie of cocaine in my washroom…. the third was a joint next to the pack of cigarettes and lighter someone left by my door on the entrance table…. the fourth was a water bottle of gin in my fridge…… the fifth was a shirt…. WHO the hell are these people!?!?!?

I was completely dumbfounded and tried to catch a sense of reality wondering…. “Do I txt my guests and kindly let them know they may have forgotten something?” What the hell is the next step?? For me, I have a no drug rule in the house. I flushed the drugs. As for the gin- spirits do not go to waste in my home- that went to good use. As for the shirt, I facebook’d a picture of it, and found an owner. It got me wondering on a professional level, seriously, who are these people? We all work reputable jobs, have credible reputations, volunteer, give back to our community, and yet some of them feel they need to dope at a legit dinner party. I find it bothersome though because I see drugs and alcohol as serious as religion. I do not impose alcohol on anyone, despite that I have a drink every other night. It’s a moral thing, and I reference the bible when I say that alcohol disturbs the spirit. I would not want anyone to impose disturbing behaviour on me, so why would I do that to them? What respect does someone have for my home when they bring illegal substances in? Do me the courtesy of loading before you arrive on my premise, not between the first and second course. Thank goodness my present love interest the narc cop, wasn’t helping me clean up- the evening could have gone a couple different ways.

On that note, I have a reasonable expectation for this at a few of my other dinner parties, but not my professional dinner party! It has definitely added a bit of mystery to the professional friendship zone… I told my Marine buddy, who laughed and said he wished he had stayed for the clean up just to see the look on my face. But who knew? I guess you never really do know your friends… but it adds some spice to the relationship dynamics!