Blowtorches, Toga Parties, and Sincerity?

by John on October 30, 2013

“I hate those damn sugarcoaters!” he would yell at random moments. The mere shock of the screaming is what caught us off guard; Santi always had a funny habit of yelling at the most inopportune times. He had an absolute disdain for people who didn’t speak their minds. Psycho Blowtorch

We of course were used to it already, having suffered through the pledge process and now in our “probationary” period. Little did I know that Santi’s yelling would resonate some 20 years later around the topic of Sincerity…

The topic/concept of Sincerity has been bugging me for the past few days and I think with the upcoming holiday season, maybe it’s time we peeps in HR revisit it in earnest. I know, you’re probably reading this and saying “But John, there are times when we can’t’ be absolutely sincere in our day-to-day roles, this is HR.”


Do we say what we mean? Do we follow through? Do we thank people for the little things, the big things? Is there a level of consistency in our lives or do we forget? Do we sugarcoat?
I’ll admit that I forget and yes, at times I sugarcoat stuff. Brother Psycho is now yelling at me and this time he’s justified.

Is this behavior even possible in our profession? I mean think of all the issues around terminations and layoffs. There’s a whole mess of emotional issues, professional and personal issues, confidentiality, etc. etc. It’s enough to drive you batty. It’s easier to just sugarcoat the issue and move on right?

I don’t know if that screwy logic is helping or hurting our profession.

So here’s what I’m going to be working on over the next few days/weeks. I’m going to try and not be ironic or glib (hat tip to LFR), and do my best to speak from my heart. I’m going to really mean it when I thank someone or when I tell them they did a good job. I won’t be defensive and use sincerity inappropriately (I mean that’s too big of a step for now right?) but I’m really going to concentrate on speaking from the heart.

Oh and about the photo, yes it was a toga party and no, I have no idea where Santi got a propane torch. Best line from that epic party “Someone keep the damn matches away from Psycho, he’ll burn the whole school down…”

I mean if you can’t say what you mean and mean what you say while holding a propane torch at a toga party then, well then we’re all lost.

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