Sing your own song

March 14, 2016 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

If you’re on the lookout for an easy laugh and a good time on television these days, you can certainly do much worse than Lip Sync Battle on Spike. If you haven’t seen it yet or run across the clips on YouTube, you really need to check it out.  For Or Against Signpost Showing Pros And Cons

Here’s the setupeach episode pits two celebrities against each other in an audience-judged contest. The celebrities will lip sync two songs apiece. The first is just the celebrity but, for the second song, the show gives them access to just about any prop, professional dancers, or any other bells and whistles they could possibly want.

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Keeping it real: litigation insights from ‘Making a Murderer’

January 20, 2016 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

It’s mid-January, and I’m sitting in my office writing this post while snow falls outside. (Yes, we get snow in South Carolina and, yes, it terrifies us.) The snow, however, reminds me of the frozen northern Wisconsin landscapes featured in my latest binge-watching favorite, Netflix’s Making a MurdererA peek inside the courtroom

If you’ve not seen it yet, Making a Murderer is a fascinating serial documentary about the murder trial of Steve Avery. Mr. Avery swears by his innocence and defends the murder charge by claiming that the local sheriff’s office framed him. DNA evidence had exonerated Avery of a prior rape conviction (or at least raised sufficient doubt to require his release from prison). He sued the county for his earlier conviction, and soon after key depositions were taken in his lawsuit, a young woman went missing. Key evidence was found near Avery’s home (including charred remains of the missing woman), and he was arrested. He claimed someone set him up and that the police overlooked evidence of his innocence.

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Haunted by work

November 16, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

This blog’s mission is to be witty, entertaining, and informative. That mission is difficult when the headlines are as sobering as what we’ve seen since last Friday in Paris. Before I launch into this week’s EntertainHR installment, I want to extend my sympathies to and express my solidarity with the people of Paris and, in particular, the lawyers and staff of Capstan Avocats, our French affiliate through Ius Laboris. My thoughts and prayers are with you.   Ghosts at the Office

I have a mindless indulgence—ghost-hunting shows. Maybe it goes back to my childhood days in the Ozarks listening to my family tell stories that had come down from across the generations but, whatever it is, I just can’t get enough of these things. I love watching a group of people wrap themselves in electronic gear, stumble through a purportedly haunted house in the dark, and scare themselves senseless. I eat it up when they manage to catch something—a voice, an image—that actually defies explanation. I once got myself so wrapped up and spooked watching one of these shows that I screamed bloody murder when my wife simply walked in the room. (No, not one of my better moments.)

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The Cardinal Way

September 29, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 2 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

I’m a St. Louis Cardinal lifer so, for most Major League baseball fans out there, you probably assume I’m insufferable. (You may be right.) Still, don’t look for me to apologize that we’re in first place, have been for pretty much the entire season, and boast the best record in baseball. The postseason is upon us and, if all goes well tonight against Pittsburgh, we will wrap up another NL Central Division title and head into the postseason looking for yet another World Series championship. Yes, life is good.  Where the Cardinals play

One of the reasons so many fans find us insufferable is our talk of the “Cardinal Way.” Most people draw this link back to Branch Rickey, the pioneering baseball executive who first developed the Cardinals’ farm system before he went on to engineer Jackie Robinson’s entry into the Majors, thereby breaking down baseball’s color barrier.

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“Silicon Valley”: Start me up

September 17, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

Mike Judge has done it again. A few months ago, I wrote about one of my favorite workplace flicks, Office Space, and the dangers of pushing off uncomfortable employment issues (specifically Milt Waddams, a mumbly arsonist-to-be). Now I’m hooked on Mike Judge’s latest project, HBO’s Silicon ValleySilicon Valley

Silicon Valley chronicles the ups and downs of life in a tech startup.  The feature characters are all residents of an eccentric business incubator that allows them free room and board in exchange for 10 percent of their companies and some questionable business direction. One of the characters (Richard) suddenly scores the attention of several venture capitalists and potential acquirers for his company, Pied Piper, and its revolutionary compression algorithm. From that point, the show does a brilliant job of showing that initially successful tech startups are a bit like the dog who chased the carand caught it.

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To kill Atticus Finch? HR pros aren’t afraid of the truth

August 10, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 3 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

It’s been a long time since I, like nearly any person educated in the United States, read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, like many other readers out there, it’s back on my bedside table since Ms. Lee consented to publication of her other manuscript, Go Set a Watchman. I haven’t tackled it yet, but I’m eager to see what’s new from Scout and, of course, Atticus Finch.

The reviews I’ve read, however, let me know that I’m in for a surprise. Everyone recalls the heroic image Ms. Lee painted of Atticus in Mockingbird, where he was the brave and upright defender of a wrongly accused black man in the Jim Crow South. Gregory Peck personified Atticus in Mockingbird’s 1962 film rendition, which solidified Atticus in our minds as one of the better angels of our nature.

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Heeere’s Johnny!!! Or, what horrors lurk in your building?

June 15, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

If you’ve seen The Shining you certainly remember the scene when Jack Nicholson’s character, now thoroughly possessed by the Overlook Hotel’s diabolical spirits, hefts an axe and chases his wife through the snowbound resort. Cornering her in a bathroom, he splinters the door and bellows, “Heeere’s Johnny!”  Whats around the corner

Scary stuff, for sure. For me, though, I can’t bear to watch their young son–affectionately, “Doc”–tooling around the sprawling hotel on his big-wheel tricycle. Stanley Kubrick’s cinematography in that scene is perfect: The orange glow in the hallways signals danger worse than you would find in a dark, dank, cobwebbed mausoleum. Eventually, Doc turns a corner to find two spectral little girls, which cost me much more sleep than the sight of Jack Nicholson with an axe.

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A Word for the EEOC from Bob Kazamakis*

May 04, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

Do I look like someone who would waste my own time?

Robert California, The Office

This post takes us back to “That’s What She Said,” Ford Harrison’s earlier and excellent chronicle of The Office. After Michael Scott’s departure for marital bliss with zany HR manager Holly Flax, Dunder Mifflin floundered about in search for a new captain. For one season, that captain was Robert California, played by James Spader. California was a weirdo – a bottomless pit of self confidence, obsessed with sex, enigmatic, and prone to opaque monologues and odd rhetorical questions like the one above. United States Supreme Court

That quote popped to mind last week when I saw that the Supreme Court had decided Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC. Mach Mining began like most EEOC charges. A female applicant filed a charge with the EEOC claiming that the company, a coal miner (not the kind of business that gets much federal agency love these days, anyway) failed to hire her because she was female. The EEOC investigated and found cause regarding the claimant and a class of similarly situated female applicants. Like other cases involving a cause finding, the EEOC sent Mach a letter to inform the company of the decision and invited it to participate in the EEOC’s informal conciliation process (many of you have likely been through similar situations). So far, so good.

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“I’m Ron ******* Swanson”

February 09, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 2 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

Ron Swanson is the man. If you’re not a Parks & Recreation devotee, I can’t recommend enough that you tune in if for no other reason than to enjoy his morsels of wit and wisdom. For the uninitiated, Ron Swanson is fictional Pawnee, Indiana’s, director of Parks & Recreation. He’s a crusty, deadpan, hard-core libertarian who objects to the very existence of his own employer. Thanks to the show’s mockumentary format, Ron treats viewers to a steady diet of quips and advice that are absolutely hilarious.  Ron Swanson!

I have several favorites, and I’ve picked a few that touch on HR issues. Feel free to add others in the comments: read more…

‘We fixed the glitch….’

January 26, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 1 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

I’m confident in this prediction: If you’ve ever held an office job, you will love Office Space. (If you haven’t seen it, get it now.) Anyone can find something in the movie that resonates. Maybe you connect with the guy who can’t bring himself to do more than 15 minutes of real work a week. Maybe you’re the one locked in a daily standoff with the fax machine. Maybe you’re like everyone in the movie under the thumb of a monotonous, soul-crushing boss.    Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler

I’m a Milton Waddams guy. Now that’s not to say I’m a mumbly guy with no apparent skills or role and a creepy fascination with my stapler (others will be the judge of that), but I can’t get enough of the guy. Milt was useless. When you watch the movie, you can’t figure out why the company hired him in the first place or why it keeps him on the payroll. In fact, some consultants in the movie looked into Milt and discovered that he actually had been laid off years before. No one ever told Milt he’d been downsized, and a “glitch” in the payroll system kept cutting him a paycheck. Therefore, Milt continued to wander aimlessly and mumble, and the company continued to shuffle him around the office with the furniture.

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