A teachable HR moment (it’s a doozy) + A beautiful tribute to one’s company + Going remote forever vs installing cubicles? + Lockdown hair

May 21, 2020 By Tarek Pertew

Plus, see where is leaving NYC for...

Hi there,

TLDR: A personal note on pain + Teachable HR moment + Will you go remote forever? + Will you install cubicles? + Will you leave your city altogether? + Donate that lockdown hair for charity + A beautiful tribute to one’s own company

I’m going to take the majority of my opening monologue about a very important teachable moment in HR.

Last week I focused on loss. I opened on my own sense of loss and highlighted the challenges HR professionals currently face in taking care of their own mental health whilst being mindful of the mental health of their employees.

I received more responses to my email with notes of appreciation than I’ve ever received previously. One note in particular shed light on how refreshing it was to hear someone share emotion publicly, particularly as a heterosexual man. As you may expect, these replies are a major highlight for me.

In semi-rebuttal to the narrative, however, I received a single critical response that sharing loss is inappropriate when readers might be experiencing worse loss.

In short, the loss I was feeling with the permanent departure of my closest friend and the indefinite loss of a beloved hobby was not significant enough to share in a time where others are experiencing greater loss.

And here comes a teachable moment for HR professionals.

I want to be clear that it takes courage to send a direct email sharing one’s philosophical differences. And by doing so, he allowed me to bring this teachable moment to the community.

Here’s the thing: this came from a seasoned HR professional.

To ground my thoughts, let’s start with a lesson about mental health that I learned from my brother, who has done more work on self-healing than anyone I know. And he leverages this knowledge to ensure his own children always feel emotionally safe, as evidenced by this simple story:

One day when he went with his 8 year old son to the dentist, his son began to cry while sitting in the dental chair. A very normal cultural response ensued, whereby the dentist and dental assistants said to his son, “There’s nothing to cry about. This won’t hurt.” My brother quickly addressed his son with “If you feel like crying, you can cry.”

He’s ensuring that his son feels emotionally safe. Safe to be vulnerable. Being true with our emotions and hopefully avoid the pain that a lifetime of suppressed emotions can bring.

Here’s my take: I don’t want to lead or work for a company where I’m afraid to discuss my loss with HR (of all departments) because my pain wouldn’t be deemed painful enough.

That’s my opinion, which doesn’t have to be shared by everyone. It’s the path I’m working on and it will continue to grow in a way that allows me and those around me to express how we’re feeling. I hope it never discriminates on degree of pain.

There are millions of people feeling loss not tied to death or unemployment right this very moment. Millions of people struggling to find an outlet and not having one. Millions that can’t afford tele-therapy. Millions who are single, living alone and trying to distract themselves.

Many, if not most, of you are feeling loss. Many, if not most of your employees, are feeling loss. And I believe everyone should feel safe sharing that pain without feeling guilty

If you feel me, then watch The Call to Courage by Brené Brown to take you to all sorts of different levels (H/T Jaclyn Longo).

Now, onto the resources…

  • VIEW THIS (YOUR RTO PLANS): If you are having internal conversations about going remote permanently, then this simple map can help.
  • WATCH THIS (RTW WEBINAR RECORDING): If you’d like the recordings from our two Great Return webinars, where we discuss detailed #rtw plans, high-level agendas, and mental health best practices, you can do so here.
  • PARTICIPATE IN THIS (HAIR & CHARITY): For those of you who attended the Great Return Part II webinar, you saw that I quite literally let my hair down. It’s as long as it’s ever been and now I’m considering cutting it all off. Timely enough, reader Jamie Langhaus helped launch a fun and topical campaign to donate your lockdown hair. Learn more at LocksFromLockdown.com

Every day away from the routines that gave us comfort could take a tiny piece of your mental health with it. Try not to let those tiny pieces compound. Speak up. Share how you’re feeling.

Bye for now,







  • Talent Brand Manager (NYC) – Peloton
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Director, People Ops

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