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Liz Ryan
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Liz Ryan is the founder of Human Workplace, a think tank and online community whose mission is to reinvent work for people. Liz was a Fortune 500 Human Resources executive for twenty years. Now she leads, creates content for and consults with Human Workplace members and partners, and writes for Kiplinger's Finance, Bloomberg Business Week, the Denver Post, Yahoo! and a million HR publications along with her Huffington Post blog.

At Human Workplace Liz and her colleagues work with universities and colleges, with employers and with individuals to shift frames around work, entrepreneurism and career education, from bringing a human voice to business communications to getting leadership teams comfortable with sticky human topics like conflict, power, work and life tug-of-wars, lactating moms, diversity and inclusion. Our mission is to replace fear with trust at work and coach working people to bring themselves fully to work.

Liz lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and five children, and is a professional opera singer.

Entries by Liz Ryan

PayPal President to Staff: Use Our Stuff, or Take a Hike

(3) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 3:13 PM

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PayPal President David Marcus is coming under fire for blasting his employees via email for their failure to use the company's products. I got these quotes purportedly broadcast to PayPal employees in an email from PayPal President David Marcus from

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How Corporate Jargon Shapes Corporate Culture

(1) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 11:58 AM

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When I was 19, I got burnt out on waiting tables and decided to become a part-time office bunny. I stocked up on office attire and went down to Kelly Servces, where a nice lady got me into a clerical temp job at a...

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Reinvention and Relationships, or, Not Everyone Wants You to Change

(3) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 3:10 PM

I went to speak to a group of people in transition. We talked a lot about the non-transactional side of job search or career change -- the personal, introspective part of the process. One woman in the audience said "The very last thing I expected, when I lost my job...

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How do I bring up relocation expense on my job interview?

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 9:53 PM

Dear Liz,

I have a second interview for a Director job next week, and at the first
interview I didn't say a word about relocation. I had just finished up a
one-year international assignment and so I assume the hiring manager knows I'm
going to need relocation...

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Whose Brand Is It, Anyway?

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 12:07 PM

"So anyway, that was my old company's policy," said the breathless guy on the phone, whose name turned out to be Phil. "They used to tell us that we could have a LinkedIn profile, but we couldn't use the company's name. Paranoid much?"

"I'm trying to think of a possible...

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Economic Development with a human voice

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 2:36 PM

Michael Hecht draws inspiration from the city leaders and planners who designed the all-new Chicago after the Great Fire in 1871. The Chicago fire was one of the great disasters of the age, destroying 3.3 miles of homes and businesses, killing hundreds and making one-third of the populace homeless overnight....

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Building the Human Workplace

(5) Comments | Posted February 28, 2013 | 1:02 PM

I don't know where the lady got my cellphone number, but I heard the phone ringing in my purse as I stepped into a cab, and I grabbed it and answered it without looking at the number.

"Is this Liz?" asked the lady.

"Yes," I said. "I'm sorry that...

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Job References Are Pointless

(21) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 4:31 PM

My husband and I met at work, in 1984. We didn't start dating until 1986, but we know tons of people in common from the job where we met, a million years ago.

The other day, I was on LinkedIn and my husband was nearby. "Hey, look up that one...

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Quiz: Does This Job Deserve You?

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 1:13 PM

A job-seeker is in a tricky position. You've got to get a job, and it's easy for your bossy left brain to take over and try to silence your trusty gut. So you're sitting in an interview with a supervisor, and your gut is screaming, "This guy is a toad!...

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Policies Are Evil

(2) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 3:00 PM

A lawyer called me to talk about an expert witness assignment. "My client is a great company, with really wonderful people," he said. "They ran into a stretch of bad luck, and made some mistakes, and now they're looking at a big lawsuit." "Run it down," I said.

The first...

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Hey Klout: I'm Not a Grilled Onion Cheddar Sandwich Ho

(5) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 8:41 AM

I belong to the social media influence-scoring site Klout, although I couldn't tell you why. Klout is a site that tells you how influential you are online, although I'd say their algorithm is as suspect as can be. I'm not sure why the photos of my kids...

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Why You Can't Outsource HR

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 6:02 PM

Outsourcing has been all the rage for 15 years, at least. There's a name for the industry that sprang up to take over the tasks corporations don't want to pay for in-house: Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO. There are lots of situations where it makes sense to outsource functions.

If...

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Hickenlooper's Pot Hypocrisy

(14) Comments | Posted November 27, 2012 | 12:59 PM

In the election-night hoopla, I nearly missed the fact that Colorado voted in Amendment 64, a step in the direction of legalization of marijuana. We were the first state in the nation to do so. I saw the now-famous quote from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in the paper the next...

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Entrepreneurism: Lots of Little Traumas and No Big Ones

(4) Comments | Posted November 25, 2012 | 4:01 PM

I was eating lunch with my friend Dee when I got a text from my office. "Oh, shoot," I said. "I have to look at this text." "Do it," said Dee, and asked the waiter for some lemon for her tea. I read the text. "Youch!" I said. "The guy...

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Zombies vs. Humans: Battle for the Workplace

(5) Comments | Posted November 16, 2012 | 3:13 PM

"My God, my God," says my friend Kristin on the phone, whispering so as not to be overheard by her cubicle-mates. "I am surrounded by zombies." "I guess you can't give me an example, right now," I said. "Let me get out to my car and I will," said Kristin....

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How to Drive Clients Away With a Stick

(13) Comments | Posted November 16, 2012 | 10:02 AM

The Facebook post was soothing at first. "Rosh Hashanah is a time of contemplation and reflection," it said. I was raised Catholic -- I don't know a thing about Rosh Hashanah, and I was interested. "It's a time of thoughtful listening," the post went on. "That's why I'm offering a...

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Ten Things That Are Not Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 5:50 PM

Some dude called me today and yammered for 10 minutes about a product he wanted me to write about. The product is a software application that lets employers track their employees' movements online, in case anyone is goofing off by spending too long on eBay or ESPN.

"It's a...

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Addicted to Yardsticks

(2) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 8:23 AM

My friend Genevieve and I were having dinner, and talking about our memories from school. Genevieve told me about her first big kid-school showdown, in fifth grade. Her teacher's way of teaching the kids definitions was to have the kids write down the word (say, albatross) and a dictionary definition...

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The Truth About Socially Responsible Business

(14) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 9:55 AM

Five or six years ago, before the recession began, I was getting a lot of calls from employers looking for philanthropic types. "We need someone to head up our giving programs," they said. I made introductions, and a half-dozen of my friends got jobs running corporate philanthropy programs.

Before...

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Coming Out of the Closet at Work

(25) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 12:45 PM

Dear Liz,

I'm 30 years old and I've been out as a gay man for years with my friends. I haven't said anything at work, because it's a fairly conservative place and I'm not sure how my disclosure would change my relationships here (not to mention my career path). I've...

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