recent posts

HR Fishbowl

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Stop Revolving, Start Evolving

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a year ago, I published a post in which I called for HR professionals to be maladjusted – a call King was fond of making. He shared that there were “some things within our social order to which [he was] proud to be maladjusted. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to segregation and discrimination. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to mob rule. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism…” (from The Power of Non-Violence, June 4, 1957). What if HR maladjusted to our workplace order? What might we accomplish?

I’m taking the day off today. I’m going to spend it with my family. We’re visiting my brother and his family in Milwaukee. My mother is here too. It’s nice. It’s real nice. If I we’re a bettin’ man – and I am – you’re at the office today. Even though this is a “Federal Holiday,” your company doesn’t observe it. Nope. It’s just another day to them – another day to print some money. All 50 states and even some countries outside the United States observe it, but sadly most employers don’t. Your children don’t go to school, but you go to work. Do you know what we should be doing? We should be supporting the MLK Day of Service. We should be out there building our community in honor of the man who taught us so much about what community really is. And our employers should be encouraging us – permitting us – to do the same. Does yours? Have you even heard one iota about the Day of Service at the office? It’s a Presidential Proclamation, after all. But alas. We’re above all that. The world would stop revolving if we all took a day to unite in a common cause. Dear me oh my! We must stay focused on the prize. Wouldn’t we look weak if we took the day off? What would our shareholders and customers say? Next thing you know they’ll want President’s Day off too. It’s not really a holiday unless it involves football, beer, food, or fireworks. We’re just too big and important to bother ourselves with these silly things.

How terribly tiny of us.

Maladjust, my fellow HR colleagues. Build the business case, mount your campaign, and get your employer to recognize its role – its obligation – to solemnly honor this important day; stop worrying about whether we’re revolving, and start focusing on whether we’re evolving.

To Learn more about the MLK Day of Service, go to and follow them on Twitter

Photo Credit: MLK Day of Service

  • Pingback: HR Fishbowl

  • Susan

    So what is the service that you are doing today? I’m teaching ESL and helping a friend repair her living room lamp and changing out her shower head since she cannot do any of these things for herself. And for myself, I set two fence posts and dug out the last remaining stump from the old hedge. Have a great day!

  • Jay Kuhns

    Really well said Charlie. This message should be handed out to all HR folks on their first day.

    Great perspective.
    Jay Kuhns´s last [type] ..Heroes- Cancer- &amp More Humble Pie for an HR Guy

  • Chris Ferdinandi – Renegade HR

    Always nice to see a company do the right thing. I wish I had read this post on Friday.

    MLK Day is the most important and relevant holiday we have in the US. Well said, Charlie!

  • Tom

    We work on MLK day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and many other “holidays”. We work in healthcare and if we observed all these holidays, how many of our fellow citizens would suffer and possibly die? But I guess we are just “terribly tiny”.