Growing up in Maseru, Lesotho, we played a lot of dodgeball during break time in primary school. During school holidays, I would visit my cousin who lives in the South Western Townships of Johannesburg (Soweto). In Dobsonville, we played exactly a similar game, but on these streets it was called something else. We would pretty much do the same thing, build the blocks as high as possible in the centre of the demarcated space, and whichever team had the ball and managed to knock them all down with one shot, would scream “CHICAGO” to announce their victory! I just loved the name Chicago, I thought it was so cool, our relatives in Joburg always seemed to be trendier than people in Maseru. So, naturally when I got back home, I had to boast about this new cool game that I learnt in Soweto.
How ironic is it then, that the first American city I would visit, would be Chicago. To attend the biggest Human Resources gathering on the planet. I shared space with 22,000 people, the energy at McCormick Place was electric and highly energizing. As a first time attendee, I took it a bit easy. I was so impressed with how well a conference that of that magnitude was organized. Everything ran like clockwork, the SHRM18 app made life easy, so navigating the venue was a breeze. All the sessions I attended offered cutting edge global practises. My perspective has been shifted in that I no longer view HR from a local context, I have global goggles on. I am so inspired, I find myself dreaming bigger than ever before, and I have found new possibilities and ways of doing things. I came back slightly more assertive, and stand my ground more than I did before. America has given me this attitude where I think it can all be done, my way. #BeYourselfNoMatterWhatTheySay
The best part of the trip, was meeting all the SHRM18 bloggers. The bloggers lounge was like a family sitting room, I never knew who was going to be there at the same time as me, I was always pleasantly surprised when I met in real life, some of the people I engaged with on #nextchat. It was such a humbling experience to be amongst HR professionals who are all beasts in their own rights. The most beautiful thing, is that my positive perceptions were realised, everyone was what I thought of them, and more. The family room also meant great food, the breakfast spread was out of this world, I had an unforgettable slice of lemon poppy seed cake one morning, and endless supply of candy every day.
People in America just seem to be happier, loving what they do and doing what they love. They will go to war for the HR profession. If there’s anything that we still need to learn, it’s to be passionate about our industry, because it is seen as a career of last resort and one for rejects in South Africa, our self-esteem tends to be low, we have a way that doesn’t build people up, but rather retards their growth. If there is just one thing we could take from the US, this is it.
It was such an honor to be a blogger this year, I hope that my global voice will be heard again. In the meantime, I will be doing the most to make sure that I make it to Las Vegas for SHRM19.
My world has been expanded!
#SHRM18 #SHRM18Blogger #Global #HRTribe