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December 11, 2006
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 The H.R. Doctor Is In

Walking Down the Line

This weekend "walking" was the big theme in the HR Doctor’s house. It began when the wonderful but aging HR dog Kamala was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. My canine friend has increasing trouble getting up after her many naps and she seems stiff and sore. However, as soon as I move toward the front door early in the morning and ask if she’d like to come for a "w-a-l-k," she perks right up and almost insists on going.

So, off we go for a fast-moving two or three mile pre-dawn walk, which seems to have important healing powers for Kamala. She is energized and excited to be out with me. Her tail wags and her eyes shine in the reflected light of street lamps and occasional headlights.

The HR Doctor’s iPod was fully functional with a morning dose of bluegrass music helping make our steps lighter on the walk. The great bluegrass group the Dillards were among the contributors with their version of "Walking Down the Line."

The walking motif for the weekend reached its climax with the discussion of the wedding of the beautiful HR Daughter Rachel to Toby Brown. Throughout the weekend I kept thinking about two key "walking moments" in the life of a parent. One involved the grumbling and snorting of a young father at two or three in the morning, walking a fussy infant daughter around the house and trying not to trip in the process in order to help quiet her down. That nocturnal "no sleep walking" period lasted, thankfully, only a couple of months but at the time seemed like a couple of decades.

On the other hand, on Oct. 20 another magical walk took place - the one down the aisle. This time there was no grumbling although the danger of stumbling and embarrassing myself was always present.

Toby is the son of my good friend and colleague Lee Brown, HR Manager for the city of Orlando, Fla. For a while, Lee and I discussed inviting vendors to sponsor portions of the wedding. Imagine Rachel’s wedding gown and Toby’s tuxedo with various logos from the sponsoring insurance agencies, law firms, consultants and IT vendors. If it works for NASCAR, why couldn’t it work at a wedding?

Dr. Rachel countered with, "Why don’t we have all of the guests on my side of the family come dressed as doctors and all the guests on Toby’s side of the family come dressed as patients?" Needless to say, those two ideas canceled one another out, leaving the traditional model of walking down the aisle of "Wedding 101."

Life is full of walks or, in the case of my wheelchair-bound friends, rolls. Life is about the journey not the destination. It is about how we behave toward one another in our travels, in our careers, and in every other important aspect of our lives. Do we journey with honor and respect so that we can arrive at some point of celebration before we move on again?

Maybe that is what Bob Dylan meant when he wrote "Walking Down the Line." Maybe that’s also what the HR Doctor meant in his prior article "It’s All About the Dash!" Try re-reading that article if you have a few minutes to spare and a willingness to sit back and contemplate what’s really important in life. It can be found in the Dec. 12, 2005 edition of the County News archives located at

So take a walk or take a hike on down the line with me. Congratulations Rachel and Toby. May your lives together be a very long and a very beautiful walk in a glorious rainforest!

Phil Rosenberg

The HR Doctor •


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