For Better or For Worse
For better or for worse
for richer or for
in sickness and in health
until death do us part. These
were words spoken by the HR Newlywed to his beautiful bride,
Charlotte, in June 40 years ago. Those words have never been
regretted. These are the words which
would become the anchor points of love and fun for all these
occasion of this important anniversary, it is time to use a
bit of personal privilege and stumble through saying how much
I love her, how much our relationship has meant and how it has
brought fulfillment to my life.
Being an HR Spouse is not easy. The work of
an elected or appointed professional in public service
involves a lot of time at the office and a lot of time engaged
in work wherever you are. Ive gotten called while in the
shower, while at the supermarket, while on vacation, while
ill, as well as regularly on weekends and holidays.
That is part of the deal for a person who
signs up for public service. It also becomes, intentionally or
not, the deal that the family signs up for as well.
Charlotte and my amazing daughters, Elyse and
Rachel, have put up with my leaving unexpectedly for this or
that meeting, with me coming home from meetings of the Board
of Supervisors or city or County Commissions very late, only
to be told of the early morning meeting the next day. They
have read my name in newspapers or on local news broadcasts
amidst controversies, budget crises, and occasionally in
reports about the very many wonderful things done by public
employees, which somehow, though rarely, accidentally made it
into a news story.
During all of this, Charlotte has remained
committed to volunteerism in her own right as well as
attending the interminably long formal dinners, public
hearings and awards events. She is my friend, my confidante
and my partner. I thank you for putting up with me for all
these years, dearest Saint
As an HR professional, I realize that the
very best approach to retaining and attracting the most
innovative and productive employees is to help them realize,
ironically, that there is more to life than being at the
office. Building positive relationships in the community as
well as at work is critical. This is even truer of
relationships at home and in the neighborhood.
HR Daughter and now Doctor Daughter
Rachel points out that married people live longer than those
who are not part of a committed relationship. The same is true
of those with a well-developed sense of humor. Interestingly,
a key to a successful and long marriage is also having a sense
of humor. The more an employer helps people at work realize
their life dreams, respects their pursuit of personal
interests and recognizes the necessary balances in life, the
more successful the employer and the employee will be.
When that is not the case, the result will be
relationships that break down. Repairing the breakdowns in the
office and at home with a spouse, with kids, with significant
others, and, yes, even with the dog, requires hard consistent
work and a willingness to look in the mirror and recognize the
large part you have probably contributed to the problems.
In our disposable society, when our
electronic toys break down, we are much more likely to just go
out and replace them than to spend the energy and time to try
to repair them. This mindset can easily and sadly carry over
In America today, about 50 percent of first
marriages end in divorce. In case you and your spouse are
curious, about 67 percent of second marriages and 73 percent
of third marriages also end in divorce. The statistics do not
extrapolate out to ninth and 10th marriage rates.
Irreconcilable differences is a popular
phrase uttered, at least around show business divorces,
although those words seem never to appear as couples walk
breathlessly down the aisle.
Perhaps the people involved should not have
qualified for marriage in the first place. Qualifying for
marriage leads to an obvious local government business
People already have to come to a government
office to obtain the license to wed. Why not have Human
Resources administer written and oral examinations and grade
the couple while the couple is already present and waiting in
The result can be a civil service eligible
list which determines whether or not
the couple will be allowed to marry. This might well be very
effective. Unfortunately, it might take months for the results
to be mailed to the last known address of those involved.
Charlotte, heres to the 40 wonderful years
of our lives together, two amazing daughters, and two lives of
caring about each other and about the world. I cant wait to
see what the next 40 will bring us!
The HR Doctor Husband