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Colin is disrespectful to America? Go look in the mirror!

I’m so sick of hearing about Colin Kapernick already. So he didn’t stand for the National Anthem. And now some of the Miami Dolphins took a kneel. And there have been others who have decided not to stand, salute, or whatever. And they’re saying their actions are grounded in racial tension, race relations and civil liberties in America – which in their eyes is a very important discussion that needs to be taking place. I agree!

American flag blowing, close-up

And millions are up in arms. Not because of the race thing. Because they believe Colin and the others “are disrespecting America.” “They’re disrespecting the flag.” “They’re showing no respect for Veterans.”

Really??? Okay fine, let’s put the race thing aside for a moment and talk about respect for America.

THEY’RE showing no respect? What about you? What about me? What about most people? Yes, most people!

What have you, individually, done for our Veterans? Looks to me that we’re really good with pointing out what others are doing wrong. I guess that’s what we consider activism. Pointing out the actions of others that are in direct opposite of our own views. Share something on Facebook. Disguise your sleazy sales pitch on LinkedIn as a Colin discussion. Ooooooo, that’s helping our Veterans. You shared an article or a meme and 14 of your friends “liked” it.

When was the last time you had a Veteran over for dinner? Or paid for a Veteran’s meal? Took a collection to help a Vet meet his rent? Her insurance? Her kids tuition? Bought a Veteran a car? Why haven’t you gathered a group of co-workers and instead of adopting a highway, adopt a Veteran? When was the last time you contacted a Veteran’s relief agency and see how you could be of help………long term?




And what disgusts me more are my “friends/followers/connections” who are great at bashing and sharing, when I know some of them do nothing beyond that! Nothing!

You want to show respect for America and those who have served, do something more than an occasional donation. Stop the sharing; take action. And here’s an idea…….How about maybe starting by flying an American Flag somewhere. There are eight houses on my end of the street. I believe I’m the only one flying the Stars and Stripes. Where’s the respect for America? Maybe I should start thinking my neighbors don’t respect America? Or Veterans?

So Colin Kapernick didn’t stand for the National Anthem. Big Effing Deal. That’s the discussion? If you really think that was Anti-American/Anti-Veteran and not the race issue, fine………..but until we all start doing things for our Vets, and not wait for our useless government officials to do something, we’re being just as disrespectful as Colin! (whether you’re in the “he was disrespectful camp” or not.)

Aren’t we a bunch of patriotic hypocrites?

Don’t say no. Say Tell Me More.

Feel free to download, copy, and share the Tell Me More idea capturing tool.Tell_me_more01

It’s time to stop saying no and saying Tell Me More when someone comes to you with a new idea!

To download a PDF of Tell Me More click here



Dear Facebook, your aches, pains and illnesses keep me biking

Dear Facebook,

I want to thank you for pushing me to ride my bicycle as much as I do. Well you didn’t do it directly, it was indirectly…………………..(the overly sensitive may not want to read on)

Yesterday I got asked to pray for six people I don’t even know. All six are battling cancer. Last week I saw pictures of you at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. I read regular complaints about long waiting times, co-pays, insurance premiums, unnecessary tests and your detestation of the Affordable Care Act. I read how you don’t go to the doctor because you can’t afford it. Do you really think we want to see your inflamed foot, mouth or the blackened finger from the nail that fell off? Much less do you think I am capable of diagnosing and suggesting a treatment? You can’t seem to beat the cold that started in August………………………….of 2012! I really hope you are not eating all the food porn you post. And come to think of it, 90% of your posted pictures are of you eating!

Now don’t get me wrong here, I do realize that some things that happen to us happen as a result of things out of our control. Despite the praying. And I do realize that some people are battling some really tough shit! And that sucks! And I do my fair share of eating and drinking crap and not taking care of myself too!

But I also know that keeping active and moving has so many benefits – physical, emotional, mebridgental; and yes, even spiritual. And heck it gets confirmed (and I smile) when I see someone who has been battling cancer out on their bike, or for a run, or camping, or power walking down the boulevard.


So this morning, at 6:00 AM, when I didn’t feel like riding I dragged my ass out of bed and rode 25 miles. And hard. And why? You just read why. Hey, there’s no guarantees but I’d rather post a picture of me waiting for the bridge to be lowered than have someone post one of my casket being lowered way too soon.


So thank you Facebook for giving me the drive, motivation, inspiration and desire to ride. And I hope the next picture I see of you is out there taking care of yourself – maybe even at a park.

Oh and one more thing……Facebook is not a replacement for a good psychotherapy session or bringing back a loved one. But I bet getting outdoors would do more good for you than people telling you that things will get better or sending you prayers.

With much love (although some of you will read this as mean)



Maybe the key to successful training is to stop calling it that!

As I was walking across the parking lot I found myself in a conversation with a park maintenance employee. We had just finished a 3 hour Recess – the entire department of 200 people.

He told me it was a lot of fun and he was walking away with some useful ideas to be a better team member. (Phew, I did my job.) But that’s not the comment that most stuck with me. The comment that most stuck with me was………………

“I wish they would do this more often;

bring us together so we can see how we can help one another”


I remember having a conversation with the Chief Operations Manager beforehand; him telling me that there will be a group of people who won’t want to be there; a group that will give me a hard time, they hate training, they don’t think they need training, etc.

My first request was they not call it a training. In my case, I told them to tell the department they’re taking Recess (you come up with your own name; I own Recess).


The truth is I’ve heard this comment many times before. I’ve heard they’re coming for the food. They’re coming only to get out of the cold or the heat. They’re looking at this as a morning or afternoon off! They are not looking for “training.”

And honestly, when you’re dealing with football loving, beer drinking, macho maintenance types they absolutely do not want training. I get it. Totally get it. And if one of them looks like he is having a good time you better believe his friends are gonna………………………………….



But this just doesn’t go for the group described above, huge numbers of people in an organization find training to be draining, productivity killing and keeping them from doing their work.

I also know that almost EVERY EMPLOYEE in an organization wants to know what’s going on. They want to see/meet the people whose names they see on memos. They want to hear how other people can make their jobs better (and hopefully in return do the same thing.)

And that’s what we did in this case. We got together to see how they could help one another and to celebrate the successes of the previous year. We had a RECESSitation! Not a training.

And no one gave me a hard time. Quite the opposite. Because we didn’t call it training.


So take the approach/stance/attitude that your people really do want to get together. And gather them. Regularly. Just call it something other than the T word.



Rich DiGirolamo, the RECESSitator, works with organizations to create happier work environments, design new programs and products, and create better relationships with customers and peers. He is the creator/founder of “Recess At Work Day” and the nonprofit organization, Inc., operators of “The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger.” Rich has authored 4 books; his most popular, “Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth.” He lives by the rule “If you’re not having fun, it’s your own fault



Rich DiGirolamo’s RECESS AT WORK Social Media Powerball Pool

Let’s share a Billion Dollars! Join the fun!!


Rich’s DiGirolamo’s 3rd RECESS AT WORK Virtual Social Media Office Lottery Pool.


Powerball is gonna be more than $1.3 Billion Wednesday night! I guess god, karma, the stars, the secret, or whatever deity you worship knew we weren’t supposed to win the other night “for a reason”

So let’s get the next Powerball pool going!

Here’s how it works!

1. Powerball Tickets are $2 each.
2. You will be purchasing shares of the winnings. So, if you contribute $100 and $1000 is collected you will win 10% of any winnings; $10 would be 1% of the winnings if $1,000 was collected.
3. You should send your investment in multiples of $2 thru PayPal to
4. All monies must be received by 5:00 PM EST January 13, 2016
5. I will purchase the tickets, copy them and email/message a copy of all tickets to those who are partaking in this Social Media Office Lottery Pool
6. I will also send participants a file showing all names and what percentage of winnings will be yours.

Make sense? If not, please do not participate. I’m not here to screw anyone or get into arguments or lawsuits. I’m here to have some fun and take a ‪#‎RECESSATWORK‬

You won’t believe where dressing to impress gets you hired

etrsuccsHe had a 10:30 interview. At 11:10 he sent me a text he was still waiting and there were two people ahead of him also waiting to be interviewed. At 11:30 he sent me a text sharing that he was getting annoyed, commenting on the way the others came dressed to the interview, and mentioning he was also cranky because he was hungry.

At 11:40 I told him to tell them he needed to leave as he had another appointment (which he did) and they could get in touch with him to reschedule if they would like to meet an awesome candidate. (Yes, always let people know they are missing out on a gem!)

He didn’t respond to my text.

At 12:00 he called to say they offered him the job……on the spot. They made a point to let him know how impressed they were with what he was wearing to the interview and how it sold them on him immediately.

Polished shoes. Shirt. Tie. Dress pants.

For a part time job at………………………………………

America’s most loved and or hated (depending who you talk to) retailer:



While I humorously wear the shirt featured in this post, mainly because it does fit with my brand, there is a lesson to be learned here; especially for young people looking for part time jobs today…………….

Sometimes to get the edge (and the job) you do need to dress for success and to impress. Leave the dressing for Recess to “THE” expert!


Rich DiGirolamo, the RECESSitator, works with organizations to create happier work environments, design new programs and products, and create better relationships with customers and peers. He is the creator/founder of “Recess At Work Day” and the nonprofit organization, Inc., operators of “The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger.” Rich has authored 4 books; his most popular, “Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth.” He lives by the rule “If you’re not having fun, it’s your own fault

Who is really the problem? The employee or YOU!

A friend of mine just became the director of a small healthcare facility. She reports to an area director, who reports to a state director, who reports to a regional director, who reports to some V.P. of Look How Important I Am.

Seriously, this is the Chain of Command.

My friend, Joan, has a 25-year employee on her team — a 25-year problem employee. The employee backstabs and undermines coworkers and managers. Apparently, this has been going on for most of this employee’s 25 years. Joan’s regional director used to be in Joan’s position. On the day the regional director left, she told Joan that she hoped she (Joan) could figure out what to do about things. And laughed.

Joan and I were talking, and she gave me several examples of the kinds of games and backstabbing the employee engages in. What irked me most was that some of the things this employee would do could also put the safety of clients/patients in jeopardy.

After a 15 minute conversation, I changed the topic to Joan’s dog. Because Joan is going to do nothing. Because her boss did nothing. And probably the one before her did nothing, and the previous one did nothing, and one before that did nothing, and for all I know the person who is now V.P. of Look How Important I Am also did nothing.

Becoming the ‘Problem Employee’

Many, many, many, many years ago, a manager, noticing my unhappiness, said to me, “Perhaps this isn’t the place for you to work, Rich.”

Ouch! (and a few choice expletives) went through my head.

But she was right. It wasn’t the place for me to work — any longer. The company had recently taken off in a completely new direction, and that direction wasn’t for me. What I had loved about the company was that employees were given entrepreneurial freedoms. That had been replaced with layers of management, and new rules and policies were being issued by the minute. Everything you did needed to be approved. What was once an open-door policy right up to the CEO was replaced by wrist-slappings if you didn’t go through the chain.

You see, I had become the “problem employee.” Not because I was backstabbing or undermining people, but because I wasn’t following the new rules — the new rules that didn’t work for me.

I resigned not long after the manager’s comment.

You – the Supervisor — Are Part of the Problem

Joan doesn’t want to confront the 25-year problem employee because:

  1. The employee does a good job.
  2. The employee is friends with Joan’s boss.
  3. The employee has a lot of history with the company that can help Joan (although I found out in 15 minutes that she has withheld information to make Joan look bad).
  4. Joan doesn’t want to create friction with the other team members — some who like the problem employee, some who despise her.

In almost every instance where friends and/or clients have told me about problem employees, I have concluded that the problem is not the employee – it’s the employer.

Yes, read that again.

Okay, let me clarify: the problem started with the employer. Guidelines and expectations were not set. One-time instances became two, became three, became 25 years of instances. We hear about improvement plans, and regular conversations, and coaching and mentoring, and reassigning work to keep the problem employee away from others. Some employees are even given “special projects.” We hear about 60-, 90-, and 180-day follow-ups and reviews.

Stop Sign

The problem is not only with the employee. The problem is with the leadership and with a system that allowed the problem to happen and continue to happen. This is not an isolated problem employee; this is a problem throughout the organization!

Recently, I was hired by a client to come spend a morning with his team. We held Recess, and it became clear where the communication, collaboration, and teamwork were broken and breaking down. It all started with Don, the executive director.

But here’s the good news: when Don contacted me, he had shared that he probably held about 80 percent of the blame for problems at his company and was ready to fix things. And while Don did mention to me that there was one problem employee during our initial conversation, ultimately we realized there were two.

The best thing that ever happened to me was that comment from my manager. So today, my comment for you — if you are the supervisor of a problem employee — is this:

I think you might need to look at who really created the problem with your problem employee.

The Late Employee Solution

The line at Starbucks was long. The woman behind me was huffing and sighing and mumbling under her breath. But one thing was clear from her mumbled words…………..

She was going to be late for work……………….AGAIN!


The manager is frustrated with the chronically late employee; even though she delivers quality work; on time. He seems to think it is a lack of respect.late employee


So when it was my turn to order I turned to Starbucks lady and said “You go ahead of me. You seem rushed and running late.” But after she ordered I couldn’t help but suggest to her that she may want to start leaving earlier or figuring out where a cup of coffee is in the priority list. I got an evil stare. So much for trying to be helpful.


And as for Mr. Manager, I suggested he offer the employee a change in work hours to accommodate her schedule. Or better yet focus more on the quality and timely delivery of the product and not so much the time – which I think should be his priority. There was a rolling of the eyes and tilting of the head.


What would your response be to these people?

Some people just cannot connect dots

When I work with clients to RECESSitate* their teams I use a lot of experiential interactive play. The play ALWAYS has a purpose. It could be a metaphor to build a better something, be a better something or do a better something. Other times I introduce a process to open up the flood gates to applying the learning to a particular organization challenge or opportunity for growth.

Some people understand where we are going. Some people don’t. In other words some people just cannot connect dots.



Those that cannot connect dots are not bad team members. They are not useless. They are just wired a different way. They may be process oriented doers. Task completers. That doesn’t mean they do not have great ideas. It doesn’t mean they have less value to the organization.

I’ve had clients say to me….”Rich, some of my people just don’t get it and I don’t know what to do about it.”

And I usually respond with this:

spoon feed

You see, sometimes you really do need to spoon feed people. Connect the dots for them. Communicate. Explain. Discuss.

And then maybe…… someday…………. they will start connecting dots on their own.


Or maybe not. But that doesn’t mean they have less value.


* – RECESSitate – to undergo a period of recharging, celebrating, learning and unlocking new idea. Could your team benefit from some time to RECESSitate? Click here and get in touch today

When it doesn’t feel right……

Recently I was approached with an opportunity to be part an online learning community. I won’t bore you with the details but the business model and service never really resonated with me. However I was being polite and left communications with the company open. I had a phone conversation with a representative of the company and many back and forth emails. She was informative and not pushy at all – which is what I like.let_go_balloon-300x225

She hoped to set me up to talk with the company founder in November. And December. And January. I kept deferring the call as I “was traveling too much and several big projects on my plate.”

Now I wasn’t telling a lie. I was on the road speaking and RECESSitating from early September thru early December; then again most of January. We were all set to finally talk today.

90 minutes before the call I emailed her to cancel. Go back to the second sentence. It never really resonated with me.

I’ll find the time to work on something that excites me. I’ll find the time to jump on a project that is interesting. I won’t sleep or ride my bike when there is enthusiasm. But I also don’t want to waste anyone’s time. And this was not only going to be a waste of my time but a waste of their time.

People often say that opportunity doesn’t knock twice. This one knocked several times yet I still never saw the opportunity and was actually relieved to send them to the next door. I also should have been more honest with myself and them right from the beginning.

Can you relate?

The good news is I can get back to working on my next idea. The one I’m excited about. The one that feels right.





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