Spoiler alert!: Tyson is tall, and like all good superheroes... we learn her origin story in this episode for realz. How she got into HR, her career decisions, and how she got to be the famed @hr.shook.
Release Date: November 2021
[00:00:01] Host: Warning, this podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck-up, PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here, and we assume no responsibility.
[00:00:16] Female Speaker: And we had a strict no alcohol policy and everybody was like, "Oh, don't drink, HR is here." Meanwhile, I'm like mid crack a beer.
[00:00:24] Alexa Baggio: If they're that disengaged before, they're gonna be that disengaged in the office, just be sitting in their desk looking at Facebook. They are going to find ways [unintelligible 00:00:30]
[00:00:31] Host: This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.
[00:00:40] Alexa: Tyson.
[00:00:41] Tyson Mackenzie: What's up?
[00:00:41] Alexa: Today is all about you, my dear.
[00:00:44] Tyson: Ooh.
[00:00:44] Alexa: All about you.
[00:00:45] Tyson: I'm like squirming in my seat.
[00:00:46] Alexa: Oh yeah? You're-you're getting a little antsy over there. Well, I'm super excited because we just get to talk about you today and I just get to interview you, which is truthfully a lot more fun than you interviewing me, because, yeah.
[00:00:59] Tyson: I'm not- I'm not nearly that exciting. So people can just [chuckles] scroll through.
[00:01:02] Alexa: Truthfully, I'm gonna venture to guess you're the favorite, you're the favorite of the co-host, but maybe we'll have to do a poll. We'll have to see who--
[00:01:07] Tyson: laughs] Should we do a poll?
[00:01:08] Alexa: Let's do a poll. Let's-- yeah.
[00:01:09] Tyson: Yeah, I'll make a note of it.
[00:01:10] Alexa: That's a great- that's a great way to make this a-a long-term partnership is just keep asking our audience who they like better.
[00:01:15] Tyson: Who do you like better?
[00:01:16] Alexa: And then I'll-- we'll just each try to win over their-- the, you know, get validation from the other one's haters.
[00:01:22] Tyson: Just good feedback. Hey, who-who did that? Someone at Amazon did that, didn't they?
[00:01:25] Alexa: What?
[00:01:26] Tyson: They just put people on the spot.
[00:01:27] Alexa: Oh, I-I have no idea what you're talking about.
[00:01:29] Tyson: I forget who it was. Someone we talked about came in and-and started getting [crosstalk]
[00:01:33] Alexa: Oh, no, that-- yeah, that was the new like head product officer, whatever.
[00:01:36] Tyson: Is it Twitter?
[00:01:37] Alexa: You're right. We did talk about this. They-they brought in like an executive and he just like put everybody around and was like, "We're gonna give criticism on the spot." And people were like crying and shit, might have been Twitter.
[00:01:46] Tyson: Yeah.
[00:01:46] Alexa: I don't remember. Yeah. Anyway. All right, Tyson. Well, the point of today's episode is you're like a superhero, so we're gonna do your origin story. And I wanna start with little-little baby Tyson. Where is little-- where was Tyson born?
[00:01:59] Tyson: Ottawa.
[00:02:00] Alexa: Okay.
[00:02:00] Tyson: So little baby Tyson, I--born and raised in Ottawa. More specifically, I was raised in a suburb of Ottawa that has like a bit of like a hoity-toity reputation.
[00:02:09] Alexa: Okay.
[00:02:10] Tyson: So I definitely like grew up in a really nice neighborhood actually. And my mom still lives there. So going back there, I'm just like, "Wow. All the people here are like, really--"
[00:02:21] Alexa: Very quaint.
[00:02:21] Tyson: You know, it's like a suburb. It's a quaint suburb, but it was-
[00:02:24] Alexa: Cool.
[00:02:25] Tyson: -it was quite lovely upbringing, so awesome. [chuckles]
[00:02:27] Alexa: And did you do all of like grade school and high school and whatever you Canadians call it all the way through in that particular neighborhood?
[00:02:34] Tyson: Yes, I did.
[00:02:34] Alexa: Very cool. Did you play any sports?
[00:02:36] Tyson: Not too--
[00:02:36] Alexa: Were you like head of the speech and debate team or anything?
[00:02:38] Tyson: No, so-- No. Okay. So fun fact about me. I'm like almost six feet tall. Okay. So people don't know that, but I'm almost six feet tall. So people look at me and they're like, "Oh yeah, you must be like really good at basketball or volleyball or something."
[00:02:49] Alexa: I get that a lot.
[00:02:50] Tyson: But I-I'm not, like I'm not coordinated at all. I was really surprisingly good at high jump, you know. I went to like all sorts of competitions in that.
[00:02:57] Alexa: My sister is six feet tall and she did high jump. Yeah.
[00:03:00] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah. So I used to like scissor kick over the bar, and I tried dance 'cause all like the cool girls dance. But again, like I would just be like stuck in the back, like the back corner. And it was like so sad 'cause like my parents would come watch me, and I would just be in the back corner. 'Cause I-I'm-I'm not coordinated. I can't like move my-- coordinate my body in a way to like play volleyball or basketball or dance.
[00:03:22] Alexa: That's right. You're-you're now a world champion podcast athlete. So you got that going for you.
[00:03:26] Tyson: [laughs] Yeah. Talking is my sport of choice.
[00:03:30] Alexa: Yeah. There you go. What was your-- what was like, if you had to choose like a high school like persona or a-- or like a-- what are those things called superlatives? Like what was your-- what was your like I was the like girly robot geek? Like what was your-- what was your jam?
[00:03:42] Tyson: I was pretty nerdy. I did pretty well in school. I like school. I was that, uh, kid that would sit in the teacher's like room during lunch and like make them give me better grades or like, if I got like a 99, I'd be like, "Come on, miss, like one more point," like, "What's wrong with this? Blah, blah, blah. Like you told-- I-I basically had it right here."
So I was like a huge nerd, and I like didn't have-- I had like-- I'm-- and still to this day, like I have very few friends. Like I just like to keep like with close people 'cause I'm surprisingly, as much as I like to talk, I'm pretty introverted. So like I can't have like surface fake conversations with people. That's why I'm so real here. but I really hate like surface level relationships. So I've always had very tight knit friend groups and just like a few friends. So definitely not the popular girl [laughs] at all.
[00:04:31] Alexa: Yeah. But I feel like that's not a thing that necessarily leads to anything, you know. It's like who you were in high school, like doesn't necessarily mean anything about who you're gonna be as an adult in some ways like the more popular you were in high school, the less awesome you are or as an adult.
[00:04:42] Tyson: Yeah. There's like an inverse relationship I think there.
[00:04:43] Alexa: Yeah. That's true.
[00:04:46] Tyson: It definitely is.
[00:04:47] Alexa: Yeah. It's like they're like the more of a hot girl and a popular girl. You were like the less awesome you end up being.
[00:04:51] Tyson: No, I think-- and I think it's like really, it's like really character building to like, not be the hot girl when you're young.
[00:04:56] Alexa: Yeah, totally.
[00:04:56] Tyson: Because you have to like really learn how to be like other things other than just like that hot girl because, look, all those girls who were hot in high school are no longer.
[00:05:04] Alexa: Yeah, exactly. It's not gonna matter when you're 80, kids.
[00:05:07] Tyson: Looks don't matter.
[00:05:08] Alexa: Yeah, exactly.
[00:05:09] Tyson: And so I'm trying to teach my daughter.
[00:05:11] Alexa: Yeah. All seven weeks of her.
[00:05:14] Tyson: Yeah. [laughs]
[00:05:15] Alexa: Nice. Starting off strong, mom. All right. Awesome. So you go to high school, then you go to-- did you-- you go to college. Did you went to--
[00:05:23] Tyson: Yeah, so university.
[00:05:24] Alexa: Yeah, university. We call it college here, university, but you can go to a university. When did you start studying HR? Not an undergrad or no?
[00:05:31] Tyson: No. So I was basically like told as a kid that, if you don't like study science, then you are like a failure. Like most millennials are told, you know, you gotta be like a doctor to like successful kind of thing. So my--
[00:05:43] Alexa: Do you have doctors in your family and scientists?
[00:05:46] Tyson: No. No, not a single one.
[00:05:48] Alexa: Okay. Okay.
[00:05:49] Tyson: My older brother studied visual arts.
[00:05:50] Alexa: Okay.
[00:05:51] Tyson: So that was a-- that was, um, interesting. He's extremely-
[00:05:53] Alexa: Nailed-nailed the science there.
[00:05:54] Tyson: -extremely talented. But anyway, so my way to manipulate this-- 'cause I was good at science, so I feel like my-- like my dad was kind of like, "Oh, shit, like she's good at science. She seems to like it, like maybe I can like push this to be like, you know, our first doctor." But anyway, so my way of manipulating this system at that time was to take psychology, but, uh, we have this option in Canada, and I don't know if other places do this, but you can take like psychology, but basically minor in science.
So like it was required for me to take like Biochem, Organic chem, all these chem classes that I actually failed. So jokes on you dad, you had to pay for me to do university twice. But-- so in some courses, so yeah, I-I took this like psych course with an undergrad in psychology thinking that I was gonna be a therapist.
[00:06:37] Alexa: All right. And what did you do after that? What came next?
[00:06:40] Tyson: So then, I looked at my shitty degree that was absolutely useless as all of us-
[00:06:45] Alexa: In psychology.
[00:06:46] Tyson: -do in psychology. And I'm like, "What the fuck do I do now?" I had no clue what I wanted to do next. I applied to a few postgrad master's programs. I didn't get in 'cause I really was not-- like I didn't have any direction at all. I think I applied to like social work, occupational therapy, stuff like that. I just-- I had no idea what I wanted to do.
[00:07:04] Alexa: But you're like 21 at the time. You're young.
[00:07:06] Tyson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. 'Cause I-I ended up finishing university in like the four years 'cause I took summer school to make up for the classes I failed. So yeah, just 'cause you're good at science in high school does not translate to university, but anyways. So then I sort of like take a look around, and I am like, "I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do." So I'm very lucky that I can take a year off. I worked my ass off. Like I worked like 17 jobs, like part-time jobs.
[00:07:29] Alexa: What were your jobs?
[00:07:29] Tyson: Like really shitty jobs.
[00:07:30] Alexa: Yeah. I want all of them, let's go.
[00:07:32] Tyson: So I worked like front desk at a gym and then like a city facility. And then I worked in like the programs. So like just doing like different camps and stuff like that. I continued a job that I had in university, which was working as an exam proctor for like the-- it was called access services. So like, if you had any sort of accommodation for your exam, you'd write it in a special room. So we could like give you a computer, give you extra time. And like it was separate from everybody else. So I like proctored those.
And then I volunteered like crazy 'cause I'm like, I don't know what the hell I wanna do. So I volunteered at a mental hospital and then two youth groups, one on like the other side of my neighborhood. This is why I kinda made this point actually early on sort of about like the fact that I grew up on like one side of the suburb. At the other side of the suburb was not so nice.
So I was-- How old when I graduate university? So let's say 21, when I kinda like took a look at the other side of that suburb, and I volunteered with at-risk youth, which was extremely eye opening. And then I worked downtown with another risk, uh, at-risk youth group because I thought that I wanted to be some sort of youth counselor-
[00:08:35] Alexa: That-that's [unintelligible 00:08:36]
[00:08:36] Tyson: -then again. So I'm kind of- kind of rambling, but all that to say I was not cut out for that job like in the slightest.
[00:08:41] Alexa: Why not? What-what did you learn from all of those from-from handing people towels and teaching summer camps and working with at-risk youth? Like what'd you take away from all that?
[00:08:49] Tyson: I get way too emotionally attached to situations, which is surprising.
[00:08:53] Alexa: Yeah. What the--
[00:08:54] Tyson: Just like I'm decent and it's like-- it's kinda like interesting that I ended up in this. But I just like didn't feel myself ever going to be able to make a difference in that field. And it just was like a lot of like heartache and like seeing really sad shit that I'd never seen in my entire life, in my 21 years. I'm like, "The fuck." Like, so I remember I went to volunteer at this one-- a group downtown and I show up for the interview for this volunteer role. And I walk in with like my big ass Michael Kors watch.
And like, remember one of those were cool, like the big chunky ones and like my little designer, Marc Jacobs bag. And I'm all like dressed up in Aritzia clothing. That's a big brand in Canada. And I walk in there and like, it's just not that at all. So I was like-- I looked like a complete idiot, right? Like I was dressed to impress, ready for my interview. Like, as you would like a job interview, it was like a real wake up call when I walked in there and people were like, uh, yeah, like everybody else is homeless except for you that works on this team.
[00:09:53] Alexa: [chuckles] Fuck.
[00:09:54] Tyson: So you better-- [chuckles] So anyways it was- it was a-a good experience and I definitely-- like thinking about like my daughter, like, I want her to be exposed to that a lot earlier on than I was for sure.
[00:10:04] Alexa: All right. So you do this for roughly a year or so?
[00:10:08] Tyson: A year.
[00:10:08] Alexa: And then?
[00:10:09] Tyson: Yeah. So like I said, like I wanted to be a youth counselor, some sort of like child youth counselor. I applied to college programs in that space. And someone I had worked with and was mentoring me in that space was like, "You've gotta go to this school in Toronto." So I'm like, "Sweet. Like, that's my plan-- That's my next plan." So I'm applying to college, you have to pick three. Like you pay, like let's say $200 and you have to apply to three. And as my third choice, I picked HR. So I picked two youth counselor groups programs and then HR.
[00:10:39] Alexa: And this is for a master's program or this is for a--?
[00:10:41] Tyson: No, this is just a postgrad in college. At co-- so I don't know what you call this. It's like a community college. I don't know. It's like the lesser, the trade-sy version of like school.
[00:10:51] Alexa: Yeah. Vocational school, community college, trade school, just depends on [crosstalk]
[00:10:54] Tyson: Right, exactly. So then I realize, shit, I hate-I hate working with kids. This is way too hard. I don't-- I'm not cut out for this. My only choice at that point is this HR program that I've used as a backup. So off I go to Toronto, which is totally random. I'd never ever thought that I was gonna move to Toronto. Um, it's about four hours from where I grew up, maybe five hours because there's always traffic.
I leave my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and I just like pick up and go to Toronto. It was so random. Reflecting back on it, I'm like, I don't know what I had in my mind to do that. Could have been partially because I don't speak French, so I just assumed that I'd never get a job in Ottawa, but like you forget how desperate you are when you're that age to just find work and then like time starts ticking and you're like, "Oh shit, I need to do something." So that's something for me was HR.
[00:11:41] Alexa: Awesome. So you get into this program. And what's the program like? How long is it? Do you like it? What's your favorite class?
[00:11:47] Tyson: It's amazing. So I fell in love with it. Something clicked immediately. Like I just-- I got it immediately. I understood HR and I was like, "Whoa, like this shit is cool." And it was actually in that moment that I was really connecting like what we call like strategic and like how we can do like something with people to like have like a business output. And like, I was like making all those connections like very early on, and I loved that.
So all that psychology and like helping people to like do something, I was like, "Well, this is actually a job where you can like do something." So I loved it. I actually loved like comp, and I think it was called like org effectiveness or something. And it was two semesters and all I did was that I didn't work. I just did that. It was the most fun I'd ever had in school. Um, I had a sweet group of people that I took the course. And you're all in the same classes together. So it's kinda like high school again.
So all I did was just like study HR and like read and like I read all my textbooks from cover to cover because I actually like loved it. I was living by myself in the city where I really knew no one except for my classmates. So like I had lots of time to spare, and that's when I got my cat actually because I was like, "I don't know anybody here." So the cat--
[00:12:55] Alexa: Wolf? The cat- the cat you have now?
[00:12:56] Tyson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:12:57] Alexa: Ah. How old is he?
[00:12:58] Tyson: So six. He just turned six this year.
[00:13:01] Alexa: All right.
[00:13:02] Tyson: Yeah. So the course was two semesters and then a co-op.
[00:13:03] Alexa: Okay. Tell us about your co-op.
[00:13:04] Tyson: Yeah. I had the most lovely co-op of all time. So really super random, my husband's grandmother was talking to her daughter.
[00:13:14] Alexa: Is that your grandmother-in-law?
[00:13:16] Tyson: My grandmother-in-law was talking to Adam's aunt, so like her-- the grandma's daughter, Adam's aunt, my aunt in-law, I guess, I have no idea, about--
[00:13:24] Alexa: Yeah, yeah. Family trees confuse me.
[00:13:26] Tyson: It's very confusing. So his grandma was kind of bringing it up in conversations that I was taking this HR program. And his aunt just happened to be the executive assistant of the CHRO of the company that I ended up getting my co-op at. And it was a complete shot in the dark. And it's funny because I like sent him one of those like movie emails, like, "Hey, I'd love to like pick your brain and get a coffee with you." And like--
it was just like one of those like, uh, when people are trying to like just have like a-a chat. And then next thing I know, I got this call, um, a woman, who's now a very close friend of mine. And she basically was like, "Hey, like we want to like offer you a co-op," and I had another offer from a company called Aon. I don't think-- I think it was acquired. It's not called Aon anymore.
But I had the-these two offers now. So one from like this company that I ended up going with, one from Aon. But what was funny is I actually didn't have like the written offer from the company that I ended up getting my job with. And I called them and I was like, "I need the offer today. Like by end of day today," because otherwise, I would've had to accept the other job, if that makes sense because of the co-op rules. Cut it really close with them and I like really was banking on them and they-- Yeah. They ended up giving me my-my offer letter. So-
[00:14:37] Tyson: All right.
[00:14:38] Alexa: -that was sweet. Yeah.
[00:14:39] Alexa: All right. And then?
[00:14:40] Tyson: If that makes sense. So then I ended up doing this co-op and it was amazing. I find out kind of like later on that the only thing [crosstalk]--
[00:14:47] Alexa: What exactly were you doing?
[00:14:49] Tyson: So I was an HR coordinator. They actually-- so funny-- another funny story, all-all these funny stories. I was an administrative coordinator, was what the title was. Now, a few months later, I like rallied to have administrative dropped for my title. So I begged and I pleaded and I ended up changing the title to HR coordinator instead of HR administrative coordinator.
[00:15:09] Alexa: Why were you so adamant about not being an HR admin versus HR?
[00:15:13] Tyson: Because when you are trying to make a name for yourself in a field, I think it was really important for me to be seen as an HR professional versus an administrative professional. And what's funny about that is the person who had the job before me-- so I-I'm kind of getting ahead of myself because I was the co-op, which then turned into this coordinator role. But while-while I was a co-op, I was basically just like doing that administrative coordinator.
[00:15:42] Alexa: All right. So you were doing your co-op and then you stayed on with this group.
[00:15:45] Tyson: I stayed on. Exactly, same rule. But what ended up happening is I took that administrative coordinator role and I completely flipped it on its head. I got lucky because the girl who was in like permanently in the role, she ended up quitting, and they let me kind of like ride into that. And I did a couple contracts and then they just kept me full time.
So I took the job and I completely changed it. So this is someone who was doing like paperwork, and I turned the role into like redesigning the exit interview process, partnering with the consult-- the HR consultants and-and doing like stupid work. Like they'd get their like engagement survey stuff back and I would make every single one of their slide decks for them.
Like really, really like, you know, mundane work, which you might say, "Oh, that's administrative," but that's really how I learned HR because I would call-- I probably supported like seven or eight HR consultants, and I'd call each of them and be like, "Hey, what's you working on? What can I help you with? " And anytime anyone asked me to do anything, it was like, "Yes, no problem. Sure. No problem. Yes, absolutely." And if I didn't know how to do it, I'd figure it out afterwards. And if it was an administrative task, I would do it anyways, and I'd learn everything.
So then when we had our staff meeting with all the HR consultants and myself, when the manager was like, "Hey, what's going on over here? What's going on over there?" I was really the only one that knew anything that was going on because I was so in the weeds with every single major project that each of the consultants were working on. So I kind of like wormed my way into all their jobs. Yeah. It was awesome.
It was an excellent co-op, like, I love that co-op. And I-I'm not gonna name the company, but I freaking love that company. Like even to this day, like hold their stock and I like don't let my financial advisor sell their stock because I'm like, "It has so much sentimental value to me." Like the people there were like amazing, and I still just like feel so supported. Even when I ended up leaving that job, like it was the most graceful exit. Everybody was so kind, like, I-I freaking loved that job.
[00:17:35] Alexa: All right. S how long were you there for?
[00:17:36] Tyson: So I was a co-op for like the couple-- like two months let's say, transitioned into the coordinator role. I did that. Let's say it was like a July to June-ish, and then I was promoted to consultant. So I got promoted to HR consultant. Also, I made it very, very, very clear and I think my very first performance review, I didn't even have a full time job there. I told them I want to be an HR consultant. So like I'm this like ballsy, like co-op, right? Like they're like, "Hey relax, girl." Like you don't even-
[00:18:04] Alexa: Chill and fuck out, kid.
[00:18:05] Tyson: -you don't even like have a job here, chill out. I was that millennial that was like—
[00:18:08] Alexa: My coffee order is-- [laughs]
[00:18:11] Tyson: Exactly. So I was very clear what I wanted from the get-go, and then somebody ended up leaving and I just like rolled into that seat. And then I did that for probably about four years at that company.
[00:18:22] Alexa: All right. Very cool. So-so why did you wind up leaving that company?
[00:18:25] Tyson: Um, I left because I sort of took a look around and I observed, you know, some of my favorite people's careers there. And I just felt that it either took a long time or there just wasn't space at that next level for me, or like I just kind of felt like I've done what I had to do. And this-- Um, it all kind of happened at the beginning of the pandemic, right? So it was beginning of March, 2020 that, um, I was reached out to by the company that I'm currently with.
And I kind of just took a look around and I'm like, "You know what? Like I-- Maybe now is the time." And that was kind of like a weird time to move but the way that we-- when we responded to the pandemic at my previous company, it was very much the bad news story, so adjusting folks and like temp layoffs and like managing through that. And what happened was pretty much all of our HR initiatives and strategic initiatives got put on hold and we had to respond.
And obviously, you have to do that. Like that's-- every company was doing that, but I think just like in that moment, I was like-- I just sort of looked
around and I'm like, "I think I've done everything that I can do here," and I felt like I was sort on top of my game there. And I was really comfortable and everything felt really easy to me. So I was like, "I think I'm gonna take this chance and go."
[00:19:46] Alexa: All right. And what were you--
[00:19:47] Tyson: And I cried. I cried. I cried so much when I left, when I quit. When I told my boss, I just like bawled.
[00:19:53] Alexa: Oh, you were-- you were-- okay, but not-- Did your boss cry? Hopefully not.
[00:19:57] Tyson: No, she would never. [laughs] Again, she's like-- she was the person who-- like my boss at the time when I left, she was the person who called me for my co-op, and she's someone that I-I have maintained a friendship with.
[00:20:08] Alexa: That's dope, that's important. So-so what were you adamant about in sort of finding your next gig? Like what was- what was like important for you to find if you were going to take the plunge?
[00:20:16] Tyson: I wanted to go somewhere that was willing to experiment and challenge status quos and allow people to have like a lot of-- maybe, uh, uh, I was looking form uh, HR department. God, that sounds really fuddy-duddy, but an HR team that hadn't necessarily figured everything out yet and was still in a position where they had a lot of freedom to, like, try new things without a lot of judgment.
Like when you work for-- the company that I was previously with, like, it was- it was gigantor. Like they had such established HR systems. So everyone kind of just like-- you know, you had a little bit of freedom. But like, if we were rolling out some-something, everyone kinda had to roll it out the same way. And like, if you didn't, which I hardly ever did, it was because I was breaking the rules, and I wasn't getting caught doing that. So I wanted to go somewhere that was like open to more experimentation and just like trying something new in the HR space.
[00:21:10] Alexa: All right. And at what point in your journey does HR Shook come into play? When is the HR Shook persona born?
[00:21:18] Tyson: So that happens-- so again, I keep like, mentioning-- I'll have to tell her that I've talked about her so much in this podcast. But again, the person who gave me my co-op and was my boss at my previous company was always pushing me to, like, do YouTube or do some sort of Instagram or, like, create a side hustle. She was all about the side hustle.
[00:21:40] Alexa: I'm all about the side hustle.
[00:21:40] Tyson: We go for these walks. Yeah, for sure. You're like-- yeah, you have, like, 18 side hustles. [laughs]
[00:21:45] Alexa: [inaudible 00:21:45] too many, but yeah, yes.
[00:21:50] Tyson: We-we would go for these walks, and she would just like really, like, inspire-- she'd be like, "You know, you gotta have YouTube. Like you have such a good personality for like an Instagram or blah, blah, blah." So I tried a few things. And they just like never took, and like I tried, like doing like-- it wasn't like healthy. But it was more like how to balance, like work-life balance. It was all about work-life balance, and just like how to like work hard, play hard kind of thing. It was called modern-day workaholic, and it never took off.
[00:22:15] Alexa: Was it a YouTube channel?
[00:22:16] Tyson: Some YouTube stuff and mostly Instagram, like I was posting stuff on Instagram. But what it turned into was just like a boring old lifestyle, which is like what everybody was trying to do at that point. And then what happened-- and I've told this story in this podcast before, but I was out somewhere for a work event off-off site. And there was alcohol, and I was drinking and someone was like, "Oh my gosh, HR--" And you know, that's in our like intro.
[00:22:43] Alexa: Yeah, I was gonna say, you do listen to the intro of our podcast, right? [laughs]
[00:22:46] Tyson: That's the intro- the intro of our podcast is like really relevant because-
[00:22:50] Alexa: That's your origin story.
[00:22:50] Tyson: -that was really when HR Shook was born.
[00:22:52] Alexa: All right.
[00:22:52] Tyson: Yeah, yeah. And I just-- I posted like one meme and it like went crazy. So I just like tried a few others.
[00:22:57] Alexa: Do you remember your first meme?
[00:22:57] Tyson: And it just like it took off from there. Yeah, it was the one-- it was the picture of the mom from Mean Girls. And she's like,-
[00:23:05] Alexa: Tina Fey?
[00:23:05] Tyson: -"I'm not ready to retire, I'm a cool HR." Yeah.
[00:23:07] Alexa: Nice.
[00:23:08] Tyson: No, no, no. It's not. Is it Tina Fey? Or was it the other girl?
[00:23:10] Alexa: No, Tina Fey is the teacher. You're right.
[00:23:13] Tyson: Tina Fey is the teacher. Yeah. It's the mom with like the hard boobs. [chuckles] Like she's like-like a velour-- pink velour suit holding martinis.
[00:23:20] Alexa: Yes, yes. Yes.
[00:23:22] Tyson: So I-I think that that was my first one. Uh, and it was a little-- it was like-- after that, like, it took me a while to get my footing. Like that meme, I think kind of took off. And then it took me a little while to get my footing. And then slowly but surely, like I just built it up over the time. And it's kind of like turned into all sorts of different things. And I've tried various things like now I sell T-shirts just for fun. Like, it's just like--
[00:23:43] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:23:43] some swag. I love that. And so you've- you've built quite-quite the following. What do you- what do you think is the reason for that? Like, what do you-- why do you think HR Shook resonates so much with people?
[00:23:51] Tyson: I just think because there's so many-- like we have seen, and even just learning through this-this podcast, like so many people who are kind of feeling the same way about HR and like the potential of HR, but there's not a major outlet for people to kind of talk about that, especially in like a funny way. So like, it's such a stigmatized job. And just to like tell it in a real way is-is, I think, refreshing for people.
And also like not a lot of people-- the-there's a few other HR meme accounts, but a lot of it's like about recruiting or like, you know, corporate, funny corporate stuff. So it just kind of was like niche at the time. And I think there's a lot more of it now, but it was a lot more niche when I started. Like I think there was only, like, a few accounts that were doing HR stuff.
[00:24:37] Alexa: Yeah.
[00:24:37] Tyson: Like purely HR stuff, not just like recruitment.
[00:24:40] Alexa: Yeah. All right. Cool. And what, uh, what do you think is sort of your-your biggest learning from doing it? And what are you sort of hopeful for the future? Besides that you're pretty fucking funny and good at creating memes.
[00:24:52] Tyson: I feel like my-my biggest learning was that I could kind of say the things that I was thinking Now, this has gotten me in trouble in my career. It has. I have definitely gotten in trouble for being the person who's like calls out the thing. And you have to know when and where to do that, so-- [chuckles] And who around you you should be doing that with. So-- but I have built a lot of respect in my day job by calling out the thing. And I think I learned that through HR Shook, where all I do is call out shit.
[00:25:29] Alexa: Like name-name-- let's just name this. Yeah. And make fun of it a little.
[00:25:32] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
[00:25:33] Alexa: Let's quote this, yeah.
[00:25:34] Tyson: And like-- right, right. And like my big mouth, like I said, like, I have a- I have a big mouth, and I have to be careful. But yeah, I think that that's been a good learning. And like feeling confident to do that in a workspace is like super freeing and it's good.
[00:25:47] Alexa: And what's one- what's one thing you want people to know if they are just hearing about you for the first time or they don't follow HR Shook or--?
[00:25:54] Tyson: Well, first of all, they should go follow me. I'm so close to 10k. And I've like kind of drifted because like taking care of a baby is a lot harder than I expected.
[00:26:02] Alexa: We're gonna talk about that in a second.
[00:26:03] Tyson: That's shit load of work. But yeah, I just-- I like to teach other people as well. So although, there's like a lot of humor, I sometimes will try to do like a little, you know, memo and a caption. But usually, through my stories, I like to do a little bit more education. So that's the other thing, right? Like, that's a huge- a huge part of HR Shook. It's not just the funny stuff. It's actually about like educating people on like what HR is and what it could be. That's I think-- I think that's it, it's not just- it's not just humor, but it's like there is a lot of like realness to it. So come join us on HR Shook.
[00:26:35] Alexa: I love it. Yeah, follow HR Shook, but only after you follow People Problems pod.
[00:26:39] Tyson: Yeah. There's a lot of crossover now too. So like, I'm kind of like there's some crossover with-with the [crosstalk]
[00:26:43] Alexa: I feel- I feel like I'm HR Shook life. I'm like adjacent. I'm like you're-- I'm like your side-- I'm like you're like, you know, extra sidekick. Yeah. So-so you're also-- let's not- let's not bury the lede here. You're also a new mom. But you're also currently on maternity leave. How's-- What's that like? Tell us a little bit about-about your HR Shook personal.
[00:27:01] Tyson: Yeah. So that was really hard. Like, I think like when I got pregnant, like the first thing I thought about was my job. Because I was in a place where I was feeling like I was on top of my game, like I had found my stride. Like, I was no longer learning. Like, I knew my shit. I had only been with my company for like less than a year when I got pregnant. This was only about half a year. And then I just felt like, oh, my god, like work. Like that was all I thought about, you know, and that's really shitty, actually, that that was kind of like the response to getting pregnant.
[00:27:34] Alexa: No, I think that's-- just to be clear, I think that's super fucking real. Like--
[00:27:36] Tyson: I think it is. Yeah, it is.
[00:27:38] Alexa: I think that's pretty fucking formidable. To be honest, I'm going to call that out, um-
[00:27:43] Alexa: -as someone who cares about their career, I-- that-that would resonate with me.
[00:27:46] Tyson: For sure. And I think even like, through this process, I've tried to be just as real with that as I have always been in talking about things. And I've talked to a lot of other women that have gone through this. And so many people do feel that it's hard, like you-you do feel like you're getting setback. And as a reminder, in Canada, we take a year. At least I'm taking a year. You can take up to 18 months. You could take less, but typically people take the year. And culturally, like that's what-- that's just what we do.
Yeah, so I found out I was pregnant. I was freaked out about work. I ended up falling into a weird position at work where I had more exposure and more opportunity than I could have ever imagined. And it worked out really well for me because I was able to work my like ass off for like the six months leading up to my mat leave. And I actually got promoted on my second last day-
[00:28:39] Alexa: Fucking gangster.
[00:28:40] Tyson: -before I went off on mat leave which was like insane. [laughs]
[00:28:42] Alexa: You're a gangster, no one is surprised. You're a fucking rock star. I just-- not that-that anyone was ever doubting that, just that speaks fucking like legends about I think the kind of professional you are and that this profession needs, that they're like, "No, no, no, she's about to leave for a year. Let's promote her. Like she needs to come back. We want this one." That's pretty gangster, so congratulations.
[00:29:04] Tyson: Yeah. And it was like-- look, like, I worked my ass off. But I also kind of fell into a really good situation where I just-- I said yes. And I said yes. And I said yes. And I never complained. And if I was freaking out, I did it on the inside, which is probably like the worst advice I could give people but like, you know, you're like a duck.
[00:29:22] Alexa: Yeah.
[00:29:22] Tyson: Like you're cool and calm on the outside and like paddling like hell beneath the water.
[00:29:26] Alexa: Underneath the surf.
[00:29:27] Tyson: Exactly. So like I kind of did a little bit of that. But I think, because I love my job so much like I thrive in that space, so it-it was fine. But like again, like I just really, really-- like when an opportunity like that is kind of put on you, like just try to take it and try to do a good job.
[00:29:42] Alexa: Yeah, but also you didn't-- you know, I think there's a lot of common misconceptions, like people assume, "Oh, you're going on mat leave. Oh, you're getting pregnant. You're like one foot out the door," right? And you just did the fucking opposite. You're like, "No, no. you gotta [unintelligible 00:29:52]
[00:29:50] Tyson: No. I was like accelerating.
[00:29:51] Alexa: I'm gonna double down." Yeah. And that's like--
[00:29:54] Tyson: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
[00:29:55] Alexa: But that's like-- that's a perfect example of like, how this doesn't have to set the wrong tone in your career because you know if you go back or if you were to even move on, like your last professional stamp and seal from your last group of teammates, it's gonna be like, "No, no, Tyson's a fucking gangster of like-
[00:30:12] Tyson: Yeah.
[00:30:13] Alexa: -you know, her last six months before mat leave, like she-she burned it down." Like that speaks worlds about like your work ethic. And I think that sets a really good example, so that's very cool.
[00:30:21] Tyson: Yeah. And it's exciting for me too. Like, so when I think of like, now, when I'm thinking about going back to work, which is usually a very-- like let's talk in a year and I'm probably gonna be like freaking out to go back to work.
[00:30:32] Alexa: Yeah, don't worry. We'll do a few parts of the mat leave journey for our listeners. [laughs]
[00:30:35] Tyson: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But it'll be exciting, right? 'Cause I know that I have this like new adventure that's coming up when I get back. So we'll see how that- how that feels then. But probably like have the worst [unintelligible 00:30:45]
[00:30:45] Alexa: Are you- are you just like fucking checked out or are you like, "God, Alexa makes me talk to her like once a week," or are you, uh, are you like trying-- like, not necessarily maybe checking in at work, but trying to keep up on like what's happening in the industry. Like what's-- how are you feeling about all that as of right now? You're only a couple months in.
[00:30:59] Tyson: Yeah. So my baby is seven and a half weeks old. The first four weeks was you just figure out how to keep a human alive and keep yourself alive while you're doing it. So that was-
[00:31:11] Alexa: [chuckles] No pressure.
[00:31:12] Tyson: -a-a whirlwind, like it's just a blur now. But then, so my husband took two weeks off and then my mom took two weeks off to stay with me. And it was sort of that like first week that I was by my self, that I was kinda like, "Hmm," like, look, you're busy and you're doing shit, but like the baby sleeps a lot. So then I'm just like, "Hmm. Like what-- Like I like am-- you know, I wanna know what's going on at work. And like, so I was kinda looking at Slack a little bit for like that time. And now, I've pretty much checked out from like of work.
I also had to like tie up some loose ends at that time. So now I'm pretty much checked out from work. But I'm ready to kinda start figuring out how I can keep like my brain active. So like I, you know, I had a-- just like a coffee chat with someone this week, which felt-- or maybe that was last week. I can't remember.
[00:32:01] Alexa: [laughs] Case in point. [laughs]
[00:32:03] Tyson: Could that have been yesterday? No, definitely it wasn't. I have no idea when it was, but I did have a coffee chat with someone.
[00:32:08] Alexa: Mat leave- mat leave time.
[00:32:10] Tyson: Right. And it felt amazing. Like it felt like so good to talk to like someone else and just like talk-talk shop.
[00:32:16] Alexa: Yeah.
[00:32:17] Tyson: And, but yeah, I feel like it's-it's just like, now, I'm kinda like, once you get your footing a little bit-- but then again, you get your footing and I'm like, "Yeah, I got this." And then I'm like, "Oh, shit. No, I don't got this, something's changed." So--
[00:32:28] Alexa: Yeah. So what have you learned from this experience so far? And again, we'll-we'll-we'll ask as we keep going here, uh, through your year of mat leave. But what have you learned in this process that maybe changes something about your sort of perception of-of HR in general? Like, is there anything about the last few months in your sort of overall experience that you're like, "Hmm. I think of this a little differently now," that have been through, you know, my first child and starting mat leave and--
[00:32:54] Tyson: Like having a kid?
[00:32:55] Alexa: Yeah.
[00:32:56] Tyson: I learned that I really do like my job.
[00:32:57] Alexa: Yeah.
[00:32:58] Tyson: Um, [laughs] and I do miss my job. And a-again, that's like another like taboo thing. It's like, yeah, like being a mom is awesome, but I couldn't do it full time. Like I couldn't do it like-like stay-at-home mom style, but like cheers to people who-who do, so yeah. I don't know. I think that that was like kind of like a-- that's probably not the answer you were looking for but like--
[00:33:20] Alexa: No, I'm not- I'm not looking for an answer, my dear.
[00:33:21] Tyson: I'll be going back. I'll be- I'll be going back to HR, [chuckles] that's what I learned.
[00:33:26] Alexa: There we go. All right. Um--
[00:33:28] Tyson: And yeah, yeah.
[00:33:29] Alexa: All right. Cool. Well, uh, that's the Tyson origin story. Are there any other things you had hoped that I would have asked you? Favorite color, kind of music you listened to.
[00:33:38] Tyson: I think so, I listen to all sorts of music, but lately, it's just been-
[00:33:41] Alexa: What's your current jam right now?
[00:33:44] Tyson: -that-that new Adele song, but mostly, just [crosstalk]--
[00:33:46] Alexa: No, I haven't listened to that yet. I-- Adele, I gotta be in the right--
[00:33:48] Tyson: It makes my baby sleep.
[00:33:50] Alexa: Oh, there you go.
[00:33:51] Tyson: So-- [laughs]
[00:33:51] Alexa: I was going to say, it might just make me cry all day. So I-I'm not gonna-- I-I-- Adele is like for a very particular time and place in my life, mostly like breakups and dark places.
[00:34:01] Tyson: It's a tear-jerker for sure.
[00:34:03] Alexa: All her music is tear-jerkers.
[00:34:04] Tyson: Yeah. And-and, um, Lana Del Rey just came out with a new album, so I do [crosstalk] listen to that.
[00:34:07] Alexa: Oh, you really like the sap right now, huh?
[00:34:10] Tyson: Yeah. I'm a huge Lana Del Rey fan. Um, even though she has like-- she's in a lot of- in a lot of lately, but [crosstalk]--
[00:34:16] Alexa: Oh really? I'm not-- I'm like-- that's not-- she's not-- I'm sure I like a bunch of her stuff, but that's not my-
[00:34:22] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:34:23] Alexa: -not my genre.
[00:34:23] Tyson: So yeah, just like that. I think like just like women voices usually-
[00:34:26] Alexa: Cool.
[00:34:27] Tyson: -is what I've been listening to lately.
[00:34:28] Alexa: Do anything for work?
[00:34:29] Tyson: And my favorite color is black.
[00:34:31] Alexa: That a girl, ditto. All black everything. All right. Cool. Well, thanks for sharing your story with us, Tyson. I, uh--
[00:34:39] Tyson: Yeah, that was fun.
[00:34:39] Alexa: Yeah. Super fun.
[00:34:40] Tyson: I'm like blushing. I feel like I'm like--
[00:34:41] Alexa: I know. Yeah, you're, uh, you're a little nervous on this pod, huh?
[00:34:43] Tyson: [laughs] So weird talking so much about yourself. [laughs]
[00:34:46] Alexa: Yeah. It's super nerve-racking. The last time I was like, "And can you ask me a different question? And can you ask me another question?" But, all right, kids, we'll see you on the next one.
This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Clear Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleroblemspod.com or follow us at People Problems pod on all things social. Thanks.
[00:35:10] [END OF AUDIO]