Everyone needs a Homer !!

This past week was tough, and something that no one in HR looks forward to.  One of my co-workers passed away.  His name was Homer.

Homer was amazing !!  He was the first person I saw everyday as I came into the office.  He greeted me with a smile and a warm handshake.  We exchanged jokes, laughed about life and talked about the day, our families and our work.  He loved working for LaRosa’s, and it wasn’t something to “say”, it was what he believed.  His pride in his work showed.

By the way, Homer cleaned the parking lot of the Corporate Office and also two of our nearby restaurants . . . and he was 79.

Homer was a great loving husband, father and veteran.  Also, he was my friend.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a trend in HR and in the blogosphere to group folks together so that we can better “address” or “handle” their generation.  I’m concerned by this because I think it waters down the spectacular fact of our diversity as individuals.  When I was born can be proven, but who I am as a person is an individual characteristic.  I think HR suffers when we try to group people into different categories so they can be more homogeneous.  It may seem “easier,” but it devalues what each person brings to work each and every day.

I’ve said it before, but I truly feel that HR should be practiced person-by-person.  Our employees deserve our focus, attention and care.  If you ever hope to be a diverse organization, then you need to really look at how HR is practiced in your place.  If everyone fits into a giant herd, or a “generation”, then you need to make an adjustment.

This week our company lost a dear individual who impacted the lives of many.  He did this intentionally and unabashedly.  I hope to carry on his example so that others can see how amazing each person who touches our lives really is.  I deeply miss him already.

Look around you this coming week at work.  Is there a Homer at your place?  There should be.

9 thoughts on “Everyone needs a Homer !!”

  1. Steve, this was a wonderful heartfelt memorial to “Our Homer”. His absence will make itself known each day we arrive to work. He was always there to greet everyone with a smile. It didn’t matter who we were or our position at LaRosa’s; he greeted everyone as if it we were the best thing to happen to his day…everyday! Very Nice…

  2. What a great tribute Steve. My sincere sympathies to you and your company.

  3. Steve,
    My sincere sympathies to you, your company but most of all to Homer’s family. I truly feel that Homer made a difference in life, he is a shining example of what we all should do on a daily basis.
    I am going to read this post today to our Admin team and ask each of them to be like Homer and ask them to make an impacted on the lives of our staff and patrons just like Homer did to touch you and your company

  4. First, what a beautiful tribute to such a key person and friend in your and LaRosa’s life.

    Second, I agree that HR needs to be practiced 1 on 1. So does MUCH of life. Think what would happen if:
    our education system could manage this
    retirees could be considered individually
    spiritual warriers and those struggling to become S.W. could practice this with each other
    husbands and wives could focus more on this
    moms and dads could treat each child as a special gift from God who is truly individual.

    Maybe you could do a sermon on this one day?

  5. We often celebrate the “firsts” in life…baby’s first steps, baby’s first word, our first real kiss, the first time we drive solo, etc. But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are also a lot of “lasts” in our lifetime: the last conversation we have with a grandparent, or parent, the last time we change our child’s diaper, the last time we go to that favorite vacation spot, etc. Sometimes we know its the last time, but often times we don’t. The lesson is to treat each day as a gift and don’t hesitate to speak to someone and offer an encouraging word when you get the chance. You never know if it will be the last time you speak with them.

  6. Steve,
    I’ve never posted an online comment before but felt compelled to respond to this one. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your friend/coworker. I was impressed by your ‘Individual Worth’ Brand illustrated with the simple pinecone. Your writings and forums model for me the power of the HRD professional. You make me proud to have chosen this field as my vocation.

  7. Steve, I think each and every one of us has Homer in their workplace, and I agree that we need t practice HR on a person-by-person basis. Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to Homer. It also reminds us that each employee, no matter what the position, makes the organization run. We need to appreciate them all!

  8. Steve, I am so sorry for your loss. People are people and each personality unique. Embrace the differences and your life will be fuller for it. I agree, don’t group me with everyone else my age. I AM MYSELF! Enjoy your Mother’s Day and the strong women in your life.

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