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Elizabeth Fuss Arnott, SPHR  I have been working in Human Resources for 23 years. Since 2011, I have been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).  I have a BA in English and a Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law from Tulane Law School. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband Luke and our cat, Poirot. I write about HR, non-profits, the art of managing people and Neurodiversity in the workplace. I'm available for employment, contract work, consulting, coaching and training virtually and in the Portland, OR area. Please email me at for more information. 

  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Arnott, SPHR

What a Long Year This Week Has Been

I have this t-shirt that says "WHAT A LONG YEAR THIS WEEK HAS BEEN." I wear it whenever I feel like I've been living the same day over and over, which has been frequent over the last three years. We all know. We are all tired. We are all burned out. Maybe things have started to look up, maybe you are starting to feel a little more settled. For me, each month has been an adjustment and an exercise in how to not feel stir-crazy working from home, how to feel safe working in the office, how to socialize, how to rest. I'm not sure that I've conquered any of that. But I've for sure learned a lot about myself and how I work, how I manage, how I stretch myself, how I respond to different leadership and management styles.

One thing I've learned is that my tolerance for poor management and disrespectful treatment has gone rapidly down. I'm no longer willing to put up with people treating me a certain way because they are in a position of power or because they feel they are the correct one in the discussion. I've put boundaries in place and when I find that someone is treating me in a way that I don't appreciate, I enforce my boundary and walk away. Apologies are now something that I expect from others when bad behavior is exhibited, instead of just being something that I do on behalf of every failed leader, policy or practice to make others feel better.

I've learned that no matter how equitable I think I am, how well I think I understand racial bias, there is always more to learn and things that I can do better. I've learned that shutting up and listening is the best way to hear another person's perspective, instead of trying to assume what people need or want.

I've learned that more than anything, it's important to my own self-worth to stand up for what is right, do the right thing, protect the vulnerable, evangelize people-centered cultures, and express love and appreciation to those around me. One of the things that was difficult for me during the 2+ years I worked from home, was the lack of social interaction with colleagues. When I returned to the office last April, I immediately wanted to warm up the environment, which seemed human-less and cold. I brought candy, books, affirmation cards, appreciation cards and other things to encourage folks to interact with each other. It was the one thing that brought me unmitigated joy in the office. Seeing a smile on someone's face when they find their favorite kind of chocolate - it brings me happiness.

As I'm transitioning out of my last place of employment to embark on more adventures, I'm grateful for the people I've met, the experiences I've had, the things I've learned, the strength I've grown, the skills I've improved, and the shared experiences that we've all had over the past few years. While I am looking for full-time employment, I hope to provide consulting, coaching and training to non-profits and other organizations consistently to help increase the number of good workplaces, that are adaptable to employees, compassionately accountable and wildly successful. I can't wait to meet you and see how I can help!


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