For our friends in the HR orbit who deal in numbers and people. (That’s all of you!)

On Monday evening, the President said, “We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There’s no such thing. There’s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary.” The HR community also has been extraordinary this past year, balancing numbers so organizations survive and recognizing that analytics matter little without seeing the people behind the numbers. There are countless stories of HR leaders rising to the occasion, tending to their employees, and reaching beyond their immediate circles.

So, how do you grasp 500,000?

Some draw the connection to lives lost in the wars of the last century.

I imagine the combined populations of Bangor (my hometown) and Portland (which I now call home). Times FIVE.

That thought nudged me from a self-defensive numbness to a gentle ache – and an elixir with two-part chemistry. The first part involves gratitude for frontline employees. Nurses jabbing arms. Clerks bagging groceries. The second part of the formula is hope – that uniquely human gift. Teachers planting seeds that will blossom into ideas. Ideas that might cool the planet, cool our heated political rhetoric, and warm the way we think about work, life, and the people we love.

  • If you haven’t seen the Mars landing – watch this 3-minute NASA clip, which is awesome and sweetly geeky at the same time.
  • If you want a little music to inspire – watch and listen to this clip created by “From the Top”.

Here’s hoping that you are in good spirits, and that if you have lost a friend or family member, that this person resides in your heart as extraordinary.

Bud Bernstein
Curator for Strategic HR U.S.