Robin Schooling

Managing Partner, Peridus Group

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

As a child I spent most every weekend with my grandparents and, as their only grandchild (of their only child), they undoubtedly thought the moon and sun rose by my very existence. (Of course I like to think they were correct in their assessment. I kid! I kid!).They loved me with a fervor and I loved them right back with a matching fierceness. They were the people, more so than my parents, who instilled in me the foundational values by which I have tried to live my life; demonstrating compassion and empathy for others, a desire to right the wrongs of society in whichever manner you can, and the need to eradicate the ‘isms that poison our world.

I don’t really have “one” moment  that defines happiness for me as a child but I do know that my happiest times were spent with them. We played board games and card games and ate ice cream while watching The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday nights. I helped grandpa in the garden (he paid me a penny for every weed I pulled) and I baked cookies with grandma. They tucked me into bed at night but, more importantly, they wrapped me in a giant cocooning quilt of their unconditional love. Grandpa has been gone for over 40 years and grandma for 20 years but I still miss them every single day.

2. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

Thorpe by Mary Dutton

I first read this book around age 12 and have probably read it another 25 times since then. It casts an eye on racism in the southern US through the eyes of an exceptionally wise and gifted 6 year old and it’s simultaneously heartbreaking, funny and frightening.

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

This is a must read (especially for anyone in HR), this book dives into how and why we have a society filled with meaningless and unfulfilling jobs while also making the case for UBI as a more effective and beneficial way to allocate labor. Many of our societal failures related to work, such as the low-pay-value we have assigned to so many of our ‘essential’ jobs (which came to light via Covid19), are discussed in this book.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This book captures the spirited idiosyncrasies of New Orleans and the blustery would-be-philosopher Ignatius J. Reilly is the hero we deserve. Especially in 2020; when we seem to be surrounded by a confederacy of dunces.

3. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?

In the US we’ve  long had the intertwining of religion and government; even as we vociferously shout about “separation of church and state.” Yet we still have “in God we trust” on our currency. We still have elected official and courtroom witnesses (and defendants) swear an oath on a bible.  We reference “one nation, under God,” in our Pledge of Allegiance. Yet as more people (26% of US population) identity as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” and the number of self-identifying Christians declines (down 12% over the last decade), the day may finally come when requiring a mantra to a fantastical spirit-in-the-sky will neither be required or allowed.

4. What’s your desktop/mobile screensaver? Take a screenshot and attach it to your answer!

Crab Island in Destin. FL taken from the deck of a boat while floating on the beautiful blue water. My idea of bliss.

5. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?

A 3-pack of masks. Because I care about my fellow humans.

6. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?

I would be the chief organizer focused on getting things back on track and creating stability out of chaos. Shod in sensible shoes and with my clipboard in hand, I would set about ensuring the unpleasant tasks are tended to such as removing the half-eaten remains of our former fellow-humans. Then, once that unpleasantness is handled, I would craft the process to take the census while also developing plans for a sustainable food supply (and the accompanying distribution network) to replace the foraging in abandoned houses we did while hiding from the zombies.

7. What decision makes you say, “What was I thinking??” when you look back on your career?

Note: leaving MCW

8. Who is the best co-workers or collaborator you’ve ever worked with? Now is the moment to give them a shout out - who were they and why were they so good?

Doug at Exel

9. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?

the “perfect” candidate does not exist

10. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?

Digital divide

11. What’s one industry challenge you don’t actually think will ever get solved?

Fully matching people who NEED jobs to OPEN jobs without all the hoops

12. Aside from your parents, name one person who has had an extraordinary impact on your career. What did they do and what did you learn from that person?


20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

Mary Ellen Slayer, Jackye Clayton, Katee Van Horn, Sarah Morgan, Heather Bussing, Michael VanDervort

Thank you to Robin Schooling for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune

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