Saturday, May 26, 2020

News and Views: May 26th 2007

On being yourself, not a cheap imitation of anyone else

Herman Najoli has a series of articles on being yourself, prompted by watching his son as he grows up and explores the world. There’s too much imitation going on, especially in the workplace. Being yourself isn’t always comfortable, but it’s always authentic, and usually the best course of action too. [link] [link] [link]

Do you fancy a five-day weekend?

If so, here’s a site where you can join in the movement to petition the US Congress on the subject. Sounds like a good idea to me! Why are they trying to change the law? “Because overwork has become a major problem for Americans, and it’s getting worse by the year. The two-day weekend was created in 1930, and despite decades of unparalleled technology growth, our people are actually working more and more each year.” [link] [via]

Thoughts on work/life balance from Ellen Galinsky

Ellen Galinsky, founder and president of the Families and Work Institute, gave an interview to the Washington Post. Here are some selected snippets: “We have found that the most people who do best at managing work and family life are what we call dual-centric. They don’t put work first all of the time, but they prioritize their work and their family lives. . . . In the long run . . . having a rewarding life at home is good for work life and having a rewarding life at work is good for home life.” “Change is hard and in the industrial age, productivity and commitment were seen as ‘face time.’ So you need to replace that measurement in your manager’s mind with another way to assess your performance. Then if you deliver, you will hopefully have a convert.” [link] [via]

Need a break?

Vacation time is almost upon us, But if you think that a vacation is going to cure all your stress problems at work, think again. It seems that many people return from vacation just as stressed—or even more so—than they were when they went away. That’s the conclusion of a survey of more than 2,000 workers. “A quarter of managers admit they return from vacation more stressed than when they left, with a third having spent at least part of their break checking in with the office—often every day.” When are organizations going to realize that people need a complete break from work to recharge their batteries? [link]

“Mobile snacking”

This, it seems, is the latest trend—at least in Canada: people using their cellphones and BlackBerrys as entertainment. A recent survey found that, from a sample of “tech-savvy 30-to-50-somethings,” 73 per cent admitted emailing on a mobile device as a form of entertainment, 44 per cent reported using mobile technology for text messaging and listening to MP3s, 33 per cent reported using mobile technology for listening to the radio, and 19 per cent use mobile technology to watch videos. Maybe all that time in the office is actually spent doing something other than work. [link]

Good? Or just consistent?

Andy Haselman suggest that we should not make the mistake of assuming consistency always equals good. “A consistently great experience is not the same as a consistent experience,” he writes. “As far as many businesses are concerned, their attitude towards customers is all about consistency. Consistent mediocrity, that is. The only way to break this habit is to break the rules.” Laced with amusing examples, this is an article all managers and supervisors should read— especially those who have anything to do with customer service. [link]

Type A or Type B?

It’s long been believed by many people that some people (Type A) have a natural tendency to overexert themselves, while the more laid-back Type Bs cope better with stress and pressure. Which are you? Jonathan Farrington posted an article that might help explain and indicate why being a Type A person or organization can be a problem. His description of Type As sounded to me exactly like Hamburger Management. [link]

Are good times just around the corner?

Alexander Kjerulf shared a really funny cartoon on his site— a cartoon that says far more about the stupidity of engaging in the rat race the most of the articles that I’ve read on the subject. As he writes: “Does anyone honestly think that making more money, consuming more stuff, driving a bigger car or bagging that fancy title will make them happier?’ [link]

Sometimes realization comes hard

Here’s a quote that just about sums up the whole need for more civilized working styles: “After sitting in a meeting and being told that 60+ hours a week was a reasonable amount of time to give to the company and there was absolutely no need to work on the work/life balance and then the next day pulling my 4 year old into daycare at 5:30 am with him kicking, screaming and pleading with me to stay home I realized that management was either smoking some heavy drugs or I was for agreeing to sacrifice the entire reason I took the job in the first place.’ What did she do? She quit. A brave (and very rational) lady. [link]

Emotions, not smoke, get in your eyes.

Cali, at Work+Life Fit, quotes one manager saying this about requests from his subordinates for understanding of their need for family time: “I look at these young parents who want to work from home periodically, or leave early and then work later after their kids go to bed, and I am jealous. I think of all the times I had to work late getting a project done in the office, and what I missed because of it. It’s not that they can’t effectively work from home or shift their hours, it’s just that I wish I could have done it. So I do find myself resentful and resistant.” Full marks for honesty! I wonder how many other managers turn down reasonable requests for the same reason? As Cali writes: “Until we all start being honest about the outdated ‘because I did it that way,’ beliefs that keep us from innovatively rethinking work, real change will be limited.” [link]

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