Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Millennials Are Ending The 9 To 5


The 9 to 5 job may soon be a relic of the past, if Millennials have their way. A slow climb in a company was once the accepted career path. However, today the experiences of  men and women starting their careers are closer to juggling multiple positions than steady growth.

Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise. Meanwhile, 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years. With 87% of companies reporting a cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee, industries need to start paying attention to structural changes. Reports and studies seem to indicate three roots to Millennials’ discontent and the resulting upheaval: the drives for flexibility, purposeful labor and economic security.


In Praise of Laziness

The Economist

THERE is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Sheryl Sandberg urges women to “Lean In” if they want to get ahead. John Bernard offers breathless advice on conducting “Business at the Speed of Now”. Michael Port tells salesmen how to “Book Yourself Solid”. And in case you thought you might be able to grab a few moments to yourself, Keith Ferrazzi warns that you must “Never Eat Alone”.

Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.


Barbers, Bakers and Bankers: Whose Job Is Future-Proof?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

An occultist, feather dresser, a lightning-rod maker? That’s what a child in the mid-nineteenth century might have answered.

These occupations were among the jobs included in the Census of 1850, the first year the federal agency collected information on how Americans spent their working days.* These numbers in hand, the government formed policies and forecasts related to production, employment and other topics.

Comparing the 1850 list to the 2010 version shows which occupations might realistically be considered timeless. Entertainers — or showmen, as our great-great-great grandparents might have called them–artists, editors (Aha! — Ed.), barbers and bakers were around back then, and they still toil away in large enough numbers to merit a listing in 2010. Same with physicians, veterinarians, civil engineers and lawyers.

The 2010 SOC adds 24 new occupations, including genetic counselor and solar photovoltaic installer, for a total of 840 detailed occupations. The next version of the SOC will be released in 2018, and in the coming weeks, the BLS will post materials on how the public can assist in the determining the occupational categories that describe the American working world.


How to survive and thrive with multiple stakeholders

Scott Berkun

How a manager can facilitate communication between technical and non-technical stakeholders”

Any tips for how a manager can “level the communication playing field” between technical and non-technical stakeholders within project teams so the team can better communicate and “get stuff done”?

It’s fun to get a project management question. Its been awhile. It used to be these were the only questions I ever got.

The existence of multiple people who hold the stakes (meaning money, not stakes that go in the ground , nor the ones that are tasty to eat) means every major decision is more complex, not less. Even if you love all of your stakeholders the addition of each one makes progress slower, not faster.

You need four things when dealing with diverse stakeholders:

1.      A shared goal.

2.     Empathy

3.     Patience

4.     Prevention/Recovery from communication breakdowns.



Ricky Gervais on Play and Creativity  


Anyone that's ever seen comedian Ricky Gervais perform stand up or appear on television can attest to his penitent for play. Rarely does the British humorist take himself—or anything else for that matter—seriously. But this is more than just a part of his schtick; Gervais recently talked on his personal blog about the need for play in order to remain creative. "Scientific studies of creativity have basically concluded that it can't be taught, as it is a 'facility' rather than a learned skill," he writes. "Putting it very crudely, creativity is the ability to play. And, to be able to turn that facility on and off when necessary. This makes perfect sense to me. Everything I've ever written, created or discovered artistically has come out of playing."


8 Ways to Manage Your Boss

Thought Leaders

One of the most common problems I’m asked to solve in my consulting and coaching work with employees is helping them deal with a difficult or challenging boss. We call this “managing up,” because it involves a set of coping skills that employees don’t normally possess in their role.

1.      Be proactive in your communication.

2.      Match your behavioral style to theirs.

3.      Accommodate their shortcomings.

4.      Think about what’s in it for them.

5.      Be an outstanding performer.

6.      Keep a great attitude.

7.      Don’t let yourself be bullied.

8.      Know their place in the pecking order.


Why Silicon Valley’s Work Culture is Killing us

Content Loop

I recently interviewed with a large, global technology company. The interviewer felt it necessary to tell me that I was expected to work a minimum of 55-60 hours per week. She didn’t want to encourage any assumptions I might have of a “40 hour work week.”


Not that I had any. We joked about the nonexistence of such a professional unicorn, and hah-hah’ed about how people could even expect to leave their jobs every day after only putting in a paltry eight hours or so.


Fairly recently I was offered a position to work closely with a very high-profile technology company CEO. Talking to her immediate staff, I was struck by the tone of reverence and sincere admiration they felt for their leader, as well as the solemn assertions that they were “on call all the time.” The admin assistant admitted sheepishly that she “never saw” her significant other; the chief-of-staff cheerily recounted how he’d begun to appreciate his 2+ hour commute, often heading home well into the evening. Any talk of work-life “balance” was treated with invisible air quotes. It was a special request—the vegan Kosher airplane meal, granted begrudgingly, to fulfill a check box toward building a healthy corporate culture. Basking in this CEO’s good graces, it seems, was well worth the intense, unrelenting pace and sacrifice of a personal life.


Three Things a Great Leader would never say

Inc Mag

Great leadership is hard. Very occasionally, it's pretty simple-- like just not saying dumb things.

In the spirit of simple leadership, I give you my personal top three dumb things leaders shouldn't say. No doubt your mileage will vary:

1. "Don't bring me any surprises."

2. "If you were an animal, what kind of an animal would you be?"

3. "Don't take it personally."


Get more done: How to delegate effectively

Content Loop

Don’t look now, but your micromanagement habits might be stunting your company’s growth. If you’re improperly, inefficiently, or just plain avoiding the delegation of tasks, you may be harming your company more than you think.

The efficient delegation of tasks is crucial to the success of all employers. I know this from firsthand experience as founder of Ciplex and Open Me. Through my experiences, I’ve had to learn which tasks are more efficiently delegated and which ones I should tackle myself

1.      Settle for 80%

2.      Stamp out micromanagement

3.      Stay focused

4.      Set standards for delegation

5.      Look at the money factor

6.      Stop owning tasks


What’s a Working Dad to Do?


The Flexibility Stigma Working Group at The Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law, consisting of researchers from over a dozen universities, just published a series of research studies in the excellent new issue of the Journal of Social Issues. About half of their articles focus on barriers men face in the workplace as they try to balance work and family demands. Among their findings:

·        While men value work flexibility, they are reluctant to seek out flexible work arrangements because of fears of being seen as uncommitted and unmanly, and expectations of potential career consequences. These fears, unfortunately, prove to be well-founded.

·        Fathers who engage in higher than average levels of childcare are subject to more workplace harassment (e.g., picked on for "not being man enough") and more general mistreatment (e.g., garden variety workplace aggression) as compared to their low-caregiving or childless counterparts.

·        Men requesting family leave are perceived as uncommitted to work and less masculine; these perceptions are linked to lower performance evaluations, increased risks of being demoted or downsized, and reduced pay and rewards.

·        Finally, men who interrupt their employment for family reasons earn significantly less after returning to work.

All in all, that's a pretty stark set of findings. What's a working father to do?

The Jobless Innovation Era

Innovation Excellence

A bit of a wonky read, but this post walks readers through the reasons that our current business environment is not producing big breakthrough innovations that are also producing lots of new jobs. He bases much of his post on Professor Clayton Christensen’s essay “The Capitalist’s Dilemma” and offers ideas on how to chart a bolder, more productive way forward.