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    Entries in work (117)


    We don't ask you for free iPhones

    In case you missed it, pop star Taylor Swift laid the smack down on one of the world's most powerful corporations, Apple, when her pressure made Tim Cook and company back down on their plans to not pay artist royalties during the three-month free trial period for the new Apple Music service.

    For more details, here is the gist of the issue, from a recent piece in The Atlantic:

    Swift had intervened in a struggle brewing for weeks between Apple and the independent music labels, publishers, and artists it was negotiating with to license songs for the company’s forthcoming on-demand streaming service, Apple Music. The sticking point: To lure customers to sign up upon launch, Apple would offer a free three-month trial period, during which, it proposed, it would not pay artists when their songs were streamed. Swift took to Tumblr on Saturday to explain she would withhold her most recent album, 1989,because Apple’s terms were “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

    After digesting Taylor's take, Apple relented, and stated that they would, in fact, pay streaming royalties to participating artists during consumers three month free trial period. 

    So Taylor was able to win, to make the corporate behemoth blink, and get them to change their stance on paying artists for their work, even as they were themselves giving away that work during the three month free trial period for Apple Music.

    What can we learn or at least consider more generally from the Taylor v. Apple drama?

    Three things that I can think of...

    1. People just can't be expected to work for free. It doesn't matter if you are Taylor Swift and would not really be impacted by missing three months worth of streaming royalties or if you are an emerging artist that is looking to make there mark, giving away creative content to giant corporations is not sustainable for most artists. In a world where corporations of all kinds are desperate for ideas and content, the idea that creators should just give away that content is insane.

    2. Individuals can amass tremendous influence - if they work for it. Sure, Apple is the largest company in the world. But Swift, even as an individual, has earned influence and leverage from her smart development and cultivation of her fans. She interacts with them, gives them significant attention, values them, and thus has created a fiercely loyal following. Even one person can match the power of a massive, global brand like Apple.

    3. The only way for anyone to have power and security is to be a creator. Apple and Spotify and Tidal all rely on the creative output of thousands and thousands of creative artists for their product. Most of these artists individually don't have the popularity and power of Swift and thus can't wield the power of Swift. But, together they collectively comprise all of the product that Apple and Spotify are trying to monetize. And beyond that, being a creator, a creative, is one of the only ways that anyone has of ensuring their own long tern sustainability and viability. Your creative work is the only thing that distinguishes you from everyone else, and even the robots. Guard your work carefully.

    I am pretty sure I would not be able to recognize a single Taylor Swift song. But I do recognize her smarts and her foresight.

    Nicely done, Ms. Swift.


    Five signs the organization will do just fine without you

    There are plenty of mistakes we make managing and navigating our careers. Some are kind of obvious, and easily avoided with just a smidge of common sense (like don't park in the bosses' reserved parking space). Others are a little more complex, more subtle, and usually involve sorting out more nebulous concepts like who the office's hidden influencers are or what projects offer just the right balance of exposure, likelihood of success, and work you actually know how to do.

    But possibly the most significant mistake we make in personal career management is that we overestimate our relative value and importance to the organization, or said differently, we take on a "there is no way they can get rid of me" kind of mentality. 

    Of course they can get rid of you. In fact, it is usually shocking just how easy it is for the organization to move on after you are gone. But in case you are still deluding yourself as to your essentialness, here are a few tips that you can use to check yourself. How can you be sure the organization will do just fine without you? 

    1. You've been there fewer than 2 years - It took you 3 months to figure out where to park your car, to find the cafeteria, and to sort out the office dress code. Then it took 6 months to learn all of the corporate acronyms. Then you (sort of) got down to learning just exactly what it is you were supposed to be doing. So maybe that took another 3 months. Face it, you have been only marginally productive since this March. If you were gone tomorrow, it would not grind the wheels of progress down to a halt. No one hardly knows you are even there.

    2. Your job has a Roman Numeral in the title - Maybe you are a Financial Analyst II or a Senior Marketing Planner III. Either way, the mere presence of a Roman Numeral in your title suggests that there are plenty of folks ready to step up a Roman Numeral into your job. In fact, even the most famous Roman Numeral job, Pope, is not immune to this reality. A week after Pope Innocent IV calls it a career, there is a Pope Dominic III ready to step in.

    3. You never get called or texted by work after 5:30PM during the week and NEVER on the weekend - In this age of constant connectivity and decreased demarcation between work and not work, if you are never being called upon or contacted after hours or on the weekend or even when you are on vacation that is probably a sign that you are not as important as you might reckon. 

    4. Your 'war stories' no longer have any practical value, (but they might still be funny) - If your 'back in the day' tales start to lose any connection to both the reality of current market conditions or the sensibilities of your (probably younger) colleagues, then it could be time for some self-examination. After a while, these stories start to move from 'the wisdom of experience' to 'the insane ramblings of a crazy person.' When does that line get crossed? Hard to say, but once on the other side, it is pretty much a done deal that you are not coming back. 

    5. You can explain what you do to a stranger in less than 60 seconds - The depth, breadth, and complexity of what you do should not be able to be summarized in the time it takes to microwave some Top Ramen. If what you do can be distilled into such a compact package then it stands to reason it would not be hard or expensive to train up the next guy to step in for you once you are gone. 

    The truth is we all are replaceable. All of us. Bill Gates doesn't run Microsoft any longer. Steve Jobs passed away, and Apple still prints money. Steve Perry of Journey was replaced by some guy that the band found on YouTube.

    The organization will be just fine without you. That doesn't mean you didn't do a great job and were respected and valued.

    It just means that the time comes for everyone.


    CHART OF THE DAY: More open jobs today than since... well, since ever

    Not much to say about this data as I think it is more or less is self-explanatory.

    Courtesy of our friends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and powered by the St. Louis Fed's awesome 'Fred' data service, take a look at the last 15 years or so of data on Total Job Openings in the US.

    A quick glance at the data tells us what we need to know: Job opening as of the end of April 2015 were about 5.4 million, and are at the greatest level in the history of this data set, surpassing the previous high mark in January 2001.

    There's lots and lots of opportunity out there. And I will bet lots of said opportunities are not the ones that like to hassle their opportunity holders about unfiled time sheets, and sick leave accruals, and bereavement leave, and having to 'check in' when they are out on vacation. 

    The labor market continues to get tighter. People have more options. And the organizations that are slow to realize this will probably, eventually regret their ignorance or arrogance.

    Have a great weekend!


    VIDEO: Does your LinkedIn profile sound like this?

    It is Tuesday, it is not quite Summer yet but you are thinking about vacation, and it is probably a little tough to get it going today. What you need is a break. And a laugh as well. 

    So take 5 minutes and check out the hilarious 'LinkedIn OUT LOUD!' video (embedded below, email and RSS subscribers will need to click through), and marvel at what some, (hopefully not your), LinkedIn profiles actually sound like when read aloud by comic actors:

    Awesome, and all too true as the source material comes from actual LinkedIn profiles. 

    It was worth the 5 minutes right? Now you can go back to being a results oriented, customer-focused, global operator.

    Happy Tuesday.


    Will you be replaced by a robot? Use this nifty tool to find out

    Will you or your job be replaced by a robot, an algorithm, or some other type of automation technology?

    Of course it will!

    The question should really be 'When?' not 'If?'

    But for something fun to on a Friday, head over to the NPR Planet Money site and take spin on their interactive tool that uses data from a University of Oxford study entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?”, and lets you see just how likely your job will be automated away in the near future.

    Here is what the tool says about 'Cashiers', one of the most likely jobs to disappear in the next 20 years or so.

    As you can tell from the charts, the likelihood of a given job becoming the domain of robots is influenced by four factors: the need to conjure up clever ideas and solutions, the amount of social interaction needed in the job, the space the job requires (robots are still not great at navigating tight spaces), and the negotiation skills needed.

    Luckily for many of us, jobs that fall in the 'management' domain still seem (reasonably) safe for now.

    Go have some fun on a Friday, and check out your own odds and see if you should be considering a career move (before it's too late).

    Have a great weekend!