Quantcast
Subscribe!

 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in work (196)

    Wednesday
    Jul052017

    Who we spend our time with

    Quick one for a first day back after a long weekend Wednesday.

    Wanted to share a really interesting chart I saw over the weekend from The Atlas who took a look at data from the American Time Use Survey to see how who we spend our time with, (co-workers, family, no one), changes over time. Or more clearly, how who we spend our time with changes as we get older.

    Take a look at the chart, then one or two comments from me.

    Nothing too surprising here, I guess. As we get older we spend less time each day with co-workers, (we may not even have any), children, (on to their own lives), and siblings, (the same). We tend to spend relatively more time with a partner, (if we have one), and most troubling, more and more time alone.

    I guess that is the natural way of things, but it still feels a little sad. We look forward to the time when we don't have to go to the office to deal with our annoying co-workers. To the time when the kids finally move out of the house so we can have our space. To the day when we don't have anyone really chasing our time and attention. 

    But pretty quickly that can turn into something else, something not so fun, something we probably don't think about too much right now when our lives are so full, so busy, so crowded.

    Look at the charts above again. Look at the 'Alone' chart. Up and to the right. Up and to the right. 

    It's the only chart wth that trend line. Until the line ends of course.

    Friday
    Jun302017

    CHART OF THE DAY: All jobs matter

    Super quick shot for a 'let's get out of town for the long weekend' Friday.

    Today's chart comes courtesy of our pals at Bloomberg and depicts the types of jobs that have seen the most total job losses in the first part of 2017.

    Here's the chart. then some quick FREE comments from me. 

    Three quick hits then let's fire up the grill for some hot dogs...

    1. 'Wired' telecommunications jobs seeing the most losses so far in 2017 is not terribly surprising. More and more folks have abandoned a hard phone line at home, and I bet it won't be too much longer until most companies do the same for their employees. 

    2. Most of the rest of the impacted job sectors are in the physical retail space. Department stores, sporting goods stores, general clothing stores, all are under significant pressure from the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and others. I went to one of the local malls a week or two ago, (weird, I know), and it was half-empty and I issued an over/under of 11 months until it closes for good.

    3. I want to go to one more chart for point #3 - one that shows the comparative job losses in department store employment (which we seem to not care about that much) vs. coal mining employment (which, at least in election season, we care about a lot). Take a look...

    Almost 10x more jobs lost in the department stores than in the coal mines. But for whatever reason I bet most folks would have no idea of that disparity.

    Why?

    Some of it is political I suppose. There are pockets of the remaining coal mining jobs that are in important areas and states for electoral purposes. 

    But department stores are, or at least were, everywhere. And the people that work in them probably need and care about their jobs just as much as any coal miner. And if it is because of Amazon or Walmart or changing shopping tastes that thousands or potentially hundreds of thousands of department store employees end up out of work then that is likely more of a national concern than a few hundred coal miners here or there.

    That is not to diminish the coal miners who are at risk. Not at all.

    It's just to make a point that the department store workers matter too. And so do the warehouse workers. And the cashiers. And the bookkeepers. 

    And everyone whose job is under threat from automation, politics, outsourcing, or anything else.

    All jobs matter. And so, too, do the people that work them.

    Whether they live in a swing state or not. Whether they have a PAC or not. Whether we think they are 'good' jobs or not.

    Have a great 4th of July weekend!

    Wednesday
    Jun282017

    REPRISE: You probably can only do one important thing each week

    I saw this piece, 'If you must hold a team meeting, schedule it during this one hour' on Inc. this morning and I thought, 'I should blog about that', followed by 'I am pretty sure I have already blogged about that.'

    And it turns out I had, kind of, a little more than a year ago when I deduced from various pieces like the one above from Inc. that attempt to give us advice as to the optimal time to schedule a job interview, important meeting, big contract negotitation, etc. Since in a year's time not much has changed it seems, and we all, still have a tiny window of prime productivity each week, instead of coming up with a new take on the issue, I will just re-run my piece from 2016 - You probably can only do one important thing each week.

    Enjoy.

    I caught this piece the other day on Business Insider - When to Schedule Your Job Interview, that quotes some research from Glassdoor from a few years back which indicates that all things being equal, the optimal time for a candidate to schedule a job interview is 10:30AM on Tuesday.

    Even without data to back up that claim, it at least makes intuitive sense to me. Mondays are terrible for everything. Many folks mentally check out by Fridays. That leaves Tuesday - Thursday as options for any kind of important meeting, like a job interview. Let's automatically remove anything after lunch, as you never know how a heavy meal, quick workout, or a couple of shots and a Schlitz are going to have on the interviewer.

    So that leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Let's rule out Thursday since it is close enough to Friday to catch a little of the 'Is it the weekend yet?' shrapnel. Now we are in a tossup between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. And since even by only Wednesday, lots of folks might already be thinking 'How can it only be Wednesday, this week is taking forever?', Tuesday seems like a safer choice. As for a time - use the Goldilocks approach - not too early, not too late (and too close to lunch), which lands you at 10:30AM

    As I said, it makes perfect sense, but it also sounded terribly familiar when I read the advice.

    I feel like i had heard some variations of the 'Tuesday at 10:30AM' advice before. 

    As it turns out, it is pretty common scheduling advice for other kinds of work/business events as well. This piece recommends scheduling important presentations for Tuesdays.  And this article also strongly suggests a combination of 'Tuesday' and 'late morning', (also known as 'Tuesday at 10:30AM), is an optimal time to conduct any type of negotiations.

    If I had more time, and I wasn't staring down the weekend myself, I would do some more searching and I am pretty sure I'd find a bunch more examples of how Tuesday mornings are the best time to do anything important at work. So Tuesdays at 10:30AM it is.

    Which is good to know and sort of sad at the same time. We work ALL OF THE TIME. We are chained to our email 24/7 with our 'smart' phones. We are (mostly), evaluated and assessed by our success in the workplace.

    And yet there is only one 'good' time each week to do anything important. 

    Tuesday at 10:30AM.

    It's only Wednesday right now, so you have a couple of days to plan your attack for next week's sliver of time where you can actually do something important. 

    Don't blow it. It won't come around again for an entire week if you do.

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Jun202017

    Life at 2.0x Speed

    I was talking to some folks I met recently at an event about the HR Happy Hour Show, and the cool things that are happening there with the other HR Happy Hour Network Shows, (I admit to talking about this a lot. I'm sorry). During the conversation, one of the persons at the table indicated that she would love to listen to more podcasts, but she (like many of us, I suppose), felt like she just didn't have enough time in her day/week to fit them in. With work, family, friends, community involvement, etc, spending a couple of hours a week listening to all the great podcasts that people tell her about just seems not doable for her right now.

    At that point another person who was sort of half-participating in the conversation chimed in that he had the same challenge finding time for podcasts too, but he's 'solved' it by now listening to his favorite podcasts at 1.5x or sometimes even 2.0x speed. For those who don't listen to podcasts regularly, or who just may not be familiar with the speed adjustment feature of podcast apps, all of them allow you to increase the speed of the podcast stream to 1.5x or even 2.0x the normal speaking rate. So at 1.5x speed, a 30 minute podcast could be listened to in 20 minutes. At 2.0x you could cover it in 15. It just speeds up everything you hear. It is kind of like the old speed reading craze, except with audio.

    But, and this could be just a personal issue for me, listening at 1.5x or 2.0x speed is really unsettling. The podcast hosts and guests all seem really amped up on six cups of coffee, everything about the conversation feels nervous, and listening to people talk that fast for that long, never taking what would seem to be natural pauses or breaths is just really off-putting. But technically you can listen that fast if you, as our friend above, are so pressed for time that turning 30 minutes into 20 is important in your day/life. But I still think you shouldn't do it. It's too weird.

    Why do I care about this enough to blog about it?

    I probably shouldn't care, but I have thought about that conversation and mister 'I listen at 2.0x' guy a few times since it happened a couple of weeks ago. And I kind of felt bad, (and a little guilty too).

    Bad for a guy who is just a representative of our hyper-focused, productivity over all, 24/7, 'more-more-more', professional climate that seems to value doing as much productive work as possible at all times. And in this instance, turning the concept of time itself into something that can be bent to the gods of productivity.

    And guilty for the fact that I don't speed up the listen rate when I play back podcasts, I do, often, find myself trying to make people get to the point faster, cut to the chase in emails, and text me instead of calling me - lest an interaction that can be reduced to 16 seconds actually take 3 minutes.

    I don't speed up my podcasts, but too often I (try) and speed up lots of other things. And that is probably as unsettling as listening to sportswriters talk about the NBA draft at double speed.

    NOTE: I spent 28 minutes writing this post. With any luck, next time I can get it down to 21.

    Friday
    Jun162017

    n = 1

    1. Three trips to China in the last three years and I am pretty sure it is the most fascinating place I've ever been and may ever get to. HR Tech China was amazing. Shanghai is probably the best city I've visited. I didn't get to see this when we were there, but check out this self-driving convenience store (yes, you read that correctly), coming soon to Shanghai.

    2. One of the harder things for independent consultants, contract workers, or other 'gig' economy types to manage is time out of the (home or otherwise) office. Unlike our corporate colleagues, there is often no one to delegate responsibility for work or even just responses to inquiries to when a gig workers is on vacation or traveling. Consequently, stuff piles up even more than usual. Once I dig out and some of the dust settles, I am going to figure out once and for all an email management system that can work for me. Until then, you can re-send if you are waiting for something from me.

    3. Due to above-mentioned travel, I missed 85% of the recently concluded NBA Finals series between the Warriors and Cavs. What a letdown. I probably watch (at least parts of), 400 NBA games each season. To miss the conclusion was kind of a drag. Thanks to the Delta Sky Club in MSP for having the game on this past Monday night while I was waiting out a 3.5 hour flight delay. 

    4. But now that NBA season is over, I am officially going to join the ranks of 'cord cutters'. Spectrum, look out for a call from me this weekend. In a related note, in the US, Netflix now has more subscribers than 'normal' Cable TV providers have.

    5. If you haven't yet, have a look at the latest shows on the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network. We've been producing some great content lately on HR Tech, Employee Wellbeing, Employee Engagement and more. 

    6. I am a huge fan (as a consumer/user) of Uber. But with each passing week we hear more and more of what a disaster of a company culture that has been allowed to develop over there. But yet, I still am compelled to call an Uber when I need a ride to the airport in Phoenix. I am not sure how to feel about all that. Have you dropped Uber the more you have learned about their culture?

    7. Speaking of Uber, in one of their 'healing' meetings recently, their new HR head asked employees to stand up and hug each other. This is a terrible idea on every level. Mark me down on the side of 'no hugging at work ever' policy. In fact, I am not that big a fan of hugging in real life outside of work as well. I think Jerry has it right in this clip (email and RSS subscribers click through)

     

     

    8. This is a really interesting longer read on corporate branding and logos from Fortune. I didn't know that the Bass Ale 'red triangle' logo is generally considered the first corporate logo, dating back to 1870. 

    9. Which companies generate the most revenue per employee? If your guesses start with Apple or Amazon, keep guessing. Some fascinating data from Visual Capitalist. If you could pick just one metric for the condition of your business, revenue per employee would probably be the smartest choice.

    10. I gave myself exactly 23 minutes to write this post, and I am at minute 22. So it ends here. Have a great weekend all!