/blog > archive > February 2013

workfromhome

Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has caused quite a stir with her recent decision to end the company’s remote employment program. The official HR announcement calling all the work-from-home folks back to the office cites a desire to foster innovation as the primary reason for the change. As more companies have expanded work-from-home policies over the past few years, Mayer’s decision reopens the debate about whether remote employees can be as effective as those who show up at the office every day. So far the answer seems to be a resounding it depends: Studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative, said John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University who runs a human resource advisory firm. “If you want innovation, then you need interaction,” he said. “If you want productivity, then you want people working from home.” Since innovation…

Read More…

moonshot

Astro Teller, Google’s Captain of Moonshots (and my personal nominee for Guy with the Coolest Job Title in the World) says that it’s easier to make a 10x improvement in performance than it is to make a 10% improvement in performance: Because when you’re working to make things 10 percent better, you inevitably focus on the existing tools and assumptions, and on building on top of an existing solution that many people have already spent a lot of time thinking about. Such incremental progress is driven by extra effort, extra money, and extra resources. It’s tempting to feel improving things this way means we’re being good soldiers, with the grit and perseverance to continue where others may have failed — but most of the time we find ourselves stuck in the same old slog. But when you aim for a 10x gain, you lean instead on bravery and creativity —…

Read More…

new_twitter_logo

We knew this would happen eventually. A company is hiring a 6-figure management position, and they’re not taking resumes — paper or online. And no, they’re not looking at LinkedIn profiles, either. (Not even Jobster profiles.) It’s all about the tweets: “The paper résumé is dead,” Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at Enterasys,” told Bruce Horovitz at USA Today. “The Web is your résumé. Social networks are your mass references.” For the next month, Enterasys — a wireless network provider — will be considering applicants for a six-figure senior social media position, but no paper résumés will be accepted. Instead, the company has decided to recruit solely via Twitter. Jennifer Grabowski, a spokesperson for the company, tells us that candidates need to have a minimum Klout score above 60, a minimum Kred influence score of 725, a Kred outreach of at least eight, and more than 1,000 active Twitter followers in order to be considered. Enterasys is hoping to…

Read More…

jumper

So often people have no idea what career they really want to follow. The advice from this video is simple – do whatever interests you and makes you happy. If you really like what you’re doing, you’ll become a master of it, and there’s always someone interested in paying you for what you’ve mastered. If you’re doing something you hate you’re never going to get the reward you want, or as the video puts it: “It’s all retch and no vomit”.  Read More…

unemploymentbystateTN

Mortimer Zuckerman, the chairman and editor-in-chief of U. S News and World Report presents a highly discouraging picture of the current employment situation in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal: The broadest measure of unemployment today is approximately 14.5%, way above the 7.9% headline number. The 14.5% reflects the unemployed and three other categories: the more than eight million people who are employed part-time for economic reasons (because their hours have been cut back or because they are unable to find a full-time job), the 10 million who have stopped looking for work, and those who are “marginally attached” to the workforce. The labor-force participation rate has dropped to the lowest level since 1981. It reflects discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force. If it were not for the dropouts, the formally announced unemployment rate would be around 9.8%, not the headline 7.9%. So you can…

Read More…

swissarmyknife

Christopher Elliott says that it’s time to break the code of silence at airports and start speaking out about being manhandled by the TSA: This has to end. There’s no evidence that patting down passengers like Burton has made air travel any safer. The only thing it’s accomplished is to erode a number of constitutional rights we once took for granted, say critics. If invasive, prison-style pat-downs are accepted by air travelers, then who knows what other kinds of searches the TSA might someday try? The agency has ruled out more invasive searches, at least for now. But in a recent poll, one-third of Americans said they would be in favor of cavity searches to board a plane. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Cavity searches. As Elliott points out in his article, the arguments for keeping your mouth shut are highly persuasive. To speak up about not wanting to…

Read More…

texasvscalifornia2

So California and Texas are sparring (or at least their governors are) about which of the two states is more business friendly. It starts with Governor Rick Perry of Texas: Texas Governor Rick Perry’s latest sales pitch to California businesses boils down to four words: Texas is no California. “Building a business is tough. But I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” Perry says in a cheeky radio ad that aired ahead of his tour of the Golden State this week. “See why our low taxes, sensible regulations and fair legal system are just the thing to get your business moving to Texas.” The Republican governor hopes to tap into perennial discontent among some California businesses over the high taxes and welter of regulations that have helped California earn the title of the worst state for business for eight years running in an annual survey conducted…

Read More…

extreme-poverty

Transparency Revolution has devoted a lot of attention lately to some pretty serious problems: everything from long-term unemployment to uncertainty about the future of the middle class to PhD’s on food stamps to the chronic and utterly baffling avoidance of hat-wearing on the part of the general public. Okay maybe that last one is not quite as serious, but we’ve also spent time talking about automation leading to systemic unemployment and the elusive goal of providing equal opportunity across the socioeconomic spectrum. Whew. Heavy stuff. And speaking of heavy, over on my future-related podcast we did a show this week reviewing some of the items from Edge.org’s annual question, pithily summarized at Motherboard as The 150 Things the World’s Smartest People Are Afraid Of. It’s an impressive list, including such crowd-pleasers as the end of science, Chinese eugenics, unmitigated human arrogance, looming idiocracy, and — perhaps scariest of all —…

Read More…

hats

How many of us have sat in a long department meeting and listened to presentation after presentation? Suddenly you hear something the presenter is saying and you think “what the hell are they talking about?” It happened to me last week. In the spirit of transparency what should we do? Should we call out that presenter and challenge their point? If they really are just babbling nonsense, we shouldn’t let them waste our time like that. Or maybe they really do have a point, but they are expressing it so inarticulately that it’s losing everyone.  But then there’s the risk — what if you’re the only one they’re losing? Demanding clarification on a point that is clear to everyone else in the room can be awkward. This leads me to a cultural difference between the US and Europe. I have presented to groups in both places and I can tell…

Read More…

longtermunemployed

Newton’s First law of Motion is often summarized as “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.” It’s corollary, which pre-dates Newton and can be traced all the way back to Aristotle is that “Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.” These two laws of inertia have something to tell us about employment. The New York Times Reports: Nearly 4.8 million Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, according to the Labor Department, three times as many as in late 2007. The typical unemployed worker has been jobless for 38 weeks, compared with 17 weeks before the recession. While the overall unemployment rate has edged downward recently, little improvement is expected for the long-term jobless when data for December is released by the Labor Department on Friday. It’s a cliche that it’s easier to get a job if you have a job. We devoted quite…

Read More…