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We’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about tools to assess your skills, to assess your career, to map out your overall plan and your next move. However, maybe there is a  fundamental step that we have missed. How about a tool to assess your life in general? Actually, there is a tool for that. It is a very simple but powerful tool called the Satisfaction with Life Scale, developed by a team of psychologists looking to quantify a side of mental health that often goes unquantified — happiness. (Think of it as a somewhat more sophisticated, and we can only hope more precise, version of “On a scale from 1-10, how happy are you?”) Here’s how it works. You will read five statements about your life and rank each according to the following scale: 7 – Strongly agree 6 – Agree 5 – Slightly agree 4…

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giantspider

Monday I did a lengthy piece on how working parents should divvy up the housework and, perhaps as importantly, how they should communicate about it. I’m of the opinion that some tasks don’t divide up very well and that for many chores it’s better for one partner or the other to be primarily (or completely) responsible. This morning on Facebook a friend shared a photo that I think perfectly encapsulates this idea: My friend tells me that this photo does not originate with her, but with a friend, which is sufficiently far removed to put it into urban legend territory. No matter, the principle outlined is sound. In a good relationship, one partner captures the giant spider; the other partner kills the giant spider. Twice.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…

Time is money

Is it true that more and more men, even lawyers,  are unwilling to sacrifice personal time for professional goals? I have a close friend who comes out of a large law firm who expected him to commit 80 hours a week. I showed him this article. He viewed the article with a certain level of skepticism. Anne C. Weisberg, a talent director for Deloitte, explains in the article how and why their organization has instituted a cutting-edge approach to the work environment called Mass Career Customization. It includes the following points: Changing family structure. Department of Labor statistics reveal that in 83 percent of households both the husband and wife are now in the workforce. Increased numbers of women workers. Looking at the legal profession alone, women make up at least half of law students—yet personal versus professional demands and the lack of career satisfaction lead many of them to leave…

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The Mayans were wrong and 2013 has started relatively uneventfully. Most of us are back at work, so now is a good time to take stock and consider what you want to achieve in your career in 2013.   Forget about not drinking for a month and instead think about what went well and what could have gone better in 2012, and consider how to make 2013 a productive year for your career.   This doesn’t have to be too onerous a task, with lofty goals set for the whole year. As Adrian Granzella Larssen suggests in ‘5 Career Resolutions Everyone Should Make in 2013’, this could be as simple as resolving to add some new skills to your resume this year by taking a course, or making a list of what didn’t make you happy in your job last year, and thinking about what you might do to avoid the…

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girlonhammock

Brazen Life offers four reasons to leave your job, “even if you’re comfortable,” featuring solid advice on avoiding burnout, adding variety, and looking to make that big next move. My only quibble with the list is that it implies that being “comfortable” might be sufficient reason to stay with a job. Is it? For me, applying the word “comfortable” as the reason to stick with  anything other than a good pair of fuzzy slippers implies some level of compromise. Would being “comfortable” be a good reason to stay in a relationship? “He cheats on me, but it’s comfortable.” “We haven’t spoken in six months, but it’s comfortable.” Ah, one might argue, a relationship can be comfortable and a lot of other good things, too. Comfortable doesn’t have to go along with something bad. A relationship can be comfortable and also passionate, respectful, joyful, fulfilling. Precisely. And those would be good…

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kittinger

So did you hear about this guy who rode a balloon out into space — more than 100,000 feet up! — and jumped from it, hurtling towards the earth at hundreds of miles per hour before safely parachuting to the ground? His name is Joseph Kittinger. He made his astounding leap from the US Air Force experimental craft Excelsior III some 52 years ago,  on August 16, 1960. You may have seen Kittinger recently (or at least heard his voice), as he was in charge of mission control communications for Felix Baumgartner’s successful space jump — which finally, after all these years, broke Kittinger’s records for skydiving altitude and skydiving speed. It’s less likely that you’ve heard of Nick Piantinida, who broke Kittinger’s record for high-altitude ballooning on February 6, 1966, reaching 123,500 feet in his balloon named Strato Jumper II. Unfortunately, Piantinida’s attempts at beating Kittinger’s skydiving record were unsuccessful;…

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stretch

This week I attended a lecture at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences about the The Evolution of the Internet: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities. Speakers Tim Berners-Lee and David D. Clark spoke about how the Internet has evolved in ways far beyond the original vision for enabling the sharing of packets of information into a tool that virtually all of us use and depend on every day for all sorts of different things. They continued with a discussion about open data and visibility across the web and how there are immense amounts of data available and if this could be accessible to everybody, so much more could be achieved. Much like open communication and collaboration within an organization, often all the information needed to make the “right” decision exists, but it has been broken up and used in different places, rather than all pulled together into one project. Berners-Lee…

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crazy_0

Life After College presents the perfect advice to ponder as the weekend nears: Why Successful People Are Crazy — And You Should Be Too. As the article sagely points out, “anyone can be crazy.” So true! As a bonus, there’s a list of the five best times to be crazy. Of course, we should be very clear. When we talk about being crazy, we mean this kind: Definitely not this kind:Read More…

smiley2

So it looks like we may have gotten this mixed up somewhere along the line. Conventional wisdom is that we succeed and that makes us happy. But what if it works the other way around? What if we get happy and then that enables us to become successful? That’s Shawn Achor’s argument at Harvard Business Review. He backs it up with an interesting case study: In July 2010 Burt’s Bees, a personal-care products company, was undergoing enormous change as it began a global expansion into 19 new countries. In this kind of high-pressure situation, many leaders pester their deputies with frequent meetings or flood their in-boxes with urgent demands. In doing so, managers jack up everyone’s anxiety level, which activates the portion of the brain that processes threats—the amygdala—and steals resources from the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for effective problem solving. Burt’s Bees’s then-CEO, John Replogle, took a different…

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