- Burning Man, everyone’s favorite playa-based arts event, is experiencing some growing pains as it transitions into a nonprofit. [NYT]
- The chances of being satisfied at your job look as if they are partially inherited, according to some studies of twins, which found a “significant” but “small” genetic link. [BNET]
- It’s a real pain to get a mortgage if you’re a freelancer—and the hurdles have gotten even worse. [NYT]
- Is test messaging dying? [The Next Web]
- A soon-to-open library in British Columbia will have a selection of “living books,” “local residents who have volunteered to share their knowledge of any topic.” Patrons can make an appointment to interview the volunteers for 30 to 45 minutes. [Good.is]
- Job interviews are a two-way street. Don’t be so obsessed with making a good impression that you forget to ask questions and assess whether or not this is really is the place for you. [Baltimore Business Journal]
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Here’s what you should do to ensure that you will fail:
Don’t learn how to manage up.
You always thought your old boss was a jerk. Your new boss will be a jerk too. You hate bosses. You never want to be a boss. Just keep doing your old job. If your new boss absolutely insists on meeting with you now and then, fine. But don’t go out of your way to communicate or—ick—try to understand his or her goals and strategies. Certainly don’t be proactive or anything. After all, the whole stupid company sucks; you’re just here for a paycheck. Share your sentiments with your team. Read More →
Welcome to part 2 of the group read for The Accidental Creative. Hope you had a chance to get through chapters 4 through 7 during all the Irene drama, and that you remained safe and dry.
(If you’re new to the book club, first check out our intro post to see what we’re covering.)
For part 2, Todd moves into ways to deal with the “assassins of creativity” he covered in part 1. Step one: defining your job so that you’re working on what’s mission-critical, not what just seems most important or urgent.
Building relationships are also important—despite the stereotype, most creative people need a strong, vibrant network to get their work done. Also discussed: ways to keep up your energy (you may have to prune what you do!), paying attention to what feeds your creative process, and reasons that “efficiency” shouldn’t be the main deciding factor in what you decide to do next.
We’re also interested in finding out what “assassins” you’ve encountered at work, and how you’ve dealt with them.
Next week, in a Labor Day post, Todd will be covering chapters 8-10, which have more ways to keep your creative rhythm going—including using “checkpoints” to keep everything moving smoothly. He will also show you how to put together all that you’ve learned—and give some direction on where to go from here.
Also by Todd:
“Be a Laser, Not a Lighthouse” & Other Creative Leadership Essentials
The Accidental Creative: Are You Taking Ground or Just Maintaining It?
“Every Hero Needs a Bad Guy”: Who Are You Fighting Against?
Jim Hopkinson, the author of Salary Tutor, is writing a series of post designed to help with negotiation during some of the most important—and stressful—points in one’s career.
There are many hurdles to clear on your path to getting your dream job—at a dream salary. You’ll need to make your resume stand out to merit consideration, perform better than the other candidates during interviews, and go toe-to-toe with the hiring manager or HR representative and prove your value for the salary you desire. But there’s one barrier that could stand in your way before you even get out of the starting gate: the online application form.
The forms, put out by “talent technology firms” such as Taleo and BrassRing, all usually start similarly:
• Basic personal information, such as name, address, email, and phone
• Education history, including degrees earned
• Work history
• Special skills and activities
But many forms also include an innocent-looking “current salary” or “desired salary” field. Although it’s easy to answer the question—just type in how much you’re being paid right now—savvy job seekers know that this is an incredibly important question. Read More →
Weather hyperbole be damned, Irene looks like she’s going to strike the east coast but hard. Sure you could hunker down and watch a bunch of Netflix and then Facebook your face off, but why not take the next 48 hours of uninterrupted time to work on your career, your productivity, and your creativity? Here’s a list, arranged roughly from the most beneficial steps to least.
1. Gear up for your year-end review…. Now! HR consulting firm Towers Watson just announced that the best workers inside companies will get a 4.3% bump this year. Make sure you’re in the promotion class. There are just four months left in the year, and if you want a little present in the form of a raise and a promotion under your tree this year, you have to make “the ask” and justify it. Get ready by “listifying” your major achievements for the year (this list also comes in handy when you need to update your resume and go out on interviews if you don’t end up getting what you’re looking for). Then schedule a meeting with your boss for next week. Read More →
- Stop micromanaging! It hurts performance. Science says so. [Evil HR Lady]
- Science takes a dim view of multitasking, too.
- “Value is King”: Company “departments” should go away and instead become “value groups,” writes Josh Allan Dykstra.
- “How do I re-enter HR after a career break?” [Personnel Today]
- The New York Times opens up its software lab, a showcase called beta620. [Wired]
- Jen Klein has some tips to help hiring managers unearth those always-tasty “passive candidates.”
One of the keys to success for a great product person is having control of your backlog; i.e. knowing where you want your product to go in the next one, three, or six months. Agile software development doesn’t mean that you don’t have a solid plan for your product, it means that you’re flexible on how you get there.
For example, I live in New York, but grew up in Boston and often visit to see my family. There are several ways I could get there:
- I could walk (not the quickest solution, but it’s possible)
- I could take a bus (lots of stops, but better than walking)
- I could drive (faster than walking or a bus, but more expensive)
- I could take a train (fast, allows me to do work, but costs more than the previous options)
- or I could fly (the fastest, but getting to and from an airport and through security is a hassle)
At the end of the day I’m going to get to Boston, I just need to figure out what factors are most important to me: time, cost, or convenience. If cost were really the most important factor, then maybe I’d walk. If cost is just very important, then maybe I’d take a bus. If time is the most important factor, I will probably fly, but if it’s a combination of time and convenience, I will most likely take a train.
Deciding on your objectives first will determine how you accomplish the day-to-day steps that take you toward those goals. In other words, your objectives determine what your backlog looks like, which ultimately leads to success. Read More →
Sue Shellenbarger has an amusing article in today’s Wall Street Journal about the problems that eating at your desk can cause: stinky sandwiches and noisy chips bring complaints from co-workers, and computer keyboards don’t react well to crumbs and spilled drinks finding their way inside.
In this “Field Guide to Obnoxious Eating” there’s also a quote from The Energy Project’s Tony Schwartz about how a skimpy lunch break “actually drains energy and reduces output,” which is something he has helped remedy through his Take Back Your Lunch movement.
The article then goes on to mention The Hired Guns’ president, Allison Hemming, who ate lunch at her desk for years until she saw the light. “Now, if she sees her employees working through lunch, ‘I get them out of their desks,’ encouraging them to get outside, she says. ‘We’ve seen a major boost in productivity” and sales as a result.”
Check it out—here’s a complete list of the 25 panels that Hired Guns are proposing for the next SXSW. Last year, seven of the eleven proposals that Guns floated ended up being presented at the actual event. Given the cool ideas below, we’re hoping to manage to even improve on that ratio this time around.
Please have a look, and vote for all those that you’d like to see become a reality at SXSWi next spring—SXSW weights public voting at 30% for the purposes of deciding which panels are accepted. You have to register and sign in to vote (you can do so using your Facebook or Twitter login); the voting deadline is the Friday before Labor Day, September 2.
Howdy—welcome to the party. We’re here for part 1 of The Hired Guns’ group read of The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant At A Moment’s Notice.
(Late joining us? Check out the summary of how our book club will work and what we’ll cover each week.)
If you haven’t bought the book yet, go grab it. This week we’ll be reading chapters 1-3, which are focused on how to stay prolific, healthy, and sustainably brilliant. As Todd points out, you can’t count on inspiration striking in the nick of time—you have to prepare for it. And that’s where his straight-shooting advice comes in!
This week, Todd made a special video just for us where he discusses the reasons that getting creative work done in the modern workplace can be so difficult. The “assassins of creativity” include fear (of so many things!), poorly decided-on objectives, and way-too-complicated business processes. All these things can make it difficult if not impossible to stick to doing what’s truly important.
Watch his video below, and then start reading the book from the intro through the first three chapters. Then stop and wait for the rest of us! Post any questions for Todd, on Twitter, in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. He’ll be chiming in with his responses. Read More →