In the not-too-distant future, should we all survive, there will be many moments such as this: During interviews and applications for jobs and graduate schools, first dates and meeting-the-parents, or any of the other myriad situations where we attempt to explain and justify our past decisions to others. They will spot something in our history. An employment gap, or an entire career change. A business founded or closed down. A move to a different city, or away from cities altogether. A breakup or divorce. Some other radical shift in life direction. They will start to ask, what was that about? […]
We don’t know what the new normal holds or when we will get back to it. We don’t know who will emerge with life, health, fortune, dreams and love intact. But the entire planet has never before centered on such a shared pivot of direction. We can be kind to ourselves, just as we must be kind to each other. We can take a breath and take a beat.
It seems easy to get people to agree to hating office politics. But not everyone feels that way, and not everyone should.
Whether it’s your business, your job or your hobby, what you don’t do is as important to understand as what you do. So, what don’t you do?
Part of growing our interpersonal aptitude is recognizing our interpersonal differences. From the increasing demand for Soft Skills in technical workers, to the growth in Net Promotor Score, Account Based Marketing, and other affinity-driven marketing models, relationships are everywhere in business buzz. As they should be! Little gets done in the business world without alignment and agreement. We need clients to hire us, bosses to authorize projects, loyal customers to buy, and colleagues to collaborate. Whether we work in tech, design, or politics, our best ideas go nowhere when we can’t persuade others to come along. But just as our […]
Retrospection is well-established as a critical business tool. Whether we’re comparing this year’s sales results to last year’s, providing employee feedback, or analyzing a project’s success, we all agree on the value of looking backward in time, to see what it can teach us. However, when it comes to the personal, we often discourage each other from too much looking back. We have a library of cliches and platitudes. “Don’t dwell in the past.” “Water under the bridge.” “What’s done is done.” We dismiss any journeys into our history as sentimental nostalgia, or relegate them to the therapist’s couch. Our […]
If you’ve brushed up against corporate hiring practices lately, you’ve probably encountered the concept of Culture Fit—the idea that you should screen job applicants so that you only hire people whose beliefs and behaviors will integrate smoothly into your organization. It’s true that hiring people who don’t integrate well with your company culture can be highly disruptive. If you bring highly-competitive people into a highly-collaborative environment, or order-takers into an initiative-driven system, the outcome can be as hard on your existing staff as it is on the misfit new hire. However, Culture Fit can also be used as a proxy […]
Great-Grandma My great-grandmother had a cross-stitch sampler on her kitchen wall, that read: Use it Up Wear it Out Make it Do Do Without This was her ethos. She had always known scarcity and hard-scrabble. Her grandparents were all pioneers – one of her grandmothers traveled from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains on foot. She was born into poverty, the middle of five children. Her father died when she was six years old. She went to college, then went to work, until she married my great-grandfather, a middle-class businessman. They had eight children between 1922 and 1934. Her husband […]
My parents met at the famous Max’s Kansas City bar in Manhattan, in 1966. A couple of privileged white kids. Him from an affluent family, spending his whole childhood in the town where the Great Gatsby took place. Her, on a full NYU scholarship, hailing from the Bay Area, the daughter of scientists. They actually weren’t that privileged. Dad is Jewish and, during that privileged childhood, a global war broke out over ethnic cleansing of his race. There isn’t a lot of white privilege in being nine years old and hearing on the radio that Hitler wants to kill you. […]
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” This question is so common, it’s become an interview cliché. But the first time I was asked, I didn’t know about any of that, I was simply unprepared. I didn’t have a good answer, nor did I want to. Five years seemed like forever, and I hadn’t been living with any kind of long-term plans. I was 28 years old, supporting my young family-of-four, with few resources and a lot of financial hardships. All I’d ever known was short-term jobs at hourly wages with few benefits. I’d attended twelve schools by 10th […]