OK, I confess: I am not a team player – at least, not in the sense that the expression is usually used around an office.
This admission is so burdened with nasty connotations that finding the courage to make it has taken most of my adult life. Nobody ever says so in as many words, but the implication is that something is wrong with you if you are not a team player.
"You're like that stubborn mule who moves forward when you want her to back up and backs up when you want her to move forward." This was a recent remark about my contrarian mindset by a long time friend who is one of the few privy to my deepest nature. Indeed, I've often dealt with social pressure to go along with a group by digging in my heels and doing the opposite of what's desired just because I find social pressure odious. I've managed to stifle this part of myself at work so successfully that I can't think of anyone who would suspect that I'm not the "cooperative team player" type. Due to the social undesirability issue, it takes guts to admit this as bloggers like Bruce Byfield noted. However, as his blog post explains, when you dig deep and think about how weaknesses are also strengths it becomes evident that there really is an appropriate place, a role, for each and every person in the world of work... even if you're not a cooperative team player!
Also, check out what these other writers have to say on this subject!
Does Las Vegas have anything to teach Employers about employee engagement?
I've recently been reading about "flow", a state of extreme focus and productivity - and the lengths that Las Vegas casinos will go to in encouraging it. This got me thinking about how Flow could be applied to the workplace, and whether Las Vegas has anything to teach employers about it.
Boredom at work is one issue that many people I've encountered don't take seriously. Some have even asked me, "How can you be bored when you have so many repetitive tasks to do all day?" The answer is explained very well in a post by Alex Hagan. This post contrasts the roots of boredom with the roots of anxiety at work. The issue of establishing a work environment that would facilitate engagement and the experience of "flow" is also discussed alongside an interesting look at how the typical environment at Las Vegas casinos is designed to keep people immersed in activity there.
Please bear with me for another general announcement. So, I’ve been caught a bit unprepared without establishing a guest posting guideline for myself. I’m rectifying this situation now as well as putting out an FYI on commonly known and accepted guest posting best practices. If anyone is interested in guest posting here (yeah, not everyone at once now!), or even anywhere else, then please refer to the following criteria (see Critical Guest Blogging Do’s and Don’ts for the information in its entirety): Continue reading →
This is a general announcement to notify readers that a comprehensive list of links to research studies, scholarly articles, white papers, and various documents covering on this blog is now available. As stated on the Source Materials page, I will continue to update this list as I find more material. So check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for or feel free to make requests and I will see what I can find.
It’s proven tougher for me to post more regularly as I’m in the midst of a work-life transition, however I’ve arranged to feature an artist’s rendition of the Industrial Age office work lifestyle as well as social commentary that revolves around associated problems (e.g., stress, boredom, etc.). Continue reading →
Introverts like myself heave a huge sigh of relief upon reading Susan Cain’s new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. In the chapter titled, “When Collaboration Kills Creativity,” Cain explains the origins of this recent, increased call for in-office collaboration and presents compelling research studies that run counter to the assumptions and reasons behind the move towards the open office plan and the usually, taken for granted requirement for employees to work collaboratively in teams. Yes, I’ve always loathed projects that required teamwork in school and, although I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll say that I’ve always come up with creative ideas on my own while group brainstorming always inhibited idea generation. Continue reading →
The so-called “mega commuters” or “super commuters” featured in this story are the final casualties of the dying Industrial Age office. The casualty is the horrible imbalance of their lives due to spending needless hours each day on the road that could otherwise be spent on health promoting behaviors such as getting exercise and adequate sleep (no, Obamacare can’t solve that) and for quality time with their families.
What’s so painfully ironic is this story is set in the San Francisco Bay Area, home of many Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies that have effectively obsoleted working in a centralized office Monday through Friday. Incongruously, some of these companies don’t yet realize the obsolescence they themselves have created, requiring their staffs to adhere to Industrial Age office hours as if if were still 1985. (See the media firestorm resulting from Yahoo’s decision last week to require its employees to commute to HQ) That in turn creates one of the worst metro areas in the United States for traffic congestion and long commutes.
First there was telecommuting. Then there was telework. Now telework is workshifting. WORKshift, an organization “dedicated to promoting, educating and accelerating the adoption of flexible work programs that allow companies across Canada,” explains:
WORKshift is more than just a telework program.
It’s a flexible work program that focuses on results, not the hours an employee sits at their desk. Continue reading →
“They just think that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol,” a friend explained, “They don’t want to hire someone with that sort of problem.” So, employment gaps carry a negative stigma even though people have a wide variety of reasons for taking a few years off here and there. Due to the recession, potential employers have become more understanding as more people have them now, so I hear. However, well-meaning friends and relatives will urge you to cover them up with some story if you don’t already have a conventionally acceptable excuse to take a break. You can also gauge how much of a concern employment gaps are to those that have them by conducting an Internet search on how to explain them. Continue reading →