Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Observations

My Views and Values, Told Through Famous Quotes

For a time I maintained this blog the way I thought any professional (e.g., dentist, accountant, etc.) would by keeping the content restricted to my trade and professional interests. Along the way, however, I woke up about something I’d been blissfully unaware of before (thanks partly to the fact that my own cultural subgroup still doesn’t practice this). I discovered that other people (perhaps the majority) in modern western cultures, for example in the U.S., deliberately try to ensure that new friends and businesses they frequent match their values in much the same way they match their socks. If this comparison sounds strange, it’s because this whole social practice of introducing your values to new acquaintances to see if both parties agree on them is alien to me.

I won’t perpetuate this practice within my own inner circle because we’re all fine with not knowing each other’s political values. There are so many other topics to connect on! However, I’m broadcasting this for the sake of voluntary association decisions where they concern me because I’ve observed a general decline in tolerance towards those holding different values (as people often eventually find out if you match them or not), which makes working together difficult for those who’re wildly different. Borrowing from my Quora answer, What are the wisest quotes you’ve ever heard or read? by Lynn Patra, I wrote:

I can’t imagine these quotes will appeal to everyone but, then again, few things have universal appeal. For me, personally, the following quotes contribute some counter-cultural wisdom relevant to the times and the dominant mindset in my region.

On geniuses and experts:

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A More Pleasant Breakdown of the Gender “Pay Gap” [Infographic]

Many have viewed, or heard of, that viral “car crash” of an interview between the now very famous Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson and Cathy Newman, English journalist and presenter for Channel 4 News. If you haven’t viewed it however, here it is:

Without delving into the entire back-and-forth, like Peterson, I too mentioned the different, naturally occurring rate in which the personality trait agreeableness/disagreeableness appears between men and women, collectively, as one factor contributing to the alleged pay gap. (See this Wiki article on agreeableness for more detailed explanation.) This section of What do you think about the recent Jordan Peterson interview? by Lynn Patra clarifies that this is a proportional, rather than an absolute, difference of a tendency between men and women:

When talking about personality differences between men and women collectively, [Cathy Newman] also displayed a frustratingly common misunderstanding that these are absolute differences instead of differences in proportion (i.e., the frequency) of an observed trait or tendency.

If I’d been in Peterson’s place, I think I would’ve slowed wayyy down and tried to illustrate what proportional differences between groups look like, for example (and this is a hypothetical example because I don’t know if a consensus exists with regard to the specific proportions of agreeableness/disagreeableness between groups – where A = agreeable and D = disagreeable):

Men: D, D, D, D, D, A, A, A, A, A

Women: D, D, D, A, A, A, A, A, A, A

For awhile, it seemed like Peterson and Newman were going around in circles about this. And I know a person doesn’t get it when I hear, “But women aren’t all the same!” or “But there are some women who aren’t like that!” as Newman expressed.

Of course, the “pay gap” results from a complex mixture of numerous factors. This interview inspired me to find an infographic that displays the multi-faceted reasons for the “pay gap.”  Some may find the following infographic, which was first published in 2016, to be provocative but it’s one of the better ones I could find. It certainly gives you plenty to chew on.


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My Review & Passages from Steve Siebold’s “How Rich People Think”

Recently, I finished How Rich People Think by Steve Siebold and wish to share its high points. In doing so, I’ll share what this book meant to me as well as passages I enjoyed. By the way, it’s not challenging to read at all, which means it’s quite accessible to young people who can benefit from thinking about money and financial independence.

In a review, I wrote:

Siebold delightfully summarizes every preemptive money-shaming, crab mentality-inspired verbal exhortation (e.g., “Money is evil!”, “Nobody should be a millionaire!”) ever uttered by those with an unhealthy, inappropriate interest in what another’s attitude about, or relationship with, money might be. This has been especially problematic in today’s preachy, politically charged times. If there were one value that’s long overdue for a comeback in modern U.S. culture, it’s the value of minding one’s own business. But oh well. I’ve sifted every person who imposed the slightest money shame or crab mentality-inspired drivel out of my life. I appreciate this book for providing a look back at these folks and describing the basic psychological underpinnings behind this insanity.

Siebold’s observations about society: Read more of this post

15 Networking Tips for the Introverted [Infographic]

Submitted by Drew Page at Siege Media

Edited by Lynn Patra

Attending a networking event as an introvert can be a very stressful experience. If you find yourself relegated to the corner and in a constant cycle of small talk that leaves you feeling physically exhausted, you are probably not looking forward to your next event. Here are some actionable steps that can be taken to enhance your networking experiences.

The first step in mastering the networking game as an introvert is to mentally prepare. Building a memory bank of questions and talking points is a great way to set yourself up for success. Taking time to research the potential guest list is another great idea.  Who knows, you might already know someone who is planning to go. Read more of this post

This Year, Spam Followers, & Future Posts

Yes, I’m still here and I plan to do something different on this blog this year. I began this blog focusing on the matter of telework (otherwise referred to as “remote work” or “virtual work”) as it was an exciting concept I wanted to promote. Since then, I’ve learned about obstacles to adoption and the fact that some large organizations that initially embraced it decided to call their remote workers back onsite.

So what do I think telework’s prospects are now? Well, I don’t think society will see more experimentation and, possibly, more widespread adoption until telepresence technology (enabling a more realistic simulation of face-to-face interactions) becomes more available at a lower cost. This type of technology includes holographic video conferencing as demonstrated by Cisco:

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When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 2

Part 2 of 3: Online Etiquette & a Reminder, Multiculturalism’s Downside, and a Preview of Part 3

THIS (the messy enormity of this series) is one reason I hesitate to share my political views. More importantly though, there are professional risks. Potential backlash for unpopular views is why one shouldn’t incessantly try to elicit peoples’ opinions online, chase and put others on the spot, and put them at risk if they’re disinclined to volunteer information. Sure, they can avoid you but, the worst case scenario is, you’ll look like a jerk and make some enemies. As for why I’m sharing some views, I’m trying to prevent others from “barking up the wrong tree” because, per Part 1, there are movements and company cultures I’m incompatible with. That said, I’m content with obscurity. I’m not seeking to become a political thought leader or fame in general, so opponents can take heart that I won’t flood this blog with political posts.

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a subset of older liberal folks (while taking notice of older liberals who don’t do this but, whenever this happens, it’s curiously never someone of any other political persuasion and this is not due to a lack of knowing older folks of other political inclinations) who try to get me to espouse or live up to their values and, in doing so, (1.) mistakenly assume I’m inclined to think as they do and (2.) are unaware that people my age have more to lose (than they do) as we’re in the midst of raising children or caring for aging parents and especially dependent on having work. Yes, it’s human to make mistakes.

More troubling, however, is that they care more about promoting their ideology and adding another warm body to their movement than they care about you, the individual, and whether you want to join their movement or not. These folks should also beware, if they aren’t already, that the consequences of publicizing political opinions are potentially harsher than before the Internet age.

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A Quick Status Update & Business Resource Recommendations

Months ago I mentioned that I’d spend this past summer giving a new business venture a go and would report back on how this panned out. It wasn’t meant to be. However, this snag is another chance to learn and problem solve in order to transition to the next opportunity. Despite people telling me that I seem to have everything together, I understand what it’s like to struggle. For now, I’m focused on returning to the workforce, but at least fall season is the ideal time to search I hear.

However, between time spent inside my own head and working on the business, my networking efforts fell to the wayside, and this doesn’t set me up well for finding a job. Personal referrals are the way to go nowadays, what with hiring managers having to sift through piles of resumes. This is, by the way, a familiar problem that some introverts have. Well, I decided to act in accordance to the saying about sometimes having to spend money to make money (and no, I don’t think money is the root of all evil but I’ll return to this thought with my “politics in the workplace, etc.” series next week).

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How to Hire the Right M&A Advisor to Help Sell Your Business

Submitted by Michelle Young at Toptal

Edited by Lynn Patra

It can take around five months to sell a business. It is a significant commitment with many risks, in terms of juggling attention between ongoing operations and negotiating the sale. Enlisting the a professional M&A consultant’s assistance will help a founder to manage time, maintain their business, and maximize the economic outcome of the deal.

To help select an M&A consultant to work with, we will outline the steps of selling a business and, for each, outline the beneficial characteristics that a consultant can provide.

This article is written within the context of trying to sell a business (outbound), as opposed to fielding an unsolicited request to buy a business (inbound)

Prelude: Does the Founder Want to Sell?

The reasons for selling a business will first be defined by the owner’s personal situation and desires: Read more of this post

When Political Proselytization and Multiculturalism Collide in Workplaces (and Elsewhere) & Related Thoughts – Part 1

Part 1 of 3

It’s been awhile since I posted “An OBVIOUS warning to political ideologues,” but I’ve decided to explain some of my views and experiences. My timing is terrible given the degenerating political discourse in the U.S., and I might be crazy to tarnish my clean “no politics” online image, but here we go. First, a story explaining my family’s culture of origin (Thai-Chinese):

One day I brought food from a new Thai restaurant I discovered near Sacramento, California for my mom to try. I’m not great at distinguishing the regional differences in Thai cuisine, but the food tasted “off” to my mom. She asked if the restaurant owner, whom I chatted with a few times by now, advertised which region of Thailand she was from. I responded, “No, but I can ask her next time.”

“No! Don’t!,” my mom yelled in alarm.

“Why not?,” I asked.

“That’s personal information,” my mom explained, “In Thai culture, you don’t ask this question of people you just met.” Further conversation with my mom revealed that asking where people lived and worked (though I already knew where the restaurant owner worked in this case) is off limits. Politics is also off limits. These are topics that are currently allowable in casual conversation for the average American (though past social norms dictated that politics and religion were off limits). A problem crops up when the average American doesn’t notice, or tries to change, the preferences of those who’re more culturally East Asian. Read more of this post

An OBVIOUS warning to political ideologues [Stickied Post]

UPDATE Sept 30, 2017: There will be an extra blog administrator to help me run a tight ship in response to OFF-TOPIC blog comments (particularly of the political nature).

My readership is politically diverse and blog topics largely appeal to people no matter their location on the political spectrum. As such, this blog has been a change of pace for those taking a break from the yelling and screaming that is found everywhere else on the Internet.

You won’t find me taking snarky digs and getting in-your-face politically on other bloggers’ sites as I recognize another person’s right to a different opinion. I recognize another person’s personal boundaries better than some (evidently). So, I ask my readers to demonstrate the same respect I’ve demonstrated on their blogs. And since this is MY professional blog (as I’m the one paying for it the last time I checked), I’ve made my stance clear on attempts to bug me incessantly and the reasons why this blog is largely apolitical: Read more of this post

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