Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

Category Archives: Personality Psychology

The Price of Attention & How Demand for it has Outpaced Supply

My previous post on the state of marketing doesn’t reflect random interest. Having put myself out there on the Internet as a professional for a few years, I know unsolicited sales pitches from business development and marketing “gurus” come with the territory. I’ve often thought it might be a good idea to take a cue from Richard Herman, call myself a professional quality attention giver, and set a price for my attention and time ($8.00/minute to read supposedly sly let’s-see-if-I-can-convert-this-friend-into-a-client messages, etc. – Hurry! This generous, promotional rate won’t last!). According to Matthew Gentzkow’s figures in Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline however, here’s the actual monetary trend for attention across time and media: Read more of this post

Darwin at Work: The State of Marketing & Resistance to Marketers’ Influence

When it comes to organizational cost-cutting, I’ve often heard that the marketing budget is commonly among the first to be cut. Until now, I didn’t know why exactly. However, the preview section of Does Marketing Need Reform? Fresh Perspectives on the Future clarified the factors contributing to the current state of marketing. This book was authored by Jagdish N. Sheth and Rajendra S. Sisodia, and was published in 2006. So, it’s dated but the major themes are still relevant as they are echoed in the 2011 video below.

The following historical facts and figures, as cited by Sheth and Sisodia, put the past and present situation in perspective:

  • “In an age when the mantra of business has been ‘do more with less,’ the marketing function has for too long been ‘doing less with more.’ In most industries today, the marketing function consumes over 50 percent of corporate resources, up from less than 25 percent around 1950. At a macro level, marketing represents a tremendous waste of resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.” (p. 20)

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A Day at Work with My Feathered Colleague

The idea for this special post came from a friend whose blog showcases spectacular photography work, featuring wildlife, art, and culture, from exotic locales around the world. Check out her work at http://cindyknoke.com.

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People have been shocked by my ability to perform solitary work (e.g., reading, writing, and research) for several hours a day, several days a week without feeling lonely. The reason why I can pull this off is because my introverted temperament makes me well-suited for this kind of work. Being devoid of human companionship doesn’t mean I’m completely alone however. Meet my feathered colleague, Nikita, a Pacific Parrotlet whose antics keep me in good spirits. Read more of this post

What You Need to Know About Psychological Manipulation [Infographic]

This post accompanies my previous post on manipulators. One particular piece of information that I find valuable here is a guideline for distinguishing social influence from manipulation. In my view, what qualifies as manipulation is an attempt to restrict another’s sense of free will. Furthermore, as I am a “no means no” kind of person, my interpretation of “[social influence] does not threaten anyone’s health or well-being” extends to influencers’ being able to accept “no” for an answer. Continuing to persist violates the time and psychological space of the one who refused. Finally, to clarify, the “emotional hot buttons” section lists characteristics of individuals who are easier targets for manipulators. I welcome your thoughts on the information presented here. Read more of this post

Dissecting the Manipulative Helper

As a break from the topic of technology-driven changes in work-life, let’s turn to a work-related subject that will likely remain intact: difficult people and, specifically, a type of difficult person who generally goes unnoticed and unchallenged – the manipulative helper.

Overtly difficult people are a pain but are easier to spot, evade, and take action against compared to ones wearing the mask of a benevolent helper. Essentially, manipulative “helpers” inflict damage and get away with it because they’re presumed to have good intentions. Recognizing such individuals will help you make informed decisions about who to spend time and energy cultivating professional relationships with and, hopefully, facilitate success in building a quality network.

Mean people

 

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Here’s to the lazy ones. The slackers. The flaky. The unconscientious. The bumps on a log. The ones who cut corners. They’re not fond of duty…

For those who aren’t aware, the title of this post is stylized after Apple Inc.’s  “Think Different” (a/k/a “Crazy Ones”) advertising campaign quote. However, this isn’t a satirical piece but, instead, an exercise in challenging conventional wisdom. While conscientiousness, a Big 5 personality trait, is often cited as the single best predictor of career success, it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t naturally well-endowed with it. The catch is that you must possess some other extraordinary quality that is rewarded in the context of your work situation. I believe that General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord would agree as he stated back in 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

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Truly need 10, 11, or even 12 hours of sleep per night? By all means, try to get it!

During the course of blogging, I’ve been surprised by how often my previous post about sleep, “Why I Stay Up Late and 3 Reasons You Should Too [Satire],” which celebrates the experiences of people with late chronotypes (also known as “night owls”), has been visited. To spread awareness about another aspect of sleep-wake biorhythms, this post presents information about why it’s important for those of us who truly need 10 or more hours of sleep a night (dubbed “long sleepers”) to get the sleep we need.

Before going further, I’d like to point out that it’s important to resolve any underlying issues (sleep apnea, depression, or other medical conditions) that may be causing someone to sleep for more hours than is normal. If medical conditions have been ruled out, if the long hours of sleep have been consistent and of high quality sleep throughout life, and if the sleeper wakes feeling refreshed, this individual might be a “long sleeper” – a category that describes about 2% of the population (see here). More facts about long sleeping from the American Sleep Association follow: Read more of this post

The Value of Impulsivity: Options and Opportunities for People with ADD/ADHD

My previous post, which called attention to research efforts directed towards education about workplace issues for people with ADD/ADHD, was not something I broadcasted at random. As it happens, I just discovered that someone I’ve been acquainted with for over a decade, and who has meant everything to me in the last several years, has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactivity). It’s mystifying how long it can take to see beyond the unintended facade of normalcy and understand the world from his perspective. As caffeine isn’t a huge part of our lives, it took awhile for me to come to this realization but eventually, one day, his reaction to tea tipped me off. A few cups revved me up but sedated him, compelling him to nap for quite a few hours. Now I know why he’s not a big coffee drinker. Read more of this post

Why I’m Not on Facebook and Other Musings by a “Non-Joiner”

Young people without Facebook accounts are regarded as suspicious by a number of employers, their human resources departments, and some psychologists. Might this group of resisters have something sinister to hide, and even be psychopathic? This issue has been reported on herehere, and here (from 2012). The fact that it’s taken me so long to notice that non-joiners are regarded as strange in a negative way shows my limited interest in Facebook. Now that I’ve received the memo though, I’ll say I’m not surprised that people are wondering, “What’s different about the non-joiners?” and then coming up with hunches that have a negative spin.

Life has dealt me a strange hand such that I find myself (1) a non-participant when it comes to a number of activities that most enjoy and (2) having to vociferously defend my preferences. As a result, I’ve come to notice how consistently people assume non-joiners to have character flaws. Observe: Read more of this post

Lessons from Gaming: Leading with Your Natural Strengths

In this post, I’ll discuss the reason for these resultant correlations between wealth and range of skills invested in (from What the Most Successful People Have in Common by Nicole Carter):

…middle class survey respondents reported having six skills. The high-net-worth group, on the other hand, reported having only two skills. That’s because the most successful people are aware of their limitations and strengths, and focus on what they’re best at, Schiff said. In fact, 58 percent of middle class millionaires said they work to improve on skills they lack, but only 7 percent of high-net -worth individuals do the same. The wealthiest respondents? Not one of them said they worked on improving areas of weakness. Read more of this post

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