These common work habits may seem harmless enough, but they’re actually signs of bigger problems.
If the idea of networking makes you nauseous, you’re not alone—and science backs up your disgust.
According to research out of the University of Toronto, professional networking feels icky for good reason. Relationships formed based on a career need, rather than for sincere friendship, trigger our moral disgust—linked, in turn, to physical feelings of uncleanliness. The researchers theorized that this visceral reaction makes us network less frequently, and less effectively.
We’ve already heard that we need to embrace failure. Now here’s everything we need to know about what that actually means.
It seems like everywhere we turn we’re being told to “embrace failure.” From social media to countless business books and articles and the global failure conference FailCon, the importance of mistakes is lauded as a key stepping-stone for success.
Even advertisers are realizing the power of bragging about getting it wrong. For example, earlier this year Domino’s commercials touted that at their company “failure is an option” with a nod to its failed cookie pizza of 2007.
Despite all the failure-embracing saturation we’re seeing these days, this concept is nothing new. Iterations of “embrace failure” have existed long before the slogan was popular. Before the likes of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson told us to embrace failure, Michael Jordan told us that he fails over and over again. Before that Truman Capote said failure was “the condiment that gives success its flavor.” And before that James Joyce dubbed mistakes “portals of discovery.” Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford—the list of innovators that used failure to get at their success goes on and on and on.
So why the apparent resurgence? More importantly, what does embracing failure really mean, does it work, and at what point is it too much?
In an effort to find the answers, we consulted a few experts who know a thing or two about failure.
"The more that being yourself is part of your job description, the less reason you have to fake it."
Insights from the time-diaries collected from Americans over the past 11 years show we’re shifting in our priorities.
If you can’t catch a breath during the frantic daily grind, don’t blame it on not having any free time.
Americans actually have more leisure time, are less rushed, less stressed, and sleep much more than we think we do. According to sociologist John Robinson, or better known as “Father Time” to his colleagues, most people have around 40 hours of free time per week.
Robinson, a professor at the University of Maryland and director of the Americans’ Use of Time Project, has been studying how people spend their time for more than 50 years. In 1972, he became one of the first social scientists to collect detailed time diaries of people all over the country. According to his massive studies and research, Robinson tells Fast Company that modern Americans only merely feel like we are working more hours and we also tend to exaggerate about our work hours since the actual hours on the job have been decreasing steadily for the past 40 years.
If this is the case, then why don’t we feel like we have more time and what exactly are we spending our time on? Below Robinson gives us the major findings from decades of time-use and social attitudes research:
Google does it. So does Facebook and Twitter. Are free snacks and drinks making our workplaces better—or more fattening?
A couple of centuries ago, women were taught the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. In today’s world this dating advice seems overtly old-fashioned, but the theory could partially hold true for companies wanting to retain employees.
According to a recent WorkSphere survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the staffing agency Spherion, if you want a happy worker, then feed them. Around 30% of respondents said the availability of food throughout the day contributes to their workplace happiness.
Whether you offer free cookies in the break room, doughnuts at meetings, or—following the lead of Google, Facebook, and Twitter—provide full-blown meals prepared by a company chef, smart companies should give the idea some thought, but understand that free food doesn’t necessarily equal a more productive staff. It’s more complicated than that, say experts.
“With examples like Google, we’re constantly reminded of the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma,” says Frank Bosco, assistant professor of management in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in Richmond, Virginia. “That is—is Google successful because they offer all sorts of perks, resulting in better-performing employees? Or, do they offer free food because they’ve been so successful over the years?”
Faced with rampant sexism and ageism, female venture capitalists only comprise about 4 of the industry. Here’s how women can rise above.
Tried everything to organize your priorities better, and still end up scattered? Try these outside-the-box ideas for sorting your day.
The hardest part is getting started.
When there’s a long list that needs tackling every day, the hardest part is tackling what needs to be done first. You may feel intimidated to start your next big project or pull your colleague aside for an awkward, but much-needed confrontation.
And prioritizing isn’t getting any easier. In his book Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff blames this modern-day condition on our “continuous, always-on ‘now’“ world which has made us lose our sense of direction.
Successful people know that planning, organizing, and protecting your time is no easy feat, but if you don’t have your priorities straight, who will? Below are four unconventional methods that keep the brightest minds focus on exactly what they need to:
After a summer holiday slipping back into work mode can be a challenge.
Being greeted by an overflowing inbox and a hectic meeting schedule may cause you to suffer from the back-to-work blues, making it difficult to focus on that mountain of work in front of you. Business coach Robyn McLeod, says succumbing to the pressure to speed back into work can undo any benefits you may have received from taking a break.
Follow these tips to re-integrate to work after your holiday and avoid the post-vacation hangover.
The days of control and conformity are over, and it’s within our power to bring today’s workplace up to speed. All it takes is some guts.
A young man dives from a 30-foot cliff over a waterfall inside Casa Bonita, a Mexican-themed “entertainment” restaurant in Denver, Colo. That’s his job; he dives again and again for the enjoyment of dining patrons. Between dives he admits, “I have yet to have a day where I don’t want to go to work.”
Most people aren’t that lucky or brave. We don’t often get to practice our craft again and again, let alone get cheered on to dive in or climb back up. Doing it every day doesn’t mean it doesn’t require courage, that it’s not hard, or that there aren’t risks; there are just more reasons to keep doing it in spite of the what-ifs.
Leadership, in large part, requires jumping in head first, lapping back and forth, occasionally leading a pack, but often leaping alone, usually in a race against the next guy. But for all the talk of collaboration and big ideas, new business practices, and social reach, most work hasn’t changed much.
Fundamental people practices in modern companies were forged in an era when control and conformity were thought useful. Today, we know they stifle creativity and customer focus at a time when companies fail on less.
As we seek options for ourselves, we don’t always think to remind people there are collective options to elevate us as a species. As Diana Korte, a women’s health advocate, once wrote, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”
Our digital world accelerates change and gives us an opportunity to be more of who we are. With almost unlimited access to information, we also have a greater understanding that the world needs our help. We expect twists and turns in our journey, but where we are today shouldn’t suck.
It’s time for work to change. Here are four ways leaders can push work forward.
Sure, free food isn’t as valuable as health insurance but what and how your company uses perks can still make a big difference.
While the components of a great job—support, challenge, autonomy—are hard to quantify, everyone understands free snacks in the pantry.
So perks become proxies for other upsides. They also tap into the psychology of gifts. While it seems crazy that doctors would be influenced to write prescriptions by free pens, they were (before an industry code ended the practice).
Likewise, freebies at work are loved beyond their actual dollar value. They invite reciprocity. Or, to put a more positive spin on it, “Maybe it’s just recognition,” says Danielle Saladino-Evans, who works in corporate communications at Fingerpaint, a marketing and communications firm, and is part of the committee that decides her company’s perks. “You’re working hard today. Go have something on us.”
If you’re figuring out what perks to offer, here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.
The moments in the careers of women at Airbnb, Pinterest, Facebook, and more that changed everything.
What we see of others’ lives are highlight reels.
From a distance, the road to working for a headline-making tech company looks smooth and simple: Start at the bottom, work hard, make the right connections and boom, you’ve made it.
But for these six women, working for companies that impact our daily lives means making more than a decent salary and having fun doing it. There were moments in each of their lives that changed everything. We asked when they knew they wanted to get into tech—and when that career choice clicked for them.
Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn’t about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.
If you are like me, you probably find yourself multitasking more, yet feeling like it really isn’t benefiting you. As a society, we’re stressing out about more and accomplishing less, adversely impacting both our mindsets and our productivity.
Most of us think of this as the new normal, and we’ve gotten used to juggling more. The begrudging acceptance of this attitude prevents companies from taking actions needed to keep workers focused and productive.
A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion—a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.
Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results. Here are three tips to increasing your mindfulness so that you cross tasks off your list and stress about them less.
The answer to getting more done and leading a balanced life isn’t in beating yourself up about ambitions.
We’ve entered a new paradigm. One in which women, particularly in the West, have greater opportunity than ever before and yet are feeling stressed out, anxious, and exhausted trying to cope with the pressure to succeed in all areas of life. Despite external success, many women have a feeling of not measuring up or being good enough. Other women are leaning in so strongly that they are burning out. It’s a catch-22: how do we lean in without burning out?
Research shows bright girls are particularly likely to see their abilities as innate and unchangeable, and they grow up to be women who are far too hard on themselves—women who will prematurely conclude that they don’t have what it takes to succeed in a particular arena and give up way too soon.
Our experience is that women blame themselves. Therefore, many women are reading Lean In and thinking “Oh, I guess I wasn’t leaning in hard enough, I need to push myself even more.”
Here are the tenets for how to lean in without burning out:
For all our talk about flex time and the freedom (and insanity) the Internet gives us to work at any time of the day, the traditional 9 to 5 workday, with a break at noon, is still going pretty strong.