Sad

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Tue Jun

A Memorable “Welcome” Note for a New Employee

Just a nice feel good note left for a new employee reminding him/her that it’s ok to be a human instead of a productivity robot. I think everyone needs to…

New Manager Note

Just a nice feel good note left for a new employee reminding him/her that it’s ok to be a human instead of a productivity robot. I think everyone needs to take a break from reading their “10 Ways to be More Productive” articles in the morning, and read this instead.

 

It’s ok too..

  • Say “I Don’t Know”
  • Ask for more clarity
  • Stay at home when you feel ill
  • Say you don’t understand
  • Ask what acronyms stand for
  • Forget things
  • Introduce yourself
  • Depend on the team
  • Ask for help
  • Not know everything
  • Have quiet days
  • Have loud days, to talk, joke, and laugh
  • Put your headphones on
  • Say “No” when you’re too busy
  • Make mistakes
  • Sing
  • Sigh
  • Not check your email out of hours
  • Not check your email constantly during hours
  • Just Slack it
  • Walk over and ask someone face-to-face
  • Go somewhere else to concentrate
  • Offer feedback on other people’s work
  • Challenge things you’re not comfortable with
  • Say yes when anyone does a coffee run
  • Prefer tea
  • Snack
  • Have a messy desk
  • Have a tidy desk
  • Work how you like to work
  • Ask the management to fix it
  • Have off-days
  • Have days off

 

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Sat Nov

HBR’s Essentials: Daniel Goleman on “What Makes a Leader” and “Emotional Intelligence”

I’m in the process of reading HBR’s Essentials box set. In book one there is a great chapter on Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman. I had previously read his…

hbr essentials

I’m in the process of reading HBR’s Essentials box set. In book one there is a great chapter on Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman. I had previously read his books on emotional intelligence and social intelligence at the beginning of college, and I really enjoed them.

The chapter really highlighted for me how focused I’ve been on improving and how terribly behind I am, from a leadership perspective, in developing my emotional intelligence quotient.

I don’t think I innately have a low emotional intelligence quotient, but I do think that because I’m so mire in the technical on a day to day basis that it makes it hard to switch gears.

Below are the 5 characteristics of high emotional intelligence, and what they mean:

Self Awareness

The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effects on others.

Self Regulation

The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgement – to think before acting.

Motivation

A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

Empathy

The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people according to their emotional reactions.

Social Skill

Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.

I think that I leave a lot to be desired when it comes to these five dimensions in my current role, but I’m sure in another place, at another company, or in another world I would be a rockstar if put in the right environment.

 

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Tue Dec

Enter the Bioluminescent Forest

Found this video on Laughing Squid and thought it was real at first. Turns out it’s not, and my dreams of walking around in a bioluminescent forest like the one…

Found this video on Laughing Squid and thought it was real at first. Turns out it’s not, and my dreams of walking around in a bioluminescent forest like the one in the movie avatar have been destroyed forever.

Instead of focusing on real problems I think that scientists really need to figure out how to make this happen.

Avatar Forest

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Sun Dec

Nuggets – An Animated Short About Addiction

If you’ve ever been addicted to anything in your life you’ll probably resonate with this video. Whether you were addicted to drugs, to love, to your computer, to whatever… This…

If you’ve ever been addicted to anything in your life you’ll probably resonate with this video. Whether you were addicted to drugs, to love, to your computer, to whatever… This video perfectly demonstrates the self-destructive tendencies of someone with an addiction.

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Fri Nov

Figure Out Your “Inflation Adjusted” Salary

When I was in elementary school we had one of those “career days” where parents come in and share what they do for a living, what their jobs are like,…

When I was in elementary school we had one of those “career days” where parents come in and share what they do for a living, what their jobs are like, how much they make, and a bunch of other stuff. During this career day one of the parents, who seemed relative well off (doesn’t matter what he did), shared that he made $60,000 per year.

Ever since that day, for one reason or another, $60,000 was always the number that I benchmarked salaries against. The problem with this logic is that money devalues over time based on inflation.

For those of you interested here is a link to the inflation rate, by month, for the past 100 or so years.

This past week I decided, for the hell of it, to see what my inflation adjusted salary would be if I was the guy that presented to my class in 1995. Using this inflation calculator, or perhaps the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, you can figure out what your salary would be both looking forward and looking back.

$60,000 in 1995 = $93,477  in 2015

I look the salary I make right now, and even though I’m far more qualified, intelligent, and motivated than the parent that presented to my class in 1995, I’m still making less than he was in 1995.

The fact is, salaries are not growing with inflation.

Take a look at the average physician salary in 1995 and then cross reference it with the national average salary for primary care physicians presented on Glassdoor. Plug in the numbers and the conclusion is that the average primary care physician is making $45,000 less than they should today, and about $30,000 less than they were in 1995.

To add insult to injury, education, grocery, and medical costs have grown at astronomical rates, pensions, 401k matches, and other work related perks have ceased to exist, and Americans are working harder, longer, and more ruthlessly than ever to keep their job, or compete for a new one.

In my mind all of this is not ok, and it has happened over such a long period of time that we can’t perceive the changes that have transpired. Boiled frog.

Here is a fun (read depressing) video that highlights the first half of this post, but fails to highlight the cost of living increases, increased productivity, and other aspects of the economy that I mention in the second half:

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Wed Nov

Cider Rum Punch Recipe for Fall 2013

This recipe is from Versus from My Kitchen  Ingredients: 8 ounces dark rum 3 ounces lemon juice 4 ounces thyme simple syrup 12 ounces apple cider 4 ounces water 4 ounces club…

This recipe is from Versus from My Kitchen 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dark rum
  • 3 ounces lemon juice
  • 4 ounces thyme simple syrup
  • 12 ounces apple cider
  • 4 ounces water
  • 4 ounces club soda
  • 8 dashed of Angostura Bitters
  • sprigs of thyme, garnish
  • apple wheels, garnish

Directions:

  1. To make thyme simple syrup, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water and 6 thyme sprigs in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring up to a boil and reduce to simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place the syrup in the fridge to cool.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large picture or carafe with ice and stir.
  3. Fill your glasses with crushed ice and fill. Place a sprig of thyme inside and put an apple wheel on the rim.
  4. Serves 6.

Copper Cider Rum

Cider Muddler Rum

Cide Rum Punch

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Sat Jul

20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get

VIEW THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE I started Docstoc in my 20’s, made the cover of one of those cliché “20 Under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings….

Advice Letter

VIEW THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

I started Docstoc in my 20’s, made the cover of one of those cliché “20 Under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings. Call me a curmudgeon, but at 34, how I came up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own. In response, here are my 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get.

Time is Not a Limitless Commodity  I so rarely find young professionals that have aheightened sense of urgency to get to the next level. In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want. Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back. Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.

You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated  Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.” Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. There’s no prize for talent, just results. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success. (Tip: read “Talent is Overrated”)

We’re More Productive in the Morning  During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.

[More from Forbes: The 10 Most Important Lessons For 20-Something Workers]

Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue.  It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.

Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person.  It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.

Be the First In & Last to Leave ­– I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.

Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility. You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Err on the side of doing too much, not too little. (Watch: Millennials in the Workplace Training Video)

Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes – You should be making lots of mistakes when you’re early on in your career.  But you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your F-ups. You’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes, and committing to learn from those experiences.

You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence andpushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.

[More from Forbes: The Best Value Colleges 2013]

A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing ­­– 1-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company. It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion. It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship. Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.

People Matter More Than Perks – It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings. Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.

Map Effort to Your Professional Gain – You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do. Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you’re doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow. That should be all the incentive you need. If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.

Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers. In your workplace this is a cancer. If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP. Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards. If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.

You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops – Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume under Skills, is not going to cut it anymore. I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position. If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.

Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business. Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it. Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible. (TIP: Here is my Networking Advice)

You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be. Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive.  (TIP: “The Secret to Finding and Keeping Mentors”)

[More from Forbes: The 10 Happiest Cities For Young Professionals]

Pick an Idol & Act “As If” – You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does. I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire, and act “as if.” If you were (fill in the blank) how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, organize his/her day, accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine.  (Shout out to Tony Robbins for the tip.)

Read More Books, Less Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters:  all breadth and no depth. Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover. All the keys to your future success, lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.

Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.

Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible,your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure.  It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.

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