As part of our study, we gave 2,000 U.S. workers, ranging in age from 18 to 81, a list of 17 benefits and asked them how heavily they would weigh the options when deciding between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with more perks.
Over 50 years since its creation, the cubicle is often dismissed as a symbol of corporate culture’s clash with worker happiness. Oddly enough, its “invention” was largely by accident.
Working set hours is typically the norm for full-time professionals, so I wondered where this 40-hour work schedule came from and if there’s any scientific backing as to why we’ve been working this way for almost a century.
Is it sustainable a nomadic life by doing this job? By writing this I mean traveling from city to city slowly, the ideal would be every 5⁄6 months.
But here’s the thing: In historical terms, the pride we take in working for a paycheck is really new. Just 150 years ago, when people talked about the shame of dependency, they were referring to the reality of being forced to hold a job.
What if the ideal office isn’t the coolest or the most aesthetically visionary? What if the ideal office is the one, dog pictures and gnomes and all, that workers make their own?
If all of your self-esteem eggs are in one basket, you’ll become very obsessive about the state of that basket. As your identity is tied up in one job and one career, you compare yourself more easily to all the other professionals are also specializing in that single line of work.
What follows is a selection of experiences from this growing group of permatemps: an Italian oncologist who spent almost as much time trying to find her next three-month contract as she did helping cancer patients; a French human-resources expert grappling with the psychological toll of temporary work; and, among others, a German tourism specialist who gave up his passion for a stable job in an unrelated field.
Think of your week like your suitcase. You can cram it full, rolling up everything and stuffing underwear into socks and using all sorts of organizational gadgets to keep it under control.
Or you can bring less stuff.
To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.
I guess I’m interested to hear from those who were in the same boat that I am in right now, how did you escape your job? At what point in your career? And what are the risks and obstacles you have faced during your journey?
“People don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses,” according to an old saw. Our research suggests there’s truth behind this saying: bosses matter far more for employee job satisfaction than any other factor we measured.
Studies show people who work less are more likely to get a raise or bonus than those who overwork.
By using and developing your emotional intelligence, you can put a stop to burnout—for you, and for others.
Some companies strive to make the office fun, so we’ll work harder. But forced positivity has a negative side.
Think you’d hand in your notice if you suddenly struck it rich? You’d be surprised.
If you could pick one place or city in the world where you’d live and work (software dev) for the next 10 years. Where would it be? And why would you pick that place?
At night, early risers demonstrate a quicker reaction time when solving unusual attention-related tasks than night owls, but these early risers make more mistakes along the way.
The American work environment is rapidly changing. For better or worse, the days of the conventional full-time job may be numbered.
Hours are never the differentiator — it’s never about working more hours than someone else. It’s about the decisions you make. How you spend your time, what you do and don’t do. Especially what you don’t do.
Hear what American workers have to say about their jobs.
Sitting at my desk all day is getting the best of me. I’d like to receive some information, ideas, or exercises I can do for 5-10 minutes at my desk to stay mobile and flexible. Seems that my posture and mobility is starting to decline quickly!
Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?
If you really are committed to moving to a new city you simply won’t find the best or right job without feet on the street — no matter what anybody else may have told you. At a minimum you need to put yourself in that city for weeks in a row and appear to be local to maximize the quality of the job you get or the probability of getting one in the first place.
“For me, I want to be free,” said Eric. “That’s what I’m working for.”
If you actually are trying to become great at something, it’s probably on your mind all the time. It’s very hard to love something and not be working on it or talking about it.
Young man here, should I learn one thing really good (like back-end programming) or go all out and learn as many things(front-end, 3d, photoshop, back-end etc..) as possible and be okay in all of them.
A list of jobs that no longer exist.
I have tried silicone ear plugs and in-ear headphones with good plugs but can’t find anything that completely stops human voices. I have read that the noise-canceling headphones are good for some type of frequencies, human voices not being one of them. What methods do you use to cope with it? If ear plugs or headphones, can you specify?
We cannot predict with accuracy who will become élite in a given field, but we know that genes and environment matter and that we all have different natural peaks that we can reach through application and training. Saying that training is everything may be tempting, but it’s wrong.
I’m looking for a new role, but would like to work with recruiters to reduce time consuming job searches and applications. Where can you go to basically announce to recruiters that it’s worth their time to find a good job match for you, rather than just spam by keywords?
What mode of communication (LinkedIn InMail, Facebook Messages, email, phone or something else) do you use when trying to build your network? What general advice do you have for someone who is starting to grow their professional network?
Today’s workplace design asks us to be permanently on call—and demands that we vanish at a moment’s notice.
How did you escape your 9 to 5 job to start your own business? I am curious about how you effectively spent your time while having a full time job and a side business and at what time did you decide to take the full plunge.
Technology was meant to herald a new way of working anytime, anywhere – but that’s not the case, writes Georgina Kenyon.
Young people should be a boon to the economy. Instead, many of the young people today can’t find work—and don’t have much hope of doing so.
With the right strategies and commitment, you can reduce your hours and still get your work done — without the stress.
‘Karoshi’ – either from a fatal heart attack or stroke, or a suicide triggered by overwork – is now a recognised cause of death.
I am having a lot of free time during this period but I don’t seem to get any good ideas into my head like it used to be when I was busy. What do you guys do when you don’t have any good idea? How do you look for inspiration? Have you guys faced similar situations?
Excessively long working hours can cause fatigue and physical and/or psychological stress, which potentially damage cognitive functioning.
The bottom line: Resist the soul-crushing job’s promise of extra money and savor the more satisfying conditions you’ll find in one that pays a little less.
A new study examines earnings data to link declining job mobility to lower overall demand for workers.
For me the concept of work/life balance is bullshit. The fact that we call it work/life balance automatically implies that one of the two is negative and we need to balance it with the other.
Successful people know it’s not about how much you make, it’s about how you spend it.
I’m wondering if those that have made this switch back to being an employee of a larger organization after a period of self-employment have any advice. I’m finding it difficult to even compare self employment to an employee role when it comes to basics like salary requirements considering most jobs include a benefits package that don’t always have direct corollaries in a self-employment scenario. What’s your best advice for how to approach this transition and evaluate whether it might be the right time to change?
I believe in the side hustle 100%. It’s unrealistic to think that you could ever reach a moment where you can just cut off all financial security and start the career of your dreams. Unless you have years of savings or planning a couchsurfing trip.
Fears of civilization-wide idleness are based too much on the downsides of being unemployed in a society premised on the concept of employment.
Do you make “a lot”? Do you work “very long” hours? Are these two basically connected most of the time regardless of career path?
Curious to have a discussion surrounding whether people have successfully maintained a four hour work week. Also included can be those that have completely automated businesses too. On a personal note, I find freedom in being able to not work the 9-5 job. If I were to work 9=5 this would be certainly side income with the hope to then quit the 9-5.
I’d be interested to know what you guys think. I’d love to be a digital nomad but it also seems like a slightly stressful lifestyle.
Essentially, we are forced to choose. Would you rather live a life that is unbalanced, but high-performing in a certain area? Or would you rather live a life that is balanced, but never maximizes your potential in a given quadrant?
For many of us, working simply feels good. But just because it feeds your ego or makes you feel important, that doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. How do you break the cycle of working long hours at the office and constantly checking email at home?
In today’s workplace environment, does it matter what you know or how you know it? It turns out how we value workers is changing, and the emphasis now is on learning and adapting instead of coming into a job with the skills required to do everything.
It’s one thing to read all of the anecdotal evidence and science-backed facts about the benefits of a work-life balance. It’s another thing entirely to actually unlearn our deeply ingrained, workaholic habits and give ourselves permission to take a real break.
If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for.
This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.
“’Lean In’ might be a good philosophy for getting you good things in your career,” she added, “but it might not be the best strategy for getting good things in your life.”
A US ruling says that that companies aren’t allowed to pressure staff to be relentlessly positive. That’s good news, because haters can help.
Instead of sharing quotes like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, why don’t we start celebrating those who are doing the best they can, with what they currently have?
Expect workers and regulators to demand continued improvements in workplace safety. Expect more comfortable workspaces, more flexibility about hours and teleworking, more generous family leave, more and better snacks. Expect higher standards in the equipment we use — and a continued blurring of the line between office collaboration and mere socializing.
So this Tuesday around 12:30 pm, my friend Andrew and I decided to ask everyone at the Deus Ex Machina coffee shop what they were doing at that exact moment.
But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority.
Basically, I can’t make me to focus on my work until it’s really close to the deadline of my task or even later. I keep procrastinating or code other things, but the one task that I know is my highest priority and the one that should be done, always gets ignored until last minute… Anyone else had this?
View your life as a business. A business has many product lines and shifts many times during the course of its life.
We asked three economists for their answer to the question: why do we work so hard?
Moving from naive to purposeful practice can dramatically increase performance.
Next time you’re feeling apprehensive about your work, because others in your field seem more talented or confident, remember this: they only seem that way because you can’t see what they’re thinking.
Looking for a few general parameters here, feel free to answer any or all:
- Music (Y/N? if so, what? links?)
- Hours (standard 9a-5p? or 10p-5a vampire hours?)
Burning out early helps no one. WHY are we running? What are we running towards? Are you trying to get promoted, a better title, more money for your family, an early retirement, good healthcare? Ask yourself these questions so you at least know and you’re conscious about your motivations. Sometimes we forget WHY we work.
On the surface, it’s easy to sketch what a “good job” means: having a job in the first place, along with good pay and access to benefits like health insurance. But that quick description is far from adequate, for several interrelated reasons. When most of us think about a “good job,” we have more than the paycheck in mind.
I think this message is one of the most harmful in all of business. Sustained exhaustion is not a rite of passage. It’s a mark of stupidity.
I am currently working in a position that felt like a great startup to work at during my interview. However, a few months into the job I realized my boss was a complete and utter asshole. Given this is my first job out of college, I’ve stuck with it and I am looking for a new role. How can I detect during the interview / research phase to avoid such situations?
A midlife career shift can be good for cognition, well-being, and even longevity.
Passion is great, it is motivating force, a driver to learn and practice and hopefully eventually to excel at something. But at the same time it is an Achilles heel. It allows the unscrupulous to take advantage of you, it means you will work for compensation well below its actual value and it means that you will do so to your own detriment, up to and including your health.
I am an indie iPhone developer, and I’ve been working for 3 hours everyday for almost 2 years now. It may not work for everybody, but I started this habit in early 2014, and I have continued to do it since have I found that this is the most productive way to work for me.
For the future economy to work, we need to get rid of our unhealthy fixation on what work and jobs mean to our self-worth.
New research suggests being in charge is appealing because it offers freedom—not because it allows people to control others.
Our jobs have become prisons from which we don’t want to escape.
I’ve been itching to get a standing desk. After all, America’s sitting itself into an early grave. Sitting is the new smoking. Clearly, a standing desk would stop me from sitting, and standing is just so much better for you than sitting, right? Contrary to popular belief, science does not say so.
We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.
Has anyone moved out of SF/SV to work in a different tech city? If so, where?
Anyone who wants to master a skill must run through the cycle of practice, critical feedback, modification, and incremental improvement again, again, and again. Some people seem able to concentrate on practicing an activity like this for years and take pleasure in their gradual improvement. Yet others find this kind of focused, time-intensive work to be frustrating or boring. Why?
In the utopian (dystopian?) future projected by technological visionaries, few people would have to work. Wealth would be generated by millions upon millions of sophisticated machines. But how would people earn a living?
Now we live in a new world. A world where you don’t have to get a job. Where there are opportunities with their hands out, waiting to be touched and loved, if you just reach out as far as you can and touch them back. Here are ten reasons you shouldn’t have a job. Included in these ten reasons are reasons to be hopeful.
New research reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.
The notion that there is a “normal” height or a “normal” salary is a relatively new one, and it’s had a profound effect on how people think about each other and themselves.
What are your biggest career regrets?
The other day someone sent me an IM and thanked me for my open source contributions. They then said something about wishing they had my gem/code creation talents. I didn’t miss a beat and informed them that I have no talent.
In this quick post, I’m going to explore four things you can do to make a connection with customers and get them to trust you, even if you can’t show them social proof. I’ll also show you real examples of each one that I’ve helped clients implement.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”
If you really want to be at a company you can do so much better than a resume.
Common wisdom suggests that having holidays is important for restoring well-being and re-engagement in your work. After all, you’re spending time with your friends or family, doing the things that you enjoy. Best of all, you’re not at work. However, research has shown that the benefits of a holiday tend to last only two to four weeks. After that, you’re left just as burned out as you were before your holiday. So instead of having large breaks every few months or once a year, it’s better to incorporate simple recovery practices into your everyday routine.
Recruiters increasingly ask about pay history early in the hiring process, putting high earners in a quandary.
I’m in UK at the moment. I just want to quit and go somewhere to nature, seeing mountains and stuff, and work on a few projects. What are the best places? Thinking Switzerland, but it’s really expensive, any other options?
Idea Debt is when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.
Many people believe themselves to be multitasking masters, but could it all be in their heads?
Most companies invest in building the skills of their employees. Few of them systematically invest in building people’s capacity to perform at their best.
That company or project you started isn’t working out. You were excited, early customers were excited, but once you launched nothing really happened. Even worse, it’s not a total failure. You made some money. Not enough to grow, but at least a few people paid for it. When do you pull the plug and move on?
I want to quit the job I hate so much. I have been way too long on the same job (more than 10 years). I have savings enough for 1+ year. But I am fucking afraid. What is the best strategy? Just jump out of the ship?
Think about it: You can call, email, and even watch your counterparty on FaceTime, Skype, or GoToMeeting. So why do companies fork out more than $1.2 trillion a year – a full 1.5% of the world’s GDP – for international business travel?
Not everyone is Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page. Not everyone is going to drop out of college and create an iphone or a time machine or a toilet that resizes itself automatically depending on who is sitting on it (although that would be pretty cool). Some people would simply like to quit their jobs and make a good living. Some people would simply like to quit their jobs and make a million dollars.
The utopian workplace is here, complete with roof gardens, therapists and time to nap. Can the employee ever escape?
spend a lot of time “cold-emailing” local businesses and messaging other companies who are actually looking for applicants. The result is always the same: “we are not looking for freelancers/contractors right now”. I have also used freelance sites before (unsuccessfully) like ODesk and Elance, and I have really hated how they work… So ultimately, my question for HN is how do YOU find or establish new freelance/sub-contracting/contracting gigs?
What sites do you use to find contract work.
A shorter working week could improve our mental and physical health and even mitigate climate change, research shows.
If “gig” suggests the independence you get when you’re not tied down to a steady lifetime job, then just think of the freedom we’ll all enjoy when the traditional job is consigned to the scrap heap of history, and the economy is just gigs all the way down. But the idea of a gig is only alluring if you know you can hit the road when it gets joyless. Otherwise it’s just an old word for a job you need that you can’t count on having tomorrow.
The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a society so prosperous that people would hardly have to work. But that isn’t exactly how things have played out.
Increasingly, companies are demanding cult-like devotion. Do whatever it takes; sacrifice whatever you’ve got. It’s no longer enough to punch in, put in a solid day’s work, and go home. Now, you’re expected to be on Slack 24⁄7, use your social network to promote the company, recruit friends to the team, go to events in the evening, and use your personal equipment.
All of this would be fine if employees benefited from their sacrifice in the same way their bosses do. But they don’t.
How come more people are retiring in their early 20s? Why are middle-age men becoming stay-at-home dads? What’s keeping women out of the workforce other than illness, kids or school?
Practices such as working from home could do more harm than good, research finds, as many employees never ‘switch off’.
Doing what you love is going to be hard. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news. There’s always a break, just around the corner. It always gets better. No matter how badly you’ve started to hate what you do, you can recover your passion for it. Sometimes it takes a sabbatical, or a lifestyle change or just a weekend off. Sometimes you have to really ask yourself what aspects of your project or career or business are contributing negatively to your life and find a way to shut ‘em down.
Poor workplace design takes a physical toll: Sitting is making us miserable. Canadians, on average, spend 37 hours a week at work, and the more one sits, the higher his or her risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death. Sitting has been branded the new smoking, but the average workplace facilitates sedentariness with long hours in front of a screen, and provides few reasons to get up and stretch one’s legs. The beige, grey or, worse, beige-grey boxed-in desks don’t do much to inspire. On top of this, working under fluorescent light lowers cortisol levels, which leads to increased stress and tiredness.
There’s nothing wrong with loving what you do, of course — I just don’t think it’s a prerequisite for starting a business or building a fulfilling career, let alone doing great work. In fact, I think it’s disingenuous for really successful people to put so much of the focus on love, just as it’s disingenuous for really rich people to say money doesn’t matter.
When it comes to landing a good job, many people focus on the role. Although finding the right title, position and salary is important, there’s another consideration that matters just as much: culture. The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success.
I am trying to learn web development starting with a simple framework to become full stack developer. My intent is also to finish a side project and start a side income. However, every single idea I am coming up is already tried by someone else.
We’re now operating in a participation economy, where people are measured and paid for what they produce. Yet, when it comes to time off, we’re still clinging to the vestiges of the industrial economy, where people were paid for the time they spent on the job. This is a huge demotivator.
I’ll admit that working in a cube farm can feel a little soul-crushing at times. The daily commute eats into my free time and the break room keeps running out of hot chocolate packets. But every time I have to work remotely for one reason or another, it’s not long before I get the itch to go back to the office. Why would I prefer my cubicle over the carefree, location-independent lifestyle, you ask? Let’s look at three common gripes about cubicle work and see how they compare to the supposed advantages of working from home.
“Everyone’s job becomes obsolete. Nothing lasts forever. You always have to learn new skills.”
People underestimate timelines all the time. Studies have shown that students deliberately and systematically underestimate how long it will take them to complete assignments and academic projects, and that people regularly mail in their tax forms a week later than they expect to.
The daily habits and thought processes of your idols are certainly a contributing factor to the quality of their lives, but only because they have realised that those things work for them. Those things add something of value to their lives on an individual level. Those things are deeply personal, and they’re not something that can be copy-pasted into your own life with any guarantee of impact or effectiveness.
There’s a meme that’s been going around for a while now: you should join a startup because the money is better and the work is more technically interesting.
The theory claims the secret to a creatively fulfilling career lies in understanding the operations of Helsinki’s main bus station.
Recently, I wrote an email to our team that posed a simple challenge in time management. The response was unexpected, and I was urged to share it with more people, so here we are.
Everyone’s been rejected - these are our stories.
The sheer willingness to hand over so much of a 24 hour day, almost all the waking hours of your life, to your profession, and to pour your existence down the compassionless siphon of professional development, is a remarkable thing.
My mother taught me never to give unsolicited advice, nor try to help anyone unless they ask you for it. I always thought that maybe she was just cold. As I get older, I have started to realize that she was right. My mother is one of the kindest people in my life.
Nearly 100 years after our modern idea of home was invented, we started a company that aims to create something better. Because seemingly exotic lifestyle choices available to a few should be accessible to many. It should be easy for you to live a life that’s more communal. Global. And interesting. While we’ll address reliable housing for nomads first, the bigger story is outlined below.
The truth about freelancing is that getting hired as a freelancer has exactly nothing to do with your abilities as a freelancer.
Most people worry about what other people think of them. Most people worry about their health. Most people are at a crossroads and don’t know how to take the next step and which road to take it on. Everyone is in a perpetual state of ‘where do I put my foot next’. Nobody, including me, can avoid that.
For 5000 years or longer, humanity has driven forward with story-telling. Too many people forget that but the only way to really communicate effectively is through story… Too often we apply for grants. Or we apply to a company. Or we apply to the government. And then we wait. And we wait. And we want that one special person to choose us.
The most common* job in each state 1978-2014.
Too many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success. But a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.
I entered the industry in the way many do: with a sense of complete personal abandon and lack of direction. No one enters out of high school, because they can’t, so everyone goes in because something else didn’t work out. Layoffs, breakups, and prison stints are popular notes of inspiration. I graduated journalism school tens of thousands in debt, and I needed fast cash with minimum expenditures. Craigslist, I noticed, was overrun with trucking companies making desperate pleas. So I spent three grand, earned a commercial driver’s license at a community college, and applied to nine trucking jobs.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Our increasing reliance on digital solutions has reduced much need for human interaction. We say (or write) stuff like, “we don’t need to meet, just email me,” “just click here to submit this form,” etc. We do this so much, that we can go through a whole work day without really interacting with anyone. This can be great if we’re pursuing heightened focus and productivity. But over time, we begin to feel lonely, we long to connect with people.
For me my time at McDonalds was invaluable. Yeah, I never want to scoop fries or make burgers again, but I learnt something more important. I started to chip away at my arrogance. I challenged the ways I dehumanized people for their job. I stopped equating dislike for big shitty companies with dislike for their foot soldiers. I developed more empathy.
In the ‘gig’ or ‘sharing’ economy, say the experts, we will do lots of different jobs as technology releases us from the nine to five. But it may also bring anxiety, insecurity and low wages.
For anyone looking to take a job at a startup, or anyone working on salaries at a startup, we hope this new formula and calculator might cut down the time you spend on thinking about salaries by many hours.
Here’s an alternative: instead of thinking about your day as one long to-do list or trying on different time-management exercises for size, take a closer look at the science of how your brain functions throughout the day and try to match the right tasks to the right mindset to help maximize productivity.
This is what he told me.
I am a developer and I have a 40 hr/week job. It is a very good job and I put a lot of effort in it. But I have also my own ideas that I would love to develop, but I am struggling to organize time and material to develop something for me. I read a lot and have a lot of ideas, about little porjects to test new technologies or new patterns, but never find the time. I would love to learn the experience and techniques used by someone who have been able do to something like this.
We all see “success stories” featured on internet blogs (basically every website with the “tech” prefix) and some trends tend to distort how we perceive how people arrived at where they are. I want to know — How did you get your current job or startup? Did you go to college? Dropout? If your did go to college, have you ever failed a course? Did you have to move to a different country? How did you manage that and what was (in general) the biggest obstacle/low-point of your journey so far?
So this may sound obvious but what I’ve learned is that what I was considering concrete wasn’t really anything. “We’ll check on our end”, “We’ll get back to you”, “I believe we can make this work” are all just manners. Concrete is knowing what are the following steps on the other end before we can consider this deal closed.
What is your job? Do you like it? What was your favorite job?
Tomorrow morning, I’ll board a flight from LAX to JFK with a wardrobe woefully ill-equipped, in both style and thermal insulation, for New York City, and this will mark the end of 2 years working with, and later leading, a startup engineering team from the comfort of my home. I want to share my thoughts on this experience. As always, your mileage may vary.
Like a carefully placed billboard aimed at covering the slums behind it, my online presence had become a shiny advertisement for a life that looked like a dream, but in reality was speckled with stress and anxiety.
Our vision is to make moving so easy and information about life quality so transparent that we would end up with a world where countries and cities compete for each citizen (not vice versa).
Work-life balance doesn’t exist in a world where sippy cups, Algebra lessons, Swedish massage class, yoga, conference calls, editorial deadlines and living in a third language all co-habitate in the same mental space. It just doesn’t. And, it’s asinine to pretend that it does.
In many ways, remote work is an ongoing experiment in business, as it has only been fully embraced by some companies in the past decade or so, showing healthy growth with an 80% increase in “telecommunicating” employees from 2005 to 2012. But what does it take to manage a successful remote team?
The problem in the world today is that we only see the final product - the amazing movie, the super-efficient vacuum cleaner, the vogue theory. What we don’t see is the deeper story of how these innovations emerge. The tales we tell about creativity overlook this, too. We think of Archimedes shouting “eureka” or Newton being hit on the head by the apple and instantaneously inventing the theory of gravity. But these stories are pure fiction. They get the direction of creativity the wrong way around.
There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea. Dismissing an idea is so easy because it doesn’t involve any work. You can scoff at it. You can ignore it. You can puff some smoke at it. That’s easy. The hard thing to do is protect it, think about it, let it marinate, explore it, riff on it, and try it. The right idea could start out life as the wrong idea.
How did the greatest entrepreneurs start out? What were their biggest successes? What failures did they have to overcome along the way? We’ve charted the careers of 33 inspirational company founders, from the man behind Heinz beans to the woman behind Ultimo bras, to show that there’s more than one path to success.
People complain about checking their inboxes when they’re out of the office, but some of them kind of enjoy it too.
Do the work first. Create the following and the audience first. Prove your value first. Demonstrate your understanding of an industry first. Do all that then and only then maybe will a company have the confidence in you to provide the freedom and creative latitude for you to do what you want that will ultimately benefit them and their bottom line. It took me 14 years to understand this.
There’s plenty of information available on why distributed teams and working-from-home, is better for the mental and physical health of the individual humans. Even on why reduced commuting is good for the environment. By contrast, there is relatively little about why distributed teams are also better for the organization. Thankfully, this is changing.
We’re kind of in the surly teenager phase of remote work right now. A lot of companies are using tools like Slack, Hangouts, and GitLab, so our technical chops are heading in the right direction… but our processes and workflows still have a long way towards maturity. Just because you happen to use chat rooms doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become a glorious haven for remote workers, dammit.
This is a talk about what happens when a culture is driven by the need for money to make more money.
A team of social scientists recently set out to review the research on telecommuting, in hopes of finding out once and for all whether it’s a net positive for workers and their employers. The resulting study, published last week in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, boldly declares: It depends.
The paradox of the American Dream: The best cities to get ahead are often the most expensive places to live, and the most affordable places to live can be the worst cities to get ahead.
I always have this problem of feeling inadequate. I’m a junior CS student at a decent but not great school. Some of my friends go to Stanford or UT Austin and have already interned with multiple top companies, while I haven’t accomplished anything of significance… I’m really impatient to achieve big things. It’s like I need to in order to justify my existence. How do I transition to a healthier state of mind and stop feeling worthless?
Part of the problem seems to be that nobody these days is content to merely put their dent in the universe. No, they have to fucking own the universe. It’s not enough to be in the market, they have to dominate it. It’s not enough to serve customers, they have to capture them.
Why do you go to work? Chances are it’s got something to do with money. But as most of us know, it’s more complicated than that. “There is a spectrum of reasons why people do their jobs,” write Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor in Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation. “Understanding that spectrum is the key to creating the highest levels of performance.”
So this isn’t an article telling you why you should go remote, why remote is the most awesome thing since avocado on toast, or even to convince you to quit your job right now. Instead, this is a manifest of my own, confessing the highlights and the struggles I’ve had to deal with while working remotely and how I overcame some of them.
A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans. It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups.
June 12, 2015, was my last day as a programmer for a Bay Area tech company. I gave them four years of my life, making their website faster and making fellow developers’ jobs easier. I left knowing I don’t want to get another job in tech. I don’t want another job at all.
The term “storytelling” might be trendy these days, and there are many medium posts on the topic to prove it. But the present relevance of storytelling as a buzzword does not change the fact that it remains one of the most compelling ways to reach people and hook them. We are deeply programmed to explain ourselves through narrative, from the cave drawings of the past, to oral histories, to today’s movies, television programmes, books, and blogs.
Working longer hours leads to poorer productivity. If you’re trying to impress people and move up the ranks, the solution isn’t to work longer, but to work smarter. Learn to manage your time, to limit the endless spiral of emails and meetings, and to improve your efficiency.
Has anyone ever transitioned from the enterprise world into contracting successfully? Is it possible to do it over a period of time? (keep current job and moonlight freelance gigs). What did you do to get your initial clients?
The later Nobel laureate James Buchanan used to advise his graduate students: “keep your ass in the chair”. Woody Allen claimed that “80% of success is showing up.” And Gary Player used to say: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Some recent experiments show they are right.
A previously secret document titled “Simple Sabotage Field Manual: Strategic Services” details the various ways that spies should work to bring down companies that they are placed in. But the sabotage techniques sound very similar to those encountered in many offices today.
We still haven’t realized of something extraordinary that is happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from society, I’ve released myself from attachments I had and fear that locked me to the system. And since then, I started seeing the world from a different perspective. The perspective that everything is changing and most of us have not even realized that. Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll list the reasons that take me to believe this.
Practices, research, and ideas from Google and other organizations to put people first.
“Beyond Remote” focuses on moving past the tools and processes that make things like communication and collaboration possible for remote teams and instead tries to look at the deeper underlying issues and motivations that have implications for those surface level topics. Why do I work? Who is the person I want to become? What makes me do good work and have clear communications? The questions that Beyond Remote asks are guided by an understanding of what should happen when you work remotely.
In January, I’m going to wander from college to college begging the soon-to-graduate to apply for jobs at Big Nerd Ranch. Several of the most promising will tell me something like, “I’m starting a company with a friend. It is like Instagram for pet owners.” This post is about why starting a company is just dumb. And I know: I started a successful company.
When most people think about working in a home environment, they think they will be able to wake up late, work in their pajamas, not worry about traffic jams and so on; basically, do whatever they want. And, while that may be partially true, working remotely can have an effect on your physical health. That’s why it is important for remote developers to stay active and healthy, and that’s what we’re dicussing today.
If you can prove to them that you can solve their problem, you instantly decommoditize yourself, and none of those things on paper matter as much. This is exactly how I’ve gotten interviews and job offers for positions that require masters degrees, MBAs, degrees in subjects I’ve never studied, and more years of experience than I have. So how do you prove to them that you can solve their problem? Do the job before you get the job.
Hopes&Fears gathered information on the paid leave, whether for vacation, state holidays, illness or parental leave, legally guaranteed to workers in cities around the world.
The bottom line? According to multiple, peer-reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success.
According to a new survey from career website Glassdoor, while work-life balance has continued to decrease over the past six years, there are still areas where employees are happy with the amount of time they spend on the clock.
More and more firms are giving attorneys more flexibility by letting them work from home, but workplace culture might be taking a hit.
We hope more products offer similar abilities to shut themselves off when work is over. “You can get ahold of me about work whenever” will eventually lead to “I don’t want to work here anymore”. Here’s to early mornings, evenings, and weekends being free from work. Work Can Wait.
Maybe I am naive, but it’s been nearly three months since I received my last paycheck. I’m living cheaply in Southeast Asia now and running an import/export company that’s less than two years old. Yes, I’m living my dream. That’s not to say the entrepreneur lifestyle is all peaches and roses. Our business is very much coupled with highs and lows; triple profits one day, followed by no profits the next; 60 hours worth of work one week, then less than a dozen the next; thousands of dollars worth of inventory one month, then low or no inventory the next. It’s a high-low lifestyle with bad, good and great days mixed in a row. There are pros and cons to running your own business – these are just a few of my entrepreneur highs and lows.
This time we interviewed Sara Sutton Fell – the CEO and founder of FlexJobs, a website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance and part-time job listings, and founder of Remote.co and the 1 Million for Work Flexibility initiative.
This might sound familiar to a lot of people. We just accept this as a fact of life. Your work eats into the rest of your life, you have to structure everything else around it. Everything else goes into the ‘gaps’; weekends or what you have left of your evening during the week. But sometimes work even eats into that… But it doesn’t need to be this way. I love my work, and my life outside of work: why should the one detract from the other?
We’re more stressed at work than ever before. Leigh Stringer, author of the forthcoming book, The Healthy Workplace, explains how you can create more time and space for mindfulness meditation in your workplace.
The main reason most employers aren’t in favour of home-working is because they don’t trust their workforce, according to Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School. “They’ll never say that, but that’s what it’s about. Managers want people in the office because they want to see their little empires there in front of them,” he says.
I used to work a lot — 60, 80, or even 100 hours a week. I let my work be a big part of how I defined myself. I wore those insane hours like a badge of honor … I loved telling people how “busy” I was … and how much I “had to do”. Sound familiar?
Travel helps us unravel that complexity by giving fresh perspective to ideas, as well as helping us experience issues that affect the world on a global scale - or even those tiny details which we might miss out on while sitting in a regular office. A delayed flight or how your cocoa is sprinkled on your coffee in that new city reveals a lot about great user experience and how to design emotion. Travel helps the understanding of whole ecosystems, and gives a comprehensive overview of how these often overlooked touches can completely change a mood, create a smile, and build a brand.
Have you ever wondered how you could earn a living that would allow you to live and work anywhere in the world? Many people already living that dream shared the details of how they make a living in the recent Location Independent and Digital Nomad Survey.
Having everyone in the same room is a rare luxury for Team Teleport. Here are some of our main behaviours, guidelines and rules for making sure communication stays effective inside our distributed team.
In December 2013, all full time employees at Customer.io were in the same office in New York City. Late last year we tried a 2 month experiment with remote working and had great results. This gave us the confidence to decide at the end of 2013 to make it ok for people to be distributed. We made that decision public in our Annual Report and many people have been curious about how our experiment has been going.
In the latest installment of Hopes&Fears’ anonymous interview series, we spoke with two writers for content farms. These freelancers generate large amounts of text content that exist solely to promote products or brands and incorporates popular search terms and topics to get their posts at the top of your search results.
“Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed. Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.”
Too often makers get criticized for building things that don’t solve “real” problems. It’s OK to build “dumb” things. Making doesn’t always have to be serious and like the guitarist practicing their craft, building an app is an expression of creativity and opportunity to learn.
As the last summer-like days of 2015 are passing here in Lisbon, PT, I’ve suddenly felt inspired to share the story of our first escapade to Bali that took place 2 years ago. As more nomadic practices happen every day, the discussion around the concept becomes hotter. “Does it fit me?”, “Am I autonomous and disciplined enough to stay productive while those palms and beaches keep calling me every minute?”, etc. I don’t know whether the universal answer to these questions exists. What I can do is to lay down my own story of our first escapade at Kwamecorp.
Making money takes practice, just like playing the piano takes practice. No one expects anyone to be any good at the piano unless they’ve put in lots practice. Same with making money. The better you practice the better you get. Eventually making money is as easy for you as piano is for someone who’s been playing for 10 years.
“If the office is going to become a collection of employees not working together, it essentially becomes no different than a coffee shop.”
We took a look at the ten companies that are leading the way in remote work and what we can learn from them to become better, more productive and happy remote workers.
My recent experience is that many companies insist on having engineers on site. When they hear “remote” or “not in the office” many people have a very negative perception. They either believe it’s cheap labor or they believe they require people to come into the office each day in order to get good results. While I do understand the bad experience many companies have, this is not always the case. Many are highly successful with distributed remote engineers, or even a remote team.
CBRE is more than 20 offices into a companywide initiative, called Workplace 360, through which it’s converting every branch into “address-free” locations without assigned desks or cubicles, and with fewer workstations altogether.
With this post, I hope to enumerate some of the best practices that I’ve picked up for working in a variety of situations. The remote and work from home guide here ranges from specific recommendations for software and hardware, to tips for hitting your team’s deadlines.
A radical experiment at Zappos to end the office workplace as we know it.
Do you guys have any tips for how to manage myself well? Are there any good tools you’ve found success with? Anything you wish someone would have told you earlier?
I have now worked remotely for Vertigo for over 3 years and I’d like to share a list of Pros/Cons that I’ve gathered through my experience working from home full time.
You don’t have to work every waking hour, sunrise to sunset.
Exercise has potential to be an effective burnout intervention. Different types of exercise may assist employees in different ways. Organisations wishing to proactively reduce burnout can do so by encouraging their employees to access regular exercise programs.
As work bleeds into leisure time, employees should embrace the once-square schedule and its clear-cut boundaries.
In this piece, I’ll codify some of the lessons I’ve learned. If you’re already a remote developer, you may pick up some new tricks and a more rigorous way of thinking about how you work. If you are planning to go remote, oh boy, you should clear your calendar because I have so many things to tell you. Effective remote work comes down to maintaining those things which are necessary no matter where you work—organization, communication and motivation.
Collaboration among remote employees is always tricky, but it’s especially tough when a company is growing fast in places that are far apart. “You almost have to over-communicate,” says Humphrey. “One of the problems is that, when people don’t see other people working, they start to make negative assumptions. They start thinking, ‘What is that other team doing? Probably not much.’”
Embracing wholeness is a big part of our culture at Buffer, and that includes family in all its forms. Here are few examples of what family means to the team members here at Buffer, and how working at Buffer has changed or enhanced that part of life.
I was wondering how a lot of you guys got started doing this. For someone who has no experience in software, programming or anything really with computers other than using them, how would I even be able to do something like this? Did most of you start with college degrees? Did anyone teach themselves over time? Any books you can recommend to start?
Since 1989, when I first started doing online media, people have been transfixed by scale, by numbers, by rankings. “How many eyeballs, how big is the audience, what’s the passalong, how many likes, friends, followers, how many hits?” You cannot win this game and I want to persuade you (and Dean Baquet at the Times) to stop trying.
I was the envy of my 30-something friends in Palo Alto, Calif. I had my own law office right on California Avenue. People charged with crimes handed me cash, in advance, over a big oak desk. Occasionally, I’d make a couple of grand in an afternoon. But soon, my body started giving out one part at a time. First a shoulder, then my lower back, knee cartilage, neck vertebrae… After 10 years as a law student and lawyer, working in a profession I didn’t like was taking its toll.
In sum, the story of overwork is literally a story of diminishing returns: keep overworking, and you’ll progressively work more stupidly on tasks that are increasingly meaningless.
Recently, I’ve been trying (again) to write every day. (I’m not shooting for 1k words this time, but perhaps I should…) Once again, I found myself holding a few ideas close, reluctant to write them because of my perceived lack of skill. It really struck me the other day how ludicrous that reluctance was.
As Americans enjoy an extra day away from the office over the long Labor Day weekend, many will reflect on the end of a summer when, once again, they took far fewer days of vacation than workers in other countries.
THE way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.
Working from home, whether it’s once in a while or every day, doesn’t make you immune to the social weirdness that comes with other people. In fact, being physically removed from your coworkers can make communicating that much stranger. Here’s what you need to know to avoid awkward silences in chat rooms, flat jokes on conference calls, or just feeling isolated from the rest of your colleagues.
Time management goes only so far; the emotional reasons for delay must also be addressed.
As a nomad and an entrepreneur, I find myself working in a large variety of places throughout the year. I have a nice setup in my RV, but I’ll also work from friend’s offices, airplanes, airports, friend or family’s houses, trains, Regus offices or any other number of places. However, my absolute favorite place to work is from a cruise ship, in particular long transatlantic cruises like the one I’m currently on.
A lot of times people confuse being known with being successful. In reality though, one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other. There are lots of people who are killing it with what they do and nobody’s the wiser, except the clients they serve. They have full rosters, top billing and no industry recognition. These are the makers and not the megaphones.
The way to have good ideas is to get close to killing yourself. It’s like weightlifting. When you lift slightly more than you can handle, you get stronger. In life, when the gun is to your head, you either figure it out, or you die. When you cut yourself open, you bleed ideas. If you’re broke and close to death, you have to start coming up with ideas. If you destroy your life, you need to come up with ideas to rebuild it.
Among our most toxic symbol-as-reality tricks springs from the concept, use, and pursuit of money: “But this ingrained and archaic confusion of money with wealth is now the main reason we are not going ahead full tilt with the development of our technological genius for the production of more than adequate food, clothing, housing, and utilities for every person on earth.”
Peter Wall, the founder of Hubud, answers our questions about the concept and success behind Bali’s famous coworking space and shares his thoughts about the future of work in Asia’s growing entrepreneurial scene.
Wow- there’s like a gazillion different “to-do” list apps out there. Yet despite being as haphazard and scatterbrained as the next person, I don’t use any of them… But what I do keep is a “What I Do” list of sorts, and I don’t think many people in our space — founders or investors — approach time management in those preliminary terms: “What-I-do” as a foundation or prerequisite for contemplating the “to-do.”
How satisfied are we with our jobs? Gallup regularly polls workers around the world to find out. Its survey last year found that almost 90 percent of workers were either “not engaged” with or “actively disengaged” from their jobs. Think about that: Nine out of 10 workers spend half their waking lives doing things they don’t really want to do in places they don’t particularly want to be.
Everything we do to manage a business consisting mainly of remote employees is something anyone else could do too. There’s so much untapped tech talent that does not live near your office, but would work for you if you allowed them to. So stop whining, spend a day to get up to speed on remote working practices, and hire outside of your commuter zone.
Your salary negotiation — which routinely takes less than 5 minutes to conclude — has an outsized influence on what your compensation is. Compensation can include money or things which are more-or-less fungible replacements for money, but it can also include interesting things which you value from “more time with your family” to “opportunities to do tasks which you find fulfilling” to “perks which make a meaningful difference in your day-to-day quality of life.
It’s been a little over three years since I joined Etsy as a remote employee, so I thought I’d write a little about my experiences of remote working, both the good and bad, by way of throwing a dash of real-life experience into the mixing pot of the “remote or not” discussion.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions by freelancers (both newbies and veterans alike.) Well-meaning responses posted on message boards often include a link to one of several online calculators. The inputs include questions like “how much is your monthly Internet bill?” and “How many vacation days do you take each year?” The final question on the of most popular of these calculators is “How much profit do you want?
It’s no coincidence that so many successful tech companies were (and will be) born in the Bay Area. But for Phileas & Fogg, we’re packing up and spending October through December in Costa Rica. Here’s why.
David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH on the internet) and Jason Fried have a new book: Remote: Office Not Required. This post is a hybrid: it’s a book review, but it’s also personal. I’m going to describe how working remotely (this past year) has affected me personally.
What I’m trying to say is, freelancing is awesome. It’s a double rainbow. It is love. Except, y’know, when it’s not.
Before he was famous, before he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, before he invented the helicopter, before he drew the most famous image of man, before he was all of these things, Leonardo da Vinci was an armorer, a weapons guy, a maker of things that go “boom.” And, like you, he had to put together a resume to get his next gig. So in 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a list of his capabilities and sent it off to Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan.
Working remotely is still a relatively new style, but according to reports almost 50% of tech companies will have more than 30% of their workforce operating remotely by 2020, which sounds crazy and awesome all at once. Both employees and companies will gain some huge benefits from this trend.
In general, startups get distracted by fake work. Fake work is both easier and more fun than real work for many founders. Two particularly bad cases are raising money and getting personal press; we’ve seen many promising founders fall in love with one or (usually) both of these, which nearly always ends badly. But the list of fake work is long.
As an industry, we are falling short of our potential. We could be accomplishing more, and we could be providing a better life for all of the people who work in technology. If you’re going to devote the best years of your life to work, do so intentionally. You can do great things AND live your life well. You can have it all, and science says you should.
If one person is wrong, they’re wrong. If a lot of people, some of whom got extremely rich off of their wrong ideas, are wrong, there’s a good possibility I’m the wrong one. At a minimum, it’s useful for me to understand where I’m differing from others. Open offices are one such puzzle. To me, they are obviously one step short of Azkaban. And yet everyone, including some exceptionally profitable companies, use them.
Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.
Open plans have been surprisingly hard to kill, despite research showing that they’re unpopular, decrease employee satisfaction, and hurt productivity… The result is that today Stack Exchange is decidedly lonely if not quite alone in offering private offices to our developers (at least the half who work in the office; the other half work remotely). Suddenly we’re the ones who look a bit old-fashioned: isn’t that the old-school Microsoft approach?
Doing a startup is cool and hip these days (especially in the Valley), but there are too many people who start a company not because they care deeply about a problem, but because they want to ‘do a startup’. There is no wrong time to start a company. It doesn’t matter if the economy is good or bad. The best time to start a company is when you are so passionate about solving a problem that you can’t think of, or bear to be doing anything else.
Whenever you make a decision on what step to take next in your career, I think it is worth considering the following factors. Depending on your stage of life or career, different factors become more or less important.
For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?
It’s been said in many places and by many luminaries: Do what you love. But what does this phrase actually mean?
Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. In his talk, he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.
These days, the idea of meaningful work is thrown around lightly at industry conferences and in management manuals, mostly as a way to motivate employees. It’s also widely mocked by low-level workers in cubicles whose jobs often feel exactly the opposite of meaningful. And yet, it’s hard to escape the idea that the thing we spend 40, or 50, or more hours at every week really ought to matter. I wanted to see what really meaningful work looks like.
A decade before Kickstarter, he offers idealistic yet practical advice to aspiring filmmakers, which applies with equal poignancy and precision to just about any field of creative endeavor.
The anarchist author, coiner of the phrase ‘We are the 99%’, talks to Stuart Jeffries about ‘bullshit jobs’, our rule-bound lives and the importance of play.
Not happy with your professional or personal life? If that’s the case, the problem isn’t your upbringing, or a lack of opportunities, or bad luck, or the result of other people holding you back. The problem is you. If our lives suck, we’re letting it happen. Maybe the problem lies in what we believe – and in what we do.
Nomad List finds you the best places in the world to live and work remotely. It collects over 50,000 data points about 500+ cities around the world, from cost of living, temperature to safety. With that data I try to make a good estimate of where you, as a digital nomad, should go next.
Going nomadic is easier than most people think, but it’s not for everyone. You need to have skills that you can sell. You need the discipline to work from anywhere and not get distracted. You may get lonely living in a strange place where you can’t speak the language. You will meet all kinds of people, some of whom will try to take advantage of you. Finding work is a constant challenge, and you have to manage your finances carefully.