I’ve given some career advice in the past, and love talking to others about tips we each have for getting work done at work. Having problems working at work, or getting work done might sound like an odd problem to talk about, but you would be surprised how difficult it can be sometimes. At any company large or small you are going to encounter “red tape”. People will want to put their stake in the ground and fight for their turf (right or wrong), or fight for change not to happen, even if the change makes total sense for the company (many only think about themselves or their respective area). Advice I often find useful is to fight back in the face of adversity. So many people give up when they face adversity and being the reality TV lover that I am, I’m always looking to learn from what most see as mindless (OK some of it is) TV.
One of the reality TV shows I never miss is Hell’s Kitchen. Many don’t watch the show and often cite the fact that they don’t like how Chef Ramsay yells at the contestants. I don’t necessarily like it either, I think some of it is for TV, but one thing I have noticed is there seems to be a method to his madness. He will yell at the contestants calling them words like “wankers, donkeys” and other belittling terms. I find some of what he says hilarious but yes mean and absolutely disrespectful. If you model that type of behavior you won’t stay employed and you certainly won’t get respect. Unstable leaders results in unstable teams. Stressed leaders result in stressed teams. I could go on but very frequently a team will model the behavior of its leadership. One thing I have noticed is Chef Ramsay scolds someone and then he carefully watches their reactions. Some cry, some give up, and every now and then someone will fight back. I’ve noticed he doesn’t like those that fight back with disrespect, little do, but when contestants fight back with resilience, time and time again he will accept failure if it means he is able to keep someone who wants to continue in the competition. Then there are times when there is someone who fights back with no respect and as you can see in the video below, that didn’t go well for him, and it will never go well for you.
Similarly in business I’ve noticed people will give up when they are reprimanded and choose a different career, quit the company, and in even some cases, stop believing in themselves entirely. Never stop believing in yourself and always fight back in the face of adversity. How you choose to fight back is going to be different for everyone but if you truly believe in yourself and what you believe in, one would hope it is worth fighting for. Fight back but always fight fair, even when others aren’t.
Growing up I didn’t get a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) until I was in Middle School, and when I did I was instantly addicted. I remember having to wear bandages on my thumbs because I played it so much. Mario, Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Contra, Tetris and a few others were my favorites. I have many passions and the tough part about being a passionate person is you can’t pursue every passion. When I was little like most boys I saw a garbage truck, I was amazed by it, and I think being a garbage man was the first profession I remember wanting to pursue. For a while I fell in love with planes and wanted to be a pilot until I came to the stupidly obvious realization that if I didn’t like roller coasters, I probably wouldn’t like flying a plane. After being in a small plane a few weeks ago I think being in control of something and being out of control are two different things, but being afraid of being out of control directed me away from pursuing becoming a pilot. I love ice cream and when I was in college I started out as a Small Business Major because I wanted to create my own ice cream business. My senior year of High School I fell madly in love with computers but I fall madly in love with all my passions. Upon graduating my parents bought me a computer and from that point on I consumed every computer book imaginable. After a few years of pursuing a small business management degree I realized my love for computers was even more strong than that of ice cream, which is really saying something, so I changed to computer science. I started going down a path of trying to become a video game developer but life ended up taking me in another direction. Not a bad direction, it has been a very good direction, but that is the thing about life, it has many directions.
So with all that said when I saw the Indie Game Movie trailer back in July, I couldn’t wait to see the full movie. On June 12 the movie was released and I bought it that same day. If you are a geek, you like video games, and you want to see a beautiful documentary, you must see the film. Head over to http://buy.indiegamethemovie.com/ and download your DRM free version (1080p, 720p, clean version, team meat commentary version) or you can stream it directly from the site for $9.99. The trailer was great so I had high expectations for the film, but I have to say it really exceeded my expectations. There is definitely some strong language in the film so if that bothers you I would recommend you watch the clean version. I talk about passion a lot and the people making these indie games put so much time and effort into them that it really impressed me. You get to see their trials and tribulations, as well as their wins. It is a beautiful movie and I hope you get the chance to see it. Let me know what you think if you do get the chance to watch it in the comments.
According to Grind’s website, grind is “a 22nd century platform that helps talent collaborate in a new way: outside the system. It’s a members-only workspace and community dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of working the old way and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine.” The first Grind location opened at 419 Park Avenue South and is available to those who are approved via the application on their website. Once approved, the location is $35 a day or $500 a month.
I love disruption of industries, especially when the disruption causes a more open, ethical, responsible, collaborative, and efficient result. I think what Grind is doing is great and I’d love to hear from those who have worked there. I am intrigued by this model and would be interested to see if it is a trend that continues. Until today I hadn’t heard about Grind but I had heard about what Phillip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life was doing with his model called Coffee & Power in San Francisco (blog here). Kevin Rose does a great series called Foundation and below is his interview with Rosedale which covers Rosedale’s career and future vision of Coffee & Power.
I can think of a few hybrid models of what Grind and Coffee & Power are creating, but each admittedly have their advantages and disadvantages.
Model #1: A way for businesses or individuals to lease unused real estate to those who need a space to create and collaborate. This is already happening today and if you Google “unused office space” you can see this model already “has legs”.
Model #2: An online solution for people to collaborate real time on their projects. A way for people to recruit others to help with their cause and benefit from the result of the effort. We have GoToMyPC, Skype, and other real time collaborative solutions, but one might argue that the efficiencies of collaborating in the same physical space can’t be replicated or matched with such tools.
Model #3: A family friendly version of what Grind & Coffee & Power is doing. Think Grind meets Gymboree where moms and dads don’t just work and grow their careers, but their kids grow alongside them. Families can take their kids to work with them and be as much of a parent, or as close to their kids as they choose. Many parents already have daycare costs. I would love to have my son close by so I could eat lunch with him, take him outside with me as I went on break (if I took breaks…which I would if I could be with him for a few minutes), and just be with him as much as possible. I think many professionals fear that having a family will impact their career options. Most families these days work, and I’m a big proponent of moms and dads both working if they choose to, but at the same time I think we can find a family friendly model to careers and family in modern day society. I think moms and dads should be given a better alternative to working where work/life balance isn’t where you can work less hours at the office so you could have a better balance at home, but the home and the office are as seamless as possible. At many companies and start-ups today there is a stark contrast between work and family. Can you tell which of the models I’m most passionate about?
I found SaveTheWords.org which lists uncommonly used words. If you select one of the words it defines the word and allows you to adopt it meaning you “hereby promise to use the word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the very best of my ability”. I like the site and I love learning in general, but the site got me thinking that if you need to define the words to 99% of the people you communicate to, do we “need” to save them?
If I use a word like coquinate, mulomedic, or algotrophy I may seem more intelligent, but if you need to lookup the meaning are we asking that society save (and learn) a set of words we we don’t need to communicate efficiently? Language can be a beautiful thing. Shakespeare and many others have taught us language is an art form but language constantly evolves. If you look at how youth in the world communicate it is short, abbreviated, and to the point. Are we better communicators for using less words, or should we save coquinate, mulomedic, and mulomedic?
I like to think we have a brilliant community who frequents this site so if you have a thought on this, let me know what you think!
Our internal blog recently asked employees for the best career advice they would offer to others. Below is my response which I wanted to share. My hope is you will in turn offer your best advice.
Set a plan for what you are looking to do with your career. Many people don’t have a plan for where they are looking to go and their career path often demonstrates that. Have short, medium, and long term goals. Make sure and consider family choices/decisions as those need to be factored into career planning as well. Once you have your plan be ready for the opportunity when it comes because when someone answers the door you’ve been knocking on, be ready to articulate/show you have what it takes! Also, you have to knock on some doors many times for the opportunity to present itself. Don’t give up.
Don’t let anyone tell you can’t be successful at something. There are going to be times in your career when you may not succeed. When you don’t succeed some may stop believing in you, but never stop believing in yourself.