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jerryking : unhappiness   10

The Mystery of the Miserable Employees: How to Win in the Winner-Take-All Economy -
June 15, 2019 | The New York Times | By Neil Irwin.
Neil Irwin is a senior economics correspondent for The Upshot. He is the author of “How to Win in a Winner-Take-All-World,” a guide to navigating a career in the modern economy.......
What Mr. Ostrum and the analytics team did wasn’t a one-time dive into the numbers. It was part of a continuing process, a way of thinking that enabled them to change and adapt along with the business environment. The key is to listen to what data has to say — and develop the openness and interpretive skills to understand what it is telling us.......Neil Irwin was at Microsoft’s headquarters researching a book that aims to answer one simple question: How can a person design a thriving career today? The old advice (show up early, work hard) is no longer enough....In nearly every sector of the economy, people who seek well-paying, professional-track success face the same set of challenges: the rise of a handful of dominant “superstar” firms; a digital reinvention of business models; and a rapidly changing understanding about loyalty in the employer-employee relationship. It’s true in manufacturing and retail, in banking and law, in health care and education — and certainly in tech......superstar companies — and the smaller firms seeking to upend them — are where pragmatic capitalists can best develop their abilities and be well compensated for them over a long and durable career.....the obvious disadvantages of bureaucracy have been outweighed by some not-so-obvious advantages of scale......the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data about how people work, and what makes a manager effective (jk: organizing data) .... is essential for even those who aren’t managers of huge organizations, but are just trying to make themselves more valuable players on their own corporate team.......inside Microsoft’s human resources division, a former actuary named Dawn Klinghoffer ....was trying to figure out if the company could use data about its employees — which ones thrived, which ones quit, and the differences between those groups — to operate better......Klinghoffer was frustrated that ....insights came mostly from looking through survey results. She was convinced she could take the analytical approach further. After all, Microsoft was one of the biggest makers of email and calendar software — programs that produce a “digital exhaust” of metadata about how employees use their time. In September 2015, she advised Microsoft on the acquisition of a Seattle start-up, VoloMetrix, that could help it identify and act on the patterns in that vapor......One of VoloMetrix's foundational data sets, for example, was private emails sent by top Enron executives before the company’s 2001 collapse — a rich look at how an organization’s elite behave when they don’t think anyone is watching.
analytics  books  data  datasets  data_driven  exhaust_data  Fitbit  gut_feelings  human_resources  interpretative  Managing_Your_Career  massive_data_sets  meetings  metadata  Microsoft  Moneyball  organizational_analytics  organizing_data  people_analytics  quantitative  quantified_self  superstars  unhappiness  VoloMetrix  winner-take-all  work_life_balance 
june 2019 by jerryking
Kleiner Perkins, Disrupted - NYTimes.com
By DAVID STREITFELD MARCH 9, 2015.

The last decade has not been as kind to Kleiner. Entrepreneurs have less need of venture capitalists and their cash, because it is cheaper to start a company and they now have other funding sources. Kleiner also had self-inflicted wounds: An ambitious bet on alternative energy companies, also known as green tech, did not work out as well as hoped, and many opportunities were missed in consumer Internet companies. When the events at issue in the trial took place — roughly 2008 to 2012 — the firm downsized.

A struggling firm in a struggling industry is, as all connoisseurs of digital disruption know, bound to be filled with unhappiness....Kleiner was a firm in flux, Mr. Hirschfeld recalled. One woman he talked to said Kleiner “seemed to be moving from a brand called KP to a brand of individuals that are part of KP. It was now becoming more of a cult of personality, and each personality had its own brand.” ...Kleiner is coming off at the trial as a place where, whatever its undoubted excellence, the loudest people win, the most aggressive win, and those who can find a mentor by sucking up win. This does not sound like a family, a meritocracy or even a place that is a successful investor over the long term.

Why didn’t Kleiner realize this in 2012, when Mr. Hirschfeld submitted his 26-page report?

Perhaps the firm was focused on the narrow issue: whether Ms. Pao was the subject of discrimination. Mr. Hirschfeld’s answer was no, and so maybe the details did not matter.
venture_capital  Kleiner_Perkins  disruption  gender_discrimination  women  personality_cults  self-inflicted  Silicon_Valley  Ellen_Pao  John_Doerr  personal_branding  lawsuits  unhappiness  digital_disruption 
march 2015 by jerryking
To Sir, with cynicism
Sep. 04 2000 | - The Globe and Mail | KATHLEEN GALLAGHER.

Where have all the idealistic young teachers gone?

We're coming perilously close to losing them. ...... I sense a different mood. Last September, when I faced my OISE class, I began the year with a simple question: "When you shared your decision to become a teacher with the people in your life who love you, what did they say?" The answers were ambivalent at best.

With teacher-shortage terror sweeping the country, teacher candidates .......very concerned, about what their lives will look like and how they will cope with low morale in the schools. They are concerned, too, by suggestions about their inability to teach to acceptable national standards......At a time of teacher-bashing and formidable moves to bring back more rigid standards, Hollywood asks us to put our hope in hero-teachers, teachers who take on the authorities, parents, and other "bad" (jaded, tired, cynical) teachers, in order to transform the lives of unhappy, unlucky children.

I worry about the superhuman qualities that these movies tell us make "good teachers." Unlike Meryl Streep, my student teachers will not have a swelling soundtrack underscoring their actions when they find themselves facing program cutbacks and the cynicism of colleagues. Everyone loses when teaching becomes an act of individual heroism. We make schools unhappier places when we tell new teachers they're on their own, rather than encouraging them to join with experienced teachers who have developed strategies, over time, to contend with the manifold contradictory expectations placed on them.....What critics of public schools seem not to know (and what good teachers have always known) is that people generally play the roles we assign them. If we worsen conditions in classrooms -- too many students, fewer support staff -- and add affronts to teachers' professionalism, we will inevitably lead teachers to develop lower expectations of themselves. The result will be the corrosion of a truly noble profession.
Colleges_&_Universities  contradictions  cynicism  demoralization  expectations  high_schools  idealism  letters_to_the_editor  OISE  public_education  public_schools  teaching  teachers  unhappiness 
february 2015 by jerryking
Is admission to an elite university the be-all and end-all? - The Globe and Mail
SIMONA CHIOSE
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Oct. 03 2014

William Deresiewicz, the author of Excellent Sheep, argues that, rather than rejoice at being admitted to such institutions, this elite-in-training should run the other way. In tours to capacity lecture halls, the former Yale literature professor tells students to stop mistaking ambition for direction; and to embrace the liberal arts, self-reflection and risk. Otherwise, the anxiety and unhappiness those students feel now, after a childhood and adolescence stage-managed by their parents, will flower into midlife crises and the realization of an existence neither examined nor fulfilled.

But Dr. Deresiewicz is not a counsellor. He’s a combative writer, a regular at The New Republic. The race to the top, he argues, is not just a waste of the best minds of a generation (the Ys and Zs), who are going into economics with only the smallest detours into Plato, Virginia Woolf or George Eliot; it has turned education from the great equalizer to a sharp cleaver, lacerating democracy (jk: fault lines).
admissions  anxiety  Colleges_&_Universities  education  elitism  fault_lines  Ivy_League  liberal_arts  risk-taking  self-reflection  social_exclusion  unhappiness 
october 2014 by jerryking
Investing Ideas That Stand Test of Time
April 25, 2000 | WSJ | Jonathan Clements

These days I find I am left with just three core investment ideas:
(1) Financial Success is a Sense of Control
If you ask folks about their financial goals, they will likely offer a laundry list of goods they want to buy or announce they want to accumulate as much money as possible. But in reality,
both goals are a prescription for unhappiness.
Sure it might be nice to purchase everything that catches your fancy. But nobody has unlimited wealth, so a focus on endless consumption inevitably results not in happiness, but in frustration and financial stress. Yeah, it would also be great to have heaps of money. But if all you want is an even bigger pile of cash, you will never be satisfied, because you will never reach your goal. So what should you
shoot for? A far more worthy goal, I believe, is eliminating the anxiety that comes with managing money. You want to reach that sweet spot where you feel your finances are under control, no matter what your standard of living and level of wealth.

(2)Investing is Simple
No doubts about it, there are lots of investments and investment strategies that are mighty complicated. But complexity usually means investors are running the risk of rotten results and Wall Street is getting the chance to charge fat fees. Investing is best when it is simple. In fact, if you want to accumulate a healthy nest egg, there
isn’t much to it. First, you have to save a goodly amount, preferably at least ten percent of your pre-tax annual income. Second, you should consider investing at least half of your portfolio in stocks, even if you are approaching retirement. Third, you should diversify broadly, owning a decent mix of large, small and foreign stocks. Fourth, you should hold down investment costs, including
brokerage commissions, annual fund expenses and taxes. Finally, you should give it time. A little humility also helps. Don’t waste effort — and risk havoc — by trying to pick the next hot stock, identify the next superstar fund manager or guess the market’s next move. Instead, your best bet is to buy and hold a few well-run mutual funds.

(3) We are the enemy
If successful investing is so simple, why do so many people mess up? It isn’t the markets that are the problem, it is the investors.
We make all sorts of mistakes. We fret about the performance of each investment that we own, so we don’t enjoy the benefits of diversification. We are often overly self-confident, which
prompts us to trade too much and bet too heavily on a single stock or market sector. We
extrapolate recent results, leading to excessive exuberance when stocks are rising and unjustified
pessimism when markets decline. We lack self-control, so we don’t save enough.

[All the points made immediately above are analogous to Jason Zweig's article on personal finance & investing. From Benjamin Graham --investing is often portrayed as a battle between you and the markets. Instead, “the investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”

Similarly, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman wrote in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. [that]evaluating yourself honestly is at least as important as evaluating your investments accurately. If you don’t force yourself to learn your limits as an investor, then it doesn’t matter how much you learn about the markets: Your emotions will be your undoing.... ]

If you are going to truly be a successful and happy investor, it isn’t enough simply to devise
strategies that allow you to meet your investment goals. Your strategies also must give you a
sense of financial control and fit with your risk tolerance, so that you stick with them through the
inevitable market turmoil.
That may mean keeping more of your money in bonds and money-market funds. It could mean
paying for an investment advisor. It might mean scaling back your financial goals and accepting
that the kids won’t be heading to Harvard and that you won’t be able to retire early.
These sorts of choices aren’t foolish. What’s foolish is settling on investment strategies without
considering whether you can see them through.
personal_finance  investing  howto  ideas  goal-setting  Nobel_Prizes  money_management  Jonathan_Clements  financial_literacy  biases  humility  mistakes  self-awareness  self-control  proclivities  overconfidence  financial_planning  delusions  self-delusions  emotions  human_frailties  Jason_Zweig  extrapolations  risk-tolerance  recency  unhappiness  human_errors  bear_markets  sense_of_control  superstars  Daniel_Kahneman 
may 2012 by jerryking
The builder who revived a beloved brand brick by brick
Jul 18, 2011 FT. Andrew Ward. Jorgen Vig Knudstorp ; CEO Lego.
as head of the Danish toy maker, he helped restore the fortunes of a
national institution...Knudstorp saw that painful measures were needed
to turn the company around: layoffs, some mfg. was off shored to eastern
Europe & Mexico, and asset sales of theme parks & non-core
products....One of the hardest challenges for any CEO is to get to the
truth of what a biz is doing right & wrong - & to avoid
complacency when things are going well. Don`t dismiss the 1 % who
complain. Listen extra hard to that 1% because they usually represent a
much bigger proportion of silent unhappiness."

Lego tries to get at the truth by basing a large proportion of managers'
bonuses on customer satisfaction surveys of retailers, parents &
children...Knudstorp maintains a wide netwk of global business &
academic contacts from his time at McK and, before that, at biz schools
in Denmark, the UK & US, and describes himself an eclectic reader.
ProQuest  Lego  CEOs  Denmark  Danish  turnarounds  family-owned_businesses  theme_parks  toys  latent  hidden  complacency  customer_satisfaction  McKinsey  dissatisfaction  complaints  unhappiness 
july 2011 by jerryking
Poll shows concern about American influence waning as China's grows
February 25, 2010 | Washington Post A11 By John Pomfret and Jon
Cohen. "When Americans are unhappy with themselves, they are unhappy
with others, which can translate into protectionist pressure and
security anxieties, both of which make it hard to manage U.S.-China
relations," said David M. Lampton, a professor of China studies at the
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "People tend to
be anxious about big, rapidly changing, nontransparent things -- China
is all three."
China  China_rising  rapid_change  unhappiness  opinion_polls_&_surveys  SAIS 
march 2010 by jerryking
Weisberg: What Else Are We Wrong About? | Newsweek Newsweek Voices - Jacob Weisberg | Newsweek.com
Jacob Weisberg
What Else Are We Wrong About?

Homeownership encourages longer commutes. And at least one study says it makes you fat and unhappy.
Published Apr 4, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 13, 2009
commuting  counterintuitive  happiness  home_ownership  unhappiness 
april 2009 by jerryking
Even in Uncertain Times, Quitting is an Option
Oct. 3, 2008 article by Barbara Moses offers advice that it is
still OK to leave a job if you're unhappy and prepared to search hard
for a replacement
career  Managing_Your_Career  Barbara_Moses  uncertainty  managing_uncertainty  unhappiness  turbulence 
january 2009 by jerryking

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