Before I launch into the links, I have to tell you a story.... Tuesday was my birthday. My kids got me a scooter. They both have one, and so does Mr. Snarky. I was excited to get one, too, so that we can go on family scooting outings. But when I set mine up, I discovered that Mr. Snarky and the kids had selected solely on color (blue, which Petunia has declared is my favorite) and missed the bit about it being a child sized scooter. Oops.
Later that night, I tried on the new shirt Mr. Snarky got me. It is a pretty color, the right style, and has the logo of my "usual" local beer (Coronado Brewing Company's Mermaid Red) on it. It said it was my size. But when I tried it on, it was clearly sized for teenagers. Oops again. (And WTF, CBC, making shirts for teenagers?!?!?!) I told Mr. Snarky not to feel too bad, that I would just interpret the gifts as a statement on how youthful I seem.
OK, on to the links, which are an assorted collection of things related to work.
First, Joan Williams had an interesting HBR article about why men work so many hours. She pins it at least in part on a culture that has linked long hours with masculinity and status.
"Workplace norms cement felt truths that link long hours with manliness,
moral stature, and elite status. If work-family advocates think they can
dislodge these "truths" with documentation of business benefits, they
are sorely mistaken."
It is an interesting article, but a bit depressing. I joked on twitter that we should start a "real men are efficient at work" campaign.
That HBR article mentions Results Only Work Environments, or ROWEs. I first heard about these when Hubert Joly, Best Buy's new CEO, decided to scrap his company's ROWE, even though objective measures indicate that it increases work performance. The story first caught my eye because it happened at about the same time as Marissa Mayer decided to eliminate telework at Yahoo, and I was struck by the fact that mainstream media was very, very attentive to Mayer's decision but essentially ignored Joly's decision. But I got interested in the ROWE concept, and I am now reading the book Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People, by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler, who pioneered the approach at Best Buy. I'm only about half way through, so I won't write a full review yet. It is giving me some interesting ideas to try to use at my job, even though my company is not a ROWE.
Moving on... @codinghorror tweeted a link to a really good essay by Alex Payne on startups, written as a letter to a young programmer just starting out. It really resonated with me, even though I've spent my time in biotech startups not high tech ones. I think anyone considering a move to a startup should read it and think about the work environment they are about to join. As the author notes, not all startups have an "eat you alive" environment- it is worth taking the time to evaluate whether the one you are about to join does.
I found this post by Elaine Wherry about what she learned during a stint in a startup chocolate shop via Boing Boing. If you haven't seen it yet, it is well worth a read. She makes some interesting points about what is easier and harder in a tech startup versus a "physical goods" startup.
Dr. Isis has closed up shop at her blog, but seems to be writing occasionally in the ladybits section on Medium. She has a new post about mentorship that is a thought-provoking read.
And finally, Anandi from House of Peanut sent me this article by C. Z. Nnaemeka on the markets and problems not addressed by the current startup culture. My final opinion on the author's arguments is still forming, but they are certainly very interesting and thought-provoking for anyone who has considered entrepreneurship.
That's all I have. Feel free to suggest more things to read in the comments!