Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekend Reading: The Holy Smokes Things Got Busy Edition

I've started the formatting work on Annorlunda Books' next release. I should have a cover to show soon, and when I do, I'll put up a webpage with a blurb and all of that. So... stay tuned! And in the meantime, don't forget to check out the most recent release, Unspotted.

I've also got a talk coming up, and am planning some celebratory things around Tungsten Hippo's upcoming second birthday, and am also planning to offer my "intro to project management for non-project managers" class again. I originally called the class Get More Done, but then realized that there is a far more famous book by the same name, and so I need to rebrand my class. Suggestions for a new name will be gratefully accepted. I hate naming things.

And, as a I discussed a bit on Twitter last night, Petunia's 6th birthday is coming up, and we've decided to do the same thing we did for Pumpkin's 6th birthday: go to Disneyland. I need to get some aspects of that trip planned out and booked ASAP, because eating with the princesses books out early. And of course we want to eat with the princesses.

So, what I'm saying is, holy smokes! Things got busy! For the first time since leaving my full time job, I've felt the need to print out some monthly calendars and schedule out my work. I kept calendars with release dates, vacation times, etc., when I was a group leader, because I was trying to run multiple projects at once, and had five employees and a gaggle of contractors whose schedules I needed to respect. Now it is just me (and my family) whose schedules need considering, but I'm back to having multiple projects. I like it that way, so it is all good.

Before I get to the links, a little blatant self-promotion. One of the things on the calendar for next week is to run a promotion to sign up more mailing list subscribers, both for my Management Monthly list and for my Founding Chaos list. The inducement I have is two books by Laura Vanderkam to give away- I'll give a copy of the print version of her What the Most Successful People Do... series to a subscriber of the Management Monthly list, and a copy of 168 hours to a subscriber of the Founding Chaos list.

The prizes

I was the random winner of them in a Twitter chat I participated in around the release of her latest book, I Know How She Does It (which I reviewed), and since I already have copies of both of these books, I'm going to pass the marketing love on and give the new ones away to randomly selected subscribers of my most relevant newsletters.

Both newsletters come out monthly. Management Monthly includes links to the management/productivity things I've written that month under my real name, links to other management and productivity things I've found on the web, and other relevant notes I feel like making. It also includes announcements of classes and seminars I'm giving. You can see its archive and sign up here.

Founding Chaos is a slightly more personal newsletter that includes a story about life as someone trying to start a company, promos of things I've released, and links that I've liked. You can see its archive and sign up here.

I'll be picking the winners next Sunday (8/30) at 9 p.m. pacific time. I'll make a few more announcements on Twitter next week, but you don't have to wait for those. Sign up now! And yes, you can sign up to both lists. The content overlaps, but not by much. It also only overlaps a little with these links posts.

Alright, enough of that. On to the links:

A new report from Bain and Company found that companies "drain" women's ambition in two years. Reading this was a bit like reading the intro to What Works for Women and Work- affirming, but a little too close to home for comfort. I guess I should be glad I lasted as long as I did? On the other hand, I don't think all companies are equal in this regard, and if I start the clock at the time I started at my last company... I lasted not much longer than two years. Interesting.

The timing found in the study made me think of this post on Corprette, which is my favorite site for ideas about how to dress like a professional, but also occasionally has posts about other career-related topics. Note the quoted comment about how anyone can do any job for two years. When I contemplate the fact that how the way biotech works made it likely that I wouldn't be in any job for more than two years...  yeah, a little close to home. (Although I had some GREAT years at some of my jobs, so it isn't all gloomy.)

Some of you may be wondering why I spend time on a site with ideas for how to dress like a professional. Surely, I can just go to a store and buy things? Well, I have big boobs. And the fashion industry doesn't make things for women like me. Anytime I have to do a targeted shopping excursion looking for something I need for an interview or a talk, I come home angry and depressed. Far better to keep an eye on a few sites and buy things that are likely to work for me when they come along. Also, Corprette is the site that led me to my Lo and Sons computer bag, which I outright love.

All of that is to say: dudes, you have no idea how easy you have it when it comes to dressing professionally.

Speaking of things that are different for women than for men... I really liked this post from Lara Hogan about celebrating achievements as a woman. I remember seeing one of her tweets of a celebratory doughnut and that is probably what planted the seed for my idea that I should celebrate my milestones. Maybe I should tweet out a picture of the shells I find each time? It is an interesting idea.

I had a couple of Twitter rants about that NYT piece on Amazon, over at my real name account. I was starting to think I would need to write a post summarizing the research we have on long hours. It is not as strong as I'd like, but it does at least suggest that working long hours is as counterproductive as I argue it is. Luckily for me, Sarah Green Carmichael summarized the research for me.

Speaking of work/life stuff: this Fast Company piece about the start up founder who had to bring a toddler with her to Y Combinator didn't get as much attention as I thought it would when I saw it. The founder in question has made it clear she bears no ill will towards Y Combinator... but I still think the rest of us can say "hey, this isn't alright." Y Combinator absolutely could afford to make things a little less terrible for parents who want to participate in its program. It just chooses not to, for whatever reason.

Reading that post and the little bit of response I saw, reminded me of an old post I wrote about trying to imagine a world in which the necessary work of raising the next generation could be better integrated into the other work in society. I still feel like my imagination needs to stretch more in this area. But I don't think the Y Combinator way is a good way, I really don't.

Gene Demby wrote an amazing, heartbreaking piece about the Black reporters who are covering the Black Lives Matter movement and related topics. Apparently the comments are a nightmare. I haven't dared to look.

This article on racism in the classroom makes me want to cry. I tweeted something about how everyone in a public job should get training on implicit bias. I don't think it would solve the problem, but it might make it better. I think people have to be in the right frame of mind to accept the message of the training, though, and I don't know how you achieve that in a society where someone like Donald Trump can poll as well as he does, and even the "moderate" Republican candidate for president is saying racist things about immigration, and where Shaun King has to write a post like this.

Some of the other prominent activists in the Black Lives Matter movement have started a project called Campaign Zero to end police violence.

This cartoon about converting ethics into economics questions is funny/sad.

This is a long essay about being a journalist right now... but I swear it is worth your time.

Albert Burneko's post on raising kids is awesome.

I really like today's Tungsten Hippo quote:

"It’s an odd sort of future, but sometimes the only thing to do is thank God there’s no zombies, and just make the best of it all."

It is from a novella by Maia Sepp called An Etiquette Guide to the End Times which I also loved.

This is a cool story about a bridge.

My husband sent me this video in an email titled "we should totally have another one:"

We aren't going to, but it does capture the awesomeness of having a toddler.

I love this:


  1. Is it bad that that SMBC just seems like common sense?

    Of course, you also have to factor in the dis utility of the person having to change the trolley's course or not. (They don't call it a dismal science for nothing.)

  2. I loved that toddler rain video, too.

  3. Working a limited number of hours in a week and having scheduled days off is so important. I've been stuck working weekends lately (there are time-sensitive things that need doing) and having to book time off during the week - and the extra overhead of having to select my days off, having them not interfere with other meetings or things going on, then having to inform people about these days is immense. Really looking forward to the end of this particular set of experiments!

    The thing I'm wondering about, and I'd love your opinion on, is how much your work-hours limit gets affected by the other "work" happening in your life. Even if you limit your work hours, you then go home and spend more time working at being a parent, doing basic stuff around the house, and then when you add in volunteer gets really hard to limit the total number of hours spent doing things that feel like "work". Any thoughts?

    1. Hmmm- for the most part, I find that work vs "home work" don't draw from the same sources, or something like that. But I do sometimes feel like I'm not getting enough unstructured time to myself. When that happens, I usually pick a week day and take a half day. Most times I've done this, I've still had to pick up a kid in the vicinity of work, so I'll go to a nearby mall, have lunch on my own with a couple of margaritas, and spend the afternoon reading in one of their nice outdoor chairs. Now that my kids will both be at school in our neighborhood, I could see taking a half day at home- but only if I could resist the chores that always need doing.

      So I guess the answer is that I don't have a structured way of handling this, I just try to recognize that frustrated, overwhelmed feeling I get when I have too many responsibilities, and try to give myself some time off from them.

  4. I love that the father made this experience a beautiful one, the girl will love the rain for the rest of her life!


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