Work Life Balance

A Routine of Good Habits

One of my favorite people, even though we’ve never met, is Doris Kearns Goodwin. She’s a history wiz, a brilliant writer and, in this fake news galaxy, knows how to give a fair and honest interview by sticking to the facts and alerting her audience when expressing an opinion. I read a short piece in Fast Company about how she manages her day and the good habits that contribute to her success and happiness. So I thought I share because who wouldn’t like a better day of good habits built on a simple routine?
Ms. Goodwin rises early – around 5:00 AM – just like most Navy Seals, and uses the time to write and take notes. No TV, no email, and no distractions. Around 9:00 AM she takes a simple breakfast with her husband before checking email and making for a productive day. In the evening she follows FDR’s WWII, “no talk of war cocktail hour” infused with trivia, or live music – anything to refresh and recharge. Before bed she spends a few minutes reading mysteries which help clear her mind and relax.
If she’s on a plane or train it’s, in her thinking, a wonderful, uninterrupted time to “get things done”. And she does. For her, as it was for Teddy Roosevelt, procrastination is a mortal sin. If she starts to put things off she simply thinks of Teddy. I’m adopting this!
I’ll end with her note taking routine – she states Abraham Lincoln was a tireless note-taker who attributed much of his Gettysburg Address to a collection of notes gathered from his roll-top desk.
So, what’s my point? I’m not suggesting everyone should follow Ms. Goodwin’s routine. Perhaps adopting note taking, or early morning uninterrupted creative time might work for you? The point is if you feel a little out of kilter perhaps a simple routine adjustment will make things right. Let me know how it works.

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Money Well Spent?

When I got into the media business (sales) ad agencies were known for hiring youth, paying meager wages, providing minimal training and offering limited advancement. Long hours were common and I’m pretty sure late night pizza delivery was common several times a week.

That was 45 years ago! Over the last couple of decades agencies have pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and hacked themselves promising to be the agency of the future.

But wait, there’s more. Back then it was common for an agency to have 10 employees grinding on just 1 Million dollars in billings. Over time technologies introduced some new efficiencies and, of course, salaries exploded with inflation and the ratio declined to one person working on $1 Million. Today, I’m told, a single agency employee works on several million dollars’ worth of billings.

So, have those millions of dollars clients spent supporting the agency of the future built a place of well-trained, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals with multiple choices for early and frequent advancement?

I’m guilty of generalizing because there are some great shops, foundries, farms, or whatever that are doing their clients proud. For the rest keep disrupting until you get it right!

Don’t Do This On Your Next Interview

stupidity-3

CareerBuilder.com recently polled human resources pros and hiring managers to compile their annual list of interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the past year. Here are this year’s “winners” in which a candidate:

Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview.

Brought childhood toys to the interview.

Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.

Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft.

Ate a pizza he brought with him.

Ate crumbs off the table.

Asked where the nearest bar was located.

Invited the interviewer to dinner afterwards.

Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she should hire him.

Asked the interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

Hard to believe, huh? Well, everyone who interviews a lot of people has similar stories. Some even more ridiculous than these.

PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Last week I received feedback on a candidate who was clearly qualified for the position but proceeded to spend the majority of the time talking about what the next opportunity in the company might be. Needless to say, the hiring manager who had an immediate need was not impressed. Chalk up another one for millennial entitlement and self-absorption.

We can and do prepare candidates for interviews. It’s in our interest to do so after we determine a candidate has the experience and skill set for a position and we judge them to be a good cultural fit.

However, sometimes there’s just no accounting for stupidity.

Ad Agency Quandary

loyalty

I recently spoke with a senior media person who has over a decade of solid career growth with a major agency. While discussing her career she confided that she loved and respected her boss but, has no loyalty to the agency. I was shocked as it’s an agency everyone, once upon a time, wanted to work for and many did after toiling as un-paid interns.
What happened? She reflected on the job parts that were once fun – mentoring, teaching and helping others advance their careers. But, that’s before the agency “over-tightened” their financial belts due, perhaps, to razor-thin compensation agreements, overly aggressive demands from corporate HQ to “send more dollars home” or, simply management more concerned about making their yearly bonus at the expense of filling a couple of seats to relieve the pressure of those clocking in more than 8 hours a day.
It seems management forgot work-life balance is real. Family first is a fact. And, when loyalty leaves the building clients are sure to follow regardless of “great fee” arrangements.
Has the time arrived for management to go on an internal listening tour?