What Other People Think You Do: #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob

At absence.io, we're always working toward offering the planet's smoothest absence management (read a few external reviews here). Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 trust us to build a (nearly) misunderstanding-proof system.

After all, misunderstandings are bound to occur. It's the defining physics of living life. Some misconceptions cause greater confusion than others. Some misinterpretations are well, just that. Misinterpretations.

Case in point: when stock photo photographers interpret what they think people's jobs involve.

Via a viral Twitter hashtag, #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob, users shared stock photo photographers' interpretations of their own professions. Apparently, a photographer's perception can be a little off sometimes...if not all the time.

Has anyone ever completely misunderstood what you did for a living?

This is what we found:

Your ears will be happy to know that our absence management system does not involve megaphones.

 

Little known fact: Yogis make excellent corporate spies

 

 

Or when you recycle, but Trump breaks from the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

 

 

Reject album cover for Phish?

 

 

 

This could be a promotional shot of Spike Lee's 21st century interpretation of "Gulliver's Travels"

 

 

 

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
-Every Lawyer

 

 

 

 Scientists hate efficiency.

 

 

 

The calculator means he likes to count too.

 

 

 

No one does "Artisanal Drafting" anymore

 

 

 

The new Sea by Dr. Shell.  They're wireless too.

 

 

 

 

Wasn't this from a Yellow Cab music video in 2007?

 

 

 

 

If you're not in stock photos, you're not fulfilling your career potential.

 

 

 

The fine print always gets you.

 

 

 

Notice the stethoscope is not actually in his ears either.

 

 

 

Everyone working with IT knows this.

 

 

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When Apple Needs to Solve Employee Conflict, This is Their Go-To Method

You’re rolling out a new department structure. The in-coming system keeps facing resistance. Employees are frustrated.  Besides daydreaming about the on-coming robot workforce, what do you do to solve employee conflict?

Your effort to resolve the issues may become doubly complex by the diversity within the workforce. The communication style that may work for a Baby Boomer will not work for a fresh-out-of-college Millennial. The most effective, unifying method comes from the billion-dollar company based out of Cupertino, California.

Straight of Apple’s “Genius Training Student Workbook” is the “Feel, Felt, Found” method. With target customers as wide and varied as Fortune 500 companies, public schools, and your tech-adverse great-aunt, Apple has nailed down a conflict resolution method that can translate across a myriad forms of situations.

What’s the formula?

The standard method of the “Feel, Felt, Found” is comprised of three phases:

1. Empathize

Employees want to know they’ve been heard. They want managers to understand their duress or hesitation. Begin by telling them “I understand how you feel”. Start with recognizing their emotion (“I can see why you all are hesitant in adopting the policy”), then link the emotion to their current issue (“It does take a bit more time to clear security; I felt similarly”), and then end it with how what you gained from it (“Though I found that because of the new system, we have a more secured workplace”). The word “empathy” is used so frequently in the manual, it’s nearly mind numbing. But because they use it incredibly often, one can see empathy is the gateway to resolving conflict.

Note:

In order to accurately ascertain how people are feeling, work on your emotional intelligence. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence along with 33 other workplace skills in predicting strong performance. Their research found that is the strong predictor, explaining 58% of workplace successes. Therefore, think of the emotional reaction of a new change for employees. Then, lead from there.

2. Demonstrate

Tell them about someone else having similar emotions. If you have history in other company policy changes, bring up how people also felt hesitant, frustrated, or angry. This tells employees that they are not alone in facing a new change. Nearly every change in a company takes an adjustment period. By demonstrating a similar situation, you are building a bridge between their current emotional state to the place you’re hoping to guide them towards.

Note:

Ascertain the type of organization you have. Are you a tech company that prioritizes a flat hierarchy? Or are you more of top-down organization, like a government agency? Draw parallels from similarly-constructed organizations. Do a bit of research to find out changes they enacted.

3. Clarify

Finish by telling them what the other person found after they integrated into the new program or bought the product. Employees are looking for the payoff in the action, policy, etc. By creating a storytelling arc, you are drawing parallels about what positive outcome they can expect.

Note:

In a professional setting, statistics and figures strengthen your argument. Talk about how the other department saw a 15% spike in more parents taking paternal leave or how crypto-compensation has worked within other companies.

 

At absence.io, we do smooth and easy. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 utilize our tool to manage their teams’ planned (and unplanned) absences. No daydreaming about robots needed. Yet.

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digital products

These are the 5 Digital Products to Launch for Your Small Business

Launching products remains at the top of the list for companies and their teams. If you’re looking to educate and support your audience—whether it’s employees or potential customers—you can generate confidence and value with only a few items. Really.

If you’re spearheading a product challenge, you'll need a list of potential digital products to distribute. Get to brainstorming about your audience. Remember, good products are only valuable if they address an actual audience need. Nail down the exact question you expect to answer, or the problem you aim to solve.

Are you in charge of cultural integration as an HR manager? What are the common barriers that newly-arrived employees face? Does it depend on what countries they’re arriving from? Would a video demonstrate expectations better than a PDF? Or are you a small business owner that simply wants to generate more traffic to your blog. How do people find your company now? What other channels would your target market utilize?

Prepare yourself by listing your success metrics, then pick the best solution from the list of digital products below.

1. Video series

Amp up your social media presence with video. Yes, you can go ahead and make a few, short Youtube videos of your product. But think of even smaller snippets of product show. Get familiar with Instagram (if you’re not already) and begin using Insta stories to your advantage. Why Instagram? Your page’s photo should further entrance your audience; the photos act as an introductory the company. Insta stories delivers new value as often you’d like. You also can interact with your audience via its live streaming.

2. Audio series

Nearly every person is on the go today. Fortunately information can be delivered whilst a person is commuting, working out at the gym, or grocery shopping. Popularity in audio streams like podcasts and audio books have jumped dramatically. Over 25% of the US population listens to podcasts on a monthly basis. If you’re the HR manager overseeing international researchers, an internal podcast could feature work of a researcher for 5 minutes. You may be making some key networking connections.

3. Checklists

Who doesn’t love a clear and concise list? Lists manifest their worth when you need to streamline multiple processes, like creating an employee file.  (Psst, we saved you a bit of work—you can download our pre-made employee file checklist). Unless you’re part of the chosen few that enjoy planning, most audiences appreciate a structured action plan.

4. Tutorials

A demonstration of how to successfully accomplish a task is invaluable. It saves time and energy—two things your audience will remember when they have another need arise. They’ll be back for more. This can a GIF illustration of how to do origami, how to make a request to the company IT department, or create a bullet notebook.

5. Toolkit

Some may argue “less is more”, but toolkits deliver a strong counter argument for “more is more”. Gather the other digital products you’ve created—the PDFs, the checklists, the audio files—and create a handy toolkit. With a variety of learning tools, you thoughtfully cater to the diversity within an audience.

 

At absence.io, we’re changing the game of how work absences—from vacations to sick days—are managed. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 use absence.io for easy delivery and communication.

 

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Crypto-Compensation: Can You Pay Your Employees in Cryptocurrency?

Crypto-Compensation: Can You Pay Your Employees in Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency has been on the forefront, especially in the the last 12 months; should companies begin thinking about paying their employees with cash and cryptocurrency? Though “crypto compensation” has not exactly materialized into companies, it soon could be.

Already in Japan, GMO Internet, a web-based business offers its employees a combination of cash and crypto. Of course, employees have the option to receive a pure-cash salary, but with prices surging, it’s an interesting compensation alternative.

Though paying employees in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency may attract tech-savvy talent to your organization, there are a few considerations. Firstly, it still remains a rather risky investment with fluctuating prices and evolving markets. Secondly, corporate taxes regarding cryptocurrency salary remains complicated. .

Talking taxes may not be the sexiest thing to learn about, but as American inventor Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”. When it comes to cryptocurrency taxes, though, complexity is the big mainstay.

If you’re not sure what cryptocurrency is and what it does, here’s a quick summary:

A cryptocurrency is a “virtual currency” that can be used to buy or sell goods or services. Often, cryptocurrencies can be traded for another, much like standard currency. Depending on where you live in the world, a cryptocurrency may or may not be recognized as an official currency. For example, in the United States, it’s considered an “intangible asset”, not a sovereign currency.

In the U.S., it is treated like a property, like bonds, stocks, or other investment properties. For example, if you buy Bitcoins with U.S. dollars and later sell them for U.S. dollars, a capital gain or loss needs to be reported on that transaction. An exchange of one cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency is a taxable sale transaction, even though U.S. dollars are not involved in the transaction.

Whoa, you may be thinking, this sounds like a confusing amount of work.

You’d be right.

Joshua Ashley Klayman, a premier attorney focusing on blockchain and cryptocurrency, reaffirms it’s complexity—and it’s essentialness.

“Token purchasers should carefully track their token purchases and sales, as they may be responsible for paying taxes that they could owe…The changes arguably add complexity to some token purchasers’ tax calculations and may create a significant need in the market”.

If you’re thinking of paying employee salary with a combination of cryptocurrency and cash, be sure to have a solid system in place to track token purchase and usage.

If you’re interested in how to start setting up a company system to track tokens for employee compensation, it’s a wild world out there. Fortunately, we’ve found a few of the best existing systems that help you with your cryptocurrency tax documentation.

ZenLedger.io

This platform does a big hunk of the grunt work by allowing users to import data from the plethora of currency exchanges and create a single document that they use when filing their taxes. Otherwise a person would have to manually insert all disparate information into an Excel sheet.

Crypto Tax Prep

Known to be “the only mobile tax franchise system with 100% CPA prepared returns”, Crypto Tax Prep is an excellent avenue for those wishing a professional to handle the heavy work. It’s a more tailored solution that offers free auditing services, if the IRS comes a callin’.

CoinTracker

Born out of need, the founders created their own tool to track their own cryptocurrencies.  Soon, friends started wanting this tool that pulls balances and transactions and delivers tax information to its customers.

Crypto-compensation may be a fantastic tech-forward solution for companies in attracting and retaining the best people. If curious, best to start thinking about how you’ll move forward.

Another way tech is delivering innovation: we optimize how you manage team members’ absences. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 trust Absence.io to make their work lives easier.

Death and taxes….not so much…


Global HR Talent Trends: Terrified of A.I., Companies Stop Talking and Start Doing

Innovative action is at the top of the global talent agenda. For years, companies have talked about incorporating innovative practices, now they’re implementing. Why now? Two letters: A. I. With the onset of technology that will quickly diminish industries, companies need to brace themselves on all fronts, including talent. Artificial intelligence is already doing the work of entry-level lawyers and financial analysts. Since white-collar jobs are set to disappear, companies are moving into action to attract and retain top talent. 93% percent are doubling down on commitment to safeguard their companies by changing their organization design. 52% of executives believe in flattening hierarchy, understanding the shift towards self-driven teams.

 

HR talent trends
Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends

According to Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study, companies are shifting into real change to prepare for the changing talent landscape. President of Mercer’s Career product, Ilya Bonic, “(Business leaders) recognize that it’s the combination of human skills plus advanced digital technology that will drive business forward”.

1. Change @ Speed

A growing gap in skills means companies need to anticipate how to train today’s workforce for tomorrow’s market demands. How quickly organizations can create a culture of continuous learning will prove a competitive advantage. Part of this culture shift includes flatter hiearchies, where 25% of organizations are moving towards holacratic work teams.

2. Working With Purpose

The dawn of automation and AI will highlight whether the company has a strong mission that resonates with employees. It becomes significantly more important that employees identify with company values and feel they contribute to their manifestation. 75% of employees say their company holds the same values as they personally do. How can managers contribute in ensuring employees feel purpose? Act as a “talent advocate” in facilitating movement. Hold “career conversations” where employees’ personal career goals are discussed. Executives must also be aware of a new value proposition: financial and health stability. Well-being projects that employees are interested in include financial health, as workers spend 10 hours per week stressing over their finances.

3. Permanent Flexibility

Being flexible is not longer about where one is working from. The era of flexible work poses a greater demand: “rethinking what work is done, how it is done, and by whom”. Employers are vying for greater control of their professional life. 71% of employers are responding with flexible work arrangements as part of their offering—a huge jump from last year’s 49%. There is some disconnect though as 42% of employees believe working remotely will impact potential promotions; 2 in 5 worry that working remotely will damage their career trajectory. Executives must work to ensure that flexible working arrangements do not mean stagnation. Executives also should consider that flexible work options allows them to work with a greater pool of talent for niche specialities. This provides greater access and organization agility.

4. Platform for Talent

The essence of the “On-Demand” economy means an ensuing shift in HR models. It’s no longer about hierarchies or being “owned” by a specific team; it’s about matching the talent of the employee with a company need. Employees that felt their employer matched their skills correctly, were four time as likely to say they thrive at work. The study encourages employers to “think broader” in terms of employee tasks and jobs: “crowdsource” as a way to pool abilities and “transcend company boundaries”.

5. Digital In/Out

58% of company executives say that state-of-the-art digital tools are vital to their success. However less than half actually possess the necessary tools. Technology has the capability to leverage talent and maximize company impact. It can help build diverse workforces and infuse teams with higher aptitudes for success. Only 15% of companies survey said they would consider themselves a “digital organization”. Companies know they should—and can—do better. They can encourage the use of data analytics and monitoring to not only to their core products, but to their teams. Getting ahead of the digital curve now means HR will be able to gain the upside of the momentum AI promises.

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Companies Making Creative Lunch Breaks the New "Free Lunch"

Forget a sandwich and a Coke for lunch time. Some companies are aiming to do infuse creativity into a work staple: the lunch hour. Employers see doing lunch differently as an opportunity to boost employee satisfaction and add another dimension of culture. You’ve heard of the “free lunch” at work cafeterias—they’re great at boosting morale as much as a 401K. But some employers are going above and beyond this perk.

These lunch-time approaches will produce more than food envy; they are redefining what companies can bring to the table.

Let’s taco bout it.

1. Lunch Roulette

What happens when your usual lunch crowd isn’t around to dine with? You can feel the aloneness, even if you work at huge corporation. David Thompson, the founder of Lunch Roulette,  a web application that randomly selects lunch dates for colleagues within an organization. People from different teams get to interact, producing enlightening conversations between people that would otherwise not meet. Pharmaceutical manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, uses a similar program. They understand the importance of various ideas and people mixing within companies and industry ecosystems. Professor Suzanne Berger at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states, “Workers exchange ideas over drinks and at baseball games. They switch jobs, taking their knowledge with them. They draw other companies, who compete to offer them goods and services. It all adds up to a more productive, more innovative economy”. The same happens within a company, creating a much more competitive and thoughtful ecosystem.

2. Nap Time

A midday rest is not only beneficial for kindergartners, companies reap benefits of well-rested employees in 15% more workplace efficiency. Employers, like Google and Nike, have set up nap pods in their offices for employers needing a lunch time snooze. 20 minutes of rest in the afternoon amps up a person’s focus and mood.

3. Meditate

The world’s biggest tech giants have rolled out mindfulness programs; SAP has a waiting list of over 5000 employees hoping to take part in the internal training program. The practice of meditation delivers a much-needed antidote in the frenzied and stress workplace. It offers clarity and supports resilience in employees. During lunch, some programs have “mindful lunches” where they are led through a serious of gentle, mental exercises while they eat.

 

Besides free pizza, what else boosts creative pep to the office step? Easy absence management. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 use absence.io to oversee their teams’ planned (and unplanned) absences. We don’t want to sound too cheesy, but we think we’re pretty grate.

 

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"Emotions Managed": The Anti-Harry Potter Approach to Processing Employees' Emotions

Companies are mindfully tackling employee stress as a means for a greater mental health---and to impact the bottomline. After all, $300 billion is lost annually due to employees feeling mentally taxed. Processing emotions in the workplace requires a multi-pronged approach. Let's say it demands more than a Harry Potter, "mischief managed" course of action. One company, LA-based FeelTank offers a hands-on program to guide individuals from overthinking to thinking consciously.  

In an interview with VentureBeat, Anahita Parseghian, a teacher at FeelTank, explains “At the root of stress, which triggered a physiological response, is an emotion caused by a thought. The more in touch we are with our thoughts and the sensory feelings associated, the more successful we will be in managing our stress responses. Peak performance isn’t something we achieve by doing more; it is a state of flow that we develop through a persistent and deliberate practice of calming our nervous system and focusing our mind.”

Handle the thought process and by default, emotions can be more easily managed. For professionals  leading a team, understanding how to facilitate emotions in the workplace is vital.

“Emotions travel person to person like a virus”, says Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade. “It’s an emotional contagion”. We’ve all been around the colleague who constantly complains how tired or overworked they are. Or how the exciting atmosphere of a new idea or special event is zapped by one person’s negative comments. Emotion has real effects on employees and consequently, on companies.

As John Milton wrote, “No man is an island”. That certainly includes the workplace. People don’t drop their emotions or predispositions at the office door. They bring the good and the bad with them. This affects how brainstorming sessions are overseen, how quickly a project is finished, how employees feel about their team members…bottom line: employees’ emotions drive organizations. Donald Gibson, a co-author on Barsade’s research, “Everybody brings their emotions to work. You bring your brain to work. You bring your emotions to work. Feelings drive performance. They drive behavior and other feelings. Think of people as emotion conductors.

What kinds of emotions do employees exude?

According to Barsade and Gibson, the types of emotions can be divvied into three main groups: Discrete, Mood, and Disposition.

  1. Discrete emotions occur quickly and evolve away just as fast. Think of joy or fear.
  2. Mood pertains to a longer-lasting feeling, usually not directly connected to a specific event. Sometimes employees may feel down for a period of time.
  3. Disposition refers to the person’s particular outlook on life. This is a kind of a “brand” of a person. Some colleagues are nervous and people-pleasing, others may be known to be cheerful types.

According to one study, a company possesses 5 major competitive advantages: Intellectual Capital, Customer Service, Organizational Reactivity, Production, and Employee Retentivity. Barsade and Gibson’s 3 categories of emotion directly impact these competitive advantages. If employee emotion is generally negative, it becomes a hindrance as a company tries to reach goals. Becoming more knowledgable about employee emotion strengthens the critical connection between team emotion and company output.

How can a manager recognize the emotion that may possibly negatively impact a business process?

First, the manager needs to evaluate where their own mental state is at.

Research suggests that positive people do better in the workplace. Their cognitive processes and approaches are much more efficient and aware. If you’re a manager that tends to be fearful or difficult, your chances of being able to read other people’s emotions correctly—and how to make a decision based on that—significantly decrease. Follow the advice of rapper Ice Cube, “Check yo self before you wreck yo self”.

Second, avoid catching a bad mood.

Since emotions can be a good (or bad) virus-like occurrence, be sure to dodge the negative ones. What routines or people generally annoy you? If a colleague always seems to get under your skin, tell yourself that you will not be bothered by them. If the printer always breaks down, make a game of it. Create a scoreboard for all team members to participate when it fails. Make up your mind that you will not allow people or processes to trigger a draining emotion.

Third, pay attention to people’s emotional gives.

This is often called “emotional intelligence”. Read up on body language. Look at people’s faces or shoulders. When they’re feeling tense, certain individuals hold it by tightening their lips or upping their shoulders. Begin observing how team members’ react in high-pressure or relaxed situations. See how their body or face changes. This will tell you how to navigate the next step: walk away before catching a negative emotion, opening up the floor for discussion, or offering encouragement.

Fourth, pay extra attention to how you come across in emails.

Video conferences, messaging apps like Slack, add an extra dimension of complexity when it comes to office place emotions. It’s easy to be misunderstood over a message. Sentences that are relatively neutral in real-life interaction come across as rude in an email. Avoid exclamation points, unless you’re using it to cheer someone on. Be careful with humor and sarcasm as it’s easy to miss the mark. If you’re trying to exude a positive disposition, make your emails or messages extra warm—maybe way more than you would if you were talking with the person. Without body language or facial cues, messages are devoid of context. It’s important to give extra thought to what you’re relaying.

At absence.io , we've taken the stress out of an exasperating work task: handling team absences. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 easily manage their employees' planned (and unplanned) absences. Sign up for free!

Now, if only we could have saved Dobby...

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Courage in the Workplace: You Need It and How To Prepare For It

Do you ever wish you were less fearful?

Maybe you think about how if only were brave enough to be a bit more outspoken at the weekly meeting, or how if only you were more comfortable delegating tasks that aren’t yours. Or maybe you keep putting off talking to the HR manager about a certain colleague's inappropriate remarks. More often than not, the modern workplace demands courage to navigate.

What is courage?

The best summary written by one Reddit user, “Courage describes the time when you’re scared but you keep going”. It’s not the absence of fear—fear is essential to its formation, like how flour is to a baked cake. Courage is the ability to manage fear just enough so it does not inhibit the necessary action.

William Ian Miller, a Professor of Law the University of Michigan, writes in his book “The Mystery of Courage” that courage is a difficult virtue to pin down. For example, one can be cowardly and courageous at the same time. You can confront immature behavior by a junior employee, but not confront fellow managers, or even senior members, when they are being inappropriate. Also, just because a person is not acting in cowardice does not mean they are being courageous. Company CEOs and board members often keep the status quo to ensure stability. It’s not cowardly, but we wouldn't call it brave behavior.

An example of courage in the workplace occurred in 1985 at Statistics Canada led by Dr. Ivan Fellegi, the agency’s Chief Statistician. Even with massive budget cut —one that would demand a significant portion of their workforce to be laid off, Dr. Fellegi had other plans. He sent out an email to employees saying the agency would be committed to retraining them for other vacancies within the company—even if they were not the ideal candidate. “In other words we will deploy everybody into a job, whether they are the ideal candidates, and we will provide the needed training and mentoring and general support”.

It turned out, because of Felligi's gamble to do the unthinkable, the agency became more resilient. Employees learned new skills. It broke up the factionalism that was rampant. Statistics Canada became a bigger, better beast as it amped up investing in employee training. Under Felligi’s direction, the agency became regarded as one of the best statistical agencies in the world.

If courageous acts create impactful change, how do we cultivate courage in the workplace? No 12 step program exists, but there are a few ways to foster courage, involving a combination of exercise and fate.

1. Be born lucky

Some people may be born with a predisposition that is a bit more conducive to courageous acts. A person’s flight or fight strategy to danger relates to their personality. According to a 2008 study, a person's personality indicates how much social exclusion they can handle; the higher the tolerance, the likelier they are to be more courageous. However they do increase their chances of actually being left out.

2. Train brave behavior (kind of)

Courage is more training a state of mindset, rather than a muscle. Put yourself in situations where a bit of risk is needed, where your heart pounds, or where you’d rather avoid. Does networking make you sweat? Show up early to the event and make yourself give out 5 business cards. Once you’ve given out your card quota, you can leave.

3. Read stories

Be inspired by acts of bravery. Read Polly Marland’s 1942 “Timid Souls”, her cross-country exploration of finding ordinary, courageous people. Or check out Quora’s community of amazing stories of courage. The more you learn about how people rose to the occasion despite the fear, the more you program your cognitive response to act just as bravely.

4. Get lucky again

During the American Civil War, desertion was a common crime committed by both Union and Confederate soldiers. Men, afraid for their lives, simply tried to run away from the war. A much lesser known occurrence was some soldiers did run away from the front line, but these same soldiers came back after the smoke dissipated. This was regarded differently from desertion. Their commanders and fellow compatriots knew their sense of courage faltered in the moment, but were courageous enough to return. To try again. In some moments, our sense of bravely will fail. It takes a bit of luck to have all the elements (of training, mental fortitude, etc.) to align in that special moment or situation.

 

At absence.io, we manage planned (and unplanned) team absences. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 trust our tool to make their work lives easier.

 

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new career development

How Throwing Parties and Playing Video Games is Part of Your Career Development Plan

It may seem doubtful, but throwing parties or playing video gaming may mean bigger strides in your career development plan. This emerging world of work does not necessarily mean allowing the robots to take over — it’s also about bringing skills, interests, and strengths from your personal life that can contribute to your professional success.

According to one study, “World of Warcraft” gamers possess the psychological profile that would indicate success as virtual team members. The fast-thinking communication skills gamers hone would translate to real world skills. You don’t have to be a gamer to have applicable skills to leverage for job growth. Here are a few other hobbies you may consider picking up for professional success.

1. Get active

Join a softball league, a chess club, or a few neighborhood runners on their next trail. Sure, getting into shape is a big bonus. The focus here, though, is about flexing those social muscles. Honing your social skills and ability to pick up social cues is a fundamental need in the professional world. Interestingly, the type of sport indicates what traits are being hones. For individual-centric athletics, like swimming or running, endurance and goal creation are incredibly important. Team sports like basketball or water polo, develop the ability to remain competitive whilst remain affable.

2. Throw parties

It doesn’t have to be a college-style rager. It can be a dinner party in your backyard. Invite friends over for a casual beer and have them invite their friends. It’s a fabulous way to grow your network and develop social skills. The biggest skill takeaway is the organization part of the bash. Organizing events take dedication and thought-out planning. Making grocery lists, figuring out portion size, and remaining mindful of the budget are all skills that can translate to the workplace. Who knew a few cold ones meant career development? This calls for a toast.

3. Build something

It can be a drone, a model airplane, or a piece of furniture. The key here is to zero in on your decision making skills. In this small environment, no lives or jobs are at risk, but it does make you think on your feet to make the right decision. It creates a state of focus that can be translated into the world of work that values great decision makers .

4. Find that one thing you’re great at

One question to ask yourself: “What am I amazing at?” Do people compliment your sense of style? You are a quick reader? Or your ability to make people feel at ease or laugh? Find that one thing that you are really good at and build on it. Capitalize on your strengths and watch them grow. It creates confidence, which goes a long way in the work place where ideas need to be negotiated and deadlines need to be enforced. Becoming incredibly knowledgable on one thing may also be a gateway to another career move: entrepreneurship. A common claim is “entrepreneurs are generalists”. Though true for some, think of other well-known founders, like Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates. These guys understood how to program computers really well. Then, they launched into a different career trajectory.

5. Never stop learning

At absence.io, we understand the workplace is shifting. That's why we empower companies, like MyTheresa and Check24, with freedom and ease as they manage team absences.

Cheers to that.

 

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unlikely work friendships

Unlikely Workplace Friendships Happen : Yes, We're (Friend)Shipping Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in

When opposites attract, beautiful things occur. Think of toasted bacon in ice cream, or the romance developed by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks' characters in "You've Got Mail". Or nuclear disarmament talks. Even in a seemingly-contrary place like work,  friendship grows. And the results are great: 75 percent of employees feel empowered to tackle any work issue when they have a work bestie. Fortunately, for our sweet tooth and world peace, unlikely workplace friendships do happen.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in

We’re definitely not saying these two have exchanged BFFs bracelets or plan on sending each other Snaps of their brand-new Yeezys. But given their workplace—you know, the world stage and the Korean Peninsulamaybe an unlikely workplace friendship will occur now that Kim Jong-un has momentously crossed the demilitarized border.  We can hope. After all Kim Jong-un is also known for another unlikely bestie: NBA basketball star, Dennis Rodman. Maybe one day TMZ will be snapping photos of Jong-un, Jae-in, and Rodman court side at a Laker's game. As the saying goes, "Two's company, but three's a trifecta of international diplomacy". 

Larry Flynt and Jerry Falwell

One of the most eye-popping friendships happened between a pornographer and a zealously, conservative preacher. The platform of their individual workplaces clashed: Larry Flint is at the helm of a porn empire; Jerry Falwell was a fundamentalist Baptist who preached on a strict moral code, who passed away in 2007. Their friendship sprang from an even unlikelier setting: when Falwell sued Flynt for parodying Falwell in one his magazines.  So intense was the scene, a documentary was even made, The People vs. Flynt. Everything changed when they met in-person in 1997. They found they shared similar backgrounds and philosophies. The men with complete opposite views ended up sending Christmas cards, visiting each other, and becoming life-long friends.

Bob Hope and Dwight Eisenhower

The Hollywood comedian and the then-General of the U.S. Army met on the battlefield in Algeria during the Second World War. Hope was entertaining the American troops on one his travel tours. Their meeting inspired letters being continuously exchanged, even after Eisenhower was elected President in 1953. Hope volunteered his comedic talents to Eisenhower’s namesake medical center and his wife was on the hospital board.

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett

Sharing the tough work environment in Hollywood, the two female comedians became an unlikely duo. Ball was 22 years senior to young Carol Burnet. They met when Burnett acted on Ball’s TV show. Thereafter they struck up a mentor-mentee relationship, but over the years, enriched to a  true friendship. No matter how the years passed, Ball always called Burnett, “kid”. Ball passed the day before Burnett’s birthday. Birthday flowers, sent from Ball, were accompanied with the note, “Happy Birthday,  kid”.

 

Having a work bestie makes a world of difference in employee happiness. What else makes a huge impact? No-stress absence management. Companies like MyTheresa and Check24 use absence.io to manage planned (and unplanned) absences. As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”; we’re betting it also strengthens those workplace friendships.