Archive | May, 2012

What is a job? The Social Contract.

30 May


 

If you don’t like your job, wait five minutes and it will change.

 

A couple centuries ago political philosophers formulated the idea of the social contract.  This laid the foundation for democracy.  The job is a social  contract many people seem not to understand.  It is a deal between an employer and an employee.  An optimal contract is one where both parties benefit.  Under ideal conditions here is my take on the contributions that the two parties provide.

 

Employer                                       Employee

• Compensation                             • Time

• Working environment                • Skills, knowledge, experience

• Tools & training                             • Best effort

• Fair management                        • Engagement, involvement

The most striking characteristic of this relationship is its constant change.  During the 20th century the relationship has become more complex and of more mutual benefit.  For an in-depth discussion of this social role go to Beyond Luck.

Next week, the job as a social role in a repertory of social roles.

 

 

 

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Langhorne links

14 May

From time to time I give a talk and people ask for more reading.  Here are the links to a speech on Optimism, the Manager From Hell, Principles and Rules, Knowledge Workers, Happiness and Parenting and Managing

• If you see a bathroom use it!

http://www.langhorneassociates.com/article_bathroom.html

• For in-depth assessment of your optimism:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/optimism-1/

When you’re 95………

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/when-you%e2%80%99re-95/

• A product of optimism is happiness, to do a fun, quick & simple self-assessment of your happiness and use the link in the article:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/happiness-how-to/

•The Basics of an effective management style 1.1 (Manager from Hell)

http://www.beyondluck.net/

Click on ”Preview the Book” and go to pp.11

• Article on Knowledge Workers:

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/on-managing-knowledge-workers/

• Parenting and Managing

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/parenting-managing-inform-one-another/

• On Principles and Rules:

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/on-principles-and-rules-heuristics-and-algorithms/

• Celebrating The Land Between………..

http://www.corridorbusiness.com/consulting/celebrating-the-land-between-two-rivers/

Beyond Luck (soft cover & digital):

Click on Beyond luck image.

If a Job Makes Life Sweet – How?

9 May


 

The job provides an income.  Mae West said “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor – rich is better.”  Income does not bring happiness, but it’s much more difficult to be personally satisfied when you are struggling to live at some minimal level.  However, each individual or family has a personal standard of how much is enough.

A job gives a person an identity.  Usually if you inquire, “who are you?” people answer with a title or description of the job they inhabit.  The most difficult aspect of being “separated” from a job is learning how to value oneself, one’s identity, without such a self-description.

Today, if you drive through a typical middle class residential area, the most striking aspect is that it is mostly empty.  The children are at school, their jobs, and mom and/or dad are at work.  Decades ago these areas were filled during the day with women.  This means that the social environment centers on, not the residential area, but the job and the school.  I sometimes wonder if the over-scheduling of our children is a method to create a new social environment.  In addition, many of our friends we have met through work or through our partner’s work.

A job that your are good at and thus derive satisfaction from has an enormous positive impact on well-being.  Not only how we esteem ourselves also our physical health.  Bad jobs can make us ill.  In fact the Japanese have a term that translates roughly into “work-death.”

 

Let’s begin to parse the job into its key elements next week

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Work Makes Life Sweet

2 May

Some years ago I was teaching at a small residential college and after a couple years noticed that high school students would enroll in the autumn and at Thanksgiving we would send home young adults.  This enormous change had little to do with what happened in the classroom and dramatically illustrated the influence of a new environment.

Last summer I hired a HS student to work with me in the yard, 1.5 acres, dozens of trees.  He played sports on both State winning football and soccer teams and is courteous, thoughtful and a hard worker.  This spring he is again working with me and I have noticed a big improvement in his confidence, ability to work without detailed direction, timeliness and communication skills. What could have happened?

He got a job, a part-time job at a pizza place where he does car deliveries on the weekend and works in the restaurant on week-nights.

Some years ago a client mentioned to me that one of the best things that had ever happened to his son was to get a job at McDonalds, where he learned how to work.  Perhaps High Schools should place less emphasis on sports and more on helping young people get wage paying jobs.  Ask yourself, which has more relevance to a person’s future?

An extraordinary colleague from New York City once mentioned a Yiddish aphorism: “Work Makes Life Sweet.”  Food for thought.

So begins a series on jobs.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.