When is Playing Hooky OK?

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

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Playing hooky. Those are two words that conjure the notion of ditching high school and going to the beach or sneaking away with friends for other adventures. Playing hooky also usually means getting caught and paying the consequences. Does anyone play high school hooky without getting caught?

But what about work? Is it ever OK to play hooky from work? The stakes are a little higher than high school and the consequences could be more severe. And just like high school, chances are you will get caught playing work hooky too. Posting on Facebook or Instagram from the beach on a Tuesday is always a clue. Participating in a conference call with Jimmy Buffet music playing in the background is another big clue. Opinions vary greatly on this hooky workplace dilemma.

Is it ever OK to play hooky at work? Here are just a few questions that may arise: Is it OK to play hooky when your long lost college friend is in town? Is it ok to play hooky when it’s your birthday? Is it OK to play hooky to go shopping after you finish that big project? What about when the new Star Trek movie opens? Is it ever OK?

These are all judgment calls. Maybe yes, maybe no depending on where you work, the nature of your job and the tolerance of your boss.

In some places, attendance is not as important as results. Too bad it’s not that way in all places. These are the places that may not know what hooky is because people come and go and are trusted to do the right thing and get the job done. These are the places where people couldn’t define hooky. In other places, showing up is about all that counts and that means hooky can creep into the culture.

The next time you get the urge to play hooky, include these thoughts in your decision:

  • Working from home is not playing hooky. Of course that assumes you are working.
  • When out of the office, keeping in touch is not the same as keeping tabs. Returning emails and voice mails all day is more like work than hooky.
  • Letting your team down by not showing up when they need you is not hooky – it is desertion. Don’t do it.
  • Sometimes a workday is required to go to the dentist, the DMV, get the dog spayed or do other chores that cannot be done over the weekend. None of this is fun so it’s probably not hooky. It’s life.
  • If you are struggling to create a good excuse for the absence, it’s probably hooky and the excuse better be credible.
  • Sometimes hooky is just plain worth it. Or at least 40,000 people at a time may think so when your beloved baseball team is playing at home in the World Series. Occasionally an event presents itself that makes normal people throw caution to the wind. Doing something that you will always remember might be worth the risk of a little hooky. Just don’t get caught on the Jumbotron.

The bottom line is that if you know your worth to the organization an occasional day off can boost your productivity over the long term, and it’s not hooky. It is clearing the mind for the next surge of adding value.

Let’s Fix It: Is It Easier to Find a Date Online Than a Job?

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

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Most of us have suffered on both ends of the hiring process. More than once I have been a hiring manager and desperate to bring in talent. Each time I knew there were people out there who needed a job and would love the opportunities the organization was offering. But no one seemed to be able to locate that talent and the search was taking forever. The frustration was incredible and work was not getting done.

On the other end of the process, I have been a job seeker and desperate to locate a job that fit my interests and skills. I knew there were positions available but I couldn’t find them. I had visions of hiring managers sitting around a conference table in utter frustration because they couldn’t find the talent they needed. In the vision I was yelling at them, “Here I am, here I am!”

But they couldn’t hear me and my level of desperation and frustration only increased. Like most everyone else, eventually I landed a job but the time and energy that was wasted was ridiculous.

Each year there are a new batch of energetic and talented college graduates that go through the job-hunt process. Last year there were one million college graduates, most looking for a job after commencement. In May 2015 there will be another million who will enter the “process.” Each year the graduates begin the process by sending out hundreds of resumes, then they get discouraged, maybe they revise the resume, maybe they buy another suit and eventually the process will land them a job. The energy wasted and the frustration is repeated each year. And that is just for the college graduates. There are millions of other job seekers and there are lots of jobs that go unfilled because employers cannot find the candidates. This is a big problem that needs to be fixed!

If we could harness the money, energy and time that is wasted on the hiring and job-hunt process we would have a better world. We could spend resources on fixing national and global problems instead of sending out unanswered emails to job sites. We could make everyone a little bit of a better person if rejection letters didn’t fill the in-box and fill the soul with self-doubt. We could use time effectively instead of trying to stretch a work history to match an impossible job description. We could make organizations better if we could spend time on training and mentoring instead of rejecting people. We could make better bosses because they wouldn’t be frustrated for not having enough people to do the job at hand.

The hiring process can’t go away but how do we fix it? How do we fix a process that is inefficient and ineffective on both ends and frustrating for just about everyone involved? How do we fix a process that is global and that will impact everyone at one time or another?

We live at a time when major disruptions are happening in nearly every domain. We are beginning to see the end of the fossil fuel era. They say research based on DNA and other breakthroughs will eliminate diseases that we have come to accept like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Private companies are launching rockets to Mars. Google has a self-driving car. Drones will soon be delivering our groceries. We can control nearly everything remotely on a smart phone. And, the job search process is still the same as it was in 1950. Fixes are not easy and there is no silver bullet but how about some wild bullets? Here we go, with apologies to the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Door Number One – Create a huge career/job lottery. The concept works for matching money to gamblers, why not use it to match employers with job seekers? The process is sort of a lottery now anyway so why not call it what it really is and make it more efficient? The random match might be just as good as some of the hiring decisions I have seen. The candidate can choose to take the job or not and will get five options before the door closes.

Door Number Two – Let NSA just make suggestions. Since they know what we talk about on the phone and what we are doing in on-line activities, who knows better than the “agency” what we might be good at and interested in? Maybe there should be a “Job Czar” of the world who makes sure all the matching works.

Door Number Three – Keep the current system but turbocharge it through better technology. Dating sites will allow you to get a date tonight. Why does a job site take months or longer? Maybe the job search sites should cooperate with each other so that we stop toggling between too many options.

Forget Doors Number One and Two. I don’t like them and they would be worse but why not throw a few crazy ideas out there. Door Number Three might work if we put our minds to it. Or, maybe not. Bottom line is one of the most significant activities in the world, hiring people and finding a job is still like running around through the bushes and brambles. There must be a better, faster and happier way to match people with the jobs they want. And while we are at it, why don’t we apply the same logic to the college application process?

What do you propose on fixing the hiring process?

Work Weight Gain: 3 Simple Ways to Avoid It

Posted by Richard Moran & filed under Uncategorized.

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The two “secrets” of losing weight are well documented and we all know them. It’s simple: to lose weight one needs to take in fewer calories and get exercise. The problem is at work, both of those not-so-secret weight loss solutions are really hard to implement. And, it’s hard to be a good team member when you are grouchy from being so hungry.

Since counting calories and half marathons at lunch are difficult, here are three well documented strategies to avoid weight gain:

1. Don’t travel. We have the best intentions when we travel on business. We pack our workout gear and plan to eat right the entire time. But then we get to the airport and the flight is delayed so we buy a magazine and a bag of Gummy Bears. When we finally get to the hotel we are jet-lagged and tired so we order room service and maybe some wine with a late dinner. Why? Because after all the battles we fought to get here for the company, we deserve it! The next day on the road could include lunch out of a vending machine, donuts or pizza. Why? Because it might be all that is available and we are hungry and, we deserve it! On the trip home we might feel like celebrating so we have that bad meal at the airport and a celebratory toast with our colleagues. Why? Because we deserve it!

2. Don’t eat in your car. Spending too much time commuting is a way of life in most large metro areas. Getting to work is half the battle of work now. To make the part of the day a little more palatable (literally) we might get that latte and a few snacks for the road. The problem is what is edible in a car. We don’t eat healthy cereal or scrambled eggs in a car. We eat donuts, scones, croissants, McMuffins and worse. Later in the day we might eat any fast food available including cheeseburgers, hot dogs, french fries, candy and burritos although burritos present an entirely different challenge. We don’t eat salads because they are too hard to eat while driving so we eat things that are easy to buy and easy to eat. And we do all of this while sitting in traffic for hours. Take a look in the back seat of your car behind the passenger seat. If it is loaded with greasy wrappers and empty Frappuccino cups, you are guilty.

3. Don’t eat the free food in the office. Unless you work at a company like Google, the free food includes bagels, muffins, cookies, a bin of red licorice and sodas. At other times the free food will include Halloween candy that parents stole from the kids and brought into the office or leftover cupcakes. Then there are all the occasions including birthday parties, retirement parties, promotion parties and others that feature cake and ice cream. The coffee and tea can be ok as long as you don’t add all that cream and sugar. Free office food almost always features sugar. It may provide an energy burst but just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

To avoid gaining weight at work, you don’t need to buy another diet book about three day cleanses or super foods. All you need to do is follow the three simple rules outlined here. Do you have any secrets to avoid gaining weight at work? Or better yet, losing weight at work?