Tag: Work

“Rona” Life Hack #7

Right now, a lot of companies have had to make the transition to laying off employees, cutting workers hours or even calling for their associates to work from home. For some of us, this is a gift from God (literally!) but for others of us we’ve had to make some adjustments on the fly. Working from home can be a great thing and if you are already home working or not working if you’ve been laid off, then it can’t hurt to get another job to make some extra money on the side.

Check online for companies that are looking for part-time employees. Companies like Amazon who need deliver drivers to grocery stores, Costco & Walmart are hiring temporary employees to help during this crisis. Go to their websites & find their job openings if you think you want to work either inside or outside the home during this time.

 

Being Black—But Not Too Black—In The Workplace

To be a black professional is often to be alone. Most black doctors, lawyers, journalists, and so on—those in white-collar positions that require specialized training and credentialing—work in environments where they are in the racial minority.

This comes with challenges. Beyond outright discrimination, which many still face, there are psychological costs to being one of just a few black faces in a predominantly white environment. In a study of black professional workers in a number of different occupations, I found that these employees worked to carefully manage their emotions in ways that reflected the racial landscapes they inhabited.

In particular, black professionals had to be very careful to show feelings of conviviality and pleasantness, even—especially—in response to racial issues. They felt that emotions of anger, frustration, and annoyance were discouraged, even when they worked in settings where these emotions were generally welcomed in certain contexts—think litigators interacting with opposing counsel, or financial analysts responding to a stressful day on Wall Street. Interestingly, this often played out at trainings meant to encourage racial sensitivity. Many of the black professionals I interviewed found that diversity trainings—intended to improve the work environment for minorities—actually became a source of emotional stress, as they perceived that their white colleagues could use these trainings to express negative emotions about people of color, but that they were expected not to disclose their own honest emotional reactions to such statements.

One of the most interesting recent contributions to this area of research comes from legal scholars Mitu Gulati and Devon Carbado. In their book Working Identity, they argue that while everyone needs to create and put forth an “appropriate” workplace identity, for members of minority groups—women of all races, racial-minority men, LGBTQ people—this becomes particularly taxing because their working identities must counter common cultural stereotypes. For example, black men may feel compelled to work longer hours as a way to repudiate stereotypes of a poor work ethic among blacks. To make matters more complicated, such strategies can backfire, reinforcing other stereotypes: Working those long hours may lead colleagues to assume that the workers lack the intellectual preparation needed for high-status professional jobs.

Carbado and Gulati also note that minority professionals tread cautiously to avoid upsetting the majority group’s sensibilities. Put simply, they can be visibly black, but don’t want to be perceived as stereotypically black. As Carbado and Gulati write, a black female candidate for a law firm who chemically straightens her hair, is in a nuclear family structure, and resides in a predominantly white neighborhood signals a fealty to (often unspoken) racial norms. She does so in a way that an equally qualified black woman candidate who wears dreadlocks, has a history of pushing for racial change in the legal field, is a single mother, and lives in the inner city does not.

The same is true for professional workers who are members of other racial minority groups. For instance, Latina attorneys may be able to advance further at work if they take pains not to speak with any trace of an accent. These are challenges in addition to the more well-known ones—the difficulties finding mentors of the same race, coping with racial stereotypes, being treated as a representative for one’s entire racial group.

So what does this mean for black workers in professional environments? First, it’s indicative of the degree to which race shapes occupational outcomes. In many circles, people feel more comfortable reducing racial issues to class-based ones, assuming that poverty explains much, if not all, of the differences between minorities and whites.

But for blacks in professional positions, issues of poverty are not the problem. Poverty does not explain biases in hiring, the need for particular types of emotional management, and the careful self-presentation that minority professionals engage in at work.

Second, all of this ought to encourage a rethinking of some of the existing efforts to create more diverse work environments. Do diversity and inclusion initiatives take into consideration how minorities placed in those environments feel? How can policies create not just more equitable hiring processes, but address the emotional toll of being a racial minority in a professional work setting?

In the current political climate, there is generally support for solving race-related employment challenges by focusing on job training and education—in other words, increasing human capital to improve access. Given the research, it’s also important to consider how to create better workplaces for the minority professionals who are already in these jobs.

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*Article originally published on The Atlantic.

Stop Multitasking!

We all do it: Texting while walking, sending emails during meetings, chatting on the phone while cooking dinner. In today’s society, doing just one thing at a time seems downright luxurious, even wasteful.

But chances are, you’re not doing yourself (or your boss, or your friends and family) any favors by multitasking your way through the day. Research shows that it’s not nearly as efficient as we like to believe, and can even be harmful to our health. Here are 12 reasons why you should stop everything you’re doing—well, all but one thing—and rethink the way you work, socialize, and live your life.

You’re not really multitasking

What you call multitasking is really task-switching, says Guy Winch, PhD, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount,” he says.

“It’s like a pie chart, and whatever we’re working on is going to take up the majority of that pie. There’s not a lot left over for other things, with the exception of automatic behaviors like walking or chewing gum.” Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity, he says, because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears—plus, you never get fully “in the zone” for either activity.

It’s slowing you down

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t save time. In fact, it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth than it would to finish each one separately. The same is true even for behaviors as seemingly automatic as driving: In a 2008 University of Utah study, drivers took longer to reach their destinations when they chatted on cell phones.

“What tends to save the most time is to do things in batches,” says Winch. “Pay your bills all at once, then send your emails all at once. Each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.”

You’re making mistakes

Experts estimate that switching between tasks can cause a 40% loss in productivity. It can also cause you to introduce errors into whatever you’re working on, especially if one or more of your activities involves a lot of critical thinking.

A 2010 French study found that the human brain can handle two complicated tasks without too much trouble, because it has two lobes that can divide responsibility equally between the two. Add a third task, however, and it can overwhelm the frontal cortex and increase the number of mistakes you make.

It’s stressing you out

When University of California Irvine researchers measured the heart rates of employees with and without constant access to office email, they found that those who received a steady stream of messages stayed in a perpetual “high alert” mode with higher heart rates. Those without constant email access did less multitasking and were less stressed because of it.

And it’s not only the physical act of multitasking that causes stress; it’s the consequences, as well, says Winch. “If you do poorly on an exam because you studied while watching a baseball game on TV, that can certainly trigger a lot of stress—even self-esteem issues and depression.”

You’re missing out on life

Forget seeing the forest for the trees or the glass half full—people who are busy doing two things at once don’t even see obvious things right in front of them, according to a 2009 study from Western Washington University.

Specifically, 75% of college students who walked across a campus square while talking on their cell phones did not notice a clown riding a unicycle nearby. The researchers call this “inattentional blindness,” saying that even though the cell-phone talkers were technically looking at their surroundings, none of it was actually registering in their brains.

Your memory may suffer

It makes sense that if you try to do two things at once—read a book and watch television, for example—that you’re going to miss important details of one or both. But even interrupting one task to suddenly focus on another can be enough to disrupt short term memory, according to a 2011 study.

When University of California San Francisco researchers asked participants to study one scene, but then abruptly switched to a different image, people ages 60 to 80 had a harder time than those in their 20s and 30s disengaging from the second picture and remembering details about the first. As the brain ages, researchers say, it has a harder time getting back on track after even a brief detour.

It’s hurting your relationships

“This is an area where I think multitasking has a much bigger effect than most people realize,” says Winch. “A couple is having a serious talk and the wife says ‘Oh, let me just check this message.’ Then the husband gets mad, and then he decides to check his messages, and communication just shuts down.”

One recent study from the University of Essex even shows that just having a cell phone nearby during personal conversations—even if neither of you are using it—can cause friction and trust issues. “Do your relationship a favor and pay your partner some exclusive attention for 10 minutes,” says Winch. “It can make a big difference.”

It can make you overeat

Being distracted during mealtime can prevent your brain from fully processing what you’ve eaten, according to a 2013 review of 24 previous studies. Because of that, you won’t feel as full, and may be tempted to keep eating—and to eat again a short time later.

Experts recommend that even people who eat alone should refrain from turning on the television while eating, and to truly pay attention to their food. Eating lunch at your computer? Slow down and take a break from the screen to focus on each bite.

You’re not actually good at it

Yes, you. You may think you’re a master multitasker, but, according to a 2013 University of Utah study, that probably means you’re actually among the worst.

The research focused specifically on cell phone use behind the wheel, and it found that people who scored highest on multitasking tests do not frequently engage in simultaneous driving and cell-phone use—probably because they can better focus on one thing at a time. Those who do talk and drive regularly, however, scored worse on the tests, even though most described themselves as having above average multitasking skills.

It’s dampening your creativity

Multitasking requires a lot of what’s known as “working memory,” or temporary brain storage, in layman’s terms. And when working memory’s all used up, it can take away from our ability to think creatively, according to research from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Too much focus can actually harm performance on creative problem-solving tasks,” the authors wrote in their 2010 study. With so much already going on in their heads, they suggest, multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous “a ha moments.”

You can’t OHIO

No, not the state! Psychiatrists and productivity experts often recommend OHIO: Only Handle It Once. “This is a rule of thumb for many people with ADHD, but it can also be practiced by anyone who wants to be more organized,” says Winch. “It basically means if you take something on, don’t stop until you’ve finished it.”

The problem with multitasking, though, is that it makes Only Handling It Once a near impossibility—instead, you’re handling it five or six times, says Winch. “If you’re going to stick to this principle, you need to be disciplined and plan out your day so that when a distraction arises or a brilliant idea occurs to you, you know that there will be time for it later.”

It can be dangerous

Texting or talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, is as dangerous as driving drunk—yet that doesn’t stop many adults from doing it, even while they have their own children in the car.

It’s not just driving that puts you at risk for the consequences of multitasking, either. Research also shows that people who use mobile devices while walking are less likely to look before stepping into a crosswalk. And in one study, one in five teenagers who went to the emergency room after being hit by a car admitted they were using a smartphone at the time of the accident.

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*Article originally published on Health.

Please Stop Saying These 25 Ridiculous Phrases at Work

At first, euphemisms surfaced in the workplace to help people deal with touchy subjects that were difficult to talk about. Before long, they morphed into corporate buzzwords that expanded and took over our vocabulary until our everyday conversations started sounding like they were taking place on another planet:

Listen Ray, I don’t have the bandwidth for it with everything that’s on my plate, but ping me anyway because at the end of the day it’s on my radar and I don’t want to be thrown under the bus because I didn’t circle back around on this no-brainer.

I understand the temptation. These catchphrases are spicy and they make you feel clever (low-hanging fruit is a crutch of mine), but they also annoy the hell out of people.

If you think that you can use these phrases without consequence, you’re kidding yourself. Just pay close attention to how other people react to your using them, and you’ll see that these phrases don’t cast you in a favorable light.

After all, TalentSmart has tested the emotional intelligence of more than a million people and one of the biggest need areas for most people is social awareness. Most of us are so focused on what we’re saying and what we’re going to say next that we lose sight of how our words affect other people.

So give this list a read, think of how often you use some of these words, and see if you can catch yourself before you use them again.

Have some fun with it, because at the end of the day if you don’t hit the ground running you can always go back to the drawing board and get the ball rolling…

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Back to the drawing board
  3. Hit the ground running
  4. Get the ball rolling
  5. Low-hanging fruit
  6. Throw under the bus
  7. Think outside the box
  8. Let’s touch base
  9. Get my manager’s blessing
  10. It’s on my radar
  11. Ping me
  12. I don’t have the bandwidth
  13. No brainer
  14. Par for the course
  15. Bang for your buck
  16. Synergy
  17. Move the goal post
  18. Apples to apples
  19. Win-win
  20. Circle back around
  21. All hands on deck
  22. Take this offline
  23. Drill-down
  24. Elephant in the room
  25. On my plate

What phrases are your pet peeves? Please share them in the comments section below –

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*Originally published on Inc.

Working While Black: 10 Realities & Racial Microaggressions People Of Color Experience In The Workplace

Racism 1

  1. You are expected to speak for and on behalf of people of color everywhere.  You are sometimes expected to be the barometer of racism.  If there is a conscience in the workplace, you are it.  You carry the burden of calling out discrimination when you see/experience it with the risk of retaliation which can be anything from being overlooked for a promotion, to losing your job altogether for creating a “hostile” environment.  If/when you don’t call out racism, you emotional turmoil and guilt, feeling like a sell out for not standing up for yourself or others.
  2. You are routinely accused of being hostile, aggressive, difficult and/or angry.  You are told that your colleagues/students/co-workers/customers are intimidated by you and are afraid to approach you.    You are encouraged in evaluations to “smile more,” and “be more friendly.”  You practice a fake ass smile in the mirror on your way out the door and practice all the way to work.  You fear that your resting face pose makes people think you are mean.
  3. You are required to be the diversity on committees and in meetings because black is the only diversity that matters.  Your blackness makes it easy to “see” that a diversity quota has been met.
  4. You feel unappreciated, undercompensated and overworked.  You are afraid to ask for compensation, a promotion, praise or affirmation.  You have been socialized to be satisfied that you have a job.  You feel guilty for not feeling grateful.
  5. You are regularly nominated for or assigned extra tasks and responsibilities for things no one else wants to do (especially things involving other POC).  You are encouraged to work with other people of color, join people of color groups, attend people of color activities, etc.
  6. Your absence (at work, at meetings, at parties) stands out with no regard to how exhausting it is to be the only black person in the room.  You are encouraged to not think of yourself as black when you are the only black person in the room.
  7. You are often vilified and/or criticized for doing your work (too early or on time, well or not good enough).  You are labeled as either an overachiever or a slacker, as too ambitious or lazy.  You struggle to find the balance between these things.
  8. You feel that no matter what you do or how hard you work, you need to do more (or sometimes less).  Nothing is ever (good) enough.
  9. You feel the need to constantly prove yourself worthy of your job or opportunity.  You know that some people assume you got your job, promotion, award, or special recognition, not because you worked your ass off or deserve it, but because you are black (there goes that damn black privilege again, cause you know affirmative action causes folk to get jobs they are unqualified for and shit <insert sideye>).
  10. You feel isolated, misunderstood, misrecognized, misrepresented, and missing in action.  You wonder how you can feel invisible and hypervisible at the same time.

Anything I’m missing? Feel free to tell me about in the comments section below –

rac 2

*Article originally published on the Crunk Feminist Collective.