Stop shaming job hoppers: The future of work belongs to the job hoppers

Hopping right on out of that bad job

Though Intel forecasts flat sales in 2019, people inside the company said this week’s layoffs don’t appear to be strictly a cost-cutting move. Rather, they said the cuts appeared to reflect a broad change in the way Intel is approaching its internal technical systems… Intel will now consolidate operations under a single contractor, the Indian technology giant Infosys.

Intel is laying off hundreds of their IT staff, according to the Oregonian. Unless you or a friend or family member is immediately affected, you’ve probably scrolled right past the news. That’s no shame on you; stories of layoffs are a dime a dozen in our newsfeeds. It’s easy to scroll right on past.

In March alone, EA laid off 350 people. Bed, Bath and Beyond laid off 150 workers. SAP is cutting 450 US jobs, Oracle is heading into layoffs and playing coy, but rumors are estimating it will be in the thousands. PayPal plans to cut close to 400 jobs. It was just announced that 1,500 employees are losing their jobs by September at a Fiat Chrysler plant. In Wisconsin, Shopko is laying off 1,700 people. Disney’s recent merger with Fox is generating speculation that anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 workers will be laid off.

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This is what the future of work looks like part 2

I just fell in love with the Women Who Code job board. They’re making job hunting slightly easier by including two pieces of critical content alongside their job postings.

The first is an overview of the interview process, providing much needed transparency into a stressful process.

future workforce trends
Transparency ftw

The second piece of content is an interactive list of company benefits that actually matter to me. I look at hundreds of jobs a month. I rarely see such forward thinking filters.

future workforce trends
Benefit search

Talk about the future of work is dominated by robots taking our jobs. While that type of content makes for good metrics, the robot narrative ignores how organizations are evolving into better places of work. Organizations are finally shedding outdated Baby Boomer models of work. They’re open to experimenting with new ways of work and management.

I teach people how to find remote jobs. Each week I round up the most interesting remote jobs that I find online. I’m constantly running into companies that are changing the status quo. Many of them offer benefits like this:

future workforce trends
Benefits at Glitch
Glitch’s inclusion statement

I’ve got a massive crush on Glitch, the company whose benefits are listed above. They get it.

Companies like Glitch are the future of work. They’re also what we miss when we only talk about robots in the future of work.

When job boards like Women Who Code include searchable filters like parental leave, 100% work from home, and unconscious bias training, they signal that workers have a choice. Workers can choose to work for old school companies that preach meritocracy but believe work only happens between 9-5. Or they can find an innovative company that believes in lifting up underrepresented voices, flexible work, and supporting parents in the workplace.

Learning how to learn

The shelf life of your college degree is getting shorter and shorter.


David Blake, founder of Degreed on the podcast episode, Speaking the language of skills

Spend any time in future of work or higher education circles, and you’ll notice how often people throw around the term lifelong learning. It’s incredibly in fashion to tell people how they’ll need to become lifelong learners. Beyond that though aren’t a lot of resources on how people should make this shift.

Degreed is out to change that. This interview with the founder of Degreed is an inside look at the challenges and opportunities of cultivating life long learning among employees.

I really appreciated this podcast episode, especially where they talk about learning to learn and creating a learning environment in the workplace. Plus I learned about an entire new category of YouTube videos: bad corporate training.

If you spend any time in future of work circles or higher education, you’ll like this perspective.

This is what the future of work looks like

Note: I wanted to title this post What We’re Missing When We Only Talk About Robots as the Future of Work. The future of work is filled with new ways of working that challenge traditional career paths and organizational structures. I’m going to spend more time writing about these organizations just as soon as I finish up the first draft of my book and my life returns to semi-normal. 

I’m crushing on a small company called The Pudding. They’re a journalism meets data engineering company. As they describe it, their work  “explain(s) ideas debated in culture with visual essays.” And they do wild reporting, like The World Through the Eyes of the US and Music Borders, an interactive map of the top songs in the world in May 2018 (including audio!).

Their company culture is what really wooed me. Here’s how they put it:

We’re six full-time journalist-engineers who operate as a collective rather than hierarchical team.

I love that there’s no corporate fluff here. They continue:

Much of our work is done autonomously, with individuals choosing their essays and owning the whole story, from research to code. Each team member can do every step: research and reporting, data analysis, design, writing, and code.

Hot damn. They paint a picture of an organization where people own their own projects, collaborate, and bring a seriously impressive set of hybrid skills with them.

The description continues:

So we experiment, a lot. The creative process feels more like workshopping a movie script than critiquing a bar chart. Consequently, many of our ideas are killed during production, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! It means we’re trying unproven, never-done-before things.

I’ve worked in creative jobs and non creative ones. The ability to workshop an idea and get feedback is an important skill that’s rarely mastered outside of creative teams. Companies frequently talk about the need for collaboration skills. Yet it’s hard to pin down exactly what they mean. Then you see it laid out like this and you instantly recognize it. Work at this company and you’ll collaborate to create impressive pieces of work.

But here’s what really got me: transparency.

They’re transparent about how they make money and how much they pay people.

From The Pudding website:

Our primary revenue sources are 1) essay sponsors and 2) white-labeled content. Sponsorship is akin to what you might find on a podcast…”this article was made possible by Blue Apron.”

Now take a look at their salaries:

TITLE COMPENSATION
Intern Not currently offering internships (follow our socials for updates)
Jr. Journalist-Engineer $70k
Journalist-Engineer $82k
Sr. Journalist-Engineer $100k
Editor $115k

Could you imagine your company doing this? Could you imagine how it might change your company culture if the place you worked embraced transparency around spending, budgets, and salaries?

If you want more, have a look at what it’s like to work here.

More organizations should follow this lead. With this level of detail you know what you’re going to get as an employee. If you’re reading this and thinking, I don’t want to work in a place like this, good. At least you know. It’s usually quite difficult to figure out what a place is really like without talking to someone.

The Pudding puts it all on the table.

The future of work needs more transparency. The Pudding is setting the example.

I leave you with the number one song in Iceland from May 2018.

Probably the best writing advice to date

I’m in the final sprint to finish the first draft of my book in the next four weeks which means I’m ignoring pretty much everything else. Except Twitter.

I’ve struggled all day, every day to ignore Twitter since I started writing this book back in October. I’ve failed on that pretty much every day. Though, I have reduced my addiction to my carefully curated information hose. I wonder how much more quality procrastination writers had before Twitter.

Sometimes though Twitter comes through and delivers something so helpful and timely that I’m reminded for all the reasons I love this site over any other.

Behold the best advice on writing ever:

I’ve had three mantras to get me through the first draft:

finished not perfect

the purpose of the first draft is for it to exist

let the editor sort this out

Those mantras help me with the writing process. They keep me moving forward.

But Ava’s advice validated all the feels that happen when you see your raw, messy thoughts masquerading as a future book.

I screenshotted her tweet and read it every day right now as I push towards the finish.

Share it with anyone you know who writes.

Remote jobs are going to be hot hot hot in 2019

In 2017, 43% Americans worked remotely during part of their work week. That was up from 39% in 2012. With the proliferation of remote job boards and a flood of digital nomad lifestyle pics on Insta, it’s no wonder people are getting curious about remote work. The days of sketchy Craigslist WFH jobs are over. 

Just looking through the perks and benefits of remote work makes me wonder why anyone is going into work on a regular basis. Some of these fully remote companies have better workplace perks than traditional workplaces.

Remote work isn’t just for programmers. There are plenty of opportunities for people outside of tech to work remotely. Take a look:

I’m on a mission to get people to experiment more with their careers. So I’m teaching people how to get a remote job in 2019. My online course, How to Get a Remote Job, opens in February.

Lazy blogging with Twitter

I originally joined Twitter because it was the perfect form of lazy blogging. I could put articles I was reading out into the world with short commentary. No full blog post needed. Now I write more and Twitter feeds what I write about. Despite the fact that Twitter is dumpster fire, I love it, massively.

This book writing thing is messing up my ability to write here regularly. So now I will use my favorite site for lazy blogging as the content for future lazy blog posts here.

My most favorite Twitter finds for the week. I tend to share posts on higher education, international education, and artificial intelligence.

Community colleges are full of innovation and teaching skills for career changers. Traditional universities should look to them for more inspiration:

This quote rang so true in the midst of reports about hunger insecurity on campus:

Again more smart thinking from community colleges:

In AI news, European checkpoints are going to use microexpressions to figure out if you’re lying. If I were writing a full post I’d research whether or not it’s based on the same tech HireVue uses when analyze candidate’s video interviews.

Also the AI Now Institute (an organization that I am majorly crushing on and want to work for) released their AI Now 2018 Report which presents 10 recommendations for navigating artificial intelligence technology. Everyone should read it. This isn’t the future. This is the reality now.

More on the wild wild west of AI hiring.

And lastly, any politician who sponsored this could count on the millennial vote. One can dream.

 

 

Where’s the discussion about employee privacy in the future of work?

In the age of big data, a measure-everything mindset is emerging. Julia Ticona, a sociologist and researcher with the Data and Society think tank in New York, says that the same types of apps that track and keep tabs on restaurant workers or delivery people 24/7 are now migrating to white-collar jobs.

But while service and manufacturing industry workers are more used to overt productivity measurements, such systems are often sold to office workers as opportunities to maximize their own productivity, she explains. “For lower wage folks, it’s about scheduling and hours,” says Ticona. “For the white collar folks, it’s about being the ‘best you.’” The inevitable future of Slack is your boss using it to spy on you

There’s so much in this article about all the ways your employer uses new technology and invasive data collection techniques to spy on you at work.  There’s even an example of a company that tracks their employees outside of work hours. Your workplace is creeping ever closer to the Circle.

So much of the future of work is focused on robots taking our jobs. But that discussion overlooks much of what’s happening outside of robots, mainly the erosion of employee privacy. The idea that companies should have the rights to all data an employee produces in the course of their workday is absurd. Employee surveillance shouldn’t be normalized. Moreover, we need more discussion about the people making decisions about what constitutes worker productivity. Who are they and how are they qualified to make these decisions? You can bet the executives and upper management aren’t being tracked like this.

I disagree that this is all inevitable. We have the power to say no to it. We have the power to teach emerging leaders how to not to use this technology or point out the potential for abuse. Employee privacy shouldn’t be a trade off for a paycheck. Employees have the power to ask questions: How are you using my personal data? What data are you monitoring? What assumptions are you making about my work when you build productivity measuring algorithms?” 

Future employees have the power to ask the right questions during their job interviews. Let’s start teaching people the right questions to ask in an interview for a white collar role. How do you measure success in this role? How do you track worker productivity? How much data do you collect on your employees and what do you use it for?

We’re in the middle of a massive transition to a quantified workplace where leadership wants to measure everything in the pursuit of pure productivity. The people who are impacted most under this system must participate in shaping this transformation and pushing back.

employee privacy

#NaNoWriMo is wrecking my blogging schedule

I’m deep into National Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) and it’s wrecking my ability to write here. I’m in the middle of writing my second book and so far, I’m 14,000 words in for the month of November. For context, I wrote 9,000 words in all of October. The goal of #NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words. I’m a little behind but I’m still shooting for it.

It’s also International Education Week (IEW2018) so I’m busy promoting GlobalMe School and teaching career services how to improve international student career outcomes on one of my other websites. In short, I’m tapped out of words.

On the plus side, #NaNoWriMo month is an excellent tool for aspiring book writers. Things I’ve learned in only two weeks:

  • The only way you will write a book is to put your ass in a seat and write. Truth.
  • Writing without self-editing is the hardest part of this month long exercise. I’ll never make it to 50K words if I edit.
  • Researching writing is not writing your book. Neither is writing about writing a book (which I’m doing now). Writing your book is the only writing that counts towards the goal of publishing a book.
  • Getting comfortable with the rawness of your words and accepting the messiness is part of the process.
  • The world is full of people who say they can write better than (insert book here). Like most things, it’s so much harder than it looks.

So in lieu of a post, here’s an article dump on the most interesting things I’ve read this week about AI and ethics, a subject I’m increasingly more interested in. If I weren’t so brain dead from barfing words elsewhere, I’m sure I’d come up with something clever to say about these. But I can’t. So here we are.

The Newest Jim Crow

Principles for Ethical Machine Learning

China takes facial recognition tech to Africa

This insanely creepy roundup of patents to increase corporate surveillance in your home and I can’t even…

Followed by this tweet by the ever insightful researcher Zeynep Tufekci.

Rwanda launches first Masters in Machine Intelligence in the country

Much of the AI and highered interwebs were ablaze in the last week with MIT’s announcement that they’re building an AI college with a cool $1 billion in funding. (side note: I wish I could get into that future interdisciplinary college. Perhaps I’ll just have to wait for the inevitable exec leadership program that comes out of it.)

But I’m far more excited by this news: the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is launching an African Masters in Machine Intelligence programme. And it’s only 10 months long. Even better? This:

“There are two Rwandans in the first cohort of 35 students, 44 per cent being women – another first at AIMS.”

The students will graduate with a Masters in Mathematical Science specializing in machine learning. The program is backed by tech giants, Google and Facebook. It’s the first of it’s kind in the country.

Maybe Americans might want to considering getting their masters in artificial intelligence abroad. Imagine the perspective they’d gain. Imagine the value they could add to an organization. And they’d do it in less time than a traditional American degree.

A Nigerian colleague shared the article on LinkedIn reminding me yet again of the immense value of global networks.