Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Are You a Good Worker?

"What does it take to be a good remote worker?" by Katie Johnston Globe Staff, June 1, 2021

As desirable as working from home can be — the seconds-long commute, the lack of co-worker interruptions, the sweat pants — it isn’t for everyone.

It’s lonely. Communication takes extra effort, and disconnecting from work takes even more.

[It also hurts your back]

With the number of all-remote companies climbing, and hybrid workplaces becoming the new normal in the wake of the pandemic, more people will be working from home than ever before. In fact, more than half of employers are planning to offer a mix of in-person and remote work, according to a new survey by the employment law firm Littler Mendelson, but how do they know if their workers are really suited for this arrangement long term?

The question is of great interest to employers as they start throwing open their office doors this summer. Employees’ ability to be productive at home has been firmly established during the pandemic, yet several chief executives have recently voiced downright hostility toward the concept. The head of WeWork said those most comfortable working from home are the “least engaged” with their jobs; Jamie Dimond, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said telecommuting “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle,” but remote work is wildly popular with workers, according to a recent Harvard Business School Online survey, and companies are grappling with how to make it all come together.

After seeing a huge uptick in interest from clients interested in hiring remote workers, the Cambridge company Cangrade, which produces AI-based hiring assessments to help companies predict job candidates’ success, pinpointed a handful of abilities that indicate an aptitude for hunkering down at home. Follow-through, establishing tasks to regulate day-to-day work, and monitoring one’s own performance are key, Cangrade found.

“If you’re not strong at these three things, then no matter how wonderful or smart a human you are, you’re probably not going to succeed at remote work,” said Liana Epstein, Cangrade’s chief operating and analytics officer. “Some people love it and thrive, and some people flounder and miss the office desperately. . . . .”

This struggle has led to Cangrade roughly doubling its business over the past year, the company said, as new customers look to manage and hire remote workers for the first time and current clients form new off-site roles in information technology, retail, insurance, hospitality, and banking.

Cangrade has also identified two personality traits crucial for remote workers: grit and competitiveness.

“Grit is critical because it requires a degree of perseverance to sit in a room by yourself all day, every day amidst all the noise and distractions that all of us have at home, and stay completely focused and immersed in your work,” Epstein said. “It’s almost like a meditative state you’ve got to put yourself in. Competitiveness is basically the idea that you care about how you look compared to your colleagues,” she added, but there is much debate about how individual attributes play into a remote worker’s ability to thrive.

[Success comes from putting your nose to the Gritstone]

The worker isn’t changing, the environment is, noted Chelsea LeNoble, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, specializing in industrial and organizational psychology. So doesn’t it make more sense to focus on external factors? Their supervisor, for instance. Some bosses have a tendency to become more “micromanagey” when their employees are off-site, LeNoble said, which is a sure way to deplete trust and demoralize an otherwise highly self-regulated worker.

LeNoble is convinced that personal attributes alone are unlikely to prevent anyone from mastering office-less-ness provided they have the right support and surroundings. It also depends on the nature of the job: Can it be done independently? Does it require uninterrupted time to think through complex issues? If so, working at home may be beneficial, but seeking out people whose traits and soft skills seem to align with remote work could mean missing out on qualified employees, LeNoble said, such as people with executive dysfunction (an underlying condition affecting self-regulation in those with ADHD, autism, and depression) who may just need extra support.

Tsedal Neeley, a Harvard Business School professor and author of the new book “Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding From Anywhere,” who has been researching the subject “obsessively” for 20 years, agreed that selecting workers by personality traits is a “dangerous game.”

“If we begin to say this personality vs. that personality, we’re going to be creating exclusionary environments, and when we do that, we lose,” she said.

Neeley, who also developed her own remote work assessment, has no doubt that anyone can learn to be successful working beyond the confines of an office — even the roughly 15 percent of the population who say they don’t like working remotely — provided they have the right resources. Being part of a connected, in-sync remote team is crucial, for instance, especially considering the physical and psychological distance of working apart, she said.

As work continues to evolve into more virtual territory, including an increased reliance on artificial intelligence, companies will have to let go of the traditional concept of work and prepare for a “digital revolution,” she said: “We’re going to be working with ‘AI Bob’ as part of our team soon.”

[Otherwise known as the Great Re$et]

Robert Glazer wasn’t planning for his marketing agency, Acceleration Partners, to be remote forever, but after hiring talent from all over the country when he launched it in 2007 from his Newton home, he realized establishing a physical headquarters wasn’t necessary, and in the years since, he’s learned a lot about what type of people shine beyond the confines of an office — so much so, in fact, that Glazer released a book this week called “How to Thrive in the Virtual World.”

In interviews, he likes to ask people who have previously worked remotely how they managed their time. If the candidate has a clear system — setting their alarm, establishing boundaries so they’re not bringing their laptop to bed — they tend to fare better than those who just muddle through, he said. People who truly value having flexibility, whether it’s a parent who wants to attend their children’s soccer games or a competitive athlete who needs time to train, are also often more prone for virtual success, he said.

On the other hand, social butterflies who get their energy from being around other people may struggle, as could recent college graduates who live in cramped quarters.

“If you are a 22-year-old in your first job in a 300-square-foot studio apartment in New York City, you probably want to go into the office,” he said.

Frank Weishaupt, chief executive of the Boston video conference company Owl Labs, who like many people was thrown into the world of remote work full time last year, has found that working successfully while miles apart can require a much more assertive communication style: being unafraid to chime in to a Slack discussion even when he doesn’t know the answers, and being humble enough not to mind people realizing it, but he knows this doesn’t come easy for some.

“If you’re an individual contributor that’s just starting out a new company, I’m sure it’s incredibly intimidating and difficult,” he said.

For plenty of people, however, especially those with attributes and duties conducive to remote work, the shift to working from home hasn’t been all that disruptive. Before the pandemic, Danielle Brown, Owl Lab’s director of global supply chain, went to the office in Somerville every day, for no particular reason other than that she lived close by. Now she lives 3,000 miles away in Northern California, where she grew up, and her work experience has stayed pretty much the same.

“It’s sunnier and warmer in California,” she said, “but really nothing changed.”

[Except that the $hithole state is on fire and in the middle of an alleged drought, but what is one Sh!thole from another?]

Turns out Globe employees are not good workers, but mostly because the bo$$ is a prick who shoves it in their face every chance they get.

Maybe they can get a job at the New York Times instead.

Of course, you will need your vaccination passport if you want to go anywhere as "we can now return to life as we know it" under the governance of criminals whose emails the Globe buried.


"Senders of text messages do not have a right to privacy that would prevent law enforcement from using the contents against them in court, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in a precedent-setting decision Tuesday. In the 5-0 ruling, the state’s highest court extended the existing legal principle that a letter writer loses privacy rights by dropping the letter in the mail. “There was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the sent text messages because, as with some other forms of written communication, delivery created a memorialized record of the communication that was beyond the control of the sender,” Justice Frank Gaziano wrote for the court. In a decision involving a traffic stop in Texas in 2016 that generated an investigative lead for Everett and State Police in a drug-trafficking case, the court held that the right to privacy found in the US Constitution and Article 14 of the state Constitution expires with the transmission. Other courts “uniformly have concluded that the Fourth Amendment does not protect similar text messages.”

You shouldn't be texting at work anyway.


A good work ethic begins in $chool:

"Disputing racism’s reach, Republicans rattle American schools" by Trip Gabriel and Dana Goldstein New York Times, June 1, 2021

In Loudoun County in Virginia, a group of parents led by a former Trump appointee is pushing to recall school board members after the district called for mandatory teacher training in “systemic oppression and implicit bias.”

In Washington, 39 Republican senators called history education that focuses on systemic racism a form of “activist indoctrination,” and across the country, Republican-led legislatures have passed bills recently to ban or limit schools from teaching that racism is infused in American institutions. After Oklahoma’s Republican governor signed his state’s version in early May, he was ousted from the centennial commission for the 1921 Race Massacre in Tulsa, which President Biden visited Tuesday to memorialize one of the worst episodes of racial violence in US history.

[He promised the survivors their story will be ‘known in full view’ because “for much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, and while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.”

Sane thing goes for the theft of a presidential election]

From school boards to the halls of Congress, Republicans are mounting an energetic campaign aiming to dictate how historical and modern racism in America are taught, meeting pushback from Democrats and educators in a politically thorny clash that has deep ramifications for how children learn about their country.

Republicans have focused their attacks on the influence of “critical race theory,” a graduate school framework that has found its way into K-12 public education. The concept argues that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions and that the legacies of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow still create an uneven playing field for Black people and other people of color.

Many conservatives portray critical race theory and invocations of systemic racism as a gauntlet thrown down to accuse white Americans of being individually racist. Republicans accuse the left of trying to indoctrinate children with the belief that the United States is inherently wicked.

Democrats are conflicted. Some worry that arguing America is racist to the root — a view embraced by elements of the party’s progressive wingcontradicts the opinion of a majority of voters and is handing Republicans an issue to use as a political cudgel, but large parts of the party’s base, including many voters of color, support more discussion in schools about racism’s reach, and believe that such conversations are an educational imperative that should stand apart from partisan politics.

“History is already undertaught — we’ve been undereducated, and these laws are going to get us even less educated,” said Prudence L. Carter, the dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California Berkeley. Attempts to suppress what is still a nascent movement to teach young Americans more explicitly about racist public policy, such as redlining or the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, amount to “a gaslighting of history,” she said, adding, “It’s a form of denialism.”

The debate over the real or perceived influence of critical race theory — not just in schools but also in corporate, government, and media settings — comes as both parties increasingly make issues of identity central to politics, and it accelerated during the presidency of Donald Trump, when discussions over racism in the country were supercharged by his racist comments and by a wave of protests last year over police killings of Black people.

Some of the discussion has been fueled by the 1619 Project, developed by The New York Times Magazine, which argues that “the country’s very origin” traces to when the first ship carrying enslaved people touched Virginia’s shore that year. “Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional,” the magazine’s editor wrote.

Educators have embraced curriculums created along with the project, responding to a changing nation in which a majority of public-school students are now nonwhite, but the teaching force remains nearly 80 percent white.

Republican pushback has been intense. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said recently that he disagreed that 1619 was important in US history. He and other Republican senators are pushing the Biden administration to drop efforts by the Education Department to prioritize history courses that emphasize “systemic marginalization” of peoples.

Although parents have appeared before school boards in Ohio and elsewhere to object to critical race theory, calling it “Marxist,” many school administrators vehemently deny that they are teaching the subject, or are being influenced by it. They say that much of what conservatives object to amounts to little more than more frequent and frank discussions of subjects like slavery. Parents are also pushing back against the loosely related trend of anti-bias training for students and staff members, which has led to dust-ups across the country.

Republicans’ attacks on critical race theory are in sync with the party’s broad strategy to run on culture-war issues in the 2022 midterm elections, rather than campaigning head-on against Biden’s economic agenda — which has been popular with voters — as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.....

[The first test case is in New Mexico]

Also see:

That is what it is, all right.


If the Baptists backed down, what hope do we have?

"US Representative Nancy Mace on Tuesday posted a video of obscenities that she said had been spray-painted on her Charleston-area home over the Memorial Day weekend. ’'It’s very scary,’' the first-term Republican said in the video as she pointed to the graffiti on the front of her home on Daniel Island, a planned community near Charleston. Mace panned her camera to words reading, “No gods, no masters, all politicians are bastards” on the steps leading up to her home, along with symbols sometimes used by a movement that calls itself antifa, a contraction for anti-fascists. “This is a house that I live in with my kids,” Mace, an outspoken critic of President Joe Biden’s administration, said in the video. “My kids aren’t even safe on the front porch of their own home.” She said she had contacted local law enforcement to investigate. In November, Mace won a narrow victory over Democratic Representative Joe Cunningham, taking back South Carolina’s First District for Republicans in one of a series of GOP victories across the state, at all electoral levels."

At least she wasn't sexually assaulted, and SOMEHOW, there was an EMPTY SUIT wearing those coattails, right!!?

Instead we get Mr. Fix-It who is out of his mind and can be taken advantage of as the pressure mounts.

Time to sew this post up with the tornadoes from 10 years ago that made a mother swan pass away.

There is literally nothing left to say.