While the official unemployment fluctuates around 10%, the real rate is much higher considering those who are no longer counted (e.g., benefits having run out) and people struggling with part-time work. Many economists feel there will not be a significant surge in jobs before 2012.
What to do? Perhaps its time to take a closer look at starting your own business. Continue reading
I’ve always loved to watch the Olympics, both winter and summer. Being the empathetic type, I feel the excitement, nervousness, and exhilaration they must feel as they perform, as well as the joy or sadness from winning or not winning.
The Olympics are about so much more than winning or the feelings that go into it. Continue reading
Economic problems cause major stress (I hear you saying “no duh!”) Job loss, cut in pay, cut in hours, or failure at a business can put pressure on a people. Financial stress mars the spirit and makes even the healthiest person forget good relational skills. Too often these external pressures erode relationships inside and outside of work.
So, how do you safeguard all your relationships in these economically trying times?
We’ve got to slow down and be like white lines on mountainous roads to each other, my Dad, the late Bill McHenry, once told me. Otherwise, how can we see and safely navigate the inevitable ethical fogs of work and life?
Even when I was very young, I knew that my dad had gone successfully through several huge ethical fogs. Several years before Dad met my mom, he turned down an unethical but lucrative job at the height of the great depression. When I was just six months old, he blew a whistle on his powerful embezzling boss, a college president. Four years later, soon after Dad’s testimony helped send the boss to jail, Dad turned down another lucrative but unethical job at a social service agency.
As a child, of course, I didn’t understand the full impact of these stories. As an adult, I got enough details about whistleblowing and its impact to fill a book.
In the end, Dad’s only regret was that no one had stopped the president when the wrongdoing was small, by saying simply, “No, Dr. Meadows, you can’t do that.” Over the years, I also learned a lot about the stress of Dad’s whistleblowing on our family, and I healed.
What was left after the forgiveness and healing were some very powerful life lessons in basic integrity. May they also serve you. Continue reading
Almost 30 years ago, whistleblower therapist and stress expert Donald Soeken asked my help to write some how-to materials on whistleblowing. I got the gig not based on any published clips (I didn’t have any then), but because the writing sample I gave him was my father’s story of blowing the whistle on an embezzling college president when I was just a baby. In that sample, I detailed the story I knew all too well about how the retaliation Dad suffered impacted our whole family for decades.
Almost all the people I told about the writing gig made what they thought was a joke: “Whistleblowers? Oh, you mean ratters? Snitches? Stool pigeons?” Given my father’s story, and given the 95-5 odds that my mother’s early death from a rare illness was caused by the FDA’s lack of attentiveness to under-reported side effects of a popular prescription drug, it’s amazing I didn’t do bodily harm to those jokers.
Today, it’s still considered okay to slander whistleblowers, then wonder why more people don’t speak out to warn us about fraud, waste or abuse. And there are many who are so focused on not being “negative thinkers” or buttinskies or poor team players that we become complicit in all types of wrongdoing. Fortunately, there are a whole bunch of resources to help you tell truth to power and thrive and/or to support those who dare to speak on your behalf. Continue reading
“There are two main ways that people find meaning through work,” Elizabeth Doty told me in about 2001 while I was researching Work with Meaning, Work with Joy: Bringing Your Spirit to Any Job. “One is giving your gifts to the world through work that comes from some source in you, the kind of work that suits your talents and passions. There is also the process of finding meaning in any work by how you go about the practice of working. The latter idea excites me, because imagine how healthy our society would be if people did all work with a sense of meaning. ….[but] when people think they have to leave the corporate world to find meaning, the corporation becomes hollow.”
Since that interview, Elizabeth has written The Compromise Trap: How to Thrive at Work Without Selling Your Soul. The spirituality and work movements have grown along with a movement towards socially responsible business or conscious capitalism. Still, simple, compelling pictures of what it’s like to do ordinary work with meaning and joy are still fairly rare. That’s why I’m excited by the new TV show, “Undercover Boss,: which puts CEO’s into entry level jobs throughout their company, with a fake identity and a real quest to see what’s really happening. Continue reading
New empty nester Indrani Goradia was enjoying a visit with her college-student daughter when she saw a mother-daughter interaction that just ripped her heart.
It happened on a beautiful day at a beautiful place. A five-year-old created a snowball and threw it gently at her mom, who was talking on a cell phone, ignoring her child. But mom did notice when the snowball landed at the feet of a stranger (causing absolutely no harm), and Mom did stop talking on the phone long enough to screamingly humiliate the child. Then she went back to ignoring the child and talking on the phone. Continue reading
Flow is what happens when we are fully involved in what we are doing. We derive energy from this experience. Our creativity heightens, and we feel a sense of fulfillment.
Flow is the opposite of what happens when get stuck in problems that beget more problems. For me, the opposite of flow is like a downward spiral that can worsen when I respond to problems by getting in a bad mood. This irritates my family or colleagues, which makes me feel worse. My tension and irritability inhibits my ability to solve the original problems, because I can’t think clearly and make good decisions. When I relax and get back into the flow, however, I am actually more productive! Continue reading
Have you ever worked hard to meet a goal, then found when you met it that it was the wrong goal? Like you worked hard to gain success in the wrong career, and you don’t have a clue what your right career is?
Career confusion is one key sign that you need a true vision from your heart and soul. That means you need something more than a goal set by someone else or even a brilliant idea that you activate before you discern whether or not it matches your true needs, dreams or desires. You need a clear, compelling vision that’s anchored in current reality and leads you to your most fulfilling future. Continue reading
Small business loans used to be fairly easy to get. All my first business planning client in 1994 needed to get an SBA-backed loan was a well-thought-out idea and credit worthiness (she supplied that), writing skills (I supplied that) and some market research (we figured that out together). She got her loan, quit her day job, then turned her passionate hobby and part-time business of photography into a successful full-time business.
Today, the best most new businesses get from the bank is not a loan but the advice to start a business by bootstrapping. But what if your bootstraps are kind of puny? If just can’t get enough from your credit cards, your savings, your family, friends or any payout you got when you were laid off? Continue reading