You Are More Than Your Job
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You Are More Than Your Job

I think this is something that many of us have been realizing to some degree in the past couple of years. We are more than our work, and there are things in life that are more important than our work. I enjoyed the questions and challenges Arthur lays out as well, so you should go read the article and consider those. As I read through them I had one thought, over and over again.

How many of my friends don’t even care about what I do for a living?

I feel very lucky to have those folks. The people who’ve remained friends regardless of my current career status, The ones who might not even really understand what I do for a living. Because they ground me, and remind me that in actuality, what I do during my workday isn’t really that big of a deal. It’s all well and good to be great at my job, but the important people in my life are there because of the relationship we have, not because I’m good at legal tech, and I want them in my life because of who they are, not what their job is. 

That’s a big deal.

Linked: These 7 productivity “rules” are harmful, anti-scientific myths
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Linked: These 7 productivity “rules” are harmful, anti-scientific myths

But notice what is missing from all of this advice? Any actual science. Or, for that matter, any interviews with the thousands of people who actually do the same thing, and aren’t nearly as successful. Sure, maybe Jeff Bezos gets up every day at 5 AM, goes for a run, then schedules some deep-think time, all before he even checks email. Do you really think it you or I did that, that would make us as successful as Jeff Bezos? I guarantee you, his sleep schedule and morning routine is similar to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the world, who do not have lives that we would want to emulate. But we don’t read those stories, because no one cares.

On the other hand, in order for a lot of these productivity hacks to have ant scientific fact behind them, we would have to look at those people and see how maybe it’s not the morning routine that makes Bezos worth a gazillion dollars, it was something else entirely.

But then, those articles are much harder to write and would involve a lot more work, and even admit that you can’t hack your way to a billion dollars in success. We wouldn’t want to do anything like that, would we?

Just Doing What’s In Front of You
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Just Doing What’s In Front of You

Let’s face it, we all have things that we haven’t had space for in the last couple of years. If you are holding off on using PTO because you can’t make the big travel adventure happen right now, why not use that time to create that space? Personally, we had a couple of weeks in October scheduled for an anniversary trip overseas that has since been canceled. I haven’t canceled the PTO for one simple reason, I still want to use those 2 weeks to create the space, mentally, to do some of the things I’ve been too busy to do, like figure out where I actually want my career to go instead of just doing the work that’s in front of me, or indulge in some of those hobbies that have fallen by the wayside, or maybe even try and catch up with some friends virtually. 

We all need that space, and it keeps getting harder and harder to find it. There’s nothing wrong with doing the work that is in front of us, professionally and personally. Frankly, if you can keep going and getting those things done in this environment, you are to be commended. On the other hand, just doing that prevents us from making changes and doing things differently. It keeps us stuck, and I know far too many people who are stuck right now, waiting for the space to make changes. 

Make that space, any way you can. Give yourself the PTO you deserve. 

As a Straight, White, Male – Why Now is a Great Time to Attend Employee Resource Group Meetings
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As a Straight, White, Male – Why Now is a Great Time to Attend Employee Resource Group Meetings

Luckily, with everything having remote options now, it’s actually pretty easy to pop in and simply listen without really being noticed, or at least, feeling a bit better about not being noticed.

And, really, you should. Everyone should. Not because you necessarily have anything to add, but because you have an opportunity to listen.

Listening to different groups of people talk about their issues will open your eyes to the things that we, as white men, don’t notice. It gives us the opportunity to hear about racism and sexism that still happens to real people that we know and interact with every day. The stories about things like street harassment aren’t happening to random women complaining online, they are happening to the same women I just spent hours working through a project with, the people who’ve been victims of racist violence aren’t random names in the news, they are the folks we were just chatting about the weather with before a conference call, and collaborating with on documentation for the last week. The things we might read about adding pronouns to an email signature make it sound like a decent thing to do, but hearing someone you work with talk about how life-affirming it is to not be the “one” person at the company doing it? Yeah, it hits different when you hear that from someone you know.

So, as much as I have gone about my professional life glad that there were resource groups available but not really paying much attention to them, I’ve recently made a change and tried to drop in and listen where I could. It’s been a challenge. These are not fun, light, conversations. They shouldn’t be.

Linked: 35 years ago ‘rock porn’ Senate hearings made a free-speech showdown
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Linked: 35 years ago ‘rock porn’ Senate hearings made a free-speech showdown

Young people may not remember this, but I was 17-18 when this was happening, and I remember it well. And, mostly, I remember this lesson: Diving into this 1985 time capsule is instructive in showing just how fevered arguments over the boundaries of free expression almost always are. These hearings also demonstrate how moral panics…