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Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's the winning that counts

Those of you in the greater Boston area may listen to WBOS radio. This week, in honor of Billy Joel being in town, they're running a contest where they give a lyric from a Billy Joel song and you have to sing the next line. If you get it right, you win the new Billy Joel boxed set and you're entered in a drawing to win a pair of tix to see Billy at the Garden.

I'm pretty sure I know all of the lyrics to every Billy Joel song, but the hard part about these contests is just getting through on the phone. In this case, you had to be the first caller. So while I was cooking dinner tonight, my wife was listening attentively to WBOS. The second it sounded like the DJ was going start the contest, she started dialing. And we got through! So those of you listening to BOS early this evening may have heard me sing one line from "Brenda and Eddy". And so we won the boxed set and maybe we'll even win the concert tix...

And you know what? The fact that I already have the boxed set and just today we paid scalper prices for Billy Joel tix didn't diminish the experience one bit. It's the winning that counts! ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Boomer Bosses

In today's Boston Sunday Globe BostonWorks section, Penelope Trunk has written an article entitled, Managing up means managing a boomer boss. I found this article infuriating. Ms. Trunk describes the difficulties today's baby boomer bosses have managing their 20-something employees and the difficulties those employees have "managing up".

The underlying theme here is that baby boomers are interested in things like better parking spaces and climbing to the next wrung on the corporate ladder, while the current generation is interested in challenging work and life/work balance issues. In reality, these kinds of disconnects are not generational--they're environmental. That is, it's typically the company that promulgates an environment in which management and individual contributors have completely different concerns. So much so that the individual contributors and managers can no longer understand eachothers motivations.

My group of friends at work ranges in age from the mid-20s to mid-40s. And although we certainly are at different life stages and therefore have different life concerns, we all have almost identical job concerns. The managers at our company also span a wide age range. As in any corporation, you'll find individual contributors (especially the younger ones) who exhibit some of the ladder-climbing aspects that Ms. Trunk would have you believe are associated only with boomer managers.

Ms. Trunk quotes Laura Shelton, author of "The NeXt Revolution: What Gen X Women Want at Work and How Their Boomer Bosses Can Help Them Get It":

"Don't sit in a job with a baby boomer boss who doesn't get it. Vote with your feet."

Good advice for anyone who does not feel valued in their job for any reason.

There will always be people in any work environment who are more interested in the rewards associated with climbing the ladder than those associated with simply doing a good job while plying your craft. And when those people are managers, this can certainly translate into a poor work environment for that manager's employees. But this has nothing to with age as much as the corporate culture that rewards management for that behavior.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bizarre weather

I've lived in New England for almost 30 years, and I thought I'd seen some weird weather. But the last couple of weeks have been truly weird. It's January, and last week the temperatures were in the 40s and 60s only to plummet to the single digits a couple of days ago. Today it was around 50 with fierce wind, rain, and sleet. And in the middle of that, the sun peeked through for about 5 minutes.


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