Probably the easiest place to commence would be by watching this video:

That’s largely based on research from Paul Piff (Stanford, I believe), who has an old NPR transcript about whether “having money makes you mean.” This is a very fraught topic for people, especially Americans, because the bootstraps narrative is very popular among capitalist-obsessed Americans, i.e. this idea that anyone can become Bill Gates with just a touch of hard work over four decades. That’s somewhat true, but increasingly not true, and I think most people know that — but if you’re a staunch defender of free markets…


Here’s an article online for Inc Magazine — which I generally despise — from yesterday about how “Microsoft explained with one simple word what’s happening with the future of work” and blah blah blah. The article is essentially about managing uncertainty vs. certainty in your employees, or, phrased another way, “Talking openly about life vs. work, life and work, and the Delta variant.”

Instead, the article veers into this territory eventually:

My conversation with Spataro focused on Viva, Microsoft’s effort to build an employee experience platform that brings together — in one place — all of the tools an employee…


Some numbers for you (people like data, right?)

This is from an article entitled “The Workplace Is Killing People And Nobody Cares:”

Job engagement, according to Gallup, is low. Distrust in management, according to the Edelman trust index, is high. Job satisfaction, according to the Conference Board, is low and has been in continual decline. The gig economy is growing, economic insecurity is growing, and wage growth overall has stagnated. Fewer people are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance than in the past, according to Kaiser Foundation surveys. …


Hit ’em with the horns:

In a qualitative study, we asked 238 employees in a variety of industries to explain why they would or wouldn’t accept help from a coworker. From their responses, we identified five key reasons people avoid being helped: preferring to be self-reliant and complete their work on their own, wanting to protect their image, not wanting to feel obligated to return the favor, not trusting their coworkers’ motives, and believing that their coworkers are incompetent.

OK, so let’s parse this out for a second.

  • 238 isn’t a huge sample size, no.
  • “Preferring to be self-reliant:” work…


You know, for the life of me I can’t really answer the question in the headline. It’s interesting because we’ve reached a place where discussions of work are Hot Take City every day: “People aren’t working because that demented socialist Biden is giving them free money!” and “If you don’t come back to the office, you’ll miss the face-time to get promoted!” and “Remote is the future, all others shall be left behind!” In between all the scorching fireball takes, we can’t do the basic stuff right.

People leave managers, not really jobs. I think we know that. They often…


For the life of me, I’ve never understood this. I think the real reason is that oftentimes people are multi-tasking on video calls, i.e. reading articles, sending emails, looking at social media or whatever, and they just listen for their name, and when their name pops — especially among the “Socratic Method” managers — then they need to get back to the video call screen and unmute, which can take a few seconds. (This happens to me a few times per day, if not more.) As for beginning to talk when you’re on mute, I don’t personally do that a…


You look at something like The Mueller Report. It feels like media coverage of that deal was roadblocked for maybe two years. Every night, it seems like every show on cable had to mention it once or twice. Now, I realize cable news is a very specific thing and designed to inflame in many ways, but even the Democrats apparently started realizing over time that fewer and fewer people cared about the Mueller Report compared to, say, “kitchen-table issues.”

During the time all that was happening with the report, I probably had 20–30 conversations at bars, at parties, at networking…


Every COVID business-related article seems to ultimately be the same. Someone says that managers need to care more, communicate better, be more empathetic, listen to their people, afford flexibility, be a human, etc. Another 92 versions of the same article get written that day on various websites. A few get read. Many get used as sales tools. They get fired out of HubSpot and Salesforce by junior sales bros. We all get it. Empathy is cool. So is communication. So is care. These things make jobs better.

But they don’t scale. And bad management doesn’t seem to evolve out. Why?


I’m a dude, but not a super masculine one. I work out (periodically), I make money (same), and I generally have a nice, OK life. But am I some kind of warrior? No. Now, I do write about masculinity a lot, with different measures of success — such as whether we need a new definition for it, toxic masculinity at work and at home, and how much modern masculinity can sometimes suck. Just a couple of days ago, actually, I wrote about “the assumptive masculinity box.”

This is all a long, link-moderately-heavy way of saying I think about this stuff…

Ted Bauer

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/work-with-me/

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