21 May. 2013 | Comments (0)
"I Mostly Let People Do Their Jobs"
It's been a difficult week here in Boston. As I write this, many are on lockdown due to a manhunt for the remaining bombing suspect. While we still want to highlight excellent reporting in the world of management and business, we also want to acknowledge our current situation, and share some of the thoughtful writing that's brought us comfort and asked us important questions. For me, Tim Rohan's "In Grisly Image, a Father Sees His Son" and Amy Davidson's "The Saudi Marathon Man" stand out. My colleagues have pointed to this Op-Ed from Tom Friedman, several pieces from Atlantic Cities, and our own article on building resilience.
In "Why Boston's Hospitals Were Ready," Atul Gawande points out how doing work — and doing it well — saved many lives. Due to years of medical training and preparation for situations similar to Monday's bombing, the people in charge at area hospitals didn't have to do much management on the spot. They merely backed off and let doctors, nurses, and other employees do their jobs. "We’ve learned, and we’ve absorbed," writes Gawande about the realities of the past decade. "This is not cause for either celebration or satisfaction. That we have come to this state of existence is a great sadness. But it is our great fortune."
"The lack of quality, affordable day care is arguably the most significant barrier to full equality for women in the workplace," writes The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn. "It makes it more likely that children born in poverty will remain there." His devastating investigation into day care in the United States delves into the absurd economics — it can cost up to $15,000 per year for a typical family, yet the average annual salary for a care worker doesn't even crack $20,000 — as well as the complete lack of safety rules and educational regulation for most centers. All told, this means many Americans lack any good option for continuing to work after having children. What's particularly concerning is that models for a successful system exist — from how France prioritizes child care, to long-ago legislation aimed at working women during WWII, to a successful program in place for members of the military — but they're not part of a larger policy discussion.
"There's a culture of transparency in my generation, [and] to know what your peers are making benefits all parties involved, except maybe the employer," 25-year-old Dustin Zick tells the Wall Street Journal. That's why he canvassed his peers about their pay and came up with a successful strategy for achieving his target salary when he applied for a new job at a hospitality company. Accustomed to documenting their lives in real time on social media, Millennials are bringing their penchant for self-disclosure into the workplace, and their openness is undermining companies' efforts to maintain secrecy about pay. —Andy O'Connell
Should you give up on your dream career in order to become financially stable? Genevieve Smith's personal essay on this dilemma first tackles it from the perspective of working women, where "the main tension isn’t a two-way tug-of-war between work and family so much as a pile-on of family, money, and ambition." And even though women are often stretched in more directions than men, she eventually concludes that her father was forced to choose between passion and practicality decades earlier. "Looking at his decision, I realize that the trade-off that women now face isn’t all that new," she says. "Our own struggle to redefine fulfillment is just another sign that we’re inching further toward equality, just not quite in the way we expected."
Feeling inadequate that you're not a true citizen of the world, with a CV that lists your years in distant time zones? You can rest easy: The vast majority of CEOs are natives of their companies' home countries, and, no, they haven't spent considerable time abroad, Ken Favaro writes in Forbes. What really matters, says Favaro (an American who by the way lived outside the U.S. for 13 years), isn't where you've resided but how much understanding you have of how business is really conducted around the world. —Andy O'Connell
This blog first appeared on Harvard Business Review on 04/19/2013.