Category Archives: Uncategorized

Working from home, part III

If you go through the archives, you will see that over a year ago I was still enthralled with working from home. A lot of those benefits still apply. However, I have come full circle to believe that the office is better.

Working from home is more work.

Why? You spend more time trying to keep up with personnel changes, more time building and maintaining relationships – through instant messaging mostly since we need to be available for incoming client calls. There are frequently changes that happen that communication doesn’t filter through – be it to policy, procedures, or personnel.

Being able to build a relationship with a daily smile and hello in addition to being timely, follow through on promises, and providing an excellent product. Being able to go to someone’s cube to have a conversation – or go out to lunch – is much easier.

Add to that that by being seen, one could get more projects as well as others can see and hear your work to better judge your ability. You can listen to how others handle their delivery to tweak your own.

Having employees work from home, with a sound plan for communication and integration, could be a large benefit to a company. I am sure that the amount I receive monthly for reimbursing having a land line dedicated to work is less than office space and all that goes along with it.

For me, personally? I’m ready to go back into an office. It would be an adjustment, but a beneficial one.

Data as snake oil

Lumosity.com

Lumosity Image

In studying for the Quantitative Methods test offered by World at Work, a module is dedicated to spotting when data is presented in a misleading way. The five things it suggests looking for are:

  • railroad tracks that distort intervals
  • graphs showing nominal data, that should be listed alphabetically
  • graphs that show data with no absolute zero (such as temperature scale)
  • graphs where part of the scale is lopped off, giving a false impression  of trends (you can’t see the y-axis zero point.)

A great example of this is the program Lumosity, which uses games to improve your brain in various skills such as remembering names to faces, calculating math in your head, observation, and the word at the tip of your tongue situation. I had seen a commercial for it and being one always looking to improve, decided to try the free version out.

The free version limits both the types of games that are available (maybe 9 out of dozens) and the number of games you perform daily (3 vs. 5.) I don’t recall there being any evaluation to provide a base point in the various skills that was not game related.

I participated on a nearly daily basis (missing 3 days sporadically) in the month of January. After a month I had three types of measurements provided to me through the (free version of the) program – a point value for playing the games (you get points regardless of how you perform), a series of horizontal bar charts that indicated a score in various skills, and a graph plotting the “brain performance index.”

The site provides some white-washed “science behind” it all, that throwing names of doctors at universities did not assuage my desire to understand – instead it made me look at it more askance for not providing the real science behind it. Building neurons is great, but there was no actual proof that the games built said neurons. Sure there are images of brain scans and a bar chart, but they aren’t labeled in a manner that inspired validation.

The three methods of measuring how one improved in using the service felt like examples of bad data to me. The first, where one got points for playing and showing up is reminiscent of an elementary school field day where everyone got a ribbon – even if they were in 15th place (out of 15 kids.)

The breakdown of cognitive behavior bar chart did not show which game had changed which score and by how much. You had to keep your own excel document to chart after each game which score changed and how – which defeats the purpose. I think instead this chart is just to make one feel as if they are making progress in the areas they specified one wanted to work upon when signing up for the program.

The BPI chart showed change in the total score over time – for the past 4 weeks only. It is possible that the paid version you could see the full history and zoom in and out to see trends. The fact that there was no real explanation as to what this score was (as the total was not the total of the bar charts) or how it was derived did not sit well with me.

Finally, there were no points to evaluate in a separate format performance improvement – it only had the games. This makes me feel as if there is a huge bias, in addition to all the hand waving and “ignore the man behind the curtain” that was going on. I was feeling more energized and productive while using the program, but in the two weeks since stopping I still feel the same so I believe it was due to other factors which I began at the same time (like studying for the W@W T3 test and refreshing my French skills.)

It’s pretty clear that I’ve stopped using Lumosity as I feel it’s just another time waster that is trying to milk one for money. I have better ways to spend my time and money, with better ROI. I do appreciate the refresher and skills the T3: Quantitative Methods module on identifying false representation of data to help me feel better about making the decision to stop using Lumosity. The first thing learned in T3 is – use data to make sound decisions. 😉

Morale of the story – use your brain and look closely. Data and representing data can be manipulated – beware of the snake oil!

Professionalism is another word for “doing your homework”

I don’t need the BLS or ADP or government to tell me when the economy or unemployment rates are doing better – I’ve got LinkedIn for that. Or, perhaps I should say the clueless recruiters that half assed use LinkedIn.

Found @ LinkedIn Training

LinkedIn is a multitude of products wrapped in one slick UI. Many people use it differently – for example I use it as a half networking (more the static type) and half online resume. I don’t post/answer questions, use it as a news feed, or a host of other options on there. I get that other places and my time is mine to decide how I want to use. 😛

I welcome connecting with people. I even on a rare occasion tell someone that they might want to chat with someone else in my network. I can’t recommend any one based  on my company social media policy. I don’t mind hearing about job opportunities for myself or anyone I know – as I told a friend, my philosophy is to go down the rabbit hole to learn more about what is out there, network, and you never know when something really awesome will come along!

However, it really bothers me when people are lazy with LinkedIn – or just about anything. I have been getting a lot of “Hey, I hear you do hiring for your company, want to go to this place to meet candidates?” or “I’ve got a candidate interested in working for your organization, can I send you their resume?” You  know why this is lazy? Because I don’t work in recruiting and my profile clearly states that. And if I am nice enough to respond back – maybe even with a name in my network – don’t ask me for their email when you can easily get it yourself – I’ve already done you two favors.

Bottom line – do your homework before reaching out to someone on ANY platform. If you don’t, it makes you and your organization look like crap.

Apologies

Image from http://disseminatedthought.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/apologies-excuses-and-the-verbal-finger/

I am treating this blog similar to how I treat life – no apologies. Now, if I make a gaff that is another story. What I am talking about apologizing for things that don’t need apologies in the first place.

I remember back ten or so years ago when I was new to working and  apologized all the time for everything. Eventually someone told me to stop doing so as it was pathetic to hear and didn’t make any difference in the matter at hand.

So, while blogging is a discipline at the same time it is a low priority in my life. I won’t apologize for when I get slow periods with blogging. It serves no purpose. Just know life is marching on and giving me great ideas for future.

Live life with no apologies, live so  you don’t have to make so many. 😛 Sounds almost hallmarkish.

Work in Progress

This site is currently being created. Please note that links and email may not work. Also, static pages have content being added/edited and are not complete.

Update 6/27 – But isn’t life a work in progress? Somethings will always be in flux.   Please keep that in mind, but also don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism.

Update 7/1 – All green lights! All functions are go!