recommended reading


The 15-Minute Weekly Habit That Eased My Work Anxiety—And Made My Boss Trust Me More

By Khe Hy // Quartz // April 20, 2017


I once had a boss who would send me a series of two-word emails throughout the day, each one bearing the same message: “Call me.” Each time I received one of these emails, the hairs on the back of my neck would stiffen and my stomach would churn violently. This reaction made no sense—I was reliable and organized, consistently ranked in the top performance tier at work. Still, when I saw those ominous words, I feared the worst.

When I did call my boss, our conversation was always friendly. It might be he wanted to get an update on a project, or ask me a quick question, or even compliment me on a presentation. It was almost never bad news. But I still experienced unnecessary stress because of the difference in our communication styles.

My manager’s approach was very spur-of-the moment, which made sense because he had many reports and a slew of fast-moving responsibilities on his plate. But I found this style of communication anxiety-provoking; it put me on the defensive, even though I was a responsible worker. Eventually, I realized there was a solution—I needed to learn more about how to manage up.

We typically...

No One Is Prepared to Stop the Robot Onslaught. So What Will We Do When It Arrives?

By Steve LeVine // Quartz // April 14, 2017


You’ve heard about the robots—how they are on their way to vaporize the jobs of tens of thousands of bankers and brokers on Wall Street, in the City of London and in trading hubs around the world. How they are bent on inflicting similar mayhem in law and accounting firms, and in computer-programming pools.

How, if you wear a white collar, male or female, watch your back.

And how all that’s just for starters. Advances in supercomputers and the understanding of neural networks are combining to create a revolution in robotics, and companies eager for more profitability and cheaper production are ruthlessly grabbing the new technology to automate rote jobs.

Blue-collar workers—forget about it. The robots will kill off the positions of half a million oil-rig hands, up to half the industry’s workforce around the world, along with hundreds of thousands of warehouse employees, Amazon-ized by automated forklifts and other machines.

Then there are the drivers—the navigators of taxis and long-haul trucks, who make up some 17 percent of the adult U.S. work force, adding up to about 7 million people, to be replaced by robot cars if competition from Uber’s roster...

For Programmers, the Ultimate Office Perk Is Avoiding the Office Entirely

By Christopher Groskopf // Quartz // April 13, 2017

Creative Lab/

Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, Basecamp, BlueJeans. Over the past decade, designers and engineers have invented dozens of new tools to keep us connected to the office without actually going there. Unsurprisingly, those same engineers have been among the first to start using them in large numbers. More programmers are working from home than ever and, among the most experienced, some are even beginning to demand it.

In 2015, an estimated 300,000 full-time employees in computer science jobs worked from home in the US. (This figure also includes related professions such as actuaries and statisticians, but the vast majority are programmers.) Although not the largest group of remote employees in absolute numbers, that’s about 8% of all programmers, which is a significantly larger share than in any other job category, and well above the average for all jobs of just under 3%.

These numbers are not easy to find. Quartz analyzed data from the US census, the American Community Survey, and the American Time Use Survey to estimate how many full-time employees work from home, what jobs they do, and how much time they spend in their home office instead of the office office. We excluded self-employed workers from...

Startups Worship the Young. But Research Shows People Are Most Innovative When They’re Older

By Neha Thirani Bagri // Quartz // April 11, 2017


While Silicon Valley had peddled the image of the 20-something, sweatshirt-wearing, college-dropout genius as the model for creativity in the 21st century, research shows it is, in fact, older people who are more creative and productive.

For example, a 2016 study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation that looked at the demographics of over 900 individuals who have made high-value meaningful, marketable contributions to technology-heavy industries in the U.S.

The study found the overall median age of innovators was 47 years old. Only 5.8 percent of the sample—which ranged in age from 18 to 80—was 30 years or younger, and innovation peaked between the ages of 46 and 50. The rate of innovation continues to be very high until the age of 55 and declined sharply after 65, the median expected retirement age in the U.S.

Particularly in the life sciences, material sciences and information-technology fields, individuals who filed patents tended to be in the latter half of their careers.

These findings were consistent with a 2009 study by John Walsh at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Sadao Nagaoka at the Hitotsubashi University in Japan, which analyzed a sample of 1,900 inventors in...

Tech is Overwhelmingly White and Male, and White Men Are Just Fine With That

By Keith Collins // Quartz // March 29, 2017

This Is Me/

Women make up about half of the workforce in the United States, but they only hold a quarter of computer- and math-related jobs. Black and Hispanic workers hold only 15 percent of those jobs, even though their share of the American workforce is nearly double that. And new survey data suggests as far as the tech industry is concerned, those breakdowns are just fine.

The industry’s attitude toward diversity was made plain in this year’s global survey of developers conducted by Stack Overflow, the popular question-and-answer website for programmers. The website polled 11,445 respondents in the U.S., 85.5 percent of whom were men, and a majority of whom were white.

When asked how important the overall diversity of a company is when determining whether they want to work there, respondents scored the issue, on average, 1.9 out of 5, making it their least important consideration.

Globally, Stack Overflow found that 60.5 percent of white male respondents believe diversity in the workplace is important, making white men the least likely demographic to hold that belief. (Worldwide, the site polled 64,227 software developers in 213 countries.)

(*Note: “Other” includes Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and...

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