recommended reading


The Networking Faux Pas Almost Everyone Makes

By Leah Fessler // Quartz // October 30, 2017


About once a month, I get an email, Facebook message, or text informing me that someone—usually someone I barely know, or have never met—applied or wants to apply to Quartz or another publication owned by our parent company. This person (or their courier) rarely asks me to do anything. But the outreach always implies I should act. This is deeply annoying.

I’m casting stones at a glass house, of course. We’ve all been there, myself included, sending vague networking messages and hoping others will offer help without requiring that we have the guts to ask for it outright.

Our “subtlety” rarely scores, says Alison Green, who dispenses sought-after advice on the popular “Ask a Manager” blog. “When people say ‘I applied!’ they’re hoping the subtext is ‘So would you please recommend me to whoever is doing the hiring?'” But unless you’ve worked together before or are a known superstar, upon receiving your message, your contact will probably think “good to know,” or “good luck,” without being particularly moved to help you.

How to get what you want

“If there’s something specific you want the person to do, you really need to directly ask...

Why Nerds and Nurses Are Taking Over the U.S. Economy

By Derek Thompson // The Atlantic // October 27, 2017


Manufacturing will fall. Retail will wobble. Automation will inch along but stay off the roads, for now. The rich will keep getting richer. And more and more of the country will be paid to take care of old people. That is the future of the labor market, according to the latest 10-year forecast from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These 10-year forecasts—the products of two years’ work from about 25 economists at the BLS —document the government’s best assessment of the fastest and slowest growing jobs of the future. On the decline are automatable work, like typists, and occupations threatened by changing consumer behavior, like clothing store cashiers, as more people shop online.

The fastest-growing jobs through 2026 belong to what one might call the Three Cs: care, computers, and clean energy. No occupation is projected to add more workers than personal-care aides, who perform non-medical duties for older Americans, such as bathing and cooking. Along with home-health aides, these two occupations are projected to create 1.1 million new jobs in the next decade. Remarkably, that’s 10 percent of the total 11.5 million jobs that the BLS expects the economy to add. Clean-energy workers, like...

Facebook’s Workplace Is Gaining Ground as it Prepares to Pounce on Slack

By Hanna Kozlowska // Quartz // October 27, 2017

Alexey Boldin/

Last year, Facebook started crawling into the last space in your life it didn’t yet dominate—the office. It announced its Workplace platform as a communication tool for companies, entering the crowded market of workplace chat services. From the beginning, Workplace elicited comparisons with the increasingly ubiquitous Slack, whose flutter-like notification gives many a tech or media employee a sting of anxiety.

On Thursday (Oct. 26), one year after the launch of Workplace, Facebook said more than 30,000 businesses were using the platform. It introduced new features such as a standalone desktop chat app.

This seems a lightning pace of growth, especially considering it took Slack three years to reach a similar number of what it calls “paid teams.” Turns out you can’t fairly compare the two. Facebook, whose platform is generally cheaper than Slack’s, included in that 30,000 number businesses that use the free version of Workplace, which it launched in April. Facebook wouldn’t provide Quartz with a breakdown of how many customers are paid and how many use the service for free.

Facebook will have more competition to worry about. Atlassian’s Hipchat, one of the older messaging systems, introduced a re-vamped...

"Burnout" Is Not Only a Personal Problem, It's a Workplace Problem

By Michael Leiter and Christina Maslach // Quartz // October 22, 2017


As “burnout” among workers has gained attention in the popular media, a conventional wisdom has developed around avoiding it. Essentially, the advice is to “take care of yourself.” Be healthy. Be strong. Be resilient. Be smarter about time management. Don’t let the stressors get to you—fight on and overcome them. Tips to “combat burnout” in a recent New York Times article, for instance, focused on individual interventions such as deep breathing, taking breaks, taking time off to recover, and working remotely.

Although certainly everyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle, regular sleep, and mindful practice, as decades-long burnout researchers and the co-editors of the Burnout Research e-journal, we find the underlying message conveyed by this type of advice to be disturbing, namely that burnout is only a personal problem and “you just have to tolerate stressful workplaces.”

People who experience burnout become chronically exhausted, become cynical and detached from their work, and feel increasingly ineffective on the job. This experience is not simply a sign of personal weakness. In fact, research shows stressors beyond an individual’s control—such as too many demands, unrealistic deadlines, unpredictable schedules, difficult interactions with colleagues or customers, and technology challenges—all contribute...

Seattle Has 5 Big Pieces of Advice for Amazon’s HQ2 Winner

By Joshua McNichols // CityLab // October 21, 2017


We see you, all you cities courting Amazon. Yesterday was deadline day for municipalities aspiring to host HQ2, the retail behemoth’s second headquarters. With that prize come gaudy economic development numbers—$5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs—and big dreams. About 100 cities are likely to submit their bids, hoping to become the company’s newest soul mate. And then many months of anticipation await the lucky finalists.

We here in Seattle remember what it was like to feel so giddy, so full of possibility. And we still feel that way sometimes.

But over time our infatuation has matured into something more nuanced. We’ve learned to recognize both the good and the bad that comes with sharing our lives with Amazon.

When you become Amazon’s new trophy city, things might get a little weird between us. So, while we’re still on good speaking terms, let us offer you these five pieces of advice.

1: Prepare to give up a little personal space

People and businesses will tolerate living into a shoebox to be near Amazon’s headquarters. So build lots of shoeboxes. Go more dense. Tiny apartments and tiny storefronts near good transit will...