The week@work March 23 – March 29

In this week@work we considered the decision to leave work before work goes away. Why? We change as our workplace changes and although we may love our job, we need to trust our gut and control our future. We highlighted the importance of paying attention to our surroundings as a hint to our future. And finally, in a national book award nominated novel we listened to a conversation about work and the danger of sleepwalking through your career.

Three stories about work captured headlines this week covering themes of aspiration, commitment, bullying and gender discrimination.

On Friday, Astronaut Scott J. Kelly began his adventure on the Space Station where he will live for the next year, the longest duration for any NASA pilot. Think about that. A business trip away from friends and family for twelve months. Imagine not being able to step out into the fresh air to clear your head after a heated conversation with a colleague. Part of the NASA experiment involves comparing his health in space with that of his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who gets to leave work at the end of each day.

It seems a very long time ago that Americans first walked on the moon. A commercial currently running during the NCAA basketball tournament imagines a Mars landing, with people glued to their tablets watching the first steps by man onto the planet. Where is the reality that will capture our imagination for discovery and allow us to aspire beyond our global limits?

In London,’Top Gear’ presenter Jeremy Clarkson was fired by the BBC for assaulting a producer a couple of weeks ago over a missing steak. The internet lit up in the ensuing time before the BBC formalized his termination. Amazingly, people thought it was ok to punch a college in the workplace and keep your job. And now the head of the BBC, Tony Hall and his wife are under guard due to death threats over the decision.

Much has been written about the value of emotional intelligence in leadership. However, the workplace still has a significant population of bullies that believe leadership is an entitlement and not a trust. The BBC acted and by doing so demonstrated a no tolerance policy for violence at work. We are all entitled to be safe, to be productive where we work.

In San Francisco, Ellen Pao, a former partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, lost her gender discrimination suit against her former employer. The case highlighted the continuing issues women face in technology and venture capital firms.

Writing on The New York Times site, ‘The Upshot’, Claire Cain Miller reported “…venture capitalists have said that the trial has already put the tech industry on notice: It can no longer operate as a band of outsiders, often oblivious to rules that govern the modern workplace — even if that has been a key to its success.”

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