The week@work – Mark Zuckerberg writes a letter, equality comes to combat, 20 predictions/20 years, the November jobs report and terrorism@work

This week@work was dominated, until mid-week, by the story of the ‘Chan Zuckerberg initiative’ to set aside 99% of their Facebook wealth, and overshadowed a major shift in policy within the Pentagon, opening all combat jobs to women, without exception. The November jobs report continued the positive trajectory of the economy with the revision upward of September and October numbers. And the editor of Fast Company Magazine offered ‘Twenty Predictions for the Next Twenty Years’.

All of those stories pale in comparison to the return of terrorism to the workplace at a holiday party at 11 AM on Wednesday in San Bernardino, California.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to his new daughter and lots of attention was paid to the section on sharing his wealth.  Carmine Gallo of Forbes took closer look and noted that the letter read like a great speech.

“As you’ve probably read by now Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan welcomed a daughter into the world in a very big way – with the creation of a new initiative to donate 99% of their Facebook shares ($45 billion currently) to philanthropy. That’s the headline. I was struck, however, by how the open letter to their daughter read more like a speech than a letter. It was meant for the eye…and the ear. It was meant to inspire a generation to commit itself to giving and to making the world a better place.

“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today,” the letter begins. Read aloud at an average speaking pace, the 2,200-word letter takes about twelve minutes to recite, the ideal amount of time for a good speech (many of the most notable speeches in recent history clock in at 15 minutes or less).

Zuckerberg’s hope for his daughter’s generation provides the theme of the letter, a headline that fits into one short sentence. In bold letters, Zuckerberg writes:

“Advancing human potential and promoting equality.”

Amanda Platell of The Daily Mail offered an alternate version.

“Let’s start with the ‘friends’ you may have on Facebook. Do not confuse them with the friends you should trust in the real world. Many will barely know you, plenty may be jealous, others will be insincere and spiteful…

If I have learned anything from running Facebook, it’s that there is no such thing as privacy any more. After all, that’s how I made our billions!

Come to think of it, perhaps we won’t give you a computer until you’re 18, just to be safe. Love, Dad.”

On Thursday the Dan Lamothe reported on the groundbreaking change in staffing policy at the Pentagon.

“Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, a landmark decision that would for the first time allow female service members to join the country’s most elite military forces.

Women will now be eligible to join the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.

“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said. “This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”

Robert Safian, the editor-in-chief of Fast Company magazine marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication with ‘Twenty Predictions for the Next Twenty Years’.

“We celebrate birthdays to remember all that has gone before, and also what is to come. This month, with issue No. 201, we recognize Fast Company’s 20th anniversary by looking toward the future. The dynamic change of the past two decades is just a warm-up for what is still to come.

I have used the phrase Generation Flux to describe this era of transition. Because the changes are coming so fast, there is a rising premium on our ability to adjust, to be adaptable in new ways. This can be scary for some, but it is also undeniably exciting, and for those prepared to embrace this emerging reality, the possibilities are tantalizing.

What follows are 20 observations that we believe will hold fast in the years ahead. They are predictions and, as such, are fraught with limitation and supposition. None of them, on their own, is shocking. That is by design. In combination, though, they outline a world of tomorrow where work is still personal, computing is still social, and knowledge is still power. And where the rules for success will be ever-changing.”

Bouree Lam covered the optimistic economic report from the Labor Department on Friday.

“The November jobs report is out, and it’s meeting what were moderately high expectations. The figures from the Labor Department show that the unemployment rate remained at 5 percent and the economy added 211,000 jobs in November. Jobs were added in construction, health care, and “professional and technical services”—the Labor Department’s term for an assortment of white-collar jobs. Among those, the construction sector showing particularly strong growth, adding 46,000 jobs.”

On Wednesday morning a group of colleagues went to work at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. As they were taking a break, preparing for a holiday celebration, one of their team and his wife, both heavily armed, entered the room and changed lives forever.

In 2014 there were 404 workplace homicides, 80% were shootings. The ‘mass shooting’ in San Bernardino was the fourth of this year.

Yesterday the editors of The New York Times published an editorial on the front page of the paper, ‘End the Gun Epidemic in America’.

I’m done with the retailers who give away guns to the first 200 customers on Black Friday. And I’m not comfortable with my cubicle mates carrying weapons to work. The workplace is a place to create, engage and perhaps follow a dream. Fear and hostility have never been a productive part of life @work. The last time leading by fear worked was in the mid-20th century Catholic grammar school classroom.

“It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.”

On March 4, 1933 newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his inaugural address. The familiar phrase, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..” has been whispering from the back of my mind since Wednesday and I think it’s particularly relevant to our political conversation today.

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”




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