The week@work – soccer, tennis, ballet & other places we work – & returning to work after vacation

It was a good week for women and little girls. The week@work began with the US women who go to work playing soccer and brought home the world cup trophy. And ended with the women who go to work on a tennis court, with Serena Williams winning her sixth Wimbledon championship and twenty-first major. And, while I was away, Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater.

And now for the bad news, good news – compensation. An article in the Washington Post on Thursday detailed the gap in prize money for women and men in major sport.

“The female players who were just crowned the best in the world brought home $2 million, a tiny fraction of the $35 million the German men’s team pocketed for winning the World Cup in Brazil last year. It was even significantly less than the $9 million the U.S. men’s team took home for getting knocked out in the round of 16.

And yet, some sports have reached parity. When the women take Centre Court this Saturday at Wimbledon, the winner will earn the exact same amount — about $2.9 million — as the winner of the men’s final match on Sunday. Since 2007, when Wimbledon and the French Open joined the other Grand Slam tournaments, tennis has provided equal prize money to men and women.”

The ‘places’ we work and returning to those ‘places’ after vacation were also on the week’s agenda.

Fast Company posed the question on Twitter, are you tired of your cubicle? And suggested working from the woods:

“If a quick view of nature at work—or even a lonely plant on your desk—can make you more creative and focused and less stressed, what would happen if you worked from middle of the woods?

When Amsterdam office workers get tired of sitting in a cubicle, they can head out to work from a forest instead. A new caravan of mobile micro-offices—fully equipped with Wi-Fi and solar-powered coffeemakers—is traveling across a network of national parks in the Netherlands.

“The inspiration to create this comes from a longing to be more deeply connected to nature,” says KantoorKaravaan founder Tom van de Beek. “These times of technological innovation and wireless connectivity provide us with the ultimate combination: getting back to nature and self sufficiency in terms of food and energy, and still be able to do our day to day business. In other words: we can now create the 21st-century equivalent of the Garden of Eden.”

The New York Times reported on a new development in the industrial zone of downtown Philadelphia hoping to attract companies in media, advertising and technology.

“They wanted to be able to recruit, to have millennials think that this would be a great place to work,” said Richard R. Previdi, the firm’s operating managing partner.

Mr. Previdi said the new space — named SoNo, for south of Northern Liberties — will be designed to encourage the collaboration that is highly valued by tenants like software companies. “They want everybody talking; they want everybody sharing ideas,” he said.

The redesign will minimize the amount of individual employee space while allowing more for common areas like a cafeteria, a gym and parking space for 70 bicycles. Alliance plans to begin construction by the end of this year, and to complete the project within 24 months.

Over all, the building’s location and design are intended for a “live-work-play” lifestyle in which young urban professionals live near their workplaces and the shops, restaurants and entertainment sites that spring up to meet that demand in Philadelphia and other cities, Mr. Previdi said.”

For many of us, tomorrow marks a return to our work ‘place’ after an extended Fourth of July holiday. Believe it or not, there is post vacation syndrome – PVS. Really. Glamour Magazine recommends limiting your meetings on your first day back. They also suggest you schedule lunches outdoors to maintain that level of fresh air you grew accustomed to on vacation. Great ideas if they fit into your work culture.

If you love what you do, although you miss the sand in your toes or the views from a mountaintop, you will find a way to insinuate your vacation experience into your work day.

‘We Are The Champions’ by songwriter Freddie Mercury

On Sunday evening or Monday morning, depending where you were in the world, the US Women’s National Soccer Team defeated the women representing Japan 5-2 in the final of the Women’s World Cup in Vancouver, Canada.

At the end of the game, midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals in the first sixteen minutes of the final, commented on the victory.

“It’s been a long journey, my career. I’ve had a lot of people believe in me, in my corner, from day one,” said the midfielder, who turns 33 on July 16. “I’ve dedicated my whole life to this. Everything else comes second. But I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported on New York mayor, Bill de Blasio’s decision to recognize the women’s team:

“New York City will hold a ticker-tape parade on Friday for the United States women’s national soccer team, breaking with decades of precedent to bestow a rare honor upon a group that competes outside the metropolitan area.”

The Friday poem this week, on the day of the ticker tape parade, is the lyrics written by Freddie Mercury in 1977 and recorded by Queen. This one is for the members of the team, their families and coaches. And for all the young women and young men who have been inspired by the hard work, dedication and resilience of the US Women’s National Team.

We Are The Champions

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand
Kicked in my face
But I’ve come through

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World

I’ve taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune
And everything that goes with it
I thank you all
But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before
The whole human race
And I ain’t gonna lose

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World

We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions

Songwriter: Freddie Mercury, 1977

What being a ‘team player’ really means – #AmyRodriguez8

How many times have we heard about being a ‘good team player’? Our ability to ‘play well with others’ may influence a hiring decision or career advancement. In reality, the world of the corporate team player is a bit more ambiguous. Not so in sports. On Sunday, a record television audience watched the US Women’s National Team win the World Cup. There were leaders, the visible few with corporate sponsorships, but the road to the final was won by the ‘team players’.

Why do some teams excel while others fail?

Often folks with competing agendas are brought together to solve a problem or complete a project. Each member contributes based on their skill set, but the process is derailed when goal definition and respect for colleagues is lacking. If a feedback loop has not been included in the planning, dysfunction can continue unchecked.

Which brings me back to the US Women’s National Team and one member, Amy Rodriguez.

You can google Amy and find pages of material documenting her career in soccer. She led her team at USC to a National Championship. She has earned two Olympic Gold Medals. And she is a ‘team player’ who contributed to the success in this year’s world cup.

I met Amy when she was a freshman at the University of Southern California. She was a student in a seminar I taught in the spring of 2006. Over her time at USC we would occasionally stop for a brief conversation in the middle of campus, but for the most part, I have followed her career as most of her fans, from a distance.

But it’s at a distance that you observe the consistency of Amy’s personality, values, dedication and collegiality. Yesterday she had a moment in the spotlight as she led the crowd welcoming the team back to LA in celebration.

There have been many books written about the distinctions between successful teams and those that fail.

In the end, it’s a mutual trust and respect for others that underscores the values of a team player.

Tomorrow the team will receive New York’s highest honor with a ticker tape parade in lower Manhattan. Take a minute to cheer on those who scored the goals and their supporting players.

Congratulations Amy!