Category Archives: Cube Rules Commentary

Commentary on the Cubicle Warrior life.

Cube Rules Links — February 28, 2014

Cube Rules Links — February 28, 2014

Cube Rules Links

Here’s what I’ve been saving for you from the Internet this week. These are posts that don’t necessarily match up to my mission of supporting transitions in your career, but are about the career path.

The best investment advice you’ll never get

This is long, but if you read nothing else, read this one.

As Google’s historic August 2004 IPO approached, the company’s senior vice president, Jonathan Rosenberg, realized he was about to spawn hundreds of impetuous young multimillionaires. They would, he feared, become the prey of Wall Street brokers, financial advisers, and wealth managers, all offering their own get-even-richer investment schemes. Scores of them from firms like J.P. Morgan Chase, UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Presidio Financial Partners were already circling company headquarters in Mountain View with hopes of presenting their wares to some soon-to-be-very-wealthy new clients.

Rosenberg didn’t turn the suitors away; he simply placed them in a holding pattern. Then, to protect Google’s staff, he proposed a series of in-house investment teach-ins, to be held before the investment counselors were given a green light to land. Company founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt were excited by the idea and gave it the go-ahead.

Outcome or process — what investment strategy works over time?

We’re not investment bankers or stock traders — but knowing how to invest is a needed skill to succeed in achieving Employment Security.

While two-time Super Bowl-winning coaches are process-oriented, Wall Street thrives by appealing to our tendency to be outcome-focused. We rank fund managers, best asset classes, top-performing sectors, highest-returning mutual funds. Note that all of these are ranked not by repeatable process, but by outcome. This is a brilliant bait-and-switch.

How much more would you have for retirement, if only you could squeeze 1% more per year? The answer, as it turns out, is a lot.


When paying off debt, gain strength by starting small

When I work with people who are in debt through a ministry at my church, I have them list their debts, starting with the one with the lowest balance. I call it the “Debt Dash” plan because the goal is to pay off something quickly.

Let’s say you have five credit cards with balances of $10,000, $2,000, $900, $4,500 and $1,700. Under the Debt Dash method, you would start your debt-repayment plan by paying off the credit card with the $900 balance. The goal is to get some momentum.

Do what you love, love what you do: An omnipresent mantra that’s bad for work and workers.

In ignoring most work and reclassifying the rest as love, DWYL may be the most elegant anti-worker ideology around. Why should workers assemble and assert their class interests if there’s no such thing as work?

How to best respond to a poor performance review

However, be wary of a manager who is dismissive of any plans you have to improve, Green says.

“That’s a sign that she may have moved past the stage of wanting to be constructive and is instead using the meeting as a formality before she can let you go,” Green says.

If you can’t get direction on specific actions you need to take and the feedback seems vague or subjective, that’s also a bad sign, Green says.

The open office trap

But the most problematic aspect of the open office may be physical rather than psychological: simple noise. In laboratory settings, noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance.

Why The Office Is The Worst Place For Work

“There are benefits to social interaction at work, but most work is ultimately solo work,” says Fried. While it makes sense to have a gathering place to brainstorm ideas every once and a while, once tasks have been delegated, everyone disperses to their own areas to do the real work.

It’s the end of February and we’re still in the deep freeze here in Wisconsin. Fortunately, the snow has melted off of the solar panels and we’re a mini-power plant here.

Enjoy your weekend.

photo by: Yandle
Cube Rules Links — February 21, 2014

Cube Rules Links — February 21, 2014

Chain links

Here’s what I’ve been saving for you from the Internet this week…

  • Companies squeeze 401(k) plans… From Facebook, to JPMorgan, to Whole Foods…and, of course, AOL. Good examples in this article.
  • The crushingly expensive mistake that is killing your retirement This one is all about the fees you pay for those 401(k) mutual funds and the impact the fees have on compound interest. That translates to a $100k + out of your retirement fund.
  • Keep investing simple. A great 10-point framework to simplify your investing and take out all the mumbo jumbo.
  • The dirty secret behind Applicant Tracking Systems: Qualified candidates need not apply. Have you seen my statements on resume building where I say you need to do X in order to get past the resume reading machines? ATS is a resume reading machine. And they will kill your application if you are not careful. Or even if you are careful, depending on how they are set up.
  • The high cost of turnover Companies have been on the winning side of not losing labor unless it was on their terms. With the job market getting better (not fabulous…), turnover is starting to happen. This article is a reminder of that cost. And, oh-by-the-way, the article still advocates for getting rid of the jerks…
  • Why employees quit their job. I’ll give you one chance to guess the top reason. Ready? Yeah, bad management.
  • The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement Despite all of the stuff written about employee engagement, count me skeptical. Companies talk the talk, but rarely walk the walk. Maybe they don’t know how. This article gives the four critical principles to follow to really engage employees. I’d agree with this one.
  • Building the Trust Based Organization One of the missing pieces, to me, of employee engagement is the trust factor for the company. I’ve always believed that a company, without a lot of provocation, will lay employees off in a New York minute. Tough to be engaged in those circumstances. But, this article shows ALL of the things that need doing to start building the trust in an organization. May it be so.

Lots of snow here this week…but the first temperatures above freezing since I don’t know when. Spring is coming…

photo by: Yandle
Cube Rules Links — February 14, 2014

Cube Rules Links — February 14, 2014

Here’s what I’ve saved up for you on the Internet for this week… Fear Choice vs. Love Choice. Which will you choose? From early January, but I missed putting it in the loop here. This is a great question and a very short — but spot on — read. If you’ve only got two minutes, clickContinue Reading

Cube Rules Links – February 7, 2014

Cube Rules Links – February 7, 2014

photo: Yandle Here is what I have saved for you from the Internet: The 40-year slump. It’s a long read — but well worth it for understanding how income inequality started…back in 1974. “The steady stream of Watergate revelations, President Richard Nixon’s twists and turns to fend off disclosures, the impeachment hearings, and finally anContinue Reading

Cube Rules Links — January 31, 2014

Cube Rules Links — January 31, 2014

photo: Yandle Here’s what I’ve been saving for you from the Internet: Job Search Depression, Job Search and Your Marriage, Job Search and Religion… And Simple Discouragement in a Long-Term Job Search. Jason Alba answers a question in a comment on one of his favorite (and relevant) blog posts: I Smell Blood. Typical Boomer RetirementContinue Reading

14 Career Tasks for 2014

14 Career Tasks for 2014

photo: brownpau Time to close up 2013 and start looking at 2014. When I think about 2014, I want to come up with actionable, doable tasks that will help your career and job performance. Blue sky stuff doesn’t cut it; only things that lead you to employment security do. Let’s take a look at theContinue Reading

Cube Rules Links – November 29, 2013

Cube Rules Links – November 29, 2013

Here’s what I saved for you this week of Thanksgiving here in the United States: The secret to stress free work It’s not what you think… 3 steps to get out there despite hating your job Of course, you can only hate your job for so long before, you know, you should go get a differentContinue Reading

Cube Rules – 12 rules I believe about working for a company

Cube Rules – 12 rules I believe about working for a company

photo: mick62 There are some under currents in my writing about working for corporations. Attitudes that lurk in the background before taking on the transformation needed to become a Cubicle Warrior. But I haven’t explicitly stated them. I have more. But these twelve are a good start to help you see the assumptions — the CubeContinue Reading

Stack ranking, reviews, and Cubicle Warriors

Stack ranking, reviews, and Cubicle Warriors

photo: Inha Leex Hale “Stack Ranking” is back in the news because Microsoft stopped doing it — and Yahoo! started it. To get us all on the same page, stack ranking means that if a manager has 14 employees, those employees are ranked from one to fourteen in order. Not just having the “exceeds expectations”Continue Reading

Cube Rules part of the top 100 career blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit . You might also like: Welcome to Cube Rules — Career Management for Cubicle Warriors The Path not Taken: Why Your Career Does Not Have to Follow a Linear Narrative Cube Rules Fan Page on Facebook Thanks for a great 2009 from Cube Rules