Work/Life Balance

How Much Fun Are You Having At Work?

falling down.jpg Matt Labash has a tome in the latest Weekly Standard about the infantilization of corporate America and the rise of “funsultants,” or people specializing in telling corporate America how to have “fun.”
Of course an example of “funsultancy” at its best is the book “602 Ways to Have Fun at Work” (or “301 Ways to Have Fun at Work” and its sequel, “301 More Ways to Have Fun at Work”). Some examples of workplace fun advocated by people laughing all the way to the bank:
-koosh balls
-office-chair relay races
-marshmallow fights
-funny caption contests
-job interviews conducted in Groucho glasses or pajamas
-wacky Olympics
-memos by Frisbee
-voicemails in cartoon-character voices
-rap songs to convey what’s learned at leadership institutes
-“breakathons”
-bunny teeth
-asking job prospects to bring show and tell items
We swear we didn’t embellish upon that list at all. Aside from offending people in thick black-frame glasses with high-pitched lisps and buck teeth, funsultants are duping your superiors into organizing a brutally painful off-site activity as we speak, for a large fee.
Is mandatory “fun” the answer to workplace procrastination woes? It seems like eliminating face-time expectations and letting people leave when they don’t have work would be more fun than anything funsultants could dream up. It’s estimated that people average only three productive days per week and squander about 2-3 hours of every 8 in a working day, excluding breaks. A whopping 70% of internet porn is viewed during office hours (and we’ve heard stories about people getting called into offices for meetings with MDs who unabashedly ignore minimizing some of the goodness on their desktop).
Anyone have any Office (the TV show) worthy “mandatory fun” moments that they’ve experienced recently? Share with the rest of the class or drop a line to tips at dealbreaker dot com.
Are We Having Fun Yet? [The Weekly Standard]

You Know You’re A Big Hitter When…

falling down.jpg You act super pissed off, all the time, and have male reproductive organs. If you’re a chick, not so much, which is the whole point of a new Yale research paper by Victoria Brescoll.
The paper, “When Can Angry Women Get Ahead?” details a series of experiments where participants were asked to watch job interviews and assign the interview candidates a status and salary. Really pissed off guys were perceived to be top brass material (or eligible for it), while angry women were seen to be aiming for the bottom rungs of the corporate ladder. More results, from Reuters:

In a second experiment, the script was similar except that the job applicant also described his or her current occupation as a trainee or a senior executive.
“Participants rated the angry female CEO as significantly less competent than all of the other targets, including even the angry female trainee,” Brescoll wrote. She said they viewed angry females as significantly more “out of control.”
That impacted salaries. Unemotional women were assigned on average $55,384 compared to $32,902 for the angry ones. Male executive candidates were assigned more than trainees, regardless of anger, with an average $73,643.

The paper refers to the Republican talking point of describing Hillary Clinton as an “angry woman” (and “too angry” to serve in the White House) and wonders whether this strategy would be employed with a male candidate. Sure enough, the study seems to demonstrate that the perception is that angry dudes want results, while angry women just want some Midol and for the next few days to end as peacefully as possible.
Angry men get ahead; angry women penalized: study [Reuters]

Blackstone Affirms Stance on Ankle Holding

ankle holding.jpg It is often said that in his early days, the rapid ascent of Steve Schwarzman was attributable to the fact that due to his stature, Schwarzman was able to provide “support” to his superiors without resorting to ankle holding. This worked wonders for his endurance and longevity on most projects, and lessened the long term wear and tear of a financial career (the difference between the Emmitt Smiths and the Earl Campbells of the financial world). After all these years, Schwarzman’s ankles remain virtually unscathed (pictured).
While many full-sized people can endure ankle holding for a year or two, its effects on posture and well-being act as a barrier to career progress. It is no secret that he who controls the path to safe and effective ankle holding controls the financial industry, which is why Blackstone is quietly amassing the “largest non-operative orthopedic-rehabilitation company in the world.”
The Blackstone portfolio company ReAble Therapeutics agreed to buy DJO for $1.6 billion. DJO specializes in post-surgery pain therapy and leg/ankle braces. Blackstone bought Encore Medical Corp in 2006 and changed the company’s name to ReAble, embodying the hope the given to perma-hunched associates. Along with last year’s acquisition of Aircast, ReAble’s purchase of DJO forms an entity that offers an unprecedented number of safe ways to go deep into the Blackstone night.
Blackstone endorsed the DJO acquisition based on the recent paper “Influence of passive or active holding ankle position on pelvic floor muscle strength in Blackstone associates” that demonstrates the positive effects of extended ankle-holding, primarily on the Pelvic Floor Muscle, or PFM.
Here’s a summary of the study, from an abstract of the paper:
Method: Blackstone associates participated in testing of PFM strength changes in different ankle positions. PFM strength was measured by an intravaginal probe with surface electromyographic (EMG) electrodes. Each subject was asked to perform the PFM contractions while assuming a series of nine positions (e.g. – DCF, Cost of Capital Analysis, Deal Sourcing, Diligence) during which EMG recordings of the PFM were made.
Results: Greater PFM activity occurred in active holding ankle positions than passive holding ankle positions.
Conclusions: An upright standing posture that includes active holding ankle positions effectively facilitates PFM strength through muscles co-activation and synergy. Thus, we can apply active ankle positions in PFM training to enhance the effect of exercise in future.
Blackstone’s ReAble to Acquire DJO for $1.6 Billion [Bloomberg]

Counting the days…

From the Freakonomics blog, today is LEON Day, according to ButlerWebs. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards, which means it’s only 6 more months until Christmas, or the next time you might get a few days off (assuming your vacation is going to get cancelled and that you’re going to take only one day off for Thanksgiving, which is probably going to happen…again).
And Today Is… [Freakonomics]

dad.jpg
If your father is a CEO, here’s a gift idea that transcends a bad mug/tie/card/12 pack of golf balls (you should be mailing that today if you haven’t by the way). Believe it or not, aside from the golden (but literal) showers of lavish wealth, CEOs are crappy fathers, which is what prompted Tom Stern, the CEO of LA-based recruiting firm Stern Executive Search, to write CEO Dad: How to Avoid Getting Fired by Your Family, published by Davies-Black. Stern used to be a former comedy programmer for HBO and has guest blurbs from pals Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno. Fortune’s Anne Fisher interviewed Stern about the book. What follows is the (slightly embellished) wackiness that ensued:

Q. Why do successful executives so often fall short when it comes to personal relationships like marriage and parenthood?
A. It’s not that CEOs are cold and uncaring [they’re cold, uncaring megalomaniacs] – it’s just hard to bond with a kid via e-mail [unless that email is StiffyMail and your son is a teenager]. And those bedtime memos [One Memo, Two Memo, Red Memo, Blue Memo]! Not good! And of course, if you used to work at Enron, well, you tend to drift away from your family while you’re in prison [unless you’re Lou Pai and your family consists of mutant shark humanoids on skis with laser beams surrounding your Colorado compound].
But seriously, a lot of executives have a driving desire [the Rolls-Royce Phantom] to be admired, which is why [they can listen to the Cardigans’ “Lovefool” on loop] they’re drawn to roles of authority in the first place [although many are submissives on weekends]. Children don’t care about your title [Lord Supplebottoms]. You have to relate to them in a totally different way [unless your safeword is “Barbie”], and it’s a hard adjustment [to make a leather mask that small].
Also, at work, everything is quantifiable [how much you suck, in joules per second]. But with your family, you can’t measure and control things [you can’t know the speed of a small infant and his exact location at the same time, because Heisenberg was a really shitty dad]: It’s much more amorphous, and that can be frustrating. And then there’s pure ego, the need for power and recognition [isn’t that the id?]. Work is the place to get those things [you can’t do a Juniper Networks pitch without going through me, the spreader of the enterprise networking comps], so work becomes all-important.
I know. I used to be the kind of guy who would be texting clients [Lady Supplebottoms] while riding the Matterhorn at Disneyland with my daughters [if Dante were alive today what circle 8 would consist of]. It was nuts.

More insight into CEO parenthood after the jump…

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