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ironiya • this career-oriented blog—published on biweekly Wednesdays—looks at the positive and sometimes ironic sides of a kaleidoscopic range of workplace and life issues, from education and employment to discipline and discord •

dealing with daily pressures: fresh-squeezed juice

Your job promotion depends entirely on addressing daily pressures while completing extraordinary work by Friday for a project impacting the entire company.
 
Your spouse’s crucial work commitments cause all the week’s family responsibilities to fall on your shoulders alone.
 
You’ve lost your job and have accepted two or three jobs either within or outside your field rather than lose your house to foreclosure.
 
Your child’s or parent’s illness means that you’re burning candles on both ends of the day, as inattention or cutting corners is not within your repertoire.

These and countless other scenarios—faced by millions of people each calendar pass—point to the essential companions of positivity and selflessness that can make or break, that mean the difference between success and failure, that foster either normal breathing or a heart attack. Read More 

the corporate ladder: climb and punishment

For so many teenagers, it's simply not an option. Their grades must be exemplary. Their SAT and ACT scores must be in one of those coveted eat-sleep-and-drink percentiles. Their college applications must be loaded with everything from athletics to community involvement. Their college grades must stand out, even when surrounded by standout students. Their graduate school years must reflect pinpoint focus. All of this more often than not leads to punishing 80-hour weeks at that longed-for corporate job, where creativity, freedom and empathy are shunted aside in favor of six-figure prestige and tireless climbing.

 

Companies like Google and Apple, with cash streaming in faster than it can be printed, can and do take advantage of that circumstance to encourage their employees to eat well, to exercise, to be creative, to give back—and set up their corporate campuses accordingly. Many more, though, under the constant pressure of relentlessly judged quarterly reports or simply meeting monthly expenses—magnified by COVID restrictions—demand more than the body can realistically sustain. Over time, sleep becomes a secondary concern and exercise a tertiary matter, with family activities fit in whenever possible. Read More 

career choices: post-office

Before, during and after our current COVID age, what happens if you get laid off from that desk job, the one that was doable and steady but never all that exciting? Or perhaps you just had your fill of getting the morning coffee, going in to the office each day, fulfilling your responsibilities with efficiency if not much enthusiasm, and eagerly awaiting that lifeline and timeline du jour: 5 o'clock.

 

To be able to turn a static life into one of stimulation and achievement is not an easy leap, and often requires courage to live with the resulting uncertainty. But provided that health is not an issue (a circumstance never to be taken for granted, especially among the younger generation to whom death is a mere mask), why not use the layoff notice or cubicle boredom as a springboard? Why not make the jump into something that enhances, that enables a real contribution rather than the contrition that often accompanies the status quo? Read More 

the beauty of cobblestone: uneven paths

When driving, who wouldn’t choose the paved roads, the smooth transitions, the shock absorbers’ gratitude? The initial response may well be likewise when confronted with personal and career decisions, yet is the flat ride always the best?

Instinct may have us attempt to avoid struggling, yet perseverance and character are built upon that self-same struggle and arguably impossible to achieve without it. The twin peaks of satisfaction and contentment are borne from a belief in—and willingness to confront— what lies ahead rather than an escape-at-all-costs mindset that has less substance than a microbe. Read More 

being held up: mug shots

The 8:30 a.m. conference at your downtown office will emphatically not wait for being held up in rush-hour traffic, for getting the kids ready for school in time for the bus, for finishing your preparation for the pending presentation, for putting gas in the car, for stopping at the ATM, for… for… for. If only you could have something to hold you up amidst the stress and lack of sleep that seem to purposely invade each week. Add waiting in line at Starbucks for that shot of espresso that briefly jolts the brain and body.

Why do we put ourselves in such a position? Must we stay up so late answering that enveloping stream of emails, watching and/or reading the end-of-day news, overextending to spouse and children? Well sure, this is contemporary life, when wanting it all comes with an inflationary price that only the weak decline to pay. Let the morning mugs of Colombian coffee be drained, let them be damned, but let them work! Read More 

complacency as the rival of fulfillment: dashbored

No job is filled with creativity and stimulation 100% of the time. And yet we’re all born with passions that should be fully explored in the search for fulfilling careers. They’re out there; are you rushing to find them? Do you squeeze the most juice from each day? Maybe you love the outdoors; choose one of countless jobs that has you experiencing sunlight over fluorescent lights, breathing natural air rather than that from filtered air conditioning. Maybe you love food; choose one of equally countless jobs that has you preparing, cooking, creating, serving, owning. Do you get the idea? Choose! Read More 

career choices: post-office

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What happens after you get laid off from that desk job, the one that was doable and steady but never all that exciting? Or perhaps you just had your fill of getting the morning coffee, going in to the office each day, fulfilling your responsibilities with efficiency if not much enthusiasm, and eagerly awaiting that lifeline and timeline du jour: 5 o’clock.

To be able to turn a static life into one of stimulation and achievement is not an easy leap, and often requires courage to live with the resulting uncertainty. But provided that health is not an issue (a circumstance never to be taken for granted, especially among the younger generation to whom death is a mere mask), why not use the layoff notice or cubicle boredom as a springboard? Why not make the jump into something that enhances, that enables a real contribution rather than the contrition that often accompanies the status quo? Read More 

the corporate ladder: climb and punishment

The text you type here will appear directly below the image

For so many teenagers, it’s simply not an option. Their grades must be exemplary. Their SAT and ACT scores must be in one of those coveted eat-sleep-and-drink percentiles. Their college applications must be loaded with everything from athletics to community involvement. Their college grades must stand out, even when surrounded by standout students. Their graduate school years must reflect pinpoint focus. All of this more often than not leads to punishing 80-hour weeks at that longed-for corporate job, where creativity, freedom and empathy are shunted aside in favor of six-figure prestige and tireless climbing. Read More 

the calendar's relentless progression: autumn leaves

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The latter part of September perpetually hosts the first day of fall—a time of moderating weather, heavier work schedules and looking ahead. During one’s teens, 20s and even 30s, this annual period typically seems full of hours and days, its farewell comfortably in the distance. Yet into the 40s and 50s, those selfsame hours appear ever briefer, ever more precious. As much as the numbers themselves do not change, our perception of them moves ever faster. While not able to slow the calendar’s relentless progression, making the most of each 24-filled gift basket goes a long way in mitigating it. This applies to finding fulfillment in work and career projects, to spending dedicated time with family and friends, to enjoying vacations and travel, to lifelong learning. Read More 

putting disagreements in perspective: miniature gulf

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In both career and personal relationships, how often do disagreements come up—problems of interpretation or perspective, of contracts or property—that cause significant setbacks? How often does the divide seem irreconcilable, the gulf not bridgeable?

Take a moment, though, to consider the broader perspective. Are your days filled with humility and gratitude, or does pride take center stage? Are you graced with intelligence and good health, with skills and resources? If so, is this or that issue really so important for you to fight over? Is it worth the stress hormones and loss of sleep? Read More