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Could Computer Science Help To Solve the Wage Gap?

For decades, women have struggled to earn the same amount as men for the exact same job duties. In some career fields, such as sales, a woman may only earn as much as 68% of a man’s salary on average! In the field of computer science, however, there could be the foundation of finally changing this issue. Even though there is still a wage gap for women, the need for qualified people is great. This need gives women the power to negotiate and that power may be the final straw that helps women achieve true professional equality.

Agencies Are Recruiting Directly From Educational Programs

In Silicon Valley, the need for qualified computer science professionals is so great that agencies like Facebook, Apple, and even Google are recruiting directly from the classroom because the need for people is so great. Stock options and other financial perks are rising as fast as salaries for qualified personnel because there is basically a static pool of people from which to choose.

According to Kimber Lockhart, who works for Box as senior director of engineering, the need is so great that she can’t even do the job that she was hired to do. “It’s extremely hard to hire well-qualified engineers,” she told the Mercury News recently. “And if we could get anybody else in the pipeline, that could make it easier. If that’s women, great.”

At this very moment, four out of the top 20 jobs for women in the United States are in computer science – a place where only about 1 in every 4 employees is a woman. Computer programming, software development, IT systems management, analyst positions – they’re all in desperate need for qualified people. It is this need that women can use to shrink or eliminate the wage gap, but only if they have the skills to back up their negotiating power.

How Can These Skills Be Developed?

It ultimately boils down to passion. Many women believe that there is a lot of boredom associated with the computer science industry. The thought of sitting down at a computer all day to do their job is, at best, considered to be boring. Yet because every business needs to have some sort of internet presence in order to be successful, there is an opportunity for every woman to find success in the computer science industry in any field they have a passion to work within.

Why is this passion important? Because it is this passion that drives more consistency, value, and reliability in the work that is completed. Women who have been in charge of start-ups in this field have shown a definite competitive advantage when it comes to innovative products that consumers are using globally. Just ask Sandy Jen – she sold Meebo to Google in 2012 for a reported nine figures.

It starts with the decision to pursue computer science in a formal educational setting. That’s where recruiting is happening today… and that’s where the wage gap could finally start becoming a distant memory.

It’s Not Procrastination Holding You Back – It’s Hatred

The creeping feeling comes from the pit of your stomach. It begins to spread out through your chest, into your arms, and down into your legs. It seems to sap the very strength right out of your body! As this feeling continues to spread, it enters your mind and one thought begins to perculate over and over again: I hate this.

This hatred is what holds people back from getting jobs done every day. It goes beyond procrastination, which is more of a feeling of ambivalence. Instead of getting a job done tomorrow or maybe the day after, this hatred eats at you because you never want to do it! Then, when you miss a deadline, the hatred turns into guilt… and shame.

This is what holds many people back. This is what needs to be defeated. It can be done.

Why Do We All Hate Doing Certain Tasks?

It’s a simple question, but a complicated answer. To sum it all up, most people hate doing certain tasks because those tasks don’t make them feel good inside. Maybe the task is boring or uninspiring. It could be something difficult or never attempted before. The reasons are numerous, but the outcome is the same: instead of looking at the long-term benefits of each task, we’re stuck looking for short term results. When they aren’t found, hatred begins to fester.

How can you defeat this hatred? There’s three ways to change your approach.

  1. Look at outcomes that happen further down the road, such as job security, having bills paid consistently, or even increased respect.
  2. Acknowledge the feeling, but don’t let it control your actions. Focus instead on the small, perfect moments that are found everywhere that can bring a measure of joy.
  3. Base your actions off of your commitment to the tasks instead of your emotions that are connected to the task.

If we all waited to accomplish things until we felt like doing them, how many of the menial tasks that must be accomplished daily would actually get done? How many times would a project get collated when the copying machine is down? How often would the laundry get folded? Why even bother getting into the care to commute to work?

Passion Is About How You Accomplish Tasks, Not the Tasks Themselves

When it comes to passion, modern society seems to look at it in reverse. We associate passion with the ability to put love into the things we love to do. Anyone can love chasing their own dream, right? Real passion comes from putting love into every aspect of a job that is not loved in any way. From the extra effort to add more sales statistics to a presentation to the carefully worded e-mail sent out to a difficult client, these are not activities we would normally associate with passion, right?

Yet in their accomplishment, there is extreme passion when the focus is on how the task itself is accomplished. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables on expectations and start doing things because they need to get done, not because we want to do them. If we can do that, maybe the hatred that holds us back so much will be reduced and there will be more joy in every life.

5 Ways To Effectively Manage Someone You Don’t Like

 

In a perfect world, we’d all like to manage people that we’d be as comfortable sharing a drink with them as working with them on a professional team. Going beyond the pleasantries and ability to find common ground, when there is general “likeableness,” work is just easier.

Unfortunately not everyone wants to be your friend when you’re the manager. Some are out for blood and want to take your job! Others just hate you for the fact that you’re the one in charge. I once had a direct report try to sabotage a project because he thought that if the job looked bad, then I’d look bad and be replaced.

The reasons why we don’t like someone can vary. What doesn’t vary is how we can effectively manage them. Here are 5 key lessons I’ve learned over the years:

1. Friendships Are Less Important At Work

Having a good friend at work can help the day go by much more quickly. Multiple studies have shown, in fact, that there are higher job satisfaction levels present when people have a best friend at work! When you’re in management, finding friendships is still important, but finding them outside of your team is usually a better idea. When you’re friends with a direct report, it becomes more difficult to discipline them should it become necessary… and if you do, that discipline can end up stopping a friendship cold anyway.

2. Stay Positive In All Things

Those sayings like “find the silver lining” or “look for the sunny side of things” grate on my nerves some days, but the truth in the message is clear. By staying positive in all circumstances, even when you’re around someone you’d rather avoid, you are leading by example as a manager. Every project at work will encounter some sort of difficulty. How you handle it will help show your direct reports where the silver lining can be found.

3. Everyone Contributes Something

I’ve found that the people I tend to dislike the most while working are the people who are the most like me. I find that this dislike stems from the fact that they have the potential to do what I do, only better. As the manager, you’re supposed to be the best right? Not necessarily. As the manager, your role is to be the team leader. That means making sure everyone contributes something based on their best strengths – even if those strengths are similar… or better than your own.

4. Work Closely Together

It’s not about keeping your enemies closer than your friends. It’s about learning what makes a person tick. You don’t have to like a person in order to understand them. Then, when you have managed to understand their perspective, that dislike you have for that person tends to start fading away. It also works in reverse – when those who don’t like you work more closely with you, their understanding of you helps to ease the discomfort.

5. Confront Fast, But Praise Faster

The most common reason to dislike someone is because they don’t contribute like they should. It could be because of laziness, brashness, or even arrogance. If you’re noticing the bad stuff as a manager, your team has known about it for weeks most likely! By fast to confront negative behaviors that could drop your team’s morale, but be faster to praise the good job a person does. Negativity is often brought about because of a lack of recognition, so put the emphasis there.

Just don’t be afraid to be proactive about the bad stuff too.

It’s not always easy to manage someone you don’t like, but it is very doable. Use these tips to work on your own interactions and you just may find that the working relationship is more about respect than it is about how much one is liked.

5 Step Plan To Eliminate Clutter At Work

When you’re at work, does it seem like your desk is always cluttered? Do you have assignments just dumped on you daily and it seems like you never get to see all of your desk? Clutter can easily happen at work, especially when someone is extremely busy. Even in the busiest times, however, there is always a way to work on eliminating the clutter so that you can be your very best at any given moment!

This 5 step plan can help you effectively eliminate clutter quickly:

Step 1: Carve Out a Routine

Even if today is your very first day at work, it is important to develop a routine that will help you manage your day. People are routine-based, even if that routine is an “anti-routine,” which means you will be more effective at what you do when it is familiar to you. Think about it: if you don’t get to do what you usually do in the morning, it kind of throws off your entire day for a while, doesn’t it?

The same is true with work responsibilities. The better the routine you have, the less clutter you’ll end up having too.

Step 2: Use Your Calendars

Taking the time to input all of the information into an online calendar or writing it down on a paper calendar seems like a waste. It can take an hour or two if you’re really busy! Yet this time investment will pay off in long-term benefits because you’ll know how each day is structured, have dedicated time for specific projects to get done, and this will effectively eliminate the clutter that builds up when people fall behind on work.

Step 3: Create a To-Do List Every Day

One of the best reasons to utilize an online calendar is that many of them can produce a to-do list each day for you. Part of the reason that clutter begins to build is because people feel overwhelmed. This feeling occurs because people feel like they aren’t getting enough done with their day. This creates the feeling that someone is having a “bad day” and the typical reaction to a bad day is to procrastinate on work.

If clutter has a twin, it would be procrastination. Check off items on your to-do list every day, feel the success this brings, and you’ll reduce clutter immediately.

Step 4: Stay On Top of Your E-mail

If you pulled up your inbox right now, how many new messages would be in there? The average person keeps over 20 new messages that are unread in their inbox every day! Many also use their e-mail as a filing system, which means there is probably over 200 e-mails sitting unorganized in your account if you’re like the average person. Set aside some time each day to just organize your e-mail. When there’s less electronic clutter, there’s often less clutter overall.

Step 5: Claim Your Own Space

Don’t allow other workers or even your boss to dictate how your workspace needs to be. You know how you work most effectively. When people can claim ownership of their space, there’s automatically less clutter.

By following these steps, you’ll be more organized, more effective, and ultimately more productive at work. That might not make you any extra money, but it may just make the money you do earn a bit easier to get!

Here’s How You Can Make Sure You Meet Every Deadline

Deadlines loom over everyone in some way every day. You’ve got to get to work on time, deliver a project on time, or get the kids from school on time. Dinner needs to be made, bills need to be paid, and let’s not forget about watching our favorite television show! The deadlines we all fear the most, however, are those work deadlines. We’ll all stay up late, drink way too much coffee, and ultimately deliver an average result.

Here’s how you can relieve the pressure of a deadline and deliver a consistently great result instead:

1.     Know What You Need Before You Start

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to know what the expectations are for a project at work before you even begin working on it! This helps you get the information you need before you begin so you don’t have to waste time tracking people down when a deadline is looming. Ask specific questions, get specific answers, and you’ll be ready to start.

2.     Put Things In Writing

Unfortunately the days of a smile and a handshake formalizing a deal are gone. Get the expectations for your next project outlined in writing so you have no doubts about what is expected of you and what you expect of them. Document any variables that you foresee occurring. Make sure that everyone understands their role on the work that is about to begin, when it is due, and what the final expectations are.

3.     Create Milestones

Deadlines are difficult because people are “deadline orientated.” This means that if only one deadline is set, all the work will wait until the last possible moment to get done. Now is the time, when the work is just starting, to set milestones that need to be met up to the final deadline. This will create new deadlines for you to meet and this will make the workload seem easier – because you’re seeing successes already!

4.     Add 50% To Your Time Estimates

Nothing ever really goes as planned. Even when a project is fine-tuned to the smallest details, something invariably goes wrong. For most people, the primary issue they have is that they don’t give themselves enough time to really get something done right. As a general rule, add 50% to the time you’d normally quote for a project so you can find work-arounds for problems that creep up. Worst case scenario? You deliver early with high quality.

5.     Communicate

Projects tend to work best when they’re taken step-by-step. When you keep everyone in the loop about your progress, not only can team members coordinate their own work that needs to be done, but the people waiting for your project can feel satisfied in your progress. The more you communicate, the more you’re likely to get a little relief from a deadline if you’re running late as well.

Deadlines don’t have to be scary. With a little planning, the work can be structured appropriately so you can meet all of life’s other deadlines as well!

Are You Taking Effective Notes?

The average worker spends almost 25% of their work week in some sort of meeting. These meetings are intended to do one primary thing: provide everyone in that meeting with specific information to use later on. Taking notes during a meeting, therefore, is an important skill to have! Yet many workers either try to rely on their memory or take ineffective notes and lose the information that they received.

You can take effective notes at each meeting. Here’s how you can do it:

Actively listen. The more you pay attention during a meeting, the more likely you’ll capture information in your notes that can benefit you later on down the road. Put down your iPhone, ignore the text messages, and focus on what needs to be written down. Ask questions if you don’t understand something!

Treat your notes like a blog. Give each meeting its own title and even subheadings if you wish. Make sure you date each entry too. This gives you the chance to always go back and reference previous entries to make sure you’re staying the course.

It’s not about finding answers. Meetings are always a great place for a question and answer session, but good notes don’t try to create inspiration to answer difficult questions. Instead they are simply a means of capturing the information that was passed along at the meeting. Nothing more, nothing less.

Establish accountability. Taking notes over the entire content of a meeting, no matter who is participating in that meeting, creates another level of accountability. If something is said, it will get recorded. If follow-up is required, that will be documented. If ideas are asked to be perculated in a mind for a week, you’d better come back with ideas for the next meeting!

Use a dedicated notebook for specific meetings. If you’ve got multiple types of meetings to attend each week, keep a dedicated notebook for each type of meeting so you don’t get mixed up with what your follow-up responsibilities might be. Also use a notebook system that works well for you. It could be a diary type of notebook, a standard lined journal, or some other format. Once you find that system, don’t change it!

Make notes easy to follow-up upon. Come up with specific symbols that you can use to quickly scan your notes to make sure you’ve fulfilled your responsibilities. If you need to bring ideas back to the next meeting, you could use a star. If you need to ask questions, put a question mark next to the note. If you need someone else to follow-up on something, you could use an exclamation point. Whatever you use, utilize symbols that work for you.

Review your notes every day. Where most people fail in the note taking process isn’t in the actual notes they take, but in the follow-up on their notes because they forgot to review them. Take a few minutes each day and review the notes in each notebook. Make sure you don’t have anything that is pressing that needs to be done or schedule time on your calendar to accomplish tasks that have an upcoming deadline.

With better management and a little more engagement, everyone can be an expert at taking notes. Implement these principles in your next meeting and you’ll discover that you can retain even more of the important information being passed along to you

Ace Your New Job By Avoiding These Common Mistakes

It’s exciting to start the first day of your new job! Did you know, however, that how you start your new job could set the tone for the rest of your time at the organization?

You can ace your new job by avoiding these common mistakes:

Getting Involved With Office Politics

Every office has politics that go along with it and to some extent; you’re going to have to participate in those politics at some point so that you can be effective at your job. When you first start a job, however, the inclination we all have is to trust everyone as we’re training because these office veterans must know what they’re doing, right?

Unfortunately misery loves company and there are several office veterans out there that can be pretty cynical. Some will even send you in the wrong direction just to get a laugh at the fact that you got into trouble! Take instructions with a grain of salt and if something doesn’t make sense, don’t do it.

Being a Maverick From Day 1

Even if you’re hired to bring about change in the office, you’re not going to create change from the first day. In many offices, you need to evolve the office atmosphere instead of create a revolution because relationships will help to motivate people more than tyranny will. Being excited about a job is one thing. Being overeager to tell everyone why they’re wrong and you’re right will just create workplace enemies.

Refusing Help, Even When You Need It

It’s almost embarrassing to ask for help sometimes, especially if it feels like what you’re doing is one of the simplest tasks the office has. It’s always better to ask for help when you’re new, however, then to assume or guess that the way you choose to do something is the right way. You might guess right and come out looking like a star, sure… but you could completely miss and end up looking like a fool. Better to just ask and claim rookie status now.

You Don’t Communicate

If your new job has a probationary period associated with it, then times can really be tough because it feels like you’re being micro-managed, right? When that probationary period wears off and people aren’t breathing down your neck so much, it’s really easy to just start doing your own thing on a daily basis. You’ve still got to keep your team and your boss informed of what’s going on, however, because no one likes surprises – especially bad surprises.

There’s a Lack of Appreciation

Gratefulness goes a long way when you’re a new employee. There’s a good chance that your new co-workers were really good friends with the person you just replaced and they’re likely not too happy right now that you’re filling their friend’s shoes. Even if the job you got is a brand new position, you’ve likely beat out dozens of people for that job, some of whom may be your new co-workers! Be humble, be grateful, and you’ll win over your co-workers over time. Well… most of them, anyway.

Avoiding these common mistakes as your start your new job will help to put you on a path toward success. Start your journey today!

Could 5 Minutes Per Day Change Your Life?

Do you have 5 minutes that you could spare each day? Could you make an extra 5 minutes happen during your busy schedule? What if you just got up 5 minutes earlier than you normally do each morning? Those 5 minutes, especially when taken in the morning before you go through your normal routine, could be what changes your life forever!

Now that you’ve made those 5 minutes happen, here’s what you’re going to do within that time:

1.     Smile

It’s not a fake smile that you plaster on your face to get through a difficult situation. These 5 minutes are all about yourself and by smiling, you’re telling yourself that these 5 minutes could be the most awesome minutes of your day! When you smile upon waking up, you’re giving your mind a conscious thought that this day will be a good day and nothing is going to hold you back!

2.     Find Contentment

Contentment is really about gratefulness. Instead of focusing on what other people have or what you feel like you should have, focus on what you do have and how great it makes you feel. There are a lot of things that you have that others undoubtedly want for themselves as well! Contentment takes away the competitive nature and stressors of life and simply allows you to be grateful right there, in that moment, for that moment.

3.     Get Some Water

You’ve been sleeping for how long? Hopefully 8 hours or so, right? Go get some water and let your body become hydrated again. Get some water in there before you get some coffee in there! If you’re taking your 5 minutes outside of your morning routine, you’re still going to want some water. Most people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it! A lack of energy, constant fatigue, dry skin, are all symptoms of needing some water. Drink up!

4.     Stretch It Out

A little bit of exercise can go a long way to establishing a good energy profile for the day. Even if you’re just doing some basic stretches to loosen up some tight muscles, you’re getting your body fully awake and prepared for battle. A microbreak during the day can provide the same thing! Get up, walk for a minute, stretch out the soreness, and enjoy a moment of peace.

5.     Prepare Positive Self-prophecies

Life is ultimately what we make of it. Telling yourself that you’re going to have a bad day is a good way to make that happen! When we look for the negative, we’re going to find the negative. That’s why taking a moment to encourage yourself to find the positive things in life will help you look for those positive moments throughout the day.

What could you accomplish in the next 5 minutes? By scheduling these tasks into the 5 minutes that you’re setting an appointment for yourself to do every day, you’re going to accomplish more than you could ever imagine. Don’t believe it? Try it for yourself today, right now, and see what begins to happen!

5 Tips For Getting More Things Done

In Matthew 5, Jesus encourages his followers to go the extra mile. It’s one of the foundations of the phrase “going the extra mile,” even if religion isn’t one of your strongest priorities. The concept is simple: over-deliver on what you can do, especially when it isn’t demanded of you, and you’ll establish for yourself an impeccable reputation.

The unfortunate fact of life is that people are way too busy to go the extra mile for everyone they encounter on a daily basis. The need to over-deliver, however, must also be there! Is it possible to go the extra mile without costing yourself more time to do so?

Step 1: Get Organized

The biggest time waster of them all is being unorganized when working on a task. When you’ve got everything put into place, where it needs to go, then you can accomplish anything in nearly half the time! That includes your plans and your thoughts about a task that needs to be done. Instead of jumping in feet first, study the project for a moment and plan out the best way to achieve everything, including what you could potentially over-deliver on.

Step 2: Integrate the 80/20 Rule

It’s often said that 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people. This rule, called the Pareto Principle, can also apply to the work that you’ve got to get done at any given moment. Find the 20% of the work that will yield you 80% of the results you need and you’re guaranteed to have more time to go the extra mile.

Step 3: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

It’s simple – the more hands that are working on a project, the quicker it is going to get done. Trust your co-workers, team members, or direct reports to help you and together, as a team, you’ll be able to go the extra mile and still probably have time to spare! It’s hard to let go of tasks, however, because we feel a responsibility to them. The question to ask yourself is this: is it more important to take credit for everything or is it more important to over-deliver on the task at hand?

Step 4: Don’t Force It Out

Your mind can only take so much. Your body can only take so much. Sometimes you’ve just got to step away from the job, take a break for awhile, and let your mind reset itself. You could take a walk, do something that relaxes you, or just sit outside on a warm day and let the sun hit your face as you wiggle your toes in the grass. Rediscover who you are and you’ll rediscover how to go the extra mile on the task at hand.

Step 5: Eliminate the Distractions Around You

There are so many distractions today that it can be nearly impossible to pay attention to everything going on and deliver a task on time, much less over-deliver on it! If you need to get work done, then the e-mail, the social networking, the phone calls, the SMS texts – they’ve all got to stop. Anything that takes your mind off of the task at-hand is something that you need to eliminate from your life until you’re done working. Period.

Going the extra mile can sometimes be difficult, but the effort will always pay off with long-term results. Use these tips to go the extra mile without exerting more effort than you need to exert and you’ll have people raving about your productivity in no time at all!

5 Tips to Stop Procrastination

There are a lot of proverbs that people quote regarding the need to put procrastination in the rear view mirror. People really can say whatever they want to say, right? What matters is that you need to feel inspired about a task or job that needs to get done. You could knuckle down and just do it, but you’ve got to want to do it in order to defeat procrastination once and for all.

Are you ready to stop procrastinating today? To consider it a bad habit that you can kick to the curb and throw its belongings out on the street? Then here’s what you’ve got to start doing:

1. Stop thinking about what needs to be done. The easiest way to procrastinate is to think about a task… and then keep thinking about it. It feels like you’re not procrastinating because you’re at least thinking about it, right? The problem is that just thinking about something doesn’t translate into doing something automatically. Put those thoughts into thoughtful action and you’ll be taking forward steps on your journey. Two forward steps with one backward step still equals one step forward.

2. Keep a realistic worldview. You know how Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty says that his stories are 95% true? The way people look at the world is also 95% true on any given day. It’s that 5% of exaggeration that gets you into trouble. By blowing up a potential problem so that your molehill just became Mount Everest, you’ll end up giving yourself a good reason not to get something done. It’s easy to climb a molehill. It takes an expert to climb Mount Everest. Don’t create your own Mount Everest!

3. Make a plan to take the first step. Sometimes you’ve just got to put yourself into a place where you force yourself along on the journey. When there’s no going back, the only way to go is forward. To keep going forward, however, you’ve also got to have a plan in place so that each step along your journey can be successfully met. Create those plans, and then determine a way to implement them effectively. Sometimes you’ve got to follow Nike’s advice: just do it.

4. Start with the hardest task on your to-do list. Hard tasks are easy to put off. Why? Because they’re difficult! Who wants to do something really hard at the end of the day anyway? If you flip the paradigm around and do the hard work first, then the easy work last, you’ll stay more productive throughout your day. You’ll also end up procrastinating less because you’ll feel like you’re successful in accomplishing more! Just watch out for those co-workers wandering around with a full coffee mug, looking for a long conversation.

5. Confront your fears immediately. There’s nothing worse than the fear of something to hold someone back, and especially so if that fear is of failure. Confront fears when you feel them arise because if you don’t, they’ll out-argue that angels on your other shoulder that are encouraging you to proceed. Then you’ll get poked by their little pitchforks until you decide to procrastinate and it will all be over. Fear doesn’t control you – you control fear.

If you’re looking to stop procrastination right now, as in yesterday, then these steps will help you do just that. Take back control of your life, get stuff done, and be the success that you know you can be!

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