May 16th, 2014
Just read No matter what the boss says about flextime, get to work early, and it seems to be part of a disturbing trend in job-related articles and blog posts to note a workplace trend that's flawed, and then ask the people who are not responsible for that flaw to fix it.
It basically says "If you're a manager, you will rate employees who come in later more poorly than those who come in earlier, even if the people who come in later work longer hours or do equivalent work." Assuming the study isn't of receptionist-type positions (that do, in fact, require physical presence), the lesson is supposedly workers, come in early. The real lesson should be managers, judge your employees by their work, not when they come in.
This reminds me of all those blog posts and articles about how you should ask for a raise and negotiate your salary. Messed up. If there are unfair wage disparities, the solution isn't for workers to ask for more money, the solution is for the workers to do better work and then, most importantly, for the managers to reward better workers with better salary.
Kind of reminds me of my teaching days. If a student wanted to grade-grub, I would never give that student a higher grade, because doing so basically sends the message "Oh, if you want a higher grade, just pester the teacher for one." The message I wanted to send is "If you want a higher grade, write better, demonstrate your learning and thinking better."
Likewise, if you're a good manager, the message you want to send your employees is not "If you want a higher salary, learn how to beg for it or fight me for it." The message you should want to send is "If you want a higher salary, do better work."
April 20th, 2014
I've been using OpenTable for years now, and I love it. It's great to be able to make an online reservation without having to wait on the phone, say your name twice, hear that there are no reservations actually available.
Unfortunately, lately there's been a trend of restaurants calling to confirm when I make an online reservation. I get it. They don't want to be stood up. They've probably been burned multiple times before by people who make online reservations and then turn into no-shows.
The only problem here is that OpenTable is an online service with a database. They should be able to tell a restaurant how reliable a customer is (I've never missed a reservation before). If the customer has missed one or two reservations, sure, call that customer to confirm the reservation. If the customer has missed more than two, don't let her make online reservations any more.
With an online database, this shouldn't be too complicated.
April 5th, 2014
After reading a lot about 1:1 iPad programs and there being an "app for" everything in education, I found How To Use Google Voice In Education to be refreshing. Many schools use Google Apps for Education, but I haven't read many educator accounts of using Google Voice.
Google Voice wasn't around when I was a teacher, but I've still found it very useful for the non-teaching roles I've had in schools. When I was an admission receptionist, Google Voice helped me to better manage the hundreds of phone calls I was getting every day.
- I could easily forward (including a bad but still helpful transcription) voicemails to others working in the office.
- I could make notes about when I got back to each voicemail or missed call.
- During particularly heavy call periods, I could prioritize in the morning (based on—yes, even bad—voicemail transcriptions) which calls were most urgent and time-sensitive to return.
- As an office, we could give it a phone number visiting parents and students could text, which meant it was also easier to answer everybody (not everything is a phone call, which means you can text back straight from a web browser and move on to the next call or text more quickly).
Even as a student advisor, I found it convenient (particularly on a field trip) to give out my Google Voice number to my advisees and not worry that they then have my cell phone number (yes, it would ring my cell, but I could always easily block or mute them if it came to that—fortunately it never did).
I'd love to see more and more educators using less obvious technology in more obvious ways.
November 23rd, 2013
I'm a bit sad that so many of my former Android-using friends have jumped ship to the iPhone, because it's only now that Android is getting really good. I've always liked Android, and I've owned many Android phones, but the Moto X is the first Android phone I would recommend unequivocally to anyone open to not using an iPhone. No lag. No fuss. A very great user experience. Long battery life.
And, of course, timely updates!
November 1st, 2013
If you're a fast runner running against another fast runner, having the right running shoes (light enough, with spikes) can mean that extra second it takes to win. But if you're a slow runner, having the best running shoes on the planet won't help you win the race. You have to train—you have to get faster, to get your body in shape.
I've seen some pretty amazing stuff done with Illustrator or InDesign. I've also seen people have these professional tools and manage to create ugly, ugly images and designs. And I've seen a professional graphic designer make a work of art from a Google Doc. I'm not joking.
If I have the choice of having a true artist use MS Paint or of having a hack use Photoshop and Illustrator, I'll take the true artist any day.