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14 posts from February 2012

February 29, 2012

Leap day: Do we really get extra time?



Ahhhh....Leap Day. I want to believe that it means I get an extra day to get more done, but the week goes on as usual.

For those of you who earn a salary, you might consider it an extra day of work -- a day you're slaving away for free. Here's what's happening: Most workers get a set salary for a typical year, which is usually 365 days. But there's an extra day this year so employers are getting more from you.  

Dale Carnegie Training's Michael Crom suggests taking a more positive spin: "This gives employees an additional day to excel and an opportunity to have 24 more hours to really focus on what they want to accomplish in the month of February."

When pondering Leap Day, my pal Laura Vanderkam asks:  Wouldn’t it have been fun if we did get an extra-calendar day? Monday, Tuesday, Leap Day, Wednesday… What would you do if someone gave you a bonus day? Laura says she had a realization:  "If people had more time, they’d do exactly the same things they do now. If you don’t find time for reflection or adventures in a 365-day year, you won’t find time in a 366-day year either."

So readers, I ask you: Are you choosing to spend your time in ways your find meaningful or enjoyable? If not, what can you do to change up your routine? 

On this "bonus day" I've decided I'm going to stop cramming more of the same into my scheduled life and open myself to more of the new. I was invited to play Bunco tonight. My first reaction was "How ridiculous! I don't have time for that!" The truth is, I have no idea how to play, nor do I know many of the women in the group that invited me. Why not open myself to meeting new people and learning new things? Four years from now, when Leap Day comes around again, I want to feel like I'm doing more than treading water to keep up with work and family. I want to feel like I made time for new experiences.

Readers, do you see today as a bonus day to have more fun -- or just another day of work?



February 26, 2012

Some Oscar winners know the secret to work life balance

Academy awardsThe gowns, the glamour, the speeches and the gold statute -- it all seems so alluring. Whenever I watch the Academy Awards, my life seems so boring. These actors and actresses make big bucks and do what they love for a living.

At least, that's what we believe when we see them all dressed up on the red carpet. I tell myself that it's their job to look good, to go to the spa and get facials, to have personal trainers. The big stars have teams of people they pay to take care of the mundane chores that the rest of us must fit into our balancing act. That's how they manage some semblence of work life balance.

For most movie actors, life is not simple. They work like heck for a few months, spending little to no time with their spouses and family. And then, they have lots of time off to catch up. They go from one extreme to the next. Several movie star couples have worked out an arrangement where one takes on a movie while the other is home, and then the other gets his or her turn to work.

With movie stars, there is also the issue of job stability. Of course, an academy award guarantees an actorStatue more work will come his or her way. But others have to wonder where their next paycheck will come from.

So, I'm wondering, does this career and work schedule sound appealing (take into account it usually comes with a fat paycheck)? If you were offered a job where you were away from your family for months at a time and home for months at a time, would you take it?


February 24, 2012

Can co-workers kill your work life balance?


A friend recently confided in me that no one in his office takes a lunch break and asked, "Should I?"

That's a tough question because most of us know what the answer should be. A big fat N-O!

If everyone is cranking through lunch hour, shoveling sandwiches in their mouths while clacking on their keyboards, you will be seen as the office slacker if you zip out even for a short lunch break. Now, I know some people who will do it anyway and keep their jobs.

But part of doing our job is adapting to the office culture, and sometimes that office culture defined by our co-workers is not really conducive to work life balance. Now, I'm not ruling out changing the office culture. Cranking through the lunch hour turns out to be bad for productivity in the long run.  A new study  shows employees who exercised more during work hours increased their work productivity by improving concentration and problem solving ability and required fewer sick days. So you COULD print the study, put it on your co-workers desk and suggest taking short group walks at lunch time.

And, then another tricky scenario where a co-worker can wreak havoc with your work life balance -- the perpetually late team member. Do you start the meeting or project without a team member whose always late ...especially when waiting means another late night?

I'd like to say yes...why should you miss out on family time because Joe Team Member has a faulty inner clock? But reality is if he or she outranks the rest of the team, you might have to suffer through the delay initially. Of course, at some point you might have that tough conversation with your team members and decide as a group to address the problem.

And then, we have the scenario where your co-workers resent you taking a day off for a family emergency -- a sick child or elderly parent. This is going to become a BIG problem for you. In one of my first jobs, pre-kids, a female reporter had a young child who was kicked out of day care almost weekly for his runny nose or barking cough. The woman had to drop everything and go pick up her kid. As soon as she walked out the office door, my co-workers (all young and single) blasted her. They even complained to the boss. She quit a few weeks later. As a working mom, with a little hindsight, I think she should have said something to her co-workers about how hard she was working to balance work and family and how they may be in the same scenario one day.

To me, supportive co-workers are critical to your success at work. Did you know that supportive co-workers actually can help you live longer? In a 2011 article published in “Health Psychology,” the American Psychological Association finds that workers show a health benefit by having a “peer support system” from their co-workers.

The bottom line, you can't pick your family, you can't pick your co-workers. But if you can -- pick wisely.

Readers, don't you think co-workers, maybe even more than the boss, can make or break your efforts to achieve work life balance?


February 22, 2012

Should the U.S. ban jobless discrimination?

Have you ever been at a networking event where people describe themselves as being between jobs? It's mortifying to be one of those people -- especially if you're eagerly hunting for work. And, what if you meet someone who actually has a job opening....would you want to be discouraged from applying just because you're unemployed?

I think discrimination against the jobless stinks.

This week in my Miami Herald column I took on the topic of jobless discrimination. I really feel like there is a need to stop companies from prohibiting someone from APPLYING for a job because they're out of work. I think a hiring employer should at least let them apply and then determine if they are qualified.

Have you seen ads that say "only employed people apply"? Do you think employers are justified in feeling like anyone out of work for a year isn't as good a hire as someone who's employed? Let's hear your thoughts on jobless discrimination....

The Miami Herald

Movement to ban jobless discrimination gaining steam

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

   Truth Fisher represents employers as a labor and employment lawyer  with Gordon Rees in Miami.
C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff
Truth Fisher represents employers as a labor and employment lawyer with Gordon Rees in Miami.
Recently, a hiring director complained to me that he was aghast at the way a job candidate came dressed for an interview for a financial position. He wore jeans and a mostly unbuttoned, button-down shirt. Even worse, the candidate questioned whether the job hours would force him to sit in traffic trying to arrive on time. “It was clear that even though he had been out of work for a year, he really didn’t want the job,” the director said.

But what if the candidate turned around and sued the company for refusing to hire him because he’s a long-term jobless person?

For now, companies that turn away someone out of work for more than a year are not breaking the law. That could soon change. A movement is under way to ban jobless discrimination. It’s a thorny issue fueled by anger over recent job ads stating candidates “must be currently employed.” Of course, while some companies state that plainly in their job ads, others have been more discreet, screening out jobless workers during the initial application process.

With the U.S. unemployment rate improving, but still at 8.3 percent, the whole issue of long-term joblessness has job seekers, employers and government officials at odds. Does an employer have the right to dismiss a candidate who’s unemployed?

U.S. legislators and some state lawmakers have been so outraged over hiring practices that they have proposed legislation to prohibit or fine employers that refuse to consider out-of-work applicants for openings. In April, it became illegal in the state of New Jersey to use language in ads that discriminated against unemployed people, though lawmakers did not explicitly ban the practice of refusing to hire those who are jobless. In Florida, Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich has introduced a bill that would ban businesses from discriminating against the unemployed.

On a federal level, an outraged President Barack Obama wants to make discrimination against the long-term unemployed illegal. As part of his jobs bill, he tried to make it “an unlawful employment practice” if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person because of the individual’s status as unemployed. While his jobs bill is dead, legislatively, Obama has said he will try to push it piece by piece, including this measure to get people back to work.

“It’s a big departure from what the constitution says about what rights are to be protected,” says Truth Fisher, a labor and employment attorney with Gordon Rees, which represents employers. “I think it would be considered pushing the envelope.”

As of January, 5.5 million workers or 42 percent of the jobless had been unemployed for six months or longer. For the first time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has set out to track just how long people are out of work beyond two years. Meanwhile, a new BLS study shows the length of time it took for the jobless to be successful in their search increased sharply during the recent recession and in its aftermath — with a far greater share of successful job seekers spending more than a year in their job search. Moreover, the government agency documented what most job candidates know too well — once unemployed, the likelihood of a successful job search decreased as the length of time spent searching for work increased.

Read more....

February 21, 2012

Marriage tips you can fit into your work life balance

Some nights when I still have tons of work left to do to meet a deadline and my husband walks through the door to greet the family. It takes a LOT of effort to tone down my stress level, put a smile on my face and spend quality time with him. I know this sounds horrible, but it’s reality.

Whether you are married a few years or a few decades, relationships, are one of those time demands that need attention. And in this stressed out world, with most of us our struggling to achieve work life balance, it's so hard sometimes to make relationships a priority. For some couples, any interaction becomes a powder keg in seconds. My guest bloggers today know that way too well and they have good advice to help you improve your relationship.


LauraGlen book photo-Web version

My guest bloggers today are Glen Tibaldeo and Laura Berger, authors of newly released Fall in Love Again Every Day: 3 Steps to True Connection for Any Couple. They recently were featured on ABC Local 10. They are inspirational speakers, with an engaging website, www.lifeleapcouple.com, and co-authors of Chuck It!: A Big-City Couple’s Adventurous Move to the Jungle to Follow a Dream.

Here is their story:

About seven years ago, we were feeling burned out and became convinced there was more to life than work and what we were experiencing. So, we left our big-city jobs in downtown Chicago and moved to the jungles of Costa Rica for a year.

It was an Earthly paradise with wildlife dripping from the trees and the ocean in our back yard. Nonetheless, that seclusion was more than we bargained for...Our relationship wasn’t prepared for such a profound change. We began tearing each other to shreds. We yelled at each other day after day to the point of being hoarse. Laura, was headed home and the other, Glen, was set to stay behind and live in paradise—alone.

But before that actually happened, we remembered a technique we had learned years earlier called write/read/relate, a simple communication tool. We made it a point to take 20 minutes to every day to pick a topic, journal, and then exchange notebooks. Within two weeks, the shouting began to subside. We started to work as a team to resolve our issues. We agreed on the things we could and could not control. We agreed to be kind to ourselves and each other during our time of deep change and we emerged stronger than we had ever been.

We noticed that men deal with issues by retreating. Women do so by wanting to talk things out. Both methods cannot coexist. Therefore, in many cases, a man and a woman are not predisposed to have a healthy relationship—without something more. Write/read/relate is fully explained in our book Fall In Love Again, Every Day.

It’s been 11-years since we began using the Write/Read/Relate program for stronger relationships. Here are some changes we made that can help you communicate constructively, not destructively:

  • Use “I feel” statements – Our feelings are more fact than “facts.” Feelings are inside you. Everything else is outside you. You can only project judgments and assumptions on anything outside. So convey your feelings, not thoughts.


  •  It’s all about me! – When we say things like “I think you . . .” or “You do this because . . .” or “If you only knew . . .” you are communicating like a ewe. Apologies to the ewes. Again, anything you are projecting on someone else is likely unfounded and not worth discussing.


  • Use megaphors – We call them megaphors so you make them playful and big. Using megaphors and analogies will make the communication fun again and makes the subject the metaphor and not your partner.


  •  Use mirroring – The words “what I heard you say was . . .” are powerful. Your partner sees the possible implications of what they said, especially if it was offensive to you, and you get to check understanding in a safe way.


  • Keep dialogs to 20 minutes – Don’t go overboard once you read our book and know how to communicate effectively. At that point, it becomes homework.

 (Below see Laura and Glen give relationship advice on TV)


February 20, 2012

Work Life Balance is hard, so is building a website

As a freelance journalist, I consider myself an entrepreneur. Today, every entrepreneur needs to know how to embrace the Internet and Word Press is one of the easiest publishing platforms out there to build a website or blog. Millions of businesses, big and small, have websites built on WordPress.

I have two websites built on Word Press, so I jumped at the chance this past weekend (thanks to a free ticket from sponsor SiteGround, a web hosting company) to attend WordCamp Miami 2012, an annual conference that focuses on everything WordPress where I could learn more about how to get more traffic to my sites, have them look better and function better and help me make money. As a mother of three, it wasn't easy to give up an entire Saturday and so that you will benefit, too, I'm going to share a few key things I found most helpful:

1. Know the difference.I have a site build on WordPress.org and another on WordPress.com. The WordPress.com site is free and I used a pre-designed template, but I'm limited in how fancy I can get.  WordPress.org requires you pay to have your site hosted but the capability for the look and the function is greater.

2. Don't be afraid. Everyone out there who is blogging, creating websites, using social media to make money experiments and constantly adds to their site. Make use of tutorials -- look for them on WordPresstv, wordcamptv and codex/wordpress.org. If you decide to hire someone, remember there are designers who make the site look good, developers who know how to make it function, and social media strategists who know how to tie your website into other social media platforms. You can do all of this yourself, though. It's easier than you think.

3. Develop a brand voice.Whether you are an individual trying to make money or a company, you need a brand voice. Ask yourself, "what is the expertise I'm offering" and take the time to think about how your target audience will experience your site. Speaker Jessica Jurick (@jessjurick) used MomGenerations.com as an example. The site has engaged moms and it's making money. You may want to get ads on your site, recommend products for paid sponsors, sell merchandise on your site or drive traffic to your bricks and mortar stores. You will need to set your boundaries for how to make money and still maintain integrity and your brand voice. 

3. Open the door for interaction. Businesses that are making money have figured out how to get people talking online about them or their product. You want people to comment on your site and tell others about how  much they love what you offer. One of the WordCamp speakers, Lisa Sparks of Constant Contact, used DINGO as an example. The dog treat company offered fans a $20 gift card if they helped get 9,000 people to "like" its Facebook page. They used their fans to get more fans. And, because people tend to spend more than $20, they were able to convert the gift cards into higher sales. DINGO also asks people to share photos on its site of how their dog is spending its Saturday. People post tons of photos. It's all about engagement and interaction.

3. Bring Search Engines to your site. Keyword searches are a big way that people will find you. That means you must update your site regularly -- that could be by blogging. Use Google Keyword Tool to suggest words that you can use on your site to draw more traffic. For example, criminal defense lawyer is not as good as criminal defense attorney in Miami. Broken links on your site can hurt your Search Engine Optimization.

4. Tie your WordPress site to other social media. You will want to have a Facebook fan page, use email marketing and maybe even have a YouTube channel that all work together with your blog or website to build customers. On your website, you can offer free coupons to people who sign up for your newsletter. (There are lots of subscribe forms that are WordPress plug ins and can be easily added to your site such as Subscribe2). Your RSS feed from your blog could become your newsletter.

5. Be safe. You will want to backup your site, that way in case you get hacked or if you want to experiment, you will not lose what you have. You can also install security plug ins...go to your WordPress dashboard, click add new plug in, and look for something called BetterWP Security or wordpress database backup.

I left Saturday's conference with all kinds of ideas for improving my website, The WorkLife Balancing Act, and my newer site,RaisingTeensBlog. In my struggle for work life balance, I've put making improvements to my sites on hold. Now, I'm motivated. Expect changes. Expect creativity. I'll expect the same from you!


February 16, 2012

Lawyer's death raises questions about work life balance at law firms

I just read a a story that terrified me has made me feel the need to put this question out there: Can a person work so hard, it kills him?

It just may have happened in West Virginia. News reports say Adam Maynard, a 35-year-old associate in the labor andAdam-Maynard1 employment practice at Dinsmore & Shohl passed away at home after working "maniac hours" at his regional law firm the week before. The New York Times' Above the Law blog reports that Dinsmore as a whole is a sizable shop, an Am Law 200 firm with almost 500 lawyers. But they’re spread out over 13 cities in multiple states, and the Charleston office that was Maynard’s professional home has only about 30 attorneys.

The post notes that no one knows for certain why Maynard passed away, but his friends say he was gunning for partner and working hard before the end — very hard. Apparently Maynard had been billing over 20 hours a day for multiple days in a row. Those days came as a crescendo of a “month of nonstop billing,” a friend told bloggerElie Mystal. Firm memos indicate that Dinsmore partners are internally pushing the line that Maynard’s death had “nothing to do” with the crazy hours he was working.

Mystal writes: "It’s a sad story, one that some accuse the law firm of trying to cover up, but it’s another opportunity for us to remind readers to take care of themselves even when work seems overwhelming… no employer is going to care as much about your health as you do."

Well put Elie!

 What's scary to me about this is that there are Maynards at almost any service firm. People are pushing themselves harder and harder, I see it everywhere I go -- but particularly in the legal industry.  For those of you working way too hard or watching someone else do it, today might be the day to assess the situation.

Do you think Maynard felt shame in admitting he needed a break? Have you ever felt that way? Do you think superiors should pick up on the signals that employees are on the edge? Do they have a responsibility to step in and say something or is the burden on the employee to know his limits?



February 15, 2012

Does your spouse make your job stress easier?

Last night I was so stressed out. Work deadlines and the pressure of Valentine's Day had me in a tizzy. Thankfully, my husband was calm and encouraged me to go out for dinner, just for an hour, and celebrate our relationship. I felt much better today and even approached deadlines with new gusto. How does your spouse's response to your work stress affect your home and work life?


The Miami Herald


By Cindy Krischer Goodman

   Will Plasencia, left, and Jami Reyes talk through their stressful days rather than retreat from their problems.
Will Plasencia, left, and Jami Reyes talk through their stressful days rather than retreat from their problems.
You come home after a stressful day at work, kick off your shoes, and continue to stew about the unrealistic demands of a customer or an insult from your jerky boss. If you’re married, chances are high that your spouse could come through the door soon with similar gripes.

But what happens next plays a big role in how well you bounce back after a rocky day on the job.

Spouses who talk through their stress and offer support will return to their jobs less agitated, more tolerant of co-workers and more satisfied with their career choices. Those who engage in one-upmanship, show no interest or downplay their spouse’s job concerns quickly become dissatisfied at home and work, a new study shows.

Wayne Hochwarter, professor at Florida State University’s College of Business, surveyed more than 400 working couples in both blue- and white-collar occupations to better understand how couples survive when both endure daily work stress. “In many cases, both husband and wife return home from work stressed, and it is often difficult to generate the mental and emotional resources needed to help when your own tank is empty,” Hochwarter said.

Those husbands and wives who were unable to generate coping support at home returned to work even more agitated, Hochwarter found. “It’s a feeling like, ‘no one has my back, no one is on my team.’ ” He says couples need to feel that the communication lines are open, without either pointing out vulnerabilities or monopolizing the venting process.

Farzanna Haffizulla, a South Florida doctor and mother of four, says she left a busy medical practice to start out on her own. Her new practice gives her flexibility in her hours, doesn’t rely on volume or require her to navigate the medical insurance maze because she doesn’t take insurance. Her husband, Jason, still works at a practice where he sees dozens of patients a day. “We made a rule early on. No matter what our days are like, we will not assume that one has less stress than the other.” Haffizulla says she and her husband vent to each other throughout the day by text and email, offering emotional support — even if it’s through a smiley face.

Hochwarter says couples in good marriages are continuously refining the give and take at home, sometimes begrudgingly listening to a spouse vent about co-workers who aren’t pulling their weight even after their own miserable day at work. They also are staying in tune to the communication style of their spouse. He found some people don’t want to unload, nor do they want to hear their spouse immediately bombard them with details of their rotten day. “They learn to read each other’s signals.”

After Orlando-based attorney Jason Johnson comes home, spends time with his newborn and puts her to bed, he likes to retreat to the bedroom, be alone and “veg out,” particularly if court proceedings may not have gone his way. His wife uses this strategy: “I’ll usually wait and then by me unloading first, it helps him get to a point where he’s ready to unload,” explains Lori Johnson, a public relations executive with a large global firm. Jason says talking over his job frustrations with his wife actually brings them closer. “Even though we’re in different industries, clients are clients and she can relate to the stress I’m dealing with and offer her perspective.”

In strong relationships, spouses or significant others know how to bring each other back to the middle. “We both work for external clients who want to know how high we will jump today. We can talk about how crazy our clients are and get each other to laugh about it,” Lori says.

In Hochwarter’s study, men and women differed in what supportive behaviors they preferred. Women wanted to be cut slack in terms of household chores and for their husbands to show empathy. Men wanted appreciation, affection and some alone time. Both wanted to feel the other understands the activities, culture and demands that encompass their work day.

In similar careers, Jami Reyes, a government relations consultant, and William Plasencia, senior staff for Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, have an advantage. “We completely understand each other’s worlds and the challenges and we can commiserate with each other. I think it helps in our relationship and our careers,” Plasencia says.

Divorced, Reyes says she was miserable in a marriage where she didn’t have spousal support. This time around, in a serious eight-year relationship with Plasencia, she enjoys work and home life more. “It’s not perfect, sometimes we both retreat to our corners,” she says. However, most nights, the two talk through the day’s stresses as they cook dinner together. “In healthy relationships, you look at each other as a sounding board,” Reyes says.




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/14/v-print/2641983/support-at-home-good-for-career.html#storylink=cpy

February 13, 2012

Dos and Don'ts of Celebrating Valentine's Day in the office


Years ago, my hubby sent me flowers at work on Valentine's Day. It was awkward because I shared desk space with a friend of mine who was single and desperately trying to meet someone. My bouquet of roses seemed to taunt her and she let me know it made her feel awful.

Valentine's Day can be so awkward in the workplace!

Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where people share information and opinions about their workplaces, recently conducted a survey in which it asked over 1,000 employees and job seekers about their thoughts on love in the workplace and Valentine’s Day. It found that 69% say they have received a Valentine’s Day themed gift from a co-worker, but a majority (58%) do not look forward to the holiday.

These days, there so much potential in the office for Valentine's Day awkwardness: “For a lot of us, we’re spending more time with our office-mates than our significant others, and that inevitably can lead to an awkward kind of ‘Do I get something for him or her?’ moment,” workplace expert Nicole Williams told Forbes.com's Jacquelyn Smith. "It may depend on your company’s culture and your relationship with that specific colleague, but in most cases the answer is no."

A few years ago, I interviewed a floral distributor about Valentine's Day sales. The CEO told me he dreaded the years when Valentine's Day fell on the weekend because the appeal of sending a lover flowers on Valentine's Day is giving the recipient a chance to have colleagues gloat. I can see that appeal.

However, that gloating seems less important and more uncomfortable if you're in a romantic relationship with a co-worker. In that situation, Williams advises: "Don’t bring your love life into the workplace."

More "don'ts" on Valentine’s Day: Don’t flirt with your colleagues (something as simple as a greeting card can even start trouble and avoid getting physical in the office. Don't make assumptions about who sent a co-worker flowers -- that can get extremely awkward. ( learned this one the hard way!) Also, don't question where anyone is going on Valentine's Day when they try to slip out quietly at lunchtime. Lastly, don't give your boss advice about what to buy his romantic interest for Valentine's Day (If the gift doesn't go over well, you dont' want to be responsible --learned this one the hard way, too!)

Now, some "dos" Valentine's Day: Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan said bringing cookies, cupcakes or another treat for all your co-workers can be a fun way to celebrate, just be careful not to get too personal or excessive.

My husband says his company gives all its female workers a rose. I thought that was kind of strange. I told him I'm sure they'd rather have something useful like a free movie ticket rather than something meant to be romantic and I wondered what the men think about the rose gesture.

Anyway, I'm wondering if you have any dos or don'ts to share about celebrating Valentine's Day at work? Have you ever done an awkward "don't" and continue to regret it years later?

February 09, 2012

Madonna, GenFlux and You -- Staying relevant

A few nights ago, I went to a National Association of Women Business Owners meeting to hear my pal Jessica Kizorek speak. It was the night after the Superbowl and Madonna was still on my mind.

MadonnaI've been really annoyed by Madonna lately. To me, she comes off as pretentious --even a bit mean when she talks about younger stars like Lady Gaga. But I do give Madonna singer-dancer-actress credit for trying to make herself relevant by realizing she needs to colloborating on her new single with a hip young talent like Nicki Minaj. I also give her credit for recently adding to her tool bag of skills by becoming a filmmaker. 

Anyway, it seems like all of us are looking for new ways to fit in and stay relevant. At the NAWBO meeting, Jessica brought up a thought provoking article that just came out in Fast Company Magazine on Generation Flux. It basically talks about how chaotic the world has become and what that means to you and me and businesses. With all the chaos, the article says, it has become difficult to predict the future and gain competitive advantages.

It asks: "What skills matter most? How do you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?

How many of you feel like the world is changing so quickly it's hard to keep up? I have my hand up.

As the article points out: our cars are cloud-connected media hubs, our schools are going online, our music, TV and movies are being redefined in novel ways -- there is no question we are in a new world.

Now, here's the point of the article --- Any business that ignores these transformations does so at its own peril. Sometimes changing direction is rough. Every business needs to find and evolve the structure and culture that best allows it to stay competitive as its specific market shifts.

Here's what you personally must know, according to the article:  Nostalgia is as useful as an appendix right now. Don't hide from change. Every person must acknowledge that the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.You do not have to be a jack of all trades to flourish in the age of flux, but you do need to be open-minded.

Jessica says we must take the time to invest in ourselves. She says we must figure out what we're good at and communicate it. But we also must take the time to become good at more things and we must participate in the digital world.

Right now, you might be saying, I don't have the time to learn new skills, my plate is full. Or, I don't even know where to start.

What both Jessica and the article point out is that "it's irresponsible not to use the tools of the day." She recommended, as a start we use the Internet more effectively. She suggested all the businesswomen in the room fill out their Google Plus profile and own their own name as a URL.

This morning, a newspaper article caught my eye. It was about Pinterest, an up-and-coming, image-sharing social media site that is growing exponentially, particularly with women. Normally, I would have just glazed over it. I know Pinterest exists but haven't taken the time to find out what it's all about. But now, I realize I can't do that. (Here's an article that describes how to use Pinterest) As my media industry shifts, even though I'm struggling each day with work life balance, I HAVE to keep relevant if I want to stay in the game.

So readers, what do you think of this premise that you have to participate in and embrace chaos? Are you doing anything new or different to stay relevant?

Even more, are you in a workplace that's not embracing or adapting the necessary changes and endangering its future? Is there any skill you have that can help it become more agile?