Entries for September 2006

looking back, I realize...

that I have great expectations for myself before every fall semester begins, and sometime in September, I realize that I am going to have to recalibrate them.

I wanted to blog at least once or twice a week through this fall, but I am not sure I will be able to follow through on that intention. After all, I didn't blog at all between Sept. 14 and Oct. 15, not even to say -- "hey, I'm going on a brief hiatus, I'll be back on my blog in mid-October."

But, that's OK. One of the benefits of blogging for me is that I can use it as a measure of whether I am in or out of balance, overworked or underworked, too bored to write or too challenged by other things in my life to figure out what to write on this blog. And I know that my readers understand.

a brief followup on last week's entry on CBS evening news

So, will I look foolish in retrospect for succumbing to the marketing and giving Couric & Co a positive early review? Perhaps. The buzz among marketers is now about how quickly viewer ratings are dropping for the CBS evening news. However, I wonder whether the management at CBS is watching statistics like these, or statistics like these. Which is more important, in a business sense? TV viewers, or website visitors?

If the trend that is hinted at in this graph comparing web traffic for CBS.com and NBC.com continues, along with the trend shown in this graph comparing the CBS news site and the PBS online newshour site, CBS may be happy to keep Katie in the anchor chair, all criticism of whether she is a "tough enough" journalist aside. I must say, though, that I was intrigued with the idea of Gwen Ifill filling the CBS Evening News chair. Now *that* would be something to challenge stereotypes about women and serious journalism.

It's interesting that the way the website domain names are set up, it's difficult to directly compare, on Alexa, the visitors to the CBS evening news website and, say, the NBC evening news website.

vacation role model

Jim Twohie gave an interesting commentary on how little Congress works, and how much we work in America. (He was the Fresh Look speaker last night on the CBS evening news -- you can read or view his comments on the CBS website.) He names Johnny Carson his vacation role model.

Do you have a vacation role model? What helps you find a balance between the American work ethic and the French rest ethic?

Another semester of students begin a blogging experiment

Yesterday, Jeremy Smith gave a fabulous presentation on blogging using the Blog@Case system to interested students in MGMT 250 and 251 this fall. He discussed why it is useful for professionals to maintain a blog, explaining the merits of controlling one's online brand. He also walked through how to start up a blog on the Blog@Case system, how to categorize or tag a blog entry, and how to manage comment spam. Many thanks to Jeremy for a well-organized, crisp, and informative presentation!

If any of my readers are interested in following the MGMT 250 students' blog entries, here's a link that will aggregate all entries that are tagged "MGMT250" (note the lack of space in that tag): topic=MGMT250

Here is the equivalent link for students in MGMT 251: topic=MGMT251. This fall, students in 251 will be starting topical blogs, in pairs or trios... the assignment has been modified slightly, so that there will be more than one student contributing on the same approved topic. I hope that the added number of entries on the same topic will help students find ways to draw traffic to their blogs. I will post later in the semester introducing the topic of each of those focused blogs, once they have an initial effort at relevant entries under their belts.

If you are curious about why I encourage my students to learn how to blog, you might be interested in reading this entry of mine from about one year ago.

the evening news

I do remember watching Walter Cronkite on the evening news as a child. I think I also watched Dan Rather for a while, and Tom Brokaw -- but of course, right about at the age when I would have started to pay more attention to current events, I moved to Switzerland, so I was removed from the high-stakes world of the American news media. That was in 1982.

Even after I moved back to the US in 1987, I don't remember often sitting down to watch the evening news. Certainly, I didn't do so once I started graduate school and got married, in 1993. Well before my daughter was born, my husband and I were accustomed to getting our news primarily via NPR during our commutes, and to eating dinner between 6:30 and 7, with the tv off so we could reconnect at the end of our workdays.

Once we became parents, in 2001, we didn't want our daughter exposed to the ugliest of the bad news in the world via video, so we made a special effort not to watch news shows while she was awake. Occasionally, I had time to catch the Today show at the top of the news hour at 7 am, when Katie Couric or Matt Lauer would send their viewers over to Ann Curry's desk for 5 minutes of headlines (or maybe it's only 2 minutes?) Sometimes I watched Katie and Matt for a few more minutes, but typically, I had to keep moving in order to get through my morning routines and out the door by 8:30 or 9.

When I heard that Couric was jumping from NBC to CBS, and from morning to evening news, I was intrigued. Would she be given a chance to reshape the evening news anchor role to fit her personal style? I created an account on CBSNews a few days ago, because I wanted to see how the network was preparing for Ms. Couric's official debut as news anchor for the 6:30 national news. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to set up the Tivo to record the debut show, thinking I'd be able to watch it live... but when I asked my daughter to change the channel, and she saw that I wanted to watch a news show, she asked why. I noted that the reporter in charge of the show was a woman, and she said, "So what? I want to watch Animal Planet."

(Hurray for the world she will grow up in, where it is not unusual to see women in positions of influence on television. May that be even more the truth by the time she begins making choices about what to pursue for her first career.)

So, I ran upstairs and turned on the second tv, and Tivo'ed the show.

Continue reading "the evening news"

are you looking for a better you?

In MGMT 250, we have begun the segment of the course which focuses on self-assessment and self-development. My students are thinking about how to make a good first impression on others, what their strengths are, and where they want to be in 5 or 10 years.

There are lots of supplementary resources out there to help people who aren't taking the course explore some of the same questions. One excellent guide which I just came across to some of those resources is the blog Lifestylism. If you're not sure what that means, just read the first entry in the blog, written back in July, 2004.

Another new resource is a spinoff from the increasingly popular site 43 things, which allows users to keep track of their goals and dreams and their progress toward achieving them, and helps them connect with others who have similar goals or dreams for support and mutual encouragement. (I have written about 43things before and about the sister site of 43things, 43 places, as well.) To celebrate the second anniversary of the founding of the Robot COOP, which houses the creators of 43 things, some of the key people in the COOP have launched a new blog called the Mutual Improvement Blog. It looks really fascinating.

And if those don't slake your thirst for advice about how to achieve a better you, you can always peruse my older entries tagged "careers", "networking", and "productivity", or "work-family balance".

Enjoy! And please be sure to let me know what your next steps toward a better you will be, and whether any of the links I recommended were useful.

changing the world, and expanding academia along the way

The past graduates of the Ph.D. program in organizational behavior are certainly impressive. You may have read recently about the two projects on which I collaborated with current students, recent graduates, and colleagues, which were presented at the Academy of Management in Atlanta. Last fall, I wrote a little about working with recent graduate Ned Powley, who taught two sections of MGMT 250. (This fall he will be joining Leslie Sekerka and Frank Barrett, also graduates of our Ph.D. program, on the faculty at the Monterrey Naval Postgraduate School.) In May, I participated in the graduation ceremony for Latha Poonamallee, who will be "CEO" for the simulated companies in MGMT 250 this fall, and who is also teaching two SAGES First Seminars in the Case undergraduate program. She is also my collaborator in the founding of NEOBEAN. Our recent graduates are certainly poised to change the world through their teaching, writing, and activism.

So too are our current Ph.D. students. For example, one of our students, Bonnie Richley-Cody, has coauthored a very exciting book.

Continue reading "changing the world, and expanding academia along the way"

employers vs. women, or employers supporting working families?

Equal rights for women have come a long way in the United States, since the Declaration of Independence over 240 years ago. Even in the 86 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution, inequities between men and women have narrowed. No longer are women expected to quit their jobs when they marry, or when they become pregnant. Between 1960 and 1999, the percentage of of working mothers with infants had risen from 27 percent to almost 60 percent. And yet, huge inequities between mothers and other workers, and among women of different backgrounds still exist.

In an effort to draw attention to such inequities, last year WorldWIT initiated the Breastfeeding at Work Week, which highlights actions employers can take to level the playing field for mothers and others in the workforce, and encourage new mothers to continue breastfeeding their infants after they return to work. Since I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding, and for supporting working women in equitable ways, I am writing this blog entry as my first effort to honor Breastfeeding at Work Week for 2006.

Perhaps you have read about some of the challenges that mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding face, when they return to work. Recently, Jodi Kantor wrote in the New York Times about the differences between new mothers in white collar and working class jobs in terms of their access to support for pumping breastmilk at work. Kantor noted that "federal law offers no protection to mothers who express milk on the job", despite the efforts of Congressional Representative Carolyn Maloney, who has repeatedly introduced legislation which would create such a protection.

Why wouldn't Congress want to protect a woman's health after childbirth, and specify that new mothers who return to the workplace must be protected from harrassment? Read on for some historical background, and some predictions for the future.

Continue reading "employers vs. women, or employers supporting working families?"

food for thought

NB: This blog entry was redistributed with permission in the CoolCleveland eNewsletter, also available online.

Yesterday I attended Convocation, drawn by the promise of ritual and the prospect of hearing Michael Ruhlman, author of Case's Common Reading for this year, speak. He wrote The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection more than 5 years ago, and so I hoped that his speech would go beyond the book into more elaborated thinking about what it takes to become an expert in one's chosen field. He did not disappoint.

He addressed head-on a criticism he has probably heard many times about his writing on cooking: Isn't it frivolous to write about fancy food in a time when there is so much serious stuff happening in world politics? His answer started with this assertion:

"Great cooking, in the end, has such power because it allows us to connect with our past, our future, and all of humanity, if we let it. I believe that America's insatiable appetite for food and cooking know-how is really the beginning of a spiritual quest for the bigger things: a search for meaning, order and beauty in an apparently chaotic and alienating universe."

President Eastwood looked quite comfortable listening to Ruhlman's speech up until that point, but when Ruhlman made his next main point, suggesting that sharing what he learned about master chefs brought into relief how all of America has become a culture of mediocrity, the President started to look a little nervous...

Continue reading "food for thought"