Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Track your time, talent, and energy to succeed"/ job contract question

Mar. 13, 2017 "Track your time, talent and energy to succeed": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

For the past 50 years, executives have focused on using financial capital wisely, since it was the most precious resource a company had. But today, according to two Bain & Company consultants, that’s no longer true. Financial capital is abundant and cheap. And that’s likely to continue for at least two decades, due to demographics; notably more and more people shifting from the heavy-spending years when they have children to the savings decades that follow.

Instead, the consultants argue – after a study looking at the differences between top companies and less successful ones – three other resources demand attention: Time, talent and energy. Managing those well, instead of squandering them as we are inclined to do, is the key to success.

“Companies have rigorous methods developed for managing financial resources. Investments have to exceed predetermined hurdle rates [for what the return will be]. The investment is tracked. But time, talent and energy are not tracked with the same rigour,” Michael Mankins, who with fellow Bain partner Eric Garton wrote the book Time, Talent, Energy, says in an interview.

Time is the most obviously and frequently squandered, Mr. Mankins says in the interview. It’s scarce and critical. But we misuse it. He notes that Andy Grove, former chairman and chief executive officer of Intel, says we would never allow an employee to walk away with a piece of office equipment but they routinely walk off with their colleague’s time.

And the pressure expands exponentially, in an era of greater telecommunications, as we connect with more people who connect us to more people. Then there are meetings, which also seem to mushroom. “You need to invest time as carefully as money,” he insists.

Monday morning, look at the meetings in your calendar for the week and see how many you have set up that have too many people attending. Pare that down to the essential folks for the decisions being taken. His other quick tip: Eliminate “reply to all” on e-mail, either technically, by stripping it from computers, or through a cultural change you should model. Each reply to all tugs at people’s time.

More broadly, follow in the footsteps of Alan Mulally, who, when he became CEO of Ford, found that the top executives came to head office every month for a week of meetings. He told them he had no idea if that was needed but insisted they would add no more meetings unless they subtracted some. The consultants call that a fixed time budget: Establish one now, based on the existing meetings, and begin reducing.

Beyond that, organizational complexity is a drag on people’s time. Simplify. “If you think your work force is not as productive as it should be it’s not their fault. It’s your organization. You have practices and structures that are too complex and involve too many people. It’s an outcome of growth, and you must change it,” Mr. Mankins says.

The key with talent, their study found, was deployment. There was hardly any difference in the number of star players between the top companies, where those A players composed 16 per cent of staff, and the regular companies, where they were 14 per cent of staff. The difference was they were deployed in the best companies on strategically important tasks rather than evenly across the firm’s functions. The consultants urge you to be more thoughtful, assigning these “difference makers” to roles where they truly can make a difference, as Apple, Google, Tesla and other top companies do.

You also, obviously, want to improve your ability to find these A players and the best way to do that, the consultants found, is to have A players handle the hiring – not outside consultants and not B players, who may be challenged by the top talent they scout.

Finally, focus on increasing the discretionary energy that people bring to their work. Engaged employees are 75-per-cent more productive than satisfied employees. But even more significantly, inspired employees are 125-per-cent more productive than satisfied employees. So you don’t just want to engage employees; you want to inspire them.

And that will occur when their personal mission and ambition is aligned with the company’s mission and ambition. Toms Shoes has inspired employees because, for every pair they sell, the company gives a pair to somebody in need. You may not have such a gambit at hand but you can try to help employees see their personal link to corporate goals, give them more autonomy and manage humanely.

Time, talent and energy are the key to success, the consultants argue. Find out where your company falls short and then improve.

"I have tasks beyond the end of my contract. Should I keep working?": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


My six-month contract ends in one week. I have not been offered a renewal, yet my supervisor is talking about work duties beyond the expiration date as if my employment continues indefinitely. I reminded her recently of the end date. She replied that everyone will soon have a performance review “except for a few employees who are not eligible.” Should I just keep working for the same pay after the Friday deadline, with no benefits?


Chris Jones
Associate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, McLeod Law LLP

This appears to be a fixed-term employment contract rather than a contract for services as you would see between a company and an independent contractor or consultant. The distinction can be important as the rights of employees and independent contractors are different.

Most employment contracts are for an indefinite term and continue until one side terminates it. Unless an employer has just cause to terminate the contract, the employer will be required to provide advance working notice or pay in lieu of notice.

A fixed-term employment contract lasts for a specified amount of time. When the end point of the fixed term contract is reached, employment is automatically terminated without either the employer or the employee needing to do anything further.

The short answer is that you are not obligated to work after the expiration date. However, it may be in your best interest to continue working. If the employment relationship continues past the expiration date, and there is no agreement on a “new” expiration date, the courts have consistently held that the relationship ceases to be for a fixed term and, instead, continues under an employment contract for an indefinite term. That will be the case whether there is an offer of renewal or not.

Keep in mind that the parties can always agree to change the terms of an employment relationship. It sounds as if your supervisor wants to keep you on as an employee. The upcoming expiration date of the contract could be used as an opportunity to renegotiate employment terms.


Bruce Sandy
Principal, Pathfinder Coaching and Consulting, Vancouver

Your supervisor is obviously satisfied with your work and wants to keep you in your position. Does your supervisor know that you may not be satisfied with your current compensation and lack of benefits?

Get clear on what you want and how you want to be viewed. Regardless of whether you stay or go, you want to get a positive reference and maintain a positive relationship with this client organization.

You have an implied and continuing contract until either your employer or you choose to end it. If you want to continue to work with this client organization, do not end your contract abruptly unless another client organizaton wants to hire you right away. If this is the case, then you need to let your current employer know.

If you want either increased compensation or full-time employment status, then continue to work, set up a meeting with your supervisor and indicate that you would like to continue under contract with increased compensation, or as an employee with appropriate compensation and benefits.

"Terry O' Reilly knows marketing"/ complex change

Mar. 1, 2017 "Terry O'Reilly knows marketing": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail.  It's about marketing and I'm not really interested in that.  However, I did like it:

The host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence shares anecdotes and lessons covering the basics in a new book

This I Know By Terry O’Reilly Knopf Canada, 283 pages, $34

Terry O’Reilly, host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence, knows marketing from long years in the trenches, first with ad agencies, then as co-founder of Pirate Radio and Television.
His book, This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence, opens with 14 sturdy, anecdote-infused chapters covering the basics of marketing – from strategy to storytelling to nudging – in an engaging, memorable way.

His final chapter, a punchy series of “This I Know” statements, crystallizes those ideas and shares his most compelling beliefs.

This, then, is some of what Terry O’Reilly knows: Don’t whisper a dozen things, say one thing loudly: Effective marketing messages are single minded. “If a commercial idea can’t be summed up in one line, it’s not ready to be a commercial yet,” he writes.

And while he can be critical of ad agencies, here he lays the blame on clients, who overrule their agency experts, wanting “to stuff ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag.”

Agencies must display more backbone, insisting on single-minded messaging. Small brands need a big personality: A small company can’t compete with a larger company’s budget so it must take to a different battlefield, breaking through the clutter with a gutsy, vibrant
approach that develops a distinctive personality.

Radio is still powerful: It has endured the growth of movies, television, VCRs, the Internet and social media. People listen to radio alone, intent – a human voice whispering in their ear. That’s why, if you listen to his show, you consider him a reliable friend.

Humour is the WD-40 of advertising: Since advertising is an interruption, you need humour to open the sticky door. It makes the intrusion polite and entertaining, giving listeners a smile in return for spending the time listening. It also shows your company doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Creativity is an amplifier: Effective advertising should be interesting, provocative and surprising rather than blunt, boring and rude. It must evoke emotion, not just drown the audience in facts. “Creativity gets attention. Creativity amplifies the message,” he declares. But it’s not all that common. Watching TV between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., you might see 70 commercials, with perhaps two that are good. That’s a lousy batting average, he says, and the reason ad blockers are becoming common.

The advertising industry needs way more female creative directors: Women control 80 per cent of consumer spending, yet only 3 per cent of creative directors in North America are female. “If the golden marketing rule is know thy audience, why aren’t women in the driver’s seat at agencies? It makes no sense to me. It has got to change,” he says.

People over 45 have the most money and buy the most products: The advertising industry is infatuated with the 18- to 34year-old demographic. But boomers spend more in almost every category and, contrary to popular belief, will change brands if you make a good case.

Advertising is an art: Marketing directors would prefer if marketing were scientific – if there was some formula and predictable results. But persuasion is an art. “Yes, there is a place for data and research and algorithms, but it still comes down to a blank page and an idea,” he says.

Marketing rules are meant to be broken: When Dennis Hopper arrived on the set of Apocalypse Now, he told Francis Ford Coppola he intended to ad lib his lines. The legendary director replied, “You can’t change your lines until you know your lines.” The same holds true in marketing. Know the rules and then pick the right time to break them so you can grab attention and fulfill your mandate.

Amateurs think marketing is all about selling, but pros know
it’s about differentiation: You won’t sell if you haven’t distinguished yourself from competitors.

Marketing is a glorious puzzle: “It has a lot of pieces, but putting the big picture together has kept me happy and engaged for over 30 years,” he says.

And the book will keep you happy and engaged as you grapple with that marketing puzzle.

"Five ways leaders can engage their team during complex change": Today I found this article by Caroline Brereton in the Globe and Mail:

Thanks to erratic economies, digital disruption, demographic shifts and other forces, change and its challenges can blindside leaders every day.

Health care leaders are in the midst of mergers or other complex changes to support Canada’s aging population, which is expected to increase from almost six million seniors today to more than 10 million in 20 years.

Fallout from these or comparable changes in other sectors threaten a leader’s success, status or legacy.

How does a leader mitigate risks and adeptly steer their team through change? The answer lies in focusing on people. Engage your team, partners, clients and other stakeholders to foster dynamic dialogue and co-creation.

According to Dr. John Kotter, author and leadership professor emeritus, Harvard Business School, “70 per cent of all organizational change efforts fail, and one reason for this is executives simply don’t get enough buy-in from enough people for their initiatives and ideas.”

We may not have all the answers but when we engage, we bring stakeholders’ questions, concerns and fears to the surface. As leaders, we need to listen to our stakeholders’ authentic feedback, reframe it, help them understand our perspective on issues and explain how we plan to address them.

Without engaging, the vacuum fills with rumours that can rapidly spread through social networks and outspoken activists. We undo our team’s good work, if we fail to engage.

Here are five proven ways leaders in multiple sectors can engage people during change:

1. Start internally to set a shared vision

A leader must consider each team’s priorities and the culture they need to manage through the change.

Start by interconnecting your teams with common goals, shared quality indicators and a united vision. Regularly measure employee engagement, based on values, such as recognition, trust, communication and empowerment.

Health care has unique challenges. Today’s patient care teams need to know how the change will impact the value of their work. To retain them, you must engage them with energizing work and the ability to co-develop a better way to deliver care.

You need to mesh as a team before you can integrate with others. The more cohesive you are, the more you can engage the strengths of each other and effectively realize your organization’s new vision.

2. Involve frontline employees and others to shape change

Attain input from key employees, partners, vendors and others on the frontline.
Understand what each of those stakeholders does to deliver your mission, not for your organization’s benefit but for the people you serve. Provide transparent communication and timely feedback opportunities that enable them to shape how and when processes change.

Coordinate changes through carefully prioritizing and sequencing work that respects interdependencies. Consider how each change affects people and seek solutions to maintain continuity.

3. Consult clients with a solutions-focus

Engage clients, customers or patients through a structured, solutions-focused approach.
Whether it’s a focus group, an advisory forum or exhaustive site visits, like Cargill’s “learning journeys,” define a clear scope and guiding principles to facilitate the process. Engage this group in a way that uncovers valuable insights about what really matters to them.

Cancer Care Ontario developed a Patient and Family Advisory Council that our community care access centre (CCAC) modeled for its Share Care Council, with a mandate to provide input on programs or services. Feedback from our council informed a new approach to help patients transition from hospital to home, which reduced their readmission rate by 52 per cent.

4. Engage those with the highest stakes

Meet with those people most affected by change, such as employees, who will be re-located, or frail patients with new care providers.

Take a long-term view on how the change will impact their lives and what supports they need, even beyond your strategic plan’s timeline. Thoughtfully interact with them in-person, explain your limitations and collaborate with them on long-term solutions.

In its Authentic Advocacy report, the Arthur W. Page Society recommends enterprises move beyond transactional stakeholder activities to “long-term agreements based on shared belief and commitments, marked by true listening.”

5. Probe for tough feedback and follow through

Encourage feedback through broad-reaching formal tactics, such as surveys or an ombudsperson, even if it’s hard to hear.

Use those tactics to ask questions or create opportunities to hear assumptions behind concerns. We can’t assume all input is based on the best or most up-to-date information. Taking this important step can lead to critical clarity. It may also prompt dialogue that leads to better solutions.

Explain what is feasible, response plans and timelines; then, follow through.

Engaging is not difficult but it takes time for a leader to put people at the centre of change. That time is invaluable because in the end, it’s those stakeholders’ commitments that make a change successful.

Caroline Brereton is chief executive officer of the Mississauga Halton Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), as well as vice chair, Ontario Association of CCACs Board of Directors. She blogs at CarolineBreretonONCare.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Tracking down our root of our self-tracking obsession"

Feb. 27, 2017 "Tracking down the root of our self-tracking obsession": Today I found this article by Adriana Barton in the Globe and Mail.  I like the picture:

In the seven years since Fitbit launched its first shipment of ‘wearables,’ has collecting data on ourselves made us healthier, thinner and happier? The jury is still out, but we seem unable to resist technology’s promise to give us more knowledge and power – even if it leaves us trapped in an endless feedback loop.

Everyone has heard of the methodical types who lose weight and get fit after tracking their heart rate, calories and daily steps for a year.

Then there are the rest of us. We may pace our kitchens at night, trying to reach our quota of 10,000 steps. Or feel guilty when we hear phantom beeps from the Garmin wristband we left in a drawer after falling behind on our jogging because of the flu. Or, if we’re dedicated Fitbit users, we may get separation anxiety when we forget our gadget at home, because a walk that goes unmeasured just doesn’t count.

Love it or hate it, self-tracking has become a fixture in modern life. One in three people track their health and fitness using an app or device, according to a 2016 survey of 20,000 people in 16 countries, conducted by the international market research organization GfK. Digital-health industry leaders such as Daniel Kraft, a Harvard-trained physician and medical-device inventor, predict that in the future, “track-a-holism” will be the norm.

Digital taskmasters have already infiltrated every aspect of life. Now we have the Muse “meditation trainer” (a brainwave-monitoring headband) and the Lumo Lift posture-correction device (which zaps you when you slouch). Then there’s the Feel emotion-tracking wristband, which monitors things such as skin temperature and blood-volume pulse to gauge whether you’re happy, angry or sad.

The goal, the manufacturer says, is to “help you achieve your emotional well-being goals.” (No joke.) Self-tracking holds a certain navel-gazing appeal, combined with the tantalizing prospect of self-improvement. But in the seven years since Fitbit launched its first shipment of “wearables,” has collecting data on ourselves made us healthier, thinner, happier?

The jury is still out. One study, published last fall in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that overweight adults who used a fitness tracker for six months lost less weight than their equally active, overweight peers. (Some people may reward themselves with extra food when the fitness tracker shows they have exercised a lot, while others may get discouraged and stop watching what they eat when the tracker shows they have failed to meet their exercise goals, the researchers suggested.)

Others studies show improvements in health behaviours linked to self-tracking. In a 2015 report, marketing researchers Rikke Duus and Mike Cooray surveyed 200 women who wore Fitbits almost constantly. The majority said they had increased their weekly exercise and switched to healthier eating habits. But there was a dark side. Nearly 60 per cent of the women felt their daily routines were controlled by Fitbit, and 30 per cent described the device as a guilt-inducing “enemy.”

Even so, knowledge is power, right? The public scales for measuring one’s weight that once dotted the streets of European cities were built on the same premise. Some of these relics still stand in Paris, inscribed with a motto that translates as, “He who often weighs himself, knows himself well. He who knows himself well, lives well.”

My opinion: I'm going to put that in my inspirational quotes.

One could argue that the invention of the modern weighing scale has only made us more miserable. Nevertheless, if the latest tracking trend is any indication, we cannot resist technology’s promise to give us more knowledge – and with it, more power – even if it leaves us trapped in an endless feedback loop.

What’s at the root of our self-tracking obsession? The Globe and Mail asked specialists in fields ranging from medicine to anthropology to weigh in.

The anthropologist

The urge to monitor the minutiae of our lives dates to the ancient Greeks, who believed in taking daily inventory of activities such as eating, exercise and social interactions, says Natasha Dow Schull, a cultural anthropologist at New York University and author of a forthcoming book called Keeping Track: Personal Informatics, Self-Regulation, and the Data-Driven Life.

What’s changed, she says, is that self-tracking devices can now intervene in our behaviour in the moment.

Once in the realm of geekdom, apps that break down our activities into “really granular digital bits” have saturated Western societies for a reason, she says. “This hyper attention to the self goes along with the retreat of the welfare state, and an increasing emphasis on personal autonomy and self-management through consumer choice-making.”

Through these apps, she argues, people are not only seeking to fulfill this ideal of personal responsibility, but also seeking relief from it. “These devices take the guesswork out of everyday life, they count the steps for you.”

Early versions of wearables such as Fitbit served as compasses, providing data for users to chart, annotate and evaluate over time. But when manufacturers realized that most people didn’t want to interact with their data to that degree, the interfaces became more like “thermostats” that “buzz, tap or zap users into changing their habits,” she says.

Why do we subject ourselves to such treatment? Dow Schull describes self-tracking technologies as “little shields” that help us navigate through the “big toxic mall of choices” that we face every day.

Whether we are trying to manage our weight, hydration or hours of sleep, at another level, she says, “it’s about managing our anxiety.”

The medical doctor

Just like yoga pants and wheat-grass smoothies, wearable gizmos that monitor our vital signs are forms of health “bling,” writes Des Spence, a family physician in Glasgow, Scotland, and a former columnist for the BMJ medical journal.

Now that health and fitness have become status symbols, he says in an interview, “there’s a lot of money to be made from making people feel sick – and, if not sick, then less than perfect.”

For most of us, devices and apps that measure things such as pulse, blood pressure and fetal heart rate in pregnancy are “kind of useless and largely harmless,” he says.

But these pseudo-diagnostic devices may trigger anxiety in people who put too much stock in the data – which may be unreliable, he adds. Fitbit, for example, is currently enmeshed in a class-action lawsuit over the accuracy of its heart-rate tracking.

More broadly, self-tracking devices reinforce the idea that “there’s a right way and a wrong way to live life,” he says. “It’s become increasingly binary.”

At best, he says, they are a distraction from the simple things that people can do to improve their well-being. Spence suggests swimming with a friend, sharing a home-cooked meal with family or walking the dog (without charting the distance or speed). Instead of wasting our time monitoring life, he says, “we should get on with living it.”

The psychologist

The rise of fitness and calorie-tracking devices reflects a fundamental distrust in our own bodies, according to Alexis Conason, a psychologist in New York who treats patients struggling with compulsive eating and poor body image.

The human body evolved with a “very effective appetite regulation and weight-maintenance system,” she says. But these devices encourage us to value data from technology over our internal cues about hunger, satiety and physical activity. “When we undermine our own system for regulating our appetite, it becomes less and less clear over time to even hear what our own body is telling us.”

You might be craving a fresh salad, for example, but if your calorie-counting app says you have 600 calories left for the day, you could end up gorging on rich food “just because you have that extra calorie allotment.”

Data-driven weight loss may come at a price. If someone sheds pounds by self-tracking but develops disordered eating along the way, she asks, “is that a success story?”

The futurist

In the age of information overload, self-tracking apps have emerged as tools for self-reflection, according to John Havens, a contributing writer for and author of Hacking H(app)iness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World.

Even as our news feeds alert us to the F-bomb dropped in Parliament, or a friend’s taco lunch, many of us are using habit-monitoring systems and mood-tracking apps to cut through the chatter and pay closer attention to whether our daily activities serve our inner values, he says.

While these apps are often embedded in our phones, wearable devices act as physical reminders of our goals, says Havens, who wore a Fitbit three years ago to help himself lose 30 pounds.

For many, he adds, investing in self-tracking is a sign of self-esteem, a way of saying, “I am worth tracking.”

Havens acknowledges that some people get obsessed with self-tracking apps, but as he points out, we can obsess over anything. He recommends tracking an aspect of life for a predetermined period and then taking a break.

“It’s when you reflect on it that the data, and the possibility of change, can really sink in.”

The sociologist

The self-tracking trend stems from the digital-age assumption that everything – including emotions – can be rendered as data, and that “data about individuals are emblematic of their true selves,” Australian sociologist Deborah Lupton writes in a 2014 paper titled You are Your Data: Self-tracking Practices and Concepts of Data.

But in practice, self-tracking may have less to do with our “true selves” than the Oprah aspiration to be our “best self.” Despite the veneer of objectivity, numerical data are open to interpretation – by ourselves, our online workout buddies, and the commercial enterprises that collect our stats.

Quoting Australian sociologist Jenny Davis, Lupton notes that self-trackers don’t just collect data to learn about themselves, but also use data to “construct the stories that they tell themselves about themselves.”

Paradoxically, however, our quest for greater self-control through Fitbit or Apple Watch results in a lack of control over our personal data when we log onto the manufacturers’ online platforms. Unlike a paper-based food diary, cloud computing archives of information are open to software developers or hackers to use for their own purposes, Lupton writes in an e-mail.

Through digital technologies, “we can learn a lot about ourselves,” she says, “but so can other people.”

My opinion: This is a meaningful job article, because I mentioned before about creating a health app.

My week:

Mar. 10, 2017 "Police say sex assault by driver was predatory": Today I found this article by Bill Kaufman in the Edmonton Journal.  You should all call a registered cab instead of a ride-share:

City police are seeking a man posing as a ride-share driver who sexually assaulted a female passenger.

On early Sunday morning, a minivan pulled up to a group of people outside a restaurant in the 300 block of 11th Ave. S.W., the driver asking if anyone needed a lift.
The driver said he was with a ride-sharing company and a 25-year-old woman among the group said she’d earlier contacted one of them to take her home.

“The man falsely identified himself as a driver for a ride share company … We have no information to suggest this was a legitimate ride-sharing company,” said Insp. Mike Bossley.
After the man had driven the passenger to her home following a 25-minute ride, he insisted on walking the woman to her door.

As he did so, he uttered lewd comments and touched the woman inappropriately a number of times.
After touching her, the man left and the woman called police.
“This was a (predatory) act by an individual who thought he could take advantage of the situation,” said Bossley, adding it’s hard to say if the incident was a premeditated act.
Police have no reason to believe the driver was privy to pick-up information held by a genuine ride-share firm, said Bossley.

Police say a ride-sharing company had been called by a woman to the 11th Avenue S.W. address but the fare wasn’t there when they arrived.
It’s the first time such an incident has occurred in Calgary, said Bossley, who wouldn’t give the name of the ride-sharing company the suspect claimed to be representing.
The suspect is described as a lighter skinned, clean cut man, in his early 30s with a medium build and about 5-ft., 10-in. tall with dark eyes.

He was wearing a black baseball cap and had a distinct accent, and drove a navy blue 2008-2010 Dodge Caravan with cloth seats.
There are ways for customers to stay safe when using ride-sharing services, which provide apps with images and names of drivers, licence plates and vehicles, said the inspector.
“You can actually track a vehicle coming to you,” said Bossley. “There are safety factors built into these apps, so people should use them.”
Legitimate vehicles also carry an identifying sticker, he added.
There are six licensed ride share providers in Calgary employing 1,300 drivers, according to the city.

Mar. 14, 2017 Business trends:

Sports trends: Does anyone remember Tae bo?  I learned it in gr. 9 gym class.

"Tae Bo is a total body fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques such as kicks and punches, which became quite popular in the 1990s. It was developed by American Taekwondo practitioner Billy Blanks[1] and was one of the first "cardio-boxing" programs to enjoy commercial success.[citation needed] Such programs use the motions of martial arts at a rapid pace designed to promote fitness.[2]

It was a trend, and it ended.  There are gyms out there that probably had tae bo and they replaced it with other fitness classes.

Yoga: It could have been a trend that came out in the early 2000s.  However, it is still here.  There are studios that only teach yoga.

Indoor games: There is laser tag.  Paintball can be played indoors and outdoors.

I was thinking about those breakout games.  Is that going to last?

Job search complaints: I'm going to write about some negative things so I forewarn you about it.  I need to write about it to deal with it:

Gig economy: I have mentioned this before, about how I didn't like it because of the lack of job security and hours.  I was reading in the Globe and Mail about how it is also about how it is harder to save money and budget if you don't know when your next job is coming.

I know there are some jobs out there where there is really no job security like being an actor and the entertainment industry.

Lucky magazine: I was reading in the Globe and Mail about this magazine closed down.  I never really read it, but I am interested in teen magazines and the publishing industry.  There isn't a lot of job security in magazines and publishing because of the internet.

Passion does not equal success: I'm sure you guys know this.  Some people have passion and can succeed, and some don't.  I wrote a little about J, this guy at the bus stop before.

Mechanic: He was a mechanic for 8 yrs.  As a kid since he was 8 yrs old, he helped fixed his dad's old beat up cars.  J went to Canadian Tire and he got a car manual for $6 and learned how to fix cars.

He told me in Jan. and Feb., it's not busy at the mechanic shop.  He works full-time.  He only gets paid when there is a car that needs to be fixed.  If there is no car, he doesn't get paid for the 1 hr sitting there.  He has to be there all day.

He followed his talent and interest, and worked at it for years.  He made money.

Personal trainer: He became a personal trainer by attending NAIT.  He became one because he was interested in health and fitness. 

This was in 2005.  He worked as one for like $7/hr which was min. wage.  He also worked at warehouse and at American Eagle at Kingsway.  American Eagle didn't pay commission.  He was a personal trainer for a year.

He followed his interest in health and fitness by being a personal trainer, and he worked for a year.  He made money.

My opinion: Some of you may see it as a little sad that he followed his dream and goal, and it didn't work out very well.  Or some of you may see it as: "At least he followed his dream and goal, and made some money out of it."

Also, these careers are conventional.  It's not like he went into the entertainment or arts industry and tried to become a actor.  After like 10 yrs of auditioning, and he only made some money with a few commercials.  The entertainment industry doesn't have job security.

Business news: I read the Edmonton Journal and Globe and Mail business section of the newspaper 6 days a week.  It's like I have to know about the business and careers because it does have an effect on my life.

I have to know, but I really want to know.  I like to know how to improve my resume and be more productive.

Job interview results:

Job interview #2: It's been a week and I know I didn't get hired there.  I saw they put up a job ad after I did the interview.  That's fine.

Job interview #3: He said he would call me on this date if I was to get hired.  He didn't call.   That's fine.

Music: I'm sure some of you guys are like: "Can you write about something fun?"

Robin Thicke: I am looking him up, and he has some new music.  However, he isn't releasing any new cds out.

Drake: I like his song "Fake Love."  I decided to watch his new video.  It was like 9 min. long.  It was kind of interesting, because I didn't know how it was going to go.

First it has Drake washing his hands in the washroom and realizing his phone is on the table.  His girlfriend is looking through his texts. 

That's some drama, conflict, and tension right there.  That is the writer in me saying that.

Drake gets to the table and Tyra Banks is there.  She confronts him on his cheating at the restaurant.  It was some good acting on her part.

If this were to happen at my restaurant, I would feel like I should go to them and tell them to be quiet.  Or maybe, they will yell and one of them will leave.

Cut to the next scene, it's at a locker room in a strip club.

Then we have Drake and then his song is then playing.

My opinion: I like the restaurant scene, and the song.  However, I feel like there should be more of the song than the scenes without the music.

Bruno Mars: I like his song "That's What I Like."  The video is of him dancing in a white background.  There is animation behind him.

Mar. 15, 2017 "Good Samaritan jumps in and buys plane ticket for desperate young family": I found this on Yahoo:

A woman at a U.S. airport demonstrated the true meaning of compassion when she forked over more than $1,000 to help out a stranger in need.

According to a March 8th post on the Facebook page Love What Matters, a man tried to check in for his flight, only to realize his young daughter needed a ticket, too. The problem, it seems, was that he had booked the flight back in January when the girl was under the age of one and allowed to fly for free.

When the man informed the airline clerk that his daughter had just turned two-years-old, he was told he would have to purchase a ticket at an inflated price of US $749 (CA $1,009). Though he explained it was a misunderstanding, the airline would not budge.
“He was hit with emotion,” reads the post. “He mentioned he couldn’t afford to rebook this flight or get her the ticket with such short notice. He stepped aside and tried to make a few calls. Hugging his daughter and grabbing his head, you could tell he was heartbroken.”

A woman who had been standing nearby asked the man what was wrong. The pair chatted very briefly before they approached the counter together, where the woman announced she wanted to purchase the little girl’s ticket. The clerk reminded her of the inflated price, but the woman was undeterred and pulled out a credit card. According to the post, even though the man offered to pay her back, the woman insisted, “Don’t worry about it.”

Though it appears the Good Samaritan wished to remain anonymous, the internet demands that good deeds be properly recognized. As such, the woman has since been outed as Debbie Bolton, co-founder and Global Chief Sales Officer of Norwex, which is an international cleaning supplies brand. According to The Sun, Bolton was catching a flight home from Omaha, Nebraska, when the incident occurred.

One of Bolton’s co-workers, Susan Holt, told MailOnline that “Debbie as an amazing woman” who “wouldn’t have intended for this to be public.”
Be that as it may, Bolton’s act of kindness is now undeniably public. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Facebook post has been liked more than 198,000 times by people around the world.

RICHARD 9 hours ago
Debbie you are a woman with a great heart! You will not be forgotten &; will in time be aptly rewarded. In spite of the world today you have renewed my faith in humanity...perhaps there is still hope.


      jadzia200 9 hours ago
I think yahoo needs to proofread their articles before posting. The article reads that the father bought the ticket in January when his daughter was just under one and now she just turned 2? Does that mean he bought the ticket over a year ago? Also, I'm amazed at the woman for her generosity and we all hope that there are more people like her, however, it was the airlines fault as they ask at the time of booking how old your child is now, not how old it will be at the time of the flight. The airline biotch should have been more forgiving and let them pass.     

My opinion: Debbie is a very nice woman.  The man should have asked to talk to the manager to lower the price.

Mar. 17, 2017: I went to work on Wed. and then I was tired.  I then checked my email and I was invited to an interview.  I called and they said to call back tomorrow ask for this woman.  I then called and scheduled an interview. 

I then got an email today that something happened at the place and there weren't any interviews yesterday.  I thought: "Good, so I saved time by not having an interview scheduled for that day."

Mar. 20, 2017: I want to say, I'm going to stop putting job search complaints in my weekly email and put it in 1 big email. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Be a rebel, but don't be a troublemaker"/ The Ladder: Pam August

Feb. 20, 2017 "Be a rebel, but don't be a troublemaker": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Carmen Medina spent 32 years at the CIA as an analyst and self-described organizational heretic. Speaking after retirement to a Providence, R.I., audience, her reference to being an organizational heretic stirred local leadership consultant Lois Kelly to share concerns about the many other rebels at work whose intentions are good but who have nobody helping them.

As the duo started working together, friends warned Ms. Kelly she could sabotage her career, since clients wouldn’t like someone helping rebels. But they have persisted, convinced that workplaces are losing out by shutting down the rebels in their midst.

They distinguish between troublemakers and rebels. Troublemakers complain about problems. Rebels create possibilities. Troublemakers are me-focused while rebels are missionfocused. Troublemakers are pessimists, rebels inherently optimistic. Troublemakers sap energy and alienate others, thus work alone. Rebels create energy and attract others.

Asked in an interview about the rebel who won the presidency of the United States, they counter that the campaign record suggested he is a troublemaker. Through that period he was egotistical, a loner, cynical, great at complaining but weak on presenting solutions – failing to present a picture of what he wanted to achieve. Those are troublemaker traits, quite different from the way rebels act, although the duo suggests time may show different character attributes.

Ms. Medina had many years where she flailed away, ineffectively, at the CIA, before reconfiguring her approach. In the interview and their book Rebels at Work ( about-the-book), the duo highlight the mistakes rebels need to stop making, including:

Not prioritizing ideas: Rebels often have lots of ideas so they must discipline themselves to only raise one or two a year, focusing and building support. “Don’t say everything that comes to your mind. It’s so simple, but I certainly missed it at the CIA,” Ms. Medina says in the interview.

On their website, they share questions to determine if something is worth your effort: How much value would this idea provide, does it support the organization’s goals, do I believe it’s possible, will other people support it and how much do I want to do it? Your answers should be classified as low, medium or high value.

Going solo: If there’s no support, it’s just one person’s idea and won’t get very far. To some extent that weeds out people fuelled by ego. They have to figure out how to make “my idea” into something shared by others. “Ideas always become better when people collaborate,” Ms. Kelly says.

She also notes that Gallup research shows the value of having a friend at work. Going it alone will just burn rebels out. They need friends.

Failing the pitch meeting: Ms. Medina says she repeatedly got too fired up for meetings where she was intending to pitch her ideas and so wasn’t effective. First, you will win the pitch meeting if you don’t view it as the mighty moment but have already worked to sell your idea. Second, be brief at the session. Don’t view it as selling, but as getting feedback. If you have an hour, speak for 15 minutes (attendees already should have been exposed to the idea) and use the rest of the time to discuss it, getting them engaged. “That’s the final step of buy-in. You’re making the idea everyone’s idea,” Ms. Kelly says.

Not being skilled at handling difficult conversations so you raise the manager’s anxiety:

Don’t view conversations as something you have to win. Indeed, don’t view them as combat. Ms. Kelly will often defuse situations by asking others, “How important is this to you?” Often people get tangled up in conflict when the issue is marginal to them and when they realize that, hostility dissolves. Be alert to the narcissism of small differences, which can be illustrated in political groups where people who essentially think alike go to war with each other over minor stuff.

Ignoring personal danger signs: Being a rebel is tough on the soul. There can be ecstatic moments, but more often, there’s a feeling of rejection. Take care of yourself. “People are surprised at how important this is,” Ms. Medina says. Every night, write down three things that went well.

Occasionally write a letter of self-compassion, remembering a difficult time, acknowledging your feelings or thoughts and mentoring yourself with some compassionate advice or encouragement.

Also, they stress not “making a Himalayan out of a mountain” – the obstacles you face can be great, not molehills, but still keep your perspective. Organizations need rebels, they believe. Smart rebels. Rebels who don’t make those mistakes.

The Ladder: Pam August:

Pam August is director of culture activation for Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd.

I’ve had a very eclectic and very non-linear career path. After graduating from high school in the eighties, I worked as a corporate secretary at Scotiabank, left to travel and returned to waitress at the Foothills hospital [in Calgary]. I also taught aerobics with leg warmers and big hair.

The turning point in my career was when the director of food services tapped me on the shoulder, and said: “Pam, I know you have secretarial skills; can you come help me?” So I literally went to the office in my waitressing uniform.

There I discovered a love of nutrition and went on to graduate with a nutritional technology diploma from SAIT [Southern Alberta Institute of Technology]. That led to a career in corporate wellness in marketing and sales, and teaching fitness and lifestyle education.

My food and nutrition mentor hired me back to teach in the SAIT Health Sciences faculty, but then I moved to Faculty Development to teach teachers how to teach. I realized I loved learning about learning. I had young children so I worked part-time.

It’s important to remember none of these jobs paid very well, at least not at the start. I could have have made more money in the corporate world. But I followed what I loved to do.

Start with your strengths. I was told, “you would a great lawyer,” “you would be a great HR manager.” But none of them was me.

I had applied to WestJet in learning and development but heard nothing back. Later, I was teaching instructional techniques and there were some WestJet trainers in the class. They encouraged me to come to WestJet. I arranged an information interview and was hired later as an adviser in leadership development.

I learned how to coach other leaders because it was the same as teaching faculty how to teach.

One of the most influential authors for me is Brené Brown who writes on vulnerability. Some people roll their eyes initially, but she’s real and her research has substance. The leaders that I have worked with who have been the most successful are those who are most real. They share personal stories about what matters to them and this connects people to them.

I continued my education online while working and earned a B.Ed. in adult education from the University of Alberta. Now I’m working on my master’s degree in leadership at Royal Roads University. I’m a life-long learner. I’m a brain-gym instructor, a yoga teacher and a mindfulness practitioner.

To be successful you have to be able to form strong relationships. Every organization says that – at WestJet it’s a deal-breaker. Be curious.

My biggest on-the-job challenge came last year, as I was just about to join 500 WestJetters at an event in Toronto. I got a call that my mother suddenly passed away. The way my organization took care of me solidified that WestJet is an organization that truly cares.

My leader asked me to imagine the culture of WestJet in five years. I took a year to imagine my current role. I’m responsible for leading our culture road map for the next five years.

If your organization is just chasing numbers, you will never build the type of passion and commitment that you are looking for.

Culture is our strength. I’m trying to support a culture of care and of an owner’s mindset, where people take personal ownership. It is a place of high personal spirit where we come from a positive outlook. We have a high sense of control and go above and beyond.

We keep it real through key practices. For instance, we don’t do automatic deposit for profit share. We print and run cheques so leaders can look their people in the eye and say “thank you.”

As we grow, we are designing key connections so people feel like they are part of something. We are rolling out a program called Base Camp; we’re sending leaders out into our operation. Most WestJetters don’t work in an office.

Own the moment. What we have control over is the experience in the moment. That’s how we want to distinguish ourselves. We all have the opportunity to own the moment while working in a challenging industry.

As told to Janice Paskey. The interview has been edited and condensed for length.


3 days ago

What I'm about to say is not a reflection on the author of this piece. I don't know her, have never interacted with her. There are some wonderful, authentic people in the work force who form strong (and healthy) relationships the right way, for the right reasons. She might indeed be one of those people.

But, generally speaking, I also know the following: An individual with a lot of psychopathic personality traits will form 'strong relationships' alright (in the workplace as well as in other realms of life). In other words, he/she will surround himself/herself with a cultivated posse of shills. The purpose of the shills, of course, is to help disguise the true nature of the psychopathic individual. As well, the shills gullibly do a lot of the dirty work at the behest of the psychopath. 

Strong relationships are a beautiful thing - unless they are based on gullibility, covert abuse and naivete.

Burnt Norton
4 days ago

WestJet is the airline that promised my family to reimburse us for winter clothing we had to buy when our flight was diverted to a city in the Prairies and reneged on the promise. That was in 2012. Numerous letters to WestJet HQ in Calgary have resulted in nothing, nada, zilch.

That's what you call "forming strong relationships"?
The only silver lining in this story is that our family's boycott of WestJet over the $200.00 owed has cost the airline thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

3 days ago

Congrats on a great article Pam....and a great life path......inspiring....and yes I can confirm the big hair phase.... all the best
Paul Poscente