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

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Redefining the work/ life balance"/ "Adapting to regulation: How to cope when the government changes the roles"

May 6, 2017 "Redefining the work/life balance": Today I found this article by Leah Eichler in the Globe and Mail:

When Ivanka Trump “opened up” about her views on work/life balance earlier this week, I rolled my eyes and said out loud to myself, “This again?”

My first column for the Globe and Mail, in 2011, tackled this issue and, even six years ago, I hoped the term would die.

Naturally, professionals should not always feel overworked, and finding time to enjoy life – by all accounts – remains a healthy and productive approach. However, the term tends to zero-in on high-profile, attractive, working women who must somehow simultaneously run a company, dress immaculately and find the time to puree their own baby food.

It ignores the experiences of men, who struggle with their evolving role at home and in the work force, as well as lower-wage earners who faced work/life balance issues for years before it became trendy.

In covering our evolving relationship with work, I’ve realized that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Six years later, we still talk about how to get more women into senior roles and how to keep them there. Remember “binders full of women,” the ill-constructed term uttered by then U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney? Well, women still only make up 5.8 per cent of the CEOs of S&P 500 companies.

Despite the overwhelming efforts to push women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, their opportunities are often tainted in professional and personal ways. Just this week, Facebooks’ female engineers claimed their code was rejected more often than code written by their male colleagues, which comes as no surprise.

This is all in steady contrast to a few years ago, where stories of The End of Men, proliferated. Tales of female breadwinners contrasted with anecdotes of stagnant or negative employment opportunities in traditionally male-dominated industries, leading to higher rates of mental-health issues and suicides. While that rhetoric has tapered off, it did move the conversation regarding women in the work force from an oppressed minority (well actually, a majority) to one where they remain expected to take their prospects into their own hands. Movements such as Lean In, spawned by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book, and female-centric work environments evolved from this.

It’s not only our views on gender that have come a long way in six years, but the office itself. Open offices offered the promise of greater mingling and collaboration among employees and, ideally, to break down hierarchies. While we’ve evolved from the bygone era of cubicles and closed doors, the success rate of this open-office concept remains uncertain.

Even the office chair no longer can be taken for granted, as employees and employers alike assess the impact of prolonged sitting on one’s health. Coinciding with the evolving physical workspace came the trend of on-demand labour, where the historic social contract between employee and employer dissolved into an era of everyone for himself or herself. This works well for some interim leaders looking for a temporary adventure, while others in the never-ending freelance world risk being overworked and underpaid, with little in terms of security.

Then, the robot apocalypse arrived. Those in the knowledge worker economy took solace that the robots first targeted blue-collar workers, with driverless cars one day to replace taxi drivers and truckers. We quickly learned that none of us remain immune, even journalists.
So what does the future of the work force look like?

For one, I could certainly be happy if I never again hear the term “cultural fit,” as if it were a panacea to all of a company’s problems. But I won’t hold my breath.

My best guess is that, as traditional jobs become replaced with contract work and fewer people work in actual offices, we can expect that titles will no longer have the same significance they once did.

With a dearth of jobs, we will need to learn to redefine ourselves in a world where our value no longer hangs exclusively on that title or even our salary.

In other words, we’ll need to determine who we really are.

My greatest hope is that we finally learn the value of happiness. No, that doesn’t mean that your employer remains ultimately responsible for your health and well-being – although I do see a trend in that direction. Rather, individual workers need to carve out what living and working really means in this new economy. Many of us would gladly swap a few thousand dollars in favour of more personal satisfaction. I hope that the personal well-being trend continues so that the 80-hour work week finally becomes a relic of the past, that working people, even those freelancing, remember to take their vacations, and learn to manage their mobile devices in healthier ways.

While I’ve always relied on data and research to formulate my columns, on a personal note I would advise anyone embarking on a career change, or struggling in their current situation, to be true to themselves and understand when it’s time to go. On that note, this will be my final column.

When I started, I worked in a corporate setting, then left to launch my own startup, and most recently, joined a family company. When you add my two children to the mix, I feel well-positioned to unleash a tirade on Ms. Trump’s remarks, given her position and privilege, but this time I’ll just end with a remark I’d offer to any of my close friends: Don’t sweat the small stuff.


Judith Pratt-Jefferies
27 minutes ago

For me the seedling of thought here is when the author zeroes in on the "need to determine who we really are" and "finally learn the value of happiness". Embracing change and not resisting it can be a potent push to finding a life true to oneself .

On-Line Reader
8 hours ago

Oh silly me.
Here I thought the column might be about 'work-life balance'.
Nope. It's about women. And how tough they have it (still).
No problem if you are male, of course.
I worked at several big-named consulting companies where you were told it was your responsibility to 'manage your work-life balance', which translated into, 'We're going to give you as much work as we can and it's up to you to figure out how to have a life outside of work, 'cause we've just told you it's not our responsibility'.
I eventually left these places because I was tired of working 50-60 hour weeks or coming home in the evening and catching up on the office e-mail before going to bed.
I came to the conclusion that if they mention 'work-life balance' in the interview, it means you will be expected to work a lot of unpaid overtime every week and it's up to you to squeeze some non-work life in between working hours.
But yeah, I guess women have it real tough.

"Adapting to regulation: How to cope when government changes the roles": Today I found this article by David Masson in the Globe and Mail:

David Masson is Canada country manager for Darktrace.

The modern business landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate. New innovations can reshape entire industries, markets rise and fall as consumers evolve and grow, and organizations can pivot business models at the drop of a hat. The corporate playing field is in constant flux. As a business leader, it can be challenging to weather the storm through times of change while maintaining a brave face. Organic shifts in the market are hard enough to navigate, but changes driven by law bring an even greater complexity.

In Canada, the impending enactment of The Digital Privacy Act (DPA/Bill S-4) will make several important amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The new requirements call for businesses to disclose any data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner or face the prospect of a hefty fine. Businesses need to adapt to this new legislation by using machine learning and AI solutions to better protect their networks, get ahead of the implementation date and stay within the confines of these new regulations.

The Digital Privacy Act is just one among many government-enforced changes on the horizon. Moving forward, how can we lead businesses through such rapid paradigm shifts?

Embrace change

While it can be daunting to undertake new ways of operating, it’s often for the better. In particular, legislative changes usually come into effect for good reasons. They protect the safety of not just customers and businesses, but all Canadians.

Instead of resisting changes to the status quo, businesses can save both time and money by working in step with new laws and regulations. With the DPA, for instance, non-compliance will result in fees and penalties. Instead of fighting these changes, business should change their workflows and update their processes as needed.

These changes may be just the catalyst they need to transform stale operating procedures and usher in new, innovative thinking. The more you stay on top of the evolving business landscape, the better your company will be at navigating periods of turbulence.

Educate your employees

Employees play the most important role in any organizational change; they’re the ones who will be implementing new rules on a day-to-day basis. One of the first steps a business should take during change is to ensure their employees have all the necessary resources and information.

They need to know how the new rules impact their work and what they need to do to make the change successful. Clear communication and educational sessions can equip your employees for impending legislation, answer any questions, and even bring people together as a team.

Find the right partners

It can be challenging for leaders to understand all the nuances of how legislative changes will impact their business. It’s imperative that leaders arm themselves with the right support from partners outside their organization. Legal counsel is the natural first step when seeking support, but you can also look for other experts.

Market and industry analysts, new technology partners and communication professionals can help ease the transition. The right partners can help you find the best solutions and communicate changes in the clearest way possible, both inside and outside your organization.

Don’t wait for change

Businesses need to act quickly when legislative changes are announced, not when they take effect. Companies could face fines, lawsuits, or even closure if they are found to be non-compliant.

Getting new procedures or systems in place well in advance helps ensure that organizations can finesse any delays, educate employees and train personnel on new roles and responsibilities. This promotes confidence in the new way of doing things, and most importantly, it guarantees businesses will not be caught on their heels when new legislation comes into effect.

Businesses can’t get around the law. They need to comply and find opportunities to create competitive advantage. It’s up to business leaders to guide organizations through these changes, find the right partners, and prepare their company to succeed.


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