bdharr3's blog

Brad's Blurb

This month I thought I would pass on a TED Talk: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?  The talk is by Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.  Ariely puts forth a case that people are motivated at work for a variety of complex reasons.  He says, “When we think of labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it:  meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc.” Check out the 20 minute video that provides some interesting implications for what makes us feel good about our work. 

 https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work?referrer=playlist-dan_pink_my_5_favorite_talks#t-8800

Regards, Brad

Brad's Blurb

When March arrives, many of us automatically think of St. Patrick’s Day and the coming of spring…NOT!  We think of March as above all other things, a time for brackets, bravado, and bragging.  March Madness runs from mid-March until the end of April.  Some economists contend that this annual event costs American companies and organizations almost 2 billion a year paid to unproductive workers spending time on betting pool priorities.  In addition, the amount of money wagered has routinely exceeded the 2 billion mark.  Yet each year we are certain that this is our time to select the perfect bracket.  With over 70 million+ basketball brackets filled out, each one has a 9.2 quintillion chance of predicting the correct winners of every game.  Good luck and let the madness begin!  BTW, I have the MEAC tournament champions, N.C. Central winning it all.  The lowest seed to win a Men’s NCAA championship was a number 8 seed, Villanova, in 1985.  The lowest seed to win a Women’s NCAA championship was a number 3 seed, Tennessee, in 1997.  

Brad's Blurb

Have you ever felt like your day-to-day routine was becoming too monotonous?  Or felt that you were stuck in a rut going through life’s motions as if on autopilot?  If so, then you have probably also heard that quiet voice whispering in your mind telling you to “change it up a bit”, “live a little”, or “do something different”.  Below is a short list of 16 suggestions and reminders (provided in a blog by Howard Thurman) to help stop just going through the motions.  Take off the autopilot and incorporate changes into your daily routine to help recharge yourself.  Several of these resonated with me.  For example, reference #3, I recently pulled out some old Johnny Cash CDs that I had not listened to in many years.  All I can say is that the music was pretty darn good!   Wild and crazy stuff…living on the edge indeed.  Hey, at least I mixed it up a bit.  Reference #11, I recently drove an alternate route home.  Lo and behold, I found a store I was completely unaware of, that provided a service I drastically needed: clothing alterations.  Like ta-da-you know it!  Just me switching off that autopilot occasionally.     

Brad's Blurb

Humor in the Workplace

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

I recently read a magazine article contending that tasteful, deft, and non-snarky humor in the workplace is a key to organizational success.  The article cited several book authors on the subject and here is what they had to say:

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work, wrote, “Humor, by its nature, tends to have an edge to it, so people typically tone it down at work,”  “It’s hard to do well and easy to do badly.  Plus, we all have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously.”

Brad's Blurb

This month I will start out with a couple of really lame jokes.

*What did one snowman say to another?  Is it just me or do you smell carrots!

**What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?  Frostbite.

***Where do snowmen keep their money?  In a snow bank. 

Do you remember the time before computers?  Me neither.  If you are young enough, computers have been around your whole life.  If you are old enough, your memory is not as good as it used to be.  I fall in the latter category.  The Internet/Web for me is like my car; I use it all the time and expect it to work all the time, but I don’t really have any idea how it actually works.  Which leads me to some questions?  

-How did the Internet get started?  See 1

-Who’s in charge of it?   See 2

-What is the difference between the Web and the Internet? See 3

-Who is the keeper of all URLs (website addresses)? See 2

-How many websites exist?  See 4

-What are the top 10 websites based on traffic? See 5

1. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for a system called the World Wide Web.  He then wrote the first web browser, server, and Web page.  He also wrote the first specifications for URLs, HTTP, and HTML. 

Brad's Blurb

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Thanksgiving

I am going to use this edition to write about a family tradition that I am looking forward to during the Thanksgiving break-watching the film classic from director John Hughes, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1988).  The movie stars John Candy and Steve Martin.  Although, not necessarily “one for the kids” based on some very colorful language (one particular scene between Steve Martin and a car rental agent), the movie has a memorable ending that might just leave you feeling a little contemplative about Thanksgiving.  Some other notables you might recognize with bit parts in the movie include: Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker, Ben Stein, Edie McClurg, Michael McKean, and Ruth De Sosa. 

Brad's Blurb

We have all been there at some time in our lives: We have started a new job that brings with it a rollercoaster of emotions.  At first you feel like you have zero idea of what you are doing, or even what you should be doing.  You are lost trying to figure where to find information you need, or exactly what the protocol is for using the breakroom microwave and coffee machine.  But soon, you get your feet underneath you and your confidence improves with each new day.   As a result, you start to receive praise from your colleagues on what great job you are doing.  From that point on (weeks or months) maybe the accolades come less often and you begin to wonder when the last time was that you were called a “lifesaver” and was commended for a “job well done.”  Cue the panic and dip in the rollercoaster.  We all experience something similar to this.  Getting comfortable in your job usually results in fewer compliments from your supervisors – which, unfortunately, can make you feel like you’re not as great as you once thought you were, or even worse, actually stagnating in your position.  But, rest assured, that’s likely not the case.  So here are, for what it’s worth – a few signs that you are an excellent employee, even if you don’t hear it on a routine basis. 

Brad's Blurb

LOCK YOUR DOORS AND SECURE YOUR VALUABLES WHEN AWAY FROM THE OFFICE!  Yesterday, one of our A&S advisors had a wallet stolen while they were away from the office. 

A friend in the College, Dr. Chana Akins (Department of Psychology), is conducting a survey on staff recognition for a UK leadership project and she would appreciate your help.  The survey should take less than five minutes of your time and it is anonymous.  She will present the results at a leadership conference later this year as well as to the A&S Faculty-Staff Collegiality Committee.  Chana welcomes your input in the survey before October 30.  The survey link is at Staff Appreciation Measures Survey

The annual UK United Way fundraising campaign is during the month of October.  Be on the lookout for more specific information about this and how you can choose to support in the days ahead.

Brad's Blurb

The Hidden Vault at Mount Rushmore

Just a light read here as the end of summer nears.  In September, I will re-focus on some professional development and staff topics.  If anybody has ideas or anything in particular that you would like me to touch on in future newsletters just let me know. 

One of America’s great national landmarks is Mount Rushmore National Monument.  There is nothing quite like “the faces” located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  If you have not had the opportunity to visit it, I hope that you can make your way there some day as it is well worth the trip.  This is not meant as an advertisement for South Dakota tourism, instead it is merely my way of highlighting an aspect of the park that is not widely known and has a remote connection to this year’s A&S Year of Civics & Citizenship in the 21st Century (Keys to our Common Future).  In the words of Mount Rushmore’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”  Now for the rest of the story about that hidden vault.   

Brad's Blurb

It seems like every day you hear so-called “experts” touting predictions for future technology.  I thought it would be interesting to look back on a few past predictions to see who was on target and who missed the mark.  As the old saying goes, “Predicting the future is easy…getting it right is the hard part.” 

Here are a few predictions that did not quite turn out as expected:

1903: “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” Horace Rackham-Henry Ford’s lawyer. 

1913: "books will be soon be obsolete." Thomas Edison

1946: “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months.  People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Darryl Zanuck-20th Century Fox.

1955: “Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years.”  Alex Lewyt-President of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company.

1961: "There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States."  T.A.M. Craven-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner.

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