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March 30, 2017

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Three Ways to Outsmart The Smart Machine Age

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By Ed Hess

We are entering a new era, a so-called Smart Machine Age that will lead to technology and robots outperforming humans in many tasks. This is bad news on the job front, with one estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs will be automated over the next 15 years. You might think the solution is us to become more robot-like to fit into this brave new high-tech work world. But don’t channel your inner Mr. Spock just yet. The key to staying employable in the Smart Machine Age is to excel at what makes us unique as humans: our real, not artificial, emotional and social intelligence.

Here are three ways to do that:

1) Increase positivity: Generate positive emotions by not allowing negative emotions to control you. You can change the ratio of good and bad feelings in your head by shifting your focus. Take more time to notice the beauty of nature or the smiles of a young child. Reflect on something joyous in your life. Think more often about the people and pets you love, the times you felt good about your work, the times you felt appreciated by others. Practicing gratitude also increases positive emotions.

2) Manage negative emotions. Emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, dread and cruelty usually last only 90 seconds — unless you let them overtake you. Let negative thoughts float through your mind without engaging them. Calm yourself by taking deep breaths and reflecting on something more positive in your life.

3) Embrace the power of otherness. Otherness is the ability to rise above our self-absorbed, ego-driven emotional defensiveness in order to connect to and emotionally relate with others. Take time to connect and relate with others to show that you care about them by making eye contact, smiling and not multi-tasking. Listen with an open, non-judgmental mind that is fully focused on trying to understand what they are saying. Really listening to another person says: I care about you and what you think and feel.

Smart technology may be smart indeed, but we should focus on being more emotionally and socially intelligent. Embrace positivity and excel at managing your emotions and otherness, because that’s what will help you thrive in the Smart Machine Age.

Ed Hess is co-author with Katherine Ludwig of Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age

Five Ways to Deal With a Lousy Boss

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A 2015 Gallup study that half of 7,272 people surveyed left their job at some point to get away from their boss — which underscores the difficulty of managing and being managed. This piece has five tips for dealing with a not-so-great boss.

A Walk in Her Shoes

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Would your colleagues treat you differently if you were a man? The thought has surely occurred to most of us at one time or another. But an incident reported in The Huffington Post reveals the realities of this fear.

A Philadelphia man got a “rude” and “dismissive” responsive from a client via email when that client assumed he was a woman, not a man.

Turns out Martin Schneider’s email signature was accidentally sent under co-worker Nicole Hallberg’s name. So as an experiment, the two switched signatures and came to a shocking-for-him, not-so-shocking for her revelation: Hallberg’s workweek was far easier than normal, while Schneider’s was abysmal. “I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life,” Hallberg said.

Not true for the guy. “I was in hell,” Schneider said. “Everything I asked or suggested was questioned. Clients…were condescending.”

How would you handle this situation? And do you ever feel that it’s your reality? What’s the most effective way to push back?

Wanted: Court Reporters

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.00.07 PMBy Peg Sokalski-Dorchack

Most of us know them from court TV dramas or when we’re summoned to jury duty, watching them in their pivotal but whisper-quiet role meticulously transcribing every word said in court.

Yet there are not enough licensed court reporters to replace those who are expected to retire over the next five years. The National Court Reporters Association predicts more than 5,500 job openings across the country during that time because not enough students are enrolling in schools, such as ours, that teach it.

Court reporting needs are no longer restricted to courtrooms and attorneys’ offices, broadening career opportunities considerably. Much of the credit goes to real-time captioning technology that transforms notes taken on stenotype machines into verbatim transcriptions which can be displayed on individual devices or large display screens as the words are spoken.

Thanks to that technology, court reporters can now be employed to provide closed captioning services for live TV broadcasts ranging from news to sports. Closed captioning is required by law for the deaf and hearing-impaired, so broadcasters need these services.

Court reporters’ real-time captioning skills are also used by schools, at business conventions and meetings, during webcasts, and in some entertainment venues to assist attendees who have challenges such as hearing impairments, processing or learning difficulties, physical limitations, or for whom English is a second language. This again opens up a variety of career paths.
Court reporting careers can also offer lifestyle benefits, including flexible schedules as well as the option to work either on-site or remotely in some cases. Reporters are typically independent contractors who may have the option to work as much or as little as they choose. The median annual court reporter salary is $54,665, according to government statistics, with a range of $39,442 to $71,549.

Peg Sokalski-Dorchack is the director of court reporting at MacCormac College in Chicago.

Interesting question for you

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Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.56.57 PMThink of a colleague you really like — as well as one you could easily do without.

Now imagine each of them wearing a particular outfit, doing their hair a certain way or taking a stance on some issue affecting you.

Do you judge each person through the lens of whether you like them or not? Are you more inclined to see the positive in the people you like and find fault in those you don’t?

No surprise: The New York Times reports this week that sexism is alive and well in today’s political world. When it comes to attacks on both Hilary Clinton and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, critics on both sides of the political aisle resort to misogynistic attacks on both women’s hair, makeup and clothing. If we already liked Kellyanne, we weren’t bothered by how she sat on the Oval Office couch. Yet outrage came from those who already take issue with her.

That certainly applies to the workplace as well. When we like a particular person, we don’t make negative comments when she wears a too-short dress. But when that same dress is worn by a woman we already dislike, well, the snickering ensues.

Is it possible to ignore preexisting opinions to make clear judgment calls in the moment?

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