Rank #1: How to Escape a Toxic Workplace (Correct)
When Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, told Human resources she was being sexually harassed, the company did nothing about it, she said. When she discovered other women had reported being harassed by the same manager, HR still did nothing. Last week, in a viral blog post, Fowler painted a picture of a toxic work environment where management ignores bad behavior and punishes people like Fowler. Her story is not unique to Uber, or the technology industry.
This week on Game Plan, Francesca and Rebecca dive into toxic workplaces, how people cope with them, and how they finally get out. Maureen Sherry, a former trader at Bear Stearns joins them to talk about the bro culture of Wall Street, where she endured sexual harassment for 12 years before finally getting fed up and leaving.
(Correct spelling of Bear Stearns in final sentence.)
Feb 28 2017
Rank #2: How to Get Dressed for Work
We'd like to think that what we wear to work doesn't matter, but tons of research has found that it does. Yes, people judge you based on your outfit choices. The right work wear can also make us feel good and enhance our performance. One study found that participants dressed in suits negotiated for more money; another found that formal wear facilitates creative thinking.
This week on Game Plan, Rebecca and Francesca learn how to dress well for work. Chris Rovzar, the editorial director of Bloomberg Pursuits, our luxury and lifestyle vertical, joins the show to answer all their work fashion questions.
Nov 29 2017
Rank #3: No Passion, No Problem: How to Find a Job You Like
For the person stuck in an unsatisfying career, changing course can seem almost impossible. We're told to follow our dreams, as if that will somehow lead to success and happiness. If only it were that easy. For most of us, following a "passion" is straight-up bad advice: Not everyone can succeed, or even earn a paycheck, as an artist, musician or basketball player. But many of us don't have a singular passion. In that case, how do we pivot out of an ill-fitting career? Where do we even start? Sam and Rebecca, still toiling away in their own first careers, turned for advice to Francesca Hogi. She's a successful matchmaker and dating coach who began her career as a corporate lawyer. "We do have this conversation around passion in our culture," Francesca says. "That puts a lot of pressure on people to feel like, `I've got to quit my job, burn that bridge, go follow my heart and then I'll be a billionaire.' It doesn't work that way most of the time and that's okay."
Oct 11 2016
Rank #4: Hard Work Isn’t The Reason For Your Success
Silicon Valley types like to say the quality of your work is all that matters, and good ideas rise to the top, no matter whom they come from. But why do the people who rise to the top in a meritocracy tend to be the ones with all the advantages? Francesca and Rebecca talk to Ryan Carson, the chief executive officer of Treehouse Island Inc., a coding school, about why he once believed in meritocracy and then—suddenly—didn’t.
Sep 13 2017
Rank #5: Productivity Hacks Are Dumb. Try This Instead
Most people wish they were more productive at work. To feed this never-ending desire for increased efficiency, an entire industry peddles so-called productivity hacks that promise quick fixes to snuff out procrastination and boost output. Unfortunately, most of this advice amounts to snake oil.
This week on Game Plan, Sam and Rebecca take a novel path to solving their productivity problems: The subconscious. Gary Latham, an organizational psychologist at the University of Toronto, joins them to discuss his decades of research into how subtle influences to our psyches can help us get more done at work. Productivity here we come!
Jan 24 2017
Rank #6: Maybe You'll Get Ahead by Being Nicer at Work
Some people abide by the Steve Jobs' theory of getting ahead at work: Be a jerk. In fact, the workplace in general is getting meaner, at least by some metrics. People have fewer friends than they used to and have less regard for their coworkers. But there's a case to be made for politeness at work. Francesca and Rebecca talk to the writer Paul Ford about how being a polite person has advanced his career. Plus, they learn a fun party trick.
Aug 02 2016
Rank #7: Become a Morning Person
Francesca tries to fix the most important part of the day: Her mornings. To get more out of the precious hours before work, she tests out a scientifically proven method called R.I.S.E.U.P. But, will her rigorous new morning routine be the key to a better day?
Jan 22 2019
Rank #8: It's Not Just You—Everyone Feels Like a Fraud at Work
Fake it 'til you make it! That's the career advice many of us get upon first entering the workforce. Since you're a newbie, and won't understand lots of parts of your job, just pretend — and one day, all of a sudden, you'll be a bona fide expert. It's not bad advice, and research has even found that it works. But what happens when you still feel as if you're faking it, long after you've actually made it?
Francesca and Rebecca discuss the phenomenon known as imposter syndrome. Many competent (often female) professionals go through their entire careers with the sneaking suspicion that they'll be revealed as frauds — even when they're more than qualified. Is there a way to combat this haunting feeling? Dr. Suzanne Koven, a primary care physician at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, explains how she recently got over her own imposter syndrome and helps Francesca and Rebecca deal with their own inner work demons.
Jun 06 2017
Rank #9: Is Your Personality Right For Your Job?
Employers are increasingly putting prospective workers through personality tests. The idea is that certain characteristics lend themselves to certain types of work, and that a straightforward job interview can’t identify them. Rebecca and Francesca talk about how much personality matters at work, and the pitfalls of testing workers. Guest Melissa Dahl discusses her book “Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness,” and whether awkward types can get a leg up in the workplace.
Nov 22 2017
Rank #10: How to Trick Yourself Into Retiring a Multimillionaire
Most of us are really bad at thinking about and planning for our retirement. Only a third of Americans contribute to employer-provided 401(k) accounts. And around half have no retirement savings at all. There are lots of forces working against us when it comes to saving up for the future. But never fear, the behavioral economists can save us. See, it’s not our fault that we’re bad at saving: We’re wired to make bad retirement decisions. At least that’s what Steve Wendel, a behavioral scientist, us. Steve teaches us how to take advantage of our shortcomings as humans, and trick ourselves into becoming super savers.
Nov 01 2017
Rank #11: Our Pettiest Office Complaints, Compiled
In our last episode of Game Plan before a hiatus, we cleared our backlog of Half-Baked Takes; the weekly segment in which we give voice to some of our most passionate ideas before thinking them all the way through. Come for the take-down of guessing your co-worker’s age, stay for definitive rulings on the value of sheep and movies.
Dec 06 2017
Rank #12: BONUS: The Pay Check, Episode 6
So far, the pay gap has proved pretty impossible to solve. But most of us aren’t just going to sit here and accept that we’ll be paid less than men for our entire careers. In the last episode of The Pay Check, host Rebecca Greenfield talks to Gaby Dunn, who hosts her own podcast called Bad With Money, about what she's learned from the many people she's sought advice from on her series. Jordyn Holman also travels to Seattle for the Get Money, Get Paid conference, hosted by a group called Ladies Get Paid, and learns some important lessons about negotiation—and collaboration.
Jun 13 2018
Rank #13: Let's Talk About Slack, Baby
Don't know what Slack is? Then you probably don't work in an office. The communication tool is like e-mail, but better -- and it's taking over workplaces across America. In this week's episode, Francesca and Rebecca break down the enterprise software phenomenon: How it works, who uses it, and why people are so obsessed with it. Dayna Evans, a writer for New York magazine, who has written about her complicated relationship with Slack, joins them to also discuss some potential downsides of chatting with coworkers all day.
Aug 09 2016
Rank #14: The Career Path Is (And Has Always Been) a Lie
Remember back when people would stay at a company long enough to get a gold watch, a time before entitled millennials decided they didn't feel like working at the same boring job for their entire career? Those were the good old days, right? Wrong. This week, Francesca and Rebecca challenge the conventional wisdom that America's favorite generation doesn't have its life on track. The demise of the traditional career path might have more to do with student debt and the changing corporate priorities than a personality trait of an entire generation of workers. Plus, older folks have also taken circuitous routes to career success. This week's guest, Mary Norris, has the resume of a hipster: Milk truck driver, costume shop clerk, cheese factory worker and web series hostess with a cult following. But she's no millennial. Since 1978, Norris has been with the New Yorker magazine, where she's a respected copy editor and host of the web series Comma Queen. While she eventually settled down, she took her own sweet, not always logical time getting to where she is today.
Aug 23 2016
Rank #15: The Right (and Wrong) Way to Quit Your Job
Quitting a job is a delicate process. It's effectively a breakup. And much like ending a romantic relationship, there's no ideal way to do it. The person getting dumped (the employer) will feel hurt. But there are a few things that departing workers can do to soften the blow -- and hopefully not ruin the possibility of a future relationship.
It's an issue that's especially relevant now, because Americans have been voluntarily leaving jobs at the highest rate since the 2008 recession, according to the Labor Department.
For tips on how to leave a job with grace, Sam and Rebecca enlist the help of an expert: Reyhan Harmanci, the soon-to-be former editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura, who has left her fair share of jobs over the years. She about talks tricks of the trade and the key to quitting in style.
Nov 08 2016
Rank #16: There's an Easier Way to Change Careers
Maybe you're dying to change careers—or being forced to because your job is going to a robot—but it just seems impossible to start over in a new field. There might be a better way. Francesca and Rebecca look at the skills-based approach to job switching; a way to assess what unrelated jobs may be unexpectedly similar to yours. We talk to Claire Cain Miller, a New York Times reporter who embarked on a major data study to cross-reference thousands of skills and jobs.
Aug 16 2017
Rank #17: Train Your Brain to Focus
Like many people, Becca has trouble concentrating on one task at a time, with emails, chats, and social media distracting her from her work. But, she's determined to get focused. For a week, she commits to a regimented focus routine recommended by concentration aficionado Cal Newport to see if she can train her brain to stay on track.
Jan 28 2019
Rank #18: Money Talks
How much money do you make? It's a question that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Like politics and religion, our salaries are something we don't like to talk about with anyone but our closest friends and family. It can get awkward. Yet pay secrecy can lead to wage discrimination, especially against minorities and women. So, in this week's episode Francesca and Rebecca put it all out there. They talk about money -- how we get what we deserve and what we do with it once we have it. Joining them is former Citigroup and Bank of America wealth-management executive Sallie Krawcheck, the founder of Ellevest, a service that helps women invest their money, who walks them through how to get the most out of their salaries.
Jul 26 2016
Rank #19: You're Using Your Standing Desk Wrong
Everyone's heard the new mantra: Office life can be hazardous. Staring at a screen all day ruins your eyes. Poor air quality deprives your brains of energy. Worst of all, sitting is the new smoking.
In an attempt be healthier and more productive in our cubicles, workers and workplaces have hacked the office to encourage better patterns of behavior. There's no more popular hack than the standing desk. But does it live up to the hype?
Rebecca and Francesca seek answers from Mark Benden, director of the ergonomics center at Texas A&M, whose research has found that we're using standing desks wrong. With his help, we learn how to get the most out of standing (and sitting) at work.
Mar 14 2017
Rank #20: Your Work Friends Are Faking It
Work friendships are a complicated dance. Research suggests we’re more inclined to undercut our colleagues than the people in our personal lives, and a big factor in what makes us feel close to work buddies is their sheer physical proximity. So are we all conniving frenemies on the job, or can we actually form meaningful bonds? Guest Jessica Methot, an expert on workplace relationships at Rutgers University, discusses the value of even surface-level work connections, and drops some surprising science about which coworkers exhaust us the most (hint: it’s not our enemies).
Apr 04 2017