How To Deal With A Narcissistic Boss

Your new people management skills will come in handy when you can spot the sociopaths and functional psychopaths among leaders and the people in your life.

It’s become a well-known fact that’s turned into an adage that psychopaths and CEOs have a lot in common. What might not be so obvious a fact is that the narcissists inside the C-Suite, if they are in fact narcissists, are basically sociopathic or psychopathic in tendency. The checklist for NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) consists of nine major personality dimensions. Having five of these qualities or more is considered criteria for narcissistic psychopathy. True narcissists are the most damaging (and damaged) people you will ever meet, wreaking havoc in lives and business while basically getting away with their behaviour because most people don’t know how to spot the narcissistic psychopathy right in front of their eyes. Most people aren’t psychopaths or far-gone sociopaths. But these types seem to be inordinately rewarded within systems for their aggressive style, reckless boldness, dishonesty, and lack of empathy. We have structured businesses to reward these kinds of character traits over traits such as empathy, honesty, humility and cooperation. The more aggressive styles are rewarded with top posts because these types are seen as the people who get things done.

This is a damaging perspective to maintain, for companies and the people who serve under these dominant and dominating personality types.

Having been around people who have been diagnosed with NPD, it can be a disorienting and crazy-making experience. No matter how much you might wish the person to be different, no matter how much you change your style of interaction and communication with them, there is one concrete fact: They won’t change. The narcissist is not capable of inner self-reflection, and they will continue their pattern of psychopathy no matter how much you try to connect on the levels that mean something to you and the vast majority of people who don’t display these tendencies. Grandiose, blaming others, sadistic, your narcissistic boss will continue to be themselves, playing out the game they know so well, which leaves you at a distinct disadvantage.

So, what can you do if you think you have a narcissistic boss? The first step is to identify them so you can see them. From there, as all the psychiatrists say, you should stay as far away from them as possible and limit your interaction. Why? Because their psychopathy will make you sick mentally and emotionally; it’s a fact in sick relationships that the sickness spreads to the healthy, without the healthy realizing it’s happening. As this happens person by person, and a narcissistic boss is allowed to persist, you will find the sickness infecting your entire organization. The absolute best thing that can happen is bosses who display this behaviour will be released so that your organization and its people can heal from the damage a narcissist brings to work with them every day.

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary.

Wikipedia says, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2013) indicates that a person with NPD possesses at least five of the following nine criteria, typically without possessing the commensurate personal qualities or accomplishments for which they demand respect and status:

  • Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from other people
  • Continually demeaning, bullying and belittling others
  • Exploiting others to achieve personal gain
  • Lack of empathy for the negative impact they have on the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people
  • Fixation on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  • Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions
  • Need for continual admiration from others
  • Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  • Intense envy of others, and the belief that others are equally envious of them

“People with NPD exaggerate their skills, accomplishments, and their degree of intimacy with people they consider high-status. Such a sense of personal superiority may cause them to monopolize conversations or to become impatient and disdainful when other persons talk about themselves. When wounded in the ego, either by a real or a perceived criticism, the narcissist’s displays of anger can be disproportionate to the nature of the criticism suffered; but typically, the actions and responses of the NPD person are deliberate and calculated. Despite occasional flare-ups of personal insecurity, the inflated self-concept of the NPD person is primarily stable.

“To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, the person with NPD can be a self-absorbed control freak who passes blame and is intolerant of contradictory views and opinions; is apathetic towards the emotional, mental, and psychological needs of other people; and is indifferent to the negative effects of his or her behaviors, whilst insisting that people should see him or her as an ideal person. To protect their fragile self-concept, narcissists use psycho-social strategies, such as the tendency to devalue and derogate and to insult and blame other people, usually with anger and hostility towards people’s responses to the narcissist’s anti-social conduct.

“The DSM-5 indicates that: ‘Many highly successful individuals display personality traits that might be considered narcissistic. Only when these traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and persisting, and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress, do they constitute narcissistic personality disorder.’ Given the high-function sociability associated with narcissism, some people with NPD might not view such a diagnosis as a functional impairment to their lives. Although overconfidence tends to make people with NPD very ambitious, such a mindset does not necessarily lead to professional high achievement and success, because they might be unwilling to compete, or refuse to take risks, in order to avoid failure or the appearance of failure. Moreover, the psychological inability to tolerate disagreement, contradiction, and criticism, and their apathy towards other people, make it difficult for persons with NPD to work cooperatively or to maintain long-term, professional relationships with superiors and colleagues.”

Most everyone is familiar with the term ‘gaslighting’, a technique that the narcissist feeds on in order to destroy reality itself. It happens between couples, but it also happens at the office. In essence it’s a torture technique to make you doubt your own mind in a process of eroding reality and the self-esteem of the victim. I use the word victim here because people with NPD, especially those matching all criteria combined with comorbidities, are predators and know exactly what they’re doing.

On the subject of gaslighting, Wikipedia says, “Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group, covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s beliefs. Instances can range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents occurred, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.”

You’re probably not in the position to fire your narcissistic boss. But the one thing you can do for yourself and your emotional and mental health is to stay far, far, far away. The alarming fact of being around narcissists too much and too long is their own sickness will rub off on the healthy people around them, who then begin to display the tendencies of the sick narcissist themselves. And, believe me, no one needs that.

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Let’s Build The Economy Around Good Jobs

The Harvard Business Review says it’s time to invest in people.


A recent Harvard Business Review article recently caught my eye, titled “Rebuilding the Economy Around Good Jobs”, which makes the case that the economy relies heavily, too heavily, on ‘bad jobs’, those that require people to take substandard wages, which results in low productivity, low morale, and high turn over. With the entire world battling Covid-19, the author believes the time is now to bring back ‘good jobs’, those that pay well, improve motivation, productivity, and contributions. One of the hallmarks of ‘bad jobs’ is low performance, since the motivation to do more simply isn’t there. As the author Zeynep Ton says, “As the tussle over federal pandemic assistance in the United States has made clear, many service companies, even those whose financials looked fine, were already in trouble. A big part of that trouble was a focus on labor-cost minimization, which led to low wages and benefits, inadequate staffing, and as few full-time positions as possible. In this “bad jobs” system, frontline employees are inadequately trained, often underequipped, and disrespected. They can’t focus on the job when they constantly worry about paying medical bills or putting food on the table. They leave when there’s another job that pays $1 more an hour. Unit managers are busy fighting fires due to high turnover and operational problems, with too little time to develop staff and really manage the business. This bad jobs system keeps customers underserved (and, in some contexts puts them at risk), deprives the company of a compelling value proposition and prevents it from adapting to changing customer needs. Combined with a weak balance sheet these reasons drove many bankruptcies, including BordersToys “R” UsSears, and most recently Neiman MarcusJ. Crew, and J.C. Penney.”

The author goes on to say “there is an alternative: A good jobs system that has already proven successful. Long before the pandemic, there were successful companies — including Costco and QuikTrip — that knew their frontline workers were essential personnel and treated and paid them as such. Even in very competitive, low-cost retail sectors, these companies adopted a good jobs system and used it to win.

“There’s a strong financial case for good jobs. Offering good jobs lowers costs by reducing employee turnover, operational mistakes, and wasted time. It improves service, which increases sales both in the short term and — through customer loyalty — in the long term. All these improvements can more than make up for the large investments in better wages, benefits, training, and scheduling. Indeed, in a recent paper, Hazhir Rahmanidad and I show that above-average wages can be a profit-maximizing approach even in low-cost service businesses. In addition, a good jobs system makes a company more resilient and more adaptive, as companies like Costco, Mercadona, QuikTrip, and H-E-B demonstrate. These qualities will be much called upon during and after the pandemic.”

Your own frontline workers aren’t necessarily those currently in the spotlight during this pandemic, although they could be. It might be worth considering all of your essential and key people as the frontline of your business, and its success going forward into the ‘good jobs’ future. These are all of the people you rely on the create and deliver value for your organization every day. Without the right people properly motivated, you can start a whole new kind of pandemic, this time at the heart of your business, which will weaken and decimate your ability to perform and compete in the new ‘good jobs’ era.

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Air Travel In The Time Of Covid-19

With business currently grounded, what’s next for air travel and the airline industry?

It’s fly or die time for the airline industry. With over 60 percent of airplanes now grounded because of Covid-19, the industry has experienced an economic crash unseen in our time. The world has been addicted to air travel for decades, with many business leaders and employees forced by necessity and habit to climb aboard the closest jet. In the times of Covid-19, those options aren’t available, which affects everyone from the airlines themselves, airports and their staff, and passengers wanting to get somewhere for business or leisure.

So, what’s next for the airline industry and air travel with international travel down 87% since January, 2020?

Sprouting a new set of wings and finding new ways of flying that brings the industry back is the only answer, but it’s not an easy climb through turbulent times.

As the Financial Times says, “As international air travel grinds to a halt in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the global aerospace industry is being forced to confront some hard truths about a future it once believed was secure for at least the next decade. Record order books, built on a decade of booming demand and worth more than $1tn at list prices, are looking less certain by the day as airlines push back deliveries and even cancel orders to survive the worst crisis in aviation history.

“More than 60 per cent of the world’s commercial aircraft have been grounded as governments quarantine their populations and close borders. And with little or no revenue coming in, airlines are cutting costs, drawing down huge credit lines to bolster liquidity, and calling for billions in state aid. Ed Bastian, chief executive of the world’s biggest carrier, Delta Air Lines, says his company is burning through $60m a day while 600 aircraft are parked on the tarmac and 80 per cent of April’s scheduled flights are cancelled. Iata, the aviation industry’s trade body, has warned that some 25m jobs in both the aerospace and aviation sectors are at risk if governments do not step in with lifelines. ‘I wish I could predict this would end soon,’ Mr Bastian told employees in April. ‘But the reality is we simply don’t know how long it will take before the virus is contained and customers are ready to fly again.’”

Pranay Jhunjhunwala, a managing director and senior partner with Boston Consulting Group, says the crashing of the airline industry in 2020 is more devastating than anything we have seen in the industry in our lifetimes, and will result in huge security and personal safety changes in order to bring passenger trust back once restrictions are lifted. “Unlike 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash, there will not be a sharp, quick recovery – there will be a prolonged depression before it comes back. We are seeing that it will take two to three years before demand comes back to the level it was this time last year. For 9/11, within a year we saw demand come back to the previous level.”

The air industry is likely to shrink 20-30% by this time next year. Yet despite global challenges, Mr Jhunjhunwala emphasises how the air industry is known for its ability to innovate.

What does airline innovation look like? It might look a lot like consumer inconvenience.

For one, there will be frequent health testing on arrival, at boarding, and through transit to various ports of call. Some airlines now flying aren’t allowing personal belongings on board to be stored in overhead compartments or under seats. We will likely see face masks given away at airports and onboard, though the price of those masks will probably be absorbed into the price of a ticket. And what about the price of those tickets? Most experts believe that if social distancing needs to be maintained on flights, that the price of individual fares will go up. The question is, with all the precautions, and with higher priced fares, will people come flocking back to air service?

That question, for now, remains very much up in the air.

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Looking Beyond Coronovirus

Better ways of working include new opportunities in recruiting. The best time to hire the best people at the best price is now.

There is hardly anything good about a pandemic. But one of the upsides from a business perspective is that it puts businesses everywhere in the position to scoop up great talent for less than you might pay in non-covid times.

McKinsey and Company has recently written about the time beyond covid. McKinsey writes that we shouldn’t assume that the old way of doing things is coming back, and to prepare for a future where new ways of working and thinking will take priority; remote working, networks and team working, combined with agility, will be the order of the day. Stop assuming that the old ways will come back and start thinking about how a distributed workforce needs to operate. They say, “Remote working is about more than giving people a laptop. Some of the rhythms of office life can’t be recreated. But the norms associated with traditional work—for example, that once you left the office, the workday was basically done—are important. As one CEO told us, ‘It’s not so much working from home; rather, it’s really sleeping at the office [now].’”

McKinsey goes on to say, “There is some evidence that data-based, at-a-distance personnel assessments bear a closer relation to employees’ contributions than do traditional ones, which tend to favor visibility. Transitioning toward such systems could contribute to building a more diverse, more capable, and happier workforce. Remote working, for example, means no commuting, which can make work more accessible for people with disabilities; the flexibility associated with the practice can be particularly helpful for single parents and caregivers. Moreover, remote working means companies can draw on a much wider talent pool.”

Not only that, but companies can draw on new people who, until recently, haven’t been in market at all. The era of layoffs and furloughs isn’t bad for companies, and maybe not so bad for most people. Yes, there are massive layoffs and disruption, but it gives all companies a better opportunity to find the talent that wasn’t in the market pool of candidates until now, and it might open employees up to new ways of seeing work, from moving, to remote work, to contract work. It’s less than ideal to lay people off and shed a workforce, but the opportunity is now for you to grab the talent you need and lack, and move ahead with your new game plan. Working in makeshift ways during this pandemic won’t last forever, and businesses will shift to new models and new ways of doing things. If you plan to be competitive in the new era, you need to be one of them.

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How To Interview Over Live Video

Here are some pitfalls to avoid on your next Zoom interview.

Who would have known it, but interviewing over a streaming video platform is a lot harder than it sounds, even if you don’t really have to wear pants. It might even be harder than the face to face, as some magazine people have been saying this week. There is a lot to recommend interviewing from home, but there is also a lot not to love. Interviewing over streaming video can be challenging, but if you avoid these common pitfalls you can leave the impression you’re confident and have it mastered.

Here are some solid tips.

It’s hard not to do this, but looking at your own picture profile every so often while you’re speaking or listening to your interviewer can make you look completely distracted and off in your own world; or like you might like looking more at yourself than you care about getting the job. The only fix to this is to concentrate on the video window and not the camera itself and pay attention to their words with subtle acknowledgement like a head nod.

You might think it’s better looking straight into the eye of your camera, as you might look into the eyes of a person; you might even imagine that by looking into the camera lens that you’re looking into the eyes of your interviewer. On the other side, however, you can come across as a mask of intensity, staring unblinkingly into the soul of the person on the other side. In other words, it can be creepy.

Blink as you would normally, and don’t squint for stuff in chat, or play with your phone while you’re interviewing. Try to keep your hands away from your face. In other words, try to look normal and engaged. And don’t forget to unmute yourself when you are talking!

And try not to talk over your interviewer. Give them a few seconds to stop talking before you interject with an answer or a comment, or you’re going to stumble through a very unsatisfying, and potentially annoying, interview.

Don’t use wacky backdrops for your video background. There are some good examples of hilarious backgrounds online, but yours shouldn’t be one of them. Keep it simple, keep it clean, make sure you’re well lit in the forground.

Wear pants. Yes you can blur your screen, and you can position your camera angle up enough that you can go in the buff below if it suits you, but remember the TV personality who did just that and thought he’d get away with it, until they removed the chyron and exposed the parts where his pants should have been.

Now you’re covered for your next live feed job interview.

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Eric Schmidt Says “Never Bet Against America”

The tech guru says some sectors will grow fast into the future as supply chains shorten and tighten.

Former Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, says that the health and education of the world is going online, and will transform how we access the growing world of e-everything, from banking, going to your doctor, or going to school. If there was ever a time to be computer literate, this is it.

Regardless, the future will be such that e-services of all kinds will be the primary access point, which means, love it or hate it, know it or don’t, it will be foisted on you to do.

Schmidt also said that computer chip manufacturing could be coming back to The United States, which would be a bellwether for technology and innovation inside North America.

Schmidt’s vision for the future is only being propelled at a faster pace because of a global pandemic that is forcing us to find other ways to do the ordinary.

But what does this mean for the technological divide between old and young, poor and wealthy, first world and third world? With a good portion of the world still offline, and without the means to get online with hardware or software, Schmidt’s vision looks very much like something that will give further advantages to countries with high-developed infrastructures, with the capital for constant improvements in technology which happen in more rapid cycles every year that passes.

When  asked, what jobs will continue to exist, Schmidt says, “we’re gonna have to reimagine how the workplace works. We’re going to have to think about hub-and-spoke systems where local people don’t travel so far because they don’t want to be in public transit for so long. So, we’re gonna have to really rethink how businesses operate. They need their employees back.

“One way to think about this is that this one month, two months period has brought forth 10 years of forward change. So, all of a sudden, the Internet is no longer optional. It’s fundamental to doing business, to operate, to live our lives, all sorts of much higher expectations as a result. For example, we need much better broadband in the rural areas. Another example will be tele-health. 80 percent of the visits to doctors are right now in tele-health. People have been wanting this to happen for years. Now using remote monitoring, we can actually measure everybody and do it remotely. And then only if you have to, you go in to see the doctor. And by the way, that’s more convenient for you as as a patient.”

With the change in the way business and day-to-day things are done, Schmidt also says that health monitoring will be a constant, an issue that treads on privacy and person freedom: “Another thing that we’ll have to do is we’ll have to have all sorts of interesting sort of social monitoring of one kind or another to look for these hotspots. So, systems will have to be developed to see, oh, my God, there’s an outbreak over there. Let’s get to it right now before the spread begins.”

Schmidt suggests that the pandemic has forced the world’s hand to adopt new ways, and has also revealed the glaring weaknesses in global supply chains:

“Well, we’ve built in the last 10 or 20 years this extraordinarily efficient global supply chain with many, many steps. We’ve now learned that it’s not resilient. There has been for at least a decade a great concern about our over-reliance on Taiwan in particular for foreign chip manufacturing and there is an initiative within the government which is very important, that we get domestic supply of foundries, literally the places where chips are made. And companies like Intel and Samsung and TSMC. TSMC is the largest foundry. It’s in Taiwan, at the seven-nanometre level, trying to get them into our country. So, we have better control. It’s important from a standpoint of- of our own economics. It’s also important for national security. We want to make sure that our critical infrastructure is owned and controlled by America, right? Never bet against America. We are the innovators in our world. We should be able to do this well.”

“Never bet against America,” says Schmidt. Which is another way of saying, never underestimate the power of the human spirit and ingenuity in the face of any storm.  

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Signs You Might Need To Be A Better Boss

Many leaders need a lesson in how to build a culture of loyalty.

Ever work for a bad boss? Everyone has their own story, or string of stories, of a leader or an owner they worked for and wish they hadn’t. It’s not easy to be a ‘great boss’. It’s also not easy to work for a bad boss. You might think you are doing all the right things, then wonder why you have so much churn in human resources.

Here are some signs that your leadership might be less than you assume.

You have high churn. If you have high organizational churn, this is one of the red flags to poor leadership. It’s never someone else’s fault, and your faults as a leader become most glaring when you have a high turn over rate. You might say to yourself that you have high churn because you’re a ‘tough boss’ or you have a ‘demanding culture’ and ‘expect the best’. But, if that was all the case, you’d have people staying out of loyalty to your obvious servant leadership, which can hardly be the case if you make excuses for churn that amount to your domineering, exacting and ultimately negative style of leadership.

You lose key people. When you have key people start to walk away, this is a time for your ears to perk up to the reasons why. Key people leave for all kinds of reasons, but if you lose someone stalwart and important to your company, it’s time to dig into why. The right people will tell you the truth, the majority of people will tell you something just to make the parting easier. This is your time to understand the why and to fix the problem.

Your people complain about you in the open. When people have had enough, they will complain directly to your face, which is the best outcome you can imagine, because at least you have the chance to fix it. But so many leaders steamroll over the evidence and implement their will, regardless of what’s in front of their faces. If you have people telling you your leadership style is less than ideal, it’s a good time to listen to the evidence instead of dismissing it.

Your people complain about you behind closed doors. There is gossip on the street about you that you never hear about, but which circulate among employees, former employees, their friends, and their families. The thing about gossip is it’s not always the truth, but there is a reason for it beyond the bitter gripes of the undeserving and unhappy. When you have got to the point of damaging gossip about your company, it can mean you have issues you might need to deal with in your leadership style and the ways in which you implement decisions.

Your staff has a lot of sick days. People taking sick days is no big deal, but when it seems to be as common as people coming into work, you might want to take a second look. This might have been slightly more obvious when everyone was still forced to come into work rather than working from home, but the principle remains. People have the right to be sick, and they will be, being people, but if you find a lot of your staff calling in sick, this is one of the leadership warning signs blinking in your face. It’s not up to them to fix what’s wrong with your company, it’s up to you.

Your company has a lot of legal suits from former or current employees. People will file frivolous lawsuits of all kinds against you, and this is just the price of doing business and hiring into the general population. Some people will do these things when they are let go as one last lashing out of spite and vindictiveness against what they see as injustice. But that small percentage of people aside, if your company continues to be filed against for human rights, prejudices, suits for non-payment of fair wages, and on and on, it’s really time to sit down with your top people and ask why.

It’s easy to blame your staff for your leadership shortcomings, or turn a blind eye. But, as Harry S. Truman once famously said, ‘the buck stops here.’ If you aren’t prepared to fix the problems within your organization, that’s up to you. But remember that the fish rots from the head, and whatever you reap you sow. Don’t assume that because you are in charge that you are special or can do whatever you want. The case couldn’t be more opposite for the health and longevity of your reputation and the loyalty of the people working on your behalf.

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The Best Ways To Market For Top Talent

The old ways are out of date with the speed of change in the digital realm. But your story matters more than ever.


Marketing has changed more in the past 10 years than in the previous 100. The age of content marketing, advanced search engine optimization, video, social platforms, VR, mobile apps, and bots is here. To be more competitive, sell better, brand better, and market better to a wider, global audience, you need to understand this new world. It’s a must to have a digital marketing strategy that meets and influences consumers where they live in the digital realm.

The speed of change is rapidly increasing. Narrow broadcast technologies such as television, the traditional newspaper, or the traditional advertising formats are less viable than ever. How do you move forward in your recruiting efforts? The mainstream media is being replaced so quickly that its faults have become more glaring. The information age is here. Finding ways to intersect with your audience online is vital to the traction you get compared to your competitors. The set of ideas that have run marketing for years is changing, with new ways to touch people online.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a term for all marketing and engagement activities done through online media channels. The role of digital marketing is to help you get found, get noticed, get leads, and then turn those leads into returning customers. Your tools include:

Your website 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pay per Click advertising (PPC)


Marketing automation (including email marketing and messenger marketing)

Programmable channel bots

Social media marketing

Video marketing

Other content marketing (blogs, journalism, PR)

Today’s consumers are connected to the web every day, all day, with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These are the first thing most adults use in the morning, and they’re the last thing 95% of them see before they go to sleep.

Consider the following statistics:

The average consumer is exposed to 10,000 brand messages a day

92% of consumers look at a company’s website before choosing a service provider or product

84% of Americans are shopping for something online at any moment

97% of people go online to find products and services

93% of online experiences begin with a search engine

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations

86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps 

Fundamental to marketing and advertising is be where your audience is. Your audience is online. And if you aren’t meeting them where they are, with a story or offer that means something to them in the moment, you aren’t optimized to reach the talent, or the customers, your company needs.

The ever-evolving algorithms will sort your offer, your content, your piece of story against another 3 billion websites there are in the world. The way to stand out in such a crowded environment, all vying for attention, is a strong content marketing strategy regularly deployed for the purpose of signalling and ranking. Without great content, you can use every channel available under the sun, but fewer people will come. However, with a well told story, well optimized and well placed, you could both achieve short-term recruiting goals and long-term brand culture goals. Your (great) content will live forever online, and what you post six months ago continues to rank through time, if it’s good content. As time goes on, those video and blog posts aggregate and attract more traffic. The statistics say that any website with less than 12 months online will have trouble ranking well. With time, and a consistently applied SEO and content strategy, you can achieve rankings that help you stay relevantly in front of the eyes of those you want to influence. The longer you’re online with great and relevant content, the greater algorithmic trust you build, and the more eyeballs you attract to your company, its brand, culture, and talent acquisition.

Need help? Contact us, the only hybrid talent acquisition and marketing firm in North America, for ways to build much more attractive and effective recruiting and marketing programs online.

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Finding Your Motivation

Shockingly, being alone means finding ways to motivate yourself.

Why does doing nothing feel so hard? In these covid times many people report feeling more listless and tired having to work from home than they did sprucing up in the morning to go out and go to work. Maybe there’s some sapping energy from wearing sweatpants too many days in a row? Maybe too much Netflix isn’t good for promoting any get up and go. It’s hard to stay motivated working from home, or merely waiting out shelter-in-place. People are bored easily, and boredom can turn into chronic low-energy laziness.

There’s that classic experiment that demonstrates people’s inability to entertain themselves by themselves. The experiment took individuals and put them in isolation. They could either do nothing and while away the minutes, with only their imaginations to keep them company, or they could choose to press a button that would give them a jolt of not so pleasant electricity. At least half of the subjects ended up choosing to shock themselves, some over and over, to distract them from their own boredom.

Maybe our daily habits can become a bit like this, where we choose things out of boredom that are easy to do but not all that good for us. Like too much TV, too much sleeping, too much staying up late because we can and have nothing else to do.

There are articles everywhere that say this is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby, learn a language, find the painter in you, learn a new skill. But that takes work! And it’s not so reasonable to expect people who have been laid off or furloughed to be thinking about self improvement instead of finding work. Our habits get the best of us day after day, and the easier course to take is often the path taken. Not the roads less travelled, but the well trodden roads to easy things that take no effort at all. Like eating too much bacon for breakfast and having two-hour naps, capped by Netflix at either end.

Are you feeling less than motivated right now? Listless? Exhausted? Bored? Instead of pressing that easy button next to you, maybe you need to find other patterns of behaviour that refresh and stimulate you in the right ways. With things so far outside the frame of normal right now, keeping a regular schedule and achieving your daily goals are important, even if they are not as grandiose as learning nuclear physics in your spare time.

Here are some simple things that could help you stay motivated and energized through what can be long days of boredom.

Keep up on your work. Schedules move around a lot now, and it seems more of an effort to join a Zoom meeting than any old regular in-person meeting (remember those?). It’s important to feel face to face even when we’re not. And knowing that your team or peers are working to the same goals, though the work might happen at odd times, later or earlier than the regular 9-5, is important for your personal sense of self and motivation.

Make goals every day. If you can, get your work out of the way efficiently, do it as soon as you can, and check off the things you’ve accomplished. Then go do something for yourself. This might mean a noon walk, creating a home-made dinner for yourself or family, or even simply cleaning your home on the weekend. Having regular patterns of achievement and small goal setting is important to feeling livelier and more fulfilled.

Keep the movie and TV watching to a minimum. There must be a psychological reason for the obvious fact that watching too much passive media seems to drain us. Watching too much of the daily news too early can as well. Keeping your media viewing habits in check will help you from overthinking, being over stimulated, or feeling like you’ve not accomplished anything today except watching EVERYTHING on Netflix. Too little activity with the body means a lot to the relaxation and health of your attitude.

Get outside for the sun. With spring upon us and summer on the way, it’s about time you got yourself more sun, which means more vitamin D. The so-called sunshine vitamin leaves us feeling good, brighter, more energetic, and more restful. You can’t buy this kind of therapy, so get out and thank the sun beaming down into your face. It’s a good feeling.

Don’t be too alone. Being alone isn’t really a big deal, but even the most reclusive of us shouldn’t stay that way for long stretches of time. For one thing, you might start to talk more to yourself, which isn’t altogether a bad thing if you’re a good conversationalist, but why not share that conversation and a little of yourself and what’s going on with friends and family? For some, this is a hard thing to do. If it’s hard for you, maybe it’s time you do more of it. One of the most pleasant things in the world is to be called out of the blue and asked how you’re doing. So, do that for someone. Maybe they will return the favor.

Don’t just sit around doing nothing. Whether you’re retired, employed, unemployed, on sabbatical, on maternity leave, whatever your situation, the best advice is simply not to just sit around doing nothing. Doing nothing makes us feel weary, over tired, even cranky. Self-esteem can be eroded over the days this way if we aren’t attempting to get something done in our days. We don’t need big plans, though, if you have them, that’s good. All we need to do are the little things to keep a bounce in our step, to keep our spirits high, and feel unworried and unhurried.

If you find yourself reaching for that remote too early and too often, remember the shock experiment, and go find something else to do that’s better for you emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Being bored sure isn’t the end of the world. But it can feel that way if we let it.

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What Does It All Mean?

With some jurisdictions prepared to partially open in stages, what does regular business look like now?


At least some barometer for the staged re-opening of economies comes from New York State, with New York City the so-called epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The order for stay at home officially lasts until May 15, at which time it expires.

According to reporting in the New York Times, based on modelling by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and charts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the daily death toll in America will rise to 3,000 deaths a day, which would be double the rate today. One wonders about the kinds of mixed messages we’re getting.

What we see is that people really aren’t very patient as we enter the sixth week of quarantine. No doubt, everyone wants to get back to ‘normal’, though we are also told there is a ‘new normal’ we need to accept and get used to. What that new normal is, is anyone’s guess.

In New York, there are four factors that guide the timing of region-by-region staged opening of the economy, on our way back to our regular commercial habits: availability of testing, contact tracing, hospital capacity and monitoring of virus transmissions.

Businesses there will open in stages, starting with stage one construction, manufacturing, and curbside pick up for some stores. If the numbers don’t spike, more staged openings of professional services and retail, stage two, restaurants with social distancing, stage three, and finally, stage four, some sporting events.

Governor Cuomo has said, “We need businesses to re-imagine how they’re going to do business, and get ready to protect their workforce.”

Many businesses are wondering just that: How do we re-imagine how to do business?

Good question.

Experts in virology and public health are doing their best to inform the public, even while there is massive political and economic pressure to re-open economies fully. But, one wonders, if the experts are calling for a doubling of the daily death toll by June 1, whether we are impatiently rushing ahead of reality, even while we wish things to return to ‘normal’ as soon as possible?

The public in general gets a lot of mixed messages, and not everywhere is at the same stage of viral spread as another place, yet. Reports are coming back that Italy, Germany, and other developed western countries have drastically underreported their cases. And this goes for places like Vietnam, North Korea, Russia, and China, too. What the real count for coronavirus cases is anyone’s guess. But with people flying across their own countries and still others flying internationally, there is little doubt that we will see new waves of this as things remain virtually unchecked.

So, what to do and what to think? Not only have people come through a massively stressful time of layoff and furloughs, those layoffs and furloughs continue unabated. Some industries seem not to have slowed down very much, like construction sites in Canada. Many people outside carry on as though nothing has happened, unmasked, not abiding social distancing rules, not tested, and going about their business as usual. It’s a strangely un-uniform time, with some people abiding by shelter-in-place orders while others flaunt it without a care in the world. With others, in small groups, even picketing government offices and the homes of government officials.

According to a new poll by The Washington Post and University of Maryland, “74% of Americans said they were opposed to reopening dine-in restaurants and nail salons in their states. More than 8 in 10 Americans (82%) said movie theaters should not be allowed to reopen in their states. Gun stores, barbershops and hair salons, retail shops and golf courses all received a majority “no” vote on whether they should be allowed to reopen.”

No one wanted this. But here it is. And while I am normally not one to play it too safe, since fortune favors the brave, in this case the victories might go to the most patient among us.

Patience is also a virtue we could use more of these days.

What do you think about opening the economy in your area of the world? How is the pandemic affecting your business? We’d love to hear from you.

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