I used to write about my brother, Erik, a lot. I wrote about how I retooled his resume to make his dead-end job at Blockbuster into the perfect collection of achievements. Then I let him guest post on my blog while he was getting ready to quit the investment banking job he was sick of.
Now he’s at Microsoft and his job is to buy companies. (If you work with him, you know him by his real name, which he won’t let me use.) I don’t write about him much now because everything he says to me begins with, "Don’t blog about this." (And then I see it on Valleywag.com an hour later, which is, of course, very frustrating for me.)
But I talk with Erik almost every day. (Sometimes twenty times a day, like when a very large company called about buying Brazen Careerist and then turned out to be as day-after-difficult as a one-night stand without a condom.) Erik sends me great links that are harbingers of the future of work. So here are a few. And if you don’t think they are as good as tea leaves for the office, at least maybe this gives you insight into what Microsoft’s acquisition team is looking at right now [originally posted 7/24/08].
1. The tyranny of internships will be exposed and companies will have to pay real wages.
StuffWhitePeopleLike.com has a smart and hilarious summary of why internships are for white kids. But seriously, the fact that internships are practically essential starting blocks for a top-tier career is just ridiculous when you think about how well connected one has to be to get into any of the great summer internship programs.
2. The tyranny of corporate tech support will be exposed and they will actually offer help.
Here is a parody of a call, but it is actually what happened every single time I called tech support while I was working in the Fortune 500. If you have ever called internal tech support from within a large company, this will make you laugh. (If The Onion did a documentary on the tech support call, this is what The Onion would come up with.)
3. The tyranny of the discreet job hunt will be exposed and everyone will job hunt openly.
Accountemps reports that 75 percent of executives are comfortable with people job hunting while still on the job. And they would do the same themselves. That makes sense to me intuitively, because 25 percent of any office is people who are dead wood who are not going to look for another job – ever – and therefore don’t want anyone else to. The big news here is that most people are looking all the time. And since job hopping builds strong careers, the people who aren’t are the ones who have a problem.
4. The tyranny of high heels will give way to the pricey, good-for-feet-but-still-sexy heel.
Academic researchers are finding on many fronts that men like to work with women who dress ‘like women.’ That means shoulder-length hair or longer, a good amount of makeup but not too trampy, and yes, high heels. They don’t have to be stiletto, but you need to look like you know how to pull an outfit together. This means that a lot of women are walking to work in flats and switching in the elevator, and kicking their stilettos off under the table during meetings. But that will end, soon, because The Wall Street Journal reports that shoe designers see a gold mine in saving female feet from career-girl frustration.
5. The tyranny of the prudish will be exposed for hurting productivity, and co-workers will be able to flirt openly.
Flirting at work has a positive impact on productivity, according to Heidi Reeder, professor of communications at Boise State University. This news doesn’t mean that upping the ante to an intimate encounter actually ups the productivity level as well. In fact, you might ruin everything by moving beyond a platonic friendship. But feel free to find the flirt in you and use it to get ahead.