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Opinion Editorials

Letter to my daughter: you only get what you ask for

Something that seems so simple is actually a major challenge in your career, because the advice you’ve been given in school is flawed.



passive people

letter to my daughter

Dear daughter,

You’re now an upperclassman in high school and you’re considering college, so you’re just a few short years away from beginning your career, so listen up.

One of the most powerful pieces of advice that I never got was that you won’t get anything you don’t ask for. I know you’re thinking you already get this, but trust me, there is no possible way school has prepared you for your impending career, because you’ve been told two contrasting things by teachers: (1) if you work hard, you’ll get ahead, and (2) if you want something badly enough, you can have it.

But both of these concepts that are the undercurrent of what school programs you for are flawed, because you see, if you don’t ask for something you won’t receive it.

You won’t get a raise simply because you worked your fingers to the bone and are the best performing team member. You have to ask for it. You have to approach your superior at work and ask if they have time to discuss your future at the company. Be prepared with a list of your accomplishments (maybe you landed a major client, you streamlined the team’s communications, saving hours of wasted work). Assert your value and then do the very difficult task of ask for a raise when you deserve one.

You won’t get a promotion because you deserve one, in fact, when a position above you opens up, you better fight like hell to get it, because companies often hire talent from outside, so you’re not competing against your coworkers, you’re competing against the rest of the world. When you hear that someone has given their two weeks’ notice, and it’s for a position you believe you’re in line for, say something before they go. Get into your boss’ office and let them know, just as you would with your raise, what you’ve done and why you deserve the position, and how you envision improving the company by advancing.

You won’t get the bigger office when your company moves to a new space just because you have seniority. If you have the opportunity to ask for a specific office beforehand, do it. This doesn’t have to be something you make a federal case out of, just a simple “hey boss, I love that side office, does anyone have dibs on it?” Otherwise, seat assignments will rely on the company’s logic, not yours. Speak up.

Because you’re a polite Southern gal, you’ll be tempted to just allow things to happen around you, but trust me, I learned the hard way that raises, promotions, and perks don’t go to the person that deserves them, it goes to the person who asks for them. Would you as a boss give a promotion to someone who didn’t seem to want it? Working overtime and kissing butt doesn’t mean you want something, so ask for it. Or you won’t get it. It may feel awkward, but you can do this – don’t you ever let anyone step over you because they asked and you didn’t.

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  1. CJ Johnson

    August 27, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I would take this article a bit more seriously if you did not use a photo of a typical stereo type Blonde/Blue white girl with perfect teeth. The younger generation seems to talk a good game when
    it comes to diversity but they consistently use images like this one to promote their goods and products including their blogs. Good story, bad image. P.S. I am a Blonde so I can knock my own image.

    • Lani Rosales

      August 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Hey @disqus_ZMz8pPgbHr:disqus thank you so much for adding your voice to this column, I appreciate your taking the time to opine!

      I’ve been thinking for a few minutes about your commentary and thought I would respond. First, getting stuck on the image is exactly the problem in the workforce that I’m addressing – people obsess over image and not substance, so if my daughter or yours doesn’t go ask for that promotion, the hot blonde could get it because she did or because she’s hotter.

      Second, although this is one of many letters to my daughter in this series and images of all races, ages and genders are used, I picked this specific image because it shows a young woman in front of a diverse group behind her, which is exactly where I hope my daughter will be because she worked her tail off.

      I hope we can avoid focusing on the shallow view and look more deeply into the image, past the girl. 🙂

      • CJ Johhnson

        September 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        HI Lani: Yes my point is the old if it bleeds it leads and while I totally agreed with your atricle I know in today’s microwave minute society they often do not get past the headline or the photos.

        • Lani Rosales

          September 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

          While I agree, sometimes we use pictures of Indian women, other times African American ladies, some old, some young, some beautiful, some not… if we excluded the pretty blonde (that my pretty daughter can relate to), are we guilty that discrimination? Help me to better understand?

  2. Tinu

    September 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Funny, @disqus_ZMz8pPgbHr:disqus – I didn’t even register the image when I read the story. I’m not as visual as most people though. Plus my focus was on “why would something Lani wrote only have two comments.” In my view diversity includes everyone, so we should still end up with some blond haired, blue eyed people. Which is why I think the concept of color blindness is wrong. But I digress.

    The most poignant thing about your article to me, Lani, is that even if your daughter does all those things, she still might not get what she wants professionally, because companies rarely operate based on fairness. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I know as a woman, particularly as a black woman, most people would think I should have the classic ideas about diversity and fairness. Generally I do.

    But in the area of human resources and hiring, I think we should stop pretending that people even understand that affirmative action was meant to be a door stop, not a quota enforcement system. It has Never operated like that, even in government. The popular perception is that it does, and the popular perception was that before the gender and racial diversification of the workplace, things were fair – and so movements for job equality attempt to inject additional fairness on top of that.

    You’re so right though, much more right than you realize, when you educate your daughter that these ideas of fairness are fictions. It was never, ever equal. I wonder sometimes, instead of trying to make it more fair, our energies would be better spent in exercises like refuting the fictions the world tells our kids, so they can better navigate around them until we all come up with something better.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?



Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Opinion Editorials

5 secrets to a more productive morning, free of distractions

(EDITORIAL) Productivity is king in the office, but sometimes distractions and other issues slow you down. So what can you do to limit these factors?



distractions stop productivity

Regardless of whether you’re a self-proclaimed morning person or not, more efficient mornings can be catalytic in your daily productivity and output. The only question is, do you know how to make the most of your mornings in the office?

5 Tips for Greater Morning Productivity

In economic terms, productivity is a measure of output as it relates to input. Academics often discuss productivity in terms of a one-acre farm’s ability to produce a specific crop yield, or an auto manufacturing plant’s ability to produce a certain number of vehicles over a period of time. But then there’s productivity in our personal lives.

Your own daily productivity can be defined in a variety of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s about getting the desired results with less time and effort on the input side. And as a business professional, one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your morning in the office.

Here are a few timely suggestions:

  1. Eliminate All Non-Essential Actions

    Spend the next week keeping a log of every single action you take from the moment your eyes open in the morning until you sit down at your desk. It might look something like this:

    • Turn off alarm
    • Scroll through social media on the phone
    • Get out of bed
    • Eat breakfast
    • Take shower
    • Brush teeth
    • Walk dog
    • Watch news
    • Browse favorite websites
    • Get in car
    • Starbucks drive-thru
    • Arrive at office
    • Small talk with coworkers
    • Sit down at the desk

    If you do this over the course of a week, you’ll notice that your behaviors don’t change all that much. There might be some slight deviations, but it’s basically the same pattern.

    Now consider how you can eliminate as many points of friction as possible from your routine. [Note from the Editor: This may be an unpopular opinion, but] For example, can you skip social media time? Can you make coffee at home, rather than drive five minutes out of your way to wait in the Starbucks drive-thru line? Just doing these two things alone could result in an additional 30 minutes of productive time in the office.

  2. Reduce Distractions

    Distractions kill productivity. They’re like rooftop snipers. As soon as they see any sign of productivity, they put it in their crosshairs and pull the trigger.Ask yourself this: What are my biggest distractions and how can I eliminate them?Popular distractions include social media, SMS, video games, news websites, and email. And while none of these are evil, they zap focus. At the very least, you should shift them to later in the day.
  3. Set Measurable Goals and Action items

    It’s hard to have a productive morning if you don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to be productive. Make sure you set measurable goals, create actionable to-do lists, and establish definitive measurements of what it looks like to be efficient. However, don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on true productivity.“There’s a big difference between movement and achievement; while to-do lists guarantee that you feel accomplished in completing tasks, they don’t ensure that you move closer to your ultimate goals,” mentions. “There are many ways to increase your productivity; the key is choosing the ones that are right for you and your ultimate goals.”In other words, set goals that are actually reflective of productivity. In doing so, you’ll adjust your behavior to come in proper alignment with the results you’re seeking.
  4. Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation

    Sometimes you just need to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are plenty of ways to shut out interruptions but make sure you’re also simultaneously cuing your mind to be productive. Vagus nerve stimulation is one option for doing both.Vagus nerve stimulation gently targets the body’s vagus nerve to promote balance and relaxation, while simultaneously enhancing focus and output.
  5. Optimize Your Workspace

    Makes sure your office workspace is conducive to productivity. This means eliminating clutter, optimizing the ergonomics of your desk, reducing distractions, and using “away” settings on apps and devices to suppress notifications during work time.

Make Productivity a Priority

Never take productivity for granted. The world is full of distractions and your willpower is finite. If you “wing it,” you’ll end up spending more time, energy, and effort, all while getting fewer positive results.

Make productivity a priority – especially during the mornings when your mind is fresh and the troubles of the day have yet to be released in full force. Doing so will change the way you operate, function, and feel. It’ll also enhance tangible results, like income, job status, and the accolades that come along with moving up in your career.

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Opinion Editorials

Is the tech industry layoff bloodbath coming or is it already here?

We have large online communities for job seekers, and we can affirm that the layoffs are on the way, but there is a silver lining for all involved…



layoff time

If you were on Twitter at the end of last week, you probably saw a dribble of conversations about layoffs in tech coming, and today, the volume was turned up to 10 on social media. Several founders have said they’re cutting parts of teams and are nixing contractors. We’re about to be in a recession, y’all, and we can ALL feel it coming.

While this has been happening all of this calendar year, a pending recession is kicking the stock market in the teeth (especially in tech), and combined with a slowdown in fundraising, fuel has been added to what was simply kindling, and layoffs are already rapidly escalating.

JD isn’t the only one hearing it, my inbox has slowly been lighting up on this topic. In response, Joshua Baer noted that it’s a great time to scoop up talent. Love or hate him, he’s right.

There is a lot of data on tech layoffs, for example, Layoffs.FYI has been tracking meaningfully since COVID began, pulling info from public reports. We expect they’ll be busy for the next few months.

While VC funding in 2021 was at a global high, so far, 2022 has shown a significant slowdown, according to CrunchBase. Many believe valuations are tumified, a bear market is believed to be upon us, and tech firms are struggling to increase profitability, all combining to a bubble about to burst.

As Baer noted, the silver lining is for anyone looking to hire. It’s bad news for anyone about to get a pink slip, but it’s also empowering to know that candidates are still in the driver’s seat in this market and negotiations are still in their favor.

We at AG have communities dedicated completely to job seekers and employers, and have created neutral ground on which they can meet, and they do by the thousands (Austin Digital Jobs and Remote Digital Jobs).

We’re not seeing the “bloodbath” of folks with pink slips in hand yet, BUT today, a dozen mid- to senior- level technologists reached out to me personally that got laid off Monday morning.

With our finger firmly on the tech employment pulse, we agree with the assessment that layoffs are coming.

More on this topic: “Why are tech layoffs coming after such great Q1 earnings?!”

Here’s the TL;DR version in memes:

The end is nigh?
tech layoffs in memes

Seems about right

In and out Morty, a quick 24 hour adventure!

Diversification is the key

The May 2022 stock market

Insert angry title here

It’s fedish!

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