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Tag: work

New thoughts on automation

For whatever reason, it’s quite rare to find a talk so interesting you’re on the edge of your seat for most it. This delightfully happened to me recently while listening to LEK Consulting‘s Andrew Allum talk about automation.

I find the topic of automation generally quite clear-cut: I think it’s a Good that will cause a fair amount of Bad in the short term. The bad consists of major restructuring in the job market and a lot of unemployment, which makes the fear and loathing around automation justifiable – too emotional and alarmist, but understandable. The good is in the long-term effect of greater productivity, lower prices and increased availability of valuable products and services for more people. Also, better jobs.

So against that backdrop of ‘This is a non-issue’, I was happy to find a lot of new food for thought in the talk. Mr Allum stressed that he was not a futurist and did not want to speculate much on what the effect of the changes we’re seeing now might be. I however am letting my mind wander, so have your grains of salt at the ready…

Business

Book rec: I Know How She Does It

I have a book recommendation! Laura Vanderkam is a wonderful author who writes about time management. Her new book, I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time is really worth reading if you’re a woman who dreams of having both a happy family life and a career, or already have both and find the juggling act stressful and difficult. (And if you’re a man in a relationship with such a woman, I would also recommend it to you for perspective.)I Know How She Does It cover

I’ve been a fan of Vanderkam’s writing ever since I happened to find What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast in a bookshop, and was inspired by her optimism about time. The lack of time is a favourite complaint among ‘busy’ people, but she actually maintains that you can make time for anything you want by planning and prioritising. And some of the things your time is currently spent on probably aren’t worth it.

The new book is based on research among women who have a big career and a family, and her findings are honey to my ears. I’m ambitious career-wise, but I also hope that I will eventually have at least one child, and I’ve already started worrying about how that’s going to work. The narrative is that if you want one, then you need to be reconciled to the fact that you will never be fully invested in the other. But Vanderkam’s research shows otherwise: the book is full of women who find the time to be properly involved in both, without big trade-offs, and it’s really reassuring to read about. 

Reading