getAbstract Blog


The average American spends 52 minutes commuting every workday. That’s nearly 4 and a half hours a week, or 225 hours a year. To put it in perspective, if you work for 45 years and have an average commute, you’ll spend 421 days (day and night) in transit from your home to your workplace. 421 days! That’s a lot of life.

Now, I’m no stranger to commutes. I’ve had very long ones (over 2 hours each way) and very short ones (15 steps from under the covers to my home office). The modes of transport I’ve used are plenty; I’ve gotten to work by car, by bus, by bike, by train, by tram, by foot, by ferry and even (briefly and awkwardly) by skateboard. Read the rest of this entry »


Once upon a time, a business failure was considered disgraceful, something to be avoided at all costs.

But in today’s world of innovation and disruption, failure has been transformed into an accolade rather than an embarrassment. Leading a failed business venture is thought to build character and bolster resumes.

Indeed, a number of management thinkers now believe that if you don’t fail, it’s not because you’re flawless but because you’re not trying hard enough. That’s the argument at the core of The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price by Laurence Weinzimmer and Jim McConoughey.

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Except for “firing” and “layoff,” no six-letter word generates quite as much anxiety around the old water cooler as “change.”

We thrive on routine, whether it’s stopping at the same coffee shop every morning or following a specific protocol for filing reports at work. The mere mention of “change” typically invokes feelings of vulnerability, insecurity and anxiousness. Though we understand on a rational level that change is constant and unavoidable, fear of the unknown can be upsetting. How to implement change while minimizing turmoil has long been a major challenge for executives and managers.

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The company you want to work for is profitable. It dominates its competitors. Customers love its products. There’s just one problem: The organization’s culture is a disaster. Its employees hate their jobs, and that’s how you’ll feel if you go to work there. If you don’t learn about the firm’s culture before accepting a position, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

We had the opportunity to talk to organizational consultant Sheila L. Margolis about the top things job seekers should consider before accepting a position and what potential employers should look for when hiring new talent. Read the rest of this entry »


Guest post by Sheila L. Margolis

Companies screen applicants for knowledge, skills and abilities. They want applicants who are a fit with the job. But, more and more, organizations now add another layer of questioning to evaluate how a candidate fits their company’s culture.

Candidates who are selected on the basis of culture fit—in addition to job fit— contribute faster, perform better and stay longer with the company. When hiring professionals neglect culture fit, the company and the employee share the burden. Read the rest of this entry »

Job Seeker Manual



Guest Post by Sheila L. Margolis

You get offered a job where you can do the work you love. It’s a fit with your strengths, interests and abilities. Isn’t this the ideal job?

Job fit is key to having a workplace where you will thrive. But job fit alone may not give you the joy and fulfillment you seek. You must also consider the culture of the company where you will work. Is that culture also a fit? Read the rest of this entry »

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You’ve heard the conventional wisdom about playing video games. Too much screen time leads to poor health and stunted social lives. Video games even have emerged as an apparent culprit in the US epidemic of male underemployment – working-age men would rather play Call of Duty or FIFA than punch a time clock.

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For workers who want to combine a big-city paycheck with a small-town lifestyle, or maybe just hope to avoid a soul-crushing commute, the options never have been broader.

Telecommuting increasingly is an accepted mode of work, even among large employers. While the benefits of working remotely long were obvious to workers, the advantages increasingly are becoming apparent to employers, too.

Telecommuters don’t occupy expensive office space. And a flexible work arrangement can be crucial to recruiting in-demand employees.

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Many sports fans believe that paying for a ticket entitles them to verbally abuse athletes. Though players are conditioned to tune out the booing and not take it to heart, sometimes spectators cross the line and unleash highly personal attacks. This type of mentality also applies to the bottom feeders on social media who regard Internet access as a license to disparage others.

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Even before she wrote The Gig Economy, Diane Mulcahy embraced a freelance career path. She took consulting gigs for private equity and venture capital firms, began teaching a course at Babson College and wrote for the Harvard Business Review and other publications.

Mulcahy spoke to getAbstract about how the world of work is changing. Read the rest of this entry »


Meetings? Get rid of them. Performance reviews? Twaddle. Manager pep talks aiming at building enthusiasm? Don’t waste your time. In his classic tome Managing Performing Living, management guru Fredmund Malik rips into all manner of standard corporate practices.

By gleefully poking holes in the conventional wisdom, Malik sounds like he’s impersonating the office crank who can’t stop griping about incompetent bosses all day long. Unlike that chronic complainer, though, Malik offers common-sense alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »


Depending upon your research and whom you believe is credible, you’ll find a variety of reasons and theories why small businesses startups succeed or fail. Reliable statistics indicate that roughly 80% of new ventures survive the first year and around 50% are still in business after five years. The issue is how to increase your odds considering there are no guarantees in business – regardless of how well you’ve planned. Read the rest of this entry »


You’ve probably heard a lot about coaching. Maybe you’ve even had a coaching session or two in your lifetime. But we’re sure you’ve never had a coach like Michael Bungay Stanier, a Rhodes scholar who has worked with companies such as AstraZeneca and Xerox. His book, The Coaching Habit, is a coaching manual that will help anyone become a (better) coach. We had the opportunity to sit down with Michael and ask a few questions. Continue reading for some insights from this coaching guru. You won’t regret it!

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Guest post by Michael Bungay Stanier

How often do you sit down and try to figure out “What the heck are we really doing here?” Many of us do this a couple of times of year. I know I do, and I like to think that it’s a good way to take a deep breath and look at what’s going on outside of my everyday chaos. It works as a sort of pause button for me.

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We’ve all heard about coaching, and some of us might even think that coaching is a waste of time (gasp!). But it turns out that done right, coaching can be an incredibly effective method to improve job performance and satisfaction and it can help strengthen organizations.

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