The most conflicted memorial just got more conflicted. The New York Times reports that the relatives of those killed on 9/11 will not endorse the World Trade Center memorial plan unless the names of the dead are categorized by where they were working. Relatives don’t just want the company name, though. They want the tower and the floor as well.

Many people will ask, Why? In a time when defining yourself by your work is so unfashionable, why do people want to remember loved ones by where they were working?

As someone who was at the World Trade Center when the towers fell, I can tell you that the way people recover from a trauma like this is we retell the story over and over again. I have never heard someone tell a story about being there and not say where they were working.

For one thing, it tells where you started, which is the biggest factor in determining if you lived. For another thing, those of us who were there that day reassessed our lives, and for many, the idea of work changed. If someone almost dies at work, work needs to have a lot of meaning if you’re going to go back.

I cannot speak for the families who had someone die that day. But if the people who lived are obsessed with where they were working, then it seems reasonable that families of those who died would be obsessed too.

The memorial will probably end up listing the names exactly how the families want. And the memorial will be a reminder to everyone that most of us spend most of our time working. Trauma victims are not the only people who tell stories. Everyone does. So make your time at work matter because it will always be part of your story.

I am doing research about women in sports, and one of the most memorable statistics I have come across is that nearly four out of five women executives played sports growing up. So I called Jennifer Crispen, to talk about her work in this field. She said that there has been a lot of research to show how much women’s careers benefit from exposure to sports — “in terms of teamwork, shared commitment, and leadership.”

But Crispen told me that most current research focuses on how we talk about women. The media focus on women doing “skirt sports” like ice skating and gymnastics, because, “People still want to describe women doing sports as graceful and pretty,” says Crispen. “If you define men as aggressive and competitive it’s positive. But for women, these are negative attributes.”

The double standard for men and women is true at the playing field and the office. The Hay Group did a study (reported by Paula Burkes Erickson of the Daily Oklahoman), which concluded that successful women employ a mixture of male and female leadership styles. But when women use a strictly “command-and-control” style typical of successful men, the women get feedback like “‘bitch,’ ‘disempowering,’ ‘not clear what she wants from me’ and ‘we’re not working as a team.'”

So women need to keep their leadership style a little soft in order to keep everyone on board. But what about men? Authoritarian leadership may have worked in the past, but it absolutely won’t fly with Gen Y. They will quit rather than put up with it. So the most effective leadership style for everyone is a mixture of male and female leadership styles.

American dream has changed. It used to be a college education, a steady job, a nice house (and a family to fill it), and a better financial picture than your parents. There is a new American Dream that is still about “doing better than your parents” but not in a financial sense. This dream is about fulfillment.

Boston-based artist, Ariel Freiberg, just got engaged, and she and her fiancé are gearing up for this new dream. “We were brought up to think it’s important to own a piece of property. It’s how you build your life in this country. But buying a house is not a major goal for us. It is not what will make our lives secure and it will not help us define ourselves.”

“The idea of the American dream is taken out from under us,” explains Anya Kamenetz, blogger and author of the book Generation Debt. “There used to be a contract with employers — healthcare, pensions, predicable employment,” but today there are none of those guarantees.

Additionally, the cost of a college education is far outpacing inflation, making it more difficult to make this first steps toward the American Dream, according to Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-somethings Can’t Get Ahead. The average student loans come to around $20,000, which means $200 a month out of an entry-level paycheck. On top of that between 1995 and 2002 median rents in almost all major cities have increased more than 50%.

Hillary Clinton recently gave a speech about how “a lot of kids don’t know what work is” and young people “think work is a four-letter word.” These were not renegade words, but rather an expression of the prevailing attitude among her fellow baby boomers.

The boomers mistake a rejection of their American Dream as a rejection of reality. But here’s some news: Young people know that work is a reality for everyone. It’s just that everyone needs to work toward something; so young people have a new American Dream.

“The new American Dream is much more entrepreneurial,” says Kamenetz. “And it’s about shaping ones own destiny: mobility, flexibility to do your own work and the ability to have a career as an expression of who you are as a person.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you craft your own version of the new American Dream:

1. Cushion an entry-level salary with a move back home.
The first step in restructuring the American Dream is to save money to ensure flexibility. Moving back with your parents is smart if you can do it. Most jobs are in big cities, and starting salaries simply cannot pay the rent in those cities. People who are not able to get subsidized housing from parents are much more limited in terms of their early career choices.

2. Get comfortable with risk taking.
The new American Dream is for risk takers. This is actually not groundbreaking in terms of the American Dream. For immigrants, the American Dream has always meant risk-taking. But today young people are taking risks that parents would have never dreamed of, like playing contact sports without any health insurance and signing up for a mortgage with a freelance career.

3. Protect your time.
The American Dream of Baby Boomers came at the expense of personal time and family time. Success is not having more things than your parents. It’s having more time. More time for hobbies, for travel, for kids. “It’s not about how much money you have, it’s about living your life on your own terms,” says Barbara Stanny, financial coach and author of Overcoming Underearning.

4. Don’t assume personal fulfillment requires a small career.
Sure, the new American Dream has nothing to do with financial studliness. But don’t sell yourself short in the name of personal time. “Higher earners with balanced lives don’t work more hours, they are just more focused,” says Stanny. “To make more money you don’t have to work more hours. There is a difference between settling for a low income and taking a job to feed your soul.”

5. Buy as small a home as you can.
You preserve the most options for your future if you can buy a home on one income. “The advice used to be: always buy the most expensive house you can afford because it’s an investment. Today it’s different. Buy only the amount of house that you need so it doesn’t become an albatross around your neck.” says Phyllis Moen, author of Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream.

6. Make decisions by looking inside yourself.
Be aware of the tradeoffs you’re making. For example, big cities are exciting and filled with career opportunity, but you pay a high premium for living there.

When talking about her decision to stay in Boston, Freiberg says, “There’s a certain vibration living in the city that feeds me and my fiancé — this inspiration is something that we can’t get in the suburbs.”

Choices are difficult today because the new American Dream is not as measurable as the old one. You cannot look at your bank statement or count your bedrooms to assess your success. The new American dream is about fulfillment, which is a murky, slippery goal, but young people like Freiberg know it when they feel it, and you will, too.

People with good social skills can get along with almost anyone, and if you want to be successful in your career, you have to make people like you: Figure out what matters to them, what makes them tick, and then speak to that when you interact.

The key to being likeable is to be able to adapt yourself to different situations. This does not mean that you have to be someone you’re not. Each of us is complicated, adaptable and curious. You need to know yourself well enough to understand a broad range of facets of yourself so that you can call up the right one with the right crowd.

The field of psychology that focuses on this particular issue is social psychology. And, fortunately, we have massive amounts of data from clinical research to tell us how thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others: Use this research to train yourself to be someone everyone wants to work with.

Think hard about how you approach a group. Do you hope that the group conforms to you or do you conform to the group? As long as you respect the people in the group, conforming to them enough to form a bond is not a bad idea. No one can be with their soul mate 100% of the day. But you can find pieces of yourself that match up with just about everyone, if you are in-tune with yourself and other people.

Social psychologists call people who analyze social situations and try to match their public self to the situation “high self-monitors”. Self-monitors are very good at gauging what their audience expects in each given situation. And these people are very sensitive to impression management techniques — they watch other people use them and then use the techniques themselves.

For some people, this skill of monitoring themselves within a group comes naturally — they are chameleons who can mirror other peoples' moods. Chameleons know what to say when their boss's pet gerbil dies and they know what to say when a co-worker suggests a date.

Other people are low self-monitors. These people attempt to alter a situation to match their private self. These people have one way of conducting themselves and have no idea how to change for a given situation. These are the people who make inappropriate jokes at a client meeting or are too stiff and formal at a company picnic. Chameleons generally disgust these low self-monitors, but I've got news for you: chameleons don't lose opportunities for being difficult to work with.

If you can get along with different groups of people, you won’t just be liked more at work, you’ll be more equipped to meet your personal goals. People who are able to develop friendships with a wide range of people are more able to change the way they think about themselves, according to Tracy McLaughlin-Volpe, professor of psychology at University of Vermont. Developing cross-group friendships as opposed to in-group friendships makes your more adept at creating a dynamic image of yourself — you are likely to be a person who can make changes to become the person you want to be.

You want to be someone who can make changes in yourself when you see the need, because social psychologists have also found that people remember negative traits more than positive traits. So if you tell a new employee your boss is “smart, open-minded, kind and disorganized,” the new employee will form an opinion of the boss primarily on “disorganized.” Your bad traits have more sticking power on your reputation than your good traits. If you want to be liked, face up to your weaknesses and compensate for them.

Most people who hate office social dynamics think people have to change who they are to succeed. But good social skills at work are really a reflection of empathy for the people around you. Anyone who is being their best self — kind, considerate, expressive, interested in others — will instinctively do the right thing at the office.

Today is take your pet to work day. In New York City, pet owners are carrying around doctor’s notes that say their dog is a medical necessity — as in the psychological benefits of dogs — so that store owners legally have to let the dogs come in. I can see that doing this at the workplace will be next.

I don’t recommend it. Why be annoying about your dog when there are so many other things to be annoying about at work? Maybe a better idea is to be annoying to get on a great project or to work from home? And if you really want to bring your dog to work, check out JobKite’s new listing of pet-friendly offices.

I have actually worked at a few offices with dogs. It wasn’t bad, but make sure your dog is cubicle-ready. People always think their dogs are better behaved than they really are.

The new workplace currency is training. Title is not important if you’re not staying long term. And salary increases of three or four percent are ceremonial. So use the clout you earn to get training; it will make a difference in your life in a way that salary and title cannot because training can fundamentally change how you operate and what you have to offer.

The two most important types of training teach you how to understand yourself and how you function in an office. To a large extent, you have to take responsibility for training yourself in these areas. You can’t learn this stuff passively, like learning key dates in U.S. history.

“This must be a self-motivated kind of learning,” Julie Jansen told me. As a career coach she recognizes that, “The problem is that most people don’t know how self-aware they are.” Her book You Want me to Work with Who? offers self-diagnostic tests to show you where you fall on the spectrum and how to re-train yourself.

Most people think they make a good impression, but they are misguided. So a great help is an objective third-party who can tell you where you are weak”?after all, everyone has weaknesses. The trick is to identify and fix them early in your working life so they don’t hold you back.

Workplace stars receive great training perks. “Most companies quickly segment out high potential employees and they get more advanced and aggressive training,” Jeff Snipes, CEO of Ninth House, told me. “Companies don’t usually market these programs because they create an atmosphere of haves and have-nots. However you can ask around at your company if there’s a high-potential program and what you’d need to do to get in.”

Here are some of the types of training to ask for:

1. Self-awareness coaching. Few people can accurately judge the impression they make on others. This is so widely accepted that companies are willing to pay big bucks for the a performance review that gives 360 feedback and includes in-depth interviews between a third-party and a wide range of people you work with. Once you determine your weaknesses, hiring a coach is a great way to understand the results of the review and figure out how to either get rid of your weaknesses or at least get around them.

2. Communications coaching. One of the most difficult pieces of managing yourself is projecting what you really feel to other people. So many things get in the way of authenticity in the office — most notably, your ego but also your nerves.

Lindy Amos, a coach at TAI Resources, teaches executives to communicate better by using acting techniques. She has said things to me like, “The difference between fear and excitement is breathing.” Before you decide that you are already good at projecting your true self, consider that Amos’s clients are top executives from companies you respect. If they need it, you do too. So get the training early in your career so you can make authentic connections from the beginning.

3. Training on how to navigate within a company. Many young people complain that they have great ideas but no one is listening. And this is often true. That’s because it’s not enough to have innovative ideas. You need to know how to promote them within the company.

Ninth House, for example, offers training programs that teach how to package an idea so that you can get it funded within the company. Topics in this program include how to align the idea with corporate strategy and how to find an internal sponsor, two critical pieces to being an innovator in the workplace.

When it comes to selling an idea at the office, don’t forget that you’ll have to sell the idea that training will be good for your boss and the company as well as for you.

If you’re unemployed, you can also think about training is in terms of the job hunt: Hayden-Wilder, for example, is one of a bunch of companies that teach people how to use public relations and marketing techniques to present themselves to employers.

Whatever sort of training you use — self-generated, corporate funded, or a mix of the two — if you create a life that encourages constant learning, your career and your life will be more interesting and more fulfilling.


Overheard at synagogue: “I would like to grow up and become a rabbi like you, but my dad doesn’t think women should be rabbis.” From the head rabbi’s seven-year-old daughter to the assistant rabbi who is a woman.

Religious groups seem to be one of the last standouts — along with coal mining and construction — where people feel free to openly declare that women should not hold top jobs. Don’t get me wrong, people in other fields are thinking it. But they know to talk in low voices.

Yesterday, the AP reports, “Jefferts Schori, bishop of Nevada, was elected Sunday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the US arm of the Anglican Communion.” She has an advantage over other women rising in religious organizations in that she has worked as a pilot and an oceanographer, other fields that are male dominated. Sharing ideas across industry lines is critical toward diversifying leadership in any given industry. In this sense, Schori is a one-woman meeting-of-the-minds.

But Schori is unique in that more than other fields of business I know, women in the pulpit have separated themselves from women who are breaking down gender barriers in other professions. While women in engineering, for example, align themselves with women in marketing and mentor each other, women in the pulpit are less likely to see themselves in the same boat as these other women.

But they are in the same boat: Religious organizations have office politics and salary issues; there are issues over who gets their own secretary and there are issues with sixty-year-old men who think they’re still working in an era where it was legal to specify gender in a help wanted ad.

The good news is that there are “more liberal attitudes toward women in leadership positions among those in younger generations,” and the gender divide is decreasing quickly among younger workers. Example: A female rabbi I know was interviewing for a job in a large synagogue. A male congregant stood up and asked, “How can you do such a demanding job as this one and take care of your kids?” A younger male congregant stood up and said, “That’s an illegal question. Don’t answer it.”

No matter what your business situation is, you should keep an ear to the ground about how people in other industries are changing the rules of management and success. There is a large and inclusive base of people who want a flexible and tolerant workplace. Align yourself with those people. You don’t have to do this alone, even as a priest or a rabbi.

Howard Stern has lost most of his audience. I’m not a big fan of his. I like public discussion of sex that is more interesting and productive than Howard offers. But I’m not above learning from him, and how can you not learn a lesson or two from a guy who has lost almost 11 million of his12 million listeners in just a few months?

Stern bet that his audience was so loyal that they would pay $13 a month to listen to him on satellite. Inside Radio reports today that most of Stern’s listeners are just plain too lazy to make the switch. (Though 13% don’t want to pay the extra fee.) The findings of this survey are consistent with the conventional wisdom that 80% of lost customers were not actually unhappy with what they were getting.

Each of us takes little gambles with our customer base all the time. Yesterday, for example, I told someone that I was changing our project specifications a little bit. I moved away from her vision and closer to my own. I made a bet that she likes working with me enough to put up with my change.

In this vein, an editor once told me, when I turned in a column late two weeks in a row, “People who write as well as you can be late. You just need to keep writing well.” That worked for a while, but then I really pushed his limits and he fired me. In this sense, I have empathy for Howard that he overestimated loyalty. Today I make more conservative estimates, and I bet Howard would do the same, if he could.

Once we all admit that we are all marketers, then we’re more humble about loyalty. Then we’re more careful to really get to know your clients and what matters to them — be they radio listeners, editors, consumer purchasers, or the guy in the cubicle next to you.

Howard Stern overestimated how dependent his listeners were on him, but perhaps he underestimated how beholden individual radio stations were to him. The trick, as a marketer, is to find out whose business is most dependent on you, and who you are most dependent on. Then you know where you have room to wiggle.

Here’s news in the category of good-looking people have better careers:

Now you can blame your co-worker for your tanking career and science will support you: A candy dish at work can make you fat. But a candy dish that is more than 6 1/2 feet away from you will be less tempting. Measure your co-worker’s dish. If it’s too close, move it every morning before she gets in. She’ll never notice.

Maybe there is actually some justice to the fact that thin people make more money than fat people: A study at Tufts University found that when rats ate foods higher in fat and sugar their minds were not as sharp as the minds of rats on a lean diet. (Reported by Self Dishes, which, if the editors are reading, should have more articles and fewer recipes)

Of course, there are some people who are never going to be in the good-looking category. And I am a big fan of self-knowledge, so I applaud anyone who can admit this. (Note of personal limitation: I could never admit this, and I would kill any worker who kept candy by my desk.) Here is some useful advice from Marty Nemko about how to improve your earning power even if you are ugly: Career Advice for the Unattractive.

Barry Bonds, the recently crowned home run king (and the less recently crowned king of steroids) was incredibly rude to the press for most of his career, and he is suffering for that now because the crowds are booing and the press is writing only parenthetically about his record-breaking performance.

You know the lesson here: You have to treat everyone you meet with respect because you don’t know who you are going to need later. The problem is that people use the lesson at work — they treat their boss and their underlings well. But they don't treat people they don’t work with well.

This is such a ubiquitous problem that half of American workers have been psychologically abused at their workplace, according the Handbook on Workplace Violence, a government publication. But the abuse is coming from people outside the workspace, such as clients, customers or, as in Barry’s case, third-party people you just have to deal with in order to get your work done.

Big-time journalist Patricia Sellers, in a lecture at Yale University, said, “The best thing, the smartest thing I’ve done is to be nice to assistants and secretaries. I believe you should be nice to everybody. As you rise, you will see the world gets so small.”

She describes, in fact, what happens to a guy like Bonds. When you are on top of the world, you stand on the part of the mountain that is very small. The number of people you really talk to at the top is small. It’s more intense than at the bottom, where there’s room for tons of people.

Extremely talented people can get to the top while being a jerk, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be celebrated. After all, the baseball writers are also the Hall of Fame voters.