Here are three tidbits I’ve collected that haven’t fit in other places over the week.

Condoleeza has a workplace crush
Maureen Dowd brings to light the evidence that Condoleeza Rice has a crush on the Canadian Foreign Minister Peter McKay. Scroll down in Dowd’s column to see a great photo of the two of them looking at each other, which reminds me of all the times I’ve fallen in love — how exciting it is. The photo also reminds me of all the crushes I’ve had with people I worked with. In each instance, unfulfilled sexual tension at the office made my work life more productive. Really. Probably due to some sort of synergy and that I was so in tune with how the other person was working. Side note: Peter McKay is so cute.
(Hat tip: Ben from AMVER)

Homework in grade school encourages bad habits in the work world
Doing more than 90 minutes of homework a night in middle school means lower test scores, according to Claudia Wallis writing for TIME magazine. She shows why excessive homework is ruining kids’ childhoods and family lives for no purpose. One expert suggests extending the school day so kids get all their homework done before they get home, because home is for family. My friend Mauri points out that when we encourage kids to bring school work home and do it at the expense of family, we set those kids on a path to bring office work home at night and do it at the expense of family.

How to make useless career lists useful
CareerJounal has published what seems like their five thousandth list this year on which are the best careers.What can we learn from this list? First, lists with juicy titles get linked to a lot, and I should have made this post “Three essential things for September”, or something like that. Second, the criteria someone uses to come up with the best career list is more useful than the list itself. Some editor decided that the question to ask is, do you have these things in your job:

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5 replies
  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    There was also an article in Newsweek recently about the education overload that is apparantly going on in pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary school. In the center of the article, there was a photo of a room full of very concerned looking parents at a kindergarten “orientation.” They were an angry, unhappy looking lot. The article had some juicy quotes from overachiever parents who said things like, “we don’t want him to do well in kindergarten, we want him to do GREAT!” Yuck.

    I don’t know how much of this is “real” and how much of it is just hand-wringing hype to worry parents into buying more useless educational crap for their kids. When I read stuff like this, it makes me angry and I want to tell these parents to stop pushing their kids. To what end? If they are thinking about getting their kid into MIT from kindergarten, that is insane. The kind of kids who will be academic superstars will put enough pressure on themselves and parents should be supporting them and making opportunities available if the kids have an interest.

    I think it is pathetic that parents have come to believe in such fatalistic terms. “Oh, my God, my 1-year old is not walking yet! I don’t want him to have to ride the “short bus” to school! Quick, better sign him up for “early intervention.” I know somebody I admire who smoked pot, did all kinds of drugs, and ultimately dropped out of high school. After realizing how dropout life sucked, she got her GED, went to junior college, transferred to a university, then went to law school. It’s not the recommended career path, but trying to prep kids for college in preschool and kindergarten is just going to create a lot more angry adolescents who burnout early, have tons of stress issues to deal with, and who will rebel at the point in life where critical choices DO need to be made.

  2. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    That Rice/MacKay article is hilarious. The State Department’s statement nearly had me spitting my coffee all over the laptop: “It was a well lighted dinner, with electricity-based lighting.”

  3. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    In addition to you analysis that a little sexual tension in the workplace can be a good thing (especially when people are single and not pondering adultry), there’s some more career lessons here.

    Both Condi and Peter have a role that sometimes involves taking the spotlight off their bosses. By gently (and I’d say deliberately) giving the press some double entendre lines to write about, they successfully kept the media away from issues of substance. In Canada, the new prime minister is often accused of being too cosy with Republicans and too often parroting US foreign policy statements. Now the talk is on the personal relationship with Peter and Condi, and not policy convergence between Canada and the US.

    So, if your job is to deflect attention from something, a little sexual inuendo can go a long way toward achiving that. Or, the lesson might be, these two are doing whatever it takes to accomplish their goal of reducing public criticism about the war on terror — even if it means letting themselves be the subject of media gossip.

    Canada took over running the military operation in Afghanistan this year, which is controversial here. Had Condi been an ugly man meeting with Peter McKay (or perhaps a different Canadian politician), I think it would have been a lightening rod event for public protest about Afghanistan.

    And, it’s so believable to Canadians that Peter would fall for Condi. He has a track record of falling for high profile, powerful women who are slightly out of his league. And, after the public way in which he was dumped by Belinda, everyone has a soft spot for Peter.

  4. David Christiansen
    David Christiansen says:

    Anyone finds the debate about what factors influences a child’s performance in school should read Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Examines the Hidden Side of Everything. It will change the way you see the world if you read it with an open mind. Sorry for throwing up such a vague post Penelope!

  5. Erik
    Erik says:

    I thought CareerJournal talking about job security is a very baby bomber-esque demand from a job. Not something that me or my friends really think about, I don't think. But then sometimes I think that's because we've never been through a bad economy? Not sure.

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