Are you happy at work?

According to the Chiumento Happiness at Work Index the top ten things that make us happy at work are (in order):

  • Friendly, supportive colleagues
  • Enjoyable work
  • Good boss or line manager
  • Good work/life balance
  • Varied work
  • Belief that we’re doing something worthwhile
  • Feeling that what we do makes a difference
  • Being part of a successful team
  • Recognition for our achievements
  • Competitive salary

I’ve heard that having a best friend at work is the best way to make sure you are happy at work!

Interestingly enough, the things that make us unhappy are not quite the opposite of that:

  • Lack of communication from the top
  • Uncompetitive salary
  • No recognition for achievements
  • Poor boss/line manager
  • Little personal development
  • Ideas being ignored
  • Lack of opportunity for good performers
  • Lack of benefits Work not enjoyable
  • Not feeling that what I do makes a difference

So, for example, making a good salary won’t necessarily make you happy but making a bad salary is likely to make you unhappy.  So a good salary is necessary in order to be happy but it doesn’t make you happy in and of itself.

What did you do this weekend?

What did we do this weekend?

  • Took the kids to the pool.
  • Went to a Chinese wedding reception.  (Yeah for mayonnaise walnut shrimp!)
  • Spent the night in Denver. (The Westin is excellent.)
  • Painted the house.  (Most of it any way.)
  • Had dinner at Frank’s parents.
  • Went out with friends.
  • Volunteered at the Boulder Bolder.

Can we have a weekend now?

How many words an hour does your kid hear?

I read an interesting article in the Economist about Marriage in America.  But the quote that really peaked my interest was the difference in the number of words children from different types of homes heard in an hour:

One study found that a college professor’s kids hear an average of 2,150 words per hour in the first years of life. Working-class children hear 1,250 and those in welfare families only 620.

My grandmother told me I was going to talk her ear off when I was little – I guess that’s what comes from having two parents as teachers!

Dads are great, even unprepared, maybe even because they are unprepared

I was driving home from the airport last night when I got a call from Frank saying ‘Come to the softball field! I forgot the diaper bag!’ 

I was driving along all annoyed that it was eight o’clock at night and Caleb hadn’t had dinner when I started remembering some of the good times I had with my dad.  Like the time we snowmobiled from one town to another in Alaska with no extra clothes or safety gear much less dinner!  (Did I mention I was six years old and my sister was four?)  Or the time I got a piggy back ride down a cliff to see a "bear’s cave."  I don’t even remember how old I was during that one.  Did those experiences make me more comfortable jumping on a plane alone to visit India?  Or going horse back riding for a week in Australia?  Or meeting a big potential client for the first time?  You bet.  So maybe unprepared dads and missing dinner isn’t such a bad thing.  I relaxed and went to rescue Caleb (or was it rescuing Frank?) at the softball fields.  At least Caleb was very happy to see me!

Why do we have lawns?

You plant grass, you water, you take good care of your lawn and then you have to cut it every week, but you continue to water it.  Ever wondered why?  (I do – I think I spent too much time in a city without lawns to truly appreciate lawns.  I never look at a lawn and say, wow, that’s some good landscaping.  Instead I think, wow, that’s a lot of water in a place like Colorado where we’ve had droughts the past five years.)

Lawns came to the US from Britain in the late 1800’s.  It was a sign of wealth to have a large expanse of green grass all nicely trimmed (in the days before lawn mowers!)  The really rich used servants; our more practical presidents like Woodrow Wilson used sheep.  But we have the American Garden Club to blame for our current standards of lawn care:

It wasn’t until The American Garden Club stepped in.  Through contests and other forms of publicity, they convinced home owners that it was their civic duty to maintain a beautiful and healthy lawn. So effective was the club’s campaign that lawns were soon the accepted form of landscaping. The garden club further stipulated that the appropriate type of lawn was "a plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green, and neatly edged."

So next time you are griping about your water bill or the time you spend mowing, just remember, your lawn shows how rich you are!

Trading used books: The best site is Paperbackswap!

Paperbackswap is a great site for trading books.  I tried several book trading sites and Paperbackswap works the best for me.  You list the books you are done reading, ones that you are willing to trade, and for each one you send off, you can request a book from someone else.  All you pay is shipping on the book you send, $2.09 for most paperbacks.

Here’s how it works:

  • You list all the books you are willing to trade.
  • When someone requests one of your books:
    • you print out the label that Paperbackswap makes for you,
    • wrap it around the book,
    • tape it,
    • add stamps (Paperbackswap will tell you how much), and
    • send it.
  • You get a credit for each book you send.  (You get the credit when the other person receives the book.)
  • Once you’ve listed 9 books, they give you 3 credits to get you going.
  • You can use a credit to request any book any one else has listed.
  • You can also add books to your wishlist so that when someone posts that book, you get an email.  This is how I found out about almost all the books I wanted.

So now when I’m done reading a book:

  • I first decide if I just want to keep it. Am I going to read it again?  Look things up occasionally?  Lend it to a friend who I know would enjoy it?
  • If I don’t keep it, I check on to see what used copies are selling for.  If they sell for over $2.00, I sell mine.  I list it on and
  • If I don’t want to keep it and I can’t sell it for much, I list it on Paperbackswap.

So far I’ve listed over 40 books, sent seven books, gotten four and have another three on the way!

Book review: The 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferriss’ new book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich isn’t for everyone but I thought he made some really good points. 

  • We work from 9-5 because we are supposed to work 40 hours a week from 9-5.
  • We are very unproductive at work.  How many hours did you spend this week in meetings, answering emails or surfing the web?
  • We are busy working hard and saving for retirement when we should be figuring out how to do what we want to do now.
  • We have way too much information to digest from blogs to news to email.

What he suggests, among many other things, is:

  • Be more productive.  Figure out what you do when you are not working (like blogging emailing or reading blogs and news) and cut it out.
  • Get lots done in a little time so you have lots more time for things you enjoy.  He suggest working just an hour a day.
  • Outsource anything and everything possible including all your errands.
  • Figure out what excites you so you know what you want to be doing.  (He stresses excitement over enjoyment.  Like I’ve said, too much hanging out on the beach can get boring.)
  • Work towards a positive monthly cash flow instead of a large sum of money you’ll use during retirement.
  • Take lots of mini-retirements or mini-vacations – so save up for those and then do them.
  • He advocates lots of travel and lots of learning – especially other languages.

In order to accomplish all this, he suggests starting a business selling a product.  Then outsource everything from creating the product to marketing to order fulfillment to others.

I bet if you read the book, you’d get at least one really good idea out of it.  I bet most people that read the book don’t end up quitting their job and starting an outsourced product company, but you never know!

Yummy spinach crepes

I had yummy spinach crepes at Cafe Mason in San Francisco yesterday.  They came with an awesome fruit salad that included everything from blackberries and strawberries to melon and bananas.

Just be sure you leave any crying babies at home as they are sure to let everyone know that "Crying babies are not welcome here for other customer’s precious peaceful dining moments."   The waitress tried to take my menu away before I had a good picture and I said  "Wait! I’m going to blog about that."
491919237_c284fdfb7e"You and everyone else." Maybe that’s why I got such unfriendly service. Not bad, just not friendly.

Yet another unlucky lottery winner

This guy won $5 million dollars and is now living off social security!  His problem?  Bad investment advice.  It sounds like he might have a case although he probably should have gotten multiple opinions!  He was getting $98000 a year when an investment company convinced him to:

sell the future annual payments off to a private firm for an immediate
lump sum – in his case, about $2 million – that he could roll into
investments. He’d just live off the earnings and interest.

All these stories of lottery winners going broke almost makes you afraid to win the lottery!