Saturday, October 31, 2015

Getting and Giving More Feedback

Scarier than any Halloween frights is the fear of getting and giving feedback. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer ways to make getting and giving feedback easier and more valid.

Open Letter from a 65-Year Old

One way that we older people try to make peace with our growing decrepitude is to pass on what we've learned to the next generation. 

So, for my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer an open letter to people 20 to 50.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Workover: A Teacher Quits Teaching. Now What?

A caller to my radio show joined the 30-15 percent of public school teachers who leave the profession in the first few years. Now what? 

The transcript of our exchange is my PsychologyToday.com article today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

If You Only Had One Minute of Advice to Give to a Child

Imagine that you wanted to write a note to your child that offered as much good advice as you could in 250 words or less. What would you write?  

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I say what I would write:


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Guilty Pleasure: Being With People from Your Own Background

Yesterday, someone stopped me and asked if I would take a picture of him and his family. It turned out that, like me, he was a New York Jew living in an area with few of them. 

We hit it off immediately. I know we're supposed to celebrate diversity but that experience reminded me of why, still, so many people marry a spouse from a similar background and why it's tempting to hire someone from a similar background. I guess that's why we need the EEOC watchdog. Or do we? 

I describe the experience and my thoughts in my PsychologyToday.com article today.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Top Apps for Your Mental Health

Apps may never replace a therapist...or maybe they will. Good efficacy data isn't yet available but it's unarguable that an app is available 24/7 instead of 50 minutes a week, is more patient than a human therapist, there's no stigma to using an app, and it's dramatically less expensive.

Of course, for some people, therapy will be a better choice. But, for cost and convenience alone, in my PsychologyToday.com article today, I describe seven apps and two YouTube channels that deserve a look for anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, addiction, OCD, making or breaking a habit, or suicide. They all incorporate well-established psychological principles and have high user ratings across many reviewers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In Praise of the "Soft" Subjects

Looking back, do you think you benefited more  from your academic or non-academic pursuits in high school in college? Most people feel they gained more from the non-academic.  And in terms of pleasure derived, it's usually no contest.

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I make the case that it's a mistake to replace courses like drama, music, art, and psychology, with yet more academic ones.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Generation Z: What We All Should Know

Generation Z, the people currently ages 13 to 20, will soon run our world. 

Of course, there's great variation among people within Gen Z, but useful generalizations can be made. I offer some in my PsychologyToday.com article today.

The Relationship Report Card

Love and lust can impair judgment. In the short term, little harm is done. But sometimes the lack of objectivity extends even into deciding whether to get serious with someone. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer a  Relationship Report Card to add a measure of rationality to deciding whether to get serious with someone.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In Praise of Tweaking

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I argue that it's often wiser to aim to incrementally rather than dramatically change yourself.

The article offers a number of examples of worthy tweaks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Fight Between Business Partners...and Lessons Learned

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers a contentious dialogue between two business partners that offers lessons on business and on communication.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Catastrophizing: An underdiscussed source of anxiety...and how to ameliorate it.

"She'll find out about my affair, divorce me, and take me to the cleaners!"

"They'll put me in jail after that IRS audit!"

"What if that headache is brain cancer?!"

Catastrophizing occurs when you focus on the worst case scenario. That, of course, can make you anxious.

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers an internal dialogue that may help you reduce your catastrophizing.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Parent's Adult Child is a Dabbler. Now What?

It's a common problem, especially with today's young adult males: He's smart but unmotivated. That was the complaint of a caller to my NPR-San Francisco radio program. I post the edited transcript of our exchange as my PsychologyToday.com article today.

Better to Work for Less Money at a Non-Profit?

Many people with "non-profity" values would struggle with the decision to choose a lower-paying nonprofit job versus a better paying for-profit one. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I offer a debate, attempting to make the best arguments for both sides. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Workover: 60, Unemployed for Four Years, Alcoholic Seeks New Career

On my NPR-San Francisco radio program, I do Workovers. Callers call in with a career-related problem.

I've been posting edited transcripts of Workovers that might interest PsychologyToday readers. Today's offering is my exchange with a 60-year-old alcoholic who has been unemployed for four years and wants to make a radical career change.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Workover: Still in his 20s, he fears he's reached his career peak

A college grad in biotech has stayed stuck in a just-okay job for a few years and is told that the competition for moving up is very tough. He fears that even though he's still in his 20s, he's not going to make further career progress. 

That was the concern of a caller to my radio program. The transcript of our exchange is my PsychologyToday.com article today.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When Is it Okay to Take a Sick Day When You're Well?

A just released CareerBuilder/Harris Poll of 3,321 full-time non-government employees found, “38 percent of employees have called in to work sick when feeling well in the past year, up from 28 percent in 2014.”

My PsychologyToday.com article today is an internal debate on when, if ever, it's appropriate to take a sick day when you're not sick. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Butterly: A Fable About the Meaning of Life

In what I think will be the final installment in my PsychologyToday.com series of fables, I offer The Butterfly, which asks about the limitations of the pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Real Giant: Exploring Authenticity

Today's installment in my PsychologyToday.com series of fables tells of a Real Giant. It explores authenticity.

Just a Bit of Lint: A Fable

In today's installment in my PsychologyToday.com series of fables, I tell the story of a piece of lint.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Hyena That Wouldn't Laugh: What's Laughable About Your Life?

My PsychologyToday.com article today tells of a laughing hyena that wouldn't laugh. 

It invites us to look at what about our life is laughable. 

Excitable Ed: A Story About A Child Whose Teacher Wants Him on Ritalin

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I tell a very short story about Excitable Ed. It raises questions about what to do when a teacher suggests a child has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kill That Slug? A Fable

In this part of my PsychologyToday.com series of short fables, I tell of a slug and whether to kill it. 


The Bee: A fable that raises stinging questions

My PsychologyToday.com article today is a short fable I wrote about a bee. It raises issues about how to live life. 

I'll be sending a big jar of exceptionally good honey to the commenter who I believe most thoughtfully answered to four questions I ask at the end of the fable.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My latest TIME article: Should you call him "workaholic" or "heroic?"


HERE is the link to my latest TIME article, just published this morning. It asks whether we're too quick to call hard workers "workaholics." Sometimes, the more accurate term is "heroic."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

More on The End of Jobs. What the Hell Will Happen?

MIT has just announced it will allow students to get credit for some of its online courses for free. 

That is merely the latest step toward the conversion of paid teachers to essentially unpaid, as is usually the case with Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, edX, etc. Yet more people moved into volunteer work, just as so many formerly paid journalists must now write for free. 

The reduction in paid teaching is merely the latest bullet into the body of jobs. 

  • Tellers have been replaced by ATMs, supermarket checkers by self-checkout, toll-takers by camera watchdogs.  
  • Waiters, in chains such as Olive Garden, Applebee's Panera, Red Robin, Chili's, and Pizzeria Uno are being replaced by tablets. (Tell the truth, will you miss the waiter any more than you miss the bank teller,  supermarket checker, or toll taker?) 
  • Soon, truck, bus, and train drivers will be eliminated in favor of self-driving vehicles that never speed, take a sick day, nor require health care benefits. The robots are coming. 
  • Offshoring is ever easier and more effective. 
Ever fewer of those high-cost American employees will be needed---a few geniuses at the top, lots more to do janitorial and similar work. What about the huge numbers of other people whom employers are not willing to pay a living wage plus ObamaCare, Social Security, Disability, Workers Compensation, Paid Family Leave, etc? 


What will this evolve or devolve to? Without sufficient work, people go nuts in idleness, not to mention broke, perhaps without basic food, shelter, transportation, and health care.

And with genomic medicine around the corner, we'll be living longer--more decades with not enough to do. 

What is the answer? Certainly not mandated 30-hour workweeks. That merely will cause better workers getting fewer hours and worse ones getting more. Bad, bad. 

Can we count on the creative destruction of capitalism to create enough new jobs we can't yet imagine? Who knows? 

Could this even spawn Armageddon? As WMDs become more miniaturized and powerful (like mutated highly communicable bioviruses), all it takes is one crazy bioscientist pushed over the edge because s/he can't find work to release a vial of the stuff in an international airport's parking lot bus and billions will die. Imagine what an ISIS or other terrorist groups and even countries will be able to do. 

The U.S and Europe appears to be continuing to prioritize civil liberties--worrying about whether we're kind enough to Gitmo prisoners and whether the NSA's review of anonymous phone records violates the Constitution. 

Meanwhile, might terrorist groups and maybe even the Irans and Chinas of the world, less fettered by such concerns, destroy us? 

Anyone have a more optimistic yet realistic vision?

How Much to Sacrifice for Love?

My PsychologyToday.com article today consists of the text of my "children's picture book," Venus and Iris.

It invites thoughts about these questions:
  • How much we should sacrifice for love?
  • Should men be expected to sacrifice more than women?
  • Does lookism affect how much we're willing to do for others?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Male Suicide: A Silent Epidemic

Men are four times as likely to commit suicide as are women.

The gender gap increases over the lifespan:  "The male suicide rate goes from equal to females' prior to adolescence to five times as high’ between 20 and 24. Among the elderly, men over 85 have a suicide rate 1300% higher."

Perhaps surprising, the rate is highest among whites and lowest among African Americans and Hispanics.

White male suicide is up 40% in the last decade.

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I explore the gender death gap and argue that it's just one example of why the conventional wisdom that women are treated unfairly should be tempered. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Workover: She's Complaining About Her Boss: Sometimes it's not the boss's fault

On my NPR-San Francisco radio program, I do Workovers: Callers call in with a career problem.

I've been posting edited transcripts of Workovers that might interest PsychologyToday readers. Here's today's offering.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A 30-Year Old With A Career Dream But Hasn't Acted On It

A career counseling client, 30, describes herself as having wasted the eight years since she graduated from a well-regarded university. Her passion is musical theatre and is intrigued by a career in theatre marketing but is daunted by the odds.  

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers the transcript of an exchange we had during our recent session.

An Overwhelmed Law Student

My PsychologyToday.com article today consists of the transcript of the last of a career counseling session I conducted yesterday. I believe it offers lessons for helping professionals as well as nearly anyone.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Are Authors Paid to Embed Cigarettes in Their Novels?

The last two novels I read,  both Pulitzer-Prize winners,The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and All the Light We Do Not See, gratuitously include lots of cigarette smoking, described in a neutral if not positive light. 

I'd welcome your posting a comment here to say whether you've noticed this in award-winning novels that you've read.

I cannot help but wonder if the tobacco companies paid the authors to embed that. If so, how hypocritical that these authors, who take pains to write with antiseptic political correctness, encourage people to smoke cancer sticks merely to make more money. It feels especially reprehensible because they're already wealthy and write disparagingly about the wealthy.

The Story Game

There's a little mind game you can play by yourself or with something. It can be most revealing. I use it with some of my career counseling clients. 

In my Psychology Today.com article today, I describe it and include a transcript of the "game" I played with a client yesterday.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Use of Music in Counseling Sessions

Of course, there's music therapy. But even in traditional counseling and coaching, music can be a potent and enjoyable tool in sessions, even if you're not a musician. I offer ways to do that in my PsychologyToday.com article today.

A Workover: A Successful Man Wants to Chuck it All

On PsychologyToday.com, I've been posting edited transcripts of calls into my NPR-San Francisco radio program looking for a solution to their worklife problem. I call them Workovers. Here's today's offering.