Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Data security practices/ Laura Dawson

Jul. 22, 2017 "Are Canadian businesses failing to correct data security practices?": Today I found this article by Michael Murphy in the Globe and Mail

Michael Murphy is VP & country manager, Citrix Canada.

While Canada’s reputation for being overly polite can make for some great jokes, it may also be cause for concern for companies. A recent study, The Need for a New IT Security Architecture: Global Study on the Risk of Outdated Technologies, revealed that Canadian IT professionals are among the most concerned in the world about controlling employees’ devices and data, yet are the least concerned with enforcing employee compliance with security policies.

This begs the question: Are Canadians shying away from correcting bad security practices?

It wouldn’t be the first time businesses have run into problems because of Canadians being “too nice.” The same issue was observed in the case of Canadian customers refraining from complaining or providing negative feedback – stifling companies’ ability to adjust and improve their services.

However, whether Canadian politeness is the cause or not, with technology integral to success and security risks rising, business leaders must enforce strategies and policies that ensure employees are keeping confidential information safe.

Developing and enforcing policies

Security measures are undermined if leaders and HR don’t support IT by creating and implementing security policies across all management levels in all departments. These policies must clearly outline a range of regulations, including whether the company will embrace Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or provide corporate devices, how costs will be divided, which services will be offered and who is eligible.

It is then up to the organization to enforce these policies. This means setting clear compliance guidelines and repercussions, as well as following through on them when they’re broken.

Too often, organizations must deal with employees who have inadvertently caused a security problem when they weren’t even aware it was an issue in the first place. There are far too many stories of employees saving private information on their laptops and USBs only to have the devices stolen, leaking confidential information out in to the world. Finally, these policies must apply to all employees.

Even those at the top must follow regulations, sending a message supporting the importance of IT security across all levels of the corporate structure.

Educating employees

Human error is an unavoidable risk factor that every organization faces. With the prevalence of BYOD work cultures, the opportunity for human error to pose a significant security risk increases substantially.

In fact, 67 per cent of Canadian IT professionals perceive personally owned mobile devices in the workplace as a disruptive technology and risk to IT security infrastructure.

Going beyond establishing policies and protocols by providing an in-depth yet easy-to-digest explanation as to why they’re in place goes a long way to ensuring they are absorbed, understood and respected.

Employees should be educated on essentials such as what to do if their device is lost, how to avoid connecting to unsecure networks, which data transfer solutions (eg. Dropbox) are unsecure and how to avoid malicious apps. Introducing training sessions for new employees as well as manuals or guidebooks for day-to-day reference for both new and existing employees can be a straightforward solution.

Adapting to change

Seventy-four per cent of Canadian IT practitioners are concerned that having millennials in the workplace poses a significant risk to security – second only to Japan (79 per cent). As the world’s first “connected” generation, millennials are hyperactive on their mobile devices; using apps and social media platforms for both personal and professional purposes.

With 90 per cent of respondents also believing that employees’ use of social media in the workplace has a negative impact on security – 15 per cent higher than the global average - this causes a problem.

As Canada’s largest generation in the workforce, they are the now, and the generation coming up behind them is even more connected. Businesses must accept and embrace this change in tech usage by implementing adaptive IT solutions, practices and procedures that can be flexible without compromising security. This may mean making targeted efforts to show employees how to securely use social media in the workplace.

Of course, responsibility to keep data secure does not entirely fall to the employees. Without the right infrastructure or mobility management solutions in place, companies are at risk.

With 73 per cent of IT professionals stating their infrastructure is outdated and inadequate, investment in IT is more critical now than ever, as is a holistic approach to protecting sensitive information that includes both man and machine.

4 days ago

"Seventy-four per cent of Canadian IT practitioners are concerned that having millennials in the workplace poses a significant risk to security ..."
Try having them in CHARGE of IT and security. I know there are certainly competent professionals out there but the number of IT support start-ups out there offering their so called services to small and medium-sized businesses who have no idea what they're doing is stunning. And being millenials they are impossible to correct. You have companies that absolutely depend on their IP and everything is left open to the net. Absolutely amazing. China, have at it.
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4 days ago

Canada's businesses are failing to do pretty much everything. I am by no means a big business but I regularly source items from Canadian, US and EU suppliers. The disinterested, not to say arrogant, attitude of most Canadian businesses, with few exceptions, is appalling. They seem not to be aware of broadband internet and the world around them.
Here's one example of the difference in attitude when trying to purchase an item online that is out of stock:
Canadian: Sold Out (translation: too bad, so sad, get lost)
US or EU: That item is temporarily out of stock but enter your email address here and we'll notify you as soon as we have it back in stock (expected in X days). In the meantime, you might be interested in these alternatives. (translation: we want your business).


Jul. 24, 2017 The Ladder: Laura Dawson:

Laura Dawson, 52, is the director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington and a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

I was born in Sault Ste. Marie [Ont.], went to high school in Calgary, dropped out and ran off with the wrong guy, ending up in the Kootenays. I worked in radio as a copywriter. I made all the decisions you don’t want your daughter to make. My first child at 20, second at 22, single parent at 23. I had to take algebra to get into college, part time, with giant student loans.

A professor suggested I take an international-relations course – to me, political-science people were men in the cafeteria playing Risk. We discussed women in Sandinistas, campesinos, trade agreements around that time [of] Canada/U.S. free trade – terrible things! I was on that crusade. I was good at international relations, terrible if you want to earn money quickly.

With two little kids, you can’t get summer jobs, so I had to go on social assistance – the faculty found me jobs, mentored me. I was a Calgary Olympics mascot; I saw the costume at the airport and it brought a tear to my eye.

I got the first degree from [the] University of British Columbia – Okanagan. The faculty said for [my masters in] political science I had to go to Ottawa, which with two kids was like going to Mars. I took a leap of faith, to the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carlton University. The administrator found me a research assistantship – physical anthropology – stones and bones. I learned quickly and hauled skulls around.

I’m a trade geek. I started as a research assistant, staying 15 years at the Centre for Trade Policy and Law. I worked with retired diplomats who’d been trade negotiators – old grumpy guys – they whipped me into shape. I travelled the world with the centre. I got my PhD at 40, the year my son graduated high school. A job came up as an economic adviser at the U.S. embassy. Flash forward 20 years, all those guys, I’ve replaced them.

The biggest shift since 2005 has been democratization, the accessibility of trade. Trade is technical, not amenable to sound bites so I keep it accessible. If I have a niche, it’s to explain complex matters in ways people understand and expand the benefit of trade to people who need it.

I do 40 speaking engagements a year; women ask how I got to do what I do. Some comes from being an outsider – I came from a fractured family, know what it’s like to not feel I belonged or privileged, was an imposter. The people who helped when I was finding my way were extraordinarily important.

My career path is unorthodox; I stumbled from one thing to the next. I trusted that good luck and hard work would get me where I wanted. I was never encumbered by a big government pension or tenure track preventing me from blundering into the next thing.

When I was a professor, students used to be in states of angst, stressed they weren’t on the path they thought. You can do a lot in your 40s and 50s, important and worthwhile things – we’re an aging population and healthier. Give yourself a break if you’re 25 and stressed.

When Americans think of Canadians at all, they think of Canadians in a very favourable way but don’t realize the interconnectedness of the relationship. I ask if they know Canada is the largest buyer of U.S. exports, largest supplier of energy, one of the largest foreign investors – they don’t know.

The challenge is so great to educate and inform Americans about Canada and Canada-U.S. issues. Justin [Trudeau] is beloved here. My junior staff are smitten. We have a Justin selfies stage; a big frame with pictures. For Canada Day, there’s all sorts of fancy parties – we do a happy hour for interns. We started primarily with our own but extended it this year to all Canadian interns in the embassy, World Bank, the Alberta and Quebec offices.

I miss fundamental civility; Canadians think twice before they say or do something. Then I miss silly things … that cabinet [Ms. Dawson points to a cabinet] is full of maple cookies, Coffee Crisp bars, all-dressed chips. We use swag for happy hour.

I love Washington. Every day you’re in the midst of political drama. It’s exciting but you have to maintain perspective – if you’re spending your time reading 140-character tweets, you’re not getting anything done.

As told to Cynthia Martin. This interview has been edited and condensed.

8 hours ago

What a refreshing read. Here's a gal who took risks and accepted full responsibility for them...all the while refusing to play the blame game on society while raising 2 kids as a single mum. I give full marks for anyone wanting to challenge themselves and taking necessary risks in order to make that leap of faith...all through sheer work, little sleep, and tight budgets.
Many thanks for bringing this story to your column. I hope we meet many more inspiring trailblazers!
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Eczema startups/ "How to create a thriving workplace culture"

Jul. 21, 2017 "Personal experiences spur eczema startups": Today I found this article by Elizabeth Olson in the Globe and Mail:

Entrepreneurs often driven to niche market because of close bond to someone with condition that lacks widespread efficient remedy

When Elizabeth Scott’s son, Harrison, was only a few months old, he had a red rash all over his body and was scratching himself almost constantly.

“Once, when I got him out of bed, he was bloody,” said Ms. Scott, who lives in Denver. That set her on a search to find out what was wrong and how to fix it. It turned out that her son had eczema, leaving his skin scaly and oozing.

The condition, which is also called atopic dermatitis and is often chronic, afflicts millions of children and adults. To ease their discomfort, an expanding number of small companies are offering therapy garments and non-chafing clothing as well as moisturizers and salves.

The niche market for eczema sufferers has thrived because there is no widespread safe and effective treatment. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug, Dupixent, to treat eczema so severe that it cannot be controlled with other treatments.

The condition afflicts an estimated 300,000 in the United States, according to Regeneron, the pharmaceutical company that developed the drug. But Dupixent injections, which have a list price of $37,000 (U.S.) annually, lead many eczema sufferers to seek less costly relief elsewhere, including opting for soothing and comfortable clothing sold on such sites as,, and

Eczema entrepreneurs are often driven by personal experiences that they or their family members have had with the skin condition. Joe Paulo, for example, created Smiling Panda clothing after he had eczema as a teenager. But he and others, including Ms. Scott, have found the path to a winning eczema product is not short or easy, in large part because there is no official testing process to get approval.

“Everyone’s eczema is different, and not everything works the same way on every patient,” said Julie Block, president and chief executive of the U.S. National Eczema Association, which tracks developments in the field but does not endorse products. The association does offer a “certificate of acceptance” for companies that can show they have clinical safety testing data for their products.

The only apparel company to earn the association’s grade so far is Ms. Scott’s AD RescueWear, whose wet-wrap therapy garments relieve itching by sealing in moisture. Medical studies have shown such therapy helps eczema sufferers.

Ms. Scott discovered the therapy while searching for a way to help Harrison, who will be 9 in September. As a baby, his eczema was so severe that he got a staph infection from scratching. Mark Ebadi, an allergist at the Colorado Allergy and Asthma Center in Denver who was treating Harrison, recommended wetwrap therapy.

Ms. Scott dressed her son in wet cotton pajamas, and – at Dr. Ebadi’s suggestion – taped her husband’s tube socks around her son’s hands for protection. But the wrapping was cumbersome.

“It was off-putting to wrap a child in damp clothing,” she said. “And cotton pyjamas got baggy, and my son would get cold. We needed something for him that was close fitting so it would be next to his skin.”

It took a lot of trial and error, but Ms. Scott, who is an interior designer, gradually developed a full bodysuit with flat seams – almost like a long-sleeve onesie – with covers her son’s nails. The suit has attached feet, similar to those found on infant and toddler pajamas, to prevent children from scratching their legs and ankles, where clusters of eczema are often found.

“I knew nothing about clothing manufacturing,” Ms. Scott said. Eventually, she found a family-owned company in Michigan that was willing to produce a run of her sample suit. It was made from the artificial fibre Tencel, which retains more water so the material holds its shape and stays closer to the skin.

She called the bodysuit the “Wrap-E-Soothe” suit, but customers later began calling it the rescue suit – a nickname her company quickly adopted. It sells for $109 for children. The product line later was expanded to include tops and pants, which cost $74.50, and sleeves, which cost $34.95, to cover children’s arms and legs.

Ms. Scott began selling the garments in 2012, the same year she teamed up with Anne McVey, an experienced marketer in Davenport, Iowa, whose daughter has eczema. To test reaction from doctors, they took samples to an annual meeting of allergy, asthma and immunology specialists, held in San Antonio, Tex., in 2013. The garments received good reviews, but Ms. Scott said it was an uphill climb to attract customers online because the product was little known.

She did not share specific numbers, but Ms. Scott said sales increased 70 per cent last year – to around 10,000 items – over 2015. Repeat customers, the eczema association’s certificate of acceptance and a medical product billing insurance code have all helped raise the site’s visibility and attract business, Ms. Scott said.

“We’re aiming for 100,000 pieces annually,” she added, noting that the site is adding garments for adults.

Mr. Paulo, 23, has already made some inroads with adults seeking relief with his Smiling Panda brand, which he started after getting eczema on his arms. The eczema appeared after he moved from California to Philadelphia in 2012 to attend college.

His eczema, he said, “got significantly worse” when he had to wear professional clothing during college internships. When even bedsheets began irritating his skin, he started researching the properties of different fibres and how clothing was made.

He chose a bamboo-cotton blend for his clothing because bamboo fibre is soft and cotton fibre allows a closer fit, he said. He began cutting and stitching his own shirts, with flat seams and no tags.

When he wore his shirts to bed, he said: “I went from having a really tough time falling asleep to having no trouble at all.”

"How to create a thriving workplace culture": Today I found this article by Jeff Cates in the Globe and Mail:

Jeff Cates is president of Intuit Canada.

The Canadian workforce is changing at a breakneck pace and many business leaders are struggling to keep up. We know that retaining our best talent is paramount to maintaining a competitive edge and that keeping employees satisfied isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s how we drive growth.

As more Canadian professionals join the growing ranks of the self-employed – our research projects that full and part-time freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers are expected to make up to 45 per cent of the workforce by 2020 – it’s becoming increasingly difficult for leaders to create a culture and employee engagement model that keeps workers of all types happy, loyal and fulfilled.

Regardless of the industry in which you operate, your organizational structure or your company size, the best companies build a culture where employees trust senior leadership, have pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with.

Recently, Great Place to Work released its annual list of the 2017 Best Workplaces in Canada. Canada is home to many wonderful companies leading the way in employee engagement. Here’s what we’ve learned about maintaining a happy, healthy and productive workforce in today’s shifting landscape.

Earn your employees’ trust – and keep it

Trust is one of the most important ingredients in a company’s success. Earning the trust of your consumers, clients, shareholders and most importantly, your employees is non-negotiable, especially in the era of social media where stakeholders can voice opinions publicly in real-time.

When employees have trust in their organization, they are inspired, motivated and confident in leadership’s decisions even in times of uncertainty. According to a recent study examining the connection between trustworthy leadership and productive employees, 45 per cent of employees say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting work performance.

Bryson Insurance is a great example of how to inspire confidence in company leadership. Every employee is provided monthly individualized coaching where they self-discover opportunities for growth, highlight challenges and create long-term goals.

Want to promote trust within your organization? Create a culture of transparency. Solicit input from employees of all levels in major business decisions; communicate your business strategy and roadmap; paint a clear picture of what your company stands for and what you hope to achieve; encourage employees to communicate openly with their managers.

This allows you to keep a close pulse on employee morale and address concerns directly before they spiral into larger issues. Even more important, your workers will feel that their voices are heard and valued.

Once you’ve earned employees’ trust, you need to ensure that you keep it. This means making a conscious effort to lead by example, act on intentions and set achievable goals to ensure promises are kept.

Celebrate achievements outside of the workplace

These days, work-life balance and flexible work schedules are table stakes for leaders looking to create a thriving workplace culture. If you really want an engaged, well-rounded and fulfilled workforce, celebrate your employees for who they are outside of their professional roles.

Shining a light on individuals’ unique interests and accomplishments and encouraging employees to get involved in their communities fosters pride in being part of your organization, beyond the work they do.

For example, Grant Thornton has recently launched an initiative to recognize employees making a positive impact outside of the workplace, encouraging people to take up new passion projects or charitable efforts.

This year, the company launched an annual award to honour three Grant Thornton team members who make significant and sustained volunteer contributions to organizations in their community. Award recipients received a $2,500 grant from the Grant Thornton Foundation to designate to a charitable organization of their choice.

You want curious, well-rounded individuals from different backgrounds to bring a diverse breadth of perspectives for your organization. Showing your employees that you’re proud of their achievements encourages these pursuits and helps create a culture where people are in turn proud to work for you.

A healthy workforce is a happy workforce

Forty-seven per cent of working Canadians consider work to be the most stressful part of daily life. This is deeply troubling to me. To a degree, stress is an inevitability for all professionals, but your employees should never have to choose between professional success and emotional well-being.

If the companies on this year’s list of the Best Workplaces in Canada have one thing in common, it’s their emphasis on healthy living. After all, both physical and mental health are powerful tools against burnout and stress.

At Intuit, employee physical and emotional well-being is a top priority and I’ve learned that empowering employees to pursue healthy lifestyles pays dividends when it comes to morale, retention and productivity.

In addition to our onsite gym, we provide onsite biometric screenings and offer a fitness reimbursement program for gym memberships, exercise classes, meditation classes and weight loss programs. We also have an activity program where participants receive a fitness wearable and can earn rewards for increasing their physical activity.

Creating a positive workplace culture which your employees can be proud to be part of doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t be viewed as a series of employee engagement initiatives, social committees or quirky perks.

To become a great place to work, leaders must put their employees first and place their fulfillment and well-being at the heart of every business decision. When workplace satisfaction is a core pillar of your business strategy, your employees will take notice. That’s how you earn the trust and loyalty of your best performers for the long-term.

1 day ago

Jeff rightly reminds us that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for leaders to create a culture and employee engagement; and it's only going to get worse. This is the backlash from a technology driven lifestyle that has often unperceived consequences in the way we relate to others. I believe the answer to employee engagement is in the strength of the relationships we build at work. It's not WHAT you fish for, it's WHO you fish with!
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1 day ago
No - it's about how you treat people.
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On-Line Reader
1 day ago

In reply to:

Jeff rightly reminds us that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for leaders to create a culture and employee engagement; and it's only going to get worse. This is the backlash from a technology...
No. Its more to do with having an office full of temps and contractors.
Most temps and contractors will do their job as best they can. But there is no long term loyalty and if you have a constant flow of people coming and going, I'd say the chances of having a 'strong corporate culture' (except a 'Militaristic' one where everyone keeps their heads down and does their job) are remote.
1 Reaction

1 day ago

Too many companies think the solution is creating a "hip" open concept office, some going so far as to convert a warehouse space. But that usually results in a work environment that is noisy, distracting, and uncomfortable. In truth, it doesn't matter whether you work in a cubical, or in a high-rise office tower, if you are doing work that is rewarding and have confidence in management and the company.

On-Line Reader
1 day ago

> These days, work-life balance and flexible work schedules are table stakes for leaders looking to create a thriving workplace culture.

>If you really want an engaged, well-rounded and fulfilled workforce, celebrate your employees for who they are outside of their professional roles.

This is a bit of a weird paragraph as it seems to be slamming two different ideas together and (seemingly) suggesting one follows the other.

Chances are, if you have a lot of temps and contractors, yes they probably would like some flexibility if they are working shifts

But I can't see how a temp or contractor would care about whether or not "work" is interested in what they do outside of regular hours. And I suspect a lot of full time employees would prefer to keep "work" separated from their personal lives.
And if you are employing a lot of temps and contractors, don't expect them to care much about your company as they won't once their contract runs out.

"Value of interviews for hiring questionable"/ "Get more sleep, make more cash"

Nov. 5, 2016 "Value of interviews for hiring questionable, study reveals": Today I found this article by Howard Levitt in the Edmonton Journal.  It was very good about psychology and bias.

I have mentioned this before that I am aware of my sexism bias in the "Kim Kardashian robbery" news.  When Joe Francis was robbed, I didn't really feel sorry for him because he was a big grown man.

Here's the article:

Employers, like most people, tend to trust their intuitions. But when employers decide whom to hire, they trust those intuitions far more than they should.

Suppose that you are considering two candidates for a job in sales, Candidate A and Candidate B, and have interviewed both. You and your colleagues were far more impressed with Candidate A, who was dynamic, engaging, and immensely likable — a natural, especially for sales. By contrast, Candidate B was a bit awkward and reserved, and so seemed to be an inferior “fit.”

One of your colleagues points out that both candidates have taken an aptitude test that relates to the job; their personnel files also contain their scores on a general intelligence test. On both tests, Candidate A was just OK; Candidate B performed superbly.

Which applicant will you choose? If you are like a lot of people, the answer is still Candidate A. After all, you met both in person, and part of your job is to be able to assess people. Maybe Candidate B tests well, but Candidate A knocked your socks off.

A lot of evidence suggests that in cases of this kind, employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions — and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. Interviews are far less useful at telling you who will succeed.

What’s true for sales positions is also true more generally. Unstructured interviews have been found to have surprisingly little value in a variety of areas.

For medical school interviews, for example, they appear to have no predictive power at all: in terms of academic or clinical performance, those accepted on the basis of interviews do no better than those who are rejected.

In law schools, my own experience is that faculties emphasize how aspiring law professors do in one-on-one interviews — which usually provide no information at all about how they will do as teachers or researchers.

In the abstract, most people in human resources are fully aware that objective measures are helpful. Yet the overwhelming majority of people in these positions believe that executives “can learn more from an informal discussion with job candidates” and that it is possible to “read between the lines” to see whether a candidate would do well in the job. In general, that’s wrong.

In fact, some evidence suggests that interviews are far worse than wasteful: By drawing employers’ attention to irrelevant information, they can produce inferior decisions.

For example, people make better predictions about student performance if they are given access to objective background information, such as grades and test scores — and prevented from conducting interviews entirely. (In some fields, of course, specific aptitude tests don’t exist, but general intelligence scores are often available. And if candidates have a previous track record, it makes sense to rely on it.)

So why do employers, managers and administrators continue to give so much weight to interviews? The simple answer is that people trust what they see and hear, and rely on their own feelings even when they shouldn’t.

But as Yale University management professor Jason Dana and his collaborators have shown, there’s more to it than that. Interviewers actively fool themselves, finding ways to learn from interviews even if there’s actually nothing there to learn from.

Dana’s central finding is that interviewers work very hard to make sense of whatever interviewees end up saying. If you are conducting an interview, you will quickly form an initial impression of the candidate, and you will be inclined to assess his or her answers — whatever they are — in a way that fits with that initial impression.

To confirm that point, Dana instructed interviewees to give literally random answers to questions — answers that had nothing at all to do with their natural response. Even then, interviewers said in post-interview surveys that they received valuable information.

In other words, interviewers, thinking that they are good judges of people, ended up confident about the usefulness of the interviews even when the responses were deliberately worthless.

There’s a related problem with interviews: They can give effect to biases, conscious or unconscious. If interviewers are prejudiced against women or Hispanics, for example, a face-to-face interview will predictably result in discrimination. Reliance on tests, or on actual or past performance, can promote equality.

For business, government, and education, the lesson is clear: People ought to be relying far more on objective information and far less on interviews.

Nov. 26, 2016 "Get more sleep, make more cash": Today I found this article by Ana Swanson in the Edmonton Journal:

I like the picture of the guy with eyes drawn on the post- it notes on his face:

We all know sleep matters for job performance. After a week of vacation, you may find your work better than ever.

But rack up a week of sleepless nights and you may find yourself struggling.

It wouldn't surprise anyone that sleep affects attention, memory and cognition - important factors in the workplace. But striking new research suggests the effect of additional sleep is so powerful that it could actually translate into thousands of dollars in wages.

A new paper - from Matthew Gibson of Williams College and Jeffrey Shrader of University of California-San Diego, based on data from Jawbone, the fitness and sleep tracker company - says that additional time sleeping can translate into thousands of dollars in wages.

In fact, they calculate that a one-hour increase in weekly sleep raises wages by about half as much as an additional year of education.

Now, the story is not so simple. Don't think you can start to sleep more and you will instantly make more money. It's more about the subtle interplay between how people schedule their lives, how much time they have available to sleep, and how that affects worker performance and, ultimately, earnings.

To investigate how sleep affects worker wages, the researchers took advantage of a kind of natural experiment - sunset times across American time zones. Past research shows that people naturally end up sleeping longer when the sun sets earlier, for example in the winter, even if the person goes to bed well after dark. When the sun sets an hour later, it reduces nighttime sleep by roughly 20 minutes per week.

Within a single time zone, the time of sunset varies substantially. For example, the sun sets about an hour and a half earlier in Mars Hill, Maine, than in Ontonagon, Michigan, even though both are in the Eastern time zone. Because there shouldn't be any significant differences in workers on the eastern or western edge of a time zone beyond the amount of time they sleep, researchers use this variation to calculate how much sleep influences wages.

They find that a one-hour increase in average weekly sleep in a location increases wages by 1.3 per cent in the short run, which include changes of less than a year, and 5 per cent in the long run. By moving to a location where a sunset is one hour earlier, a worker will make an additional US$1570 ($2215) a year.

Those differences in wages end up being incorporated into the local economy.

The researchers find that higher wages actually translate into higher home values as well. A county that experiences a sunset one hour earlier has on average a 6 per cent higher median home value, about US$7900 to US$8800 dollars, they say.

Not all of these wage differences are due directly to sleep, the researchers caution. Some could be due to the cumulative influence of other people.

If the workers around you are made slightly more productive by sleeping better, that could make your work more productive, too.

The findings suggest that sleep is a crucial determinant of productivity and wages, "rivalling ability and human capital in importance", the researchers write.

Given the huge benefit that more sleep can bring, we should certainly pay more attention to ensuring that workers sleep more, they say.

Dec. 13, 2016 Power Points: Why success can look a lot like failure at first: I found these job tips in the Globe and Mail on Mar. 9, 2015.  The G&M have since got rid of these:

Why success can look a lot like failure at first:

After you make positive workplace changes, things may get worse before they improve, following the so-called J-curve, with a dip before a rise, just like the letter.

The difficulty, consultant Roy H. Williams says, is that if you goofed, you’ll see the same dip, making it hard to tell the difference at that early stage. Monday Morning Memo

Loosen fixed ideas by asking questions

If your team is stuck, management professor Michael Roberto suggests asking: “What other options might we consider beyond the proposals on the table?” Also: “How might our principal marketplace rivals look at this issue? How might they approach it differently?” Or: “Are we trying to solve the wrong problem?” Professor Michael Roberto’s Blog

Keep good people with regular praise

Consultant Wally Bock warns people not to be like the manager who started listing an employee’s wonderful qualities – such as “you do great work” – only after she said she was leaving. Her response? “You never told me. ” Now it was too late. Three Star Leadership Blog

The rules of love don’t apply to sales

Absence may make the heart grow fonder in romantic relationships, but that doesn’t apply with your customers, consultant Drew McLellan says. And in marketing, love is not blind. How you present yourself has a vital impact on your ability to capture and keep customers.

Drew’s Marketing Minute

Free your task app for big projects

Productivity consultant Michael Vardy recommends feature-rich Due, an iOS and Mac app, to remind you of your mundane tasks in order to free up your regular task app for the big stuff. The Productivityist Newsletter

My week:

Oct. 16, 2017 Work: I have worked 12 days in a row straight at my 1st restaurant job.  I have worked 7 days a week before, but it's when I worked at 2 jobs.

Oct. 8 Thanksgiving Sunday: It was busy, but we managed.
Oct. 9 Thanksgiving Monday: It was very busy in the morning.  Then we were told to have 2 bussers stay for lunch.  It was quiet in the afternoon.

Oct. 10 Tues: It was quiet.  The new busser R didn't come to work last Sat. and she didn't come to work today either.  I worked morning and afternoon.
Oct. 11 Wed: It was the same and R didn't come to work.  I worked morning and afternoon.
Oct. 12 Thurs: I worked in the morning.
Oct. 13 Fri: I worked morning and afternoon.
Oct. 14 Sat: I worked in the morning because that's the only time we're open.
Oct. 15 Sun: We had a huge afternoon reservation. 
Oct. 16 Mon: It was quiet.  I worked morning and afternoon.

The highlight of the week:

I did go to a social event on Tues. night.

However, I watched the season premiere of Arrow.  It was good.

I watched the season premiere of Riverdale.  That was good too.  I watched the first season by watching it in a couple of weeks.

Sears Canada closing: This time all the stores in Canada are closing.  For years they have been closing some stores here and there, but now it's all of them. 

Celine Dion donates to shooting victims:

Celine Dion broke down on stage on Tuesday, October 3, during her first performance at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace following the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The singer opened up the show with a message for the victims and the families who were hurt by the attack on Sunday, October 1.

“On Sunday we lost too many beautiful, innocent souls, and so many are still suffering," Dion said to the audience. "But tonight we're going to let these families know that we are supporting them and that we will help them through their tragic loss.”

Dion announced during her speech that along with show partners AEG Presents and Caesars Entertainment, she will be donating the proceeds from the show to aid the victims and their families.

"Homeless Connect helps more families on the brink of homelessness": Today I found this article by Claire Theobald in the Edmonton Journal:

Homeless Connect Edmonton began as a way to connect Edmonton’s homeless with immediate services and supplies, but organizers said Sunday more impoverished families on the brink of being homeless are reaching out for help.

“We are seeing more families come in with younger kids and itty-bitty ones, and they might be couch-surfing or living with a friends for a little while and then living with another friend,” said Jenn McDermott, co-chair of the Homeless Connect Edmonton steering committee at the 19th Homeless Connect at the Shaw Conference Centre on Sunday.

Dermott expected at least 1,800 people at the event, with more than 70 service providers offering everything from housing support, legal aid and tax assistance to free health care, haircuts and warm winter clothing.

Homeless Connect is a one-day event that happens once in the spring and once in the fall, Dermott said.

"Soldier pushes past 'ridiculous' stigma around mental health issues": Today I found this article by Janet French in the Edmonton Journal:

“It makes me kind of a little bit sad to realize how many of us struggle with this, and how many are keeping it to themselves,” Forbes said.

Since beginning her trek from Cork County in the south of Ireland four weeks ago with her 18-kilogram pack, she has walked about 25 km a day from one village to the next. Although she expected to live in a tent, generous villagers offer her beds and send her off with a packed lunch the next day.

As she blogs and posts about her journey on Instagram, supporters tell her they’re inspired.
“It makes me feel strong and just pretty great,” she said.

Oct. 17, 2017 Tom Goodchild's Moose Factory: This is a really good website for this restaurant: