Author Archive: Paul Epps

Empowerment and Accountability for 5-Year-Olds

19 Feb 2018 /
Kids with blocks

This is a real thing I just read:

I tasked my 5-year-old with cleaning up the blocks from the floor, after he was done playing. A few times, he did not do it, and I ended up doing it for him. Later on, I realized that when I did it for him I was not empowering him to do the task and be accountable for it. This situation can be easily improved by exhibiting Empowerment and Accountability.

For a 5-year-old? You’re overthinking it.

Even with adults, “empowerment” and “accountability” are overused: I’m empowering you to complete this task. I’m not giving any of the resources you need but I’m empowering you.

And as with the 5-year-old, when he doesn’t pick up the blocks despite being “empowered,” you’ll soon realize there’s no “accountability” without consent.

Some Links on Listening

18 Feb 2018 /

Are you a good listener? Find out (Quiz)
Psychology Today, “Listening Skills Test.”

Are you a good listener? Find out (Quiz)
Mind Tools, “How Good are Your Listening Skills? Understanding Someone’s Entire Message.”

Active listening and attending behaviors (Video)
Active Listening: Katie Owens at TEDxYouth@Conejo,” YouTube video, posted by “TEDx Talks,” 3:18, January 21, 2013.

Getting past roadblocks to effective listening (Video)
Listening and Its Enemies: Avi Kluger: TEDxLaçador,” YouTube video, posted by “TEDx Talks,” 17:20, May 29, 2015.

Good leaders ask questions and listen thoroughly (Article)
Chris Baréz-Brown, “3 Habits of Humble Yet Effective Leaders,” Fast Company, October 26, 2015.

Six stories from StoryCorps, where people share stories from their lives (Video)
The Rauch Brothers, “Listening Is an Act of Love,” StoryCorps via POV video, 22:36, November 28, 2013.

I am at a loss for what to say right now. But I am here . . .

Posted by on 18 Feb 2018

Some Links on Effective Communication

18 Feb 2018 /

Busting myths on gender differences in the brain (Article)
Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and a ‘Female Brain’ Is Likely a Myth,” Slate, November 2, 2015.

Challenges and strategies for creating safe communication spaces at work (Article)
James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 1 (January/February 2016): p. 80-87.

Communication comes in all shapes and sizes (Video)
Nancy Lublin, “Texting That Saves Lives,” TEDvideo, 5:24, February 2012.

Do men and women communicate differently? (Article)
Deborah Cameron, “What Language Barrier?,” The Guardian, October 1, 2007.

Find out the meaning behind emojis (Website)

Game-changing communication developments (Article)
Amber Leigh Turner, “5 Trends Disrupting Communication,” TNW News.

How the medium of communications can change what we say (Article)
Tweets From Mobile Devices Are More Likely to Be Egocentric,” International Communications Association press release, October 1, 2015.

Leaders can change their power cues to open up discussions (Article)
James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Nonverbal Cues Get Employees to Open Up—or Shut Down,” Harvard Business Review, December 11, 2015.

Parent/adult child bond increased with number of communication tools (Article)
Heidi Stevens, “Tech-Savvy Parents Communicate Better with Adult Kids: Study,” Chicago Tribune, November 3, 2014.

Solid teams require people who can talk and organize (Video)
Nike Academy: Communication and Leadership,” YouTube video, 2:47, posted by “Nike Football,” Oct 2, 2014.

Tools to streamline internal work communications (Article)
Catherine Lawson, “Online Chatting at Work Gets the Thumbs Up From Bosses,” BBC News, November 27, 2015.

When language perpetuates discrimination (Article)
Tory Paez, “Goodbye Chatty Kathy,” Catalyzing, January 26, 2016.

More Links on Work-Life Balance

15 Feb 2018 /

Research behind the flexibility stigma (Article)
Tara Siegel Bernard, “The Unspoken Stigma of Workplace Flexibility,” New York Times, June 14, 2013.

Don’t become addicted to busy-ness (Article)
Christine Carter, “Achieve More by Doing Less,” Mindful, September 14, 2015.

Research about dual-centric workers (Report)
Families and Work Institute, Catalyst, and the Boston College Center for Work & Family, Leaders in a Global Economy: A Study of Executive Women and Men (2008).

Work-life integration (Video)
Stew Friedman, “How to Integrate Work, Home, Community and Self,” YouTube video, 19:53, posted by “KnowledgeAtWharton,” May 28, 2008.

Managing your life outside of work (Article)
Stew Friedman, “Keep Your Home Life Sane when Work Gets Crazy,” Harvard Business Review, February 23, 2015.

Research supports benefits of flex work (Article)
Adi Gaskell, “Why A Flexible Worker Is A Happy And Productive Worker,” Forbes, January 15, 2016.

Five simple tips to reduce the distraction and temptation of checking email all the time (Article)
Lily Herman, “How to Actually Stop Checking Your Email All the Time,” The Muse.

Does guilt have to be a part of flexible working? (Article)
Georgina Kenyon, “The Curse of Flexible Work,” BBC, September 9, 2016.

Work stress:  cultivate resilience (Article)
Judy Martin, “5 Daily Rituals to Manage Work Stress,” Forbes, December 26, 2012.

Making the most of your time (Article)
John Rampton, “15 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work,” Inc., February 4, 2015.

Unplugging: Tips on setting boundaries on work communication (Article)
Alison G. Walton, “Feeling Overconnected? 5 Reasons To Unplug From Technology After Work,” Forbes, February 6, 2013.

Teaching Computer Science: The Phones Aren’t Helping You

15 Feb 2018 /

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week at a local high school, helping out with computer science classes.

The way the classes are taught, via an online curriculum, provides a great temptation to kids to get off-task, which they do, usually by entertaining themselves with their phones.

They get off-task in other ways too — web surfing, doing homework for other classes — but the main distractor is the phones . . .


“As I mentioned before, I worked with another CS class a couple years ago. No phones allowed in the classroom.

Students with cell phones

“I remember one day the assistant principal was in class observing . . . a student had a phone out, looking at it . . . he was holding it under the table so no one could see it, but this guy, the assistant principal, he did see it.

“Oh man, did he hit the roof! If a student had pulled out a gun, there couldn’t have been any more excitement in the room.

“I thought that was overkill at the time. But I have to tell you that those kids kicked ass on the AP exam. Can I say that? That was the CS A test. Hard test.

“Most of the students got a 5. Most of the students who didn’t get a 5 got a 4. Nobody got a 3, one student got a 2 and, out of about 35 students, 6 of them got a 1, including the guy who spent 47 hours playing video games instead of studying. What did you expect, right?

“Now you guys may crush it on the AP test too. We don’t know yet.

“A lot of programmers have a phone in view when they’re working . . . a lot of programmers listen to music, sometimes through their phone . . . but nobody has the phone in their hand looking at it every minute, you’d never get anything done.

“So it depends what your goals are. If your goal is to get a top score on an AP exam, I don’t think you’re helping yourself with the phones.”


11 Feb 2018 /

I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
     For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
     Which hang on the edge of to-morrow.
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
     Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
     Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

— William Stanley Braithwaite, “Rhapsody”
Tags: ,

EppsNet at the Movies: A Man Called Ove

10 Feb 2018 /

A Man Called Ove is about love, death, friendship, aging, hope and heroic decency in the face of disaster. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards and was the highest-grossing foreign language film in the United States in 2016.

Tom Hanks is attached to star in a remake of this movie. I mention that in the hopes of motivating you to watch the original.

The Tom Hanks version will be terrible because the movie, as the title suggests, is about an ordinary man with a common name and the ordinary details that make up his life. Having the role played by a famous movie star is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 stars

A Man Called Ove

Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.

Director: Hannes Holm
Cast: Rolf Lassgård, Bahar Pars, Filip Berg, Ida Engvoll

IMDb rating: 7.7 (30549 votes)

Universities Are Beautiful, California Is Beautiful, UCs Are Beautiful

9 Feb 2018 /

A Bite of Nostalgia

9 Feb 2018 /
Western Bacon Cheeseburger

I drove through Carl’s Jr. today for lunch . . .

“Would you like to try a Western Bacon Cheeseburger?” the girl asked.

“Yes, that sounds good.”

The Western Bacon Cheeseburger was a favorite of mine when it was introduced in the early 1980s. A taste of nostalgia!

I was tempted when I got to the window to ask why she’d recommended a Western Bacon Cheeseburger and not some new-fangled menu item as is customary, but I was afraid she’d say they just had a couple lying around and needed to get rid of them . . .

Nietzsche Cartoons

9 Feb 2018 /

Nietzsche comics

All of My Great Ideas

9 Feb 2018 /


Some Links on Work-Life Balance

8 Feb 2018 /

Carol Bartz discusses the myth of work-life balance (Video)
Bartz Says ‘Work/Life’ Balance is a Myth,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2012.

Beyond policies: Office culture must change (Article)
Susan Dominus, “Rethinking the Work-Life Equation,” New York Times, February 25, 2016.

The problem may be long hours not work-family conflict (Article)
Robin Ely and Irene Padavic, “Work-Family Conflict is Not the Problem: Overwork Is,” Huffington Post, November 6, 2013.

Managing work and life is an increasingly global problem (Report)
EY, Global Generations: A Global Study on Work-Life Challenges Across Generations (2015).

We know flexibility works, the challenge is execution (Article)
Stew Friedman, “‘Having It All’ Is Not a Women’s Issue,” Harvard Business Review, June 26, 2012.

The best way forward (Article)
Gigi Liu, “From Work-Life Balance to Work-Life Integration– The New Way Forward,” Entrepreneur, March 31, 2016.

When and where you work is increasingly the norm for many professionals (Article)
Laura Vanderkam, “Work-life Balance is Dead — Here’s Why That Might Be a Good Thing,” Fortune, March 6, 2015.

Key benefits for work place flexibility for managers (Report)
WGEA, Briefing Note: About Workplace Flexibility (May 2015).

How to understand and request flexibility at work (Report)
WGEA, Employee Flexibility Toolkit (May 2015).

Guide for companies (Report)
World at Work, Seven Categories of Work-Life Effectiveness: Successfully Evolving Your Organizations Portfolio (2011).

Stories with insight into the new global workforce and the case for flexibility (Report).
Emily Cohen, Liz Mulligan-Ferry, and Jan Combopiano, Flex Works (Catalyst, 2013).

Updates on the most recent research on the economics of flexible workplace practices and policies (report).
The Council of Economic Advisors, Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility (June 2014).

HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector (website).
Workplaces That Work: Flexible Work Arrangements

A few pointers to manage career success and a positive personal life (article).
Christine Riordin, “Work-Life ‘Balance’ Isn’t the Point” Harvard Business Review (2013).

Thinking about a post-balance world (Article)
Balance is Bunk,” Fast Company, October 2004.


Hitmen Take Credit Cards?

4 Feb 2018 /

Theological Question

1 Feb 2018 /

I hear people say that bad things happen to kids in schools because God isn’t allowed in schools. Why do bad things happen to kids in churches?

TFW Hackers Steal $530 Million From Your Cryptocurrency Exchange

29 Jan 2018 /

$530 million cryptocurrency heist may be biggest everCNNTech


It Was a Very Definite Thing

28 Jan 2018 /

It was a very definite thing within myself, that happened, that I allowed myself be so open, and let my defenses down enough . . . it was almost as if, I’d got to the point . . . of no return . . . and I thought, “I’m going to go for it.”


All the Hemispheres

28 Jan 2018 /

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

Tags: ,

19 Insane Tidbits From James Damore’s Lawsuit

28 Jan 2018 /

The Federalist recently published 19 insane tidbits about the Google office environment gleaned from the James Damore lawsuit.

Keep in mind I’m a programmer, not a lawyer, when I say that Damore has a prima facie case of illegal retaliation: he engaged in protected activity — i.e., exercising the right to improve working conditions — by opposing several discriminatory practices, and was fired from his job.

Damore wrote in his famous (or infamous) memo that “Google has created several discriminatory practices.” Classic case of opposition to an unlawful employment practice.

The law does not require that the employment practice actually be unlawful, only that the employee believes the practice to be unlawful.

Everyone’s a Critic

27 Jan 2018 /

« Previous PageNext Page »