Issue #6
#6: On wellness "band aids", credentials, and digital skills
February 25, 2022

Hi folks,

Usman is back in Karachi, with his sights set on Singapore next month, which would make it the first the two of us are in the same place since last year. Just because we've managed to be productive remotely, doesn't mean it won't be nice to see one another!

This week we've curated insights on credentialism, wellness and some of the skills most poised to propel our careers in an increasingly-online world.

I think we have an intuitive sense of what "credentialism" refers to. But somehow the Oxford dictionary spelling it out for us -- "belief in or reliance on academic or other formal qualifications as the best measure of a person's intelligence or ability to do a particular job" -- really brings home how suspect a concept it is. I mean, the idea that a person's university, say, is an actual measure of intelligence or ability? [Cringe]

And yet, the phenomenon is real. Why, and will it persist? Let us know what you think👇🏻

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

Aki & Usman


Our take: A salty take from Luke, calling out orgs and teams that claim to be egalitarian -- but often default to using the typical signals and credentials of success.

The idea that credentials are starting to serve as less of a barrier to jobs and access -- as we learn to better showcase, assess and value potential and achievement -- is really exciting. In the meantime, organizations that can discover and evaluate less-credentialed talent put themselves at a huge competitive advantage in a talent-starved world.

Our question: Do you think the world is less credential-driven now, than it was 5 years ago? Outside of credentials, what signals do you or your company use to be able to assess people?


Our take: This isn't the first time we've featured "writing" as a skill that punches above its weight in life and career impact. And it won't be the last. We're re-featuring it here because we love the way Tressie frames it this time in the context of the digital world. And, she pairs words with images and visual art; a combo whose power in an online age is is hard to fully appreciate.

Our question: How do you think writing does or doesn't become more important in an "internet-based world"?


Our take: Adam calls out a real gap: between the deep burnout that we're experiencing, on a mass scale, and the "band aids" -- inadequate fixes -- being applied by companies. (As well as what sometimes seems like an epidemic of bad managers).

On the other hand, calling for "less work" feels a bit simplistic. Realistically, how does a profit-maximizing organization systematically incentivize less work, or more employees for the same amount of work; especially given the impact that technology has on the equation?

Our question: Do you agree that the wellness perks and burnout measures that many companies are rolling out -- massages, gym memberships, food delivery, nap rooms, paid time to volunteer, etc. -- amount to band aids? Or do they materially help ease the stress and burnout so many of us are experiencing?

Thanks for reading!

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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