ironiya

This career-oriented blog—published biweekly on Wednesdays—looks at the positive and sometimes ironic sides of a kaleidoscopic range of workplace and life issues, from education and employment to discipline and discord.

July 1, 2020

For so many teenagers, it’s simply not an option. Their grades must be exemplary. Their SAT and ACT scores must be in one of those coveted eat-sleep-and-drink percentiles. Their college applications must be loaded with everything from athletics to community involvement. Their college grades must stand out, even when surrounded by standout students. Their graduate school years must reflect pinpoint focus. All of this more often than...

June 17, 2020

Before, during and after our current COVID age, what happens if you get laid off from that desk job, the one that was doable and steady but never all that exciting? Or perhaps you just had your fill of getting the morning coffee, going in to the office each day, fulfilling your responsibilities with efficiency if not much enthusiasm, and eagerly awaiting that lifeline and timeline du jour: 5 o’clock.

To be able to turn a static life...

June 4, 2020

The concept of sitting amongst interminable traffic is so widespread and familiar as to make regular clichés seem like fresh air in Beijing. How we respond can make the difference between being impatient and forlorn for the entire day or at peace and productive in light of what cannot be changed.

Do we curse or listen to an audiobook? Do we throw up a thin body part in a form of gesticular cancer or do we put on a foreign-language-l...

May 20, 2020

Why is it that ‘discipline’ so often seems like little more than 2½ four-letter words? Or the rebuke of stern punishment? Or behavior as tightly controlled as a bank teller’s drawer? Why is it that typing this singular word into a Google search yields an overwhelming number of articles about disciplining children? Why is it that self-discipline more often than not evokes giving up statin-inducing cheesecake and excessive beer and l...

May 6, 2020

It's surely understandable that the small daily interactions that most of us carry on each day—be they with bank tellers to retail clerks and everyone in between—don’t plumb the depths of how we truly feel. Who has the time or inclination? Who would go into a Starbucks and, in response to “How are you doing,” confess to feeling poignantly low in the wake of a friend’s or family member's death? Or, for that matter, on the other side...

April 22, 2020

In both career and personal relationships, how often do disagreements come up—problems of interpretation or perspective, of contracts or property—that cause significant setbacks? How often does the divide seem irreconcilable, the gulf not bridgeable?

Take a moment, though, to consider the broader perspective. Are your days filled with humility and gratitude, or does pride take center stage? Are you graced with intelligence and good...

April 9, 2020

Births, weddings and funerals tend to be when the home phone rings most often, when the mailbox swells with congratulatory or sympathy cards. Yet when was the last time you received a phone call or handwritten card in the wake of a new job or promotion, a positive doctor’s report, the start of summer? These and dozens of other of life’s joys to be celebrated and shared may be acknowledged with a quick text or email, but the persona...

March 25, 2020

You’ve got résumés out to 100 companies. How to make sense of it all? Categorize them by type, location, priority or preference. Follow up with each contact as if the only one. The personal touch can never be overestimated. Don’t send an email, but write (in longhand) and mail a card thanking for the opportunity. Use the post office’s breast-cancer stamps—not to impress anyone, but simply to do the right thing. And even though this...

March 12, 2020

One’s mental and physical outlook has incalculable benefits upon productivity and key perspectives.

So that knowledge and $5 will get you a cup of Starbucks, right? But add some vanilla and cinnamon in the form of what you really believe in and watch the price come down while your cup runneth over. This isn’t some pithy statement borne of over-caffeinated wishful thinking, but a universal truism that remains surprisingly lacking acr...

February 27, 2020

If your chosen career is motivated by true passion, is the commute really that long? Are the office politics really that onerous? Are the inevitable extra hours really that tiresome? Whether the economy is “firing on all cylinders,” as the analysts are fond of saying, or whether one in 10 Americans are without steady work, there are always options.

Do you love foreign cultures? Learn another language—not out of obligation to w...

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© 2019 Robert Rimm