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This Working Life

Author: ABC Radio

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Lisa Leong helps you navigate your way through the tough times, looking for the sunshine and the humanity in the world of work. From the quirky to the somewhat controversial, experts in the world of work and business share their ideas, experiments and fast fails, that you can apply to your own career. We’re cheaper than therapy and more fun than LinkedIn, think of us as your digital water cooler.
286 Episodes
How old is "old" at work and why are some employers admitting they are reluctant to hire older workers in spite of Australia facing a skills shortage? We dig into ageism at work and what needs to change with Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson and CEO of Australian HR Institute, Sarah McCann-Bartlett. And ad agency Thinkerbell co-founder Adam Ferrier runs us through his internship program for over 55s. Producer: Maria Tickle
Even though the majority of workers are concerned that they don't have the skills required for the future, a recent national survey has revealed that more than half of Australian workers spend less than an hour a week on any form of learning.  We weigh up the value of university degrees versus micro-credentials and hear how life-long learning can keep you in the game. We also crystal ball gaze to understand what work and learning might look like for our newest generation - Generation Alpha.  GUESTS: Dr Sean Gallagher - director of the Centre for the New Workforce at Swinburne University. Sean’s report is Peak Human Workplace. Professor Liz Johnson - Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education at Deakin University Mark McCrindle, social analyst and futurist.  Mark’s book is Understanding Generation Alpha. PRODUCER: Maria Tickle
As many of us head back into the office - at least some of the time - after a year at home, it’s a pretty big psychological shift. How are you coping? We delve into how best to manage this transition despite feeling like we have run headlong into the pandemic wall. And we hear what it takes for a team to be successful in hybrid work from the woman who coined the term - psychological safety. GUESTS: Michelle Morrison, organisational psychologist who is coaching and running programs for leaders facilitating their own and their employees return to work. Amy Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School. Amy's book is The Fearless Organisation: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth. If you missed part one of The Return where we learn how to ace hybrid and creating a third space listen here. Producer: Maria Tickle
So your boss or HR has emailed you, and in no uncertain terms it’s time to head back into the office.  How do you feel? Elated at the prospect of being near your colleagues or deflated at the prospect of putting on pants with an actual waistband and an hour each way on the train.  Or both? According to Professor Tsedal Neeley from Harvard Business School employers may have a battle on their hands to turn the ship on remote work. And peak performance researcher Dr Adam Fraser explains how rituals around a “third space” can help us make the transition back to the office a little easier. Tsedal’s book, Remote Work Revolution. Adam’s book, The Third Space. Do you have the right to work from home? from our sister show Life Matters Producer: Maria Tickle
Have you ever sat at work thinking “Houston we have a problem, common sense has left the room!”? Brand and culture transformation expert Martin Lindstrom, certainly has. He walks us through how to bring common sense back into our workplaces by establishing what he calls a “ministry of common sense”.  And Martin has walked the talk -  he has advised multinationals including Pepsi, Google, Burger King and Swiss Air but he started this movement in what traditionally has been a bastion of bureaucracy, banks. Martin’s book: Ministry of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses and Corporate Bullshit. Producer: Maria Tickle
As the saying goes “money can’t buy happiness”, but does getting paid more make us happier and more motivated at work? And if not, what does? And why is it still such a taboo topic? We also hear negotiation strategies to use with your boss and what you need to do to stay employable after 40. GUESTS: Professor Adrian Furnham, author of The New Psychology of Money (and about 100 other books) Adjunct professor at BI Norwegian Business School and professor at University College London. Emily Barnes, mediator Kate McCallum, financial advisor and co-author of The Joy of Money. (This show was first broadcast on Radio National on November 30, 2020.) Producer: Maria Tickle
Whether you are male or female, if you work with a woman over 40, menopause matters to you. And if you are a woman over 40 understanding what’s happening to your mind and body during “the change” is absolutely crucial. As you'll hear many women, including those at the top of the game, are leaving careers they love because of poor management around menopause. We dive deep into a topic that is steeped in silence, suffering and stigma to start this important conversation.
Some people seem to get all the breaks, new gigs, interesting and challenging projects, or support for their business idea. Why? What is so special about them? After being featured in a New York Times article about failure, Suneel Gupta decided things needed to change in his career and this is the question he set out to answer. Suneel interviewed Hollywood film producers, venture capitalists, military leaders and executives at iconic companies and he shares what he learned. We also hear from Australian backers what they look for when they are deciding who and what to fund. And spoiler alert, the key to being backable is not charisma. GUESTS:  Suneel Gupta, co-author of Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You. Julie Demsey, startup advisor and investor Nick Peace,VP corporate and investments at Planet Innovation Matt Allen, CEO Tractor Ventures Producer: Maria Tickle
Dorie Clark, sought after New York-based executive coach and consultant, warns it’s crucial to build a portfolio career - where you have multiple revenue streams - even if you have a full-time job.  Recorded live at Pausefest 2021 Dorie explains how this model saved her in 2020 when hundreds of thousands of dollars income dried up almost overnight. She shares her blueprint for professional independence, including insights and advice on becoming a recognised expert, monetising your expertise, and extending your reach and impact online.  Dorie has been recognized as #1 Communication Coach in the world, one of the top 50 business thinkers in the world and she’s worked with clients such as Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank. She’s written numerous books including best sellers Standout and Entrepreneurial You and her next book The Long Game comes out in September this year. We also hear from Madeleine Grummet (tech entrepreneur and investor Future Amp, girledworld) and Darren Milo (D Milo Consulting, Beaton) on how they have built their own portfolio careers. And then we follow up our episode on Harnessing humour as a superpower at work with Naomi Bagdonas and Jennifer Aaker from Stanford Graduate School of Business with some Aussie research. Dr David Cheng from ANU joins us to explore how humour interacts with power, conflict and persistence at work.  Producer: Maria Tickle
“A group of behavioural scientists walk into a bar…”   Sounds like the start of a joke right - it’s not. Those ten people were gathering to perform sketch comedy and two of them ended up researching the hypothesis that humour is serious business and that it is vastly underleveraged in most workplaces today.    Dr Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas now teach the course Humor: Serious Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and have co-authored the book Humor, Seriously: why humor is a secret weapon in business and life. They explain what levity does to our brains and how anyone can harness it and use it skilfully at work. Can you spot the finger in the photo? Now that's funny. What is your humour type? Here is the quiz. (This program first aired on Radio National on Monday November 2, 2020.) Producer: Maria Tickle
Founder of Google's Empathy Lab, Danielle Krettek, believes that using empathy at work results in happier staff, and greater productivity. Minter Dial, author of Heartificial Empathy thinks it might even help you fall in love! Empathy has become the business world’s new secret sauce – but can it be taught to a chat bot?   Producer: Maria Tickle
Stay curious, find comfort in being wrong and create a "challenge circle" of people who actively challenge your beliefs - these are all steps towards knowing what you don't know according to Adam Grant. And he argues in today's rapidly changing work environment questioning your beliefs, rethinking and even unlearning are key skills. Adam is an organisational psychologist and professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on generosity, motivation and meaningful work.  And I imagine that there are few senior managers who don’t have at least one of his New York Times best-selling books on their shelves. His new is book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know in which he argues "if knowledge is power, knowing what we don't know is wisdom". Producer: Maria Tickle
Women at the top of their game share their stories about the good, the bad and the ugly of power in the workplace. And to you blokes out there, this isn't a "stacks on men", it's really worth a listen. (Hear part one from last week about why power makes you more likely to cheat, steal, talk over people and swear at work here.) GUESTS Laura, former analyst turned entrepreneur Juliet Bourke, adjunct professor at UNSW Business School Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Zoe Routh, leadership expert and trainer and author of People Stuff Producer: Maria Tickle
The cliche of bright red lipstick and shoulder pads as symbols of power for women went out of style in the 80s, thank goodness. But who gets power at work today and why? And what do you need to do to keep it? Social psychologist Professor Dacher Keltner, from the University of California, Berkley has studied power for 25 years. And it turns out, the Machiavellian approach to power (force, deception, manipulation) is not what keeps you in power. Neither does red lipstick. Thanks to James Law, Chief People Officer, Estimate One, Cassandra Goodman author and executive coach plus our anonymous This Working Lifers, who shared their stories!  Due to the huge amount of interest in this topic next week we dig deeper into the interplay of gender and power at work. Producer: Maria Tickle
Working as a first responder can have a huge mental toll. Compared to the general public police and emergency services workers are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, PTSD and struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. They are the findings of Answering the Call, the first national survey into the mental health and wellbeing survey of more than 20,000 police and emergency services personnel. Dr David Lawrence from the University of Western Australia led the research and discusses these findings. It took a long time for former police officer James Maskey to even realise he had PTSD and he shares how the trauma he faced at work led to him leaving a job he loved. Now, as national engagement manager of the Beyond Blue Police and Emergency Services Program, James helps others going through the same issues. Producer: Maria Tickle
What will 2021 hold for you at work? We've wrangled the experts and polished the This Working Life crystal ball to bring you our best predictions for this year. Demographer, Bernard Salt thinks this is our chance to hit the reset button and rebuild our working lives to a much better place than ever before. Insecure work was a strong theme for 2020 and Alison Pennington, senior economist for the Centre for Future Work, says 2021 will be no different. She argues that it may however provide us with an opportunity to improve some of the worst quality jobs in the workforce. And if you're hoping to 'thrive, not survive' in 2021, Pip Dexter who leads Deloitte's Human Capital Practice has one top focus for this year - adaptability. She shares why she believes this characteristic will matter above all else and how you can cultivate it in yourself and your workplace. Last to place their predictions is Dr Ben Hamer, he's the lead for Future Work at PWC Australia. He works with their 8000 employees to look ahead at what could be coming for them and their clients. They recently put out an organisation wide survey to learn about the impact of 2020 on their work. The surprise? Most people thought workplace culture had actually improved thanks to the pandemic. Ben shares why that is and what we can learn from it. Producer: Edwina Stott Supervising Producer: Maria Tickle
How do you find your work mojo now that your holiday halo has started to dim? January is the most popular month to give your job the flick (and to file for divorce apparently - but this is outside the scope of our show!). We talk motivation with sports and organisational psychologist Dr Travis Kemp and Chris Low, head of vibe at Canva which has twice been named Australia's best place to work. We discuss why things come to a head in January - just what's going on in our brains? Plus why personal values trump free beer, why money isn't our primary motivator, and how eating breakfast and lunch together helped online graphic design business Canva become a unicorn company (a privately-owned start up worth more than a US one billion dollars). Chris also refers to the importance of psychological safety in the workplace. To hear more about this, listen to our previous show on this topic: After ramp up your motivation, you might want to tackle one of the toughest challenges in the workplace and have that difficult conversation. Karen Gately from Corporate Dojo gives us her very practical and imminently doable take. Producer: Maria Tickle (This program first aired on ABC Radio National on January 27, 2020.)
A trifecta of CEOs share why they introduced the four-day work week to their companies, how it has actually helped them navigate the economic downturn, and hard lessons learnt along the way. GUESTS: Andrew Barnes, CEO Perpetual Guardian, Kath Blackham CEO Versa, Nikki Beaumont CEO Beaumont People. Andrew's book: The Four Day Week: How the Flexible Work Revolution Can Increase Productivity, Profitability and Well-being, and Create a Sustainable Future. (This program first aired on ABC Radio National on August 24, 2020.)
What to eat, how to move for peak brain power. We dig into what science says about what to feed your brain and how to move your body in order to perform at your best at work in these stressful times. You'll hear: * The good oil on the good fats and how NOT to cook with them. * Are supplements useful additions to our diet or just expensive wee? * Coffee, yay or nay? * And the best way to exercise to increase focus and creativity at work. This one may surprise you, it surprised the researchers! (This program was first broadcast on July 13, 2020.) GUESTS: Dr Delia McCabe, is a nutritional neuroscientist her book is Feed Your Brain. Dr John Ratey, is a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, who has studied the effect of exercise on the brain for more than 40 years. Producer: Maria Tickle
Routines and rituals boost productivity and wellbeing - but how? We explore why we need routines and rituals, how to create your own and how they can improve your work ethic, output and satisfaction. (This program first aired on ABC Radio National on July 20, 2020.) GUESTS: Dr Sean O’Connor, Director of Sydney University’s Coaching Psychology Unit Casper ter Kuile, Harvard Divinity School fellow and author of The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices With thanks to:  Kate Christie, time management expert Steph Clarke, podcaster Susie Hopkins, TWL listener Producer: Zoe Ferguson
Comments (8)

Lindsay Knight

the guest in this pod cast is overwhelmingly sexiest in her views.

Feb 21st


I love this episode ❤ I've listened to it 3 times so far and really need to relisten more frequently.

Dec 21st


So interesting !

Dec 3rd


So helpful!

Dec 3rd


So very insightful! Thank you!

Dec 3rd


So insightful!! this makes so much sense! Thank you!!

Dec 3rd

Lis Stanger

Another great episode, any chance of doing some episodes focused on small business eg getting started, stopping it taking over your life, knowing when it's time to walk away?

Jul 28th

Rhyannon Gonzalo

Does this prematurely cut off at the end?

Jun 23rd
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