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New Podcast Review!

The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett interviews Malcom Gladwell: Working from Home is Destroying Us! 

Hania Janek, PhD.  Member AIAMC Board of Directors, Chair AIAMC NI-VII, Vice-Chair AIAMC NI-V, Member CIAQ

Scrolling thru a social media feed, my attention was caught by the headline Malcolm Gladwell: Working From Home Is Destroying Us! A little caught off guard and seemingly self-contradictory to one of the greatest storytellers of our century, I took the bait and listened. 

Without giving too much away – the topic of working from home isn’t discussed until well over an hour into the hour and forty-minute interview. The brutally frank interview includes a range of topics comfortably sardined together that are relatable albeit not agreeable to all. Topics include parenting presence, learning humility, innovation, the importance of timing, relationships, feedback, and meaningful work and too much information relative to decision making. I’ve extracted three of my favorite take-home points for reflection and consideration – and upon reflection maybe working from home isn’t destroying us – it’s making clear about what we are, what we do, and why.

(1) HAPPINESS: Gladwell discusses how “Insecurity was my [his] greatest motivator”. Defining happiness is individualistic nature and is a core element of self-identity.  This N of 1 concept challenges us to reflect on impactful motivators as the root cause of individual success, and how we go about defining a life well-lived. As a first-generation immigrant, the first third of the podcast triggered reflections on who I am and how being an immigrant has so deeply defined me on multiple levels. My Action? Carve out some time space and reflect on the contributors of your happiness. 

(2) IDENTITY: Bartlett asks Gladwell: Would you contribute to society at the cost of your unhappiness or happiness? Whether for professional or personal reasons, humans sacrifice, daily at the expense of definition of happiness. Is it worth it? Or reframing – what is that worth? What if at the end the contribution or the idea doesn’t work or be fruitless – do you regret? 

Many professions sacrifice time away from loved ones for society and community– military, healthcare, service professions. The exodus of healthcare workers from the profession reminds us that the level of burnout in the healthcare workforce is undeniably unacceptable. The question is significant. 

Wondering: Would you or have you contributed to society at the cost of happiness? I’m wildly curious re: your answers to this question.

(3) BELONGING: The conversation on working from home focuses on belonging and leadership. Gladwell identifies that people in leadership positions have been unable to effectively explain connectedness to their employees as a current gap. People who tend to leave a community are most disconnected. He says it is hard to feel necessary when you are disconnected and giving feedback allows individuals to feel their necessity; that they matter. Not providing feedback is neglect, it is the enemy; when you turn your back, that is when you do harm. Giving feedback – that is honest and constructive - shows people that you care. The impact of neglect is not one that I’ve considered previously, but it resonates. We achieve belonging when we achieve community, togetherness and a purpose. 

Question: Do you have a place of belonging -- where you know, it’s where you’re meant to be? If not, keep your curiosity open to exploring your belonging. 

Recently, I had a professional moment when these three points intersected: self-identity, happiness and belonging. And my gratitude for this gift was great. I’d love to share my journey to that destination with you over coffee or a cocktail. In the meantime, listen to the podcast and carve space for reflection. Work from home may not be destroying you, instead go in search of what is giving you happiness & belonging. 

Brief Bio: Dr. Hania Janek is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Medical Education for Baylor Scott & White Health and Associate Dean of Campus Operations for Baylor College of Medicine, School of Medicine, Temple Campus.  She’s a serious Baylor Bear fan and her greatest role is being the number one fan to her daughters’, cheering them on all things, especially as they pass, set, spike (in volleyball).