One happy side effect of Buffer’s value of defaulting to transparency and sharing lots of what we’re working on and going through as a company is that you get to have lots of great conversations.
Folks from other companies read what we’re up to and share advice about similar situations, or share a challenge they’re going through and ask for advice.
And the №1 question I get asked is this: How does a company begin to approach the topic of diversity and inclusion for the first time? …
I’ve always been a person who follows the rules. No coloring outside the lines. Work within the system.
At times, this has worked out fine. More often, though, I’ve had to work to retrain myself to take bigger risks, speak up more and be less afraid of “getting in trouble.”
Especially at work, rule following can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Getting tough feedback for being out of line or overreaching is hard, but so is missing an opportunity you know you would have rocked.
What if we could create a workplace so light on rules that you always felt freedom to make your own calls? …
Startups get a lot of advice. And for good reason — there are millions of decisions to be made as you begin the journey of building a company.
Some of the advice is clear-cut. More often, you’ll hear a chorus of voices with different experiences and points of view.
Perhaps nowhere is the advice more confusing than when it comes to if, when and how a company should add HR or People functions into a team. (For a little taste, read through this Quora thread.)
There are a lot of reasons why this is particularly contentious territory:
Language is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans. It binds us. Instructs us. When used well, it creates a common understanding.
And it’s essential for creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and included.
Historically, language has left many out. Individuals and groups have been marginalized and discriminated against because of their culture, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socioeconomic status, appearance and more.
We can do better. Inclusive language seeks to treat all people with respect, dignity, and impartiality. It is constructed to bring everyone into the group and exclude no one.
It does ask something of us. It asks us to try. To change deeply embedded habits. To consider the implications of words and phrases that have long gone unchallenged. To dig deep into empathy and imagine an experience not our own. …
I never planned on being an entrepreneur. That label always sounded far too lofty for me.
Entrepreneurs were guys in suits working everyone in the room. Entrepreneurs only got three hours of sleep a night because the rest of the time they were hustling. Entrepreneurs would look at someone like me and realize right away that I didn’t belong.
But that picture — my picture — has changed.
Women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the United States. And startups these days don’t have to be about in-office kegs and sleeping at your desk.
In fact, in 2014 I was lucky enough to join Buffer, where we focus on transparency, gratitude, and inclusivity. Here, I’m encouraged to take healthy risks, get out of my comfort zone, and expect more from myself than even my teammates do. …
The phrase “culture fit” is a bit of an Inkblot test in the world of work — even when we all hear the same two words, we might be thinking entirely different things.
There are countless filters and interpretations of the phrase — and a growing amount of interest in figuring out just what it means.
When the phrase “culture fit” is thoughtfully and deliberately applied, it can mean a gauge for your company’s essential values. At other companies, it might simply mean, “Is this a person with whom you want to have a beer after work?”
Wondering where that leaves people who don’t drink, people who don’t like beer or people who have after-work responsibilities like kids? Then you’re asking some great questions. …
I come from Whatever People.
We’re a certain subset (quite often women, I‘ve noticed) whose general response to questions like “What time should we meet up?” “What do you feel like having for lunch?” or “Which seat would you like?” is something like:
“Oh, I don’t care. Whatever’s fine!”
I was raised to be a Whatever Person. I used to think this was both practical and kind. That you do other folks a favor by “being agreeable” and letting them call the shots. And I wasn’t super invested in most of those decisions anyway.
Sometimes I secretly wanted Ethiopian food, or the window seat, or to get together slightly less early in the morning. …
I’ve been discounting women’s literary voices my whole life.
It’s a hard thing to admit, as a woman, a feminist and a founder of a business with a specific aim to empower girls and women.
And yet, the books, authors and literary movements that I’ve grown up respecting as the most influential and “substantial” were most likely helmed by men (to be more specific: white men).
My high school fascination with Kerouac and the Beats. My college dalliances with Joyce, Salinger and Vonnegut. My literary fiction adulthood of Franzen, deLillo and Lethem.
Women and writers of color have never been absent from my reading, but I seldom reached for their stories and perspectives, or thought to wonder why I heard about them a bit less often than their white male counterparts. …
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve come a long way towards making good choices and treating my body with the respect it deserves, though food and I still have an uneasy relationship sometimes.
So when I found myself in need a dietary kick in the butt after a few weeks of less-than-healthy eating and way too much drinking, I was dubious about another trendy diet plan.
Luckily, the Whole30 turned out to be different. With its focus on ethical meats, sustainable fish and local/organic vegetables, I see it as more or less expanding on the succinct but perfect Michael Pollan rules of…
In 2015, I’m challenging myself to read a book a week (or, 52 books in the year), focusing primarily on female and minority authors.
I’m doing this in an attempt to fill in some of the blank spots in my cultural and literary awareness, and because there are a ton of amazing books out there by women authors and writers of other underrepresented groups. Here’s what I’m reading, week by week:
Week 1: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham