“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
The traditional “American Dream” retirement mindset you learn from a young age tells you to go to college, climb the ladder, find a well-paying job that allows you to support a family, retire at 65, and you’ll be fulfilled.
There’s one slight problem with this retirement mindset: it doesn’t actually lead to fulfillment. Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report showed that as many as 70% of American workers are disengaged at their jobs. Nearly one-fifth of those people were so disengaged at the office that they were actively undermining their co-workers’work.
I think part of this lack of fulfillment stems from our failure as a society to encourage people to ask themselves simple questions which often don’t yield simple answers: Who am I? What do I want? Why am I here? What do I want for the world? What is my purpose? Why?
I’ve asked many of my peers why? over the last two years and not once has someone answered, “make lots of money so I can buy nice stuff,”“run a corporation so I can have lots of power,” or “pass the time as quickly as possible, doing as little as possible, so I can retire with a pension in 40 years and go on a cruise with my partner.”
Rather, they’ve said things like: “I want to teach urban teenagers how to avoid debt and become successful entrepreneurs,” “I want to inspire young girls to think they can become engineers, and not Barbie dolls,” “I want to teach kids living in a food desert how to grow their own food,”and “I want to ensure large corporations reduce their carbon footprint.”
Rather then waiting for retirement, millennials are asking what their purpose is now, and they’re determined to find the opportunities, organizations, and companies that share their dreams.
A lot of books about finding meaningful work ask you to determine your calling in life. Those books scare the shit out of me. Instead, in The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, I propose that finding meaningful work is about asking complex questions rather than coming up with easy answers. Let’s accept the idea that very few people have only one purpose, one truth, or one calling. Our purpose actually changes throughout our lives as we try different jobs, travel to new places, meet new people, and grow older. Over the last 30 years, I’ve had numerous different “callings,” from being Big Bird on Sesame Street to being a sports writer to making movies—and I’m currently doing none of those things.
We each have to define meaning for ourselves and accept that our definition might change over time. Viktor Frankl’s bestselling and still-relevant book, Man’s Search for Meaning is about his experience in a Nazi concentration camp, during which he lost his pregnant wife and most of his family. Frankl wrote: “Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is.”
Building from this ideal, my book discusses five essential components of meaningful work: meaningful work reflects who you are and what your interests are, allows you to share your gifts to help others, and is financially viable given your desired lifestyle.
Any kind of work can be meaningful: the challenge is discovering what in particular makes you come alive. Here are a few questions that can help you find work that is both personally fulfilling and makes a positive difference in the world.
1. Meaningful work reflects who you are. So, who are you? What do you love about yourself? What makes you weird? (Being weird is good.) Who do you want to show up as every day? When was the last time you were really happy? When was the last time you were really sad?
2. Meaningful work reflects your interests. What do you care about? What injustice infuriates you? What social issues are you most passionate about? What happened that made you change the way you see the world? What personal life experiences have shaped your beliefs?
3. Meaningful work allows you share your gifts. What are you really good at? What are your unique skills and strengths, your gifts to the world? Which of your gifts do you actually like doing? What areas do you need to deepen your knowledge in? What types of classes do you need to take? What experts or mentors do you need to talk to? What research do you need to do?
4. Meaningful work allows you to help others. What type of impact do you want to make? What type of impact have you had in previous jobs? Do you need the results of your work every single day? Do you need to have a face-to-face relationship with the people you’re serving?
5. Meaningful work is financially viable given your desired lifestyle. What are your estimated weekly and monthly expenses? What is your ideal quality of life? How much money do you need to live a quality of life that suits you? Will a particular job or opportunity allow you to be fulfilled outside of work? Will you have healthy work-life balance? Will your work environment and co-workers energize or drain you?
As you begin your meaningful job search, look for positions where you can share your unique gifts at organizations that match your values and provide the opportunity to make an impact, and the quality of life you desire. In other words, find the sweet spot where as many of these pieces as possible overlap.
Fitting these pieces together often takes time and patience. I dislike delayed gratification as much as the next millennial, but there’s no easy button, especially in today’s job market. While certainly challenging, finding meaningful work is not impossible. Unlike 70 percent of Americans, the millennials profiled in my book are excited about how they spend their days and all of them started their journey with asking the right questions.
“Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.” – Nikola Tesla
Netflix, the undisputed king of full-season TV binge-viewing, is now preparing for battle with networks, along with cable and satellite providers, on a new front: in-season binge-watching.
Currently, viewers can easily watch previous full-seasons of a series via Netflix or other streaming providers like Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. A recent Nielsen study found that 88%of Netflix users engage in binge-viewing, defined as watching three or more episodes of the same TV show in a single day. The practice has in turn helped boost ratings for shows like Breaking Bad and Scandal.
But when it comes to binge-watching a show’s current season, options are very limited. The studio’s deals with Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu Plus usually cap the number of current episodes a network can offer via video on demand (VOD) at five. So if viewers want to binge, unless they purchase individual episodes via iTunes or Amazon on Demand, they must wait until the summer when the whole season becomes available via a streaming provider, which denies networks (and their advertisers) the opportunity to capitalize on these eager new potential viewers.
Networks are increasingly pushing to offer all episodes of a current season, what’s known as “in-season stacking rights,”on demand via VOD, online and the network’s mobile applications. “That’s where the big fight is happening now,” said Marc Graboff, president of Core Media Group, American Idol’s parent company, said atVariety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit on Oct. 21.
Emboldened by its record number of streaming subscribers, Netflix is standing firm, threatening to reduce its licensing fees for shows that viewers have already binged in-season. “The less exploited shows are through on-demand services, the more valuable they are to us,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told The Wall Street Journal last month, adding that cable operators, desperate to stay relevant, are trying to “marginalize Netflix.”
Those lost fees for shows Netflix deems “exploited” could be significant, according to Vulture. Netflix, which pays as much as $750,000 per episode for streaming rights, has said it will impose a penalty of 20-50 % per episode from shows that are stacked.
Not surprisingly, the networks disagree with Netflix’s take on in-season stacking. “They’re not in the advertising business, they’re in the subscriber business,” an unnamed television exec told TV Guide. “For us, we want to be able to, if appropriate, stack shows for the whole season because people sometimes find these shows late. They need to discover it.” As Chuck Saftler, COO of FX Networks and president of program strategy pointed out at the Variety Summit, “To have a show like The Americans and [consumers] can’t go back to the beginning of the season—that doesn’t make any sense.”
That’s why FX and Turner are turning up the heat and now telling studios that they will not pick up new shows to series unless they are granted those coveted in-season stacking rights. “This is about the future,” a senior cable executive told Vulture. “It’s about finding a way to make the current system more viable as non-linear consumption becomes more and more important.”
Cable and satellite companies are getting in on the action as well, securing stacking rights as part of their retransmission deals with broadcasters. When Comcast signed its latest retransmission agreement with FOX in February, it landed current-season VOD rights to “key primetime series” on FOX and FX.
Look for many more such agreements, and clashes, in the months ahead, until both sides finally stop saber-rattling and figure out a way for everyone to maximize their profits. As one TV executive told TV Guide, “I think there’s room for both of us.”
Google already knows better than most how we use the internet. Now it wants to dig a little deeper and monitor your app usage as well. Engadget has learned that the company is readying a new mobile service that compensates users if they allow their mobile behavior to be monitored. We’re told that the project, known internally as “Mobile Meter,” utilizes iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google.
Google refused to comment, as it usually does on what it considers “rumor and speculation.” However, our sources tell us that the Mobile Meter program will be totally voluntary. Participants will be required to give their consent (or opt in) before joining. Google isn’t the first to reward users to gather mobile trends either: Nielsen has been conducting research into mobile trends with an Android app.
Google already passively collects data to improve its apps and resources. The Google Maps app, for instance, regularly feeds back location metrics to enhance the service. Since Google won’t comment, we don’t know exactly which app and web metrics it intends to track with Mobile Meter. However, it will presumably enable the company to evaluate the different habits of Android and iOS users, gaining an important insight into Apple’s ecosystem. We’re also told Google will anonymize all of the information it collects to ensure the privacy of its panelists. Given Facebook and Google’s previous mistakes, where private information was made public, Google will need to be transparent over how the opt-in service uses the data it gathers.
Qualcomm’s Research and Development team has spent the last few years working on a new computer architecture that mimics the human brain and nervous system, and it’s called Qualcomm Zeroth processing.
Zeroth-enable devices will be able to have embedded cognition and brain-inspired computing. Qualcomm said it wants Zeroth to not only “mimic human-like perception” but also have the ability to “learn how biological brains do.”
This feat is made possible due to Qualcomm’s suite of software tools that allow devices to learn and get feedback from their environment. It’s not just pre-programmed behaviors and lots of coding.
Check out the video below, in which Qualcomm put a Qualcomm Zeroth processor in a robot and placed it in an environment with colored boxes. The robot was naturally able to adjust its behavior in response to being told “good” or “bad.”
Qualcomm said it’s ready to work with other companies who want to develop applications to run Zeroth. It even mentioned focusing on building neural networks that’ll go into mobile devices and enable them to learn from users.
The BBC is planning to shake up its iPlayer service and key changes will be happening over time.
No longer will it be just an on-demand and catch-up service. Instead, the BBC has plans for its iPlayer platform across Smart TVs, set-top-boxes, online and apps to make it the company’s primary digital entertainment division. It wants to make the new iPlayer “the best TV service in the world”.
We have rounded up a few of the features the Beeb has planned or is experimenting with. Although not all of them might make it to the final build, this is the overall picture the corporation has in mind for its new service.
With the next-generation iPlayer service, the BBC is planning to offer you exclusive content, meaning it will almost turn into a all-new BBC channel of its own.
It plans to give you a greater range of content just for iPlayer so you will have a bigger choice of shows to watch. Including unique shows based on star franchises, such as Doctor Who.
There will be even more channels available within the future iPlayer and they will all be on one place so it will be easier for you to access.
These channels could include those based on specific subjects, collating science and art programming, for example, under handy, themed banners.
There is also talk of pop-up channels for big events such as Glastonbury to be made available on the new iPlayer. We have seen some of this in the past with the Olympics and it seems to follow this path.
You might be a fan of Doctor Who, but you might also love a bit of Strictly Come Dancing. With the new iPlayer, you’ll be able to create a personalised channel so you can put all your favourite programmes into your own space.
It sounds like an expansion of the current favourites feature, enabling you to gain access to all your favourites shows easily, based on your preferences. It is something that has been successfully added to Netflix in recent months and would be very welcome here too.
In addition to personalised profiles, the new iPlayer will allow you to line up the shows you want to watch for an evening, enabling you to create an evening schedule. Playlists if you like.
The BBC has also said you will be able to watch some programmes on iPlayer before it hits TV screens. This was something the broadcaster mentioned back in February this year. It isn’t likely to be flagship content, but it could be a top of the line programme that will give BBC ideas on viewing numbers before it is released to terrestrial TV.
The idea is that the BBC will make it easier for you to watch what you want, when and where you want to watch it so we are excited for the roll out to begin. Anything that makes life easier is always a bonus.
Multi-camera angles and 4K
There are some programmes you might want to get a little closer too, whether that is to Danny Dyer in EastEnders or the giraffes in Africa. And there are plans to make some of its programming more interactive when it appears on iPlayer.
Not only could there be information boxes and multi-camera angles to choose from, but also Ultra HD 4K video footage in some cases, giving you a crystal clear picture. This will, of course, rely on the footage being shot in that format in the first place so could take time getting to the platform, but modern video compression techniques mean it is possible to send 4K footage using roughly the same amount of bandwidth as 1080p content before.
One of the most frustrating things about the existing BBC iPlayer is that if you don’t get round to catching-up on the programme you want to watch within seven days, it’s gone.
The next-generation iPlayer will have extended watching times, so you will now be able to watch the show you want up to 30-days after it has been on, meaning you can go on a two-week holiday and not worry about missing anything.
Pause and resume
Sometimes you move about. You might start to watch a programme on your TV in the living room, and then decide to finish off watching it in bed.
Rather than having to fast forward to where you were, there will be a pause and resume function, which allows you to watch it on different screens and pick up where you left off.
This function is something Netflix, Lovefilm and a host of other media streaming services offer and it works well so it is good to see it coming to the iPlayer.
Buy content to keep
Finally, as well as the free shows and films to watch through the iPlayer service, the BBC has announced that it is to open an online BBC Store in order to sell digital box-sets of classic and contemporary series of shows.
It hasn’t detailed whether this will be through a digital locker or a full download service, but you will get to keep paid content forever, it says. Perhaps it will turn out to be a little bit of both.
Many of the above features will make BBC iPlayer a very different prospect to what it is currently. Clearly, the BBC is looking towards the future of broadcasting and ensuring its place is at the forefront with such an investment in internet provided television. Could it spell the death of terrestrial TV? The Beeb would hope not. But it will make sure it is ready, just in case.
Via its Of Wisdom
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Google may be violating wiretap law when it scans the e-mails of non-Gmail users, allowing a lawsuit against the company to move forward.
Google says that the automated scanning of all e-mails that come through its servers — used to work its spam filter but also to build user profiles and target advertisements — is vital to running its e-mail service.
“Google’s alleged interceptions are neither instrumental to the provision of email services, nor are they an incidental effect of providing these services,” Koh wrote in the ruling. “The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the interceptions fall outside Google’s ordinary course of business.”
“This is a very big deal,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg. “Google can no longer peer inside of everyone’s e-mail.”
Other privacy advocates said that the ruling has implications for future electronic privacy cases.
“This is a historic step for holding Internet communications subject to the same privacy laws that exist in the rest of society,” said John Simpson the privacy project director for Consumer Watchdog. “The court rightly rejected Google’s tortured logic that you have to accept intrusions of privacy if you want to send email.l The ruling means federal and state wiretap laws apply to the Internet. It’s a tremendous victory for online privacy. Companies like Google can’t simply do whatever they want with our data and emails.”
In a statement, Google defended its position. “We’re disappointed in this decision and are considering our options,” Google spokesman Matt Kallman said. “Automated scanning lets us provide Gmail users with security and spam protection, as well as great features like Priority Inbox.”
The decision came as Google celebrated the 15th anniversary of its search engine and announced that it is planning to overhaul its search product.
According to a company blog post, the firm will now allow users to ask more complex questions and use more natural language when looking up information, such as “Compare butter with olive oil.”
Google said it is also making it easier to sync notifications across devices and is revamping the look of its mobile search site.