MonthFebruary 2012

What You Can Do About Your Stress, and Your Bad Boss

Dealing with a bad boss is a tricky proposition. I know a number of people who love their jobs but hate their managers, and when someone tells them to just quit and find a different job, they resist—mostly because they feel like everything else about their job is so perfect, they just need to get over this one thing to make it worthwhile. Quitting is an option, but it’s not the only one. Let’s look at some others.

  • Get a hobby, or another activity to de-stress right after work. One of the best things you can do to leave your stress at the office is to treat yourself to something rewarding and relaxing immediately at the end of your workday. Hit the gym every day after work, for example—you’ll do your body and mind a world of good, and it’ll help you work off the stress of the day so you’ll get home and open the door without that extra baggage.
  • Visualize, meditate, or take time alone to power through it. One of the tips we mentioned when discussing chronic stress and what you can do about it is to take some time alone and practice muscle relaxation techniques or visualization techniques that remove you from the things that stress you out. Whether you do it in the car before you head into the house every day, or before you begin the commute home from work, take some time to let your conscious mind take over, identify that you’re stressed, and break it down so you’re more aware of your actions and your responses to your family and friends.
  • Transfer to a different team or role in your company. Some companies encourage this and others don’t, but if yours does, it might be time to find another department to transfer to. Talk to your HR rep or, if you know they’re looking for talent, a person in that team and ask if you can apply for the position. You’ll have to handle this delicately: You don’t want your current boss to sabotage your efforts, but you do want to be up-front about your desire for a change of scenery. If you can swing it diplomatically, you may be able to stay with your company, continue to do what you love (or even try something new) and leave your bad boss behind.
  • Build your case. You don’t want to start treating your boss with the same unprofessional demeanor that they treat you with, but you will need to start thinking on your feet and coming up with ways to parry their attacks and barbs. Whether it means you have to document your work so you can prove how busy you are (great for when they make you feel bad for not being productive enough,) or start keeping a work diary or an awesomeness journal to document your successes and prove your value, it’s time to start a paper trail in your favor to use when your boss complains. Worst case, it’s a paper trail you can use when applying to new jobs.
  • Let your boss know. This one’s really tricky, but if your boss is a bad boss not out of malice but out of ignorance or ineptitude, a tactful and professional approach may work wonders. Of course, this won’t work on a boss that’s a jerk or just doesn’t care, but if the problem is that they’re busy themselves or suffering under the weight of their own boss and letting it bleed through to you, they may be receptive to change—and once you talk through it, they may be on your side. I can vouch for this from experience. No one wants to be stressed out, and if you can appeal to your boss’s better nature, they may understand and be willing to compromise and work with you instead of against you.
  • Talk to HR or your boss’s boss. Again, you have to really have faith that this may actually work and you won’t be retaliated against. In many cases, a bad boss is just the person standing in front of a worse boss, or the bad boss and their boss have a closer relationship than you think. HR may also be a trap—not every company takes complaints by employees seriously, and as soon as it gets back to your boss, you could be in for it. However, if you do trust your company’s HR rep or your boss’s boss to mediate, or know they value you more than your boss might, talk to them. Focus on the issue or behavior and not the person, and let them know you want to help your boss, and you’re otherwise happy and engaged in your role, but these very specific things have you stressed out. Ask how they can help, how they’ll follow up, whether your conversations are confidential, and when you can expect to hear from them. Some of what they do is confidential as well, but make sure you get some confirmation you’ve been heard.
  • Just quit. There is a tipping point where nothing you can do will make a bad boss any better, and no amount of exercise after work or therapy is going to change the fact that your boss makes you miserable every day, and in turn you inadvertently make your family and friends miserable when you’re around them. Even if the job is great, it might be time to look for better opportunities where your work will be appreciated. It can be difficult, but your health and your relationships are worth it.

Whatever you do, if your boss is stressing you out and you can see the signs of it seeping into your personal life, you need to do something. What you do is really a matter of the degree of stress you’re feeling. If you think it’s manageable with exercise or meditation, then don’t wait—start now. If you know you’ll never really be able to deal with it, and your boss will never change, more drastic action may be warranted. In the end though, stress impacts your productivity, your health, and now, studies show, the health and well being of the people closest to you. You—and they—deserve better.

How do you deal with an aggravating boss every day, and how do you leave them behind when you leave the office? When do you make the call that it’s time to go? Share your coping mechanisms and stress-relief techniques in the comments below.

excerpt from LifeHacker (copyright)

Hibernate ORM 4.1.0 Release

Hibernate ORM 4.1.0 has just been released. This release adds a few new features, as well as a bunch of improvements and bug fixes. Some features in particular include:

  • A new (actual) API for loading by natural identifiers. See mainly HHH-2879 and HHH-6974. Additionally, see my earlier post on this feature.
  • Addition of a TenantIdentifierResolver for use with multitenancy in getCurrentSession use cases. See HHH-6336
  • The ability to provide custom dirty handling. See HHH-3910 and HHH-6998

See the 4.1 release notes for the full details.

Additionally, quite a bit of work went into the documentation for this release. The JPA/HEM documentation has been completely consumed into Hibernate Reference Documentation and Hibernate Developer Guide. Mostly annotation/mapping information went into the former, while everything else went into the latter. Other efforts such as documenting multitenancy, services, etc when intoHibernate Developer Guide as well. The focus now, as we move ahead will be folding the information from Hibernate Reference Documentation into Hibernate Developer Guide.

3.6.10 was released today as well. It contains some bugfixes. Again, see the release notes for the details.

P.S. A quick note about the name Hibernate ORM. This refers to exactly what we previously called Hibernate Core. A brief history is that initially there was just Hibernate, but as the team started working on related projects (Hibernate Search, etc.) we agreed to refer to what had been just Hibernate as Hibernate Core. We recently decided that the core portion of the name was just a bad choice, as it doe not give any clue as to the intent. Hence Hibernate ORM.

The End Of ERP – A moment of silence for

Much has been discussed about SAP’s pending $3.4B acquisition of SuccessFactors, and now Oracle’s $1.9 billion deal to buy Taleo. Rightly, SAP and Oracle have been praised for trying to bolster their cloud offerings with these moves. But, in a few years, I wonder if it will really matter. Because, while SAP and Oracle are obviously trying to get with the times by offering their services via the cloud, it may be too late. Why? Because, in short, ERP – enterprise resource planning software – is on its deathbed.

That’s right. ERP’s days are numbered. And it is because of a fundamental shift that is taking place regarding how people consume products and services driven by the massive growth of the cloud itself.

I’m referring to the shift we are experiencing away from a 20th century product-based, “buy once” economy to a 21st century services-based “Subscription Economy” centred around recurring customer relationships.

Think about it: there is a very good chance you are one of the exploding number of consumers who now access their music via a subscription such as Pandora or Spotify.  Perhaps you are one of the many people who have stopped renting DVDs in favor of streaming your movies over Netflix.  Or, you could be one of the growing number of consumers who have eschewed owning a car to accessing one via a subscription with Zipcar. Or, maybe you are one of the growing list of companies who are voting “no” to buying hardware and software and instead are using apps and computing power served up from the cloud. As an economy and a culture, we are rapidly moving away from owning tangible goods and, instead, gravitating towards becoming members of services that provide us with experiences  – such as listening to a song, using a car, watching a movie or collaborating with our colleagues.

Of course, this cultural transformation has profound implications for business models. Why? Success is no longer gauged by counting how many units of your product you have sold. Rather, success is measuring how many customers are using your service on a recurring basis and how successful you are monetizing those recurring relationships.

Today, the Subscription Economy is fuelling massive changes across communications, media, technology, consumer services and other billion dollar industries that are embracing subscription revenue models. In addition to the names above, innovative companies that adopted the subscription business models to fundamentally transform their industries include Salesforce.com, Box, Tata, VNU Media and Zendesk.

But, it is not just the upstarts that are leveraging the subscription model. A greater indicator of this shift is that traditional product companies such as Dell are racing to re-invent themselves around services. Dell recognized that selling low-margin hardware was simply much less lucrative than offering services. Consequently, Dell has acquired service companies and refocused its efforts around, “pricing our products based on value rather than based on cost,” according to Michael Dell. And it is working. In a recent Q3 earnings call, Michael Dell stated, “This is a new Dell…in Q3, our enterprise solutions and service business grew 8% to a record high $4.7 billion.”

And Dell is just one of the many titans of industry that have shifted to a service-based model. According to a recent Gartner Group report, “by 2015, 35% of Global 2000 companies with non-media digital products will generate incremental revenue of 5% to 10% through subscription-based services and revenue models.”

Why does all of this signal the death of ERP? It’s because the rigid ERP systems from SAP, Oracle and others were designed specifically for the 20th century manufacturing era rather than the 21st century services-based world. Because ERP was built to track products that can be put on a pallet, versus offering services that are consumed over time, subscription businesses using this legacy technology struggle over and over again with the fundamental questions:

  • Who are my customers? Try asking SAP or Oracle how many active customers you have at any one time. The concept simply doesn’t exist. Orders, Accounts, and Products? Sure. Ask your ERP how much up-sell business you’ve done, or how many customers have renewed in the past year – and you’ll get a blank stare. ERP is simply not built around customer-centric transactions. In a Subscription Economy, unless you can monetize customer relationships over time, you’re dead in the water.
  • How can I price this service the way I want to? Subscription services run the gamut from simple monthly recurring charges, to usage based charges, to one-time charges, to “all of the above.” Unfortunately, ERP systems force companies to resort to hokey workarounds to get their pricing right, like creating different products for every month of the year.  “February Service SKU” anyone? And simple cost-plus pricing doesn’t apply to services. Instead, businesses want to do rapid A-B price testing when trying to gauge appetite for a new service or offering. Meanwhile, a single price change in an ERP system can take weeks.
  • Where’s the “Renew” button? Subscriptions are all about an ever-changing lifecycle as customers sign-up, upgrade, add-on, and ultimately renew their service. At their core, ERP systems only give you a “Buy” button for tracking transactions.  They’re missing the critical tools you need to process this lifecycle over time.
  • Why can’t I sell to everyone? Subscription Economy companies like Salesforce.com and Box have found success by selling their services to everyone from individual users up through very large enterprises. They need tools for managing things like high volume recurring payments in the B2C world, as well as tools for managing high-complexity invoices and contracts in the B2B world. And those tools need to manage customers that may come through different channels such as web self-service, mobile devices, direct or channel sales or even Facebook. Legacy enterprise technology makes you chose one or the other, when what you really need is the ability to sell B2Any.
  • What’s going on with my financials? Subscription businesses live or die by their ability to measure the ways that bookings, billings, cash flow, and revenue are inter-related.  Unfortunately, this data lives in different software silos.  Bookings fall into CRM, billings and cashflow live in your GL or ERP system, and revenue is too often calculated in a series of complex spreadsheets. Good luck stringing all of that together.

It’s for all of these reasons that ERP’s days are numbered. The Subscription Economy demands new ways of both measuring and monetizing customer relationships.  Companies must break out of the shackles of ERP if they are to succeed in this new world. Or, risk being buried alongside it.

Original post by Tien Tzuo

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