Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Difference Work-Life Balance and Work-Life Integration

1. Work-Life Balance

What is it, you wonder?  Achieve something at work.  Enjoy something at work.  Achieve something at home.  Enjoy something at home. For the mathematically inclined:

Aw + Ew + Ah + Eh = Work Life Balance.

What does this mean?  Working and living are never truly balanced—there are no coefficients or constants to guide you through the process.  Sometimes you’ll achieve and enjoy something more at work than you will at home.  What’s important is that all aspects of achievement and enjoyment in work and life happen throughout the day.  Some days—as you know—are harder than others.

Here’s an example: you might have a fantastic interaction with a persnickety coworker (achievement) and then laugh at a joke at a board meeting (enjoyment), followed by not tripping over a pile of laundry in the middle of the floor when you get home (achievement) and meeting a friend for dinner (enjoyment).  These achievements and enjoyments do not have the same weights.  That great conversation with that persnickety coworker might be the biggest achievement because you know he’ll probably invite you to work on that project you’ve been wanting to work on with him.  You probably enjoyed that dinner with your friend the most.

The big idea?  You unplug.  You achieve and enjoy something in both parts of your life—working and not working—and there’s a clear boundary between the two. Over time, achievement and enjoyment will balance each other out.  It’s the day-to-day that can be a bit tricky.

2. Work-Life Integration

This is way trendier.  Thanks to the gig economy that’s sprung up in the past decade, integrating what you do and how you live have become a necessity for some.  Even in bigger businesses, there’s this idea that living and working in the same place are desirable attributes for living.

Let’s look at a few examples.  Consider Silicon Valley—companies like Google have on-campus apartments, child care centers, organic gardens with staff cafeterias, and buses for those who don’t live where they work.  The idea is simple: integrate your work into your life.    For others, technology has allowed people to live their lives—exercise, take their kids to school, go food shopping—and work full-time. No one decided that all work needs to happen between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM.  If you can meet your deadlines, show up for your meetings (even virtually), and live your daily life, then all is well.

What’s different here?  Discipline.  Strategy.  Knowing when to unplug.  And a stick-to-it attitude.  With work-life balance, the “unplug” is pre-set.  You’re done with work for the day, you leave.  With work-life integration, you plan on when you’re doing your work, meet all your job’s expectations, and still show up for touch football, or your volunteer work at that organization whose mission you love.

Is one approach better than the other?  Nope.   It depends on the kind of work you want to do and the kind of life you want to live.  If you need a strict schedule and need to know when you’re “on” and when you’re “off,” integrating your work into your life could be tough.  You might opt for a more traditional job with traditional hours.  If you feel constrained by that, you might want to integrate your work into your life and have more “flexibility” during the day—this is especially helpful if you have a family.

Whatever you decide: your work and your life should bring you joy—not all the time, but enough so that it all balances out in the end.  L’chaim!

Reason Why You Need A Master Degree that Develops Your Digital Skills

1. Digital skills open diverse doors.

Do a quick internet search of the words “digital skills,” and you’ll turn up countless articles on “essential,” “must-have” and “top” digital skills employers are looking for today. At the same time, US staffing and solutions company the Adecco Group reveals that 92 percent of employees aren’t prepared to navigate the contemporary business world. Claiming top four spots on the list of skills executives think workers lack? Technical and software skills.

But that’s not all, insists The Guardian, “It’s not just the scale and pace of the digital revolution that makes it exciting; it’s also the fact that it’s being democratized. No longer reserved for IT departments and tech companies, digital is becoming a critical part of every industry and is opening up opportunities across sectors, whether it’s top surgeons video linking into operating theatres from abroad or targeted mobile advertising based on clothes you’re trying on in real time.”

So whether you want to be a teacher, doctor, businessperson, lawyer, journalist, or one of a million other possible career paths, skills like SEO, coding, video editing, imaging editing, blogging and others are quickly moving from the category of nicety to necessity. The takeaway? Digital skills aren’t just highly sought-after in technology-related sectors; they’re also universally prized.

2. Digitalization is essential to corporate development.

According to a recent article in The Telegraph, ‘Why Digital Skills Matter for Your Company,” “businesses that improve the digital skills of all their employees will become more productive, innovative, profitable and secure.” For bottom-line-minded organizations, these are hard words to ignore. Just how much do businesses stand to gain by embracing all things digital? As reported by The Telegraph based on research by Oxford Economics for Virgin Media Business, the UK economy could see a boost of £92bn and more than one million jobs in the next two years alone.

Said Peter Winebloom, skills director a manufacturers’ organizations EEF, “Britain is on the cusp of a global, technology-driven fourth industrial revolution, but the challenge comes from ensuring that we have access to the right skills in the right numbers.”  In other words, if the UK — and other countries, too — is to reach its potential, it will take workers with the right digital skills make it happen.

3. Students with digital skills are prepared to respond to future changes

Digital has fully infiltrated the contemporary consumer experience. The result? Consumers have higher expectations than ever before. Organizations looking to maintain their success with customers and profitability need to do more than satisfy what customers want now; they also need to be forward-thinking about what they’ll want next. Asserts The Guardian, “Businesses must invest now in digital training to empower their employees, boost productivity and fuel innovation or the UK might be left behind.”

But the ability to predict, plan and ultimately maneuver the challenges of the digital evolution doesn’t just benefit businesses. It also benefits workers who — with the right combination of digital knowledge, skills and savvy — acquire built-in defenses against obsoletion.

Now that you know why digital skills are so important, it begs the question: What master’s degree can best position you for success in the business world? The part-time, English-language program offered by the IMC FH KREMS – University of Applied Sciences/Austria offers students a direct path to the skills they need to turn the obstacles of digital transformation into ongoing opportunities.

With a focus on the cultivation of practical skills within an international context, the program is also non-industry-specific — meaning its graduates will enter the working world not just with a prestigious Master of Arts in Business and 120 ECTS credits, but also with a broad and transferable outlook which can be applied to any industry.

Digital fluency is so important in the 21st century that it is now being prioritized alongside math and literacy as essential skills in countries around the world. Do you have the digital skills you need to reach your career goals? If not, IMC Krems Master’s in Digital Business Innovation and Transformation may be the perfect way to make sure you’re ready — not just for the challenges of today’s digital world, but also for whatever’s coming next.

A Master’s Degree in Education

1. You’ll increase your earning potential.

While many teaching jobs require master’s degrees, others may call for just a bachelor’s degree. In this case, getting the bare minimum can hurt you in several different ways. Not only does it lower your chances of getting hired when you’re up again more qualified applicants, but it also means you’ll likely end up collecting a higher starting salary.

According to The Houston Chronicle, most school districts offer teachers with master’s degrees across the elementary, middle, and high school levels supplemental pay in the form of a “bonus” or “bump.” According to analysis by the Center for American Progress this averages between an extra $3,000 and $10,000 a year! And while the cost of getting a master’s degree can seem prohibitive, the degree can pay for itself in just a few years. Not only that, but most school districts require continuing education credits — doesn’t it make sense to put those credits toward a degree?

2. You’ll enjoy greater career mobility.

While a bachelor’s degree may qualify you to be a classroom teacher, many other school jobs  require advanced credentials. If career advancement is important to you, a master’s degree is a must-have. Whether you’re looking to work as a school administrator, curriculum director, content/subject area specialist, or school counselor, you’ll likely need a master’s degree or more.

Additionally, a master’s degree can also open up new possibilities outside of the school system entirely. From textbook authors and community college teachers to educational consultants and educational researchers, these sought-after, well-paid professionals almost always have upper-level qualifications.

In addition to helping you move up the latter, a bachelor’s degree can lead to broader career prospects, which can be an effective defense against teacher burnout — a pervasive phenomenon among today’s hard-working teaching professionals.

3. You’ll be a better teacher.

A master’s degree isn’t merely a means to an end. Rather, it’s an opportunity for true growth and development. Your time in graduate school will benefit you in numerous ways, from understanding of your options as a teacher by exploring what truly interest you to acquiring tools which will enrich what you offer your students.

While your undergraduate degree might have bestowed knowledge in a certain field of study, a master’s in education places the focus on transitioning that and new knowledge to the classroom. Says, “These degrees focus on teaching somebody how to be a teacher, with heavy emphasis on pedagogy, teaching methods, philosophy of education, and educational technology.”

According to one Reddit commenter, “It was a TON of work, and took a while, but it definitely made me a better teacher, both in increasing my knowledge and also making me more sympathetic to my students. Its interesting watching another person teach after you have been teaching all day, and seeing what you can do and what you shouldn’t do.”

One caveat worth keeping in mind? As with all advanced studies, you get out of a master’s degree what you put into it. On the flip side, however, if you’re pursuing your graduate coursework part-time while maintaining a teaching job, you’ll have immediate opportunities to start making change. Another Reddit poster shared, “I love teaching while going to school because I can implement strategies I learn in class the next day.”

4. You can make change at a higher level.

Teachers help nurture the growth and development of kids in classroom every day. If you’re interested in making change at a higher level, however, a master’s degree can help prepare you for a role in research, assessment or policy.

From regional school districts to local, state, and federal agencies, many organizations exist aimed at improving how teachers, schools and educational systems at large do what they do. They’re all looking for people with the knowledge, experience and insights to help guide them.

One of the most compelling reasons prompting people to enter the teaching profession is the chance to make a difference in society. A master’s degree will not only position you to achieve this goal, but it can also help you improve the quality of education at large while bettering your own life in the process.

A Global Journey And Studying

Africa: Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Written in 2006, Adichie’s wrenching tale chronicles five people’s lives as they navigate politics, power, academics, journalism, women’s rights, marriage, and the struggle for daily survival during Nigeria’s Civil War in the late 1960s.  How blurred are the lines between life and death?  What does it mean to be in love?  How does war affect humanity—and its soul?

Asia: Flowers in the Mirror, Li Ruzhen

A Chinese classic on feminism, circa 1827.  While the Qing Dynasty period wasn’t known for embracing femininity, the author was. Ruzhen offers us a subversion of gender roles in a fantasy classic—often with a humorous twist.  He believed in equal rights for men and women and wrote Flowers in the Mirror as one fantastical version of what that kind of world could look like.

Europe: The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Travel to Barcelona, on Zafón’s meticulously detailed streets with young Daniel in 1945, just after the Spanish Civil War.  Pick up an obscure, tattered book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and join Daniel on a dangerous mystery that will take you throughout past and then-present Barcelona—and the heartbreak of the human spirit.  Also Try Zafón’s 2009 prequel, The Angel’s Game, written in 2008, seven years after Shadow of the Wind.

Middle East: Spectres, Radwa Ashour

Winner of the Cairo International Book Fair Prize, Egyptian author Radwa Ashour details the ethnic cleansing of Deir Yassini in April of 1948.  Using metaphoric “doubles,” Ashour parallels the stories of two women, Shagar Abdel Ghaffar, and “Radwa Ashour” who live through atrocities—both personal and political—in a fractured time and place.  How much strength can the human spirit hold?

Winner of the National Book Award, The Corrections offers us an ironic and often funny glimpse of a multi-generational family fraying at the edges at the beginning of the 21st century.  With larger themes like economic collapse overshadowing the finer movements of a family’s collapse, Franzen sets the stage with an older couple hosting “one last Christmas” with their middle-aged children.  Anxiety, uncertainty, and apprehension apply to the state of the family—and the state of the world.

Oceania: Cloudstreet, Tim Winton

1991 Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC Awards in Australia, Cloudstreet details the bonds created between two families who flee rural life for different reasons.  Watch them scrabble, struggle, laugh and cry twenty years in the city before they find what they want. What do they want?  What we all do.  Love and acceptance.

South America: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Marquez

Marquez’s magical realism does not disappoint in his 1967 epic that chronicles seven generations of the fortunes—and humorous misfortunes—of the Buendía family and their grandfather’s town, Macondo.  The story of the family is the story of the town. History, for better or worse, consistently repeats itself.  With lyrical beauty, Marquez explores the ghosts of family and place—and what it means to be a part of both.