Put away that granola bar. As much as Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, believes in sustainability, good employment and good environmental practices as key business values, he's all about profit and return on investment.
For the last four years, Philadelphia Inquirer business reporter Jane M. Von Bergen has spent at least a day a week interviewing chief executives. Now on her last day at the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, she does something a little different.
When Bob Platzer was a kid growing up in Jersey, he'd go to work with his Dad, who ran a warehouse. On the way home, they'd stop at the local taproom. Something about the atmosphere grabbed Platzer, long before he hit drinking age - something that would lead Platzer, now 66, to run a business that brings in $78 million a year and employs 1,600 people.
The news has been full of stories about harassment on the job - mostly high profile cases with truly egregious behavior. But the ordinary unpleasantness many people face at work - rudeness, yelling, pressure - also takes its toll. Restaurants are notorious for that; but it doesn't have to be that way, said Bob Platzer, who owns 20 restaurants, among them 15 P.J. Whelihan's. Change starts at the top. He points to himself as Exhibit A.
One day, systems engineer Michael Hollander looked up from his computer screen in Silicon Valley, where he sat writing code for yet another wrinkle in an office communication software suite, and thought to himself: What am I doing here? So he quit and went to law school, moving to Philly to practice public-interest law. He can't quit coding, though - though this time, it's coding for a cause.
Forty years ago, the women who founded Philadelphia's Forum of Executive Women never talked about sexual harassment on the job. Now there's a tsunami of news and a possibility for real change, Forum leaders say.
You can always train harder, and work more. "How you train when it's 15 degrees outside, and dark and miserable" in January determines whether you win on the river in June, says the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, who rowed competitively. In the race to fill hotel rooms in Philadelphia, there's another technique that will help.
At the Pennsylvania Convention Center, life scientists are meeting to talk about neurobiology. At the federal courthouse a few blocks away, lawyers for the center and the union carpenters who used to work there will have a different topic - racketeering. Will the dispute between the carpenters and the Convention Center ever end?
Jane M. Von Bergen writes about the workplace — employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.