At South by Southwest: Fresh Ideas About Working

Man & Woman speaking in business

Unconventional advice on hugging, quitting and getting hired after 50

Richard Eisenberg

Most people who head to Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals, as I just did, go for the films, bands and the newest, coolest technology. I went for the sessions about new, fulfilling ways to work as a manager and as an employee — especially if you’re a boomer.

When did it become uncool to feel? When did it become taboo to show emotion?

— Ryan Fey, Omelet ad agency, at SXSW

Let me share highlights from three workplace sessions I attended that might lead you to, in the words of Steve Jobs, think different. Even the names of the panels were thought-provoking: Work As We Knew It Is Over — Jobs As Adventures; Leading With Love: The Future of Emotional Leadership and The Boomer Millennial: A Retiree Becomes an Intern.

Work As We Knew It Is Over

The first session was led by three high-powered women from the human resources world: Patty McCord, a consultant to startups who formerly worked at Silicon Valley firms such as Netflix and Sun; Colleen McCreary, chief people officer at the video platform VEVO; and Beth Steinberg, former head of people at companies like Facebook and Nike, whose Mensch Ventures now helps companies with talent issues.