363 episodes

"Work" is broken. We're overcommitted, underutilized, and out of whack. But it doesn't have to be this way. What Works is a podcast about rethinking work, business, and leadership as we navigate the 21st-century economy. When you're an entrepreneur, independent worker, or employee who doesn't want to lose yourself to the whims of late-stage capitalism, this show is for you. Host Tara McMullin covers money, management, culture, media, philosophy, and more to figure out what's working (and what's not) today. Tara offers a distinctly interdisciplinary approach to deep-dive analysis of how we work and how work shapes us.

What Works Tara McMullin

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 233 Ratings

"Work" is broken. We're overcommitted, underutilized, and out of whack. But it doesn't have to be this way. What Works is a podcast about rethinking work, business, and leadership as we navigate the 21st-century economy. When you're an entrepreneur, independent worker, or employee who doesn't want to lose yourself to the whims of late-stage capitalism, this show is for you. Host Tara McMullin covers money, management, culture, media, philosophy, and more to figure out what's working (and what's not) today. Tara offers a distinctly interdisciplinary approach to deep-dive analysis of how we work and how work shapes us.

    EP 462: Decoding the Language of Empathy

    EP 462: Decoding the Language of Empathy

    Today, we peel back the layers of a term that's become ubiquitous in the business world and beyond: empathy.
    In this episode, empathy's origin story. Er, stories. We'll explore its philosophical roots deep in the 19th century, through my personal trials and errors with empathy, to some of the challenges we face in empathizing with people we have less in common with. Ultimately, I want to explore the ways empathy invites curiosity, leverages imagination, and recognizes our differences.
    This is the first in a 5-part series in which I'm decoding empathy. We'll talk brand strategy, non-violent communication, disability, and copywriting. And all throughout the series, we'll look for ways to recognize difference instead of assuming sameness.
    Footnotes:
    "Build Your Creative Confidence: Empathy Maps" via IDEOBewilderment by Richard Powers"Double empathy, explained" by Rachel Zamzow "On the Ontological Status of Autism: the 'double empathy' problem" by Damian Milton"Don't Mourn for Us" by Jim SinclairEmpathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives by Amy Coplan and Peter GoldieWaiting for God by Simone WeilNot Mentioned:
    Anderson, Ellie , and David Peña-Guzmán. 2020. “Episode 07: What’s the Deal with Empathy?” Overthink Podcast. December 1, 2020. Ganczarek, J., Hünefeldt, T., & Olivetti Belardinelli, M. (2018). From "Einfühlung" to empathy: exploring the relationship between aesthetic and interpersonal experience. Cognitive processing, 19(2), 141–145. Every episode of What Works is also published in essay form at whatworks.fyi
    If you love deep dives like this series, please consider becoming a premium subscriber. You get access to my premium columns, quarterly live workshops, and discussion thread. Visit: whatworks.fyi/subscribe



    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 34 min
    This is Not Advice: Process Entropy & Process Evolution

    This is Not Advice: Process Entropy & Process Evolution

    Are you waiting for a glorious day with your system, plan, or business just work? I hate to tell you this—but you will be waiting a long time.
    Plans, systems, and businesses evolve. Change isn't a bad thing—it's the only thing.
    In today's edition of This is Not Advice, I share how I recently coached Sean through a run-in with process entropy and process evolution.
    To get the full essay or episode, visit: https://www.whatworks.fyi/p/process-entropy-and-process-evolution


    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 11 min
    EP 461: My Nemesis

    EP 461: My Nemesis

    Our beliefs leave an indelible mark on how we interact with others and our environment. Even when those beliefs aren't conscious. 
    Beliefs about quality of life are a whole other can of worms. Who gets to decide the relative quality of a life? Or what lives are worth living? And how do our beliefs about quality of life and worthiness impact the way interact with others and the way we treat ourselves?
    In this episode, I reflect on how my beliefs about quality of life were influenced by my favorite Star Trek character, Data. I discuss technoableism, narratives of overcoming, and the unnecessary self-judgment we can put ourselves through on the path to becoming like everyone else.
    Footnotes:
    Rethink Work: An 8-week cohort-based courseStar Trek: NemesisAgainst Technoableism by Ashley Shew"Valuing Disability, Causing Disability" by Elizabeth BarnesMore on "narratives of overcoming" in my book, What WorksIf you're a sci-fi nerd like me, check out my limited podcast, Strange New Work, wherever you listen to podcasts!All new episodes of What Works are available in written essay form at whatworks.fyi
    ***If you’re questioning your relationship to work but finding it difficult to make lasting changes, I’d love to help.
    I’m committed to helping you confront and deconstruct big assumptions that compete with your good intentions. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in my new 8-week cohort-based course, Rethink Work.
    We’ll examine the beliefs, stories, and systems that keep us hustling—even when it hurts—so you can make changes that last and create a more sustainable approach to work.


    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 21 min
    EP 460: In Defense of Gimmicks

    EP 460: In Defense of Gimmicks

    The proliferation of derivative nonsense on various social media platforms begs the question: Is it possible to make a TikTok video, Instagram post, or LinkedIn update that's remarkable? Is it possible for repetition to be an asset? For repetition to even be remarkable?
    In this episode, I take a deep dive into gimmicks—the formulaic and repetitive media that can help us think in new ways. Specifically, I'm looking at Frankie's Cultural Observations. If you don't know the series, I'm delighted to share it with you today!
    This is the 3rd in my series, What Makes This Remarkable, where I break down remarkable content I come across to give you new perspectives on your own work (creative or otherwise). Premium subscribers also get "Remarkable Homework"—prompts for thinking differently about your projects—and the chance to ask questions or discuss that week's lessons. Upgrade your subscription to join in!
    Footnotes:
    What Makes This Remarkable (60 Songs That Explain the '90s, Savior Complex)Frankie's Cultural Observations on YouTube"Observing Frankie McNamara's Observations" by Brandon Tauczik in Paper MagazineSandwiches of History on YouTubeGirl with the Dogs on YouTubeWorking definition for the gimmick as a medium: A gimmick is a nonsequential series of works that utilize a novel scheme, angle, or device to explore a network of ideas."Why Write In Form?" by Rebecca Hazelton via The Poetry FoundationAmusing Ourselves to Death by Neil PostmanHyperculture by Byung-Chul HanTed Nelson & "intertwingularity"The Cluetrain ManifestoAll new episodes are available in written essay form at whatworks.fyi
    ***If you’re questioning your relationship to work but finding it difficult to make lasting changes, I’d love to help.
    I’m committed to helping you confront and deconstruct big assumptions that compete with your good intentions. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in my new 8-week cohort-based course, Rethink Work.
    We’ll examine the beliefs, stories, and systems that keep us hustling—even when it hurts—so you can make changes that last and create a more sustainable approach to work.


    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 29 min
    EP 459: Sorry, self-promotion doesn't work

    EP 459: Sorry, self-promotion doesn't work

    Last week, Vox published an article by internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings about how everybody needs to be a self-promoter now—and we all hate it. Then, I read a response by writer and book coach Leigh Stein, who was quoted in the Vox piece, in which she admitted to actually enjoying creating her social media content. Stein said that she was considerably more optimistic about the state of things than Jennings article was.
    I found the exchange fascinating. I find it hard to disagree with either of their perspectives! And Stein wasn't really disagreeing with Jennings either—which left me with one thought: I don't think we're talking about the same things here.
    So I resurrected an old piece from July 2021 that made the case I wanted to make—that self-promotion sucks and is contentless, but that self-promotion is not the only mode for creating content that gets the job done on social media—and updated it for today's social media moment. This episode has my response to both Jennings's and Stein's articles, as well as a description of how enshittification doesn't only apply to platforms but to creators, too. And then, I share the 3 Rs of Digital Content.
    Footnotes:
    "Everyone's a sell-out now" by Rebecca Jennings on Vox"who told you it would be easy?" by Leigh Stein on The Attention Economy"autofanfic" by Leigh Stein on The Attention Economy"The 'Enshittification' of TikTok" by Cory Doctorow on Wired"Always On: The Hidden Labor We Do Everyday" by Tara McMullin on What Works"To Quit or Not to Quit Social Media" by Tara McMullin on What Works"Revisiting Remarkable Content to Consider Digital Ecology" by Tara McMullin on What WorksAll new episodes are available in written essay form at whatworks.fyi
    ***If you’re questioning your relationship to work but finding it difficult to make lasting changes, I’d love to help.
    I’m committed to helping you confront and deconstruct big assumptions that compete with your good intentions. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in my new 8-week cohort-based course, Rethink Work.
    We’ll examine the beliefs, stories, and systems that keep us hustling—even when it hurts—so you can make changes that last and create a more sustainable approach to work.


    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 28 min
    EP 458: How many layers are too many?

    EP 458: How many layers are too many?

    Layers. Unless we're talking about cake, you can have too many layers. In today's episode, I share a recent metaphorical revelation I had about sound and sensory sensitivity. And then, I introduce you to a different way of thinking about stress that can help you identify better ways to manage it.
    Footnotes:
    Rethink Work: an 8-week cohort-based courseThe Highly Sensitive Brain by Bianca AcevedoStress: A Brief History by Cary Cooper & Philip DeweStress, Appraisal, and Coping by Richard Lazarus and Susan FolkmanEvery episode of What Works is also published in essay form at whatworks.fyi!



    ★ Support this podcast ★

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
233 Ratings

233 Ratings

Amanda_6 ,

Fanastic Resource!

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to be an intentional entrepreneur, this is the podcast for you. I recently listened to episode #407 about going slow and it stopped me in my tracks. Tara’s analogy of baking bread encouraged me to take a longer walk that day and has stuck with me ever since. I tend to go-go-go as an entrepreneur and her words have helped me slow down and embrace whatever moment I’m in.

PaigeBPodcasting ,

Great Show!

Listening to this podcast is very informative. Tara discusses a wide array useful topics and invites the top experts to contribute. You’ll be sure to walk away with a better understanding of the steps you need to take to increase the success of your business.

Carolyn Mackin ,

Helpful and inspiring

Tara has been a guiding light for many years to help me navigate my art business. I’m especially loving the tone she set for 2023 as I continue to make my business and life work for me and my family.

Top Podcasts In Business

NerdWallet Personal Finance
Ramsey Network
Money News Network
DOAC
Ed Mylett | Cumulus Podcast Network
NPR

You Might Also Like

Simone Grace Seol
Ten Percent Happier
Jonathan Fields / Acast
Oprah
LinkedIn
Pushkin Industries