Illustrated Blog


Cartoon of a customer at a car dealership telling the sales agent "I refuse to pay less than MSRP plus $10,000 for this car."

Pricing for purpose

Imagine allowing customers to pay whatever amount they want for your products or services. Sounds like a recipe for getting fleeced into bankruptcy, right? Yet, data from companies that use such Pay What You Want (PWYW) pricing suggests that, typically, people are not greedy jerks. Most of the time, most people will treat others fairly (see chapter 12 of Do Good at Work). Done well then, PWYW is a feasible method for allowing those who are financially stressed to benefit from your products or services. This, in turn, is a way to contribute to others or to societal causes through work, to do what I’ve termed job purposing. One company that uses PWYW is Humble Bundle, a digital storefront that sells curated sets of video games, music files, e-books and

Model Barbara Valente wows in Dior’s ravishing work-at-home business attire. [Image is of a woman wearing a trim blazer and puffy pajama bottoms with fluffy slippers.]

Reimagine the holiday gift basket

Last week, people globally Googled “holiday basket” 154% more times than the prior week. It’s a sign we’re approaching that seasonal ritual that, despite its beautiful intentions, often feels stale and meaningless: Holiday gift-giving between business relations. Good news! Like all business functions, gift buying can be ignited with purpose, can be job purposed. For example, gift cards from Sudara will give recipients their choice of beautiful pajamas and loungewear made by Indian women escaping sex trafficking. I don Sudara pants so often below the Zoom screen, that they are my de facto business attire. They are both beautiful and comfortable. A Sudara worker in India makes loungewear. Other ways to job purpose holiday gift-giving include: Going to QVC’s Small Business Spotlight to buy from retailers that are owned by individuals who are Black, Hispanic/Latinx,

"Time will justify me." Manuela Saenz

Will time justify your actions?

Women who’ve recently marched for a cause are in debt to a Latin American who helped normalize female activism 200 years ago, Manuela Saenz. She was a lauded member of Peru’s independence movement against the tyranny of Spain. Among other acts of courage, Manuela took midnight rides to erase graffiti opposing the just cause of independence. Women exercising their freedom to divorce also ought to be grateful to Manuela. She left her British husband at a time when the women of his home country had no such legal right. Every woman donning a military uniform might also want to tip their beret or helmet to Manuela. She earned colonel rank in the Latin American military. In short, Manuela Saenz was a formidable force for justice. Nevertheless, the backward thinkers in

Drawing by Bea Boccalandro of a girl cowering, hugging her knees.

How business can help Afghan girls and women

Like many of you, I’m heartsick for the people of Afghanistan–especially the girls and women left vulnerable to the Taliban squashing their rights and lives. It’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. Let’s not forget, though, of a formidable force that we can nudge toward aiding Afghans (and other victims of displacement and human rights violations): business. We can, for example: Ask our employer to join the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a network of companies committed to integrating refugees in their host communities. Get our procurement department to join UNSTUCK, which helps businesses populate supply chains with providers that hire refugees. Encourage our employee resource groups (ERG’s) or corporate foundation to support efforts in the developing world through Alight, Global Giving, the International Rescue Committee, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Mercy Corps or the Malala Fund, which are all

Living another’s legacy is a beautiful way to contribute. Launch a namesake award that honors their super lovable trait. End every meeting with a kind word, as they did. Pick up the reins of the Black employee resource group they founded to ensure it doesn’t die with them. Do the good they would have done.

Purposeful Palm series: Live their legacy

A few days ago, I looked to the towering palm outside my window for inspiration as I often do. It was gone. Its owner cut it down that morning. Yet, for me, the Purposeful Palm is not gone. It’s as present as ever, only in an inverse form. My mind invented a palm-shaped hole in the landscape, as if a phantom tree inhabited it. I sense an absence. It occurred to me that my experience with the Purposeful Palm is a lite version of what happens when we lose someone we love. Lost ones remain present, only in the negative. We no longer see or hear them, but we feel the void they left. This, of course, can be emotionally excruciating. At a proper time in our healing journey, however, our recollection

To support grieving colleagues, ask “How are you today?” Then listen. Sheryl Sandberg discovered that adding “today” transforms the customary “How are you?” from a prompt for a perfunctory “fine” into a caring invitation to share.

Purposeful Palm series: Help grieving colleagues by adding a word to your greeting

One in five of our colleagues are returning to the workplace carrying the pain of having lost a loved one during this pandemic. The Purposeful Palm’s suggestion is one simple way to aid healthy workplace grieving. But there are many others. See, for example, “Facing Grief at Work” by Susan Hunt Stevens, Founder and CEO of WeSpire. While you’re there, subscribe to her Saturday Spark. All her posts are that good! For over 100 examples, plus 12 techniques, for otherwise to make meaningful contributions through your job, see Bea’s new book Do Good at Work: How Simple Acts of Social Purpose Drive Success and Wellbeing.

Give your employees free housecleaning. All employees will love it and those who are mothers might kiss you.

Purposeful Palm series: A wonderful perk for working mothers

In the United States, women are five times more likely to do the majority of household cleaning and laundry (not to mention seven times more likely to do the majority of childcare), according to Gallup. The tech company Akraya already follows the Purposeful Palm‘s tip. They offer employees free housekeeping twice a month! Not surprisingly, the company has earned Glassdoor best-place-to-work status.