November 30, 2023

Hello, Quartz at Work readers!

The American novelist Eudora Welty had a simple writing routine. It didn’t involve daily word goals or page counts, nor bursts of energy enacted at far-flung retreats. Instead, Welty embraced a simpler ritual: Each morning she knew she would rise early, work at length before taking a break, and count on the following day to be exactly the same.

It was in sameness that Welty found a rhythm for carrying out her most arduous and ambitious projects. Keeping a routine unbroken, as she put it, helped her see her work as part of a single, sustained effort.

“It’s the act of being totally absorbed, I think, which seems to give you direction,” Welty says in the book Daily Rituals: Women at Work. “[Y]ou don’t want to drop the thread of it.”

When we’re trying to commit to a personal or professional project, Welty’s description of the thread is a resonant one—and an answer for those of us who struggle to start (and stick to) the projects we care about.

There are plenty of good reasons we fail to get our projects off the ground—we may find a trajectory elusive, a structure too soft, or feedback not as forthcoming as we need it to be. But often, as Quartz contributor Kara Cutruzzula writes, there’s another obstacle: We hold on to our best ideas for when they feel right or ready, rather than getting going.

“We often assume our creativity and effort exist within fixed boundaries—that we’ll only ever have a certain number of ideas, or reach some kind of dead end,” Cutruzzula writes. “Instead, what if there’s a thread to follow, and the more you continue, the farther you’re led by the thread?”

In other words, we can learn from Welty by picking up the thread—and heading where it takes us. It’s not unlike showing up for your job each day, Cutruzzula writes. Follow the thread, and you could keep a project moving for years.


📈 $47 billion: The value of coworking upstart WeWork at its peak in 2019
📉 Less than $45 million: Its value as of Friday, an all-time low for the brand

It’s been a swift fall for WeWork. The coworking company—where movie-worthy mismanagement, a pandemic shift to working from home, and a lot of alleged cocaine—officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. While shares cost more than $400 each just two years ago, this week they have dipped below $1 apiece.

Quartz’s Ananya Bhattacharya rounds up why things have not worked out for WeWork. (No guarantees, unfortunately, that this one will be reenacted by Anne Hathaway.)


Not every memoir can be Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. But CEOs sometimes write pretty good books (or at least their ghostwriters do). Do you have one you particularly like? Drop us a line—we’re rounding up Quartz at Work reader favorites, and we want to hear yours.


Pop quiz: One of the last girlboss CEOs—or the feminism-forward founders who rose to fame in the mid-2010s—announced this week that she would no longer be the chief executive of her billion-dollar brand. Was it…

A. Rebel-minded retailer Sophia Amoruso
B. No-makeup makeup marketer Emily Weiss
C. Coworking and community space slinger Audrey Gelman
D. Dating app doyenne Whitney Wolfe Herd

The answer is D, Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd. On Monday Herd stepped down as CEO to become the dating app’s executive chair—but not after she made looking for love very, very lucrative.

After founding the app in 2014 and bringing it to IPO in 2021, Herd became the youngest woman ever to take a company public—and (briefly) became one of the world’s only female billionaires. She also avoided the fate of many of her girlbossy peers, like Amoruso and Gelman, who resigned under sinking business models or accusations of discriminatory work environments.

In a classic Quartz Obsession, senior reporter Sarah Todd traces the decline of the girlboss—along with when (and why) feminism and capitalism ultimately don’t mix. Revisit all things She-EO in her telling of the girlboss’s great rise and fall.


“We must defeat the Tesla business model, and Sweden is the best place to start.” —Atle Høie, a leader at international union IndustriALL, which represents more than 50 million workers across the mining, energy, and manufacturing industries

After the United Auto Workers (UAW) successfully reached deals with Detroit’s Big Three automakers last week, they’re looking Do unionize other US auto manufacturers, including EV giant Tesla. But labor fights are already underway in an unlikely place: Sweden.

Already-unionized Tesla mechanics in the Nordic nation have been on strike for more than a week; out of solidarity, dockworkers in the country are readying to stop deliveries and turn up the heat. There’s a reason Tesla’s biggest labor fight is happening in Europe—and it might mean the US is next.


Here’s how to negotiate better benefits in your next job offer. “You made it past several other candidates, nailed the interviews, and received an offer for your dream job,” writes Quartz contributor Art Zeile this week. “The only problem? The benefits don’t quite meet your expectations—and while you don’t want to settle for less, you also don’t want it to be a dealbreaker.”

When evaluating a job offer, plenty of us zero in on compensation—but a good negotiator remembers that flexible hours, remote possibilities, vacation time, and more are all on the table, too.

Zeile offers a simple set of dos and don’ts for picking up more perks—and the right ones for you—in that next role. (Here’s one: Do seek out intel from current employees, but don’t assume your benefits will be the same.)


🤖 OpenAI will now let you create your own personal chatbot 

✍️ How do you know when a project is finished? 

🚗 Tesla’s biggest labor union fight is happening in Europe

💪 Leading a hybrid team? 5 ways to improve everyone’s performance 

💬 What we learned when we quit Slack


Send questions, comments, and the best of Anne Hathaway’s oeuvre to This edition of The Memo was written by Gabriela Riccardi.

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