May 22, 2015

A Millennial Commuter's Survival Tips

I am stuck in morning traffic. The truck in front of me is dropping pebbles on my car. The guy next to me looks like he wants to kill someone. I am frustrated. It's just another day on Miami roads.  

For those of you who commute to work every day, you have my sympathy. The Miami Herald just published a four-part series on commuting. It even profiled some extreme commuters. The upshot: commuting stinks but lots of people do it anyway. 

Today, my guest blogger is Zachary Sisco, a Communications Associate at TINYpulse. Zachary shares his experience striking a work/life balance while juggling a substantial commute. He recounts the perils, struggles, and delights of beginning a job as a commuter. He also shares the little inventive tricks he learned for making his commute more enjoyable.

Here is his perspective as a millennial commuter:


About a month ago, I received a job offer from TINYpulse, a passionate team on a mission to boost Zacharyemployee engagement (you can check us out here). Upon graduating I had spent months editing cover letters, filling out applications, and going on interviews. Finally things were lining up. The job was right, the culture was perfect, and I’d have the added benefit of going home each day knowing I’d done something good for the world. I accepted the job with little thought and slept well that night.

I don’t recall exactly when the reality of it hit me, but there was a big loose-end I had left untied. I now had a full-time job in Seattle. Somehow then, it seemed problematic that I had no place to live in Seattle. It’s not that I ever had the threat of homelessness looming over me. I’m blessed with a wonderful, supportive network of family in the area. But that was the problem: this network was all around Seattle. Not one of them actually lived in Seattle. I had without much thought committed myself to a substantial commute. And thus my tale begins…

Now the daily commute comes in many forms. Some spend an hour navigating a ballet of tail-lights. Some while away their time staring at the back of strangers heads on a train. For me after arranging to stay with family on Bainbridge Island, I joined the Cult of the Ferry.

The Cult of the Ferry

No, it’s not the cyanide in the punch kind of cult. It’s more like the cult that all Jeep owners belong to. There’s a silent community among ferry riders. It’s never spoken, but everyone on the ferry knows that we’re all in this together. For 80 minutes a day that’s literal. But it goes beyond that. We all know the same struggles that the ferry and commuting brings. It’s a neat feeling actually. But that’s just an aside.

Currently I ride a bus to get to the ferry, then one to get from the ferry terminal to work. I rinse, lather and repeat. My best-case scenario day is 12 hours from door-to-door. But that involves leaving work a little early, catching the perfect bus, and running a few blocks. More often, that number is 13 and another obligation can push it back as far as 15! Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. 

My Little Tricks

No two commutes are exactly alike, so everyone’s little tricks are going to be different. But there are a few pearls of wisdom that I can offer. Anyone should be able to apply these to their commuting experience to tip the work/life balance back in their favor.

Use Your Downtime - Whatever form your commute may take, you’re going to have downtime. It’s entirely too easy to let this slip by the wayside. But this time need not be wasted. If you’re navigating the tail-light ballet, why not put in an audio-book? If you’re really ambitious then maybe a language learning tape is more your speed. Personally, I’m a big fan of reading. If you see me on the ferry in the morning, chances are I have a newspaper in my hand. In the evening I’m turning pages in a novel.

Love the Little Things - This’ll vary for everyone so I’ll just give a few examples from my experience.  First is the ferry-ride...beautiful! Even on a cloudy day, you can adore the slowly approaching Seattle skyline. On a sunny day, Mt. Rainier pops into view and sitting on the deck of the boat is a must. Second, is my bus driver. It’s a tiny thing, but my morning bus is driven by the most wonderfully cheery man. Just greeting him as I pay my fare lifts my spirits a little.

 Treat Yourself - Even if you follow all this advice, the truth remains...commuting is just not that great. So be sure to occasionally splurge on yourself. Buy some candy. And if you ride the ferry, they sell over-priced beer. Don’t make it a habit, but a little here and there goes a long way.

 

To you Commuters

I’m new to commuting. But the last month has given me a little taste of what many people do permanently. To those who do my hat goes off to you. Some of you, I’m sure, are superheros who can rise at 4 am with ease. But for the rest of you the true significance of it needs to be acknowledged. If you’re commuting, your days are long and exhausting. And for many, that’s not the end of your day. Utilizing downtime and the other tips I listed can help. But ultimately, the decision whether or not to commute is substantial. When making it, seriously consider the value of your time and energy.

 

 

 You can connect with Zachary by email at zachary@tinypulse.com or via twitter: @zacharysisco1

 

May 20, 2015

You Can Be A Rainmaker and Still Have Work Life Balance

Yuliya

(Yuliya LaRoe and Marla Grant talking to women lawyers on how to develop business)

It used to be that "rainmaker" was a term exclusive to men. It was used mostly for men who spent lots of time on the golf course or dining at lunch clubs with big wigs whose business they were trying to land.

Today, rainmakers are male or female. They are anyone who is able to bring in new business. Honing this skill makes you valuable as an employee, manager or owner. While some might think of rainmaking as a time consuming task, it can be part of your daily activities. The key is knowing how to ask for business and where to look for it.

If you're a parent, start with your kids. 

When Paul Ranis got a call from the owner of a large Canadian company asking to retain him for its legal employment work, Ranis asked an obvious question: “How did you find me?” The man replied with the name of the person who referred him. After a few minutes, it clicked. “Oh, that’s A.J’s dad,” Ranis responded.

When Ranis is attending his daughter’s soccer matches or his son’s math competition, he extends a handshake to other parents and builds the kind of relationships that often lead to new business. “The opportunity for business development is much greater than through a typical meet-and-greet where you will see 50 attorneys and everyone is handing out their business cards,” Ranis says.

Next mine your contacts.

Look at your Rolodex and peruse your LinkedIn. Who might you want to reconnect with? Who can refer you business? Think about former co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, people in your book club or poker group who would want what you offer, says Marla Grant, a South Florida business coach.  “A lot of us are sitting on a gold mine, and we don’t even realize it.”

 
Send an email. 
 
Business development can happen from the comfort of your desk with a quick email. “It’s about reminding people what you do and saying something like, ‘If you have these issues, call me, I can help you with that,’” Grant says. Having built a giant contact list, Sallie Krawcheck, owner of  owner of the women’s networking community Ellevate, will send out “Hi, how are you?” emails, and other times she will take it a step further and ask for business. In fact, Krawcheck finds it easier to ask for business by email than face-to-face: “I feel bolder.” However, the email always reflects what she can do for the other person: “It has always got to be about them.”
 
Join groups.
 
Years ago, men bonded and formed inner circles at country clubs or lunch clubs. Today, there are all kinds of professional organizations, advocacy groups, church groups and even fitness clubs where people are introducing each other to prospects who can throw business their way. The important step is move the personal relationship into a professional relationship and get comfortable with asking for business.
 

Use your hobbies.

Successful rainmakers are passionate about multiple and diverse interests and use those passions as way to connect with people and drum up business. Miami banker invites his clients to concerts with him, using it as an opportunity to deepen relationships and see his favorite bands. “The key with rainmaking is to incorporate it into your life rather than letting it take over,” he says.

Make speeches.
 
Speech-making can be an important part of rainmaking. It allows you to get in front of larger crowds of potential clients and position yourself as someone they would want to hire.
 
Use meal time effectively.
 
The people who are most successful at business development do not commit “random acts of lunch,” says Sara Holtz, founder of ClientFocus, a coaching company that helps lawyers become rainmakers. By that, she means inviting prospects to lunch without knowing much about why they would need what you offer. She says more effective rainmakers take existing customers to lunch and get them talking about their needs. They then let them know how they can address those needs.


Rainmaking is not as difficult as some people think. Yet, lots of people go about it wrong. They oversell, over-promise or convince themselves they aren't good at it without even trying. What do you find difficult about rainmaking? Have you tried any of these approaches?
 
 

May 18, 2015

How being a working mother benefits your children

One day my daughter came home from school and told me she looks forward to the day she has a job she loves and can come through her front door telling her family about her great day at work. She said she knows she is going to be doing something that will benefit children and that she is sure it will be rewarding.

That was one of the best single moments of my life.

As a working mother, I have worried (like most moms do) about how my job might take away from my kids. This was particularly true when I worked long hours from the newsroom. In that moment when my daughter said that to me, I realized she had learned passion and drive from seeing me work.

An article yesterday in the New York Times gave new comfort to working mothers. The article notes new evidence is mounting that having a working mother has some economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes. "That is not to say that children do not also benefit when their parents spend more time with them — they do. But we make trade-offs in how we spend our time, and research shows that children of working parents also accrue benefits," .

As working mothers, the ways our kids benefit are huge.

This new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries found daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on childcare and housework.

Here are some mighty interesting statistics: daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers, after controlling for demographic factors, and sons spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 more minutes on housework.

 

So, we can lose the mommy guilt because kids will be just fine if their mothers work -- and they will even benefit from it.

I found this research especially interesting because it comes on the heels of an article I read last week that found mothers have become our daughters mentors. "A growing number of women managers and professionals today are mentoring their own daughters—sometimes in the same fields—as the young women build careers," wrote Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Few of today’s senior managers had their own mothers as professional role models.

I'm excited about the next generation and I feel great that my kids see mom and dad as role models who contribute to the household and the family income. Instead of feeling guilty for missing school events or feeding our kids fast food some nights and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of work life balance, let's focus on the advantages to our kids.

Julie Talenfeld, president of BoardroomPR in Plantation, Florida, invests a lot of time in building her public relations/marketing firm and pleasing clients. This often means attending evening events. Talenfeld says she often feels guilty but she also feels like she is a good role model for her daughter, currently a college student. 

For all those successful working mothers like Julie, it's time to pat ourselves on the back. We're inspiring the next generation -- whether or not we realize it.

J&J

(Publicist Julie Talenfeld and her daughter, Jacqueline)

 

May 15, 2015

More workers than ever are struggling with work life balance

                                                 Woman nyc

 

Today, I spoke with a female executive while she walked through the streets of New York on her way to a business meeting. I could hear the horns honking and the street sounds as she explained to me it was the only time she could fit the conversation into her busy day. As it was, she explained, she was already going to have to work late into the evening.  

It's no wonder that more than a third of 9,700 workers surveyed by tax and professional services firm Ernst & Young say managing work life balance has become more difficult in the last five years. Here is how and why people are struggling with work life balance:

People are working more. Around the world, about half of managers work more than 40 hours a week and four in 10 say their hours have increased in the last five years. I think that pretty clearly shows the traditional 40-hour workweek is becoming obsolete.

People are stressed. And as people work more and struggle with balance, they are not happy about it. The survey found dissatisfaction highest among white-collar workers in their 20s and 30s who are establishing families at the same time they are moving into management and other jobs that carry more responsibility.

People are struggling. These workers say their salary has not increased much, but their expenses and responsibilities at work have increased. That's making work life balance more difficult to achieve.

Here's a finding that might surprise you: U.S. men are more likely than women to change jobs or give up a promotion for work life balance reasons. Clearly, everyone is struggling with work life balance, not just women. 

People are suffering when they use flex schedules. Nearly one in 10 (9%) U.S. workers say they have "suffered a negative consequence as a result of having a flexible work schedule." That rate is higher for millennials, of which one in six (15%) reported either losing a job, being denied a promotion or raise, being assigned to less interesting or high profile assignments, or being publicly or privately reprimanded.

People are encountering work life hurdles. The biggest hurdles faced when U.S workers try to balance their personal and professional lives were: Getting enough sleep, handling more responsibility, finding time for me, finding time for family and friends and additional hours worked.

People are quitting their jobs. EY looked at the leading reasons full-time workers quit. The top five reasons were minimal wage growth, lack of opportunity to advance, excessive overtime hours, a work environment that does not encourage teamwork and a boss that doesn't allow you to work flexibly.

People are feeling the effects at home. The economy caused one in six (15%) full-time workers to get divorced or separated and almost one-sixth (13%) to delay getting a divorce. Nearly a quarter (23%) decided not to have additional children and more than one in five (21%) delayed having additional children.

So what exactly is it that employees believe will help them achieve work life balance? After competitive pay and benefits, employees want to work flexibly (formally or informally) and still be on track for a promotion. The want paid parental leave and they don't want excessive overtime.

Do you think some of those wants are doable? Will it make a difference when more millennials become bosses? 

 

 

(The Global Generations survey, EY’s second attempt to study generational issues in the workplace, was conducted in the U.S., Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India, and the U.K. In addition to international findings, 1,200 full-time U.S. workers were asked about major changes they have made, or would be willing to make, to better manage their work-life balance, paid parental leave, and couples’ work schedules by generation.)

 

May 12, 2015

How Should Sheryl Sandberg Handle Grief at Work? Advice from former LiveNation CEO Jason Garner

My heart goes out to Sheryl Sandberg with the tragic loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult but even more so when you return to work and try to carry on while knowing everyone is tip-toeing around you.

Today, my guest blogger is Jason Garner who will talk about dealing with grief in the workplace, sharing his very personal experience.  Jason says when his single mother, who struggled and sacrificed while raising him, died from stomach cancer,  he lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process. Garner’s book And I Breathed (2014) tells his cautionary tale  and he has lots of advice, tips and insight for people like Sandberg who must readjust their work life balance and fit grieving into the equation.

 

  Smaller Jason headshot-1

Six years ago I was the CEO of Global Music for Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter … and then my mom died.  My life took a drastic turn as I found myself unable to deal with the crippling grief while continuing my duties of overseeing thousands of employees and live concerts around the globe.  I lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process, and have spent the last six years on a journey to better understand myself.  I’ve spent thousands of hours learning with masters of body, mind, and spirit with the hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, others won’t have to face life alone like I did.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is a complex and difficult experience full of powerful emotions.  Experts say the grieving process takes around three years for us to heal, understand, and accept life absent a person we deeply loved.  I’ve learned this process is necessary and can’t be rushed.  But few of us have three years to pull ourselves together before getting back to the pressures of work.  This is where simple tools can be valuable in helping us cope with our grief as we return to work after a loss. 

Following are ten tools that can help us better function in our jobs while dealing honestly with the pain and loss that comes with death.

  1. Be real.  Grieving is tough.  Our hearts are filled with emotion that often comes spilling out in the form of tears, anger, and lack of patience with others. Accepting this fact and giving ourselves permission to be human in the process relieves the tension of trying to “gut our way through it,” “put on a game face,” or “just move on.”  Have patience and compassion with yourself and set the tone for how you hope others will deal with you during this process by being kind and understanding with yourself.
  2. Breathe. When we are going through pain we often hold our breath in the fear that letting go might lead to us breaking down.  In reality though, the body interprets the holding of the breath as an emergency, which causes our bodies to feel even more stress and pressure.  Take frequent breathers — regular intervals where you remind yourself to breathe deeply — and send the soothing message to your body that all is well.
  3. Move. The grieving process is filled with emotion, which is stored in the body as adrenaline.  This stagnant adrenaline is the cause of the racing and trapped feelings we often feel under stress.  Movement allows the body to release the pent up emotions and promotes flow.  Find time in the day to move: take a walk, stretch, do yoga, or just stand up and move your body to allow the stagnant emotions to move and release.
  4. Cry. Crying on the job is often seen as taboo.  But when we spend half our day at work, it’s bound to happen at one point or another, especially when we are mourning the loss of a loved one.  Bursting into tears can be embarrassing and can cause alarm to our coworkers.  So find a safe space and time — in the bathroom, at the park on your lunch break, or for a couple of minutes in your car — and give yourself permission to let go, to really cry, and to feel the sadness that naturally comes with death instead of bravely trying to hold it all in.
  5. Share. Sometimes during life’s challenges we behave as though we’re the only one having problems.  So we bottle our troubles up inside and try to be superhuman.  The result is rarely positive and eventually we break down, feeling misunderstood, alone, and isolated.  The reality is, though, that many people are going through challenges at the same time.  Death in particular is an experience to which we can all relate.  Be open with your boss and coworkers.  Share your challenge with them, ask for the patience, and allow yourself to be supported.
  6. Sleep.  Getting enough rest is a powerful way to help regulate your emotions.  Be sure when you’re grieving to plan for extra sleep.  Pulling all-nighters at work or with friends is a sure way to leave your emotions frazzled and increases the likelihood of a breakdown on the job.  Make it a point to shut down work at a reasonable hour and give yourself ample time to rest and relax.
  7. Get away.  Many employers offer some kind of leave following a death.  Even if your job doesn’t have a formal policy for leave, talk to your supervisor and ask for some time.  A few days away from work to process your loss and let your emotions out in private can go a long way in making your return to work less emotional and more productive.
  8. Get help. For many of us, our job has become all-encompassing and we have little time for friends, family, or hobbies.  While grieving, this adds another element to the challenge of coping at work because we lack outside outlets where we can share our feelings.  Find a friend, family member, or therapist and allow yourself the chance to vent your feelings so you don’t have to carry so much to work.
  9. Meditation. Even if you’ve never practiced meditation, the grieving process is a good time to start.  A few minutes of silent meditation gives you a break from the stress of the day to be present to yourself and your emotions. Don’t worry about how to do it; just sit, close your eyes, breathe, and give yourself a little space.
  10.  Be tender. Be tender and gentle with yourself even if the world around you isn’t understanding.  Share words of encouragement, give yourself space and patience, and don’t add extra stress by taking on new responsibilities or obligations.  Most of all, understand that you’re going through a major life event and give yourself love and compassion along the way.

 

Remember: you aren’t alone.  The process you’re going through is one that everyone faces at one time or another. Use these tools as trusted friends to lean on when times are tough.  And above all be kind and gentle with yourself as you grieve. 

 

May 11, 2015

Working Mothers' Biggest Challenges

One day last week, I was interviewing someone for an article while in the waiting room at my son's orthodontist. My son came out and was trying to get my attention. I was trying to signal that I needed a few more minutes of phone time. He was aggravated. I was aggravated. This is the kind of craziness that working mothers go through trying to achieve work life balance.

As working mothers our work life balance challenges are similar to those of fathers, but yet, so different.

In celebrating mothers this month, TheLadders.com sent me info on a survey they previously conducted to find out how working mothers feel about their work life balance. Want to know how they feel?

Overwhelmed and guilty.

Working mothers walk around with massive guilt --  Guilt that we are not spending enough time with our kids, coupled with guilt that our work may be suffering from not having our undivided attention 24 hours a day.

The Ladders surveyed 250 women and found balancing a career and a family is a huge struggle for 87% of of them, with 55% admitting that “excelling at both is overwhelming.”

On the phone with Nichole Barnes Marshall, I asked her about her work life challenges. Nichole is Global NicholeHead of Diversity and Inclusion for Aon, a job that has her traveling and connecting with thousands of Aon professionals. Nichole is also a married, working mother with three children ages, 4, 7 and 9. 

She told me her big challenge is prioritizing work in way that she can be operating at high performing level and be available to go to her kids activities like the recent school Cinco de Mayo festival.  "I wish I could be there for all the activities."

"The challenge for me is how I can be my best at work and be the best mother," she says. "I try to manage that by focusing on quality, not the quantity."

Nichole, like many other mothers, works to contribute to the household income but also enjoys her work. "I’m getting lot of satisfaction out of what I do, which makes  it (the balancing act) worthwhile. But, that doesn’t take away the twange when I get sad eyes from my kids for leaving for another business trip."

Not only do us working mothers feel challenged by and guilty about work conflicts causing us to miss events in our kids' lives, most of us feel guilty about any detail of our kids' lives that falls through the cracks.

I found myself nodding in agreement with every word of this op-ed piece in the New York Times titled Mom: The Designated Worrier.

Here's the gist of it:

Sociologists sometimes call the management of familial duties “worry work,” and the person who does it the “designated worrier,” because you need large reserves of emotional energy to stay on top of it all. I wish I could say that fathers and mothers worry in equal measure. But they don’t.

While fathers are helping more with household work and child care, women still keep track of the kind of nonroutine details of taking care of children — when they have to go to the doctor, when they need a permission slip for school, what they will eat for dinner."

So, in addition to our job demands there is tons of pressure on mothers to be the right kind of mother who keeps all the details straight and our families organized. That's our big challenge.

No wonder we walk around worried, overwhelmed and feeling guilty!

To all you sleep deprived, overwhelmed working mothers, you are awesome.  Lose the guilt, stop worrying and realize that whether or not you miss an event or forget to sign a permission slip, your children still love you.

 

 

  File-224786337
 

 

 

May 09, 2015

Moms who work on Mother's Day

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(Molita Cunningham and three of her children)

 

On Mother's Day, when the most of us mothers are celebrating, some mothers are working.

Molita Cunningham is one of them. She's a 56-year-old home healthcare worker who puts in 12 hour shifts as often as she can get them. Cunningham needs every penny she makes because as a home care worker she earns about $10 an hour( and that's after 30 years into her career). Her shifts are unpredictable so when she has work, she takes it.

Molita's children are less than pleased that she won't be spending Mother's Day with them ( 3 of 6 still live at home).  "They put on a sad face and say 'Mom, you're never home. You're always working' and I tell them it's just me paying the bills and struggling,'' Molita says.

Molita works for an home care agency that contracts with hospice. Sometimes, she gets hired for private clients. She rarely turns down a job. That means she can't always be there for her kids. "There are a lot of things I don’t attend -- my son’s track meet, my daughter's dance recital, things at school. The kids complain that I'm always working. "

Molita actually is one of the workers who are outspoken about raising the wages of home care workers. Despite being one of America’s fastest growing jobs, home care workers are living below the poverty level, getting paid an average of just $13,000 a year. Almost 50 percent of home care workers rely on some form of public assistance in order to make ends meet. Women, who make up 89 percent of workers in the industry, bear the brunt of these low wages. They typically do not receive expenses such gas or benefits such as health insurance. And, their jobs are unpredictable -- some assignments only last a few hours. 

Molita has spoken out at several rallies for higher wages for home care worker who pushing for $15 an hour. "That's still not a lot but at least I could breathe better. I'm a single mother and there are things my kids need. It's hurtful when I can’t provide for them for my children."  A new report from the National Women’s Law Center substantiates the challenges these moms are facing.

On Mother's Day, Molita will spend the day with an elderly woman whose family lives overseas. She will cook for the woman and care for her until late in the evening. Molita says caring for the elderly is  hard work. "You have to bathe them, feed them, dress them, help with oral care....you have to be caring and compassionate to wipe feces off of a stranger. Not everyone can do that."

Molita hasn’t spent Mother’s Day with her kids in years. It’s a feeling that she remembers from her own childhood - her mother was a home care worker and she remembers not being able to spend time with her on Mother’s Day. Molita says some clients will allow her to bring her children with her on holidays or with them if they go to church.

Even with the challenges, Molita says of her work as a home care attendant: “The work I do is demanding, and it keeps me from my family more than I would like, but it’s essential. I love this work and I intend to keep doing it.”

Happy Mother's Day to Molita and to all the mothers who are working at restaurants, in hospitals, as home health workers and any other job that requires they be away from their families on this special day.  For those who do their best to balance work and family, you are all amazing people! 

 

May 08, 2015

Mother's Day: What today's working mother is all about

                                 Mother


On Mother's Day, I will be rushing around from celebrating with my family to celebrating with my husband's family. The rushing around to make everyone happy is pretty typical of what most working mothers do on a daily basis. We can't help it...most moms feel we can and will juggle all kinds of responsibilities.

As Mother's Day approaches, my Inbox has been flooded with email about research on mothers. I find the research fascinating and insightful 

Here are 10 findings from various sources that paint a good picture of today's working mother. Do you see yourself in any of these stats. (I do!)

Finding 1: We've decided not to give up on having kids

Where highly educated women used to put their careers first and forego motherhood, that's not happening anymore. The share of highly educated women who are remaining childless into their mid-40s has fallen significantly over the past two decades ( Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data)

Finding 2: We're having more kids 

Pew found not only are highly educated women more likely to have children these days, they are also having bigger families than in the past. Among women with at least a master’s degree, six-in-ten have had two or more children, up from 51% in 1994.( Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data)

Finding 3 - We're successful (sort of)

While the vast majority of working moms feel they can have it all, only half (52 percent) said they are equally successful in their jobs and as parents. (CareerBuilder's Annual Mother Day Survey)

 

Finding 4 - We want to be providers

Four out of five working moms say the top factor defining success for them is the ability to provide for their families. (CareerBuilder's Annual Mother's Day Survey)

 

Finding 5 - We work and take care of our kids

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all mothers with children under age 18 worked or were looking for work in 2014. Even though they work, moms are primarily responsible for most chores related to taking care of the kids such a shopping, helping with homework and preparing breakfast. (Working Mother Research Institute survey, Chore Wars: The Working Mother Report)

Finding 6 -- We show our kids we're there for them

More than half of the working moms (56%) and dads (57%) say they share the responsibility for attending school events and athletic competitions with their partners(Working Mother Research Institute survey, Chore Wars: The Working Mother Report)

 

Finding 7 -- We finally have more help from our spouses

Moms are getting more help at home. We have seen a historic reduction in unevenly shared housework among heterosexual couples. As of 2012, married mothers were doing almost three and a half times as much "core housework" -- cooking, cleaning, and laundry - as married fathers. Still, back in 1965 they did 22 times as much!(The Council on Contemporary Families )

Finding 8 -- We still look to our moms for advice

Even though we may have kids of our own, 3 out of 4 women seek their mother’s advice: 18-24 year olds seeking relationship and health advice, while age 25-39 is seeking parenting advice  and 40-54 and 55+ seek home project insights. (Mother's Day survey by 1-800-FLOWERS.COM)

Finding 9 -- We need to be around other working moms

Working mothers who are surrounded by other working mothers have a happier work-life balance and less negative spillover from work than those who are surrounded by stay-at-home mothers. (research from The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology to be presented at the SIOP Conference)

Finding 10 -- We need resources 

The best states for working mothers have quality day care, reasonable child care costs, abundant pediatric services, a high median women's salary and a low female unemployment rate. (Wallethub 2015’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms. Click see if your state is one of them) 

 

 

May 07, 2015

Sheryl Sandberg, her husband's death, and her new work life balance

                                         Sheryl:dave

 

What a week it has been for Sheryl Sandberg. The news of her husband's death stunned the world. 

The official report said Dave Goldberg,  chief executive of SurveyMonkey, died from head trauma and blood loss after apparently slipping off a treadmill while vacationing with family and friends in Mexico. He was 47.

Sheryl has handled the hand she was dealt in a way that has moved many of us.

As the author of Lean In, COO of Facebook and someone who has credited her husband and his household contributions, for her ability to find some semblance of work life balance, Sheryl certainly will have some readjustment. Mostly likely, Sheryl has help at home (a nanny/housekeeper). Most high powered women do. But there are things only a parent can do and Sheryl will have to figure it all out. Single moms know that travel, late night work functions and work obligations become much more difficult when there is only one parent in the picture. As a single mother, it becomes more of a challenge to Lean In, even more so when the world is watching how you handle the rebalancing act and when you're dealing with grief.

If you haven't seen Sheryl's post on Facebook, I think all of you will find it inspirational. 

Sheryl writes:

I want to thank all of our friends and family for the outpouring of love over the past few days. It has been extraordinary - and each story you have shared will help keep Dave alive in our hearts and memories.

I met Dave nearly 20 years ago when I first moved to LA. He became my best friend. He showed me the internet for the first time, planned fun outings, took me to temple for the Jewish holidays, introduced me to much cooler music than I had ever heard.

We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine... He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world.

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn’t sure what to do, he figured it out. He was completely dedicated to his children in every way – and their strength these past few days is the best sign I could have that Dave is still here with us in spirit.

Dave and I did not get nearly enough time together. But as heartbroken as I am today, I am equally grateful. Even in these last few days of completely unexpected hell – the darkest and saddest moments of my life – I know how lucky I have been. If the day I walked down that aisle with Dave someone had told me that this would happen – that he would be taken from us all in just 11 years – I would still have walked down that aisle. Because 11 years of being Dave Goldberg’s wife, and 10 years of being a parent with him is perhaps more luck and more happiness than I could have ever imagined. I am grateful for every minute we had.

As we put the love of my life to rest today, we buried only his body. His spirit, his soul, his amazing ability to give is still with us. It lives on in the stories people are sharing of how he touched their lives, in the love that is visible in the eyes of our family and friends, in the spirit and resilience of our children. Things will never be the same – but the world is better for the years my beloved husband lived.

 

What advice do you have for Sheryl now that she's a single mother? Do you think her adjustment is easier because she has no money concerns or is it more difficult because she lives such a public life and will have her every move scrutinized?

 

 

May 06, 2015

The cost of your commute on your work life balance

 

Two weeks ago, I did a 45-minute commute to a conference in Miami for two days. I tried to stay calm during my drive, but I couldn't believe how often I got cut off by other cars, honked at for no reason and stuck behind trucks dropping stuff on my car.

I found myself asking out loud several times, "How do people do this every day?"

Commuting is stressful so the incentive needs to be there -- better pay, great co-workers, flexibility, a job you love or one where you have built up seniority.  Some people are willing to make the commute to live in a nicer neighborhood or one with better schools.

But as the economy rebounds and traffic worsens, people are less willing to put up with a stressful commute. Commuters are once again negotiating with bosses and changing jobs to cut back on the time they spend on the road. 

Research shows that the longer a person’s commute, the more profound the effects on personal well-being and life satisfaction. Spending hours in a car, day after day can be a drain on productivity and happiness. To improve work/life balance, attorney Patricia Ferran looked at her options and found a job closer to her home-- slimming her commute from 60 minutes to 10.  “Now I can sleep more and go out at night with friends because I’m not as tired.”
 
A 2013 Census Report shows that more than 1.5 million American workers commute 90 minutes from work to home, a time toll that can make it a struggle to put dinner on the table, pick the kids up from childcare, make it to an exercise class, or have downtime before going to sleep and doing it again the next day.
 
Jorge Alvarez of Albion Staffing says job candidates are specific that a new position be in close proximity of their home or where they have childcare, Gonzalez says. Lately, he has been getting more rejections from job candidates who don’t want to drive the distance — even with the promise of a higher salary. “Employees now have choices, and they will turn down an amazing job because the commute is out of what they consider comfortable.”
 
It wasn’t primarily the distance or time that led Susan Greene to change jobs — it was the stress and toll on her health. She had been commuting an hour each way for her job as marketing director of a law firm. Two weeks ago, Greene took a new job as chief marketing officer for The Beacon Council, about 10 minutes from home. “It’s liberating,” she says. “I can make dinner plans. I am so much happier.”
 
One women I spoke with says the tradeoffs are worth it. She tries to shake off the stress before she walks into her office.   Angela Foskolos told me she added about two hours of driving to her day when she took on a new position with her company, a currency exchange near the Miami International Airport. Foskolos said her cross-counties commute is a tradeoff for a higher salary and additional experience, but mostly she endures it because she likes her co-workers: “Everyone is in an upbeat mood, and the environment is positive. It makes me happier to do the drive.”
 
A lot of managing the daily commute comes down to making compromises — in terms of limiting where you take a job, what kind of job you take, what neighborhood you live in and the nearby schools, and which partner in a dual-income household sacrifices personal time. “For some of us, commuting to our jobs is just a normal way of working,” South Florida commuter Lynn Holtsberg says.
 
How does the commute affect your work life balance? As the economy rebounds, are you considering a job closer to home?
 
 
Carla

(Above: Carla Vertesch was able to work out an arrangement to leave her television production job earlier, allowing her more time for her commute to pick her children up from aftercare. The Vertesch family owns CertaPro Painters of Central Miami and counts on Carla's income as their family business gets off the ground.)