January 11, 2018

Do You Have One of the Most High Stress Jobs in America?

Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighters, Airline Pilots and Police Officers are the four most stressful jobs of 2018!

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Hair Stylist, Audiologist and University Professor are the three lowest stress jobs of 2018!

The truth is, no job is ever going to be free from stress. Some days, it feels like just getting up and out the door for work is stressful. Am I right?

So when looking at what makes a job stressful, CareerCast identified these factors:   Being in the public eye, facing imminent risk of bodily harm to oneself or one's patient, and dealing with high travel or workplace hazards. Working for a jerk of a boss was not one of the factors but it is one that I would attribute to a stressful job.

If you're considering pursuing a less stressful job, you might want to think about the job's growth outlook. While Jeweler (#7) is a low-stress profession, it has a negative growth outlook of 3%. On the other hand, Operations Research Analyst, which comes in as the 9th least stressful job, has a 27% growth outlook, according to CareerCast.com. 

Another consideration:  "For those who thrive on stress, one of our most stressful professions may be a good fit for you," says Kyle Kensing, Online Content Editor, CareerCast.com.

Check out the full list of CareerCast's Most and Least Stressful Jobs

Below are the top 10 lists and their growth outlook:

CareerCast's Least Stressful Jobs of 2018

Profession

Annual Median Salary

Growth Outlook

Stress Score

1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

$64,280

17%

5.11

2. Hair Stylist

$24,300

10%

6.61

3. Audiologist

$75,980

20%

7.22

4. University Professor

$75,430

15%

8.16

5. Medical Records Technician

$38,040

13%

8.54

6. Compliance Officer

$66,540

5%

8.78

7. Jeweler

$38,200

-3%

9.05

8. Pharmacy Technician

$30,920

12%

9.14

9. Operations Research Analyst

$79,200

27%

9.17

10. Medical Laboratory Technician

$50,930

12%

10.00

CareerCast's Most Stressful Jobs of 2018

Profession

Annual Median Salary

Growth Outlook

Stress Score

1. Enlisted Military Personnel (E3, 6+ years of experience)

$26,054

N/A

72.47

2. Firefighter

$48,030

7%

72.43

3. Airline Pilot

$105,270

4%

61.07

4. Police Officer

$61,600

7%

51.97

5. Event Coordinator

$47,350

10%

51.15

6. Reporter

$37,820

-11%

49.90

7. Broadcaster

$56,680

-1%

49.83

8. Public Relations Executive

$107,320

10%

49.44

9. Senior Corporate Executive

$181,210

8%

48.71

10. Taxi Driver

$24,300

5%

48.11

 

January 09, 2018

Will working from home work against you?

 

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My friend has worked at home for six years. Recently, she was interviewing for her dream job when the interviewer asked her "Won't it be hard for you to work from an office again?" My friend responded that working in an office setting isn't foreign to her and she could easily adapt again.

After the interview, my friend called me concerned. "Is the fact that I've been working from home going to work against me?," she wanted to know.

It's a good question, and worth asking. For all the benefits of working from home, doing so comes with challenges. There are managers who are convinced you are lying on the couch watching television all day or overlook you to spearhead a project because "out of sight, out of mind." There are co-workers who are jealous of your work from home arrangement or who think they should earn more than you because they work harder. 

So yes, sometimes working from home will work against you. And, I suppose when hunting for a new job, having worked from home could be viewed as  negative, unless you emphasize the skills gained from working a flexible or remote job.

For example, such an arrangement takes discipline, organization, communication, adoption of new technology and a conscious effort to stay connected  -- skills you might get in the office but put into practice much more in a work-from-home arrangement. If you find yourself in a job interview, you likely will need to address this.

The good news is that working from home is becoming increasingly more common -- which hopefully means the stigma around it will fade. A 2017 Gallup survey found more American employees are working remotely, and they are doing so for longer periods. Indeed, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults.

We all know about how some companies have struggled with how much to embrace remote work. Yahoo and Aetna are very public examples of companies that received attention when they brought workers back to the office. But recent news stories have reported that in the best job market in a decade, employers are adding more remote workers. Online job board FlexJobs.com has listings for remote workers for large companies and small employers in cities across the country.

As someone who works from home, I have experienced the benefits and the challenges of the arrangement. I miss schmoozing with co-workers but I love making my own schedule each work day. I can firmly say most of us who work from home thrive upon it and will even argue that we work much harder than our counterparts in the office. Yes, in some instances working from home can work against you. But as flexible work arrangements become more utilized as a way to fill positions, more managers will experience the talents workers can contribute regardless of their location.

What are your experiences with working from home? Have you been penalized in any way for it?

 

December 28, 2017

Don't give up on work life balance

 

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On Twitter, I noticed this hashtag trending: #NextYearIPromiseTo.....

I'm pretty sure there were lots of people answering with....achieve a better work life balance.

For me, and for others, it's been a pretty tough year. We want to make the most of our time, but there's never enough of it to do all that we want in our jobs and our personal lives. We want to find a level of contentment, but we have these crazy busy schedules. Most of us have difficulty balancing life’s competing demands. 

 Here is some encouragement: don't give up trying!

If you are exhausted, stressed, frustrated or overworked, you can turn things around in 2018.  

The key is spending the next few days thinking about what you can easily change to help you become more fulfilled, and which life changes will take a lot more effort. 

Start with your job.

* Ask yourself some questions. Did you stay too late in the office too often? Did you take on projects that didn't pay off? Did you waste time checking email instead of doing high priority work? Did you put in a ton of extra work to get a customer, raise or promotion that never materialized? 

Having a productive and happy life as well as having a successful career requires mastering how to say no to what didn't work for you or what caused you stress and focusing on what activities did lead to results or personal satisfaction. Spend the time now to figure that out. 

* Consider how you used technology. Between apps and new devices, technology is making our lives easier, but it should not control our lives. For many people, this might mean we struggled in 2017 with powering off technology when spending time with friends and families or when focusing on certain activities. Think about what it will take to do better in the new year.

Next move on to your personal life.

*Again, ask yourself some questions. Did I show up as the friend, partner, lover, parent that I wanted to be? Did I spend enough time on activities I consider priorities? Do I need to sacrifice more to achieve career success, or did I sacrifice too much? Did I practice the self-care I need to be at my best?

* Now, ponder your answers. Which disappointments are easy to correct and which require some focused effort? Which fixes require communication with a boss or a spouse? As the clock ticks down to a brand new year there is opportunity for less stressful life than the one you led in 2017, but you're going to need to live and work differently.

Remember, people with well-maintained priorities leave work or meetings when family and friends need them. And, people who feel they have balance are present when they are engaged in activities outside the workplace. Most important, people who aren't exhausted make time for exercise and stress relief.

The key to work life balance is making conscious choices every day and being happy with those choices. Here's an article about five habits that lead to good work life balance. If you feel your life tipped out of balance this year, don't give up. Decide now what you want to do differently in 2018, write it down, put it somewhere visible, and commit to new habits for a better work life balance in the new year.

 

December 13, 2017

Coping with holiday depression and winter blues at work and home

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Are you stressed? Feeling down about your work situation or your personal life?

This is a tough time of year. Many people suffer from the winter blues. 

At work, many of us feel disappointed we aren't getting a year-end bonus, or we haven't received a promotion, or we didn't make that move to a better job like we thought we would when 2017 started.  At home, we feel a general sense of sadness that's difficult to explain. 

Coping with the loss of a loved one or tight work deadlines, end-of-year workplace pressure and the reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter are all factors that may contribute to a person’s depression during the holidays.

If we give in to our feels of depression or sadness, it can make the last few weeks of the year awful at work and at home. 

So today, my guest blogger offers some help. 



Ketamine_hr-0560Dr. Francisco Cruz, lead psychiatrist at
Ketamine Health Centers, suggests five ways to minimize seasonal depression and increased anxiety that tends to onset in the fall and continues into the winter months. Cruz is double board certified in general psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has been practicing psychiatry for 13 years. Ketamine Health Centers successfully treat patients everyday living with depression,
suicidal ideation, PTSD, among other mental and chronic pain conditions.

1.Keep your goals in perspective and communicate. If your work situation is causing your depression to worsen, ask your supervisor what you  can do differently to secure the next promotion. Be mindful of his/her feedback and create a personal checklist of action items that will lead to enhanced professional development going forward.

2. Plan ahead. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Adding holiday parties and gift gathering to your already busy schedule can lead to increased anxiety.Have a set plan in mind to help keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed by too many simultaneous responsibilities.

3. Be prepared for something to go wrong. Entertaining guests can also present emotional challenges. It is difficult to control everyone, but for your own sake, it is best to mentally prepare yourself for holiday “hiccups.” This can include your guests arriving late or a prepared dish burning. 

4. Practice extra self-care.  Sweets are a temptation and can derail your diet and workout routine, while also causing irritability and moodiness. Indeed, a study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that refined foods such as white bread, white rice and soda can trigger hormonal responses in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. These responses may cause mood changes, fatigue, and other signs of depression.  Even throughout the holiday mayhem, strive to make time for yourself and don’t neglect your health. Great ways to stay on track is by limiting the amount of desserts you consume, sleeping for seven to eight hours per night, squeezing in time for the gym.

5. Monitor alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can make the winter blues even worse. Drink festively, not to get drunk or alter your mood. 

6. Breakaway from the stereotypes: If you are trying to meet a certain expectation about the “correct” way holidays should be celebrated, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

7. Be okay with feeling some sadness.  The holiday season can come at a time when you may have experienced a traumatic event or an anniversary of a loved one’s death. These reasons can easily generate an increase in distress. Know that it is okay to put all of the celebrations on hold to reflect on the healing process. Through your grieving, aim to remember the good memories in a positive light.

8. Don’t be a lone soldier: Talk to someone that you trust -- a family member or a close friend --who can lend a listening ear. You can also seek therapy. People often avoid seeking professional help because of their concern about judgment by others. The greatest misconception is believing that therapy is only for those on the verge of losing sanity.  The process of overcoming trauma or dealing with grief or depression can be difficult. With the help of an expert, feelings can often be better navigated in a healthy manner.

Wishing everyone good mental health during the holidays and in the new year!

 (photo credit: WAVEBREAKMEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES)

November 30, 2017

Holiday Gift Giving in the Office: Dos and Don'ts

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One holiday season, I wanted to give my boss a gift. He had been a mentor during the year and I wanted to show appreciation. So, I gave him a gift card to his favorite store. It wasn't for much, but it was just enough to show I was grateful for his guidance. Still, handing it to him felt a little awkward. 

Around this time of year, many people struggle with who in their office to get gifts and what to give them. We don't want to appear ungrateful, nor do we want to look like a suck up. And, we especially don't want to go broke buying co-workers gifts.

A few years ago, I tackled this topic in a Miami Herald column. I discovered the different ways people handle office gift giving:

Group gifts

One day in the company lunchroom, Jason Ibarra and his co-workers had a conversation about what they were going to buy their boss for the holidays. As the agency director at Exults Internet Marketing, Ibarra considered aloud how much to spend and asked: “What do you get a guy who probably has money to buy himself more than I can afford?”

Ibarra solved his dilemma by putting a black-painted jar in the lunchroom at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., firm. He suggested staff put in whatever they feel comfortable giving for the boss’ gift. They collected $250 and bought the boss a fishing rod, which they presented to him as a group gift for Hanukkah.

Top-down giving 

Etiquette experts say bosses should give their employees gifts to thank them for performance or dedication, but employees don’t need to give a gift back. In the workplace, giving should be down — supervisors to employees — rather than up.

“Don’t feel the need to reciprocate if your boss is showing appreciation for your year of hard work,” said Amanda Augustine, a careers expert with TheLadders, an online job-matching site for career-driven professionals.

If you do give the boss a gift, do it for the right reason. “If you feel appreciative of opportunities this year to work in your organization and you’re pleased with the way you were treated, it’s nice to acknowledge a supervisor with something small and a handwritten note,” said Alice Bredin, small-business advisor to American Express Open.

A thank you note 

Experts say the best gifts are handwritten notes and something consumable, such as a platter or basket of treats. The worst gifts are expensive or too personal, such as jewelry, cologne or intimate apparel.

If you’re giving a gift to curry favor, you might want to reconsider. “If you are not a cultural fit or under-performing, sending the boss a really nice gift is not going to save your job,” said Augustine of TheLadders. “The person is going to feel uncomfortable or offended, and, either way, I don’t think the outcome is going to be favorable.”

Do what others do

If you are new to the company, it pays to do a little research on precedent by asking a veteran employee. “On-boarding 101 is always enlisting someone who can tell you what you will not find in the company handbook,” Augustine said. If there isn’t a gift-giving precedent, she advises erring on the side of caution and especially avoiding giving “up.” Usually giving food -- homemade banana bread, chocolate covered pretzels or box of candy -- is a safe bet.

Secret Santa
 
Some office tackled gift giving by setting up a Secret Santa where everyone anonymously buys for a co-worker. If your office has this type of gift exchange, it's a good idea to participate. Most office put a price limit on gift giving, typically around $10. If you really can't afford to participate, you can opt out. But that's only in an extreme case. Participating shows you are a team player and solves the dilemma of who to buys gifts.
 
 
 
Office
 
By the way, this year, there are new rules for the office holiday party. To learn what they are, visit my new blog: CindyKeepsUp.com.
 

November 27, 2017

How risky is it to shop online at work?

Admit it, most of us will at least browse at the Cyber Monday deals online at work today. The lure of a bargain is just too hard to resist. But is it wrong — ethically and legally to shop online at work? And, if you’re going to do it, how do you ensure you don’t get caught?

We all know the lines have blurred between work and our personal lives in a way that has led many of us to feel comfortable doing personal tasks from the office. When you regularly work more than 40 hours a week, a quick purchase from Amazon Prime in between work assignments seems like no big deal. Right?

On Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, most of us figure: Why miss out on bargains that could be sold out by the time we get home? 

It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Americans plan to spend more time shopping Cyber Monday deals while at work this year than last, according to Robert Half Technology. Last year, 41 percent of employees said they spent an hour or more online shopping while at work on Cyber Monday. This year, 23% said they plan to do even more online shopping at work  this year, the Robert Half survey found.

So, should bosses take an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude towards online shopping from the workplace? 

If you are a boss who monitors how much employees shop on the clock or bans it altogether, you can come off as a BIG morale killer. (Good news, fewer companies are banning access to online shopping sites this holiday season.)  

However, if you’re a boss who turns a blind eye to online shopping at work, you need to do it for everyone, not just a chosen few.

Overall, many of us think our boss is totally cool with us snapping up deals while at work: 41 percent of employees surveyed by Robert Half said their bosses were okay with employees shopping online during work on Cyber Monday.

As the boss, you probably want to acknowledge online shopping on Cyber Monday (and during the holiday season) is happening and ask employees to be mindful of the time they spend shopping during work hours. You might also want to urge them to be to be careful when visiting sites online sites from a work computer.

Now, if you are the employee and you’re going to shop online at work, I recommend you have an idea of what you want, you go to one website, buy it and logout. 

Also, I suggest you refrain from bragging about your great deal because that just makes it easier for your shopping at work to get back to the boss. 

There are a few other tricks so you might want to check out this article on how to shop discreetly at work. 

This year, employees seem less concerned with whether we will get caught shopping at work because we don’t have to do it from our work computers. We can sit in our offices or cubicles (or head to the restroom) and shop on our smartphones or mobile devices. Wireless carriers now offer such great data plans that most of us barely need the company network to goof off anymore. The prevailing attitude seems to be: Why not get great deals from the comfort of the office, we spent most of our time at work anyway?

Nearly half of workers (46 percent) said they grab most of their shopping deals while on their breaks or at lunch, while others make purchases whenever they have a free moment during the day, keeping browser tabs readily open (29 percent).

But be careful....It's not worth getting fired over a sale on TVs!

Even if you believe your boss is okay with your Cyber Monday shopping at work, be discreet. According to CareerBuilder, about 7% of hiring managers said they have fired an employee for holiday shopping at work.

If you plan to shop from your office or cubicle this year, here are some tips:

• Only browse the Internet and do online shopping during lunch or other breaks.

• Don’t put projects or deadline work on hold for online shopping.

• Never shop online at work while you’re on the phone or sending important e-mail messages. You’ll be distracted and could miss something important.

• Be careful about the websites you visit and items you’re searching for. For instance, if you’re planning to buy a friend an inappropriate gag gift, that’s fine–but don’t do it from your work computer.

• Don’t distract those who sit around you with excitement over great deals.

Most important, don’t go overboard and get fired for shopping too much at work.

John Reed, of Robert Half Technology says “Many businesses acknowledge the need for flexibility during the hectic holiday season and allow some online shopping at work, within reason.”

 “Employers are looking at it from a realistic perspective,”Reed says. “The reality is that allowing employees to tackle personal to-do lists at work can help maintain productivity because workers are spared the traffic delays and long lines that accompany holiday crowds.”

So, how much shopping do you plan to do from the workplace this holiday season? 

November 09, 2017

Work Life Balance Is Important, So Is Staying Current

 

This morning, I was walking with my neighbor and she announced she was super stressed. She explained that she already has a giant workload and she's just been asked to take on a new project. The solution seems simple to me as someone who has been writing about work life balance for more than a decade.

"Tell whoever wants you to take on the project that you have too much on your plate right now to be successful in adding another responsibility," I told her. "No matter what argument you get in response, repeat that you have too much on your plate already. 

For the rest of the walk, she repeatedly said, "I have too much on my plate already" practicing her new response. 

It's not easy to say no. It's not easy to keep from feeling overwhelmed. It's not easy to navigating how to have a career and a successful home life.

But I see another challenge ahead that might be equally as pressing: staying current in your field and in life. Keeping up to date on trends and emerging technology will be critical to being successful in the next few years.  

The biggest barrier to doing the work to stay relevant is often the feeling that you don't have time to fit in professional development. But you HAVE to if you want to stay employable and advance in your field.

Don't worry, I have your back. I have launched a new blog to keep you up to date with what you need to know to stay at the top of your game.

My new blog is called: CindyKeepsUp.com. So, keep up with me and let me hear from you!

 

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November 06, 2017

How to Work From Home and Enjoy Life

 

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

 

Today my guest blogger is Lucy Wyndham who spent over a decade in HR before taking a step back to spend more time with her growing family. She now works as a freelance writer and editor specializing in helping people take control of their careers and managing work-life balance as a parent. Lucy works from home so these tips come from her personal experience. If you work from home, I  think you will find them useful.

 


2015-08-02 09.22.25Tips For Work-From-Home Moms

4 Ways To Achieve Work-Life Balance And Enjoy Life

For most work-from-home moms, achieving work-life balance can sometimes feel like chasing after a mythical creature. Women are busier than ever as a new survey reveals that 79% of working mothers are still taking on the bulk of household chores. If you work at home, it’s likely that you do even more to care for your family as you strive to balance your career with your family life. It’s also highly possible that you experience emotional distress as a poll indicates that one in four working moms cry once a week due to the stress of trying to have it all. If this is your situation, don’t despair—it’s possible to achieve work-life balance and enjoy life while you work-from-home. By getting organized, staying disciplined, and asking for help, you can earn a living, tend to your family’s needs, and be happy as you work at home.

 

Create a schedule

If you’re in the habit of doing whatever needs to be done at odd times, then you’re at risk of burning out. Create a schedule of things that you need to do and place it a highly visible area so you’re reminded of your tasks for the day. For instance, after preparing breakfast and doing the morning clean up, you can designate the next few hours for doing deep work. Stick to your schedule as much as you can and you’ll find that you get to accomplish more tasks this way

Take productive breaks

Even the busiest work-from-home mom needs to take a break. But instead of watching YouTube videos or going on Facebook, try having a productive break. You can take paid online surveys to have some extra money or meditate for a few minutes. You can even squeeze in a good workout by taking a walk around the block or doing some yoga in your living room. Or sit at your favorite spot in your home and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. The point is to do something that will benefit you physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially, so whatever you choose to do during your break, make it count and make sure that it does you good.

Ask for help

Most moms who work at home tend to take on the lion’s share of the chores, but you don’t have to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate some tasks to your kids or partner to reduce your stress levels. Even pre-schoolers can do simple chores such as matching socks and putting away chores. Resist the urge to do simple tasks for your family because you think you can do them faster or better—the more you let your loved ones take over these chores, the more adept they’ll become in doing them in the future.

Schedule a proper “me time”

Work-from-home moms need and deserve a day off, but to enjoy it, you need to schedule a proper me time at least once a twice a week. Don’t try to squeeze in a few errands on your me time. The point is to take a few hours—or a whole day—to take care of yourself. This is the perfect time for you to schedule a massage, a manicure, or a haircut. It’s also a good opportunity to window shop and browse to your heart’s content, to try eating at that new restaurant that your kids would never go to, and to indulge in your hobbies, such as meeting with your book club. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself and keep in mind that investing in your personal wellness is just as important as taking care of your family’s needs.

 

Achieving work-life balance is a challenge, but it can be done. Remember to look after yourself while you earn a living and care for your family, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Happiness can be achieved if you remember to take care for yourself while maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle.

 

 

 

October 31, 2017

Shelley Zalis Shares Insight on the Power of Female Connections

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Shelley Zalis sits comfortably on the auditorium stage of the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship docked in Miami. The audience of more than 200 women are hanging on her every word in this unique venue for a women’s leadership event.  I am among them, trying to absorb every morsel of business wisdom this go-against-the-grain leader has for us.

Zalis, is the former chief executive of a Hollywood research firm and the leader of an effort to advance corporate women.  After the $71 million sale of her research firm to a bigger entity, Zalis has moved on to her next big thing. She has become the founder of the Girls’ Lounge, which she started four years ago as a gathering spot for women at the International Consumer Electronics Show when she invited women to meet in her room, and bring girlfriends. This year, Zalis, who lives in Los Angeles, will take the Girls’ Lounge to nearly a dozen major business events. In addition, Zalis also heads TheFemaleQuotient.com, a consulting firm that helps companies advance gender equality in their workplaces.

Zalis tells the audience: “There is a place in heaven for those women who help other women. There is power in collaboration. I have seen it in action. Mentorship is not from the top down or the bottom up. It is the wisdom we learn from people all around us.” 

IMG_7522Seated on stage next to Zalis is Katie Kempner, another formidable business woman who asks Zalis the questions on all our minds. In the next hour, the women attending The Commonwealth Institute South Florida 14th Annual Leadership Luncheon hear how to break the rules and profit from it, how to spot a need and launch a business to fill it, and how to create a support team of women to bolster your chances of success.


Here is what I learned from Zalis:

Break the rules

Zalis is not one to abide by the rules of business, particularly those that exclude women. It is how she built a company, started a movement and landed a show on Bloomberg television called Walk the Talk.  “I break the rules to create new ones,” she said. “Doing it for the first time is scary, especially when you have no formula for success.” Initially, Zalis tried to conform to the male business world.  Early in her career, she dressed in conservative clothing like the men, until she met Penelope Queen, a well-known researcher, who greeted her in a purple leather suit. “That’s when I realized you cannot create the new norm if you follow the same patterns.”

 

Think carefully about opting out:

Zalis realizes the tension of work life shows no signs of easing and recognizes companies are losing great leaders to caregiving. She explains that women are opting out to care for children or parents when they reach middle management levels. About the time they become mid-level managers, women are gaining responsibility at home and work. “They have three choices. To opt into leadership, they must conform to rules that make no sense, or they can leave to start their own company, or they can opt out completely,” she said. “If they opt out completely, getting back in is difficult. They never get back to where they were.” As a consultant, Zalis is working with companies to change the dynamics, something she says will happen in small steps.

Take diversity seriously:

Zalis believes it is of critical importance to have women in executive leadership where they provide a healthy counterbalance to the men.  Diversity is good for business, Zalis explains.  Yet, she realizes that male leaders need to believe in advancing women, and follow through with action. “It takes a leader saying I want to be better. I will be better, but I need to be conscious about being better.”  The first step toward a mindset shift is not a drastic change. “It’s a leadership conversation about where we are and what we want to work on first,” she said

  

Be confident:

Women often have an obnoxious roommate in their heads telling them they aren’t qualified to take a risk or make a change, Zalis says. She warns women not to listen to that voice. “Perfection does not exist and if it does, it’s boring. Blemishes make you interesting,” she said. “Believe in yourself. Be yourself. If you’re not perfect have people around you who complement you.”

  

Encourage mandatory parental leave:

Zalis said mandatory parental leave would create a more level playing field in the workplace. Hiring bosses would be less skeptical of hiring young women, and men would be better positioned to help more at home. “The rules were written 100 years ago, by men for men. We need to cut the cord and move forward. With mandatory parental leave, the bias against women kicks out. We must go in that direction if we want a modern workplace for today’s modern workforce.”

  

Take risks:

In her first job, Zalis said she took a risk by doing the sales job her way, thinking she had a perfect performance and insisting she deserved a raise. Her boss did not see her performance the same way.  “It was the worst review I have ever gotten. My boss told me I was spending too much time with clients. I told him, ‘You’re so wrong. Relationships are what business is about.’ “ Now, she does a job the way she thinks it should be done, even if it hasn’t been done that way before. “I love getting uncomfortable. I am comfortable being uncomfortable because I know I am trying something new.”

 

Stay relevant:

At 53, Zalis is gaining momentum, making connections and moving in a new direction. Zalis recommends trying something new as often as possible. “Invite a new person to dinner. Watch a different kind of movie. Try a different type of food. That’s how you evolve and stay interesting. If you do the same thing you don’t evolve and you get boring.”

 

During our short time with Zalis, she has helped the audience of businesswomen see her as the girlfriend who has our back, our inspiration for banning with other women, and a mentor for those who want to take risks and embrace change. Most of us will walk away acknowledging her guiding principle: “A woman alone has power, together we have impact.” Now, it will be up to us to act on it.

 

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October 20, 2017

Awesome insight from a woman at the top of her field

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Can you be a big corporate big wig and have a personal life? Can you stay at the top of your field as a woman, in a male-heavy industry?

Yes you can!

When Lonnie Maier spoke at Nova Southeastern University’s Women’s Success Series recently, the college students arrived eager hear what she had to say on those topics, and a good number of adults came to hear her, too.

Lonnie, vice president of Enterprise Sales and Marketing for Fibernet Direct, told the audience about her personal journey to become an executive at a leading national telecommunications company. Lonnie Maier is vice president of enterprise sales and marketing for Fibernet Direct, a company with operations throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States.

As a successful corporate executive, she had plenty of advice to share on work life balance and Bay O’Leary, a NSU associate professor, chair of the marketing department and one of the creators of the series asked her the right questions to draw out those pearls of wisdom:

On her biggest work life challenge….

Early in my career, I commuted to Miami from Fort Lauderdale. I was never late to work, but I was always late coming home. I would make a commitment to my family to be home by a certain time and then I would be late. At work, I never wanted to say no so I would take on more than I could chew and then I would be late. Eventually, I had to learn to prioritize my family so I didn’t continuously let them down. They would joke about “Lonnie’s time” referring to my being late all the time.

 

On giving herself a work life balance report card….

Giving myself a report card is tough. My daughters are 27 and 22 and when I look at them I would say I earn an A+ all the way. I am celebrating 35 years of being married so I get high grades there, too. When comes to work though, I am always trying to do more, and with me it’s never good enough. There is always another project, another result I want to achieve. I have high expectations of myself.

 

On advice to young women new in their careers….

Prioritize and don’t personalize. As young people new to business, we tend to say yes to everything. There comes a point where the only way you can become good at certain things is to say no to other things, in a nice way. Early in my career, if I wasn’t included in a meeting, I might personalize something. Eventually, I realized you can’t do everything and be included in everything. If want to be involved, I reach out. I wanted to get involved in economic development. I got involved. After a while, people would say, “Lonnie can you head up this committee?” I would have to say, “I have a full-time job and I need to focus on my job.”

 

On what she looks for in her team…..

People who can articulate why they are a good fit for the job. I look for candidates who are proud of their accomplishments.

 

On how she handles an employee who is struggling with work life balance…

I try to be flexible with schedules and offer ideas or solutions for problems. But if it becomes an ongoing issue, then I need to sit down and talk to that person.

 

On changes or cracks in the glass ceiling in Corporate America….

I have seen a willingness from men to listen more over the years. Still, I see lot of men at top and not as many women. My company was sold and when I met with prospective buyers, there were few that had women in decision-making seats. It was frustrating to see the glass ceiling was still there. We had a lot of women on our management team at FiberNet and we were getting things done. Overall, there are not many women at the top in telecommunications. It’s an opportunity. Young women should feel there are no limitations for them, just opportunities everywhere. It’s our job as leaders to help them see that.

 

On finding mentors…..

If you have problem, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. A lot of informal mentoring can take place just by asking. If you see someone with a similar path to the one you want to take, ask them questions. Often, women see asking questions as a weakness. The best way to show it is not a weakness is by being there for them when they need it.

 

On self-care….

 

I go on long walks and before I go bed, I take time to reflect and do my praying.

 

On personal work life choices….

 

I look at my friends in the C -suite and they don’t have kids. That was personal choice they made. At one point, when my boss retired I was told “you can become president” but I said “no thank you I like what I do.” You must know what you are good at and where you need to be to get the results. You don’t need to feel you must be at the top to lead a fulfilling career. 

 

On supporting other women…

 Whatever level you are at, you need to be supportive of other women. The people who propelled me, who pushed me the most were other women. You need a gang of girls around you to need to leverage their strengths. Don’t ever look at other females as competition.

 

Thanks Lonnie for awesome advice!

 

 

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Bay O'Leary asking Lonnie Maier about her experience in Corporate America