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13 posts from March 2012

March 29, 2012

Who knew? Most executives say they have work life balance



Would you believe that out of 4,000 male and female executives in 31 countries around the globe, almost three quarters of respondents (71%) said they have work life balance all or most of the time. Yes, a whopping 7 out of 10 executives feel balanced, says a survey by Accenture. That's MUCH higher than I expected.

The survey, entitled “The Path Forward, also found only about 41% of executives said their career had had a negative impact on their family and only 42% said they often sacrifice time with their family to succeed. So, if you believe the results, executives are feeling pretty fulfilled with their work and home lives.

The GlassHammer thinks there's something else going on. That there's been an acknowledgement that ‘having it all’ is not a reality. And, that there's a new understanding that balance means there are always going to be sacrifices when it comes to work and family, and that making those sacrifices is okay.

Here's another clue for why so many executives feel balanced: The study showed that many more people are using flexible arrangements at work than ever before. In fact, 59% of respondents – male and female – said they utilized some form of flex arrangement. That's a high number considering these are senior level people.

This confirms what I have always suspected. Give emplooyees control over their work schedules and they'll stick around: While the majority of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their current position (57% of women and 59% of men), most named flex arrangements as a reason they are staying with their employer.

What do you think about the high number of executives that say they have work life balance? If you were asked, would you say you have work life balance most of the time?


March 28, 2012

Men, Women, Money, Power

Richer Sex, Mundy jacket FINALOn Monday, I called Liza Mundy for a chat. I felt like I could have talked on the phone with her for days. She has just finished two years of interviewing men and women about work, family, money, power, marriage and decision making. Her findings are in a newly published book called The Richer Sex.  I LOVE THIS TOPIC!!!

I included some of my interview with Mundy, along with interviews with female business leaders, into my Miami Herald column today on The Richer Sex. Assuming present trends continue, Mundy believes that by the next generation more families will be supported by women than by men.


I asked Liza if she thought women were uncomfortable being called "breadwinners," traditionally used to describe men.

Women who outearn their husbands might feel uncomfortable with the term, she says. But those that earn all the income in their families would be comfortable being called a breadwinner.

I asked her what has changed in the last decade and why she feels the next generation of women will outearn men.

They are outearning men because they are going to college and are better educated, she says. "Guys think they will graduate from high school and get a decent paying industrial or labor job and they are wrong. Single childless women in their 20s have a higher median income than their male peers."

Are women entrepreneurs contributing to The Richer Sex trend?

Women  businesses are doing well. A lot who start their business, do it because they are not getting enough flexibility from their institutional workplace. Sometimes, their businesses do so well that they hire their husbands.

What are the conversations going on in America's households about downshifting and raising kids?

For working parents to reach the highest levels of Corporate America, either the workplace needs to change or someone needs to have flexibility or be the stay at home spouse. Workplaces can only do so much. I know fathers who want to spend more time with kids.

 I asked one of the women I spoke with whether she feels she missed out by being the sole provider. She doesn’t feel that way. Because her husband is such good runner of the household, when she gets home from work she can devote time to family. She is the one with the rich vacation benefits and the long workdays but her husband is supportive and she feels she is an attentive mother.

You mentioned more households are being supported by women. How will this affect women's salaries?

I would hope that ultimately it would put pressure on employers to understand that women are breadwinners and not look at their income as supplementary. As men become more aware of their wives' earning potential and are more willing to move for them, I hope it will help women's negotiating ability. Still, there is a danger of women supporting households on less than a man would make.

Do you think there's a dollar threshold that a spouse reaches which causes the other to quit their job?

Not really. It can depend on whether you live in D.C. or New York or Detroit. Every city is so different.

Is the notion of a stay at home parent outdated? It seems everyone has some type of side job today, even if it's blogging or selling things on the Internet.

It can work out well if a husband stays home or the wive could turn around and say this is not guy thought I was marrying. Stay-at-home dads numbers are rising, but some still feel stigmatized. I found wives would inflate the prestige of their husbands' hobbies. If they were blogging, the wive would refer to it as a  potential book project. I think women were brought up to brag about their husband’s job or salary. The former definition of success was to marry well. 

Is there a lot of arguing over who stays home with the kids?

I found there's more arguing over who had to be one with the steady paycheck and who got to be the entrepreneur. Men are seeing the benefits of a wive with a steady paycheck.

How is the fact that women are becoming more educated affecting marriages?

Women have never had this level of education greater than men. They are looking out at a pool of young men and they will have to ask, "Will I marry guy who didn’t’ go to college?" Some will say yes. I interviewed a carpenter who is putting his wife through law school. I also interviewed a women who wants to marry man who did go to college and is going to great efforts to meet one. She lives in  Miami travels to New York where she thinks there's a bigger pool of mates. Someone who wants to marry guy on her level will use resources to find them. Some will marry down and accept early on that they are the primary earner and find a guy who will invest in their career.

Why aren't men getting college educations?

Women were told they needed more education to earn as much as men so they acted accordingly. Girls are hearing have to go to college and support yourself. You may be a single mom. Boys aren’t hearing the same message. Boys think they have to be the provider, so they leave after high school to get any job.

 Click here to read the Time Magazine articleby Mundy on how women are overtaking men as breadwinners and why that's good for everyone.

Mundy author photo - credit Sam Kittner

Liza Mundy



 Here's another interesting take on Mundy's book: Daily Mail: Next generation of women to outearn men 

According to the TIME magazine cover story, 40% of working women out-earn their mate and within 25 years women will make more than men across the board.

Readers, how do you think this will affect marriage, family, workplaces and buying decisions?

March 27, 2012

How Women Can Shape Their Community and Careers

Recently, I was invited to attend a Women's Breakfast Forum in Fort Lauderdale on how women can shape their community. Women, we do have the ability to shape our community, but do we use it? Do we even know how?

I had a conflict with this breakfast sponsored by Akerman Senterfitt, Grant Thornton and SunTrust but asked if one of the women attending could be my fill in. I am thrilled that my fill in was Laura Holm, a shareholder at Akerman Senterfitt in Fort Lauderdale. Holm is strong in general corporate matters and represents public companies in their corporate transactions and compliance programs. Below are some of the topics the panelists discussed and Holm's personal perspective on those topics.


Holm, Laura

 (Laura Holm)

1.  Taking Credit for Your Work. Diane Magnum, panel moderator, former TV news anchor and founder of Magnum Force Productions asked Diane Holtz, President of Pet Supermarket, to describe her greatest accomplishments in businesses. Holtz noted that Pet Supermarket has increased sales consistently over the past few years, even though the economic environment has been weak for retail  She feels it's important for women acknowledge their accomplishments and take credit for their own work. Sometimes other people, men or women, may try to take credit for your ideas.

My perspective: I think its important for women to take leadership positions and be visible. Sometimes, women want to sit back and watch. I think it's important to get involved in the community, volunteer to do public speaking and take leadership roles.

2.  Work/Life Balance.  These panelists all try to maintains a work/life balance and make time for something they enjoy.  Lori Parrish, Property Appraiser of Broward County, said that she likes to garden and cook.  She noted that in politics it takes several years for new legislation to be passed, but she can cook a great meal in a few hours.

My perspective: I also think it is important to make time to do something you enjoy. My newest hobby is golf.  Because my work is reading, writing and numbers, golf is something different. I like it because I can spend time outside,it's a challenging game and something I do just for fun.

3.  Mentoring Relationships.  Each of the panelists discussed the importance of mentors to their career and noted that these mentors were not only women, but also men.  Gillian Thomas, President & CEO of Miami Science Museum, who is from England,  said her work experiences in Europe were different from those in the United States. Because there weren't as many women in museum management, and fewer female role models, most of her mentors were men.

My perspective: I have had several mentors, throughout my career. Some of these mentors have been other lawyers and some have been clients. One of my clients, Lewis Gould, the CEO and founder of QEP,  nominated me to serve as a director of QEP, a public company traded on Nasdaq with revenues exceeding $200 million at that time. It was a wonderful business opportunity for me and this experience has helped me be a better lawyer. I also enjoy mentoring younger lawyers at my firm, both men and women.

4.Leadership/Training. Diane Holtz stressed that it is important to train and teach employees.  This is critical to shaping your community and your company. She said she will never tell an employee to do something, unless the explains the reasons why the task is important. She also said that Pet Supermarket engages in a daily training with its employees so they are knowledgeable and helpful when customers visit the stores. 

My perspective: I agree that it's important to create a team environment where people want to work together and contribute the company or community's growth.

5.  Creativity in Working with your Employer. One of the audience members who was a new mother of a 6 month old baby asked if the panel had any advice on balancing the demands of work with motherhood.  Diane Magnum said she had a similar issue when she was working as a new anchor at Channel 10.  She had 3 young children and was an anchor on the evening news show, so she had very little time with her children during the week.  She was thinking of quitting, but she told her employer (Channel 10 News) and they switched her schedule so she could handle the news during the morning and the day and spend time with her family at night.

My perspective: I really enjoy working with start up and growing companies. Usually, my firm represents bigger companies, but I got them to be open to idea because I sold them on how it will benefit the firm.



March 26, 2012

How Daylight Savings Can Improve Work Life Balance

(This is not me, but a girl can dream!)


I have always been proud of the fact that I'm not a total workaholic, but  as a writer and entrepreneur who loves what I do for a living, it can be hard to it shut work off. A good story idea will pop in my mind at all hours. Increasingly, the lines between work and life are blurred.

Daylight savings time can complicate work life balance. It's light out later so it takes that extra push to turn off my laptop and give myself permission to call it a night. But the time change actually can help your work life balance if you use it to your advantage. 

Inspired by the women at braidcreative.com and this great photo of theirs below, I've piggybacked on their lists ....I know I'm balanced when and I know I'off balance when...



Signs that I"m doing a good job of juggling:

1.When I can fit in exercise.  I love to jog and now that it's light out later, this should make jogging at night easier -- if I don't overextend myself and power down at a reasonable hour.

2. When I sit at dinner with my kids and I'm not thinking about work. There’s nothing like being in the present and really listening to your kids talk about their day.

3. When I have time to indulge in favorite TV show marathon - I consider it pure indulgence to watch three episodes in a row of a show I want to catch up on.

4. When I get a full 8 hours of sleep - The flip side of staying light later is that it's been darker in the mornings. A good night sleep means waking up feeling refreshed.

5. When I'm successful delegating - I usually pack  my kids lunches  but doing it at midnight is downright crazy. I've consider myself successful when I get my kids to help without threatening their lives.

These are the signs when the scales are tipped or I'm on the brink of a work/life meltdown

1. When every conversation at home makes me think of something I need to get done at work.

2. When the signs are obvious.My nails are bitten, my legs unshaved, my head pounding and I still hear myself saying yes to an editor.

3. When my kids text or call me from their bedrooms. This is a sad ploy to lure me out of my home office.

4. When I forget to eat. Sometimes, I just have too much on my work plate to think about making a lunch plate. It will be 3 p.m. and my stomach is growling, I have a headache and my stress level is through the roof. Not good.

5.  When my to do list runs onto a second page. I find that when I’m out of writing too much down, I've probably over-committed.

When do  you feel overextended or on the verge of a work life meltdown? Have you figured out your warning signs?



March 22, 2012

The power of time off

Just the other day, an executive recruiter asked me if I thought people still take sabbaticals. He told me is thinking about taking one. The recruiter also asked me if I thought there was a correlation between service professionals, their high stress levels and health issues. He thinks there is and that sabbaticals are the answer.

So, when I heard that every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook, it caught my attention. Interestingly Stefan mapped the life span of working adults and decided to take years from his retirement and intersperse it with his working life. The end result was creative and enjoyable for all.

Here's he is on Ted.com talking about the power of taking time off. I found it inspiring. Would you be brave enough to take a sabbatical?

March 21, 2012

Work life balance and running a hotel? Couples in hospitality tough it out.

The Miami Herald

Couples search for balance in 24/7 hospitality industry

By Cindy Krischer Goodman

   Betsy Hotel manager Jeff Lehman, right, speaks during a meeting of couples in the hospitality industry. Next to him is his partner, Pedro Cruz.
Betsy Hotel manager Jeff Lehman, right, speaks during a meeting of couples in the hospitality industry. Next to him is his partner, Pedro Cruz.
It’s the height of tourist season in South Florida, and hoteliers are putting in 15-hour work days to ensure vacationers have enough staff to check them in or bring them room service.

Over at The Shelborne South Beach, Jared Galbut is meeting with his department heads and walking through the properties to talk with guests. As the managing principal of Menin Hotels, Galbut oversees daily operations of five hotels and four restaurants in Miami Beach and Chicago.

Stacey, his wife, works as style director for Menin Hotels, designing employee uniforms and running the Shelborne’s Guy and Girl boutique.

The Galbuts have been married almost a year and are still working out the kinks of a complicated home and work relationship in a seasonal business that requires long work hours and staying power. They call their quest for work-life balance, “a work in progress.”

“We’ve been trying to draw the line between work and home for the last couple of months saying we are not going to bring work home,” explains Jared Galbut.

“I’ll think it’s working because we will sit at dinner in silence. But one glass of wine and it just starts pouring out.”

Nationally, the hotel and resort industry consists of about 40,000 companies that employ about 2 million people. Most of us have checked into hotels giving little thought to the lives of those who register us or make sure our stay is pleasant. But work in hotels can be demanding, hectic and rough on married life.

Because hotels are open around the clock, employees often work varying shifts and managers routinely work longer hours than scheduled, especially during peak travel times or when multiple events are scheduled. Even more, most hoteliers are called in to work on short notice in the event of an emergency or to cover a position. Regardless of any disruption to their personal lives, hotel managers and workers must be ready to provide guests with gracious customer service at any hour.

Recently, I listened in as four couples employed in the industry talked freely about their work-life challenges at a panel discussion on Couples in Hospitality hosted by The Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association.

I heard something from these couples that rings true in many occupations: It’s a lot easier to support a partner’s work demands when you are in the same industry and understand the pressures.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/20/v-print/2704950/couples-search-for-balance-in.html#storylink=cpy


March 20, 2012

Giving your employer your Facebook password?


How bad do you want to land a job or keep the one you have? Bad enough to give an employer your Facebook password?

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Yes, folks this is a new trend. Companies and government agencies are asking for employees' passwords so they can go on their social networks and have a look around.

I'm horrified. Bassett is too. But, he says, some job seekers can't afford to be horrified.

"I think asking for account login credentials is regressive," he said. "If you need to put food on the table for your three kids, you can't afford to stand up for your belief."

To me, this is just the latest step toward erosion of privacy. Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor, called it "an egregious privacy violation."  What should our expectation of privacy be anymore?

Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publicly available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. This should be in the back of our minds when we post ANYTHING in public view (like maybe St. Patrick's Day partying photos?)

But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks. Companies know this and that's why they want your passwords.

At least two states are proposing legislation that would ban public agencies from asking for employee passwords, calling it a violation of privacy rights. Can you believe legislation would be necessary?

But at the same time, employers need to know the risk to them.

Labor attorney Alicia Voltmer says they should be asking:  "Even if I have access, do I really want to look?" Voltmer, with Ogletree Deakins, says having the password to a social network site and looking at a candidate's personal page could open an employer to discrimination claims. "If an employer sees something about someone's ethnicity or religion and then doesn't hire them, could that be called discrimination?"

Voltmer says while hiring discrimination can be difficult to prove, it could be expensive and time consuming to defend.

Fox News reports that even companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps -- such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.

To me, our Facebook pages are public but our passwords are personal. I think employers are going to far and employees should fight back with a big, fat, "NO WAY YOU CAN'T HAVE MY PASSWORD."

Readers, is there any circumstance in which you would you give your password to an employer?  Is asking for it crossing the line or just good business?


March 19, 2012

What really changes when your teen turns 16?


I'm driving with my daughter on the highway and I'm in the passenger seat. The car behind us is honking because I'm telling her to stay within the speed limit and ignore the fact that others are zipping past us. I'm acting calm for her sake, but I'm terrified.

On those days that I have struggled with work life balance, I've looked forward to the day my daughter was old enough to get her license. I dreamed about how she could zip out to the store for me when we run out of milk or make that pick up from soccer practice when I was on deadline.

For the last year, I've been teaching my her to drive. The experience brought out emotions I never knew were possible -- mostly sheer panic. I've hit the imaginery passenger brake more times than I care to admit. I've clutched the ceiling when I wasn't sure she saw the car backing out of its parking space and right into us. It's been a trial in parental patience, one my husband was unable to survive.

Within a week, my daughter will be eligible to get her license. The day that seemed  impossibly distant when I arrived home with a newborn in a pink cap is now here -- and with its arrival comes my realization that while my work life balance will get easier, my emotional well being will never be the same.

I see in my daughters eyes that she can't wait for that first step toward independence. But I also see a naive teen who couldn't fathom that someone might pretend to be a police officer or bump the rear of the car to lure a young girl out of her car. I see a young girl that might not know how to react when a distracted driver swerves across the lane trying to send an email from his BlackBerry. I've forbidden my daughter from using her cell phone in the car, but will she always stick to that rule? I will worry every time she pulls out of the driveway and I will wait up until she's safely in bed at night.

Last week, I read an article in the Sun Sentinel that said teens in Florida are spurning that freewheeling rite of passage and postponing getting their licenses. That follows a national trend toward a drop in teen drivers attributed to the high cost of gas and insurance and the increase in smart phones. Today's teens can stay in touch without having to drive to see each other.

Parents, I know many of you have encouraged your teen to drive. Having them drive to school or work or both could make a critical difference in your work hours or ability to hold your job. And, at some point, teens need to learn how to drive, especially in places like South Florida, where public transportation is limited. But have you ever thought about whether 16 is too young? I'm starting to think 18 would be a better age.

Do you think raising the drive age would make a difference in how your teen handles the maturity needed to drive, or would raising the age just be too difficult on working parents and teens who work?

March 13, 2012

How to deal with a child care emergency

It's Spring Break in South Florida and many working parents are scrambling to find childcare while they have to work. I wonder, have you ever found yourself in a child care emergency?

Today, my guest blogger is Melissa Anderson, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sittercity. Melissa has some great advice for working parents who find themselves in this situation. She is pictured below with her son, Kyle.

 Melissa A and Kyle

Every parent knows that emergencies are just part of life…no matter how well you plan, things are going to happen; it’s simply Murphy’s Law.  For me, a working mother of two, life’s unexpected problems always seem to come at the wrong time.   They go wrong for stay-at-home mothers as many times as working mothers – so no one’s immune to this situation.

Recently, my nanny called me to let me know she had come down with the flu and would be out for a few days.  She was very apologetic and I certainly understood.   She is wonderful extension of the family and my children adore her; but to be honest, I didn’t want a sick person – not matter how wonderful they are – getting my kids sick too! So I was happy she was taking the responsible course of action to stay home to take care of herself; but I found myself in a situation which many can relate to: I was suddenly out of a sitter – and I had a big presentation that day.  I couldn’t stay home and neither could my husband. 

Parents can relate to this, and it can lead to a state of panic: Where am I going to find a trustworthy sitter to watch my children in a moment’s notice?

 Luckily, I work at Sittercity, the nation’s largest and most trusted online resource to find amazing babysitters and nannies. At Sittercity, I lead a team who provide companies with Sittercity’s child and eldercare benefit program. Many companies offer Sittercity as an employee benefit to help their team members to have a Plan B – or backup plan. So every day, my team and I work with other companies to help their employees solve breakdowns in childcare arrangements both planned (school vacations, holidays and caregiver holidays) and unplanned (sick children, snow days, flu season, sick, nannies).  Now it was time for me to practice what I preach and put my backup plan into action.

In planning for such a situation, I had previously interviewed a number of sitters and had a list of my Sittercity backup sitters who are available at a moment’s notice.  I emailed all of my sitters at the click of a button through Sittercity and one responded almost immediately that she was available.  Sittercity’s Short Notice requests are usually met in just over two hours, but my sitter was at my house within the hour and my childcare crisis was averted.  I could go to work with my mind was at ease knowing my children would be well cared for.

Sounds easy right?  It is, but there is a lot of advance planning that goes into a seamless backup plan.  Here are some steps you can take to be prepared when you need a Plan B-Backup Care:

  • Check with your employer to determine if your workplace has a backup childcare solution - and feel free to call me if it doesn’t!


  • If your employer doesn’t have a plan, sign up with a babysitting service like Sittercity.com.  Sittercity.com has monthly or annual memberships that connect you with hundreds, if not thousands of qualified sitters in your area.


  • Develop a pool of babysitters at the ready.  Sittercity recommends a four-step screening process . Step One: Read the online reviews and ratings listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity.  Step Two: Conduct an interview with all caregivers.  Step Three: Check a caregiver’s references (also listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity).     Step Four: Run a background check.  Additional available checks include an Enhanced Background Check and Motor Vehicles Record Check.


  • If you haven’t developed a pool of sitters, you can use last minute tools on sites like Sittercity called “Sittercity Short Notice” which help you find new sitters within a an hour or two.

I hope these tips can help you with backup care.  Do you have any additional tips that can help working parents find a backup sitter?


March 10, 2012

Should Peyton Manning Expect Loyalty?


The media is abuzz in South Florida, tracking every move Peyton Manning makes and speculating whether he will join the Miami Dolphins. The guy must be used to media attention but still looks a little shocked at the circus scene that's playing out.

Just a few days ago, the  NFL’s star quarterbacks was cut loose by the Indianapolis Colts after 14 seasons of  brilliance.  I watched the awkward press conference and monitored the reaction as many Colts fans took to social media to direct anger and frustration at team owner Jim Irsay for letting the franchise icon go.

But should anyone be angry anymore about the lack of employer loyalty?

Both Manning and Irsay suggested that this outcome was forced by circumstance -- Manning's injury and the contract that both parties had agreed to -- and stated that their relationship remains strong. After Irsay spoke, Manning addressed the media as well as Colts fans in Indianapolis. "I do love it here," Manning said, holding back tears. "I love the fans and I will always enjoy having played for such a great team."

To me, the message this emotional parting sent to the public is that no one -- not even the great Peyton Manning -- can expect job security.

Sports is a business.Colts fans, like the rest of us, would like to believe that businesses value their employees. But CEOs do what they need to do for the business.

If there's one thing this current recession showed us, it's that superstars can lose their jobs, too. Over the last few years, I've received tons of email from shocked and devastated employees, who gave their blood, sweat and tears for businesses that closed or restructured or downsized. Suddenly, they found themselves out of work and having a hard time coming to grips with the lack of loyalty.

This new generation of workers watches the Peyton Manning press conference through different eyes. It understands that a job is temporary. The Millenials are always on the lookout for something better and who can blame them!

Can the rest of us come to grips with the new reality? Loyalty is dead on both sides. Job security is last century and very soon Peyton Manning will put on another team's jersey and go to work.

Readers, do you think this new reality has changed the way we work and live? Are we less willing to give a job our all, or more eager than ever to prove ourselves the best so opportunities will come our way?