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4 posts from April 2017

April 19, 2017

Whose Career Suffers More From Childcare Responsibilities?

Hub wife


Last week, I sat in an office waiting to be called in for an annual parent teacher conference and checking my watch. My son is doing well in school so the conference was purely for administrators to check off boxes. The longer I sat, the more anxious I felt about the work I should be finishing and the deadlines approaching.

I pictured my husband in his office, being productive, and I stewed.

Over our years of raising children, as child care needs have cropped up, my husband and I have negotiated who would handle them. The negotiations often turn into arguments over who has more on their plate, more flexibility at work, and inevitably, whose salary is more critical to our household income.

More often, the negotiations (arguments) end when I agree to "take one for the team." Some days, I resent it.

My friends in households with two working parents tell me they, too, struggle with sharing family responsibilities 50-50. A teacher friend told me she has used up her allotted days off staying home with her sick son who has been battling bronchitis off and on almost the entire school year. Her husband claims his boss will dock him pay if he misses a day of work. She's worried she is about to lose her position as grade leader. Being there for a child and living up to the demands of bosses and clients is no easy feat for a mom or dad. Although men are taking on more childcare responsibility, women still "take one for the team" more often. 

Lately, I've been surprised at how much this inequality bothers men in supervisory roles.  A male friend who manages a radio station recently complained about a mother on his staff who has had to leave early several times in the last few weeks to handle childcare emergencies. "Why doesn't her husband take a turn?" he asked me. "Yeah, why doesn't he?" I responded, wondering if this situation would make my friend any more likely to pitch in with childcare emergencies in his household.

Unfortunately, when mothers take time off to handle childcare needs too frequently, they are viewed as uncommitted to their jobs or not serious about their careers. It is the reason more of us are looking carefully at flexibility in our workplaces and resources our employers provide such as paid sick leave.

So, I'm wonder what your thoughts are on taking one for the team. Is this something you argue about with your significant other? How do you think who takes one for the team should be decided? Do you take one for the team more often than your spouse and end up resenting it?

April 17, 2017

How to Avoid Judging other Working Mothers?

                                                         Momsss

Yesterday I was at the gym when I overheard a conversation between two mothers. One was telling the other that she had just seen her friend Susie was surprised to see her exercising. She whispered loudly to the other: "She's always working. She never sees her kids."

I listened in disbelief. I wanted to shout, "Really? She never sees her kids?" Even moms who work ungodly hours see their kids sometimes.

Maybe the woman does work a lot. Maybe she doesn't see her children as often as a non working mother. But when someone works a lot, exercising is the outlet he or she often needs to be more patient with their kids when they do spend time with them. 

If a father was at the gym exercising, would other dads whisper to each other, "What's he doing here? He never sees his kids."

I don't think so.

C'mon ladies we need to stop judging other mothers. In 2015—the year for which the most recent data are available—42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings, according to the Center for American Progress. The reality is the majority of mothers contribute significantly to their families’ bottom lines. Along with making dough comes responsibility and long hours, which means more moms must sacrifice time with their families.

It is a testament to the hard work and tenacity of women that they have reached the level they occupy today. The flip side is that while working mothers are traveling for work, attending meetings and landing promotions, more fathers, grandparents and babysitters are picking up the childcare responsibilities and we need to be okay with that without passing judgment.

Yes, some mothers prefer to be at work than be home with their children. Some fathers do, too. It doesn't mean these parents don't love their children. Neglect is a different thing altogether, and I don't condone it. But parents who gain fulfillment from working yet still want to be a good parent deserve more from us than judgment. 

Let's encourage working mothers to practice self care. 

Let's support mothers who put in long hours.

Let's let other people choose how they prioritize without judging them.

Let's help other working mothers when we see opportunities.

Next time you're at at the gym and see a stressed working mother who is decompressing, cheer her on. Not only will she benefit, her children will, too. In the end, we all prosper when a working mother succeeds.

April 06, 2017

How to Change Your Perception of Career Opportunities

                                                  Job Stress


Recently, I was talking to a friend when she blurted out that she wants a new job. "I am mis-er-able!" she announced to me.

She said she has been working long hours and feels like she has hit a dead end at work. Again, she repeated. "I am mis-er-able."

"Don't you have any other options than quitting?" I asked. Her response was a shrug.

A lot of people feel the way my friend does, particularly women, according to CEB’s newly released Global Talent Monitor report.

Are lots of people really in dead end jobs, worried about our future and convinced things are only going to get worse?

The report found that women, slightly more than men, believe that their career opportunities are limited and they believe Trump's policies will worsen their career prospects. ( Particularly policies regarding paid leave, minimum wage and health care) The report shows 27% of women believe that Trump policies will worsen compensation, benefits and career opportunities for them compared to 21% of men.

I wanted to know more, not just about the report findings, but about why there is a gender disparity between the perception of career opportunities. I also wanted to know how to find opportunities when they do exist, and how to change the perception that it's difficult to advance at work. 

For those answers, I turned to Brian Kropp, HR Practice Leader at CEB, a best practice insight and technology company.

Brian Kropp HeadshotBrian explained: "It used to be that the reason people quit was because they didn't like their manager. Now it's the lack of perceived career opportunity."

He said many companies are spending money to attract talent and develop their people. They may have no idea their workers can't see a future at their company. He suggests business leaders consider a few actions:

o   Provide opportunities for career progression

o   Communicate openly about compensation, rewards and opportunities

o   Find ways to keep female employees engaged to build a more gender diverse leadership population

 "Businesses need to step up their efforts to show all employees a path," he said.  Of course, then employer needs to help the worker follow that path.  "What we are seeing is that it's hard to make promises when the future is more uncertain than ever."

Brian also he believes each of us can seek career opportunities in our current jobs by taking a proactive approach:

o  Have a thoughtful conversation with your manager about your career path and the opportunities that exist.

o  Create opportunities for yourself by taking risks. A big problem is that men are more willing to apply for a better position when they meet some of the qualifications,while women apply only when they meet most qualifications, Brian said. "Men tend to be  more aggressive in seeking opportunities." In the current political environment, women perceive that opportunities are more limited and are even less likely to apply for reach jobs. They need to get past that way of thinking.

o  Pursue advancement. "Don't let perception be a reason not to pursue something," he said.

Millennials have an even greater desire for a clear path toward advancement, he said. "Often they quit because they want new experiences and they think the only way to get them is at a new company." But before jumping ship, he urges millennials to seek out ways to get different experiences at the company where they now work. He urges employers to make those experiences more apparent.

The CEB report shows employee engagement and intent to stay levels are falling. But Brian believes a few small changes can prevent people from leaving their jobs by helping them see a future at the company and their part in its growth.

What would it take to change your perception and frustration with lack of career opportunities at your current job? 

 

April 04, 2017

What Equal Pay Day Means for Our Daughters

Today is Equal Pay Day. It's the day to bring attention to the pay disparity between men and women.

The reality is that most workplaces won't acknowledge it. Regardless, it is the most important day of the year for women. Today is the day when real change happens because of small actions and big resolve. It's the day when we focus attention on making the workplace better for our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters. 

By now, women have been in the workplace for decades, holding high level jobs, becoming bosses and running large agencies. In many workplaces, they are the human resources directors who do the hiring. Why then, do women still earn on average 20 percent less than men for the same jobs? (Click here to see how your state stacks up against the pay gap)

Yesterday, I heard actress Gina Rodriguez speak on television about her partnership with LUNA nutrition bars to drive awareness for the pay gap. Listening to Gina, what I liked most about what she said was her plan. Instead of just urging employers to do something about the pay gap or pushing for legislation -- two strategies that haven't been enough --Gina talked about how LUNA is sponsoring AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops for women across the country.

LUNA and AAUW are working to close the pay gap one workshop at a time by empowering women to negotiate their salary and benefits packages. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

“We know that salary negotiation is not the only variable in the gender pay gap, but it is true that women tend not to negotiate, and that affects their earnings all the way through to retirement," AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho said. “We are so grateful to have LUNA’s support spreading our negotiation workshops, because we know how well they work. We hear from women every day that they used what they learned in AAUW Work Smart immediately – and that it worked!”

I look around me and I see many women working the same long hours as men, and putting their passion into their jobs. We all know it's not acceptable that they earn less for men, particularly as they struggle with trying to raise families and serve as role models, too. Working women first need to pay more attention to who gets hired and at what salary and speak up for change. More important, we need to put the power to eliminate the pay gap it in the hands of our daughters by showing them how to ask for what they deserve at the beginning of their careers. We can rally for brands like LUNA to bring attention to champion women's equality. We can have conversations with the young women in our lives about how and why to go after any job they want, research what the men in the job are paid, and have the confidence to negotiate salary and benefits. We can even take those young women with us to a workshop. Here's the link to free workshops across the U.S.

The AAUW website offers some other actions: Bring a workshop to a campus or community. Sign up to become an AAUW salary negotiation ambassador to help spread the word, or train to become an AAUW salary negotiation facilitator so that you can take the reins in empowering women.

Today is a day in which small actions count. Take them for the young women in your lives. You can help close the pay gap and this is the time to do it.