You would think 2014's college grads would be so desperate for a job that they would take whatever they could get -- as long as it pays a decent salary.
This group wants work life balance and they are steering away from jobs -- and internships -- that seem too demanding.
Let me know what you think of the mindset of today's college graduate. Will they get the flexibility and work life balance they seek? Will employers have to bend a little to accommodate these young workers?
(The Miami Herald, May 22, 2014)
Many new college graduates seek work/life balance, flexibility as they look for jobs
Here come the 2014 college graduates, flooding the highly competitive job market over the next several weeks and bringing their workplace expectations.
University of Florida graduate Stephanie Savage is one of the 11 percent nationwide who has successfully landed a full-time job. Yet, she notices an interesting trend with some of her friends who still are searching: “They’re picky.”
With their notably high debt from student loans, you would think new college graduates would jump at any job they could get. Instead, some of this year’s crop are selective in their job searches, reluctant to be stuck in a cramped cubicle from 9-to-5 each day and looking to be wowed by the jobs they land, career experts say.
“The idea of not being in a job they love is stressful for them,” says Christian Garcia, executive director of the Toppel Career Center at the University of Miami. Garcia said he has had students shy away from jobs in which they’ve heard the boss is difficult, the hours or commute long or the job description “boring.”
“They want to feel each opportunity is THE opportunity. Some can afford to be picky, but there are a lot of students who can’t. I bring them a reality check.”
Savage, 21, who will work as a preschool teacher, sees the same thought process in her peers. “They realize the job market is horrible but they still say, ‘I don’t know if I want to work for someone like that’ or ‘I don’t like the job requirements.’ ”
The pickiness is perplexing considering this is the sixth consecutive graduating class to enter the labor market during a period of profound weakness. However, the Class of 2014 is uniquely optimistic and expects to find positions in their chosen fields, according to an employment survey released this month by consulting firm Accenture. These graduates also are determined to find work/life balance in their jobs — or come up with ways to obtain it.
In fact, for the past few years, work/life balance has been the number one career goal among students in the global surveys by Universum, which offers research and services worldwide to help employers attract talent. More than leadership opportunities, security or prestige, these college graduates seek balance. They want their jobs to reflect who they want to be and the lifestyle they want to live, one that might include training for a 5K or giving back to the community.
Fortunately for the 2014 grads, they are the first generation that can easily expect to find a telecommuting or remote job in their fields, according to FlexJobs.com, a website designed to help people find flexible work options. Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, said almost every flexible position on her website has entry position levels — and college graduates are applying for them. Many pay salaries equal to onsite positions.
“Telecommuting options are a natural fit,” Fell says. “The younger generation is mobile by nature. They’ve grown up with technology and without having to do location-specific tasks.”
In compiling the best remote jobs for college grads, FlexJobs says some of the jobs to consider are accountant or bookkeeper, online teacher, market research analyst, computer systems analyst, business consulting, data entry positions and customer service posts. “With flexible work, we’re seeing a real broadening of types of opportunities available at all levels,” Fell says.
The other morning, I was listening to radio show host Elivs Duran talk about how much he loves his job. He said he would do his job even if he didn't get paid. Of course, the rest of his crew hushed him and told him his agent would be mad.
But today, when I saw a story about small business owners, it made me feel good that there are people out there who love what they do for a living. According to a new survey from BMO Harris Bank, ONLY 39% of entrepreneurs say they would sell their company if they won the lotto.
“Over half say they would definitely continue running their small business,” says BMO Harris Bank head of small business banking Daniela O’Leary-Gill. “They’re passionate about their business and committed to succeeding,”
With so much on our plates, having real passion for your work helps. But sometimes we don't realize we get more out of work than pay. Like what, you ask? I saw this on Payscale.com and had to share it with you.
1. Social connection.
It's hard to make friends after you're out of school, and work is one place to do it. Even if you don't fall madly in platonic love with your co-workers, humans need company. Ask any unemployed person or freelancer, and they'll tell you: when people are alone too much, they start to get weird.
What would you do if you didn't have to do anything? If you said "nothing," you're in good company. But doing nothing at all -- or even just doing whatever you want, whenever you want -- gets old fast. Having to show up at a certain time and do things because they're required builds discipline, which makes it easier to do everything else that makes you a healthy, happy person, from eating well to exercising, to keeping a regular sleep schedule.
3. A sense of identity.
Quick: who are you? We bet your job title or at least your field came up in the first five words. You're not just your job, of course, but what you do becomes a big part of who you are, at least eventually. Now, if after considering all of that, you realize that you hate everyone you work with, have a daily schedule that's the opposite of how your brain and body chemistry work, and can't stand the idea of identifying yourself as Job Title X or Y, then it might be time to rethink your career track. Not everyone can do what they love, but everyone should at least try to like what they do.
If your current job doesn't fulfill you, start thinking about jobs you would want to do even if you won the lottery. It might take some effort to land that job or start that business, but nothing is impossible if you work to achieve it. That's the message I heard loud and clear on my radio from Elvis Duran.
My Mother's Gift to all of you out there scrambling for sanity....
One night last week, I scooped up sliced meats and cheeses that were waiting for me in a bin at the Publix deli. As I did this, I gave a sympathetic look to a frazzled woman in a business suit who was waiting her turn to order while a child screamed in her cart. I wondered why this mom hadn’t used the amazing time-saving, free Publix Online Ordering app that has cut at least a half hour out of my own grocery shopping time.
Today’s smartphones have led to the development of hundreds of thousands of mobile apps that can make working mothers’ work and home lives run more smoothly. But sorting through them is no simple feat. In celebration of Mother’s Day, I have asked working mothers to share the apps they use for better work/life balance.
Being a mom and business owner can be a challenge. Liliana Paez runs two businesses, travels at least once a month for work, and raises two children, ages 4 and 6. This supermom uses Dragon Dictation, a free app that uses voice recognition to type text messages, create emails or compile to do lists on the go. She says the simple app allows her to get business done from her car without touching her screen. Paez is sales and marketing director at Key International, a Miami real estate sales company, and CEO of Global Smart Products, a company that sells innovative products through infomercials. Paez regularly needs to meet with manufacturers abroad or designers in cities across the United States. She uses the GoToMeeting app on her iPad (free and paid versions available): “I can see what the other person has on his computers, where their mouse goes and we can talk in detail about renderings.” She says using the app helps her avoid extra business travel — time she now can spend with family.
In many homes, moms handle the family finances. Tammie Purow balances her job as a Miami trusts and estates attorney with being the mother of twin 15-year-old boys and twin 11-year-old girls. To keep organized, she uses Bill Keeper. The free app allows her to manage and track bills and reminds her when a payment is due. “As I pay the bill, I check it off on the app,” Purow says. She finds Bill Keeper also helps her keep in her budget: “I usually try to pay a bill a day so at the end of the month, I don’t get overwhelmed. I look at what’s next on the list and pay it from my phone.”
For moms who work from home, there are apps to help stay connected to the office. Merci Suarez, mother of two and a young hands-on grandmother of two, runs her husband’s pediatric office in Pembroke Pines from home as often as possible. “I tend to use every app that is office-related so I don’t have to drag my rear end to the office,” Suarez says. One of her favorites is Adobe Reader mobile app, (free) Pro Edition ($4.99), which allows access to pdf files on the go. Suarez will open a file, make changes, highlight sections, sign it with a finger and fax or email it back to the sender from her phone. She also uses the free CamCard app to photograph business cards and quickly store the information in her phone and other devices: “If I can find an app that gives me back a few minutes that I can invest in my family, I’m happy.”
Moms who commute are discovering that apps that cut down drive time are great finds. Vivian Conterio, a Homestead mother of an 11-year-old daughter and a marketing director at Cool de Sac children’s entertainment center, commutes — often 30 miles a day — for her job. She relies on Waze, a free mapping, traffic and navigation app. Waze gives directions, but it also allows users to share accident and road information in real time, making it easier to avert traffic jams and congestion. “It’s my lifesaver for not getting lost and knowing how long it will take me to get anywhere,” Conterio says. She also relies on the free service, IFTTT.com. “If this then that” allows users to connect different apps and sites to create their own “recipe” or action they want their media channels to perform. Conterio has created a recipe that will automatically send photos from her gmail to a Dropbox folder.
Some mothers turn to apps to save their sanity or stay focused on goals. Rushing into client meetings, accountant/mom Susan Marquet would fish around in her purse for change for parking meters — and pull out pacifiers instead. She says the PayByPhone app has changed her life. To use it, she set up an account, entered her license plate, location and how long she wants to park. “The best part is you can be at a restaurant, tap the icon and extend your time without having to leave and go to the meter,” she says. Julie Vessel, a director of talent at an advertising agency and mother of three young children, uses an iPhone app she developed called Intention Reminder (99 cents) to keep her sanity and her goals top of mind. Vessel creates a visual intention of her goals with photos and words. She then set reminders throughout the day for her intention to pop up on her phone screen. “Given I have my phone with me 24/7, this app allows me to stay mindful in a really easy way.”
Of course, working mothers know the best uses of applications often are for tempering frustration levels. Paula Rizzo, founder of Listproducer.com, hates wasting time on hold to get through to customer services representatives — the bane of most busy working mothers. She uses the free Fast Customer app, which links into many companies and navigates through phone trees. Rizzo, author of the upcoming book "Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed" also considers the free TalkTo app to be one of her favorites: With it, she can communicate with any business across the country to find out if there’s an item in stock, what the price is, or to make an appointment. Instead of trekking all the way to the grocery store after work, hoping they have, say, golden beets, she just sends a text — even if the business is closed. Rizzo says TalkTo will get back to her when the store reopens.
Lastly, for working mothers like me whose teens drive, tracking apps such as Sprint Family Locator($5 a month), Find My Friends (free) and Life360 (free or $4.99 a month for non-smartphones) offer some peace of mind while at work with your teen (or parent) on the road. Of course, it’s never enough.
What if you’re the middle manager and your boss is making your staff miserable? What if his or her actions are wreaking havoc on everyone’s work life balance? Do you confront him or her with constructive criticism? Or, do you direct your staff the way you want and ignore your boss’ behavior?
Yesterday, I got up close and personal with Leading Women in Broward, an initiative led by Laurie Sallarulo of the Leadership Broward Foundation. About 50 women were at the program and I heard some pretty interesting answers to the questions above. The discussion centered on managing up and down, taking risks, balance work and family and ascending to leadership.
I learned that work life balance is a constant struggle for all business women at all career stages, and that being successful in most careers will require some politicking and risk taking.
Here are some things successful women shared that I found helpful:
- Have a mission statement. Make sure it includes what you live by now and what you aspire to live by. Stay focused on it. Keep it on your computer desktop so you can remind yourself what you should be focused on when you stray from your mission or find yourself climbing the ladder up the wrong wall?
- Leaders eat last – When you put your people or your team first, they become the kind of team that wants to follow you.
- Take risks – Have the attitude that you will try things. If a risk goes south, recognize it, get out and don’t be afraid to try again.
- Speak up carefully – sometimes you have to manage your boss. That means picking your battles, pausing and thinking carefully about the outcome you want to achieve.
The highlight of the program was Jackie Travisano, executive vice president & COO of Nova Southeastern University. Jackie shared her amazing story of becoming a single mom at a young age, pursuing her MBA degree, working as an accountant, remarrying, going to work in her husband’s business, landing jobs in higher education with progressively more responsibility, and making lots of tough decisions and personal sacrifices along the way. Today she manages thousands of employees and 11 departments. She also reports to NSU’s president and is accountable to all university stakeholders.
Here is her advice on managing up and down:
- When you’re at a crossroads, listen to your gut. Don’t let fear take over when you can achieve greatness.
- The key to managing lots of departments is to hire great people. No one leader can compensate for an underperformer.
- Only attend meetings you need to be at. Let your people handle as much as they can.
- Lean In, but listen. Don’t react to those above you until you have truly listened. Find the right time to speak and do so confidently.
- When life doesn’t work out as planned, that’s okay. It’s great to have goals, but let life happen.
- There will be sacrifices that come along with leadership. Having the right ear can help make changes that make the workplace better for all.
- Have a sounding board, a champion, someone who will encourage you to reach for the stars.
What have been your experiences as a middle manager? How do you handle upper level management when those below you are complaining? When is it worth the risk to speak up? And, what do you think is the key to being a good leader?
As we emerge from Passover and Easter, religion was on my mind. I noticed that more of my friends saw holiday celebration as an inconvenience or something they wanted to observe festively rather than religiously. It made me think about the future of religion and wonder as a society obsessed with busyness, are we too busy for religion?
Here's my take on the topic from my Miami Herald column:
In our hectic, time-crunched society, religion has become less of a priority
BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN
As worshipers packed churches on Easter Sunday, Rodman Armas crowded into the AmericanAirlines Arena with his 6-year-old son, Anthony, to cheer for the Miami Heat as its NBA playoff series began. Armas said he and his son had been looking forward to the game all week. “Going to church is not a big deal for us. We pray in our home,” Armas says.
While the lives of many Americans today are filled with going to sporting events, running kids to activities and answering email, studies suggest we’re squeezing in religion how and when it’s convenient — if at all.
“People are very busy, but it’s a matter of what they prioritize,” says the Rev. Tim Lozier, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Jacksonville.
Clearly, in our hectic, time-crunched society, religion has become less of a priority. Study after study tells us that Americans are less religious than we used to be.
Just last week, a survey of 804 children by the Bible Society found that young people had little understanding of the true meaning of Easter, or of the Bible itself. The research triggered the Bible Society to launch a “Pass It On” campaign, challenging parents to help keep the Bible alive for future generations by telling stores each night over the Easter period.
Yet, a survey by the American Bible Society found a huge drop in the number of adults reading the Bible, most citing a lack of time.
For many of the worshipers who jammed churches on Easter Sunday, it was a rare appearance. The percentage of Americans who say they “seldom” or “never” attend religious services has risen in the past decade — to 29 percent from 25 percent a decade ago, according to Pew Research Center surveys.
Pew Research also has identified a movement toward Americans leaving religion in droves. One-fifth of all Americans — a significant number from anyone’s perspective — claim no affiliation when asked to state their religious preference. The number of people without religious affiliation has doubled in the past two decades. This is particularly true of millennials, our young generation and the nation’s future parents.
Some blame the Internet for Americans losing religion. Allen Downey, a computer scientist at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, says the increase in Internet usage since 1990 has a significant correlation with the drop in religion.
Others point to factors such as the rise of working mothers, the increase of organized activities and homework, the 24/7 culture and the struggle for work/life balance.
Cristy Gutierrez says that for her family, all those factors are at play. She works full-time and has two kids on travel sports teams. She spends most weekends on the fields or courts. Although she is affiliated with a church, she rarely attends Mass: “I just don’t get enough out of it to make the time to go.”
Meanwhile, some religious institutions are trying to evolve — offering young adult services on Saturday nights, live streaming of services on the Internet, integration with social media and contemporary worship music.
“People are not too busy for religion if organized religion adapts to the way in which people are living their modern lives,” says Eric Stillman, president of the Jewish Federation of Broward County. “They don’t want the obligations that come with membership. They want to pick and choose what’s convenient and to do so in way similar to going to restaurant and ordering à la carte.”
For example, Stillman says the staying power of the Passover Seder is its informality and flexibility: “The exact time is not prescribed, and there’s no obligation for temple membership associated with it.”
Indeed, this year, to accommodate busy work and travel schedules, more American Jews held their Seders — the elaborate ritual meal at the heart of the eight-day holiday — on different nights, not only on the traditional first two nights, The Washington Post reported.
Lozier says people no longer feel compelled to build their personal schedules around attending religious services. They no longer feel “expected” to go to church on Sundays, nor compelled to go for a sense of community. Still, his Jacksonville church has a congregation of 700 families, many of them minorities, whom he continually coaxes to participate: “Even in our day to day busy-ness, we need God at some level.”
In South Florida, Cantor Debbi Ballard says she identified the change in attitude toward religion several years ago and has catered to it: “If you want people to affiliate, you have to show them how religion can fit and be balanced in their lives.”
For a decade, Ballard ( mypersonalcantor.com) has run a “virtual” synagogue, meeting at hotels or community centers for families who find it easier than a bricks-and-mortar environment. She has served almost 500 families in Broward, Aventura and Boca Raton. This fall, she will launch a mobile Hebrew School concept that she hopes will attract even more families — taking religious learning directly to those who want it.
What are your thoughts on religion? Are families too scheduled to make time for it? Are religious institutions too steeped in tradition to accommodate working parents and busy families? Are young people finding spirituality outside of traditional religious affliliation?
Our paychecks aren't big enough and that's stressing us out.
For the fourth year in a row, American workers told Neilsen our low pay is our biggest stressor. That makes sense because most of us haven't had substantial raises in more than five years.
When you're struggling to pay the bills, typically the padding is gone that gives you the leeway to better balance your work and family life. Who can afford a babysitter when food and gas prices are going up and our paychecks aren't.
So what can we do about it? Fortunately, it looks like there may be some hope of raises or a better paying job in the near future. Here's what some experts shared in my Miami Herald column this week:
Workers at all income levels are frustrated that their workloads have increased but they haven’t seen a raise or hiring of more workers. Even as revenues have improved, for the past two years pay raises at private employers have hovered at around 2.8 percent and are expected to be only about 2.9 percent in 2014, according to global services firm Towers Watson. At the same time, the cost of living has gone up with housing, gas and food prices rising.
Career experts suggest we get aggressive and creative to fatten our paychecks. For skilled workers, the best route may be a new job. “One factor has decreased: the fear of being fired or laid off,” says Wendy Cullen of Everest College. “Now that there are more jobs, people aren’t afraid to start looking, but there is still a big question as to whether it is better someplace else.”
This may be the time to find out. “Slowly, companies are starting to compete for talent again and add to their headcount,” said Matt Shore, president of Steven Douglas Associates, a South Florida executive recruiting firm specializing in finance, accounting and information technology. “People who are in stagnant jobs are starting to look around and, in some cases, the market finally is telling them they can do better.”
For those stressed by low pay because of underemployment, negotiation may be necessary. After losing his marketing position at a bank, Jorge Espinosa saw his finances fray as he spent month after month in a job search. Now in a job that pays much lower than his previous one, his credit card debt has piled up. Espinosa says he has begun a new search but notices job ads reflect far lower salaries than what he previously earned. “It’s stressful to think I may be locked into a lower salary for another few years.”
Rather than get discouraged, one CEO suggests having a conversation with your boss. Most employers still have the mindset that workers are fortunate to have a job, admits Michael Rose, CEO of Mojo Media Labs, a Dallas Marketing Agency. However, Rose says certain arguments could justify a raise: “Come to your boss armed with information. Maybe you’re doing more than what is in the scope of the job description. Maybe you just got a certification. Maybe you can work on project or learn new skill set that will allow you to start in a new role that pays better.”
Even if negotiations don’t pan out, there is hope. Recruiters say salaries in some occupations are creeping toward pre-recession levels. Terri Davis, a Miami recruiter for a global software company that specializes in IT solutions for the travel industry, said that in her industry, job offers are about 20 percent higher than two years ago. Davis says job seekers also have a little room for pay negotiation: “When an employer extends an offer, they are evaluating it, and if they don’t feel it’s competitive enough, they are questioning the potential for a bonus — and getting it.”
All of us have some control over our paychecks, depending on how much we are willing to invest in ourselves, by adding to our skills, Cullen says. “I don't think you can ever eliminate all the factors that cause workplace anxiety, but as individuals, we can definitely create a plan of action to improve our careers and change our lives.”
Once again Sheryl Sandberg has convinced me she's one of the most interesting women alive.
She speaks her mind, speaks from experience and speaks with just the right amount of filter.
Here's her advice to college grads from this morning's Today Show. I love how she tells college grads that they can negotiate in their first job but they have to know how to do it. I also LOVE how she believes this is the generation of young women that can achieve equality and embrace leadership.
We all struggle for work life balance, but most of us don’t realize that sometimes the path towards achieving might be something so simple.
Some of the most successful people I know are sharing their secret weapon for remaining strong and finding balance.
So after all these years, moms still don't understand we're all in this work life balance struggle together.
All moms, I repeat, all moms, live with stress, worry, guilt and self doubt when they try to be the best moms they can be and hold a job.
The latest to stir up controversy: Gwyneth Paltrow who struck a nerve when in an interview with E! News, the 41-year-old talked about needing a break from acting so she could spend more time with her children, Apple, 9, and Moses,7,
"It’s much harder for me,” she said. “I feel like I set it up in a way that makes it difficult because … for me, like if I miss a school run, they are like, ‘Where were you?’ I don’t like to be the lead so I don’t [have] to work every day, you know, I have little things that I like and obviously I want it to be good and challenging and interesting and be with good people and that kind of thing.”
She also pointed out that things are more difficult for her than other moms, because of the demanding nature and unpredictable schedule of her acting career.
“I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set,” Paltrow said.
Ouch! That stung working moms like Mackenzie Dawson who responded with an open letter to Gwyneth in the New York Post. Here's an excerpt from her well written letter:
I really enjoyed your recent comments to E! about how easy an office job is for parents, compared to the grueling circumstances of being on a movie set. “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” you said. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”
As a mother of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more!
“Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro-North platform, about to begin my 45-minute commute into the city. Whenever things get rough, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of that fact. It is my mantra.
And I know all my fellow working-mom friends feel the same. Am I right, ladies?
We’re always gabbing about how easy it is to balance work and home life. Whenever I meet with them at one of our weekly get-togethers — a breeze to schedule, because reliable baby sitters often roam my neighborhood in packs, holding up signs peddling their services — we have a competition to see who has it easier. Is it the female breadwinners who work around the clock to make sure their mortgages get paid, lying awake at night, wracked with anxiety over the idea of losing their jobs? Or is it the mothers who get mommy-tracked and denied promotions? What about the moms with “regular” 9-to-5 jobs, who are penalized when their kids are sick and they don’t have backup child care?
Those women are living the dream, I tell you!
To both women I say: No one balances work and family without feeling some pain.
Being a working mom is a challenge, regardless of what career you pursue or job you hold.
I can personally argue that any time you spend away from your kids for work, you will be racked with guilt and self doubt over something you miss out on. I get it Gwyneth, missing the daily routine of your kids' lives for a period of time can be emotionally difficult.
The difference, Gwyneth, is the logistics of work life balance are easier for you. You can hire good child care to handle the logistics while you're gone. Can you really compare your struggles as a Hollywood actress to those with desk jobs or even that of a low wage single mothers who juggle work and family? These women live day to day with guilt, and self doubt and fear that they won't be able to pay the bills if their child gets sick and they need a day off work.
So, Gwyneth and Mackenzie and all other working mothers, let's all recognize that most of us want success in our careers and to "be there" for our kids when they need us. Let's rally behind policies that will make it easier for all working mothers to juggle work and family. It's not us vs. them. It's just us!