April 30, 2015

Miami Heat players says health scare led to better work life balance

 

Chris bosh

 

Sometimes, it takes a health scare to make us reflect on our lives. 

For Miami Heat's Chris Bosh, it was a blood clot. 

Last week, after the Miami Heat's basketball season ended and the rest of the players were cleaning out their lockers and doing exit interviews, Chris Bosh spoke to the media and said he was coming back next season way better than ever. While the other players seemed worn out, Bosh was upbeat and talked about his new perspective on the game of basketball and the game of life. 

In February, Bosh had been diagnosed with a blood clot and landed in the hospital. Bosh said he played with blood clots in his lungs for "three weeks probably" before being diagnosed. While lying in a hospital bed with clotted blood stopping up his lungs, he thought his career might be over. It gave him time to think and realize how much he missed basketball when he wasn't playing.

Bosh told the media that stepping back and taking time off allowed for reflection. "I needed to recharge my passion because I was getting beat down a little bit over the last four years," he said. 

Many of us forget how important it is to recharge. We push on, and on, until we find ourselves off our game. Life and all its stresses just add up. And while we might not be able to make those stressors go away, we can take a step back and force ourselves to reflect and recharge. 

Finding work life balance is not an easy feat but we can't wait until we're lying in a hospital bed to realize that prioritizing time for ourselves is not a luxury but a necessity. 

I think Chris Bosh realized the importance of down time and balance and putting your health first. Now, he is back with his team and ready to win. The rest of us need to approach life the same way, and surely, then, we will win too.

Pope Frame thinks the wage gap is a shame, why don't CEOs?

                                      Pope
There are lots of people who don't believe the wage gap between men and women really exists. And then there's Pope Francis.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis used his high profile platform to make the world realize that equal pay for equal work benefits not only women, but also families.

While making audience Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis called the gender pay gap a "pure scandal" in remarks on marriage and family.

A pure scandal!

He also said it is wrong to blame the troubles of modern marriage on women's liberation. Rather he said that economic stresses are a bigger problem for marriages. Those stresses could be lessened if women were paid fairly. He is so right!

This morning, I heard a radio host speak about how her friend became a boss and realized that the men in his department were paid more than the women for the same job responsibilities. He was disgusted and asked for the women to be given a bump in salary. When his boss refused, he agreed to give part of his next raise to the women who earned less. How great is that!

It is no secret that many women still earn less than men for the same job. And when women seem to infiltrate a profession, suddenly the salaries decline. My friend recently told me that she heard the publisher of my newspaper speak about how more of the newsroom are held by women. My friend pointed out that this is because the salaries in the profession aren't rising with journalism jobs on the decline. It made me sad to think she might be right.

Just last week, American's observed Equal Pay Day, a sobering reminder that a stubborn wage gap persists. 

The National Partnership for Women & Families called the wage gap: "pervasive and punishing."

Here are some sad facts:   If the gap between the wages of women and men who work full time, year round were eliminated, a mother in the United States would have enough money for 2.4 more years of food, 11 more months of mortgage and utilities payments, 18 more months of rent, 25 more months of child care, or 6,600+ gallons of gas

Women in the European Union were paid 16.4 percent less than men on average in 2013, according to statistics agency Eurostat. United States Census Bureau data indicate women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, based on annual median salaries.

Think of the difference it could make in how women balance their work and family if we closed the wage gap. More mothers could afford to buy a car, hire a babysitter, pay their medical bills.

I wondered long ago why CEOs don't look at their payroll and make sure women and men who work the job earn the same pay. 

Members of Congress have reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, supported by President Obama, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. How unfortunate it is that we need such legislation! The reality is simple: Two people do the same job, they should be paid the same amount.

Pope Francis gets it. Even Obama seems to get it. Why can't employers get it?

We need to close that wage gap. We need men to care that their wives, sisters and daughters are affected and that in the end, everyone pays the price. We need change and we need it now!

Do you think the pope's words will be enough to get business leaders to re-examine their payrolls? If not, what do you think it will take?

 

April 27, 2015

The ideal worker is ruining our lives

                                                 Ideal

 

 

The idea worker is not me and it likely isn't you.

The ideal worker doesn't take parental leave when a child is born. He or she has no need for family-friendly policies like flexible schedule, part-time work or telecommuting. The ideal worker doesn't need to find babysitters, deal with school closures or worry about child-care responsibilities.

The ideal worker, freed from all home duties, devotes himself completely to the workplace. He or she is a face-time warrior, the first one in in the morning and the last to leave at night. He or she is rarely sick, doesn't take vacation and is willing to hop on a plane whenever needed. The ideal worker will answer email at 3 a.m. or pull an all nighter if asked. He is the guy who works endless hours, even if it cost him or her their health or family. 

In her book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One Has Time, Brigid Schulte brilliantly points Overwhelmed-TPBookshot-250x372out that the notion of the ideal worker wields immense power in the American workplace. "We are  programmed to emulate him at all costs, or at least feel the sting of not measuring up," she notes.

Here we are in the 21st Century, one in which most women and men work and most have some kind of home responsibilities. Yet, as Brigid points out in her book ( a must read!) most of us are being penalized because we can't meet the expectations of the ideal worker. 

This outdated notion of the ideal worker is a big reason why some education mothers disappear from the workplace and why some men hate their jobs. "Fathers are stigmatized when they seek to deviate from the ideal worker," Brigid writes. That leaves men with children faced with a sharp choice -- either they choose not to be equal partners at home or they choose to be equal partners and hurt their careers, she writes. 

What's it going to take to zap this longtime definition of the ideal worker?

That's a loaded question because with fast emerging technologies, the ideal worker is now expected to be on call and ready to roll all day, every day, all the time. Even worse, people who work for ideal worker managers sleep less than those who have flexible managers and are at great risk for heart disease, Brigid points out.

"No matter how much you do, how hard you work, how much you sacrifice, how devoted you are, you can never attain the ideal," Brigid convincingly argues.

So, here we are raising our kids, trying to please our customers and bosses, working crazy hours, and still, the workplace demands more. We are stressed. We are exhausted. We are on an unfulfilling search for happiness and we need a new definition of the ideal worker. NOW.

My definition of the ideal worker is someone who gives work his or her full attention while at the office and refuels once he or she leaves. My definition includes working parents who take their vacations, fathers who take their children to school or meet with their teachers, and singles who take time to do activities they find enjoyable. Under my definition, the ideal worker doesn't necessarily work less, he workers smarter and more innovatively.

If the outdated notion of the ideal worker is ruining your life, causing you to be overwhelmed and unsure of whether you can ever please everyone on the job and at home, it's time to work toward change. We can make the new definition stick, we just need to acknowledge it needs changing and get the movement started. 

April 16, 2015

Take a pause, Get in flow, Learn to play

                                       Trapeze

 

 

Have you ever heard of flow? Let me describe it to you....

Picture yourself on a surfboard, riding a wave. You are living in the moment, utterly absorbed in the feel of the board on the water, the sound of the wave and the splash of the ocean on your face.  Time seems to fall away. You are tired, but you barely notice. According to Steven Kotler, what you are experiencing in that moment is known as flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity. 

When you're in flow, your attention is focused and you are capable of amazing things,  every action flows effortlessly and innovation gets amplified. 

Flow experiences can occur in different ways for different people. A writer might experience this when working on a novel and the pages seem to write themselves. A basketball player might experience it when he gets into the zone, undergoes a loss of self-consciousness and focuses only on his shot from center court.

Flow states are now known to optimize performance, enhance creativity, drive innovation, accelerate learning and amplify memory.

The happiest people have flow. I don't have flow. I have stress. I am walking around with a to-do list that never gets shorter and I'm always thinking about ten things at the same time.

But I can get flow and so can you.

I bet you're thinking, "How in the world would I do that?" That's what I was thinking when I heard Steven Kotler speak about flow earlier this week at Human Capital Media's  Chief Learning Officer Symposium in Miami. Steven wrote  the book "The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance and says we can tap flow at work, home, or skiing down a mountain.

Here are a few of Steven's suggestions for triggering flow: Choose your own challenges, Put yourself in an unpredictable environment, stretch yourself just slightly greater than your skill set, embrace solitude, be aware of your senses, engage in serious concentration.

After hearing Kotler speak, I wandered into a nearby room at the conference to hear Yogi Roth talk about finding your inner grit. Roth, calls himself an Aventure-preneur (don't you love that title!) From Roth, I learned that I don't pause enough to think about my personal style, my vision, my theme and my philosophy.  I want to pause more, and think about these things. I want inner grit.

To get it, Roth says I must make sure how I describe myself, how my best friend describes me and how my mentor describe me are the same. I will start working on that...

Thanks Yogi, good stuff to know.

Most important, from Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time and the final speaker at the conference, I learned that I don't take enough time to play. When is the last time you jumped on a trampoline, glided through air on a swing or climbed a tree? For me, it's been way too long ago. So, if I want work life balance and a less stressful life, I must learn to play. I like the idea of playing more, don't you? At Patagonia,  managers have their meetings while hiking mountains and people take time in the afternoons to surf with co-workers. I love that concept -- play at work.

Do you know that in some parts of the country  there are women's play groups? Yes, these women get together weekly for playdates for a fun activity -- they trapeze, rock climb and bike ride. How cool is that!

Clearly, I have a few things to work on if I want to up my game. 

What are your thoughts on flow, grit, and play? If you have tapped into flow or found a way to fit play into your day, I want to hear from you. How do you make these concepts a reality? 

April 09, 2015

An amazing perk: paternity coaching

It's a fact, fathers hesitate to take paternity leave. But that may change as more companies offer it and more men see the value. Paternity coach Delaine Barr is a member of the Ernst & Young Americas Executive Coaching Team. She has been working with some of the men at the accounting firm who are eligible to take up to six weeks leave in total. I spoke with her to gain an idea of this valuable perk for new fathers.

UnknownQ. What is the process of working with a maternity or paternity coach like?

A. We aren’t structured in our approach. When I’m working with a new parent, I let them drive the conversation. If they are getting ready or thinking of going on leave, I have them describe what a successful leave would look like for them at home and work.

Q. How many sessions are involved?

 

A. We offer up to eight sessions. They are done on a monthly basis. If someone has a lot of momentum around a specific topic, he or she may not want to wait another four weeks, so we touch base in two weeks. Some people might start their coaching sessions three months before they go on leave. Others in the program start when they are getting ready to come back from leave. Not everyone starts or stops coaching at the same point in their transition.

Q. Are your sessions by phone in person or on Skype?

A. Usually by phone. I have people I coach who are all over the United States and Canada

Q. What are issues that come up after someone returns from parental leave?

A. The biggest fear with any new parent is typically what happens to the work while I’m gone. How connected should I be, can I be and do I want to be while on leave? When they come back, I find a lot of discussion or concern with what kind of professional am I going to be now that I have these responsibilities at home. Most are high performers who are used to performing above average. They are worried that now they will be just an average performer and want to know how to shift.

Q. What advice do you offer them about that shift?

A. I get them thinking about everything they are involved in at home and work and help them get clear. I ask them what things they want to keep doing and what are some of those things someone else might be able to.

Q. Do you discuss the stigma with paternity leave?

A. It comes up. But in my experience in coaching new dads, I don’t hear about it as much as I used to. Some dads have been told, “I hope you have a great vacation,” when they actually will be busier at home caring for a baby than at work.

Q. How is paternity coaching different than maternity coaching?

A. There are so many similarities. I really find that both moms and dads are looking for ways to make things work, for ways to be better organized at home and at work. I found over a period of time that dads have become more vocal about saying they have responsibilities at home and making time for those.

Q. What comes up in your coaching sessions that most new parents hadn’t thought about?

A. Having one calendar for all events at home and work. Usually that means merging two calendars and using one and sending invites to your spouse or significant other when events are going on at home or work. It helps them to see their day, week and month and plan accordingly.

Q. What are issues men face as fathers in the workplace, particularly during transitions?

A. Making time for their family. Even when I’m coaching them on career transitions, I find men will talk about their opportunity, but in the back of their mind want to make sure it doesn’t take away from being there for their kids.

Q. What advice do you have for a new father?

A. Get clear on what things are most important, the nonnegotiable. The biggest benefit in working with a coach is you are going to explore those things that are most important to you and come up with an action plan tailored to your needs. You will have a coach asking about your progress, celebrating success, and where you are not making progress, they are going to ask about what’s going on.

Q. Do you have advice for someone who isn’t fortunate enough to have the benefit of a paternity or maternity coach?

A. If you are not working with a coach, I’m a big believer in finding a mentor mom or dad who you can talk to about specific situations to learn how they handled similar experiences.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/cindy-krischer-goodman/article17806391.html#storylink=cpy

 

April 08, 2015

Is chit chat ruining your work life balance?

                                         Chitchat


A few days ago, a panel of women leaders gathered for The Commonwealth Institute South Florida luncheon. During a panel discussion, one of the women leaders , Gillian Thomas, spoke about how she came from the U.K. where meetings are run differently than in the U.S. Mostly, they are more efficient, she said, because they are all business. When she arrived in the U.S., she realized that chit chat is part of most business meetings. "I've had to learn to respect that," she said.

Yet, there is a movement underway to shorten business meetings and eliminate chit chat.

Not long ago, you may recall I wrote about a business owner who does most of his interaction by email. He considers phone calls and in person meetings a huge waste of time, mostly because he abhors chit chat. He calls small talk: "the biggest time waster known to man."

And, plenty of productivity gurus will tell you that chit chat wreaks havoc on our work life balance because it makes meetings and phone calls longer and distracts us from getting work done.

Still, I'm a big proponent of chit chat. To me, it's what makes the person sitting next to you more human. From a business perspective chit chat helps you find common ground with a client or co-worker. Getting to know someone on a more personal level makes them more likely to want to work with you. It makes them see you as a whole person and often it makes them respect your personal life that much more.

Have you ever worked with someone who was all business? I have and while I was extremely efficient when I work with them or for them, I didn't feel motivated to give any extra effort.

Not long ago I heard a businesswoman tell her story about how she landed a seat on a prestigious all-male board of a major corporation. She had played hockey in college and was a huge fan of the local NHL team. The chairman of the board was a big hockey fan too. During the interview process, they had chit chatted about hockey. It disarmed the man and made him see this woman as someone who could fit in. The male candidates who interviewed for the board seat had avoided chit chat but the woman, who also had amazing credentials, stood out.

I've noticed that small talk can lead to a variety of positive outcomes, from a merely pleasant exchange to the signing of multimillion-dollar business deal. It's a way to connect and while it may seem like a time drain to some, likeability is a key factor in getting hired, promoted or engaged as a vendor. And what determines a large portion of your likeability? You guessed it: your ability to small talk.

At the same TCI luncheon last week, the panelists were asked about their leadership styles. Alex Villoch publisher of The Miami Herald, said her style is all about getting out of her office and chit chatting with staff. "When you stay in your office, people will come in and tell you want they think you want to hear," she said. By roaming around and talking to employees, Villoch says she picks up small tidbits that often lead to big ideas.

Some of us feel guilty about wasting time at work. I say, go ahead and build chit chat into your workday. Good leaders do it, good networkers do it, good team builders do it. Small talk matters. That's something to consider next time you feel annoyed by a simple "How's your day going?"

April 06, 2015

Why women and young people don't want the top job

Gap


Inside the cubicles at many workplaces, there's a strange trend taking place.

Young people are comfortable and really don't want to upgrade their cubicle for the corner office. A new survey calls it the "Aspiration Gap".

In a recent study by talent management firm Saba and WorkplaceTrends.com, just 31% of Millennials said they aspire to a C-level position at their company. Also disinterested in the top job: women. Only 36 percent of women versus 64 percent of men aspire to be C-level executives in their organization.

What's going on?

While millennials do prioritize work life balance, Dan Schawbel, Founder of WorkplaceTrends.com., says the reason for the aspiration gap could be simple: "They just don’t see the path up."


According to Fortune, an obvious factor that explains why fewer women respondents expressed an interest in executive positions is not for a lack of ambition, but rather a lack of women role models at the top. After all, there are only 24 female CEOs in the United States’ biggest companies.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” says Caroline Ghosn, founder of Levo League, an online community dedicated to helping women in the early stages of their careers. “If I look up the food chain in my company and I don’t want to be any of the people that I see, what’s my incentive to advance?”

Schawbel says companies don't realize there's big trouble ahead: The lack of interest in leadership comes at a time when 30 percent of HR executives polled said they were struggling to find candidates to fill senior leadership roles. It also comes as 10,000 boomers retire every day.

"Most companies are waiting around. This is not as big of an issue now as it will be in the next 3 to 5 years," Schawbel says. "But we see problem now and think they should start to do something about it before it's too late."

One way simple way to do this is to provide employees with more opportunities to learn new skills. The survey found one reason workers lack interest is because they feel they aren't getting proper training for top jobs.

Emily He, Chief Marketing Officer of Saba, said: “There’s more at play than the retirement of Baby Boomers; the fundamental approaches businesses take to find, develop and inspire leaders at all levels need to change.”

Schawbel said employees are looking for personal career direction and suggests employers address the aspiration gap in these ways:

* Train and engage potential leaders so they have a better chance of becoming future executives.
* Help women and young workers feel their requests for leadership development are heard
* Provide more learning opportunities at all levels, particularly for women.
* Initiate succession planning programs
* Pair new hires with mentors

"By providing training and making millennials more confident in their roles, they might be more aspirational," Schawbel says.

What are your thoughts on why young people and women don't want the top job? Do you think they need more training? Or, do you think they are put off by the time commitment required of top leaders and the lack of work life balance?

April 01, 2015

Career or job?

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a business owner who mentioned she had interviewed a woman for a job at her company. She wanted someone for the position who planned to work beyond expectations and strive for advancement.

This business owner was frustrated.

The woman she interviewed had the qualifications, but wanted a 9-to-5 job. She had kids that needed to be picked up from daycare and dinner to put on the table. She turned the owner off by asking about the hours. "There's a big difference between a career and job," the annoyed business owner said to me. "She has a bunch of degrees, but this woman just wanted a job."

Yes, she did, and there's nothing wrong with it.

I agree with the business owner that there is a difference between a career and a job.

The people who have a career rarely work 40 hours a week. The people who have a career think about work during their off hours. The people who have a career make sacrifices in their personal lives to be more productive at work.

I've often thought about the difference between a career and a job, particularly when my husband is irritated by my taking a work call in the evening. I consider myself someone with a career and that means I'm going to take the late night call to make my article the best it can be, regardless of whether it infringes on my personal time.

In the career vs. job debate, pay is not a differentiator. Some careers pay the same as jobs.

Titles are not a differentiator. Some job titles sound glamorous, even though the job holder has little responsibility.

Advancement is not a differentiator. Some jobs may allow you to advance, however, not by much. Careers build on experience and the expectation of advancement. They require an emotional investment.

At some point, your work life needs may require you hold just a job. At other points, you may want to ramp up and concentrate on a career.

The key is knowing what the expectations of a position are and making sure it suits your work life balance needs at that point in time.

There is no shame in either choice. Jobs can help people start careers. They can get people through challenging times when work life balance is a concern. They can provide income without major responsibility.

It appears this woman was not a fit for the position in which she interviewed. That's something to know before going in. No one should judge whether anyone else is "wasting their education." Life is about choices and individual happiness and ramping up and down according to life's demands.

Being clear about whether you want a job or career can save you and your boss and tons of frustration. If you're in a position that you just need a paycheck, do the tasks you are hired to do and conserve your emotional and mental energy for the other pieces of your life. If you want a career, be upfront about your aspirations,turn on the passion and put in extra effort it takes to advance.

Either one -- job or career -- is okay, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

March 27, 2015

Working parents: your boss may be judging you

Image
(Katharine Zaleski)

If people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss. How do you become a boss that workers refuse to leave?


The answer looks obvious from recent online discussion: Refrain from judging employees with an outside life.


In an apology letter to working mothers that set off a firestorm of online buzz, the president of an Internet startup gave a harsh account of how workers with family responsibilities are unfairly judged by their bosses.


As a manager at The Huffington Post and then The Washington Post in her mid-20s, Katharine Zaleski admits that she judged other mothers or said nothing while she saw others do the same.


“I secretly rolled my eyes at a mother who couldn’t make it to last-minute drinks with me and my team,” she wrote in a letter that appeared in Fortune. “I questioned her ‘commitment’ even though she arrived two hours earlier to work than me and my hungover colleagues the next day. I didn’t disagree when another female editor said we should hurry up and fire another woman before she ‘got pregnant.’


In a move that goes on in many workplaces, Zaleski said she scheduled last-minute meetings at 4:30 p.m. all of the time. “It didn’t dawn on me that parents might need to pick up their kids at daycare,” she said.

Zaleski said she didn’t realize how horrible she had been until she gave birth to her own daughter. She now runs PowerToFly, a company that matches women who want to work from home with jobs in the tech field.

We all know that Zaleski isn't the only boss who has harshly judged a working mother -- or father. It can be easy to dismiss a working parent as uncommitted, a worker with elder care responsibilities as distracted, or a younger employee who wants to train for a marathon as lacking work ethic. It can be easy to call super early morning or schedule evening dinners with clients that can happen during the regular workday.

But you don’t need to be in a person’s shoes to be a boss who creates a workplace where employees thrive. A good boss thinks about the bigger picture and realizes people have lives outside of work -- and that allowing them to do both well makes them more committed to their jobs!

I find myself offering encouragement almost weekly to a working mother or father who feels judged by a boss for asking for flex time or wanting to leave by 5 to make it to their son’s soccer game. Their most common complaint: my boss will penalize me.

A report from Bright Horizons Family Solutions, an employer benefit child-care and early education company, reveals many employees - male and female - feel they can’t be open with their boss about family obligations. As more fathers want to be equal partners in parenting, they still feel they can’t express that to their boss, especially non-parents. Bright Horizons found about a third of working dads have faked sick to be more involved with their family, and one in four have lied to meet a family obligation, according to the report.


That could change.

As millennials become managers, many do think differently about work/life needs. They want to be more involved in thier children's lives and may make it easier for thier staffers to balance work and family without being judged.

If you feel like your boss or co- worker is judging you for having a life outside of work, it might be time to speak up. Communicate your accomplishments and the ways you show your commitment to your job. It's unfortunate to think that some managers don't see the value that working parents bring to a workplace.

Have you felt judged by a manager for having personal responsibilities or interests outside of work? How did you handle it?


March 24, 2015

HBO''s GIRLS producer talks workplace dos and don'ts

 

Whether or not you are a fan of HBO's GIRLS, the hit show with Lena Dunham, I think you will enjoy this Glamour Step Into My Office Segment with executive producer Jennifer Konner. It has some great career advice from Jennifer on how to negotiate salary, demand equal pay and create a fun working environment. Jennifer also addresses whether it is okay to cry at work and discloses her workplace policies.

I would want to work for Jennifer Konner. Let me know if you feel that way, too.