May 10, 2016

When your spouse travels for work

My husband is traveling for business a few days. 

A couple of years ago, I would have dreaded that he would be away from home. It would have meant I would have had to put the kids to bed, wake them up, get them ready, pack lunches and do all the cooking and cleaning -- by myself. 

But now, things are different. I have only one child left at home, a teenager who is pretty self sufficient. Now, my husband's business travel means I don't have to make dinner. Last night, my son and I had leftovers. And, because my husband is away, we didn't even bother doing the dishes. They're still sitting in the sink. My son isn't about to complain.

What's more, I stayed up last night until way past midnight enjoying all the television shows I love to watch and he doesn't. I watched almost the entire season of HBO Girls. Again. 

Of course, I miss my husband and look forward to his return, but sometimes, alone time is just what a busy working parent needs. A recent Hilton Garden Inn survey found that 67 percent of women whom they surveyed confessed to wanting their significant others to go away on business trips so they could have time to themselves. 

Sometimes, my night to myself may include plowing through the stack of unread magazines I have on my nightstand or devouring a good book. I have had women who travel for work confess to me that they sometimes look forward to the night in the hotel room alone for the same reasons as I do -- to get some alone time. I find complete, uninterrupted immersion in entertainment of my choice extremely relaxing.

So how do you spend time to yourself when either you or your significant other travels? Do you have a go-to routine that you look forward to?

(Share your answer on my Facebook page for a chance to win a weekend getaway!)

 

 

May 06, 2016

Lessons from Mom

When I was young, my mother wore red as often as possible. She had a red car and a red front door. Red was her favorite color. Now as a mother myself, I realize there was much more to her color choice.

My mother was a single mother of three who worked as a teacher and spent most of her time around children. She balanced work and family long before there were modern conveniences like online shopping and virtual assistants.

I knew other mothers stayed home, but even though my mother worked, she was always there to pick me up from school or a dance and take me to weekend activities. If I was sick and couldn't go to school, I stayed home alone. If I wanted my clothes clean for school, I washed them. If I wanted lunch, I packed it. She made the working mother thing seem easy.

From growing up with a single, working mother, I learned a few lessons that serve me well today.

  1. Make your kids help. I make my kids do dishes, help with cooking, make their beds…all the things my mom made me do. It teaches them responsibility and takes some of the household chores off my plate.
  2. Be organized. My mother, a teacher, shopped during the summer for Christmas, birthdays, and emergencies. She had gifts in her closet at all times so we were never caught off guard should an invitation come our way.
  3. Savor Sunday night. Sunday nights were quiet time in our house. My mother paid the bills and planned dinners for the week. We did homework, read books and went to bed early. It helped to start the week from a place of peace.
  4. Insist on family dinners. We had all kinds of activities during the week but we knew to be home for dinner. Today, I credit that family time with how close I am with my siblings.
  5. Consider school as important as work. As my mother headed to her workplace, she told us our jobs were to go to school and do well. We took that responsibility seriously and today I tell my children the same thing.
  6. Only spend what you have. My mother only had a Sears credit card. That’s it. Everywhere else she paid cash. Money was tight but mom would not let us buy a thing unless we had the cash to pay for it. Otherwise, we would do without. I try to abide by the same rule and have stayed out of debt.
  7. Don't feel guilty for "me time". On Saturday night, my mother would go out and we would have a sitter until my older sister could babysit. It was my mother's time to do whatever she wanted as a woman, rather than a mom. Taking time for herself was how my mom kept her sanity and how I now keep mine.

While my mom still loves the color red, she doesn’t wear it as often today. She no longer needs to convince herself that she has power and determination to survive as a single mom. She has done her job well as a mother, grandmother and role model.

Happy Mother's Day to my mother and all of the other moms out there. You rock!

 

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My mother and stepfather both in red

 

 

 

May 04, 2016

What makes a state the worst for a working mother?

Source: WalletHub

 

 

 

Yesterday, I drove past the bus stop and noticed a mother with young triplets trying to get her family onto the public bus. I wondered what her life was like -- how difficult it is to support her family and she manages on a daily basis to get her family where they need to go. Is our public transportation accommodating? Is Florida's child care affordable? Is housing affordable?

With Mother’s Day approaching, and single moms with young children constituting nearly three-quarters of all working women, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms.

So, what makes a state one of the worst for working mothers? Expensive child care, lousy paychecks, too few pediatricians, lack of advancement opportunities, crappy parental leave, and a huge wage gap.  And that's just the beginning of it!

In order to identify the best and worst states for working moms, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Child Care, 2) Professional Opportunities and 3) Work-Life Balance.

From there, WalletHub’s analysts compared the attractiveness of each of the states to a working mother by using 13 key metrics such as median women’s salary, female unemployment rate, day-care quality, and the pay gap.

Vermont had the highest overall score. Nevada had the lowest.

 

Here's how my state (Florida) scored. (It's the 12th Worst State for Working Mothers):
 
Life as a Working Mom in Florida (1=Best; 25=Avg.) 

  • 24th – Day-Care Quality
  • 51st – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Women’s Salary)
  • 30th – Access to Pediatric Services
  • 18th – Gender Pay Gap (Women’s Earnings as % of Men’s)
  • 19th – Ratio of Female Executives to Male Executives
  • 34th – Median Women’s Salary (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 34th – Female Unemployment Rate
  • 23rd – Parental Leave Policy
  • 39th – Length of Average Woman’s Workday
  • 20th – % of Single-Mom Families in Poverty

 

If you live in New York, then rejoice because you live in the best state for working mothers for daycare quality.

If you live in Washington D.C., there's good news for you, too. You live in the area with the highest percentage of pediatricians and the highest percent of female executives. 

Moms in Virginia have something to celebrate as well. You live in the state with the highest median women's salary, adjusted for cost of living: $45,452.

Let's hope states that ranked low make some improvements in the next year. We owe it to the nation's working mothers and the children they are raising!

For the full report, visit WalletHub

 

 

April 29, 2016

Why Meternity Leave is Ridiculous

Looks like author Meghann Foye sparked a conversation — and a controversy — with the release of her new novel "Meternity."

Meghann thinks people without kids should get an extended break from work, just like their co-workers who go on maternity or paternity leave. She speaks from experience. Years ago, Foye took her own self-financed meternity leave to kick start her writing career. I understand where Meghann is coming from. Burnout is a big problem in this country and childless workers are at risk because the perception is they are available all the time.  Everyone deserves "me time" which is why many workplaces have vacation days and Paid Time Off. .

But Americans aren't even taking the paid vacation time coming to them. Every year they leave tons of paid vacation days unused out of fear for their jobs, or too big a workload or all kinds of other reasons.  So are people going to take three months off unpaid for meternity leave? Let's be real, they most certainly are not.

If you have the desire and some savings, whether you are a parent or a single employee, you can take meternity leave any time you want. It's called quitting your job, regrouping and forging a new path that gives you the work life balance you seek. In that sense, meternity leave already is available to all workers.

On the flip side, what's going on in this country with maternity leave is pitiful.

Right now, 1 out of 4 mothers only takes two weeks off to have a kid, despite the toll on their bodies and the sleepless nights. Why? They can't afford to take more than that because our nation has no national policy on paid parental leave. Let's focus on getting that first. Let's help parents get the time they need to bond with their newborn, establish a routine and get ready for the balancing act that lies ahead. That will make a difference in our communities and for our families.  

What are your thoughts on meternity leave? Is it an insult to new parents? If you could afford it, would you take it?

 

April 28, 2016

How to get your boss to let you work from home

                                                      Work from home

 

 

Is working from home a big deal at your organization? Is getting permission like asking your parent to borrow the car keys and drive across country?

Well, it shouldn't be big deal but many bosses just haven't realized it yet.

If you want to work from home (at least some of the time), company culture will factor into whether you get the OK  to do it. 

In many workplaces, you can coax your boss to let you work from home --  some or all of the time -- if you approach it the right way. Here are some strategies I recommend:

Point out the benefit: Often the best way to approach the topic with your boss is to point out the benefit to him or her in having you spend less time commuting and more time being productive. Without a commute, it may be possible to make more early morning phone calls or have quiet time to be more creative in how you approach solutions. If the arrangement benefits your boss, it's a win-win and you're more likely to get approval.

Establish trust: If you've proven yourself a responsible worker, working from home one day a week, or as needed should be no big deal. If you haven't proven yourself, spend a few weeks going the extra mile and make your boss fully aware of how dependable you are.

Arrange childcare: If you're a working parent, you will need to assure your boss that you have childcare under control. It's impossible to supervise a child and get work done. You know this and your boss does too.

Establish a communication system: A recent poll shows 90 percent of the workforce has an interest in working from home some of the time. However, a boss fears that he will need you and won't be able to track you down.  So, if you want to sway your boss to let you work from home every Thursday or some other arrangement, you need to explain upfront how you plan to communicate your whereabouts and your results. 

Present it as a trial: Often, it's easier to roll something out as a pilot or trial run. It allows your boss to give the okay under the radar. Both you and your boss can decide if it works and whether any adjustments need to be made or higher ups need to approve the arrangement.

Be available outside of office hours. Today work is a give and take between you and your employer. If you want to work from home, you will need to show that you give flexibility in return. It may mean taking your boss' call at 8 p.m. or  responding to an email on a Saturday. Let your boss know upfront that you will give your all to make this arrangement work out.

As the interest in teleworking soars, more companies are creating work from home policies to promote work life balance. But they’re also realizing it takes much more than a policy to make newer, flexible ways of working acceptable. (See my Miami Herald article on this topic)

Slowly, but definitively, more employers are getting on board and creating a culture that makes working from home acceptable. The culture encourages upfront conversations about expectations of the employee and it encourages managers at all levels to be more outcomes-focused. 

So, if you're considering asking to work at home some of the time, go for it. Your chances of getting the green light are getting better and better!

April 22, 2016

Yes, you can volunteer and have work life balance

 

Like most working parents, I run around most of the time like a chicken with my head cut off. I want to do so much but I always feel like I could do more, especially for my community. Well, it's National Volunteer Month so it's a great time to take inventory of your life and see how you might be able to give back. 

When I think of role models who give back, Tere Blanca immediately comes to mind. Tere is one of the few women in commercial real estate who has a proven track record and is well respected by men and women in her field. She is founder, president, and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independent full-service commercial real estate brokerage in South Florida. She's a working mother AND she has held prestigious positions as past chair of The Beacon Council and member of the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce among all kinds of other positions in the community. Tere's company encourages volunteerism among its employees by underwriting the costs of charitable work, donating money to organizations her employees are involved with, and providing paid time off to volunteer.

Today, Tere is my guest blogger and I'm thrilled to have her weigh in on how she balances work, life, and volunteering. She can be reached at tere.blanca@blancacre.com

 

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Tere's Motto: Volunteerism Drives Business Success

At my company, our passion for social causes has proved one of our most important business differentiators and drivers, helping establish our business in the midst of the 2009 economic downturn and propelling our sustained growth.

The game-changing volunteering I’m referring to goes beyond writing checks, sitting on boards, and occasionally attending galas and events. It involves identifying causes near to our hearts that we are personally passionate about, rolling up our sleeves, and generously donating our time and talents to meaningfully advance the organizations' missions.

I founded the firm on a non-negotiable pillar of giving back, encouraging volunteerism among all brokers and employees by underwriting charitable work, donating financial resources to the organizations we support, and providing paid time off to volunteer. This linked us with our community, giving us a close feel for its pulse, and enabling us to forge strong partnerships and networks while engaging on deep, human levels.

I did this simply because I wanted to give; I later realized it would drive incredible success, with some major national clients selecting us in part for our deep local community ties, having witnessed first-hand our abilities while involved in volunteer work or leading the charge to positively impact our community.

Another essential driver of business success is the ability to attract and retain talent, which also is enhanced through corporate social responsibility. Research shows most employees consider “contributing to society” indispensable for an ideal job. Millennials who participate in workplace volunteer activities are more satisfied and loyal.

Despite running a demanding business and raising a family, I have been able to find ample time to pour my heart into causes that deeply resonate with me. Often, I am asked, “How do you do it?”

Here is some of my best advice:

First, take a deep look within yourself and identify causes that you are truly passionate about. Identify the best organizations and opportunities that allow you to engage at a meaningful level in supporting those causes. Before committing, get to know the organizations and their boards well upfront to confirm there is a fit. As part of that process, develop an accurate understanding of the time commitment and expectations involved.

Next, understand how much time you can reasonably contribute every month and week. For first-timers, it is best to start small and build on your success. It is better to make meaningful contributions to one or two organizations than to join six boards and do a minimal amount of non-impactful work for each. This also avoids over-committing and letting folks down when you realize you cannot attend all the board meetings or have to withdraw from the organization.

Then, when you have decided what organizations you want to join, develop a written plan for your involvement. If you have marketing or public relations support at your company, it is helpful to engage their expertise in this process. Obtain a list of board meetings and key activities upfront and bake them into your calendar.

Most importantly,  make sure your team at work and your family at home are well aware of these commitments and ready to support you when needed. Proper planning also can help you identify non-essential activities that may be delegated or cut from your schedule. Something as simple as ordering in dinner rather than preparing a meal can free up your evening. Also, do not be shy to ask for support from your family and co-workers; after all, community is a fabric woven of individual lives and efforts. When we all do our part, no matter how seemingly small or trivial, the whole is strengthened and bettered.

I find it inexcusable that South Florida ranks last among 51 major metros for its volunteer rate. It also is bad business. For example, when we support City Year Miami’s mission to help keep students in school and on track to graduate, ready for college and careers, we’re building a better tomorrow for everyone: one with a broader talent pool, lower crime rates that result in lower insurance costs, and a society that is better equipped to attract business investment, fuel economic growth and enjoy a higher quality of life.

To paraphrase Horace Mann, “Doing nothing for our community is the undoing of business.”

Photos below are Tere in action!

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April 21, 2016

How to be a Successful Female CEO

If you have never considered being CEO of a company, maybe it's time you start.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo didn’t always know she wanted to lead a company and now she’s the first female CEO of a publicly traded cruise line, Celebrity Cruises. Lisa said it was a male leader at her company who encouraged her to take on roles she hadn’t considered – including the top job. “At first I only wanted to be head of sales. I never got my dream job but I’m okay with that,” she said. “It took me 31 years to be CEO. If I had dreamed bigger, it would not have taken so long.”

LisaBefore Lisa was appointed the first woman president of Celebrity Cruises in December 2014, she was executive VP of operations for Royal Caribbean, which owns Celebrity. She started her career at Royal Caribbean as a sales manager.

 “If I could tell my younger self something, I would say, don’t limit what you want to be. Don’t make it be someone else that tells you you have more potential than you think you have.”

Lisa shared her personal story with more than 300 women at Top 50 Women-Led companies lunch sponsored by The Commonwealth Institute South Florida. Lisa believes she is a successful as a female CEO because she brings a level of emotional intelligence to the table. “Sometimes it works to your advantage to be a women and you have to use it in every way you can.”

To me, there is something awesome about the energy in a room filled with more than 300 businesswomen looking to gleam pearls of wisdom from some of the top female leaders in their industries

Let’s just say, no one was disappointed with what a panel of four successful CEOs shared.

Alicia Cervera, CEO of Cervera Real Estate, (also known as the condo sales queen in Miami) has overseen sales at some of the biggest condominium projects in Miami. Cervera said at least part of her success came about because she kept her identity as a woman, rather than trying to carry a briefcase and imitate how men act in business.  “Among all the men in real estate, I represented something different,” she said. Her advice to her younger self and other women: “Have a purpose. That’s more important than a goal. A purpose continues for life.”

Ellen Latham, a founder and partner in Orangetheory Fitness, has steered her company through meteoric growth. “We’re moving at a ridiculous pace,” she said. However, Latham said she stays relentlessly focused on her goal, which has landed her on the top of the list of fastest growing women-owned businesses. By staying focused, Ellen says she knows when to say no and how to eliminate distractions. When she’s not teaching a class, she’s brainstorming fitness routines to ensure consistency at Orangetheory locations. Ellen says for women to be successful they need to have partners in life that support them. “We all need to encourage the men in our lives to get that we’re in the business world and we’re here to stay.”

And lastly, Germaine Smith-Baugh,President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Broward County,said her boss saw leadership qualities in her that she didn't see in herself. She urged other women to see themselves as leaders. She also said women embraced her when she landed her position -- giving her tips for how to balance work and family (including don't let your husband stand in the corner at a work event) and how to lead with confidence. She tries to do the same for other women rising up the ranks in their organizations. 

On Monday, my Balancing Act column had all kinds of tips that women CEOs shared for how they handle work life balance and the 24/7 demands on their time. One of my favorites was from Germaine who said: “There are times when work gets more and there are times when my family gets more — so I do a dance, sometime it’s waltz others times it may be the mambo."

 

 

 

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(I took this at the TCI event. Not the best photo job, but I tried!)

April 13, 2016

Daycare costs more than college?

Daycare

 

 

When my daughter was young, I hired a series of nannies until I found one who was reliable.

It was an ordeal.

I wanted so desperately to leave my daughter with someone who I could trust. I also wanted so desperately to keep my job, which in the news business meant unpredictable hours. To land the perfect nanny -- one that didn't fall asleep on the job or show up an hour late -  I painfully forked over more than half of my paycheck.

So, it's not at all surprising to me that other working parents are desperate to find high quality, low-cost child care. When I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about the high cost of childcare, it disgusted me, but didn't really surprise me.

In nearly half the country(23 states), it’s now more expensive to educate a 4-year-old in preschool than an 18-year-old in college, according to the Wall Street Journal. The largest disparity between the cost to attend day care and the cost to attend college resides in Florida, my home state, according to Economic Policy Institute data.The average child care costs in Florida are $7,668 a year, making it 73 percent more expensive to care for a 4-year-old in Florida than for a student to attend college.

“High-quality child care is out of reach for many families,” said Economic Policy Institute research assistant Tanyell Cooke. “This crisis is not limited to low-income families, nor is it unique to certain parts of the country. It affects everyone, in every state.”

It's not just full time childcare that's costly. If you're a working parent who needs after-school care, get ready to pay a lot of money for a few hours of supervision.

Costs have risen to the point where parents need to do the math and consider child care costs when offered a salary to determine if taking a job is worth it. And, if you're a parent who works off hours, like an evening shift or a Saturday, finding after hours child care can be a huge scramble and an expensive endeavor. A blog post I wrote many years ago about where to find after hours child care remains one of the most well read.

For single mothers the cost of daycare is a GIANT problem when women are paid 75 cents for every dollar men are paid. I wonder how many bosses have considered that when doling out raises or making job offers.

What can be done about rising childcare costs?

Some ideas are pay parents bigger salaries, subsidize the cost of childcare, open more government-funded childcare centers, encourage more businesses to build onsite childcare centers.

I am sure there are more possibilities. It's time our country considers what those solutions could be.

April 12, 2016

Mompreneur? How to launch a product and pull off work life balance

Today my guest blogger is a Latina mother, Priska Diaz, who came to America at 17 from Peru, not knowing a word of English. She worked three jobs to put herself through college, and then earned a  master’s degree in packaging design from Pratt. 

When she had her first child, Priska attempted to breastfeed and after a week was told to supplement with bottle feeding. From there, an idea grew!  Priska walked the floors and streets (and eyed the ceiling) while her newborn son screamed with gas after bottle-feeding. Her infant so became colicky, she spent years redesigning the baby bottle, using the principle of a syringe so there is not a drop of air inside, and a patented nipple to avoid breast confusion. The result? A million sold, and they are just hitting Babies R Us this month.

I asked Priska to tell us what it's like to secure funding, launch a product, raise children, and keep your sanity. Here is her story:

 

Cropped

After waiting together for the bus at the corner with my son Carlton, now 8, and Adriana, 7, and reviewing in my head the schedule for getting two kids to and from school/doctors appointments/playdates, I run to Home Depot to prepare for the afternoon.

My chaotic life: Grabbing liquid nails, screws, six-inch planks of MDF, I run home to use my tiny electric handheld saw to turn the lot into a radiator shelf, painted white to match the kitchen. I also make a pit stop at the Stop N Shop to buy frozen pizza dough and corn starch.

Today’s after school activities: making pizza dough, and homemade Play Doh using corn starch, and of course, making a big mess on the kitchen table. I assign the kids tasks while I run to my laptop to communicate with the Babies R Us buyer, do my invoicing and process orders. I love arts and crafts. I came to New York from Peru when I was 17 and spoke no English, worked three jobs to put myself through college and got a masters in packaging design from Pratt, spending six years on assorted “craft” projects.

The idea: At 32, when I had my son Carlton, I got out the Krazy Glue, rubber bands, and plastic bits and created my first Bare Baby Bottle prototype, giving birth to Bittylab shortly after. Unmedicated childbirth was easier than balancing work and children.  But my business life would not work without the chaos nearby, without being able to wear my workout clothes all day and nap on the sofa between craft projects and dinner.

Carlton’s colic inspired the business. The pediatrician told me he was dehydrated and undernourished and I’d have to supplement breastfeeding with a bottle. Then he cried, and cried as colic became a daily (and nightly) norm. I thought about how syringes don’t let in any air, and used that as my guiding principle to create the Bare Bottle, which lets a baby draw in milk in the only completely airless suction process on the market. Then I redesigned the nipple so that a baby has to latch on like he does on the breast. Because having suffered through his nipple confusion, and preference for a bottle, I wanted to find a solution.

The first step: I showed up at the biggest retailer in the baby category and met with the senior buyer who, after seeing how Bare worked, raved about the bottle’s uniqueness and innovation. She encouraged us (my husband and I) to get it into production. ASAP. It took three and a half years to develop a working prototype. Molders in the US turned us down. In 2010, when Carlton was three and my daughter Adriana was two, Bittylab became my full-time job. I filed patents and did the ABC trade show. The prototype attracted a lot of attention. Between 2011 and 2016, we had 15 meetings with Babies “R” Us who understood the bottle and loved it.

Funding: A small business loan from Community Capital allowed us to place the order so Bare bottles made it to 185 Babies “R” Us stores in February 2016, meeting the deadline. 

 

Fastforward: Now I ship to 200 Babies R Us stores (hence the weekly conversations with the buyer), but am still on the corner at 3 p.m. waiting for that school bus. Launching a product took seven years of perseverance and belief in myself when a lot of male product engineers scoffed.

Learn as you go: We wanted to keep the warehouse in NY, and tried DIY distribution. When the first 20-foot container showed up in our Elmsford office we realized we didn’t have the necessary tools and equipment for a fast unload and I ended up climbing into the truck tossing boxes to my husband, which he put away one at a time inside “The Lab,” as I call our office. It was overwhelming and literally backbreaking. That’s when we found a California warehouse equipped to palletize and shrink-wrap and ship the boxes wholesale.

Work life balance:  I schedule all my business appointments from 9 to 3 as much as possible. We’ve just sold $1 million in retail sales. The goal is one million units.  As Bittylab grows, I plan to hire talent that can take the business to the next level, at the same time it will give me more time to spend with my kids and family.  

 

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April 11, 2016

If Birth Order Affects Success, Am I Doomed?

                                   

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(Me and my siblings!)

 

 

Yesterday was National Sibling Day and my Facebook feed was filled with friends posting adorable photos of themselves with their siblings.  Seeing the photos made me think about my siblings, my slot in the family, our personalities and our lives, and of course, our work life balance.

I am a middle child, squeezed between an older sister and younger brother. I am also the sibling who wants everyone to get along. I guess you can say I'm a collaborator and a peacekeeper. So, what does that mean for me as a business woman and working mother? 

According to Jeff Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect, whether you have siblings, how many you have and where you fall in the hierarchy can play an important role in the work you love, the career you pursue and how successful you’ll be. It could even affect how you balance work and life.

Kluger says middle children -- like me -- take longer to find a career they love and in which they can thrive. Sometimes, we even get depressed about it. On the upside, we tend to build bigger networks and excel at relationship management—connecting, negotiating, brokering peace between differing sides. Kluger says middle siblings may not wind up as the corporate chiefs or the comedians, but whatever they do, they’re likely to do it more collegially and agreeably—and, as a result, more successfully—than other siblings. 

Kluger is right. I'm not a CEO, but I have found success as a writer on my own terms. However, because I'm the agreeable middle child,  I think work life balance is more difficult for me. I'm the sibling who takes on what others don't want to do, just to keep peace, such juggling my own children's needs with caregiving for aging family members.

Life is different for first borns, the oldest children. Kluger says they are statistically likelier to be CEOs, senators and astronauts—and to make more money than their younger siblings. He points out that first borns tend to run their companies conservatively—improving things by, say, streamlining product lines, simplifying distribution routes and generally making sure the trains run on time. From what I've seen, first borns run their households the same way as they run their organizations. These are the superwomen who make juggling work and family look easy.

Kluger says last borns, the youngest children, are risk takers. They are more inclined to be rebellious, funnier, more intuitive and more charismatic than their older siblings. Multiple studies have shown that the baby of the family is likelier than other siblings to be a writer or artist or especially a comedian—Stephen Colbert, the youngest of 11 siblings, is a great example of this. From my perspective, the youngest child stresses least about work life balance because he or she is more likely to ask for help -- and get it.

So, what do you think about birth order and odds of success? Do you fit Kluger's stereotypes? How do you think your birth order may be affecting your career and life choices and your work life balance?