October 30, 2013

10 Workplace Trends that Affect the Way We Work


Eric Holland designs office space for ADD, Inc. at One Biscayne tower in Miami, but his own office reflects the new design of a more collaborative space where workers can move themselves to other desks around them to work in teams. CW Griffin / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

As we wind down the year, I’ve identified major workplace trends affecting the way we work.

From an individual perspective, understanding these trends will give you an advantage. From an employer perspective, it will help make more informed business decisions. Here are my top 10 that I believe will define 2013 and reshape the way we work in 2014.

1. Flexibility rises in importance. Ask employees what benefit they most value: Flexibility is at the top of their wish lists. Most say it is a key factor they consider when looking for a new job or deciding between offers — and they’re often willing to sacrifice salary to get it.

 What might surprise you is that most working parents (80 percent) say they have “at least a little” flexibility in their current job. That number rises a little each year, according to Moms Corp., a professional staffing franchise that has a focus on flexible placements.

2. Job stress gets attention. More than eight in 10 employed Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs — mostly poor pay and increasing workloads, according to a 2013 Work Stress Survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College.

The stress has permeated all levels within organizations. Lindsey Pollak, Gen Y career expert and spokeperson for The Hartford Insurance Group’s My Tomorrow campaign, says stress and anxiety are the top reasons millennials use disability insurance. Over the past three years, Ceridian, a provider of employee assistance and wellness programs, reports a 30 percent increase in calls related to stress. Mary Jane Konstantin of Ceridian said employers are addressing this growing concern through stress reduction workshops, on-site chair massages and wellness programs: “It’s within a company’s best interest to think through how it can support activities to help employees better handle stress.”

3. Freelancers rise in numbers. Right now, mid-size and large businesses are hiring freelancers in record numbers to help deal with the rapid pace of change and innovation in the global economy and control costs. New data show one-third of American workers are freelancers. Next year, there will be millions more freelancers, replacing full-time workers, reports NBC News.

A study by Accenture, a management-consulting firm, shows that “even top-level managers and executive teams are being replaced by temporary CEOs, CFOs, COOs and other highly skilled troubleshooters.” Accenture found that the top fields for freelance work include sales and marketing, IT and programming, design and multimedia, engineering and manufacturing, and writing and translation

4. Overtime pay heats up. Employers continue to be besieged by wage-and-hour lawsuits. The wave of class actions started with claims that employers were misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and overtime. Settlements of wage-and-hour cases totaled about $2.7 billion from 2007 to 2012, with $467 million coming from last year, according to a new U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform trends report. “Certainly, the trend in wage-and-hour class actions is they are growing and they are here to stay,” said Paul Ranis at the Greenberg Traurig law firm in Fort Lauderdale.

5. Collaboration gains importance. Companies want their staff working in teams, sharing ideas and solving problems. The concept has sparked changes in staffing, office design and the way work is done. It has even triggered some companies, such as Yahoo, to bring remote workers back to the office. Eric Holland, a senior associate principal at ADD Inc., an architecture and design firm in Miami, said clients from accounting firms to call centers have hired him to redesign their workplaces to decrease worker isolation. Many clients want more open layouts with shared spaces and more break rooms, he said. He also said that some clients also want less hierarchy: They want workers at all levels to occupy the same size offices or workstations so they can move and work together more easily.

6. Generational shifts take hold. The shift in workplace demographics is happening in a workplace near you. Boomers are starting to retire, freeing up positions for Gen X and Gen Y managers to move into.

“There will be shift in leadership and the way companies are run,” said Lisa Bonner, senior vice president at Roberts Golden Consulting, Inc. “If there is no pipeline, we’re going to see some gaps. That’s going to be a challenge.”

7. Work-life boundaries erode and get reset. Technology enables many workers to take their jobs home with them and their personal lives to the office. “We’re not hemmed in anymore by walls or clocks,” notes Konstantin.

Yet for all the benefits, workers are feeling exhausted by being “always on.” Konstantin says companies are realizing it — yet many have set up the expectation that their workers are on call 24/7. Now, the conversations are around what’s the middle ground and how to create boundaries, she said.

8. Women outpace men in workplaces. One billion women will enter the workplace in the next decade. Research shows that they are more educated than men and are starting to take leadership positions. Already, four in 10 American households with children younger than age 18 include a mother who is the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Jennifer Van Buskirk, president of Aio Wireless, plays that role in her family. “It’s empowering,” she said. “You establish your values, priorities and what you want to accomplish.” However, at home, the new dynamic does require marital negotiation: “In my family, we discuss how team Van Buskirk is going to approach life, and we divvy up responsibilities. It all works.”

9. Employees take to social media. Companies are struggling with policy around use of social media at the office. Some will start to leverage their talent and use employees as social-media advocates to recruit staff and market to customers online. Of course, employers will continue to need to remind workers to use common sense on the Internet.

10. Companies embrace employee retention. Employees have lost their enthusiasm. According to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, 70 percent of U.S. workers don’t like their job. In 2013, companies began realizing that they should be concerned about this because it’s costing them money. Disengaged workers can impact everything from customer service to sales and other business areas. The best companies will take the time to understand what drives their workforce and customize a plan to motivate their employees.

If you see other workplace trends, what are they? Which ones on my list do you think are long-term trends?


October 23, 2013

When work life balance gets overwhelming, consider a radical sabbatical

My friend, Laura Berger, did what most of us only dream of doing. She ditched her stressful life in the city and her struggles to achieve work life balance and headed to the jungle for a radical sabbatical. Berger is now back in the corporate world, coaching corporate executives how to get ahead, but she credits her time in the jungle with giving her new perspective. 

Laura and her husband, Glen Tibaldeo have published a book about their experience and lessons learned on their sabbatical. It's a great read and has been described as a couples Eat, Pray, Love meets the Hangover. Today, Glen is my guest blogger and shares some insights.

Radical Sabbatical, an Amazon Kindle bestseller by Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo, is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com. Check out Owen Wilson Loves Radical Sabbatical

Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo

The Joys of Imbalance

Is your life out of balance? Why you should be thrilled.

by Glen Tibaldeo

“I was a magnet to a better professional image. If all of a sudden those guys following horses in parades with shovels drove BMWs, wore Armani, and were the talk at cocktail parties, I’d be the first to sign up for a Master’s of Science in Equestrian Excrement Elimination. Add to that my all-or-nothing mentality and my need to be a hero for more kudos and accolades. If too much of a good thing is bad, then what’s too much of a bad thing?”

This is how my wife Laura and I describe my life before our big adventure in Radical Sabbatical began. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and nowhere is it more apparent than in our story. I was a hopelessly overworked geek who had inflicted an extreme imbalance to my life, and the universe was yearning to rectify it.

And so at 35, Laura and I moved to the gorgeous, untouched seaside town that we call Pair-o-Dice village. In less than twenty-four hours we had gone from roaring subway trains and dodging fellow sidewalk pedestrians to rugged dirt roads and wildlife dripping from the trees—so plentiful that sometimes it just randomly fell from the sky.

And all the while, all we could wonder was, “why us?” “Why here?” And “How did we get here?” But with time comes wisdom. We can see how the universe corrects all imbalances -- and get this: the less balance you have, the more the cosmos wants to get you there. So how ironic that when your life feels out of whack — when it is, you’ll know it — the universe is waiting to push you to center.

So what are the laws of nature waiting for? They’re waiting for you to just give things a good, deliberate nudge. Yes, Laura and I went from the big city to the middle of nowhere overnight, but it took us 2 years to analyze all our options and make our decision. But once we decided to quit our jobs and move to the jungle, our world blew up.  

We describe that life-changing explosion in Radical Sabbatical, our new comedic travel memoir about the time we risked everything we had to get the life we always wanted. In the midst of a setting that couldn’t be better for someone in the right mindset to find inner peace, we struggled to adjust to our abrupt life change. We battled serpents and surreal insects. We risked our lives on harrowing mountain runs in decrepit 4x4s. We were given mysterious potions from shamans. Laura, until then deathly afraid of heights, launched herself off a 2,000 foot mountainside. And last, but certainly not least, we rather clumsily navigated a brand new culture.

And to experience all that, all we had to do was decide to make a change. That may seem hard from where you’re sitting, but once you have decided to move, you’ll wonder what you were waiting for.

Still not convinced you’ve got it in you? Here are a few things you can do to give things that little nudge:

1. Think of a handful of easy and enjoyable tasks you can do to make progress toward your big dream. The hardest and most important part is starting.

2. Post pictures or collages of your dream life in the places you go most frequently. The more joy you can simulate, your subconscious will eventually want to make that dream happen.

3. Clear minor changes from your life so you can focus on the big bang of your dream. Your spirit can only take so much change at once.

4. Anyone trying to shake up their lives experiences significant setbacks. God knows we did. Anticipate them, so they won’t throw you off balance when they happen.

5.If you’re having trouble getting in the right mindset to start, go on vacation somewhere with the express goal of thinking and fantasizing about your new life. Habits play a huge part in staying in a rut. Just changing settings can be enough to get you to decide to get going.


We owe our exciting lives as they are now to that magical and trying time in the jungle. The people we met, the experiences we had, and all our successes and failures made the jungle both a natural theme park and life boot camp.

The brilliance of it all is that if you are so far out of balance that you can’t even see straight, you might just be on the precipice of the ride of your life.


October 17, 2013

Is this all there is? How to find more fulfillment in life

Have you ever asked yourself, "Is this all this is?"

My guest blogger today, Gayle Carson, noticed that people hit their 50s and often start asking themselves that question. So, she began working with boomers on reinventing themselves from the inside out, in both their personal and business lives to help them feel more satisfied. She now has two different radio shows--"Women in Business" and "Living Regret Free." Her website is www.spunkyoldbroad.com.

If you find yourself asking "Is this all their is?" then Gayle has some advice that should help.


GCarsonwebAfter five decades of business success, I was hit with a 10-year span of unbelievable challenges. I had built a business from nothing to seven offices and 350 people. I sold that and embarked on a magical speaking and consulting career with 1,000 clients in 50 industries. I worked in 50 countries and 49 states. Then I co-founded an internet information marketing association and now, I am working with boomer women and beyond on the joy of living.

During this time, I raised three children, helped my husband develop a real estate business and volunteered and led many professional and community organizations.

I had a wonderful life. And then—-everything changed.

 In a 10-year period, I lost a son, a husband, had my third case of breast cancer, custody of a grandchild, and my 16th surgery. To make it even worse, almost to the day my husband died, the real estate market collapsed.

Yet, people kept remarking that I always seemed happy and had a smile on my face. They questioned why I wasn’t depressed or feeling sorry for myself.

To me, it was simple. You have choices in life, and mine was to be happy. 

But that's when I began to notice that women in the 50 to 65 age range were expressing emotions of being invisible and feeling incomparable stress from being responsible for elder care and having older children come back home to live.

I kept hearing thee phrase “Is that all there is?” over and over again and this was from homemakers, business women and society people. As I listened more and more, I realized this was a very common problem.

No one seemed to know how to deal with it.

It became my mission to work with this population to show them how to live a regret free life. I developed what I call “The 9 Secrets to Living Regret Free” and started speaking and writing about them wherever I could. 

Here's a glimpse at my nine secrets:

#1 Attitude and Spirit

We know that your mindset has to be right for you to live a life without regret.

#2 Fit and Fabulous

We are aware that the benefits to being healthy and a lifestyle of wellness pays off with big dividends.

#3 Uniqueness

Most people don’t think they’re unique. But I know you are. I know it sounds scary, but writing your own obituary will enlighten you.

#4 Energizing Your Life

I believe everyone should wake up with a smile on their face and go to sleep in peace. Discovering what you love to do will make all the difference in how you live your life.

#5 Power Relationships

I know you’re aware that everyone is supposed to be just six degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Well even if you don’t have a high level job or are the King or Queen of Society, you can have power relationships.

#6 Personal Growth

 Keeping your mind active and alert is important for your mental and spiritual growth

#7 Taking and Keeping Control

You must control your life if you want to change it.

#8 Balance

Everyone talks about balance, but how many people practice it. Are you one who does?

#9 Plan for Daily Living

It all comes down to having a plan. Whether it’s in business or your personal life, you need a plan.


If you are unhappy with your situation, you need to change it and live out your dreams. What have you done lately to move yourself in that direction?



September 10, 2013

Work life balance, time management and sex

Penelope Trunk, one of my favorite bloggers, often writes about what I'm thinking and might be too embarassed to say aloud.

Yesterday, Penelope hit on the topic of time management and sex. In her first marriage, she admits, she barely had sex, which is a mistake she vows not to have in her second marriage. So, she keeps tabs. But the problem she encounters is one that many women face. Our nights have become as busy as our days, particularly when we have children. 

For working moms who rush home from work to spend time with their families, the evening is the only time that we can finish things up. We talk to our kids, look over homework, put them to bed and then -- we retreat to our home offices or our laptops to get to whatever we didn't get to earlier. I do this ALL the time.

But for me and many other women, the evening also ia the only time my husband and I can spend time together.

Trunk writes that for her and her hubby, "It’s the time we talk about schedules, we watch TV shows on Netflix, and sometimes, if everything goes well, we have sex."

Now, this is where the problem lies. How many of you have had an argument with your husband about being on your computer at night and not paying him attention (and this includes sex)? Is your hand raised because mine is way up high!

Because of the ease in which we can log back into work from home, it's tempting to let our work creep into our evenings.

Penelope says calls sex "the hardest time mangement decision of my day." She writes: "sex and work and kids don’t go well together because the only time that’s left over for sex is the time when you are done taking care of kids and have to make up the lost work time. There’s a reason that you have a lull in your email during dinnertime and then it picks up after kids go to bed: it’s all the parents of the workforce fitting in family time. And not sex."

Not long ago, I was chatting with a woman who consults mom entrepreneurs. She told me she worries about the health of marriages because so many women are up at night clacking on their key boards -- and not having sex or even having a simple conversation with their spouse. ( Men, of course, do this too)

Maybe we all need to heed Penelope's warning, keep tabs, and think more consciously about time management and sex. Maybe we need to make time for our spouses because if we don't, sex often becomes the first to go, and marriage is soon to follow.

Thanks Penelope for the reminder!

August 21, 2013

There is help for working moms (and dads)

The start of the school year is hectic in my home. Judging by the conversations in the school supply aisle of Target this week, I'm not alone. But I know lots of working moms (and dads) who are making their work life balance easier this year by outsourcing responsiblities.

Today, in my Miami Herald column, I wrote about this trend. I'm convinced, there will be even more services catering to working parents in the next few years.


There’s help for busy moms who can’t do it all

Customers Zora Guzman and Mateo use the Moms Helping Moms shuttle.
Customers Zora Guzman and Mateo use the Moms Helping Moms shuttle. 



Just after breakfast, a van pulls up at the Lopez home in Coral Springs. Thirteen-year-old Emily gets in and heads off to middle school, saving mom, Diana, from delaying her 1 ½-hour commute to her job in Miami. The same shuttle picks Emily up after school and takes her to ballet class. Some afternoons, it picks up her older sister at home and takes her to be tutored in math or takes her home from school if she stays late for a club meeting.

Lopez, an international private banker whose husband works in Miami too, says hiring a transportation service has been the only way she can keep a regular work schedule, be home for dinner and have her children participate in after-school activities. “I believe in the theory that it takes a village to raise a child,” Lopez says. “But these days, we’re hiring the village.”

Working parents today are paying others to do things for our children that our parents did themselves — drive our kids to school, help them with homework, cook for our families and take them to baseball practice. The services are needed because things have changed dramatically for working mothers in the last few decades. For starters, there are simply many more moms in the labor force. The participation rate has skyrocketed to more than 70 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Family economics have change dramatically, too. As the number of women in the workforce swelled, so, too, did their contribution to family income. A record 40 percent of all households with children include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11 percent in 1960. With mothers contributing more, managing a household becomes a simple equation of trading money for time.

It can be an expensive exchange — financially and emotionally — and not everyone can afford it.

“It’s a struggle working moms go through,” Lopez says. “We ask ourselves, ‘Am I passing off something I should be doing myself?’ But then, we have to be realistic.”

Moms Helping Moms, the northwest Broward County shuttle service used by the Lopez family, gets $60 to $80 per child per week for roundtrip carpooling within five miles — more for greater distances. Founder Sharron Gay says she launched her business three years ago. As a mom who commuted an hour to work, she saw the need. “Life is too short to feel guilty or overwhelmed. We’re here to make your life easier,” the website boasts.

Gay’s five vans, driven only by moms, shuttle kids to school, activities, orthodontist appointments and sports practices. They even pick up sick children from school and bring them home. Gay says she offers the service moms want — assuring them that the bus won’t leave until the child enters the home safely. “We do things the way moms would,” she says. Gay says her service is profitable and she has plans to add more vans and new geographic areas by 2014.

Others see opportunity, too. Fueled by demand from working parents, a burgeoning cottage industry handling chores for working parents is flourishing. There are reading specialists who get $40 to $50 an hour to assist students individually at their homes on reading and writing. There are businesses that will bring dinner to hungry kids waiting for mom and dad to get home from work.

Ryan Sturgis, a partner in Delivery Dudes, says his business picks up meals from local restaurants and delivers them to Broward County homes. It has seven geographic locations (plans to add more) and charges a $5 delivery fee.

“We get a lot of moms who call on their way home from work. We tell them we can be there with dinner within 45 minutes.”

Some parents turn their world upside down to manage responsibilities before finally accepting that they can’t do it all. Eventually, they discover outsourcing a necessary expense to keep their jobs, reduce stress or get ahead in the workplace.

Miami mother Gabrielle D’Alemberte, makes a priority of the things she feels a mother should do, such as attending school functions and tucking her daughter into bed. But the single mom says she couldn’t continue to work as a trial attorney if she didn’t outsource some tasks at work and home. She has hired someone to pick her daughter up from the bus stop and take her to ballet lessons. In the past, she has hired a company to deliver meals to her home and she’s employed someone to go over her daughter’s homework and review for tests.

D’Alemberte specializes in litigation against large international resorts and often travels for work.

“I could not have had the job and profession I’ve chosen without the help I have gotten in bringing up my wonderful 13 year old,” she says. “Knowing I can’t do it all makes it easier to hire people to help.”

In a twist on outsourcing, working parents also are automating. Whitney Zimet, who ran a community coupon site for five years, hired math and Spanish tutors for her two kids. She even searched for a service to pack healthy lunch box meals. But Zimet turns to technology for relief from some tasks — using Amazon to get home delivery of required reading materials, ongoing school supplies and birthday gifts. She uses auto-delivery for kids’ vitamins and household products. .

It used to be a real point of pride for women who stayed home to take care of every aspect of their families’ lives, she says. Now women are in the workforce, used to thinking practically and doling out tasks to solve problems, and scrutinizing the value of an expense, she says. “Most of us are aware of what needs Mom’s attention, but we’re also looking at what can make our life easier."


June 06, 2013

The Secret to a More Productive Summer



These last few weeks, work life balance has been elusive. I've been crazed with the wind down of the school year and the multitude of awards ceremonies, graduation parties and performances.


Now here comes summer, a chance to break from routine and put a little more fun into my life. I'm looking forward to it!


I'm also looking forward to using the slow season to my advantage and making my summer productive. I bet you are too. If all of us are strategic, we can emerge from summer more relaxed, fulfilled, and well positioned for career success.


Here are a few ways to go about it:


1. Scope out the competition. Summer presents an ideal opportunity to study your competitors and find out what they're doing right. Research what marketing materials they are using and how they are embracing social networks. Seek opinions from customers and figure out what you might want to replicate. or improve upon. 


2. BrainstormIt can be challenging to think big picture when you're shuttling kids to school, helping with homework or working on a giant office project. As clients and co-workers take their vacations, use the slow time to come up with new ideas, campaigns, or approaches to doing business or solving problems. Make it fun. Take a walk at lunch or eat on a bench and come up with new ways to be better at what you do.


3. Get out of the office. Take advantage of somewhat lighter summer schedules and extend an invitation to a someone in your industry you've wanted to get to know. Busy people are more likely to say yes during summer. It's also a good time to go to networking events, conferences or host an office barbecue.


4. Assess. You probably set goals or made resolutions in January. Review them and figure out whether you're on pace to meet them by the end of the year. If you find yourself falling short, either adjust your expectations or figure out what changes to make. You may even want to set new goals to hit by year end.


5. Learn a new skill. Have you wanted to learn how to use Twitter or Pinterest? Do you want to get a better understanding of business terms or learn how to make flan? How-to Webinars, tutorials and online courses abound on the Internet. Set aside a block of time each week for learning.


6. Refresh Websites and Social Media Profiles. Having your online information as current as possible will help you in business. People often look for you online before they call you. Update your profile information in the "about" sections of social networks and create a Wikipedia page for yourself.


7. Go somewhereGetting away gives you perspective. A week vacation is ideal but not everyone can take time off. Look at how you can rearrange your schedule to zip somewhere for a long weekend or overnight trip. Even if you don't travel far, a shift in scenery can make you feel far away and help you head into Fall feeling refreshed.



Have a fun and productive summer!



May 09, 2013

Are we packing too much into our days?

Earlier this week I attended a funeral for a friend's mother. It was the first time in a long time that I shut my phone off for about four, almost five hours, during the work day. I felt  that if I took a peek at my phone during the mass or graveside ceremony it would be disrespectful. The odd part was how nice it felt to give myself permission to focus on just one thing.

I made the hour commute to the church with a friend who had taken the entire day off work to go to the funeral. My friend, a working mom, had run a few errands before picking me up and spent the commute home with me plotting her late afternoon errands -- taking kids to the dentist, picking up a mother's day gift, mailing a package. I spoke to her later that night and she had accomplished it all. Yet, she was absolutely exhausted.

Have we gone too far in driving ourselves to get more done? Are we trying to pack too much into our days? As a nation, we've become obsessed with productivity. Our to-dos lists are growing and our calendars are overflowing. 

So, how do we slow down?

The answer is insanely obvious...we simply be present in life.

Some days, something as simple as having a cup of coffee becomes a juggling act of replying to emails and surfing the web. Give yourself permission to do less and think more. 

What if you don't get to the 10 things on your to-do list? What if you just got to the one that made the most impact on your life for that one day?

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how to come up with a great idea. It was filled with great suggestions but the one that made the most sense is Be Present in Life. If you're not busy running around trying to pack more into your day and you just slow down, you might find a great idea is right under your nose. 

If we really want better work life balance, we are going to need to trade super-productiveness for sanity. That's hard to remember some days. But after decades of trying to be super mom, I'm finally focusing on sanity.

May 01, 2013

Work life balance makes people cry

Have you ever had a work life balance meltdown?

Be honest.

I had one years ago when my daughter was an infant. I was stuck in horrendous traffic on the commute home, and the realization hit me that another night was going to go by without my tucking her into bed. As my sitter held the phone next to her ear so I could say goodnight over my cell phone, the tears cascaded down my cheeks. I must have looked like such a crazy woman behind the wheel.

Sometimes, a good cry is all it takes to make a change. Sometimes, it's just an acknowledgment of the sacrifices that go with balancing work and family.

Recently when a group of professionals joined together on a panel called “Having It All: Balancing Work and Family/Parenting and Working 24/7”  at the NALP conference, National Association for Law Placement) a few shed tears over their work life balance struggles. 

 writes: One panelist got choked up when confessing that they missed their child’s second birthday due to a business trip. An audience member had a hard time finishing a question because she was overwhelmed by emotion when discussing her struggles as a single parent.

The panelists had lots of advice for fellow working parents. Lat shared their tips on the Above the Law blog and I in turn, am sharing them with you.

  • Get a good calendaring program and give your work team access to it so they will know when you are unavailable.
  • If you travel, check out apps like Facetime or Skype, which can help you stay in touch with your family.
  • Still on the technology front, if you’re an iPhone user, take advantage of the note- and list-making functions. You can prepare and update lists on the fly — think to do lists, grocery lists — and message them to others (like your spouse, if he or she is making the grocery trip that you usually cover).
  • You’d be amazed at what you can learn from YouTube. Kielbasa, who adopted her youngest daughter from Ethiopia, learned African hair braiding through online videos.
  • Consider blogging as a way of keeping relatives and friends up to date on your child (instead of sending mass emails or flooding Facebook with kiddie pics).
  • If you need party favors or gifts and want to go the handmade route, but don’t have time to make them yourself, you can buy such items on Etsy.
  • When getting to have a child, whether a biological child or an adoptive child, think ahead about vacation. Try to save as much vacation time in advance if you can.
  • And think ahead and plan ahead about insurance benefits, child care, and navigating your workplace after returning from giving birth. (For example, does your family have a mothers’ lounge or lactation room?)
  • Accept that you can no longer be the “go to” person for everything at the office. Figure out the areas that are essential to your professional identity or “brand,” and let go of the rest.

(These are the panelists: Michele Ward, Attorney Resources & Recruitment Manager, Winston & Strawn LLP, Moderator; Mike Gotham, Director of Attorney Recruiting and Retention, Perkins Coie LLP;Stacey M. Kielbasa, Director of Professional Development, Attorney Recruitment, and Diversity, Chapman and Cutler LLP; Malini Nangia, Director of Career Services, UCLA School of Law)

Figuring out how best to balance life and work usually is a process of trial and error. Most of us have learned that it's helpful to trade notes and find out what has worked for others. It may even save you some tears.


April 23, 2013

Small changes lead to work life balance


I loved this e-mail from a reader so much that I had to share it with all of you. It's a lesson in how to make small changes that lead to better work life balance.



Good Morning Cindy,

I'm writing to you in regards to your articles, which I read from the Miami Herald. You had the article regarding the Corp run & running with the boss. I'm not a runner but instead I took up biking. Now when I say biking I'm not talking rode biking which you see in packs normally early in the morning. Since my office is close to work I started riding to the office just to actually give me some "me time" because my husband and I own two businesses together and are together 24/7.


Over the Christmas holidays a friend was at my home for dinner and told me she had signed up for the Multiple Sclerosis ride from Miami (FIU Campus) to Key Largo (Holiday Inn) a 200 mile trip. Well me being just a simple sidewalk rider I said "Wow!" As the night progressed she had convinced me to sign up for this event. On Jan 9th I signed up & received my training packet. I started off with simple 5 mile rides each day to last Saturday making it to now 40 mile days.

Fitting this into work has been a large chore,even more during tax time as my average speed is (Now) around 12 MPH, so of course doing the math,  you see takes up a lot of time. So cutting 4 hours out of my work day at times has been extremely difficult. We all know how easy it is to say,  "No I need to stay at the office" instead of exercising sometimes.

With all this training that I have built up, I'm now pretty confident I will at least finish this challenge but have not said how long it may take me. The ride is April 20 & 21st, so I have 16 days left to fit in even more training  along with work.

The riding, I think, has actually made my days better in the long run because I have had so much time to think about work without any of the office interruptions. As we all know how hard it is to escape clients phone calls or emails, but it's not safe to ride a bike and talk. I can tell you everyone driving in a car is fixated with their phones. I can also say Im in much better shape now, down 12 pounds so far. So its truly been a win win....

Jackie Velazquez, Smarttarget Marketing, South Miami.




Readers, would you consider riding your bike to work? If not, is there a small change you can make in your life to give you a better sense of balance?

March 15, 2013

Spring Break is a state of mind



It's been more than three decades and I can't remember the way I was crushed by reality the first year I joined the working world and had to give up spring break. While my younger, college aged friends were enjoying their days loafing on the beach and partying at night, I was sitting in a cubicle, clacking on a typewriter (now I feel old). 

What I now realize is that spring break is not just a week of vacation, it's a state of mind. More than anything, it's a week of carefree existence.

After having kids, I have tried to take off the week when they are on Spring Break. It hasn't always worked out and even when it has, I not the carefree girl I once was. 

But that's going to change. I am allowing myself a grown up spring break and you should too, whether or not you can take time off work.

We just need to get ourselves into a Spring Break state of mind. 

First step, hit the pause button at work. Next step, give ourselves permission to have fun.

Spring Break isn't just about booze-centric fun -- it's a celebration of fun of all varieties. You like to fish? Charter a boat. You like to play video games? Get your Mindcraft on. You're on a diet? Well, not this week. Treat yourself! Eat a chocolate covered Oreo or deep-fried turkey leg. That diet will be right there where you left it a week from now.

You can't take a week off? Take the afternoon. Sit on a chaise and read a good book while sipping a pina colada. Have an all night TV watching marathon of all those shows filling up the memory on your DVR. Or just drive around in your car playing calypso music and singing along to Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! 

If you really get a little naughty and go skinny dipping.

Sometimes work life balance is about putting reality on hold and indulging in personal enjoyment...Happy Spring Break!