July 09, 2015

Too connected? Why you need vacation rules

                         Vacation

Earlier this week, I left a message on an accountant's voicemail asking him to call me about an article I am working on. He called me back within a few hours. Well into our conversation, he mentioned he was on vacation. It was at that point that I could hear his wife in the background and she was noticeably agitated. I suggested he call me back when he returned from vacation. When we hung up, I had a feeling he was in big trouble.

Staying connected to work may make traveling less stressful for you, but it can become annoying to people who are with you on vacation. One of my friends recently told me it was while on vacation that she realized her marriage had hit rock bottom. She couldn't get her husband off his phone long enough to do anything romantic.

My suggestion for anyone traveling with a friend, spouse, or partner is to set vacation rules. My husband and I realized years ago setting rules was key to a better vacation. I agree to let my husband check in with his office every morning. He spends about an hour on his laptop checking email and returning calls. I usually check my email less often while on vacation but I tend to do it in the late afternoons when everyone is unwinding before dinner. We each get about an hour a day without guilt. The rule also is that we leave our phones behind when we do a family activity.

Today it has become increasingly easy to integrate work and travel -- regardless of where you are vacationing. There are more hotels and cafes that offer Wi-Fi, and more mobile devices with the same functionality as desktop PCs. But that ease of connection makes being on the same page of your travel companion more important than ever. 

When the goal of a vacation is to reconnect with friends or family, it can be frustrating when your travel partner sends a different message. Your stressful interaction with work can affect those who are traveling with you. My neighbor says while on his vacation, it completely unnerved him to watch his wife's reaction to an incoming work-related email as she lounged by the pool. "We're supposed to be on vacation relaxing, and I can see that something at the office didn't go her way. It not only stresses her out, it stressed me out, too."

Companions who are with someone who resists disconnecting say they find themselves torn between bringing their vacation partner in the present and coming across as a nag. Most of us only have a week a year when we can spend solid uninterrupted time with our spouse or kids. Don't they deserve to experience us enjoying time with them?

The solution may be agreeing upfront on how, when and where work check-ins will fit into a vacation schedule. Logging on and sending emails before others awake or during rest periods in the hotel room may be palatable. Missing a mid-day, zip-line excursion or interrupting pool time to make a work call may not be okay. Setting vacation rules may require respect for your companion’s work demands and it may take compromise.

Some business owners and professionals say checking in briefly allows them to relax more. It prevents them from a stressful return to work. That's understandable. But remember, the goal is to use your vacation to come back to the office and your home life happier than before you left. If setting vacation rules ahead of time is what it takes to make that happen, why not give it try?

 

July 02, 2015

More work but we're happy: the new work life balance reality

 

          Happy-employee-group

 

 

A strange phenomenon is going on in workplaces. We are walking around, smartphones in hand (sometimes even in bed when we sleep), complaining about how much we're working, and yet -- we're happy in our jobs and have no intention of leaving them.

What the heck is going on? Have we settled comfortably into a new reality?

Here is what new research reveals:  We are putting in more than 8-hour days, working on weekends at least once a month, eating lunch at our desks, and working after hours to complete work we didn’t finish during the day.

Even with our heavier workloads, the majority of employees (85 percent) said they are happy at work and motivated to become future managers. These are the findings of a new Workplace Index study of about 2,600 workers in the United States and Canada conducted by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.

"Workers have accepted that work is no longer 9 to 5," says Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals.  "They might have to answer an email after 11 p.m. I think people have adjusted to the new reality."

So, why exactly are we working so much -- and at all hours? 

More than 30 percent of employees participating in the research say the driving force behind the "always on" work culture is the need to complete work they don't have time to do during the day, followed by a desire to get ahead on their work for the following day.  One in five employees said they spend at least two hours a day in meetings and just as many report the meetings are inefficient (a possible reason we're taking work home?).

While we've accepted the new reality of work life blend, how can we be happier? Here are suggestions given in the Staples Advantage findings.

- Flexibility is key to happiness at work. So true. When I talk to employees I notice the happiest workers have flexibility. In the Staples Advantage research,  37 percent of employees say that if employers provide more flexibility it would increase their happiness.

-Office perks are important too. Employees want simple things like break time to refresh or an onsite gym.

-Improving technology would make a difference. Employees say more advanced technology helps them be more creative and better at their jobs.

-Providing better office design is key as well. Employees thrive in offices with high-ceilings, lots of windows, lounge areas and a laid-out break room designed to promote collaboration and rest.

In a definite sign that workers have accepted the new reality of our heavier workloads, few are planning job changes. Only 19 percent said they expect to make a job change in the next year and money was the top reason.

Schawbel says the research confirms that workers are doing more with less on shorter time frames, and have accepted the 24/7 work philosophy -- if it comes with flexibility.  But he wonders if there will be a point where burnt out employees will push back, especially because the study found about a third of employees consider work life balance the leader contributor of loyalty.

Have you accepted the new reality that 9 to 5 workdays have disappeared? Despite a heavier workload, would you say you are happy in your job?

 

June 19, 2015

Why paternity leave is the hot topic this Father's Day

Dadson

 


As we head into Father's Day weekend, the topic du jour is paternity leave.

We are hearing about who offers it, who doesn't, who takes it, who doesn't take it and why we should care about it. 

The bottom line is that when fathers take time off when their babies are born, they establish a lifelong bond, according to research. That's not to say fathers who don't take paternity leave don't bond. It's just that when they do take it, a pattern is established that's good for fathers, mothers and babies. It sets the tone from day one that dad will be involved in childcare.

One of the interesting trends we are seeing around paternity leave is even as national efforts are underway to promote more businesses to offer paternity leave, men are admitting they often are afraid to take it even if it's offered. They fear being stigmatized as someone who is less committed to work.

So basically, fathers are fighting two battles. One to get family-friendly policies approved. A second one to be able to use those policies without being penalized.

Both are worth the attention media outlets are giving them. Paternity leave is a family friendly benefit that fathers can claim for themselves. It moves the conversation about balancing work and family from being a "mother's issue" to being a father's issue, too)

This morning, I heard a report on paternity leave on NPR. I've seen articles in Fortune, in USA Today, in TIME.

Even celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson has hyped the topic by announcing Virgin will give new fathers up to 12 months paid time off (if they qualify). 

 Lifehacker has drawn up a list of companies with the best paternity leave policies

I expect the conversation will continue well after Father's Day has come and gone. I hope it will continue because what's good for fathers is good for families.

Unfortunately, only about 14% of private employers in the US offer paid paternity leave, according to a 2014 survey by the Families and Work Institute. Right now, offering paid paternity leave is useful in the war for talent, but that's assuming fathers covet such a benefit and plan to use it. 

We have a long way to go to make fathers part of the work life conversation, but the discussion has begun and we are moving in the right direction.

Happy Father's Day!

 

June 02, 2015

The critical thing a working parent needs in a job

Yesterday, I was on the phone with an expecting new mother when I heard myself doling out advice. She and her husband both work in high pressure jobs. I found myself telling her that one of them will need flexibility if they are going to balance work and family.

As I was giving her advice, I was looking at paperwork my 13-year-old son needs to complete by early next week to start his job as a summer camp counselor. The application requires he get fingerprinted and that can ONLY be done on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because my job is flexible, I can take him to the government office. But if I was in a job without flexibility, either my husband or I would have to take time off work to get it done. A difficult boss who doesn't believe in giving flexibility might make that impossible.

It is this type of work and family conflict that starts when your child is born and continues until he or she graduates high school -- and sometimes even beyond. Lately, I've seen more fathers in the doctor's office or orthodontist with their kids. The need to take kids places and be at their events during work hours is a dilemma mothers AND fathers now face.

No wonder that flexibility is becoming valued over pay. I'm not sure that employers understand this need, even at a time when the majority of people in a workplace are part of families in which both parents work.

I found myself telling this mother-to-be to have a conversation with her husband and her boss before her child is born. If she is going to balance work and family, flexibility will not be an option, it will be requirement. Getting that flexibility can and will become one of the biggest stressors a working parent will face. It might even lead to search for a new job.

I'm curious to know how other working parents handle this dilemma. Do you argue with your spouse over who is going to take time off? Have you ever been given grief for taking time off to take your child to an appointment? What do you see as the solution for parents who need flexibility in their schedule and can't get it from a boss?

 

May 28, 2015

10 Ways Working Parents Can Prepare For Summer

                                         Summer camp
  

 

 

Many summers, I would scramble to leave the newsroom by 4 p.m. to pick my kids up from summer camp. Still, I would be one of the last parents in the camp pickup line. When my kids complained, I wondered how other parents made their summer schedules work.

For working parents, summer can be one of the most challenging and expensive times of the year. The free and low-cost day camps usually fill up quickly. Most camps end at around 3 or 4 p.m., and aftercare programs charge an additional fee — if they are available at all. This week, I tackled the topic in my Miami Herald column about planning ahead for summer

I also asked Linda McKnight for her thoughts. As a working parent, founder of TheChildCareSquare.com and a former owner of a child care center, Linda has a lot to say on the topic of putting steps in place to ensure a smooth summer while balancing work and family.

Here are her 10 tips for preparing for summer season:  

1.     Start early – Summer camps have limited space and fill up quickly. These days there are a myriad of resources for finding summer camp options. Camp guides are offered by local parenting magazines, the YMCA as well as local county Parks & Rec Depts. Guides are generally available by March and April. Be sure to be on the look out for the printed guides at your local libraries or check websites for online versions. Additionally, a quick google search for “Summer Camp” in your city will produce even more options.

2.     Do your due diligence – When enrolling your child in a summer camp program you want to give the same attention to due diligence that you would when enrolling your child in a school year program. To check on licensing status visit the Florida Dept of Children and Families at www.myflfamilies.com. To further assess the quality of summer programs you are considering, remember to look for reviews on review sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local Listings and even the BBB. For a comprehensive checklist on how to check out a child care program visit http://thechildcaresquare.com/doing_your_research.php

3.     Include your child in the decision – A week or more in a program that your child dislikes can be an eternity for both your child – and you. Make sure to interview your child as to the kinds of things they are interested in participating in this summer and have your child weigh in on picking which programs to sign up with.

4.     Try to enroll with a friend – Even the most gregarious children can experience angst when faced with a new situation and new people. The transition to a new environment can often go off without a hitch when there is a buddy in toe.

5.     Mitigate separation anxiety – Children who experience separation anxiety or are shy can find the short stay in a new environment uncomfortable at best. The best remedy for separation anxiety is information, information, and more information. Keep your child completely in the loop as to where the camp is, what they will be doing while at camp and how long they will be there etc. If possible, pay a pre-first-day visit to the facility so your child can meet the staff ahead of time. Visit the program’s website and Facebook page and any other social media sites to see pictures of some of the activities and the children having fun.

6.     Fees and Discounts - Be sure to inquire about additional fees or even discounts. The base tuition may be what you are quoted when you inquire about a program, but there may also be additional fees for special activities, events or field trips that are planned.

7.     The right clothes can make or break the experience - Be sure your child is dressed appropriately. Summer activities often involve water, mud, sand, watermelon and/or pie eating contests and more, hence, expect messiness. One of my best tips for parents is to visit your local second hand store and buy 6 or 8 outfits that are “camp only” clothes. This relieves everyone from worrying about stained-beyond-salvage situations. And don’t forget about appropriate shoes. Shoes with laces or buckles are out. Sandals can be a tripping hazard. So if sandals are worn they should be in good condition and fit well. And finally, use a Sharpie to label everything with your child’s last name.

8.     Stay up on communication – After you decide on a program, make sure you are signed up on any email list that the program uses to communicate with parents. Also be sure to join any social media they participate in so you can stay abreast of any and all new development that will affect your child’s participation.

9.     Read the fine print – Generally there is plenty of paperwork that goes along with signing your child up for any camp program. Be sure to carefully review program details for items like extra registration or insurance fees, closure days that are out of the ordinary or maybe special fieldtrips that you may want to participate in.

10.  Consider traffic patterns - When evaluating summer camp programs, they will likely be located outside of your normal routes. Summer traffic patterns can be different than when school is in session and can cause extended time on the road.

Summer can be a nice break for working parents -- no homework to supervise or lunches to pack. A little planning can make it even better!

 

 

May 22, 2015

A Millennial Commuter's Survival Tips

I am stuck in morning traffic. The truck in front of me is dropping pebbles on my car. The guy next to me looks like he wants to kill someone. I am frustrated. It's just another day on Miami roads.  

For those of you who commute to work every day, you have my sympathy. The Miami Herald just published a four-part series on commuting. It even profiled some extreme commuters. The upshot: commuting stinks but lots of people do it anyway. 

Today, my guest blogger is Zachary Sisco, a Communications Associate at TINYpulse. Zachary shares his experience striking a work/life balance while juggling a substantial commute. He recounts the perils, struggles, and delights of beginning a job as a commuter. He also shares the little inventive tricks he learned for making his commute more enjoyable.

Here is his perspective as a millennial commuter:


About a month ago, I received a job offer from TINYpulse, a passionate team on a mission to boost Zacharyemployee engagement (you can check us out here). Upon graduating I had spent months editing cover letters, filling out applications, and going on interviews. Finally things were lining up. The job was right, the culture was perfect, and I’d have the added benefit of going home each day knowing I’d done something good for the world. I accepted the job with little thought and slept well that night.

I don’t recall exactly when the reality of it hit me, but there was a big loose-end I had left untied. I now had a full-time job in Seattle. Somehow then, it seemed problematic that I had no place to live in Seattle. It’s not that I ever had the threat of homelessness looming over me. I’m blessed with a wonderful, supportive network of family in the area. But that was the problem: this network was all around Seattle. Not one of them actually lived in Seattle. I had without much thought committed myself to a substantial commute. And thus my tale begins…

Now the daily commute comes in many forms. Some spend an hour navigating a ballet of tail-lights. Some while away their time staring at the back of strangers heads on a train. For me after arranging to stay with family on Bainbridge Island, I joined the Cult of the Ferry.

The Cult of the Ferry

No, it’s not the cyanide in the punch kind of cult. It’s more like the cult that all Jeep owners belong to. There’s a silent community among ferry riders. It’s never spoken, but everyone on the ferry knows that we’re all in this together. For 80 minutes a day that’s literal. But it goes beyond that. We all know the same struggles that the ferry and commuting brings. It’s a neat feeling actually. But that’s just an aside.

Currently I ride a bus to get to the ferry, then one to get from the ferry terminal to work. I rinse, lather and repeat. My best-case scenario day is 12 hours from door-to-door. But that involves leaving work a little early, catching the perfect bus, and running a few blocks. More often, that number is 13 and another obligation can push it back as far as 15! Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. 

My Little Tricks

No two commutes are exactly alike, so everyone’s little tricks are going to be different. But there are a few pearls of wisdom that I can offer. Anyone should be able to apply these to their commuting experience to tip the work/life balance back in their favor.

Use Your Downtime - Whatever form your commute may take, you’re going to have downtime. It’s entirely too easy to let this slip by the wayside. But this time need not be wasted. If you’re navigating the tail-light ballet, why not put in an audio-book? If you’re really ambitious then maybe a language learning tape is more your speed. Personally, I’m a big fan of reading. If you see me on the ferry in the morning, chances are I have a newspaper in my hand. In the evening I’m turning pages in a novel.

Love the Little Things - This’ll vary for everyone so I’ll just give a few examples from my experience.  First is the ferry-ride...beautiful! Even on a cloudy day, you can adore the slowly approaching Seattle skyline. On a sunny day, Mt. Rainier pops into view and sitting on the deck of the boat is a must. Second, is my bus driver. It’s a tiny thing, but my morning bus is driven by the most wonderfully cheery man. Just greeting him as I pay my fare lifts my spirits a little.

 Treat Yourself - Even if you follow all this advice, the truth remains...commuting is just not that great. So be sure to occasionally splurge on yourself. Buy some candy. And if you ride the ferry, they sell over-priced beer. Don’t make it a habit, but a little here and there goes a long way.

 

To you Commuters

I’m new to commuting. But the last month has given me a little taste of what many people do permanently. To those who do my hat goes off to you. Some of you, I’m sure, are superheros who can rise at 4 am with ease. But for the rest of you the true significance of it needs to be acknowledged. If you’re commuting, your days are long and exhausting. And for many, that’s not the end of your day. Utilizing downtime and the other tips I listed can help. But ultimately, the decision whether or not to commute is substantial. When making it, seriously consider the value of your time and energy.

 

 

 You can connect with Zachary by email at zachary@tinypulse.com or via twitter: @zacharysisco1

 

May 20, 2015

You Can Be A Rainmaker and Still Have Work Life Balance

Yuliya

(Yuliya LaRoe and Marla Grant talking to women lawyers on how to develop business)

It used to be that "rainmaker" was a term exclusive to men. It was used mostly for men who spent lots of time on the golf course or dining at lunch clubs with big wigs whose business they were trying to land.

Today, rainmakers are male or female. They are anyone who is able to bring in new business. Honing this skill makes you valuable as an employee, manager or owner. While some might think of rainmaking as a time consuming task, it can be part of your daily activities. The key is knowing how to ask for business and where to look for it.

If you're a parent, start with your kids. 

When Paul Ranis got a call from the owner of a large Canadian company asking to retain him for its legal employment work, Ranis asked an obvious question: “How did you find me?” The man replied with the name of the person who referred him. After a few minutes, it clicked. “Oh, that’s A.J’s dad,” Ranis responded.

When Ranis is attending his daughter’s soccer matches or his son’s math competition, he extends a handshake to other parents and builds the kind of relationships that often lead to new business. “The opportunity for business development is much greater than through a typical meet-and-greet where you will see 50 attorneys and everyone is handing out their business cards,” Ranis says.

Next mine your contacts.

Look at your Rolodex and peruse your LinkedIn. Who might you want to reconnect with? Who can refer you business? Think about former co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, people in your book club or poker group who would want what you offer, says Marla Grant, a South Florida business coach.  “A lot of us are sitting on a gold mine, and we don’t even realize it.”

 
Send an email. 
 
Business development can happen from the comfort of your desk with a quick email. “It’s about reminding people what you do and saying something like, ‘If you have these issues, call me, I can help you with that,’” Grant says. Having built a giant contact list, Sallie Krawcheck, owner of  owner of the women’s networking community Ellevate, will send out “Hi, how are you?” emails, and other times she will take it a step further and ask for business. In fact, Krawcheck finds it easier to ask for business by email than face-to-face: “I feel bolder.” However, the email always reflects what she can do for the other person: “It has always got to be about them.”
 
Join groups.
 
Years ago, men bonded and formed inner circles at country clubs or lunch clubs. Today, there are all kinds of professional organizations, advocacy groups, church groups and even fitness clubs where people are introducing each other to prospects who can throw business their way. The important step is move the personal relationship into a professional relationship and get comfortable with asking for business.
 

Use your hobbies.

Successful rainmakers are passionate about multiple and diverse interests and use those passions as way to connect with people and drum up business. Miami banker invites his clients to concerts with him, using it as an opportunity to deepen relationships and see his favorite bands. “The key with rainmaking is to incorporate it into your life rather than letting it take over,” he says.

Make speeches.
 
Speech-making can be an important part of rainmaking. It allows you to get in front of larger crowds of potential clients and position yourself as someone they would want to hire.
 
Use meal time effectively.
 
The people who are most successful at business development do not commit “random acts of lunch,” says Sara Holtz, founder of ClientFocus, a coaching company that helps lawyers become rainmakers. By that, she means inviting prospects to lunch without knowing much about why they would need what you offer. She says more effective rainmakers take existing customers to lunch and get them talking about their needs. They then let them know how they can address those needs.


Rainmaking is not as difficult as some people think. Yet, lots of people go about it wrong. They oversell, over-promise or convince themselves they aren't good at it without even trying. What do you find difficult about rainmaking? Have you tried any of these approaches?
 
 

May 18, 2015

How being a working mother benefits your children

One day my daughter came home from school and told me she looks forward to the day she has a job she loves and can come through her front door telling her family about her great day at work. She said she knows she is going to be doing something that will benefit children and that she is sure it will be rewarding.

That was one of the best single moments of my life.

As a working mother, I have worried (like most moms do) about how my job might take away from my kids. This was particularly true when I worked long hours from the newsroom. In that moment when my daughter said that to me, I realized she had learned passion and drive from seeing me work.

An article yesterday in the New York Times gave new comfort to working mothers. The article notes new evidence is mounting that having a working mother has some economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes. "That is not to say that children do not also benefit when their parents spend more time with them — they do. But we make trade-offs in how we spend our time, and research shows that children of working parents also accrue benefits," .

As working mothers, the ways our kids benefit are huge.

This new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries found daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on childcare and housework.

Here are some mighty interesting statistics: daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers, after controlling for demographic factors, and sons spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 more minutes on housework.

 

So, we can lose the mommy guilt because kids will be just fine if their mothers work -- and they will even benefit from it.

I found this research especially interesting because it comes on the heels of an article I read last week that found mothers have become our daughters mentors. "A growing number of women managers and professionals today are mentoring their own daughters—sometimes in the same fields—as the young women build careers," wrote Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Few of today’s senior managers had their own mothers as professional role models.

I'm excited about the next generation and I feel great that my kids see mom and dad as role models who contribute to the household and the family income. Instead of feeling guilty for missing school events or feeding our kids fast food some nights and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of work life balance, let's focus on the advantages to our kids.

Julie Talenfeld, president of BoardroomPR in Plantation, Florida, invests a lot of time in building her public relations/marketing firm and pleasing clients. This often means attending evening events. Talenfeld says she often feels guilty but she also feels like she is a good role model for her daughter, currently a college student. 

For all those successful working mothers like Julie, it's time to pat ourselves on the back. We're inspiring the next generation -- whether or not we realize it.

J&J

(Publicist Julie Talenfeld and her daughter, Jacqueline)

 

May 15, 2015

More workers than ever are struggling with work life balance

                                                 Woman nyc

 

Today, I spoke with a female executive while she walked through the streets of New York on her way to a business meeting. I could hear the horns honking and the street sounds as she explained to me it was the only time she could fit the conversation into her busy day. As it was, she explained, she was already going to have to work late into the evening.  

It's no wonder that more than a third of 9,700 workers surveyed by tax and professional services firm Ernst & Young say managing work life balance has become more difficult in the last five years. Here is how and why people are struggling with work life balance:

People are working more. Around the world, about half of managers work more than 40 hours a week and four in 10 say their hours have increased in the last five years. I think that pretty clearly shows the traditional 40-hour workweek is becoming obsolete.

People are stressed. And as people work more and struggle with balance, they are not happy about it. The survey found dissatisfaction highest among white-collar workers in their 20s and 30s who are establishing families at the same time they are moving into management and other jobs that carry more responsibility.

People are struggling. These workers say their salary has not increased much, but their expenses and responsibilities at work have increased. That's making work life balance more difficult to achieve.

Here's a finding that might surprise you: U.S. men are more likely than women to change jobs or give up a promotion for work life balance reasons. Clearly, everyone is struggling with work life balance, not just women. 

People are suffering when they use flex schedules. Nearly one in 10 (9%) U.S. workers say they have "suffered a negative consequence as a result of having a flexible work schedule." That rate is higher for millennials, of which one in six (15%) reported either losing a job, being denied a promotion or raise, being assigned to less interesting or high profile assignments, or being publicly or privately reprimanded.

People are encountering work life hurdles. The biggest hurdles faced when U.S workers try to balance their personal and professional lives were: Getting enough sleep, handling more responsibility, finding time for me, finding time for family and friends and additional hours worked.

People are quitting their jobs. EY looked at the leading reasons full-time workers quit. The top five reasons were minimal wage growth, lack of opportunity to advance, excessive overtime hours, a work environment that does not encourage teamwork and a boss that doesn't allow you to work flexibly.

People are feeling the effects at home. The economy caused one in six (15%) full-time workers to get divorced or separated and almost one-sixth (13%) to delay getting a divorce. Nearly a quarter (23%) decided not to have additional children and more than one in five (21%) delayed having additional children.

So what exactly is it that employees believe will help them achieve work life balance? After competitive pay and benefits, employees want to work flexibly (formally or informally) and still be on track for a promotion. The want paid parental leave and they don't want excessive overtime.

Do you think some of those wants are doable? Will it make a difference when more millennials become bosses? 

 

 

(The Global Generations survey, EY’s second attempt to study generational issues in the workplace, was conducted in the U.S., Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India, and the U.K. In addition to international findings, 1,200 full-time U.S. workers were asked about major changes they have made, or would be willing to make, to better manage their work-life balance, paid parental leave, and couples’ work schedules by generation.)

 

May 12, 2015

How Should Sheryl Sandberg Handle Grief at Work? Advice from former LiveNation CEO Jason Garner

My heart goes out to Sheryl Sandberg with the tragic loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult but even more so when you return to work and try to carry on while knowing everyone is tip-toeing around you.

Today, my guest blogger is Jason Garner who will talk about dealing with grief in the workplace, sharing his very personal experience.  Jason says when his single mother, who struggled and sacrificed while raising him, died from stomach cancer,  he lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process. Garner’s book And I Breathed (2014) tells his cautionary tale  and he has lots of advice, tips and insight for people like Sandberg who must readjust their work life balance and fit grieving into the equation.

 

  Smaller Jason headshot-1

Six years ago I was the CEO of Global Music for Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter … and then my mom died.  My life took a drastic turn as I found myself unable to deal with the crippling grief while continuing my duties of overseeing thousands of employees and live concerts around the globe.  I lacked the tools, support, and understanding to get through the grieving process, and have spent the last six years on a journey to better understand myself.  I’ve spent thousands of hours learning with masters of body, mind, and spirit with the hope that by sharing what I’ve learned, others won’t have to face life alone like I did.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is a complex and difficult experience full of powerful emotions.  Experts say the grieving process takes around three years for us to heal, understand, and accept life absent a person we deeply loved.  I’ve learned this process is necessary and can’t be rushed.  But few of us have three years to pull ourselves together before getting back to the pressures of work.  This is where simple tools can be valuable in helping us cope with our grief as we return to work after a loss. 

Following are ten tools that can help us better function in our jobs while dealing honestly with the pain and loss that comes with death.

  1. Be real.  Grieving is tough.  Our hearts are filled with emotion that often comes spilling out in the form of tears, anger, and lack of patience with others. Accepting this fact and giving ourselves permission to be human in the process relieves the tension of trying to “gut our way through it,” “put on a game face,” or “just move on.”  Have patience and compassion with yourself and set the tone for how you hope others will deal with you during this process by being kind and understanding with yourself.
  2. Breathe. When we are going through pain we often hold our breath in the fear that letting go might lead to us breaking down.  In reality though, the body interprets the holding of the breath as an emergency, which causes our bodies to feel even more stress and pressure.  Take frequent breathers — regular intervals where you remind yourself to breathe deeply — and send the soothing message to your body that all is well.
  3. Move. The grieving process is filled with emotion, which is stored in the body as adrenaline.  This stagnant adrenaline is the cause of the racing and trapped feelings we often feel under stress.  Movement allows the body to release the pent up emotions and promotes flow.  Find time in the day to move: take a walk, stretch, do yoga, or just stand up and move your body to allow the stagnant emotions to move and release.
  4. Cry. Crying on the job is often seen as taboo.  But when we spend half our day at work, it’s bound to happen at one point or another, especially when we are mourning the loss of a loved one.  Bursting into tears can be embarrassing and can cause alarm to our coworkers.  So find a safe space and time — in the bathroom, at the park on your lunch break, or for a couple of minutes in your car — and give yourself permission to let go, to really cry, and to feel the sadness that naturally comes with death instead of bravely trying to hold it all in.
  5. Share. Sometimes during life’s challenges we behave as though we’re the only one having problems.  So we bottle our troubles up inside and try to be superhuman.  The result is rarely positive and eventually we break down, feeling misunderstood, alone, and isolated.  The reality is, though, that many people are going through challenges at the same time.  Death in particular is an experience to which we can all relate.  Be open with your boss and coworkers.  Share your challenge with them, ask for the patience, and allow yourself to be supported.
  6. Sleep.  Getting enough rest is a powerful way to help regulate your emotions.  Be sure when you’re grieving to plan for extra sleep.  Pulling all-nighters at work or with friends is a sure way to leave your emotions frazzled and increases the likelihood of a breakdown on the job.  Make it a point to shut down work at a reasonable hour and give yourself ample time to rest and relax.
  7. Get away.  Many employers offer some kind of leave following a death.  Even if your job doesn’t have a formal policy for leave, talk to your supervisor and ask for some time.  A few days away from work to process your loss and let your emotions out in private can go a long way in making your return to work less emotional and more productive.
  8. Get help. For many of us, our job has become all-encompassing and we have little time for friends, family, or hobbies.  While grieving, this adds another element to the challenge of coping at work because we lack outside outlets where we can share our feelings.  Find a friend, family member, or therapist and allow yourself the chance to vent your feelings so you don’t have to carry so much to work.
  9. Meditation. Even if you’ve never practiced meditation, the grieving process is a good time to start.  A few minutes of silent meditation gives you a break from the stress of the day to be present to yourself and your emotions. Don’t worry about how to do it; just sit, close your eyes, breathe, and give yourself a little space.
  10.  Be tender. Be tender and gentle with yourself even if the world around you isn’t understanding.  Share words of encouragement, give yourself space and patience, and don’t add extra stress by taking on new responsibilities or obligations.  Most of all, understand that you’re going through a major life event and give yourself love and compassion along the way.

 

Remember: you aren’t alone.  The process you’re going through is one that everyone faces at one time or another. Use these tools as trusted friends to lean on when times are tough.  And above all be kind and gentle with yourself as you grieve.