Posted in WISE, Women @ home

Does taking time off work hurt womens’ careers?

career

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. – Gail Devers

Short answer? Absolutely not!

The long answer is that despite what may be imagined, women – especially high flying, intelligent and ambitious career women – who take time off of work for their families do so for the same reason companies and others hire them, excellence.

So why do companies and others resist re-hiring them or treat them like they have missed the boat when they decide to re-join others in full-time jobs and contracts?

The truth is that driven women who take time off rarely forget about their careers, in fact, I have seen that the key aspect to look for when re-hiring a professional woman is to look at what she has done during her sabbatical. One will most often find that they have gained knowledge, attended courses, freelanced, volunteered, and many other things that keep them in the working loop. Those whose careers are hurt are those who sit idle, do not look at learning something new and do not commit to staying productive to the best of their ability and availability.

Add on to that the mentally and physically demanding role of taking care of their children full-time, children who need mentors, guidance and constant problem solving that those in the workplace do not have an opportunity to practice.

In fact, these are the same women who constantly follow news and advancements in their respective industries, attend conference and get exposed to new people, new knowledge and new opportunities taking on risks that those in full-time jobs wish they had the opportunity for.

The bottom line is that each of us have a path and no path is right and no path is wrong. We all do our best.

What does need to happen is to recognize people for who they are and that once they are hard-working, intelligent, ambitious, creative, innovative … they will always be hard-working, intelligent, ambitious, creative, innovative; it is not the job that makes them so, it is their character.

While I commend organizations who are now turning to these women and supporting their return to work, my recommendation is to be careful about the wording of such endeavors and instead, focus on hiring the right person for the right job without indirectly discriminating against choices they have made.

 

 

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Leadership, WISE, Women @ home

Child a Comin’ = Career Over … it shouldn’t be

Within her first week (daughter of my own), I became consumed by the idea that my career was over – Katherine Zaleski

nowIt was really interesting, and almost fate, to read an article by Katherine today (quoted above) which happened to align with my post yesterday.

In such an eloquent manner, she basically outspokenly said what most new moms say or think to themselves but are too ashamed to admit it.

Believe me, not all moms who return to work are happy to go to the same jobs. And not all moms are happy to work the same hours. And not all are happy to stay unchallenged and bored or in the other extreme, challenged and judged. But all moms want to do well.

What I wanted to cover here is the underlying fear and negative self-talk that almost every new mom has … yes, almost every new “corporate professional” mom.

Even when she does go back into a job, she thinks in the back of her mind, ‘I am lucky I have this job’ … when she should be saying, ‘my job is lucky to have me’.

For all new moms out there …

your job is lucky to have you;

you are smart and have lots to give;

you can, and you will, find even greater challenge and success in your career;

while excelling at being a strong foundation for your family;

without having to give up what is important and without resentment;

believe it with the same passion you had for your pre-mommy career;

others will wish they were in your place; and

you will succeed! – HC

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Leadership, WISE, Women @ home

The ‘Corporate-Home-Entrepreneurial’ Mom

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand

momThere are corporate moms, home moms, entrepreneurial moms and then there are those at the nexus of all three.

These are the moms who have spent more than 10 years in the corporate world with the last few years in leadership roles. These are the moms who were joyfully faced with motherhood that required them to spend more time at home whether due to inflexible working arrangements, lack of a community support system, parental values or simply a career that is not satisfying / stressful / limited learning and development. At the same time, these moms are creative, innovative, ambitious and have more to give and to serve others with that cannot wait until children have grown up.

So what do they do?

Some opt to open small retail and consulting businesses. Some opt for freelancing or temporary roles. However, what I have seen and experienced is that all of this is not satisfying enough given their abilities and capabilities. Of course, some find no option but to bury their potential.

So what should they do?

There is no magic answer to this question, however, they need to revitalize the same drive they had during their corporate years in getting together with women in the same predicament. They should also commit to never-ending and continuous learning and growth through the abundant avenues available today. They should also use their creativity and talent to create options that not only add value to the community and their own families, but empowers them to fulfill the role of motherhood in the same level of excellence that they had in their corporate careers.

More to be said on this but for now, I would urge these women to find each other as you never know what this will open up.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Entrepreneurship, High School, Leadership, Retirees, University, WISE, Women @ home

Office Gossip as per Socrates

talkSocrates was mostly re-quoted by Plato and others and never actually left writings of his own, nevertheless and applicable to all, this quote is quite powerful if applied in the workplace, small business or educational institution.

 

One day Socrates was approached by a man who wanted to tell him something about a friend who …

Socrates interrupted him and asked him if he had put the story through three sieves.

The first one is of truth – is what he was about to tell him true? The man said that he had overheard it.

The second one is of goodness – is what he was about to tell him good? The man said that it was on the contrary.

The third one is of necessity – is what he was about to tell him necessary for him to know? The main said no.

So Socrates responded “If the story you’re about to tell me isn’t true, isn’t good and isn’t necessary, just forget it and don’t bother me with it” – Socrates

 

 

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Leadership, University, WISE, Women @ home

Be Authentic

What it means to be authentic:

– to be more concerned with truth than opinions
– to be sincere and not pretend
– to be free from hypocrisy: “walk your talk”
– to know who you are and to be that person
– to not fear others seeing your vulnerabilities
– being confident to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself
– being awake to your own feelings
– being free from others’ opinions of you
– accepting and loving yourself

― Sue Fitzmaurice

Long Road

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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, University, WISE, Women @ home

You are your competition

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ― William Faulkner

 

barI heard Oprah Winfrey say in one of her master classes that at some point in the middle of her career, all she and her team worried about was when and how to get the highest ratings for her talk show, in other words, it was  about the competition.

No longer able to do that, or more like no longer able to accept it on herself, she decided to focus on her own show instead and not the competition, and we all know what happened after that …

by the time the show’s 25-year finale came up in 2011, she was one of the most influential personalities, on and off TV.

As Oprah Winfrey said in her interview, it is harder to look back at the competition than to look up and improve yourself.

When I reflect on my and other people’s careers, I realize that as soon as one looks at those around them, they immediately either lose their ground and focus or at best, be like everyone else.

There is nothing wrong with being like everyone else, but we were created to each be unique and excellent in something, so we are going against our nature to excel and be of excellence.

So, wherever you may be in your career … at home, at work, in business, in life,

… don’t compare yourself to others, learn from others;

… don’t try to be like others, think about what you want to be;

… set the bar high, then try to go higher;

… be excellent;

… be of service to others.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, University, WISE, Women @ home

Your talent is day to day

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

talent

So I picked up Marcus Buckingham’s book, ‘Now, Discover your Strengths’ as a refresher and thought to share something on talent.

The premise of the book is that one has a responsibility, in fact social responsibility, to identify, use and grow one’s own strengths as opposed to identifying and fixing weaknesses.

What I found interesting is that the book does not specify a specific job or role or action as a strength, instead, talents were words that provided a description of a set of values, behaviors and approaches.

Being ‘Strategic’, for example, is a talent, i.e. being able to see and approach situations and matters, comfortably weeding through complexity, in a way that finds and assesses possibilities and options … really? a talent?

Being able to weed through complexity may seem like is a matter of practice, but in fact, some do it more naturally and more easily than others … really? so how is this a specific enough?

Talent is not a specific job … it is a state of mind (thinking) and body (action) that some posses and some don’t.

Talent is applied in life, work and study.

Find yours … it could be one of the best things you do for a long time to come … from high school students to those in retirement … your talent can be applied at school, at work, in volunteering, at home, and simply, day to day life.

So sorry Albert Einstein, your humility won’t work here … your passionate ‘curiosity’ IS one of your talents!

 

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in Leadership, WISE, Women @ home

Best of Both Worlds

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true. – James Branch Cabell

women

The reality is that there are quite a lot of smart women out there who are destined to be part of the workplace while at the same time driven enough to make their families a priority.

These women have had great careers and continue to have and update their knowledge and skills that would genuinely add value to organizations, industries, markets and society.

Some state that women can’t ‘have it all’. However, no one really ‘wants it all’, but doesn’t everyone want the best of all worlds? When will women, who have competitive skill sets and knowledge, have both a career and the flexibility to be a good parent as well? When will they be able to excel on both fronts for the sake of humanity as they empower the leaders of tomorrow?

 

Image courtesy of Boykung/FreeDigitalPhotos.net