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You Say Your Workplace is Family Friendly? Show Me

What Parents Desperately Need at Work Right Now

“Merit increases are somewhat flat while costs of living are rising (particularly the massive childcare costs we’ve undertaken this year…”

“(They’re) not allowing me to work from home when my job is doable from home.”

“(Work is) expecting me to be constantly logged on, still expecting quick turnaround, competing with male team members who have MORE time and push ahead with projects even faster than before and allowing that only to leave mom’s behind.”

Over 1,700 parents, mostly Mothers (98%) have shared their pandemic experiences since March of last year. In the most recent survey wave, parents cite that employer support is better. But most still struggle to manage work and uneven childcare. Over one million Moms fled the workforce despite how family friendly employers said they were. Like a litmus test, Covid has revealed the imposters. So, how can organizations plan for an inclusive post-pandemic return?

Family benefits don’t matter if you’re answering emails until midnight. It’s often the hidden rules, not stated policies, that lead to burnout. And there’s nothing family friendly about that. Donielle Buie, HR leader and Work/Life expert said, “Organizations have really had to look in the mirror and say, ‘we said Continue reading “You Say Your Workplace is Family Friendly? Show Me”

Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers

“I asked working Moms, who had good relationships with their kids and thriving careers, how could I have both. I was on maternity leave with 3 kids under the age of 4. So, I called them from a very raw, liminal place.” said Amy Henderson, Author & Entrepreneur. Those calls, to understand if successful working Motherhood was even possible, led her to 4 years of research. She said, “I learned that the things that break you, are also the things that can make you.”

The work and parenting fit was always hard. Moms are blindsided by how difficult it is to get into leadership. Then we’re gaslighted into feeling inept once we’re there. So, we end up taking our superpowers for granted. But like elite athletes, the intense training of parenthood, makes you stronger. And the collaboration, decision making, empathy, presence and efficiency skills that you’ve honed, make you a more agile leader.

Working Motherhood is Harder in the US Than Anywhere Else

In her new book. Tending: Parenthood & the Future of Work, Amy cites research that many of us have experienced. “Mommy bias is the greatest trigger for workplace discrimination. And found that mothers are 79% less likely to get hired or promoted when compared to an equally qualified woman without a child.” And in a culture where career progress equals success, it’s not surprising that being diminished at work leads to self-doubt. Worse, most mothers have sole, co or primary breadwinning responsibilities, which elevates the penalties from inconvenience to financial liability. And it’s an economic double-bind that most women don’t escape. She added, “The US has one of the largest Continue reading “Working Parents Get Your Mojo Back! Flaunt Don’t Hide Your Superpowers”

Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids

“I had read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and the counter points by Anne-Marie Slaughter. So, there was this conversation happening,” said Donielle Buie, Human Resource Leader and Work/Life expert, “And I agree, we need to change policy. But I kept thinking to myself, there’s a woman right now who’s got two kids and is ready to quit her job! She can’t figure out how to make this all work. And I didn’t feel like people were talking about that enough. Or how to make these decisions related to career and family. So, that was my foray into the work/life space.”

Almost half of Mothers take time out of the workforce due to childcare. But Donielle has done what few have. She downshifted, opted out and then came back, professionally stronger. Millions of Moms are deciding to lean into, out of or back from, their careers through Covid. And historically, women don’t fare well when they opt out. But Donielle’s journey is a masterclass on how to navigate the care and career fit.

What About Parental Leave?

Donielle experienced the reality of navigating leave with her first child. “It was like, you had a baby? Here is a $5,000 stipend on top of disability. I worked at a small company so, they gave us dollars on top of short-term disability. But didn’t have a more formal extended leave policy. Even with that, I took unpaid leave because I wanted to be home for 6 months,” she said. “I thought, we should have parental leave because people had kids. Why don’t we have a better policy? Then as we started thinking about having a second, it was sort of like, okay how in the heck are Continue reading “Come Back Stronger After Leaning Out or Back In from Your Career Post-Kids”

How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted

Over 2 million women have already left the workforce in the pandemic. And without childcare, eldercare or the ability to take a paid leave, many more plan to downshift, resign or switch professions altogether.

Before deciding what to do next, you need clarity about what you need. But pivots require strategy. And strategic thinking, requires mental energy. And Covid’s mental load, Zoom-school and housework, have drained most parents dry.

Peggy Foster, an HR Consultant, Executive Coach and Artist, spent more than 2 decades in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She’s an expert in professional transitions and navigated her own exit from corporate life.

It may feel impossible to make the space. But Peggy’s process highlights how self-care and reflection, even in small doses, can lead to big breakthroughs.

Don’t ‘Empty’ Yourself for Others

Peggy explained, “When we take space for ourselves, it feels like we’ve gone against society and how we’ve been trained as women, to put everybody else first. Feed the kids, clean the house, make sure everybody is happy, get that job done at work and the truth is, you Continue reading “How to Reset Your Career When You’re Depleted”

How You Can Say No at Work

Your Masterclass In Leadership Courtesy of the Pandemic

It’s hard to say no at work. And pushing back during a global recession, may feel career limiting, if not career ending. Mel Robbins, Personal Development Expert and Best-selling Author, shared how to set work boundaries during her session at the Massachusetts Women’s conference last month. She shares how to say no, improve your productivity and elevate your leadership skills.

Mel wisely reminds us that change creates opportunities. But keeping a positive mindset is critical for the resilience we need to seize them. “As we’re all learning in this pandemic, we’re not stuck where we are,” Mel said. “I think one of the biggest opportunities when it comes to managing your mindset, particularly for success, happiness and feeling like you’re still in control, is realizing that everything is pivoting out there.”

Stay Nimble

Pivots, a rapid change in direction, abound in the pandemic. It’s dizzying but there’s an upside. Mel explains, “Have the confidence to try new things, to pivot, experiment and adjust course. Make sure that you are going up and down, with the up and down changes.” Yes! Although the increased mental load makes it difficult, she recommends how to reclaim space for focused work by Continue reading “How You Can Say No at Work”

Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?

A few weeks ago, awe-inspiring female leaders like Alicia Keys, Admiral Michelle Howard, Awkwafina and Doris Kearns Goodwin, took the virtual stage for the annual Massachusetts Women’s Conference. They’ve leapt past obstacles in a culture that often mutes our voices.

How? With self-care, self-love and self-confidence. Enjoy their wisdom on how to honor your needs in the days and months ahead. And enter this new chapter with restored faith in your gifts, community and power to change the systems we live, work and play in.

Pause and Reflect

Awkwafina, Award-winning Actress, Writer & Rapper, “Playing those little shows, were the best times of my life, because I was waiting for something to happen. But when things started to pick up, and it was objectively the best time of my life, I found myself losing my sense of identity. So, today, I want to be in a mental place where I can handle this career, in a healthy way, and I’m not worrying all the time.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “If you’re not motivated in your life, you’re not playing a big enough game. Get very quiet and tune into what you long for.”

Iyanla Vanzant, Best-selling Author & Producer, “If you’re here, you’re alive. Our scars are being transformed into sacred knowledge.”

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “…What have you learned in 2020? Everything that is happening in your life, is preparing you for what’s next.”

Take Back Your Routines

Mel Robbins, Best-selling Author & Entrepreneur, “When you wake up what’s the first thing that you see? It had Continue reading “Fear, Masks & Alicia Keys. What Has 2020 Taught us?”

What Happens When You Break All the Work Rules?

“I could see that work wasn’t working for people,” said Eva Dienel, Journalist and sustainable work expert. She added, “So, when I met (my husband) Adam, we started talking very early in our relationship about building work around our lives rather than letting work determine the lives that we were stuck with.”

Although burnout damages health and productivity, our culture rewards the behavior that drives it. And careers, woven with identity, become full of emotional landmines. It’s hard to untangle our real desires, from how we’re conditioned to think. And post-kids when we need reliable income, schedules and benefits, the work choices narrow.

Modern careers leave little space for caregiving or passion pursuits. And Eva knew she wanted meaningful work without the confines of corporate life. But leaving a traditional job is a counter culture move that’s often met with Continue reading “What Happens When You Break All the Work Rules?”

It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison

That’s right. Prison. I said it.

If you used to derive joy at the intersection of helpfulness and productivity, like I did, then anything else feels bad. And let’s face it, working at home with kids during a pandemic is the opposite of that.  So, unless we rethink productivity, we end up in a race against our pre-pandemic selves, we can’t win.

And It’s Uncomfortable

I prided myself on getting a LOT done each day pre-kids. And the thrill of moving through a mountain of to-dos sustained me. I used to believe that good days were productive days.

Organizations now hire me to help their employees, usually caregivers, cope through Covid. And during live sessions, the most frequent question parents ask, is how to reclaim productivity under Covid conditions.

We Need to Redefine What Productive Means

I relate, because I still struggle with this. No one wants to be ‘pandemic-productive.’ When the days feel edgeless and uncertain, they want something tangible from their time. They want to measure themselves against Continue reading “It’s Time to Leave the Productivity Prison”

This is Not the Time to Stop Investing In Your Career

Fast Track Job Security With a Professional Brand

“It’s hard to be the keynote speaker at breakfast if you’ve got to get somebody to school at 8:00 o’clock. Women are still more likely to be responsible for kids at home and that often stops them from speaking. They’re like, ‘I could go off and be a speaker at this event and seen as a visionary expert or I could be home for dinner.’ These are still some of the reasons that women turn down what are seen as extras.” Explained Bobbie Carlton, events pioneer and CEO of Innovation Women.

It’s a circular problem. Thought leadership hasn’t been diverse because leadership isn’t. And between intense schedules at work and home, adding anything, even career-boosting visibility may feel impossible.

But what if thought leadership is the rocket fuel your career needs for growth? A vehicle that creates more choice and gets you off of the hamster wheel? Having Continue reading “This is Not the Time to Stop Investing In Your Career”

Help Is Not On the Way (And It’s Not Going Well)

Can Psychological Safety Can Make Work More Sane Right Now?

This is part of an ongoing series, to share results from the pandemic research study. This update is from nearly 400 parents, primarily Moms (91%) who responded between March 30 – June 6th about how COVID-19 has affected work and life, including what has been the hardest.

“The instability of both my job and ability to secure safe childcare (many will call out with late notice after finding out I work in healthcare.)”

“… uncertainty about when life can safely return to normal and perhaps more importantly the anxiety that my partner is likely going to be asked to return to work before we feel doing so meets our own personal threshold of risk.”

“I was working remotely then requested to be furloughed as both my husband and I were working remote with our 10-month-old and it was too much without help.”

More Responsibilities at Home Have Come at the Expense of Work

Surveyed Moms and Dads have leaned into their family roles during this time of crisis. 68% felt that they were doing the same, a better job than usual, or really well as parents and, though by a smaller majority, as spouses/partners. However, most (58%) felt that they were doing terribly or not as well as usual in their performance as workers and most (60%) sacrificed self-care routines to make space for the added responsibilities.  There are, however, exceptions. One surveyed Mom shared, “My kids are 9 and 10. They do their schoolwork and play/watch TV on their own while I’m working. My partner is now working from home, too, so I feel like I have more help than usual. I’m more productive now than I was when I was going to my workplace.”

Help Is Not On the Way for Most

The work/life juggle after having kids tested even the most optimistic parents. But in this pandemic, childcare, a prerequisite for working parenthood was disrupted for the overwhelming majority (74%) of those surveyed. And people are breaking under the strain of trying to do the absurd – work, Continue reading “Help Is Not On the Way (And It’s Not Going Well)”

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