Motherhood was something I yearned for and very much wanted. I read books on parenting and felt very prepared and a bit overconfident for my new role – until I officially became a mother. Suddenly, I was questioning myself on everything: cloth or disposable, cry it out or co-sleep, organic baby blender homemade creations or the jarred store bought variety, helicopter parent or tiger mom, and the list goes on and on. Not only was I indecisive but I was so consumed with love for this little person that I thought in order to be the best mother possible I should give up everything that defined me pre-baby and focus on this new all important role of raising a human being.
Women of HR were asked, “If you were CEO for a day, what would (or did) you focus on to improve an organization’s productivity, employee engagement or ability to recruit?” This is the third post in the series of responses.
It’s a rare organization that doesn’t somewhere in its mission statement or values express a sentiment similar to “people are at the core of our business success.“ It’s an even rarer one that actually acts on it. If I were bestowed the mantle of CEO, I’d make it my #1 priority to be part of that very rare group…. and I’d have my work cut out for me.
As a career coach working with MBA students who are looking to get connected in the business world, the most common question I encounter is about networking. In this tough economy many of students I work with are also juggling multiple roles such as full time professional, involved parent or caretaker. I often get an exasperated look when I bring up the importance of networking because the thought of adding another item to an already full to – do list is overwhelming. Here are some of the best, most applicable, tips on how to network with limited time.
Why the disparity between the number of women who obtain an MBA and the number of women CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and CMOs? If 1/3 of the MBAs granted go to women, shouldn’t the number of women in the C-suite look more like 33%? Yes, it should but it doesn’t. In order for things to truly be equal women need to shift gears and ask for spousal/partner help at home. As Sheryl Sandberg stated in her now famous Barnard commencement speech, “A world where women ran 50% of businesses and men ran 50% of houses would be a much better world.”
What do you think about that?
I started working in Human Resources a bit by accident. One of my first tasks was to hire an entry-level HR Assistant for our department.
Once I had a good stack of resumes and cover letters, I took them to the senior recruiter and asked for her assistance in selecting candidates to interview. She went through the stack in about 2 minutes, ruthlessly culling people from the pile.I asked her what criteria she was using to separate the Yeses from the Nos.
“Oh,” she said. “I get rid of anyone who says they like people or they’re a people person. Well, I am a people person. And despite her advice, I have remained one because I think HR is the perfect place for people who like people.
Defining balance can be tricky.
In my opinion finding balance between one’s work and the remainder of their life is very personal unique to every individual. What balance means for me, can be entirely different than what it means to others. Balance isn’t a constant state. Sometimes, work has to take a priority and sometimes family life does. The key is to not let one always take precedence over the other, but to ebb and flow with the situation at the time.
Nonetheless, along my career and life journey I have found a few things that work for me in terms of balance that I think are worth sharing with others who may be struggling with the issue.
Do women know the art of negotiation?
There are exceptions to every stereotype out there, but in this case, I’ll venture to guess that many women do accept job offers or answers from our leaders without question. We don’t ask for higher salaries, for more help or resources nor more help from our family members. Is it because it is not comfortable? Is it because we are not competent in negotiation? Is it because we want to avoid confrontation? Many women avoid negotiation for varied reasons. However, whatever the reason, it is something we can learn and get better at with time.
Here are a few tips.
Have you heard the story about the gal who was fired from her full-time job as a reporter because she didn’t disclose to her employer that she was a part-time exotic dancer, er stripper? She’s filed a complaint with the EEOC and is suing her former employer for gender discrimination.
Do employers have a right to a life outside of work?
You studied what you love, right? And you want to find a job doing what you studied. You want to find a job that can utilize your talents and interests; one where you won’t be bored, underutilized or blown off. But there is just one problem: there are no jobs in your field. Everybody is telling you to find a temporary position; something you can do until you find your elusive perfect job. No. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be stuck as a peon for the rest of your life. But you don’t want to starve either.
How can you find your perfect job? How can you resist the temptation to just find something, anything that pays? Here’s how.
“How can I find time to attend this networking event when I am already spread too thin between work, my 2 year old, and my graduate studies?” asked one thirty-something overwhelmed professional/student in my office a few months ago. Great question. And one I didn’t have the perfect, fix- it solution for. If I did, I would perhaps be better at my daily juggling act as well.