I love to watch my little girls sleep. They are calm, full of possibility, and not asking me to change them for the 4th time that hour into another fairy, princess, or pirate costume. As I watch, I imagine what dramas, adventures, heartbreak, and careers (I am a career coach after all!) lie ahead for both of them and it’s hard to discern what my hopes are for them and what my actual expectations are.
It’s usually easy to spot: the nervous jitters as he talks about his most recent position, the disdain he is clearly trying to hide about his supervisor or colleagues, the glossing over of the actual job conclusion. By the time I ask, “ so what prompted you to leave” or “what brings you in today,” I can almost recite the words that always include “laid-off”, “let go”, “downsizing”, “bad manager”, etc. As a career coach, I encounter a myriad of clients who have a gap in their employment history. Typically these clients address this issue with me in one of two ways. They either shy away from the topic (think example above) to avoid mentioning it until half way through the appointment, after the resume review, or they bring it up immediately and we spend the better part of an hour talking about this event that has defined them for the past several months of the job search.
Students and clients come in and out of my office with the common agenda: the intent to talk about career transition. These transition goals can take many shapes, such as moving from a generalist role to an analyst role, moving from a specialist to a manager, and often segueing out of one function and into another (think finance to marketing).
Regardless of the type of change they are looking to make, my advice is always the same: Get Your Story Straight.
When it comes to being a working mom, I often cannot quite tell what exactly I feel so guilty about. Do I regret not having as much time as I would like with my girls? Or am I feeling badly about the fact that I like my job, that it satisfies a core part of my personality, and sometimes my day is actually physically easier when I am sitting at my desk? If the latter, what kind of mother does that make me?
I was late in the game with technology. While my friends and family were readily downloading apps and taking adorable vintage photos with Instagram, it took me years to embrace the smartphone. I also was slow to get excited by the DVR I nowadays swear by. I am now leaning on technology more and more because as a working mom of 2 toddlers I will take all the help I can get. Here are a few reasons why I encourage all of my mom clients to jump on the tech train and never look back.
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.
We all know the routine. You attend a networking event, professional conference, association meeting and collect a bucket load of 2 x 3 inch business cards from a collection of professionals, ranging from the gentleman who sat next to you at breakfast to an engaging mentor-worthy executive. Then the event ends and you transport the business cards from your suit pocket to your work bag and forget about them until you arrive to work the next morning.
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’ve started journaling. I know, I know. The idea of journaling sounds a little hokey and geared toward someone with plenty of time on their hands and not something for working women like you and me.
In fact, if you are anything like me, you gave up on journaling sometime around 9th grade when you read through your 8th grade journal entries and discovered how theatrical you sounded. Hindsight helped you realize that spilling your soup in the Jr. High lunch line really wasn’t the end of the world.
Aside from having and mothering two very spirited girls, this is one of the best things I have done in the past few years. Here are 4 reasons why.