All Articles Tagged "Career"

Confessions Of A Mompreneur: 7 Steps To Go From 9-5 To Entrepreneur

May 25th, 2016 - By Mia Ray
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Transitioning from the workforce into entrepreneurship may be one of the scariest and hardest decisions you may ever have to make. The comfort zone and safety net that you are use to, can be extremely hard to let go. Stepping out on faith into the unknown, is enough to cause people to rethink the pursuit of their dreams. We all know of the advantages that a 9-5 can bring. Consistent pay, reliable work schedule and one of the most important things in life…health insurance. Sitting behind a desk (or whatever your career may be), can also bring on the dissatisfaction that it’s not what you ultimately LOVE to do. Your dreams and goals outweigh all of the advantages that your job provides and you yearn for more. You just have to find a way to let go and move forward into entrepreneurship. There is possibility, there is hope and you can make it happen. Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Countless hours of work, wearing many different hats to run your daily operations and the ups and downs of money management, is only for the strong. With proper preparation and planning, you’ll be turning in your 2 weeks notice before you know it.

Start:

Before you even put thought into letting go of your security blanket, you have to START your engine. This is where you’ll lay the foundation of your business so that you’ll have a clear vision of exactly what it is that you want to do. It could be purchasing your domain name, buying supplies or designing your logo. Once you put the battery in your back to start, you will not want to stop.

Research:

Although you work every day and when you get home you’re drained, there should not be a day that goes by where you do not research and work on your business. Research is one of the most important aspects in any division of business (even as an employee). Growing more each day in the knowledge needed to run your business, will result in the confidence needed to know that you can ditch your job and go out on your own.

Time Management:

I speak on time management so often because it is uber important, in life and business. Use all of your time wisely now. If you have downtime at work, you should not be in the break room watching tv or at your desk online shopping. You should be working on your business. Out of those 8-12 hours spent building someone else’s dream, try to squeeze in 30 minutes for yourself (just don’t get fired doing so). Every minute counts towards your goal.

Planning:

A plan should be laid out for at least a year moving forward from letting your job go. Entrepreneurship is filled with the unknown, but planning out your ideas and actions can be very helpful. There should be no plan B, your initial plan is going to work out!

Network:

Begin acting like a full-time entrepreneur NOW! Attend events to network and connect with others to begin building the buzz about your business. This will give you a great feel for how full-time entrepreneur life will feel. You’ll do countless hours of networking, building and marketing to keep your business in the know.

Use Your Skills:

One of the greatest assets of my business is that I took everything I learned from all of my previous jobs and applied them to my work ethic in running my own business. I have such great customer skills because I was a customer service rep for over five years. Everything that I learned in my training classes and courses, I apply to my business. Great things can come from the last days of your job. Soak up all information, skills and knowledge that you can and use them towards your own business.

Save:

This transition will not happen overnight, which can be a great thing. It will give you more time to prepare and save. With being an entrepreneur, money is the biggest issue. You’ll need to either find funding or use your own finances to get your business started and to keep it thriving. Now is the time to start pouring more dollars into your savings account. You should have at least six months worth of your living expenses saved, just incase you fall on hard times during your journey. Even if you do not have that amount of money saved, still continue on your path. Sometimes those hard times make you work harder, trust me.

Mia Ray is fashion blogger, business owner, fab mom of two and mompreneur. 

Serious Question: Do You Remove Your Wedding Ring For Interviews?

May 24th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Would You Ever "Upgrade" Your Engagement Ring?

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Yesterday, one of my colleagues brought an interesting article to my attention, which was published by XO Jane. The essay was titled “Why I Don’t Wear My Engagement Ring To Interviews,” and the writer, who opted to remain anonymous, explained why she eventually decided to leave her diamond ring at home when meeting with potential employers. Despite the fact that she never experienced any noticeable forms of discrimination when interviewing while wearing her ring, she determined that another way to stack the odds in her favor was to present herself sans the ring because discrimination.

On some levels, I completely understand her concern. It seems that when interviewing for a new position, you have to present yourself as a flawless specimen of humanity just to be considered a serious candidate. Any tiny indication that you might cause a potential disruption in the workflow, and your interviewer will escort you out of the door faster than you can ask, “How soon should I expect to hear from you?” And although it’s illegal, I suppose that some employers might avoid hiring an engaged woman or married woman of childbearing age out of concern that she may take time off due to wedding plans and potential future pregnancies; however, I imagine that hiring managers with this kind of mindset are in the minority, or at the very least, I would hope so. In my mind, I was thinking, “Who the hell even pays attention to the jewelry someone is wearing on a job interview?” And then, I stumbled across this quote anonymously submitted by one manager to LearnVest explaining why they check for wedding bands on interviews.

This is an entry-level job, and the people we hire are usually fresh out of college. If I see a wedding band, there’s a good probability that candidate is going to start a family soon,” said the manager. “If I hire her, and she goes on maternity leave, I can’t legally fire her, but I still have to find someone else to replace her while she’s gone. When she comes back I can’t fire her either, so now I’m stuck with two employees when all I needed was one. No thanks.”

Sigh. And apparently, it’s not illegal, only frowned upon, to discriminate against a potential employee because of their marital status or impending marital status. However, it is illegal to discriminate against women because they are mothers or may become mothers somebody, yet plenty of employers in the United States get away with this kind if behavior every day. For example, this manager disturbingly confessed to trapping potential employees into conversations about children by placing a photo of their niece and nephew on their desk during interviews.

“Kids are a distraction to this job, which requires long hours and weekends,” the manager reasoned. “I won’t hire someone who has other priorities.”

Shiesty.

Personally, being discriminated against due to my marital status never been a real concern of mine. I’m usually more concerned that I’ll be discriminated against because of my race, first and foremost; however, perhaps I should reconsider. I mean, I clearly, can’t hide the fact that I’m Black, but discrimination during the hiring process due to marital status can easily be avoided by just removing a ring.

Ladies, do you remove your wedding ring when interviewing for a new job? Have you ever experienced discrimination because of your marital status?

Skip The Fancy Present: College Graduates Need The Gift Of Financial Literacy

May 19th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Can you remember how you felt after you graduated from college? Aside from being happy I had a degree, it made me feel like a real adult. Granted I was already living in my own apartment and starting my career (I had a salaried position with a design company my senior year), I didn’t feel like I had all the answers.

No matter how much you try to prepare, there’s always some area where you lack basic knowledge. It’s understandable considering many college students had assistance from their parents and never truly tasted what the real world has to offer. If only there was a “Real World 101” course during my time in school that prepared me for what’s in store.

Maybe there is now.

One thing is quite clear: college graduates today lack a basic understanding of financial management and planning. Failure to grasp these essentials unfortunately can and will lead to high debt and improper planning for the future.

Perhaps we need to focus on teaching our loved ones personal finance instead of patting them on the back and handing them an expensive gift when they cross the stage.

A new survey called Money Matters on Campus is taking a look at first-year college students across the United States, and sheds light on what they know about debt and personal finance. With tuition and student loans on the rise, the study also reveals college graduates have an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and 16.8 percent underemployment rate. More than half of the students surveyed fear not being able to pay back their student loans (many will default) with a general consensus of feeling ill-prepared to manage money.

Young adults today aren’t acquiring wealth like their parents and as a result are holding off on marriage, having kids and home ownership. More are managing money on their own and are likely to have credit cards, but not budget, save or invest. What’s sad is that some will even resort to payday loans which are usually a financial kiss of death.

After reading the survey I found something very interesting that sheds light on students in two and four-year institutions. According to the survey, graduates from two-year college programs are more likely to possess money savvy and responsibility. While 26 percent live paycheck-to-paycheck compared to 16 percent of four-year students, they lead in areas of balancing checkbooks, using budgets (60 percent of two-year students have one compared to only 39 percent of four-year students), and mindful spending when their money is low.

I have a younger sister finishing up her sophomore year in college, enrolled in the business honors program. We have frequent chats about life after graduation that include what to expect and common banking practices. While she thankfully won’t have college debt thanks to academic scholarships, she is concerned about finding a good enough job that will help make her as self-sufficient as possible.

My son and my bun baking in the oven are way too young to understand anything about money. My husband and I invest in their academic future through 529 college savings plan but will keep an open dialogue regarding personal finance and what to expect. As parents, it’s our job to give as much financial advice as possible so they can reach greater heights and hopefully not make the same mistakes.

What conversations are you having with your children about money? Here are some reads you might want to check out.

Financial Lessons We Wish Our Parents Taught Us Sooner Than Later

Money Advice You’ve Head But Don’t Follow

10 Steps You Can Take to Build Your Financial Empire

How to Start Investing

How to Build a Financial Portfolio

Mom On The Move: Mommynoire Editor Kweli Wright

May 17th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Mommynoire editor, Kweli I. Wright

Mommynoire editor, Kweli I. Wright

Mom On The Move is a weekly profile of a mom mover and shaker. Women we admire, who inspire us and who have amazing stories to share, oh and they happen to have kids, too! While we love to talk about celebrity moms and their fabulous lives, we also love (and need) to know about real moms who are out here doing it all, just as fabulously. This week we’re profiling Mommynoire’s very own editor Kweli I. Wright.

When it comes to Moms On The Move no one embodies that life more than Madamenoire’s very own parenting editor, Kweli I. Wright, who has been moving and shaking as a journalist for over 20 years. So it makes sense that when it comes to parenting content for African American women, this writer/editor/interviewer is at the top of her game. She recently took time to talk with us about her fascinating journey, and how it lead her to where she is today.

What do you do at Madamenoire?

I’m the editor at Mommynoire, which is the parenting arm of Madamenoire. It’s shaping the content that goes up on the site. I edit, hire writers, handle the social media, work with brand for contests and promotions. It’s a pretty all-encompassing job. I think back to when I started 20 years ago, working for a publication was very different. Generally, if you were a writer, you’d write, and editors would edit. It’s evolved where you have to bring a lot of skills to the table.

How did you become an editor?  

I went to school for journalism and I started as a writer working at the local newspaper in Staten Island. One day, my mom gave my resume to someone in our building whose daughter worked at the Village Voice and I got a call. It was an amazing experience. I was the executive assistant to the editor-in-chief, Karen Durbin was an amazing mentor. I got to sit in on the meetings with all these major writers. She was the first person to tell me that I could do this. It was at the Voice that I started covering entertainment and hip hop, which lead to me freelancing with magazines like The Source, Vibe and XXL, and ultimately lead me to my next job in radio.

What did you do in radio?

I worked for a syndicated radio company called MJI Broadcasting. Back then, you wouldn’t be able to talk to Diddy or Destiny’s Child via social media, so they would come through my office in New York City and I would interview them for an hour about anything that I could think of to ask because you never knew when they’d be back. That interview would be cut and sent to radio stations throughout the country.

Did you enjoy it?

I was in my early 20’s and it was another amazing experience because there were really no rules. It was get the story, find the story, make a story. It definitely helped me to become an editor because I had to start thinking about what might make a good story and the different angles.

What did you do next?

From there I worked at another amazing company 360 Hip Hop with Russell Simmons, which was a groundbreaking website with some of the most talented writers, editors, and creatives in the business. We built the site from the ground up.

It was after they got bought out by BET and I went to work there for a while that I decided to take a break. I got pregnant with my daughter Sascha and started working with my mom’s dessert catering company, making cakes all day. I did that until Sascha was about a year old, and then I ended up going back to work for Russell, this time as a managing editor at GlobalGrind, another website that he was launching.

How did you balance work with a new baby?

I’ve always been a single mom so my own mom was and still is my rock. She was there to take care of Sascha while I spent a lot of time away from home, working really late hours. 

How did you end up at Madamenoire?

After I left GlobalGrind, I was freelancing. It was around 2009 when I saw a listing on Craigslist about a site geared towards women of color. It was intriguing to me because I had experience with startups, and I also liked that it was going to be a place where African American women could talk about style, beauty, culture and careers. I felt like there were so many representations for Caucasian women, but for us there was Essence and that was basically it.

How did the parenting come into play?

I was part of the very small team–there were three or four of us–that launched the site so we designed the layout, started on Twitter and Facebook … While were trying to figure out what the content should be, and by then Sascha was a toddler, so I ended up doing the first parenting articles on Madamenoire. It wasn’t a big thing back then, but now the interest around parenting and motherhood, especially celebrity, is booming.

Are you passionate about moms?

Yes, I love this space because I think we all struggle with the guilt and the allusive balance thing that never really happens, but it’s also about taking care of ourselves and making sure we’re alright so we can take care of our families.

Are the hours flexible?

At this company, yes. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work from home a few days a week. I get much more done at home. Sometimes it goes by fast and I look up and it’s time to get my daughter, but she knows that when she gets in she does her homework and I’m on the computer finishing up until 5:00 p.m., at least. It’s like you see me over here at my desk, but play like you really don’t see me. (laughs) I had to explain that to her and now she gets it.

What’s the best part about your job?

Right now, since I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, editing is much more fulfilling than the writing. I like being able to help other writers craft their voices.

How do you balance it all?

It hit me like a ton of bricks a few months ago, when my daughter, she’s now 10 and has something new that she’s doing every week, asked me what I do for fun. I didn’t know. It was a light bulb moment to not make my life about just taking care of her and work. It made me really think and start to do fun things for myself. First, I started working out seriously, I’m making more time for friends and taking up hobbies I had let go of in the past few years. 

What’s next for Kweli?

I definitely see myself continuing to develop super content for moms. 

 

Petition Demands Ban On Inclusion Of Heels In Office Dress Codes

May 16th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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I will never forget some of my professor’s parting words during our final days in my Media, Culture, and Society class: “In addition to their desire to objectify us, men only want women to wear heels in the workplace because they slow us down, ultimately making us appear as weaker competitors in their eyes.” Truest words ever spoken.

Out of all of the office environments I’ve worked in, heels have always been an optional part of the dress code. You can wear them if you feel inclined to do so, but they certainly have never been a requirement. Unfortunately, some working women haven’t been so lucky, and now, women everywhere are calling for reform.

Nicole Thorp of London, who was sent home without pay from her temp job as a receptionist at finance company PwC because she didn’t wear heels, started an Internet petition urging the parliament to protect women from these kinds of dress codes. The petition reads:

It’s still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will. Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work, if they wish. Current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist.

In an interview with BBC London, Thorp alleged that she was told by her employer that she is required to wear shoes with a “2 to 4-inch heel.” She refused and argued that her male counterparts were not being obligated to adhere to the same dress code.

“I said ‘if you can give me a reason as to why wearing flats would impair me to do my job today, then fair enough’, but they couldn’t,” she explained. “I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms. I said ‘I just won’t be able to do that in heels.”

Mashable was informed by a PwC spokesperson that heels are not required by their company dress code and explained that they were in talks with outsourcing firm Portico regarding the policy.

So far, Thorp’s petition has garnered over 130,000 signatures.

How Choosing The Right Spouse Helps Your Career

May 13th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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How Choosing The Right Spouse Helps Your Career

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Selecting the right life partner is not only crucial to your overall well-being but also, your career, a new study suggests.

According to Inc, the study led by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that those with sensible and reliable partners are more likely to receive better performance reports in the workplace, earn more money and score more promotions.

What’s even better is that researchers say that having a partner with these traits helped both men and women. Apparently, it all comes down to having a conscientious partner who demonstrates model behavior such as performing more household tasks and proving their reliability in other ways. Conscientious partners not only promote a better home life, which allows their spouses to focus more on work, but it is also likely their husbands or wives will begin to emulate their behavior.

“These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one’s professional life.”

Years ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told a room full of professionals that the person you choose to marry is the most important decision any woman will make concerning her career.

“The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we’re 50/50,” Sandberg said at the 2011 IGNITION Conference in New York before going on to share just how crucial it is to have a supportive partner. Of course, you don’t need a partner to be successful, but if you’re going to have one, it will behoove you to pick someone who is supportive and according to this new study, conscientious.

Redefining What It Means To Be A Career-Loving Mother

May 11th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Michelle and son

Michelle and son

By Michelle Matthews-Alexander

So I admit it, I have working mom issues. On the one hand, I am fortunate enough to have an amazing career that has allowed me to not only develop professionally, but also personally. However, I still have issues! I’m not talking about the kind of issues that could potentially land me on the comfy couch of a therapist; I’m talking about those annoying working mom issues. You know, the issues that have you questioning whether your decision to leave your child at home to work nine to ten hours out of the day is the right thing to do.  The issues that have you constantly checking in with your child’s sitter to make sure that things are running smoothly, while simultaneously slipping into yet another Monday morning client meeting.

You see my issues started way before I even birthed my son. Before he was even here I was struggling internally trying to figure out how was I going to remain dedicated to my career while trying to navigate this new world which would soon consist of actually being someone’s mother.  Did I even still want a career?  Did having a child now mean that I could forget about career progression? How would I figure out my travel schedule with a little one at home? After grappling with this issue for more than 14 months, that’s 14 months after giving birth (my son is now 19 months), I have finally come to the point in my life’s journey as a mother where I realize that I can in fact be a “Career-Loving Mother.”

What is a career-loving mother you might ask? Let me explain.

I’ve come to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with still wanting to have a successful career after having a child and that you can even continue to love your career. It really is all about the balance. It’s about balancing family time with career time and knowing when to drive, slow down and stop.

There is no denying that I am in love with my son. I literally look forward to coming home to his smiling face after a long day at the office and simply melt on the inside after getting off of a long flight and seeing him and my husband after being away for a couple of days. Is it difficult? Absolutely. But, what I’ve learned is that it is possible to love your career and still adore and embrace your role as a mother. It simply does not have to be one or the other; hate one aspect of your life, love the other.

In fact, it’s my personal belief that we owe it to ourselves and to our little ones to have a passion outside of our roles as mothers. Although I spend countless hours checking in on him, Face Timing him and calling him at our scheduled 12:00 talk time, I still wouldn’t trade the experience that I have being able to have the best of both worlds for anything. We have such a bond with each other that I think has only strengthened with the time that we do spend apart.

Like I said earlier, it’s not easy. Trust me, I have days where I am feeling completely exhausted and wonder if my decisions are really the rights ones. I can admit that I even sometimes get a little envious of those moms that can spend every day with their children, if they so choose to. But, what I’ve learned is that this is my journey, and quite frankly, it’s one that millions of women, no matter the socioeconomic status, must grapple with. So, I do what I only know how to do best, and that’s embrace it and cherish it as just one special part of my life’s journey.

How do you define what it means to be a career-loving mother?

Michelle Matthews-Alexander is the founder and publisher of blackglamourmom.com a mommy and lifestyle destination for young, fashionably chic, career and entrepreneurial-minded moms who refuse to trade their luxury crossovers for minivans and their Christian Louboutin heels for Crocs, just because they’ve entered the wonderful world of mommy-hood.

Alternatives To Coffee To Drink During The Workday For More Energy And Less Stress

May 2nd, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Did you know that most of us will spend over $1,000 on Starbucks before this year is over? Most of us are looking for a little pick-me-up when it comes to facing a long day at work. And while coffee is one of the most popular drinks in America when it comes to increasing energy, it isn’t the only beverage it pays to drink at work.

Coffee may give you a caffeine boost, but that’s not all most of us need to get through a day at our desks. Whether you need to stay calm while dealing with an influx of assignments at work, build up your energy (without compromising your sleep at night), or do what you can to keep from snapping at your co-workers, there are lots of drinks that are perfect for a long day at work. And no worries, they don’t require a coffee pot or coffee cup to make.

Working From Home Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Work

April 27th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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For whatever reason, some people who work traditional 9-to-5 jobs think those of us who collect a check from home are kicking back as if we have a day off and nothing to do. In the words of Maury Povich, the lie detector determined… that was a lie.

Working from home seems like a piece of cake, I get it. There are certain perks that come with being a stay-at-home entrepreneur or telecommuter. For starters, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear and whether or not traffic will be a mother heading into the office. I for one was never a heels type of gal and enjoy walking into my office on the daily with leggings and a casual shirt.

Regardless of what you think or heard, working from home isn’t always a walk in the park. Sure it does give you freedom from office drama and a boss breathing down your neck, but my oh my does it come with its own can of worms.

While it might look like I’m living the glamorous life to friends and family, those who are in my inner circle know it comes with a cost. For starters, my hours tend to be longer than most people I know who work in a traditional office. Some of my girlfriends stare at the clock to leave for the day while I’m trying to remember if I made dinner so I can put in a few extra hours. Weekend tasks are an unfortunate but sometimes necessary reality as you might need to do a little more in order to get ahead. Since I run my own show, if something doesn’t get done, it falls on my shoulders to do it. You can’t “milk the clock” and still collect a check. If you don’t deliver, you don’t get paid.

And let’s not even talk about vacations or maternity leave. Those who are business owners or in the freelance world typically have to work on the double in order to cover the days they plan to miss. With five weeks to go in my second pregnancy and plans for celebrating my wedding anniversary out of town, I can’t tell you how many nights I had to burn the midnight oil in order to make sure things will be on auto-pilot. Some of my gal pals who recently had children are fortunate enough to work for jobs that have paid maternity leave. With my first child, I “took off” two weeks. This time around I hope to be able to have at least a month since I’ll have two children under two.

Speaking of children, if you’re a work-from-home mommy, there’s really not much of a break you get. Yes I truly count my blessings when it comes to not paying childcare, but good gracious work days tend to double when you throw a little one into the mix. I actually know a few stay-at-home moms who made the decision to go back to work so they could get a little more peace during the day to concentrate on their jobs.

I’ll never complain about my ability to work from home. I’m living a dream. That doesn’t mean the dream doesn’t come without a cost, or affords me additional hours in the day to kick back and be lazy.

Can anyone else relate?

Everything You Have To Give Up To Move Forward

April 14th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut, it seems like no matter what you do you just keep spinning your wheels. Lord knows you want to move on. And you’ve talked about it, tried it, but another year has gone by, and your goals seem like they’re just as far away as ever.

The trouble could be that even though you’re pushing forward, parts of your life are holding you back. If you want to really move on and live the life you’ve dreamed of, you have to let go of a few anchors first. From toxic friends to self-doubt, there are some weights that are too heavy to move forward with.

We don’t always know about all of the luggage we’re carrying. But once you spot it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can move forward when you get rid of it. Life can be a struggle, but sometimes it’s as easy as opening up your fingers and letting go.