All Articles Tagged "work life balance"
As much as we all want to do everything possible to make it big in our profession, something has to give. Maybe it will be the hobby you’ve been dying to try or sleep or time with friends. Unfortunately, relationships oftentimes fall into this category. Can we really have it all? Here are some pointers on how to balance your career and love life.
While holidays usually mean time to unwind and unplug away from the office, for some, the work still goes on. We’ve all had to play the balancing act during the holidays: trying to relax with family and friends or on vacation while keeping up with the duties of work, which seem to never take a break.
From urgent work emails to important projects that wrestle for your attention, you may find it difficult to balance your work with play. Get the rest and relaxation you need during your time off without missing a beat at the office with these tips to keep you focused and balanced.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, juggles motherhood, a 34-year marriage, and an executive position at a global brand giant. Of course, Nooyi is often asked, “How do you do it?!” The short answer, according to Mashable, is that she doesn’t — something’s gotta give.
“I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so,” she said at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday. Keepin’ it real, Nooyi — a mother of two daughters — adds, “We pretend we have it all.” Nooyi reveals that at least one role each day must be sacrificed, whether its being a mother, a wife, or an at-hand CEO.
“…[T]he biological clock and the career clock are in total conflict with each other. Total, complete conflict. When you have to have kids, you have to build your career. Just as you’re rising to middle management, your kids need you because they’re teenagers, they need you for the teenage years,” she said.
Nooyi often experiences regret because she cannot always be present for her kids.”If you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom,” she candidly said. Missing morning coffee at her daughter’s Catholic school, for example, is one of the mother-daughter bonding moments that she must forfeit:
My daughter would come home and she would list off all the mothers that were there and say, “You were not there, mom.”
The first few times, I would die with guilt. But I developed coping mechanisms. I called the school and I said, “Give me a list of mothers that are not there.” So when she came home in the evening she said, “You were not there, you were not there.”
And I said, “Ah ha, Mrs. Redd wasn’t there, Mrs. So-and-so wasn’t there. So I’m not the only bad mother.”
Nooyi says that there are, however, a few tactics that she uses to alleviate her mommy duties. Since she travels frequently, Nooyi said that she’d train her staff to act as the interim parent while she’s away. When her daughter Tyra was young, for example, she’d often call the office and ask if she can play Nintendo. Trained by Nooyi, the secretary would ask the little girl a series of questions such as “Did you finish your homework?” before granting Tyra permission to play video games for only 30 minutes.
“Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one,” Nooyi concludes. “How can you do justice to all? You can’t.”
Usually during their morning commute, some people are counting down to the hours where they will be able to leave work and head back home.those “fun-filled” after work activities might not be so fun.
Pennsylvania State University (PSU) research finds people are more stressed at home than at work. Forbes shares, PSU researched 122 people for their study, swabbing their cheek three times a day to measure cortisol levels. Coritsol is a stress hormone and rises when people find themselves in stressful situations. PSU also asked their participants to rate their moods at work and home.
“The surprising finding was that people’s cortisol levels were much lower when they were at work than when they were at home. And this difference seemed to span all socioeconomic statuses. When it came to people’s own perceptions, there was an interesting gender gap: Men said they were happier at home than at work, but women reported being happier at work. This may be partly due to the fact that, although it’s evened out a bit in recent years, there’s still somewhat of an imbalance in household responsibilities.”
The university also concluded, work has become therapeutic because people know exactly what they have to do and their tasks are more team-oriented. Despite constantly relaying frustrations about work, other studies have noted full-time work betters a person’s mental and physical states.
The Washington Post reports sociologist Sarah Damaske theory on this study; Damaske notes mothers are not becoming workaholics because their home life is stressful. She claims the multitasking that comes with home and personal lives, make people excessively exhausted. “I don’t think it’s that home is stressful. When you’re home on Saturday, you’re not working. You go to the park, catch up on laundry. The day goes at a slower pace. I think it’s the combination of the two, work and home, that makes home feel so stressful to people during the work week.”
The suggestion to change the stress levels at home is in fact to become more like Millenials. This generation of people is more known to ask important questions regarding their well-being rather than be at risk for an image. Damaske notes, “But the more we learn, the more we listen to people, like Millennials, who want to find meaningful work, don’t want to be so devoted to work that they don’t have time for their outside lives, the more we can change.”
Can you relate to the outcome of this study? Let us know how you feel in the comment section!
Know how American Idol fans can vote for their favorite singers via text message? Marian Croak made that happen! Do you remember how people donated to Hurricane Katrina and Haiti Earthquake victims by simply pressing five digits, like “90999”? Marian Croak made that happen, too! Croak, currently the Senior Vice President of Architecture and Advanced Services Development at AT&T, made a lot happen.
Croak was once a soft-spoken employee who’s been working for AT&T since 1982. The 30-year-veteran proves that you don’t need to have the loudest bark, per se, to rise up to the top. A mom of three, she manages 2,000 engineers, program managers, and developers. How did she do it? Croak took time out of her busy schedule to talk with MadameNoire about how she moved to the top of the mobile giant!
MadameNoire: You’ve said that you were very soft-spoken. How do you get your voice heard at AT&T?
Marian Croak: I think I’m in the position now where I can make my voice heard just by virtue of the role I’m in. But it wasn’t always that way. About 20 years ago, when I was still fairly new to the company and AT&T was looking at what would replace its legacy wireline phone network, I thought we were about to make a mistake by not moving to Internet protocol. I realized I had to advocate – loudly! – for that technology if AT&T was going to maintain its leadership position. The key was finding a few coworkers who shared my conviction… Our voices together were ultimately able to win over others to our point of view
MN: You started working with AT&T in the 1980s. Was it difficult to prove to your superiors that “anything a man can do, you can do better?”
MC: Actually, when I started at AT&T, while there weren’t a lot of women engineers, I always felt welcomed and encouraged. My managers and coworkers helped me to do great things, and encouraged me to pursue patents on my work. Today, I’m at 156 patents and counting.
MN: Have you seen a significant change in the number of women who pursue technology as a career?
MC: Over the years, the number of women engineers and developers has risen and fallen, and I think we’re on the verge of another upswing. We’re starting to see some numbers suggesting an increasing number of women who are enrolling in computer science classes, which is great news. We need all the smart, qualified folks we can get.
MN: In your HuffPo article “Dear Women in Technology,” you talked about juggling three kids and work. Do you think it’s possible for high-ranking professional women to “have it all”?
MC: Early in my career, I had a great boss and mentor who made it clear that sometimes he wouldn’t be able to attend a meeting or a call because he needed to go to his kid’s baseball game or school activity. He always made sure that the work got done. But the point he was making is that balance is possible if you have the courage to occasionally say “no” to things, or at least find a way to delegate appropriately. Likewise, if I or a colleague needed to step out for our kids, he encouraged that. Our jobs are hard and time-consuming, no question about it. We work long hours. But it’s important to take that personal time. Use your vacation time. Spend time with your kids
MN: You pioneered the technology of texting a truncated number for viewers to vote for their favorite TV show contenders like on American Idol. How?
MC: Actually, the technology I worked on was related to that application, but went a bit further. Back in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina hit, I thought there might be a way to extend the “text your vote” technology to charitable giving. So the patent I developed enabled the “text to donate” technology that has since been widely used when disasters strike. AT&T made that patent freely available for anyone to use without licensing fees. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for example, the American Red Cross raised more than $32 million with help from donations via text.
MN: Describe a typical day in your shoes as SVP of Domain 2.0 Architecture and Advanced Services.
MC: In a typical day I’ll be meeting with engineers, reviewing business plans, and presenting proposals to the most senior leadership at our company. I have a great job. I manage a team of more than 2,000 engineers, developers, designers and other innovation experts [that work on] various next-generation products and services. These folks work in some of our most cutting-edge facilities, such as the AT&T Foundry innovation centers, which look and function like a Silicon Valley-style startup.
MN: Are you working on any projects now for AT&T that you can clue us in on?
MC: My work on the User-Defined Network Cloud is my main focus right now. While it will take a few years before the technology is finalized and widely deployed, I think it’s going to be a huge upgrade.
MN: What advice would you give to young black women who wish to follow in your footsteps?
MC: Go for it. The world is waiting for you.
If you play your cards right, you could potentially score a position with one of Major League Baseball’s 30 organizations! And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a baseball fan to do so. Wendy Lewis, MLB’s SVP of Diversity and Strategic Alliances, gives us the scoop on how to woo the hiring managers and key decision-makers at MLB’s 2014 Diversity Business Summit — a job fair for minority employment seekers, vendors, and entrepreneurs.
The two-day event, taking place on April 14 and 15 in New York City, gives women and men of color a unique opportunity for networking and forming strategic relationships for the betterment of one’s career and goal aspirations. Attendees have landed positions as recruitment interns, sales consultants, membership services coordinators, and more. And Lewis’ says if you want to optimize your experience at the trade fair, you’ll have to be ready for anything.
One tip? “Do your homework,” Lewis pleads. Don’t walk up in the Summit without reading a few news clips on what’s going on in the MLB. Plus, it’ll make conversation flow a lot easier. Here, Lewis reveals the recipe for success at the Summit and even discusses how she — a single mom with three kids — nabbed a coveted high-ranking position at the MLB.
Madame Noire (MN): What’s the ultimate goal of the 2014 Diversity Summit?
Wendy Lewis (WL): The ultimate goal of the Diversity Summit is for people to see that this is the ultimate engagement model. The Summit produces new employment and new procurement [for people of color]… at a much faster and impactful rate than ever before. We want everybody on [the day after the Business Summit] to feel like it was one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.
MN: How should attendees present themselves to create an optimal experience at the 2014 Diversity Summit?
WL: Be prepared to run into anybody! There’ll be folks who might be there that you might not expect! [We might have] other Major League sports teams as our guests. We have a number of Fortune 500 companies who will be there, some will be our sponsors, others not. You just might be sitting next to someone who has a business opportunity for you — and you don’t even know it. Some of the people who have been hired as a result of the Summit ended up were offered a position they never saw coming.
MN: Got any tips and tricks for those who are interested in attending?
WL: Since the Yankees are co-hosting the event, do a little reading to find out how the Yankees are doing, how they’re going through with training, and find out about their new player Mashiro Tanaka. So if you do have the opportunity to meet the Yankees face-to-face, you have a little bit more to talk about other than “I want a job” or “I want a contract.” It’s all about being prepared!
MN: How has MLB’s Diversity Committee evolved over the years?
WL: I know for a fact we have made a difference. I know we have more people of color and women who are our suppliers, vendors, and they provide business services throughout baseball. I know for a fact that more [minorities] are working here, at all levels of baseball, as a result of our advocacy.
MN: Do you need to have an interest in baseball to attend?
WL: It’s really for anyone. I strongly encourage people who aren’t sure about sports — or maybe never thought about it — to attend. Anyone who attends will learn so much more; they’ll know, indefinitely, whether or not [working with the MLB] is a good fit. I haven’t met anyone who’s regretted going.
MN: So tell us how you moved up the ranks to your position as Senior Vice President.
WL: It’s always about moving up the ladder. I’ve taken advantage of opportunities; I had to be open to making big moves. Life doesn’t go quite as neat or as convenient as we’d like it to be, so in some cases, I had to take risks. I was always taught to work as hard at the job that you’re in as the next one you want.
I was working with kids as a camp counselor until I finally got into professional ranks and that [mindset] got me working in baseball. My baseball opportunity came about because I had a background in human resources and sales. It wasn’t because I knew a lot about baseball or because I played or liked sports. Employers look for individuals who have a tenacity to grow and show results…You need to be willing to be innovative, take risks, and work hard; that’s what has been a catalyst for [my] movement forward.
MN: You’re a single mom with three daughters. How do you achieve work-life balance?
WL: When you get into management and professional positions, you’re working all the time – even when your body is not physically in the workplace. That really does become a balancing act whether you’re married with children or single with children.
People might not agree with me on this but I don’t believe in thinking that you can “have it all.” I remember making some very hard decisions – making sure that at a certain time, in the workplace, I had to go [home to my family]. And other times, my children had to deal with the hardship of knowing that mom won’t be able to make a tennis match or mom is going to miss something because I have to work. I can’t make everyone happy all the time. My kids have had to sometimes hold their own and [sometimes] my workplace has to respect that family comes first.
The 3rd annual 2014 Diversity Summit will be held on April 14-15th at the Manhattan Hotel and The New Yorker. Click here to register and attend!
Let’s lay down the facts: 60 percent of male CEOs have a stay-at-home spouse while only 10 percent of female CEOs have the same luxury, ThinkProgress reports. The result? Women in executive positions find themselves in hair-pulling dilemmas when it comes to work/life balance. And men? Not so much.
Due to harrowing thoughts of balancing a shrieking baby and an iPad, many female executives decide to forgo children. According to a study compiled by the Harvard Business School, male CEOs have an average of 2.22 children — high-ranking women have an average of 1.68 children. “Because I’m not a mother, I haven’t experienced the major driver of inequality: having children,” one of the surveyed women said.
Marriage, as you might expect, is another daunting thought for female CEOs. The high-ranking men in the survey didn’t seem fazed by the “I Do’s” at all. In fact, 90 percent of the men surveyed were married. By contrast, only 70 percent of women walked down the aisle.
“Women interviewed were more likely to say that they avoided marriage and children entirely because they don’t want to deal with the potential conflict,” Jessica Grose, a Slate contributor, wrote.
Men are put at ease when it comes to marriage and children — the stats show that help at home, which often satisfies the work/life balance, is more readily available for them. As these male CEOs see themselves the providers, they feel little remorse when they spend time away from their families.“Male executives admit they don’t prioritize their families enough, and they don’t seem too bothered by it,” Grose writes.
Also, consider this account from a divorced male CEO in the survey:
“Looking back, I would have still made a similar decision to focus on work, as I was able to provide for my family and become a leader in my area, and these things were important to me,” he said.
Women, on the other hand, are much more apprehensive about taking on such taxing duties. One woman explained that she didn’t want to be put in a position where she felt ashamed for being more present at work:
“What is the most difficult thing…what I see my woman friends leave their careers for — is the real emotional guilt of not spending enough time with their children. The guilt of missing out,” she said.
For women in executive positions, lumbering up to the tippy top is already quite a climb. So it’s understandable that they might not want to jeopardize their standing in corporate America. “Nearly 30 percent of mothers have had to quit their job to care for someone, compared to 10 percent of fathers,” ThinkProgress adds.
But it can be done. Check out Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, with a 21- and 17-year-old!
Would you want a stay-at-home husband as you reign as CEO of a company?
We usually post our tips at the beginning of the day, but with things being a little hectic here today, it kept getting pushed back. The next thing we knew, it was 3:30. Then it was 5pm. How many times has this happened to you? The whole day gets away from you, and before you know it, it’s just about time to knock off.
Your first instinct is to huff and puff. You want to leave! The kids are waiting! Hubby’s hungry! You should get to the gym! You’re going to be late for the drink with the friend you haven’t seen in ages! But you continue to toil away.
Guess what. It’s Friday. If you have a project that simply must get done, yes. Duty calls and you have to fulfill your responsibilities.
But if you’re stressing about something that can wait, then you’re stressing for no reason. Wrap up the necessities and go home. That’s right… calmly stack your papers, shut off your computer, put on your jacket, and step away from the desk. At a certain point (usually around wine-thirty, when your brain signs off and you start thinking about the Netflix that’s waiting to be watched), all productivity goes out the window and you’re just spinning your wheels.
So go ahead. Walk out the door. Have a good weekend. We’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning.
Whether you own a business, work freelance, or are simply a work-a-holic, it’s important to learn how to manage a work-life balance. While it may be the American way to live to work, you’ll be much happier — and infinitely healthier — if you can begin working to live. The irony is that being a work-a-holic actually backfires by making you less efficient and ultimately getting less done, rather than more. Keep these tips in mind to keep you from functioning at anything less than your best:
Make time for exercise. Exercise improves your immune system. Outside of your physical health, keeping fit also improves your mental health (mood and cognitive functions, like memory and concentration). To keep it from being torture, set aside just 20 minutes at a time and make it something you enjoy. That 20 minutes will go by so fast, you won’t think twice about continuing your workout.
Quality time with friends and family. Everybody needs social support. Allocate time every now and again for outings with friends or relaxing with family. When it’s time to unwind and have fun, do it. Don’t hang with friends or family with one eye on your cell phone waiting for emails or other work updates.
Learn something new. Working hard without giving yourself time to explore something out of the ordinary makes life monotonous. It’s hard to stay creative when you’re exposed to the same thing day after day. As you become good at other things besides work, you’ll be surprised at how much fuller your life becomes. Free your mind from work alone.
Daily reflection. Take time away from everyone, even if only 15 minutes a day. This time is meant for you to be conscious of your goals, your dreams and your life purpose. Time alone also allows you to temporarily distance yourself from stressors. Warning: Don’t use this time to worry about work. Simple meditation techniques can be a great help in bringing your stress levels down.
Hindsight is 20/20. Too often that optometry-inspired axiom holds true. But if wisdom comes in a moment of reflection, it’s probably too late. Minimize your coulda-shoulda-wouldas. Here are nine things you should know before you go all in and start your business.