All Articles Tagged "work life balance"

Can a Working Mom Have It All? Yes, But She’d Have To Play Dirty Like Her Male Co-Workers

May 8th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Male employees may seem like the “ideal” workers in corporate America, but the truth is that just know how to play dirty. Women, on the other hand, are not coming out on top because they just don’t know how to work the system, Salon reports.

A new study surveyed 115 employees in a high-end consulting firm, all of them slammed with stressful demands including around-the-clock availability and long hours. But while both men and women found the work culture taxing, the gentlemen coped with the demands in a slightly more cunning manner in comparison to the ladies.

“…Many men at the firm fudged the numbers to make it seem like they were working more hours than they really were. They also used their professional relationships to schedule meetings at convenient hours and benefited from coverage provided by their colleagues,” Salon wrote.

Women faced the same challenges, but did not finagle their way through the system. Women were more likely to file for official, rather than informal, requests for flexible hours and other accommodations. As a result, women received poorer performance reviews and were marginalized in the company.

Even though men worked relatively the same hours as their female counterparts, they made it seem like they put in a lot more time on the job by fibbing the hours they spent on the clock. In this way, “men were able to make time for work, family and leisure while still living up to the ‘ideal worker image,’ Salon said.

“..Many men found unobtrusive, under-the-radar ways to alter the structure of their work (such as cultivating mostly local clients, or building alliances with other colleagues), such that they could work predictable schedules in the 50 to 60 hour range,” lead investigator Harry Reid, professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, wrote. “In doing so, they were able to work far less than those who fully devoted themselves to work, and had greater control over when and where those hours were worked, yet were able to ‘pass’ as ideal workers, evading penalties for their noncompliance.”

Women, on the other hand, made their demands overtly, which nibbled away at their perceived performance on the job.

So yes, women can “have it all.” She can be an outstanding employee and mother, but she’d have to excel in office politics to compete with her male counterparts.

Peace Out! Can You Guess The Top Reason Why Employees Quit?

May 6th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Maybe it’s the paltry pay, a finicky boss, or ridiculously long work hours — whatever it is, every employee has a boiling point. According to a new survey, the No. 1  vexation among co-workers worldwide that would drive most of us to yell, “I quit!”… and that’s minimal wage growth, CNN Money reports.

The survey, conducted by EY, surveyed about 10,000 employees  in eight of the world’s largest economies including the United States, Brazil, Mexico, India, Japan, and China.

After stagnating salaries, a lack of advancement opportunities came in second place for quit-worthy factors. According to a 2014 LinkedIn survey, slim opportunities for advancement was the No.1 reason why workers left their jobs in the U.S., The Washington Post said.

Other reasons for throwing in the towel include work environments that do not foster teamwork (71 percent); bosses who do not allow flexibility on when and where their employees work, such as telecommuting (65 percent); and offices that punish their workers for opting for more flexible schedules (67 percent).

CNN Money points to a term called “flexibility stigma” — workplaces that say they offer easygoing schedules for employees, but really, they would rather you not. These workplaces create a fear culture where employees are too afraid to take on more flexible schedules. “For instance, they worry they could be penalized by being passed over for promotion, not getting a raise or worse,” CNN Money added.

Another pain in the rear for employees is a high demand for overnight business travel — 62 percent would quit in a minute.

Most interestingly, CNN Money adds, more than half would jump ship if their co-workers didn’t share the same life hassles as they did.

“They would leave a job if there…are too few senior managers who are juggling busy family lives — e.g., those who have kids or those who have kids and a spouse who also works.”

Just last week, we reported on a separate survey that found respect was most important to workers. However, respect also comes in the form of financial reward. Paying a competitive salary shows that workers are appreciated and their work, valued.

Can you relate to any of these leading factors for quitting?

Women Say Balanced Relationships Are Not An Option If Their Work Conditions Don’t Improve

January 22nd, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Cosmopolitan reports, researchers Sarah Thébaud and David S. Pedulla reveal in their new study that more women would actively “lean in” their careers if they were afforded flexible scheduling, parental leave and subsidized health care. By using the term “lean in” (coined by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer  Sheryl Sandberg ) women would be striving to acquire senior level positions in their workplace, however, the Thébaud and Pedulla’s study shows women between the ages of 18 and 32 believe their work and life balance would have to be an ideal utopia before that can happen.

Sixty-five percent of the women who participated in the study were completing their undergraduate studies or had college degrees. They all desired egalitarian relationships, though 30 percent of women did not crave balanced relationships with their partner unless their workplace policies improved. During an interview with Cosmopolitan, Thébaud stated:

“Basically [the study shows] that if we were to have broader, wider access to these kinds of policies, we would see more and more women taking up a greater share of employment and men taking up a greater share of caregiving. Now, on average, we still see men as the ones who are primarily responsible for earning income, but if these workplace policies were in place, men would help with caregiving and that would help women lean in to their careers more. That would enable everyone to have what the majority of people want, which is egalitarian relationships.”

After President Obama’s State Of The Union address, many women can look forward to paid and sick family leave as a benefit in the upcoming years. The President noted in his speech:

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America — by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.”

By having more affordable childcare, mothers can focus on their relationships with their partners, strive to take more career opportunities and create the balance they deserve in.

Make The Money, Don’t Let It Make You: How To Gain Control Of Your Work-Life Balance

October 3rd, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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At some point all of your late nights in the office and bringing work home is going to catch up with you. You need to slow your roll before you get bulldozed into days of strife and stress. If you find this nightmare to be your reality, you are not alone. There are plenty of us out there who do our best to control our demands at work with our home, but can’t seem to keep it all together.

Something has to give.

We’ve got some tips on ways to balance your work and personal life that will hopefully give you some much needed peace.

Read 10 Signs You Have a Bad Relationship with Work

Can We Really Have It All? How To Balance Your Career & Love Life

August 20th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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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.

10 Ways To Juggle Work & Play During A Holiday

July 7th, 2014 - By Blair Bedford
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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.

“I Don’t Think Women Can Have It All”: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Gets Real About Work-Life Balance

July 3rd, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Nooyi at Time's 100 Most Influential People gala in '08. PNP/WENN

Nooyi at Time’s 100 Most Influential People gala in ’08. PNP/WENN

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.

“I’m serious, if you don’t develop mechanisms with your secretaries, with the extended office, with everybody around you, it cannot work,” Nooyi said, according to The Atlantic.

“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.”

A New Study Says You’re More Stressed At Home Than At Work

May 27th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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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.

PSU found:

“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!

Marian Croak Went From Soft-Spoken Employee To SVP At AT&T With 156 Patents

April 1st, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Marian Croak1Know 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!

MadameNoireYou’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.

MNIn 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.

Major League Baseball Exec Wendy Lewis Has Tips To Help With Your Job Search!

March 11th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Wendy LewisIf 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!