Tag Archives: Career

millennials in the workforce

The Secret to Successfully Leading Millennials

They’re accused of being overly ambitious, demanding, self-absorbed and high maintenance. Ask any 30 plus manager and they’ll tell you this and more. But are they?

Actually, many of the twenty-something employees – those born between 1980 and 2000—often referred to as Generation Y or the Millennials—are getting a bad rap. The reality is, they’re highly educated, talented, innovative, capable and loyal, but many of the older generation leaders have failed to learn how to deal with millennials in the workforce. Those who have will be the movers and shakers of the future. Those who don’t—won’t. It’s that simple. And if you think it’s not important to do a little changing yourself, think again.

According to the Conference Board, some 64 million skilled workers will be eligible for retirement by the end of this decade. A majority of those are Boomers. There are 78.5 million Boomers—many who have already fled the workforce, and there are 79.8 million Millennials according to Census Bureau figures. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the future is—it’s “them.” So smart thinking says—get with it. Know them, understand them and adapt your old ways to accommodate the new.

Who Are They?

Millennials in the workforce are achievement-oriented, sociable, talented, confident, inclusive, optimistic, and if they don’t like your work environment, they’ll be gone with the click of a mouse. Why? For a number of reasons; here are a few:

  • They expect to be special and valued. For the most part, their parents often intervened on their behalf, ensuring they would be treated well. Parents challenged poor grades, visited college campuses, helped them make best-fit decisions and used their own connections to ease their way. As kids, they liked their parents negotiating on their behalf. As a matter of fact, they simply “like” their parents. A 2001 survey conducted by Lou Harris found that Mom and Dad were most often named as the ones most young people admired.
  • They are comfortable with multi-tasking and multiculturalism. This generation grew up with very little free time. Parents signed them up for baseball camp, swimming teams, ballet lessons, and more, shuttling them constantly from door to door. In school, they were loaded with homework and rewarded for extracurricular activities. They faced pressures generally held only by adults. They grew up with more ethnicities and cultures than any generation before and multicultural interactions became their norm.
  • They value friends, inclusiveness and doing what’s right. A world that connects people 24/7 around the globe made them interdependent on both family and friends. Many prefer online chats to talking on the phone. They have been taught to live life for the greater good and demonstrate a high rate of volunteerism. They’re used to being part of a team and think it’s important to leave no one behind. They like being friends with their coworkers and expect a work environment that’s fair to all and committed to creating a sustainable environment.
  • They are goal-oriented and want involvement now. This generation has been told they can have it all—by their parents as well as TV and the print media. It’s not uncommon for them to arrive at work with a planned set of goals for their expected future. They recognize they still have things to learn, but they also expect to be involved and respected for their thoughts and ideas.

What do Millennials in the workforce want?

Here are a few things Millennials in the workforce want from their job:

  • They want to be treated respectfully. Don’t presume their inexperience brings no valuable thinking to the table.
  • They want to work in a positive and friendly environment. Don’t play politics.
  • They want to be challenged and to continue to grow. Don’t put them in a box with limiting, routine tasks.
  • They want flexible schedules. To them, it’s results that count, not the fact they may want to leave early one day to attend their kid’s soccer game.
  • They want to learn new knowledge and skills. They’ve come from a fast-paced technological world and they don’t want to miss what’s new, what’s now.
  • They expect to be included; they thrive on collaboration. When their technical savvy and new-learned knowledge is accepted as equally as important as your experience and wisdom, the blended teamwork can accomplish many great things.

A survey conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison found that 60 percent of employers are already experiencing intergenerational tensions at work. The movers and shakers who recognize the impact of this tension will do their best to avoid it by giving serious attention to blending the best of each generation, adapting to meet the needs of all and in so doing, will soar beyond their competition for the future.

Bette Price is the author of True Leaders (Dearborn Trade Press) and along with colleague Mark Holmes conducted quantitative and qualitative GenBlending research from more than 500 Millennials.

female entrepreneurs

Find Your Happy Place as an Entrepreneur

When I ask an entrepreneur how they feel about the fact they’ve created an income producing venture out of thin air, the responses are similar but they all have the same theme – they’re really happy. Through my blog VentureMom, I’ve had the privilege to interview and profile over 300 female entrepreneurs who’ve started their own business venture. Here are some of their feelings.

“It’s really empowering to run your own business. The biggest gift is to be my own boss.” Ashley Cooke – Everything Home and Family

“It was great being close by for my family and to have that flexibility. I wouldn’t change a thing about my path.” Susan Hess – Golftini

“It’s so great that I’m not sitting behind a desk all day and that I’ve built my own business. I love the creative aspect of coming up with new treat recipes.” Carrie Altman – Zoe’s Doggie Delights

“This is so much fun that I don’t even think of it as work.” Suzanne Einstein – Suzanne Einstein Collections

“It’s something I truly love as much today as I did the first day I made my first bar of soap.” Yvonne Oxley – Komfort Zone

“I recently spoke to a group of middle schoolers in Bridgeport. One 13-year-old girl told me she was inspired to work harder in school when she heard that I kept working for 13 years to finish my book and get it published. That made me beam.” Kristen Harnisch – Author – The Vintner’s Daughter and The California Wife

“I’m so grateful that I was able to transition my career based on changing technology and still do something that I’m good at and something I love.” Susan Morrow – Photographer and Photo Organizer

“I’m happy for the first time in a long time, secure in myself. Opening the studio has given me validation, in a sense, that I can take care of myself and be happy in what I’m pursuing.” Whitney Riegel Mooney – HotHatha Yoga

These female entrepreneurs, like most entrepreneurs, love what they do. They feel so happy they get to do what they love. Starting a business around something you truly enjoy should be the first step when you think of what business to start. Flexibility, especially for moms, is one of the best benefits. So many moms who run their own business love the flexibility that being the boss allows. Finally, the financial benefits of creating your business gives the creator an amazing sense of accomplishment.

Do you want to do what you love and get paid for it? Do you want that extra income and the flexibility to create your own path? Join other female entrepreneurs by starting your own business.

inspirational leaders

True Inspirational Leaders Pay It Forward

People can lead in many ways. Position and title describe the level of responsibility with authority, but job descriptions are less important compared to the character of true inspirational leaders who pay it forward. Everyone can have an attitude of giving back. The main quality that demonstrates being true inspirational leaders by paying it forward is to help others succeed. Several ways a leader can assist in helping others is by inspiring them, paying attention to the details of their lives, sharing their network, and being open to learning from others.

Inspirational Leaders Focus on Relationships

Inspiring others starts with building trust by focusing on the relationship. As has been stated, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Listen proactively and seek to understand to develop respect and trust. Also, paying attention to the details of people’s lives conveys sincerity. These communication skills build a strong foundation that leads to enhanced positive feelings. When recognition and appreciation are conveyed by people they respect and trust, it inspires them.

Share Your Network

Adopting an attitude of shared responsibility and common obligation to the community is selfless service to others. Pay it forward by introducing people to your network and attending functions with them. The more sharing of your network to others, the more it grows and opens up opportunities that could be beneficial to everyone. Another way is to assist job seekers by putting them in contact with hiring managers at companies where there are openings. The job seeker may be in a position to help you one day and remember how you helped them.

Be Open to Other Ideas

Lead with humility by being open to learning from others. This attitude and openness expands your knowledge by allowing others to be the teacher. When you accept diversity in others and foster collaborative learning, everyone’s wellbeing is elevated. People who feel good about the people around them and the work they do, will pay it forward for others and be true inspirational leaders. As John Quincy Adams stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

good leader

YOU Don’t Look Like a Good Leader

It’s confirmed. You don’t look like a good leader. Yes, it seems you, me and the entire female gender has a leadership problem. People don’t think we look like leaders. Both men and women seem to have the same troubling opinion. When conjuring up a mental picture of a leader, people picture men, they don’t picture women. Just ugh!

Confirmation of What You Already Knew

A study to be published in The Academy of Management Journal — the place brainiac academics publish their newest research findings — makes that point exceedingly clear.

In an experiment, men and women were asked to draw a picture of a leader. The picture didn’t even have to be of a good leader, just your everyday, person-you-might-know leader. Yep, you guessed it. Almost everyone drew a man. The view in their minds’ eye was of a male face, not a female’s face, and that’s what they drew nearly 100% of the time.

These researchers found what we’ve known all along… getting noticed as a good leader in the workplace is more difficult for women than for men. The research leads us to the finding that both men and women overwhelmingly think man when they think leader. And that’s a leadership problem. Double ugh!

Humans Being Human

How has this happened? It’s complex as you would have guessed. A well-known psychological short cut called Confirmation Bias is right in the middle of it.

Humans depend upon the mental shortcuts evolution has delivered to us. These shortcuts are ways to instantly recognize things we’ve seen before and things we haven’t. Examples: which of these green leaves is not like the other… which red berry is poisonous, and which is tasty…which person is part of our tribe and who is the outsider…which person is the leader and who is not… all decisions made in a blink of an eye using a mental short cut we don’t even know is there. And that short cut is called a “confirmation bias.”

What to Do

  1. Let’s confirm a new reality. Women lead in their work, churches, schools, charities and families. Women leaders are not unusual. What is unusual is the unambiguous, full throated recognition of women as leaders in all the spheres of their lives. It’s time to acknowledge that women’s leadership is woven into the fabric of our lives. Women leaders are everywhere. Let’s tell people that.
  2. Confirm a Woman Leader. Use the word leader as often as you can to describe the women leaders in your own life. Introduce a woman and say she is a leader. It’s not enough to use her title; talk about her being in charge, being the Leader.
  3. Confirm your own leadership. Own what you know. Construct your own personal brand message. You know when and what you lead. If you lead an initiative, team or line of stray cats, label it as an act of leadership. Let’s all use the verb lead to tell others what we do. When you lead something, tell people. They can’t know unless you tell them.

And that’s the way we upend the Confirmation Bias that men look like leaders and women do not.

For more information on personal messaging and developing your own brand message, click here.

References for this article come from a New York times article, Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman? by Heather Murphy.

Academy of Management Journal Wikipedia

Confirmation Bias Wikipedia

job satisfaction

Love Your Career Again: Job Satisfaction Tools

Gee, wouldn’t it be great to be that battery bunny in the Duracell ads? Then we could saunter up to an electrical outlet, plug ourselves in and wham! Re-energized. That’s not going to happen, so we’re on our own to find ways we can even “like” much less “love” our work and find the level of job satisfaction we did early in our careers.

Consider these as 3 Moments for Job Satisfaction Momentum:

1. Learn something new on the job.

Mary is a sales client who was stuck in a rut of doing the same ol’ same ‘ol daily grind of sell, sell, sell; then next year up the ante and do it again. The joy of the sale was gone—replaced by boredom and near burn out.

Mary learned  the company was putting together an innovation task force. The idea was to get people thinking outside the box and thus—yes, you guessed it—SELL MORE. Nevertheless, the topic of innovation was intriguing to her.

After four months on the task force, everyone was taught a process to think more creatively, recognize how innovation could help them in their personal lives as well as at work, learn what skills were necessary to take action on great ideas and identify where innovation was successfully being used in other companies.

This possibility thinking was exciting to Mary. She took all she learned back to her district to share and use in their respective markets. The results did, indeed generate additional sales. More importantly, Mary’s excitement inspired others to embrace possibility thinking both at work and at home.

2. Refresh your environment.

You know how you feel with a new hair style or new outfit, right? So why not increase job satisfaction by refreshing your work space with a new “do.”

I love the color red. It energizes me. I like to wear it when giving a speech. We even chose red as the main color on our website. Last year my office seemed dreary to me. All I did was add in red pillows on my wheat colored soft, red candy dish, a red frame for a favorite picture of the family and a red pen I love to use writing thank you notes. Not a lot of money. Just a touch here and there.

See what YOU can do—and send me pictures to post.

3. Speak up.

Does your boss know what you like and don’t like about your job?

It would be super delicious if you have the kind of boss who asks you. But if you don’t, you owe it to yourself to have a candid conversation about areas that could be changed if you both could find ways to do that.

Jill is the kind of person who has a hard time saying no. People love her because she is so accommodating. While being accommodating can be positive, she realized that it was becoming a barrier to her work load. The boss was included in those who kept piling on the work. It was time to make a change.

After thinking through HOW to confront her boss, Jill decided she had to speak up. In her gracious style, she told her boss what was currently on her plate and asked if these were his priorities as well. With agreement, it was easier to share what else was being asked of her that could interfere with her expected deliverables. She admitted she wanted to be accommodating and asked for help in letting his team members know what was and was not her responsibility.

It worked. She was relieved. The boss had no problem with the discussion, and even commended her for speaking up.

Great lesson to all of us. Speak up more often, show your brand, and get ready to love your job again!

me too movement

Where to #MeToo Movement?

At some time in our lives, though less frequently as we mature, most have endured sexual harassment. In some cases, it was major, dramatic and undeniable. In far more cases, it was just some demeaning thing that we used to consider part of the landscape–patting, put-downs, pornographic pictures, propositions. You sucked it up or laughed it off and wondered why you felt so shamed that you could not mention to anyone what was then seen as normal workplace behavior. Did we even think in those days that men who would treat us thus at work would ever think of us as adults worthy of a successful career?

It took until last year for this issue to fully enter public awareness. High level women in the movie industry in Hollywood bravely dared to point fingers at even more prominent men who had harassed them. Suddenly the silence was broken and the Me Too movement was born as thousands of women tweeted, marched, demonstrated and let the world now that they, too, had been victims of what we now know is illegal behavior. Some of us thought that, in the 21st century, harassment has become unacceptable as well as illegal. Unfortunately, this is not the case; with many men still behaving badly and words coming out of the White House that were both inappropriate and unexpected today.

For most women, the Me Too movement was very welcome and not a moment too soon. It could increase women’s comfort in the workplace and possibly open up more doors to women’s equality in careers. However, not everyone sees the Me Too movement as a good thing and it is not just males whose sexual playground is being disrupted who hold negative opinions.

Many feel that the movement only benefits rich, white women who already have enough power and resources to get into the frey. Poorer women and women of color, if they speak up at all, are taken less seriously and do not feel included. If #MeToo is seen as dominated by if not exclusively for a small, already privileged group, this will give those people who would happily dismiss the whole thing, the perfect excuse to do so. #MeToo and its successors needs to be and be seen to be inclusive of all women who have been or may be the victims of harassment.

Some men have been threatened or already harmed by the exposure of their misdeeds. Many more are now quite afraid either because they have done something in the past that could be brought to light or that something could come up in the future. The logical solution to this quite rational fear is to change behavior and always treat women as responsible adults in the workplace. However, people are not always logical, especially when they are afraid.

To insure that they will be perfectly blameless in the area of harassment, some men refuse lunches, business meetings or travel where they might be alone with a female colleague. Such behavior would undoubtedly reduce harassment. However, men’s fear of being unjustly accused could result in limiting opportunities for women to advance in any organization (most of them) where men still hold most of the power and make most of the decisions. It is the kind of blame-the-victim thinking that has led other societies to drape women in burqas and confine them in purdah.

Times Up

Another criticism of the Me Too movement is that it is a mere publicity movement, generating a lot of noise and heat, but little action. As such it is likely to fade away as public attention moves on to other things, leaving little if any positive change. To forestall such an outcome, many women (hopefully not all white, rich and in the US) have moved beyond #MeToo to a new social movement #TimesUp. Although it is less than a year old, it has raised already over $20 million, acquired legal support and reached out to help any who have been harassed. This is the kind of action that can lead to permanent positive change.

As well as supporting action like #TimesUp, there are things that we as individuals can do to generate open and comfortable workplaces. First, we can refuse to be a victim. If something bothers us, we put a stop to it. If we can’t stop it or an organization signals overtly or implicitly that we are never going to get ahead, we can and should leave. There is a reason why so many women go out on their own. Finally, we remember that doing well is the best revenge. It may take time, but there is nothing like running into someone who once tried to put you down or abuse you when you have become more successful than he is.

Gen Y

Bridging Generational Differences to Achieve Success and Growth

The old baseball great, Satchel Paige, provided sage advice when he cautioned, “It ain’t the things you know that’ll hurt you, it’s the things you think you know that just ain’t so.” To investigate the reality of the potential of the often misunderstood Millennials (Gen Yers) as our new generation of potential leaders, colleague Mark Holmes, a Missouri-based consultant, and I conducted multi-faceted, qualitative and quantitative research with more than 525 college-educated, career-oriented Millennials, born between 1978 and 200 (specific years which the U.S. Census Bureau identified as Millennials or Generation Y). The findings provided some eye opening insights worth sharing.

Our research found Gen Y is compelled to learn, driven to make a difference and eager to contribute to meaningful and thoughtful innovation. They are mostly optimistic—even creative in their entrepreneurial approaches. They leverage technology in ways to spur new economic growth and they expect, even embrace, responsibility and seek opportunities to work collaboratively with their peers and superiors. They value candor and transparency and to trust them is a must. More than any generation before them, they are perfectly poised for a “pay for performance” structure.

The implications found are great for any company large or small. But how current leaders respond to, or fail to respond to these findings will tremendously influence not only potential skyrocketing turn-over costs, but how competitive and sustainable they will be for the future. Unfortunately, there is much misunderstanding between generations that must be bridged. Yet if leaders can bridge that understanding the results can be powerful. To this effort I coined a term I call, “GenBlending,” the blending of generational knowledge. Walt Disney said that when you blend the old with the new you get new again. So can it be with “GenBlending” if leaders are willing.

Here are a few of our fundamental findings to help bridge understanding and begin to determine how to blend this new generation of leaders into the organization:

1. Continual sudden market changes and chaotic, unpredictable environments will become more the norm. There is a perception among many Baby Boomer leaders that Gen Y is impatient, want it all today and are unwilling to earn their promotions the good old fashioned way—with time. However, in our conversations with Gen Y individuals who have already embarked in the workforce, there is a great misunderstanding about their quest for involvement and drive.

This generation is all about learning and growing. They look at opportunities unlike generations before them, thus promotions for them may be as much lateral as upward, as long as it provides continual learning. They view their college degree merely as their minimum acceptance to opportunity. They believe they bring their own set of knowledge, skills and ideas and very much value the elders who are willing to blend that knowledge with a shared, future growth-minded mode. This is a generation that excels in quick adaptability, armed with the ability to research thoroughly for new innovative possibilities. They are nimble and highly equipped technologically to connect in short periods of time. Who better than this generation to contribute to innovation?

2. Performance will impact areas of learning, pay and play. Despite the fact that statistics prove 10 percent of performance comes through formal training and 70 percent from performance/involvement, within the traditional corporate business philosophy, there has been a reluctance to involve young people in the decision-making aspects of business. This creates a huge disconnect with this generation. Being motivated to make a difference and achieve results, they become quickly disenchanted when seasoned leaders fail to respect the ideas and concepts they bring forth in a sincere effort to seek improvements or innovation. They express a frequent feeling of being told to “stay in your box,” limiting their ability to contribute their full talents or be exposed to new growth.  It takes an open mind and willingness to believe that experience alone is not the only predictor or guarantee of success.

3. Much like beauty being in the eye of the beholder, the meaning of time has its variables as well. Lest anyone believes this generation has no respect for time, think again. They actually value time immeasurably, just not in the same dimension as most of their elders. This quote provides a hint of why: “We have a good strong work ethic, but our ethic is centered on work-life balance. We still want results, but not at the expense of life, family and health.” Having grown up to see their generation of parents fall prey to downsizing, layoffs and dismissals has impacted them. “We’re willing to pay our dues, but not the dues older generations paid—like broken families, parents who were workaholics, suffered bad health, etc. Either we experienced seeing this or our friends did. We’ll pay our dues differently.”

4. Presuming that technology drives this generation’s dominant way to communicate is just not so. In order to perform at high levels and feel good about their work, this generation wants and needs interactive, meaningful dialogue. And, because they are so collaborative and team oriented in nature, less layered dialogue is also more valued. Leaders who are seen as mentors and coaches help Gen Y individuals to feel like someone above them is sincerely and personally concerned about their success. This requires personal interaction.

5. Trust stands out as one of the highest issues of importance. Nearly unanimously, this generation not merely wants, but demands trust. Issue of trust influence almost every element of their personal and professional life. Mostly they want to know they can trust the leader for whom they work and they want to know they themselves are trusted. Contrary to some beliefs, they actually like structure; what they dislike is those who profess it, yet fail to follow it themselves.

So why should any business leader be concerned about taking time to understand this generation? The United States Department of Labor long ago predicted that by 2012 there would be a 33 percent shortfall of people qualified for management roles; roles from which future leadership is generally selected and groomed. Although economic conditions delayed that prediction, the reality is that the Boomer generation continues to age and a new generation of leaders must be integrated into the workplace to ensure future growth and profitability.

Genuinely embracing the potential of this bright, talented and energetic young generation offers great potential for organizations forward-thinking enough to recognize their leadership potential and willing to bridge the gap. The cost is minimal if the mind is willing to entertain small refinements and sincere mind-shifts for the reality is—Gen Yers ARE our future leaders.

to work remotely

Office Nomads: 7 Tips to Work Remotely

Working off-site, or being an office nomad, is a trend that continues to grow among employees throughout the United States, according to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace report. In addition to doing their jobs outside of a traditional office setting more often, Americans are also working remotely for longer periods of time.

In fact, Gallup revealed 43 percent of U.S. employees work outside of the office in some capacity. I am not surprised; it is something I have done for years to some extent and full time for nearly a decade—first as a freelance writer, then as content manager/editor-in-chief for an international publishing company, and currently as the manager of communications for one of the nation’s fastest-growing healthcare staffing companies.

If the notion of being an office nomad appeals to you, these 7 tips can help make you successful.

1. If you like your current job and have a good rapport with your boss, see if it is possible to work remotely instead of coming into the office every day. Inquire about setting up a trial run to determine whether a full or part-time arrangement would suit you both.

2. Be upfront with recruiters and potential employers about your personal desires and professional must-haves. Do you need healthcare coverage or have a minimum salary requirement? Perhaps you would prefer a remote job that will benefit from your skill set while providing opportunities for learning. No matter your wishes, make sure you know what you want (and if you can get it) before taking a position.

3. Establish all that will be required of you prior to accepting an opportunity to ensure you and the employer are on the same page. For instance, inquire about the work schedule and other important factors. If an off-site position is a full-time gig, it may be safe to say you will be expected to work the same schedule as your prospective co-workers. Should the employer be situated in a different time zone, you may be required to adhere to its business hours instead. But never make assumptions; ask.

4. Set up a designated work area. If you do not have an office or the space for one, take heart. While a separate room may be ideal, it is not mandatory for success. However, determining a workspace is essential. Give your home a good once-over to see where you could place a desk that will be solely dedicated to your work. Doing so will help you stay organized and prevent other rooms from inadvertently becoming part of your workstation.

5. Consider changing your environment on occasion, but confirm doing so is acceptable to your employer. While it is crucial to establish a workspace in your home, there may be times you wish to work remotely from another location. Some professionals thrive in office-sharing situations or enjoy working from a coffee shop from time to time. Today, more establishments offer opportunities to those office nomads than ever before. My beach club, for example, and others like it have added Wi-Fi to their amenities (though a hotspot could be used, too) to give members who work remotely more flexibility and a fresh perspective.

6. Communicate and collaborate with your superior and colleagues frequently. If you are going to work remotely, you must engage with your team often. If not, you could end up working in a silo, which can be bad for morale, innovation, and efficiency.

7. Schedule regular break times. If you are engrossed in an undertaking or eager to complete a project ahead of time, it is easy to lose track of time. But to refresh, you must stand up, stretch, go to the bathroom, and get something to drink and eat when you’re thirsty or hungry. If you tend to put these respites off, send yourself email meeting invites as reminders to get up and move.

to work remotelyThe benefits you receive when you choose to work remotely, such as fewer distractions, increased productivity, greater flexibility, and lack of commute, are numerous and attractive. And working remotely provides an excellent way for PRiME Women to better make ends meet, save money, semi-retire, and more—all from the comfort of home (and now and then, maybe a beach chair).

gender pay gap

The Waning Gender Pay Gap

Play your part in lowering the gender pay gap – ask for a raise today!

You, yes you, can play in a role in lowering the gender pay gap while securing the income you deserve.

According to the Census Bureau, the wage gap between men and women is beginning to lessen. In 2015, it was noted that the national disparity between men and women has shrank significantly since 2007. Not only are women landing more raises, but men seem to be hitting a wall.

Learn from history while we share the evolution of the workplace and provide tips on how to keep this trend moving in a positive direction. These tips will make an impact whether you are asking for a raise or negotiating the salary for a new job.

More Women in the Workforce

Since the 1970s, more and more women have entered the workforce. Prior to this, it was common for men to be the family breadwinner, while women stayed at home and managed the household. In this era, more jobs focused on industrial and manufacturing roles, thought to be better suited for men. As the attitude about women in the workforce began to change and career advancement of mothers became more socially acceptable, women gradually played a greater role in the corporate environment.

Tip #1

Prepare – like your paycheck depended on it! Hone your negotiation skills so you can secure that pay raise you deserve. Know your worth, do your research, rehearse and play your part in shrinking the gap!

Reduction in Male-Preferred Industries

Another contributing factor to these numbers could be the fact that jobs within office settings, more often held by women, are on the rise while construction, agricultural and manufacturing roles, more targeted by men, have been on the decline. Careers in healthcare are seeing significant growth and these positions are more often held by women. Additionally, union power, often thought to contribute to better pay across blue-collar workforces, has also significantly declined, which has played a role in reducing the wages of men. Regardless of your occupation, the pendulum is swinging in your direction, so be ready to leverage conversations regarding pay by discussing the results of your work vs. simply recapping job duties.

Tip #2 

Determine the impact you made on the organizations where you have worked and prepare a few great success stories. Be ready to state why you are the better candidate for the role they are targeting.

Women Earning More Degrees

It has also been determined that women are outpacing men in college enrollment, suggesting they are pursuing more lucrative job opportunities. Women also tend to do better academically than their male counterparts, which can also contribute to a significant increase in their earnings.

Tip #3

We recommend that women continue to pursue ongoing education and professional development opportunities at all phases of their professional development. When negotiating, you can always ask if there are opportunities for additional training or if they will provide reimbursement for additional education and/or professional memberships.

Close the Gender Pay Gap – with Confidence

Confidence is essential to being a strong negotiator. You must exude self-assurance, even if you’re insecure or uncertain. Don’t apologize for negotiating – own it. If you need a little push, remember that when women negotiate, they pave the way for more women to negotiate after them.

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash

time management tips

Time Management Tips: Eat that Frog

Mark Twain said it:

“If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you’ll do all day.”

Of course, we won’t eat one of those little green garden toads.

We’re alluding to tackling the nastiest, most disagreeable tasks first. If that means calling a family member you offended yesterday, then “eat the frog.”

On another note – gaining control of your time makes for a happier environment. Mismanaged time— coupled with everyday stressors, compounded by the lack of productivity— equals low morale and less energy. No doubt productivity at work suffers big time.

Recent research from the 2017 Work Market/KRC Research Workforce Productivity states that only 31 percent of upper-level managers feel their workplace is as productive as it should be. The report surveyed 200 U.S. business leaders on productivity and workplace management. It’s worth reading!

Time Management Tips

Tap into waiting time to knock out emails (at the doctor’s office, business appointments, etc.)

Inspect your to-do list. If it’s not top priority, move it to “nice-to-do’s.”

Maintain a “most important to do” list. Those you don’t want to do? “Eat the Frog.”

Examine time-wasting habits (checking email/texts too often). Hash the habit.

Minimize (as gently as you can) wasting time with those energy drainers in your life.

Always look for new ways to free up your time.

Never hesitate to edit your “to do” list. Keep it realistic.

Attempt daily to find a sense of accomplishment— including completing “to-do’s.”

Give yourself a reward for eating the frog today. Celebrate what you achieved (eat a chocolate chip cookie).

Energy boosters: steer clear of heavy lunches, alcohol, emotional situations.

Memos to yourself matter. Sticky notes are priceless!

Examine goals regularly. Revise as needed. Note progress daily.

Never hesitate recognizing roadblocks. Remove them or deal with them-NOW.

Try these time management tips. They’ll weed out procrastination.

busyness

Let’s Stop Equating Busyness with Success

A recent study found that Americans who always say they’re “busy” are actually seen as more important.

Often on the elevator, at the coffee bar, water cooler or break room you hear this conversation:

“Haven’t seen you in awhile. How are you?”

“Busy!”

“Yes, me too. Busy, busy, busy!”

One day, my team and I reached the tipping point and decided to stop using “busy” to describe how we were. Whatever happened to “fine”? “Stop glorifying busy!” became our battle cry. As it turns out, we were on the right track.

Inc. magazine recently reported, “Research suggests ‘busyness’ is the mark of inefficiency and self-delusion.” We may THINK we are getting a lot done, but in reality, we’re not. Multi-tasking? Ha! That “quality” is on almost every resume I see. “Great multi-tasker.” Really? Research by Professor David Meyer of the University of Michigan reveals that suddenly switching from doing one thing to another means you take 25 percent longer to do each thing.

The truth is, we are feeling busier because we have more interruptions and distractions than ever before. One of my pet peeves is the person who emails you, then instead of waiting for a response, comes marching to your desk, interrupts your flow of work and asks if you got their email. 99 out of 100 times, it isn’t something urgent or especially time sensitive. And once interrupted, studies show it takes 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things. It makes me shudder when I realize how many times a day I am interrupted, or become distracted.

Hanging Up

There is also a ridiculous amount of pressure with our technology, to never be off duty. Do you remember what it was like to go on vacation and not have your boss or co-workers contacting you and pulling your brain back to the office, despite your body being in a tropical paradise. Remember weekends? When you could shut down? Now that we have our phones, tablets and even watches, we are expected to be “on.”

I was in a situation at a previous workplace where the weekend and late-night emailers often reached out to me and a co-worker. Where I would try to draw a “healthy” boundary of not responding until morning (unless it was truly urgent), the co-worker responded within minutes. I started feeling pressured to drop that healthy boundary and be on call 24×7. After all, busyness is equated to success, right?

What if instead of busy, we were productive?

How do you stop the busyness merry-go-round? It’s in your power to do so. After all, it is YOUR schedule.

  1. Choose Wisely: Be picky about the projects you say yes to. We are old enough to know the difference between a project that is going to be satisfying and lead to additional work/relationships, and those that are thankless tasks. Give yourself permission to protect your valuable time.
  2. Mindful Meetings. We all complain about them but they are inevitable. However, instead of randomly scheduled meetings throughout the week, try to group meetings within several days a week so you have days of uninterrupted head-down work time. Worst case scenario, schedule your head-down time to blocks of afternoon or morning hours. (In other words, schedule a “meeting” with your most productive self.)
  3. One Thing at a Time: Answer honestly. Have you ever been shutting down your computer at the end of the day and found a document you started that morning but had completely forgot about? You know, you were concentrating, but then stupidly opened your email for a minute and ZIP, it unleashed a multitude of tiny tasks– and you totally forgot what you were doing before that. Instead of substituting your intense thought process for mindless tasks that lead to a slippery slope of unproductive busyness, take a break. A real break. Get away from your computer and take a walk around the office, or the block. Then come back and finish your ONE THING.
  4. Turn off. The New York Post recently published an article that says Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes – so, 80 times a day. A study by Asurion found the average person struggles to go even 10 minutes without checking their phone. Reclaim your family-, friend- or love-life. Put down the electronic device and focus on another human being, or yourself. When your hand gets itchy to reach for the tablet or phone, mentally gird your loins and resist the urge.

Wishing you the best of luck as we tackle this unbusy-business together.

overcoming failure

The Power of Overcoming Failure

English poet John Keats wrote, “Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterward carefully avoid.” Not everyone looks at failure so philosophically.

Today, there are many pressures disguised as failure traps. Companies pressure employees to outperform and overextend in a scaled back work force. The pressure of dealing with childcare issues has been compounded with elder care issues. And, as more women succeed in corporate America and at running their own businesses, women frequently replace men as primary breadwinners. If one perceives they are ill-equipped to cope with all this stress, they may see themselves as failures. Thus, it is more important than ever to re-evaluate your thinking, give your values priority, and start overcoming failure.

When I think personally about failures, I always think back to an early incident when I thought I had truly failed. It is a perfect example of how I allowed someone else’s values to determine whether I would be a success or a failure.

Meet Miss Wenstrom

During the era in which I grew up, women’s major career choices were to be a teacher, a nurse or an executive secretary. I had been urged to pursue the latter. My role model was Perry Mason’s secretary, Della Street, from the then popular mystery television show. I dreamed of working for a top executive in New York City after graduating from high school, so I took classes in typing and shorthand—the two major skills required at that time. Typing class went very well; I tested well over 100 words per minute. Somehow, that skill came naturally. Shorthand, however, was another story. Miss Wenstrom was my shorthand teacher and her minimum standards required that I not only take shorthand at 120 words per minute but that be able to transcribe those weird little squiggles into meaningful words in a document. It was a feat I could never quite accomplish.

Miss Wenstrom had a commanding presence. She stood about five foot ten, was large boned, and walked firmly with a confident stride. She always wore tailored, expensive-looking suits, flowery perfume and very little jewelry. She wore just enough makeup to embellish the natural blush on her high-boned cheeks and to complete the arch of her stern, peaked brows. Her long grey hair was piled neatly on top of her head and each month she enhanced the grey by dying it with bluing agent.

I was not a favorite student of Miss Wenstrom because I just couldn’t seem to get past 80 words per minute in shorthand. It should have been no surprise that when I was called to her office for a personal conference before graduation, her predictions for my future were not the brightest. However, I hardly expected the dismal message she delivered.

“Bette, you will never be a secretary,” she said matter-of-factly and pointing her finger at me for emphasis. To prove it, she gave me a “D” for my final grade. To me, it may as well have been an “F.” I had certainly failed. My skills were tarnished; I didn’t make the grade. My dreams were shattered and most of all, I believed Miss Wenstrom.

After graduation, I went to New York as planned. There I met a young man who was a chemical engineer for a major Corporation. He suggested I apply for a job there. Dressed like Della Street, I headed for 42nd Street in New York City to the personnel offices of this giant corporation and applied for a clerk typist position. After all, I wasn’t qualified to be a secretary and I certainly couldn’t risk failing the shorthand test. I was hired and placed in the district sales office for the Chemicals Division.

There I did a fine job at a variety of somewhat unchallenging tasks. Then one day the sales manager’s secretary was out sick and he needed someone to take dictation. He was desperate. “Doesn’t anyone else in this office know how to take shorthand?” he asked with frustration. Rather sheepishly I replied, “I do. But I can’t take it too fast.” Since no one else volunteered, he called me into his office and began to dictate.

I learned the most amazing thing that day—not everyone speaks at 120 words a minute. Not only did I get all of his dictation, I completed the task in a timely and quality manner.  Soon, I was being asked to take dictation by others in the office and eventually I began to start overcoming failure.

One block away from my office was the Airline Building. I had always been fascinated with the airlines and I began to think, if I could actually take shorthand, maybe I could get hired as a secretary in the airline industry. One day during lunch hour I decided to give it a try. The position I applied for was secretary/receptionist at a major airline. The personnel director called me to his office after I had completed all of the tests. You guessed it. I failed the shorthand test. “I’m going to hire you anyway,” he said, confiding that my all-around skills compensated for my low score on shorthand. I was thrilled.

Two weeks later I began my new job. Within a few months, the personnel director’s secretary left and I replaced her. By the end of the year, the vice president’s secretary decided to leave and he asked for me. Wow! There I was—less than two years out of high school, working in New York City as the executive secretary for the vice president of one of the country’s largest airlines—and, I wrote Miss Wenstrom a letter.

She never wrote back!

It didn’t matter. What mattered was overcoming failure and realizing very early in my career that other people’s values do not dictate my success or failure. Lest we get too filled with our own self-importance or believe that perfection is achievable, failures will always be a part of our life’s journey. It is how we are overcoming failure that strengthens our wisdom during the journey.

Today I can look back and see the great value of the early lessons learned. Eventually I became a columnist and feature writer for a Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper where I often used my shorthand skills. As an author, typing has undeniably been critical to my success. Yet, most of all it is the learning from moving forward, the building on early skills and believing in myself that has allowed me to have incredible personal and professional experiences that have provided me with a highly fulfilling and successful life. So, when you think you’ve failed, think again.  It just may be the best gift you’ve ever been given—as long as you believe in yourself and learn from it.