This description could easily be for a CEO, but why does it sound less impressive and less exciting when the job title is Mother?
I did not go to school to learn motherhood, there was no manual attached to my kids when they were born. Learning for me was on the job.
Some skills that I learned as a mother I could not have learned anywhere else, like putting others’ needs before mine, empathy, compassion, and patience, lots of patience.
Being a mother has shown me that I have endless internal strength and that there are no limits to what I will do for someone else. I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love.
Being a mother has taught me new skills and tested every one of them time and time again.
Being a mother has made me the person and professional I am today.
As a society, we greatly value being good parents but we do not appreciate enough the work moms do at home and the skills they use in parenthood that are easily transferable to the workplace. 1.5 million educated women take a career break and want to return to the workforce. Take a moment to re-think about all the skills that mothers use on a daily basis. How can you use them in your workplace?
I dedicate this post to my loving mother, Sylvia Simon, who passed away 4 years ago today.
We often do not ask “How can I help” but rather think that we know the answer. As managers, and for that matter as parents as well, we offer help thinking we know what it is that the person needs. We may offer to take on specific tasks, help with a presentation, talk with a customer or colleague. But is that the help that they really needed?
We make assumptions.
We may not have all the facts.
We do not have all the answers.
How often are you asking: How can I help?
The next time you see that someone needs help instead of offering answers ask the question: How can I help?
While hiring or working with people, I always enjoy hearing “I love the energy they bring”. Whether it is because the person is calm, collaborative, solution focused, diligent, has a can-do attitude, or has a good sense of humor, whatever it is, it is always positive energy.
Nobody likes to be around people who bring negative energy. Whether it is that they are always tiered, angry, frustrated, burnt out, only looking out for their own interests, or just seeing the issues and not offering solutions, they are not the ones pulling the team forward.
Often, it is not about the skills and experience people have, but more about their attitude. Do they see mistakes as learning opportunities? Are they excited to learn and take on a challenge? Are they ready to collaborate and help others? Positive people are like a magnet, pulling people towards them and pulling a team upwards, even through hard times, when deadlines are tough, or dealing with unhappy customers.
Do a check with yourself: What energy do you bring to a room?
Are you usually a “half glass empty or half glass full” person?
Don’t be the person that people would rather avoid. Be the positive person that people turn to, and feel that they can always rely on.
You are responsible for the energy you bring with you wherever you go.
Feeling down? Looking for work? Read the 4 blog series on maintaining a positive attitude throughout the job search.
Today, there are many options to working. These may include part-time jobs, project work or self-employment, sometimes a combination of them, providing multiple streams of income.These options can allow us to take part in the workforce while prioritizing other aspects of our lives, like raising kids, taking care of sick family members, having more time to ourselves or building a side business.
Personally, I have loved the flexibility that these options have provided me throughout my career. Currently, I run IamBackatWork, I coach and advise women returning to the workforce, I am an executive coach, and I provide HR and recruiting consulting to Boston start-ups. It is a lot, but I manage my own time and I still have time to run and do yoga on a regular basis, as well as travel and spend time with family and friends, and other activities I love. I enjoy the variety, and I like having the multiple streams of income.
When I met Ingrid Goldbloom Bloch, I was inspired by her approach of helping clients think creatively about their career options.
I invite you to join Ingrid and I on Thursday April 25, at 12:30PM EST for a webinar on Creating Flexibility With a Portfolio Career. Ingrid shares a wealth of information on the benefits and pitfalls of this new work arrangement, and provides strategies to start building your own portfolio of work. Register now.
Recently, a candidate who arrived way too early to an interview, proudly told me that he always arrives 30 minutes early to every interview. He thought that he was being very responsible and ‘doing the right thing’.
Arriving Late or Too Early
It is clear why you should not be late to any interview. Do your best to plan in advance when to leave home/work to ensure you arrive on time. If you are running late, call or email the person you are meeting with, or the person who organized the interview, and let them know when you expect to arrive.
Arriving up to 10 minutes early to an interview is fine, but more than that makes the hiring team uncomfortable. They think that they need to entertain you. They feel rushed to finish whatever they were doing beforehand to attend to you. If you are meeting with more than 1 person, or multiple people one after the other, your early arrival, and the attempt to accommodate it, may affect multiple calendars.
It is not how you want to start your interview. You do not want to be the element that just added stress to the interviewer’s day.
Arrive at the interview site 15 minutes early. Wait in your car or outside lobby/coffee shop. Take your time to relax and compose yourself before you go in. Walk in to the interview office 5 minutes before the scheduled time.
Did you know that reading one hour a day translates to about reading a book a week? 1 book a week is about 50 books a year!
Are you trying to hone a new skill or become an expert in your field?
Earl Nightingale was an American motivational speaker and author, known as the Dean of Personal Development. He said that one hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.
Reading a book a month
Reading 1 book a month will put you in the top 1% of income earners.
Reading 50 books per year
Reading 50 books per year, will place you in the category of the best educated, smartest, and highest paid people in your field.
“I don’t have time to read”
I often hear “I don’t have time to read”. Can you cut down on the time you:
Use Social Media?
Browse the web?
Play video games?
Listen to books
Reading books can also be by listening to them. I have been using the free apps Overdrive and Hoopla to listen to books for free. I am loving it! I listen while driving, cooking dinner, walking the dogs… All you need is a library card (get it for free from your local library) and connect it with these apps.
My recent favorites are: Atomic Habits, which I wrote about in my blog last week: I am not a… and the book: The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life, by Shawn Achor. The book is full of research and examples of how a positive brain fuels success in work and life. It teaches how to make small shifts in your mindset that can move you from the attitude of “I will be happy when I get that job/car/partner” to being happy NOW to fuel your future success.
I started running last summer but keep on telling myself that “I am not a runner”. Yes, I was never before a runner. And, yes, I am not like my husband and his running buddies. They run marathons, and run nearly every day, rain or shine. But, I have been running. I have been running regularly 2-3 times a week, 3-6 miles. But guess what? If I am NOT a runner it is much easier to NOT go running when it is cold outside, or I am tiered or any other excuse. But when I AM a runner, why would I not go running? So I decided that from now on, I AM a runner. No excuses.
Whatever you are NOT you are far less likely to embrace opportunities in it.
I coach many women who tell me that they are not this or that. They are not a project manager, even though they have been managing projects. They are not a techy, because they are not engineers, but great with technology. And so on.
So what can you stop telling yourself that you are NOT and start telling yourself that you ARE?
Some people just know what they are passionate about, but most of us do not find our true passion overnight. Finding one’s passion is usually a process, realized through a series of small discoveries. Often, it is easier to identify the things you do not want, or do not like to do than the things you would like to do.
To move along with the process of identifying your passions ask yourself these 3 questions:
What are the things you do that energize you?
Helping people energizes me. When I get off a call or a meeting where I felt I made a difference in someone’s life I feel rejuvenated.
Keep a journal of activities you do, and write next to them what made you feel energized, neutral, and what made you feel drained. The activities that make you feel drained should probably be part of the “I do not want to do list”.
Is there a consistent theme in the energizing column?
2. What topic could you spend hours reading and learning about without getting bored?
To my husband’s dismay, I can spend days immersed in psychology, coaching, and self help courses, articles and books.
What do you love to learn about?
3. What was it that you thought you wanted to be as a child?
Often your true passions arise early on in your life. I wanted to be a Psychologist. Going through my bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I realized that dealing with other people’s mental health issues had an adverse affect on my well being. I channeled my passion to help people into HR and coaching.
Are you still passionate about the thing you wanted to be as a child?
Do you want to get unstuck and find the job you love? Join us tomorrow, Thursday, March 14, 12:30PM EST, for a webinar by Julie Boyer, CPCC the love-your-job-coach and author of the book Just Give Me Meaningful Work: Escape Your Exhausting Job and Start Making a Difference. Julie helps women who are stuck in the wrong job- or approaching burnout- create meaningful work for themselves, so they can experience deep fulfillment and joy in life.
Friday March 8 is International Women’s Day celebrating women’s achievements throughout history.
My mission in founding IamBackatWork has been to help women achieve more, and provide them with support throughout their careers. This includes helping women remain in the workforce, guiding them back after they have stepped out, and supporting their careers thereafter.
As a working mom, and wife, who has taken multiple career breaks, and always successfully returned back to the workforce, my career has always been very important to me. It gave me fulfillment, confidence and independence. I want other women to be able to achieve the same.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, this Friday March 8, I am offering 3 women, each 3 sessions of my time – one on one – coaching at the very reduced rate of $150 for all 3 sessions. I want to help you move your career forward.
To enter the draw:
*Email your name, and the challenge you would like to work on in our coaching sessions to: info@IamBackatWork.com
Deadline to enter the draw: Midnight EST Friday March 8.
On Monday March 11, I will draw the 3 winners!
I am looking forward to working with you one on one!
Miki Feldman Simon, Founder and CEO, IamBackatWork
*Your email will be added to IamBackatWork’s email list. You can Unsubscribe at any time.