Uncover the True Flexible Work Culture of a Company

Flexible work culture

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Perhaps you know someone or have even experienced this scenario yourself: you have just completed a few promising interviews for a dream job. The employer and your potential supervisor appear to meet all your key criteria, and you believe they will even work with you on a flexible arrangement. You are so enthusiastic about this opportunity that when you receive an offer, you can hardly contain your excitement. Fast forward to a few months of working, and the company’s true culture becomes more clear. Sadly they are not what they seemed. You feel deflated and blindsided. You wonder what you could have done to prevent such a disappointing outcome? Read More →

How to Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter for Flexible Jobs

Tailor your job search documents

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One of the most common tips we career experts shout from our office rooftops is that one must always tailor job search documents. When an astute client was recently seeking a job with a flexible work arrangement, she wondered if she should apply the same principle to her resume and cover letter. But what exactly would this look like in terms of a flex position? Read More →

Organizations that Help Individuals Find Flexible Work

Find flexible work

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In recent years there has been exponential growth of companies offering job search and placement services that focus on flexible work opportunities. This is a noteworthy and much-needed development, especially as more women (and men) today desire flexible arrangements as a way to better integrate their work and personal lives. In the past, the major challenge was just finding a flexible opportunity, if one even existed. Now these services literally bring the jobs right to us. Read More →

Back to Work After Baby: Interview and Book Giveaway

Back to work

In this post, I interview author Lori Mihalich-Levin about her new book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave. Lori is the founder of Mindful Return, a supportive community for mothers returning to work after maternity leave, which also offers a 4-week e-course on this topic. Her book is a must-have for any mothers who are contemplating a leave, in the midst of one, or who have recently returned from one. This is the type of resource I wish I had when my children were born! The book covers four main areas to help mothers navigate this important transitional time: a mindful mindset, logistics, leadership, and community. I am thrilled to introduce you to Lori in the post below, who has kindly answered a few of my questions based on her book. Back to Work After Baby can now be ordered and will officially be released on April 11. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with Women, Work, and Life, Lori! Read More →

2017 Lists of Best Companies for Flexible Work

Best Companies

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Are you looking for a flexible job? Whether you want more flexibility to take care of children or parents, pursue a new career, tend to a health issue, or engage in a serious hobby, today it seems that just about everyone desires a work schedule that is more in their control. Furthermore, research shows that flexible arrangements benefit both the employee as well as the employer. What’s not to love about flexibility? Read More →

Are You Dissatisfied with Your Flexible Work Arrangement?

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I recently coached a mom, Elizabeth*, who had a flexible position working from home as a freelancer. This arrangement had been an ideal situation for Elizabeth and her family, given that her husband was often traveling for his work and their three children were still quite young. In addition, this set up allowed her to keep a foot in the workplace door, continue to use skills that she had developed over the past ten years, and engage in work that she enjoys.

Sounds ideal, right? You might even feel a slight pang of envy, especially if you have been dreaming of a similar arrangement. Elizabeth acknowledged that she is lucky, but also came to realize that this work set-up was simply not ideal for her. She found over the long run that she missed aspects of her previous “in-the-office” job. Working from home 100% of the time felt lonely and isolating. Read More →

How Projects Can Help with Changing Careers and Returning to Work

Projects

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Recently I coached two individuals who were embarking on new but different career ventures: one was preparing to make a career change (Sarah*) and the other was getting ready to return to work after staying home with her children for seven years (Ellie*). Both were in the process of thinking through how to best present themselves to employers, whether on a resume or in their cover letters, LinkedIn profile, networking situations, and interviews. They had to determine the best job search strategy for their situation. What’s their story? What unique skills and experiences do they offer?

Both were ready and eager to launch their searches. However, neither client had recent employment in their targeted fields, which can make the job search process a bit easier. It is the old catch-22; how do you get a foot in the door when everyone wants someone with experience? Were they doomed? Read More →

Yes, Gender Bias Still Exists in Today’s Workplace

Gender bias

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Is gender inequality really still an issue?

With the recent monumental women’s marches that took place around the world, some people have been questioning whether this action is even necessary. Does inequality for women still exist in the U.S. today? A very good question, as for many, it doesn’t appear to be an issue. You may not have experienced it yourself or know of anyone who has.

After all, we are much better off than decades ago when women were told that their place was at home in the kitchen (definitely not in the workplace), were legally fired for being pregnant, or were not able to apply for their own credit cards or attend college or graduate school. And certainly we are better off than many other countries (although the U.S. is still one of three countries out of 180 in the world and the only industrialized country that does not provide paid maternity leave).

I wish I could say yes, we have finally eradicated every ounce of gender bias, but unfortunately discrimination against women is still real. It is apparent in the working world as well as in healthcare and beyond. While I am not an expert in women’s rights and discrimination, I can speak from experience of working with women. I have seen the existence of gender bias from coaching thousands of women on their career paths, from those in rural areas to the big cities, from big jobs to entry-level jobs, from those with associate degrees to PhDs. Below are just a few examples of the gender biases that exist today.

Hiring and Gender Bias

Consider the hiring process, one in which we are not always aware if we didn’t get the job due to our gender or some other factor. A recent study – highlighted in a Harvard Business Review article – shows that gender still influences hiring decisions. In fact, the study set out to investigate class biases with the well-established resume audit method, but uncovered a gender bias as well.

“Even though all educational and work-related histories were the same, employers overwhelmingly favored the higher-class man. He had a callback rate more than four times of other applicants and received more invitations to interview than all other applicants in our study combined. But most strikingly, he did significantly better than the higher-class woman, whose resume was identical to his, other than the first name.”

You can read more about this study at How Subtle Class Cues Can Backfire on Your Resume. This gender effect has been found in similar studies focusing on mothers, resulting in employers being more likely to choose the male applicants, even when there are signs of him being a father.

Gender Discrimination Lawsuits

Another indicator of gender discrimination occurrences is through lawsuits. A recent article by The Atlantic reports that the number of job discrimination lawsuits has increased over the past several years, including groups of women suing for gender and caregiver discrimination. In these cases, some of the women were told by their supervisors, “Let’s face it. It’s a man’s world. The woman always stays home with the child.” The article states,

“The subtle—and sometimes overt—perception illustrated by these statements—that mothers are less devoted to their jobs than childless workers—has been dubbed “the Maternal Wall” or “the New Glass Ceiling.” This has led to a wave of claims of gender discrimination based on parental responsibilities, which now make up a growing number of lawsuits against American employers.”

Furthermore, take note of the recent wave of pregnancy (a 315% increase) and breastfeeding (an 800% increase) discrimination lawsuits over the past decade. You can visit The Revolt of Working Parents and Caregiver Discrimination Lawsuits Increased 269% in the Last Decade for more information on caregiver, pregnancy, and breastfeeding cases.

Gender Bias in Scientific Careers

Or contemplate an article from Public Radio International regarding gender bias in scientific careers that my scientist friend recently shared on Facebook.

“A series of high-profile sexual misconduct investigations have sent waves through the scientific academy this year. The cases have shed light on the sexual harassment and assault that many scientists say has long been a pervasive, poorly addressed issue in the field — and one that systematically affects women scientists. In a 2014 survey of field researchers, 26 percent of female respondents reported that they had been assaulted at field research sites, and another 71 percent reported experiencing harassment. But in 2016, sexual harassment isn’t the only major hurdle that female scientists still face: Systemic gender bias is keeping many women from advancing their scientific careers, and there are studies to prove it. In a Science Friday panel, scientists discussed how gender bias manifests in myriad ways over the course of a career — and what should be done to address it.”

You can read more about these issues at The Weight of Gender Bias in Women’s Scientific Careers.

So yes, unfortunately gender discrimination (as well as other biases such as the motherhood penalty, caregiving stigma, and flexibility stigma) is still with us today, even though we have made incredible advances in the last decades. As historian and professor Stephanie Coontz states in an article celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, “Women have come a long way, but still have far to go.” We need to continue moving forward and protecting the progress we have already made. One day I sincerely hope we can all agree that it isn’t necessary to march for women’s inequality (or anyone else’s for that matter). Until then, we will march on, let voices be heard, and take action.

Week 28: Is Working Less the Answer to Better Life Balance?

Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

Note that this blog post is part of a series. You can access all the posts at 52 Weeks to Better Life Balance Series.

Indeed, many people view part-time work as the “holy grail” of work-life balance.

Many times a week, at least in the blogosphere world, the perplexing question of how to solve our work-life balance woes is raised. We bemoan our lack of time – if only we had more hours in the day, we could get it all done! We then pour over the latest time management tricks, CEOs’ productivity secrets, and ways to sneak out of the office earlier without being noticed. An even bolder and perhaps riskier move is reducing our working hours to part-time. It is as if a magician waves a magic wand and POOF! Suddenly we have gained several extra hours per week. Read More →

Week 27: Improving Your Current Work Situation for Better Life Balance

Current work

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Note that this blog post is part of a series. You can access all the posts at 52 Weeks to Better Life Balance Series.

The truth is that we spend a significant portion of our lives at work. We all have 168 hours per week, and a decent percentage of that is typically focused on our career.

In the past 26 weeks of this series, 52 Weeks to Better Life Balance, we have covered three main areas for improving our life balance, including (1) setting the foundation and identifying priorities, (2) managing time, and (3) managing energy. Read More →