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 →
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 →
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.
It is not a secret that Millennials highly value and are prioritizing work-life balance in their careers, perhaps more than any generation before them. The Boston College Center for Work & Family recently released a report, How Millennials Navigate Their Careers: Young Adult Views on Work, Life and Success, which further highlights this notion. Their study of 1,100 employed Millennials found that in terms of career success measures, work-life balance was rated as important or extremely important to nearly all respondents (94%), and was the “highest extremely important rating of all the top-rated measures”. In addition the majority of Millennials in the sample “clearly felt that their lives outside of work were much more important to their sense of identity than their careers”. Read More →
This post originally appeared on the Mom-mentum blog (see this link). Mom-mentum is a wonderful organization that supports women through Centers, programs, and advocacy. You can learn more about them here.
Before having my oldest, I thought I had it all figured out; I was going to stay at home and work one night a week as a career counselor at a university in the city and start a private practice. I anticipated this would be the perfect arrangement for our unborn baby, my husband, and myself. However, I soon learned, it is nearly impossible to predict how we will feel once our bundle of joy arrives, what our infant will be like, and how multiple other factors will converge. Read More →
I’m really excited to share this guest post featuring a woman-owned business and director who supports her staff with an open mind and flexible work. Thank you to Lisa Heidle for conducting and writing this interview with Teresa Woodruff, the founder and director of the Art It Out Therapy Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Teresa shows that when flexible work is done in the right way with support, it can benefit everyone involved, including staff members, clients, and the business.
Art It Out Therapy Center in Atlanta, Georgia opened in 2009 with Teresa and one other therapist. Today, the Center has seven therapists, administrative staff and interns. Here Teresa shares her experiences as a female business owner and mother and her thoughts on leading an all-female staff, flex-time in the office and maintaining a work-life balance. Read More →
Do you fit the traditional ideal worker norm, or the concept of the ultimate employee who is completely dedicated to work and uninhibited by anything else in life? The worker who comes in early, stays late, is never sick, and is available to fly off on a business trip whenever needed?
Introducing the Ideal Worker
The ideal worker bias has been alive in the U.S. for quite some time and is partially based on the 1950s company man whose wife stayed at home and tended to the children. It refers to the employees who we believe are the most committed, hardest working, and most productive. These individuals are also the ones who are more likely to be promoted, receive higher pay, and gain power in the workplace. Read More →
We celebrate moms each year on Mother’s Day, recognizing all that they do and sacrifice for their children, families, and society (after all, they are raising our future generations). However, this sentiment does not seem to transfer to the workplace. Research has shown that working mothers are treated unfavorably compared to their counterparts and even suffer the “Motherhood Penalty”, resulting in lower pay, less respect, fewer job options, and fewer flexible arrangement opportunities. All I want for Mother’s Day, and beyond, is more work-family support for all moms out there (which will inevitably benefit other workers as well). Here’s my wish list: Read More →
This post originally appeared on 1 Million for Work Flexibility, Three Steps to Take Before Pursuing Flexible Work. 1 Million for Work Flexibility is a wonderful organization that advocates for flexibility in all workplaces. Be sure to join the website to help reach their goal of 1 million supporters!
With the New Year in full swing, many folks have been evaluating their goals and priorities, and for some this includes securing a flexible work arrangement to better fit with their lives. Perhaps you are in the same situation and are more eager than ever to get moving on this goal. But before you dive into your search for such a job, there are a few initial steps to take to set up a solid foundation and lay the path for a successful outcome.
This post originally appeared on 1 Million for Work Flexibility, a fantastic organization that is advocating for flexible work. If you haven’t joined them already and believe in flexible work, sign up now! All it requires is an email…it literally takes 1 minute.
Growing up, my mother was my role model for combining work, family, and life in general. She was a labor and delivery nurse most of her career, and worked various schedules and shifts in hospitals and clinics throughout my childhood. During one part of our lives, she was assigned the night shift and slept while my sister and I were at school. Interestingly, what I most recall most from this time period is my father cooking fried eggs for us every morning before mom returned home. (Imagine the grease and cholesterol!) During another point in our lives, my mother worked only on weekends, and yet at another time took on 12-hour shifts over a couple of days.
I did not know then that this was deemed “flexible work” and was instrumental in helping her balance everything in her busy life. All I knew was that she was around for us, had a career, volunteered occasionally, hosted two exchange students from Italy, saw her friends once in a while, and somehow still had time to plan family trips across the country in our supersized 1980s conversion van.
I never thought twice about how my mother managed to “do it all” or that nursing was a more flexible career than some occupations. However, I did assume that one day I would have a similar set up. In fact, one of my best friends and I planned as teenagers to pursue professional careers and then work part-time once we had children (which coincidentally or not, we both have done exactly as we envisioned). I thought, perhaps a bit naively, that workplace flexibility would be readily available when I wanted or needed it, no matter what career path I chose.
Finding Flexible Work for Myself
Fast forward a decade later, in my late 20s I proudly negotiated my first part-time, flexible role so that I could pursue additional training to shift my career focus. I have since been traveling down the winding path of flexible work, seeking and arranging alternative schedules in two different fields, as well as navigating a few jagged potholes in the road.
First, I discovered that it was challenging to even locate flexible jobs and employers (although this is getting somewhat easier thanks to a number of excellent resources including FlexJobs and Mom Corps). In one role I had, management professed that I could not be promoted while working a reduced schedule, even though I was performing at the next level. In another position, I was seen as less committed for taking on part-time hours, and eventually was informed that the role was changing to full-time (which I could either take or leave altogether). I departed from these jobs disappointed, but I did not lose hope. I held my head up and marched on, knowing I would eventually find or create something that would fit my career aspirations and family’s needs.
Today I continue to pursue flexible work, because it has given so much to me over the past 12 years. Due to these arrangements, I have been able to follow my dreams, stay in the workforce, be around more for my children physically and mentally, volunteer for causes I believe in, occasionally dabble in a photography hobby, sustain my relationship with my husband, be there for friends and others, and just generally feel more sane and happy in life.
Work Flexibility for All
I know I’m not alone in these experiences and sentiments. As a Career and Work-Life Coach, I have counseled many individuals who have desired flexible arrangements in order to take care of children, assist elderly parents or an ill relative, pursue a hobby, start a business, focus on artistic endeavors, manage a disability or health issue, observe religious traditions, deal with an extreme commute, pursue a degree, or make a career change.
The reasons for wanting flexibility are endless, and the truth is that in today’s world, we all need it. The increasing struggle for individuals and families to balance work and life is why I remain strongly committed to, believe in, and support flexible work initiatives such as 1 Million for Workplace Flexibility. I look forward to the day when flexibility is inextricably woven into all American workplaces, and I truly believe we will get there.
One day, I imagine my children will be calling me to say, “Mom, you are not going to believe how easy it was to find a flexible opportunity offering exactly the schedule I need!” Then I will know we will have successfully navigated the winding, twisting path to flexibility for all, whether in a conversion van, minivan, or whatever the transportation of the modern day; we will get there.
Now that the month of October has come to a close, and we have wrapped up the 10th Anniversary of National Work and Family Month (which was just officially designated by the U.S. Senate last week) as well as America’s first National Flex Day, it is time to celebrate the progress we have made in the field of work-life. As a result of these initiatives, many thought-provoking articles were written, topics were discussed, campaigns were introduced, and opinions were tweeted. As Cindy Auten (@CindyMWE) stated on Twitter “What a great effort by many!” With all this hard work, we wonder how we can keep up the lively energy and enthusiasm beyond the month of October? Here are six ways we can continue moving forward: Read More →