9 Ways to Find Mom Time in a Fast-Paced World

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Welcome to your mental lifesaver: Mommy micro-vacations.

The world expects you to do it all: you need to have a solid career, raise kids, run the house, be a stand up wife and do it all with a smile on your face.  What’s that saying about Ginger Rogers again?  “She did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.”

A 2014 study in the UK says the average mom has about 17 minutes of “me” time to herself1.  If you are laughing right now it’s because that probably seems like a lot to you if you are currently a working mom.  And if that is you, you probably laugh when people say, “you just need more ‘you’ time!”

Well, you do, but that probably feels impossible with the breakneck speed of life at its current pace.  However, with the holidays quickly approaching, consider the concept of micro-breaks that you can book in advance.  Here are some pointers to get that well-deserved downtime away from work and kids.

  1. Put your foot down.  Before you do anything else and before that cracking, high-pitched tone comes into your voice, tell everyone you need a break and you are going to take it.  Dishes be damned, you need a micro-vacation.  Give them notice, plan it out but make everyone understand that while you are gone there will be no calls, no change of plans and they are on their own.  The ship will not sink for the next three hours. 
  2. Schedule it in.  Think about little blocks of time when you can do something that feeds your soul.  Mark it on the calendar and give yourself permission to use that time as you need it. 
  3. Go for a walk.  Even 15-20 minutes is a huge refresher that doesn’t involve driving, talking, or any other kind of processing.  Listen to music or just the sound of birds in the park.
  4. Catch a movie.  Not Angry Birds, either. Go to a rom com, a classic or a thriller. 
  5. Day spa.  A good soak in the tub and a massage will do wonders for your piece of mind. 
  6. Start a new book.  You know you are an adult when your idea of a good time is grabbing a latte and reading in a café.  That’s a luxury you can afford in terms of time and money.
  7. Hit the flea market.  Most towns have a weekly rummage sale where all kinds of fascinating bit and bobs turn up.  If you have a project at home that is collecting dust, some nifty fixtures might be the perfect inspiration for cleaning up that old dresser.
  8. Take a yoga class. You never walk out of a yoga class and think: that was a waste of time.  There are so many styles out there that you can find one for your level.  Hint: Nidra is a super-mellow relaxing style that is practiced mostly lying down.  You feel absolutely dreamy afterwards. 
  9. Get an ice cream.  Sometimes you just need a sweet treat.  Go to the bakery or get some of that gourmet ice ream that is all the rage these days. 

The point is that there are little but important choices that you can make to get that me time in.  And if you don’t make the time, the strain of juggling so many different aspects of life can really sink you.  It’s so hard for moms who always put themselves first, but really, the dishes will get done, the laundry will get folded, the deliverables will make it to the right desk.  So go on, take the time.  You deserve it, Mom. 

References:

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2552188/The-average-mother-gets-just-17-minutes-time-day.html

True or False: Surprising Facts About How Raising the Minimum Wage Will Affect the SMB

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With all the shouting going on around raising the minimum wage, how can you tell what the implications will be for your business?

Every few years, the debate about raising the minimum raise comes up and depending on whom you ask, it’s a great idea, or a terrible one.  An economy is an ecosystem, and you cannot flood one area without another area feeling the impact,whether that impact is immediate or spread out over the long term.  

From entrepreneurs with fledgling startups to old-world institutions, this is a big conversation.  Employers must always walk a fine line between wanting to pay their quality people well and maintaining operating costs.  This line can fluctuate wildly depending on the kind of business you run.  

Yet, the public is often misled about the larger implications of raising pay,historically speaking, so it’s worth examining what economists, small business owners, and other experts in the field have to say about it.  

True or False: Raising employee pay will force many businesses to lay off their labor.

False: During the last round of debate in April of 2014, seven Nobel Laureates inEconomics joined 75 other advocates to present an argument in favor of raising theFederal rate from $7.25 per hour to $10.10.  Simply stated, upping the minimum means workers have more money to spend, which acts as a boost to the economy.In the past, businesses have seen little to no impact on their labor force and the key is to index the living wage according to inflation1.  Because the cost of living has shot up so dramatically in many American cities, places like Seattle and San Francisco have set the bar at $15.00 per hour.  Those new rates have yet to go into effect and so the outcome is unclear.[2]

True or False: A higher hourly wage will force businesses to raise their prices.

True: But it varies widely.  Take for example the restaurant industry, which relies on minimum wage workers and requires high overhead.  Even if a restaurant reorganizes for more efficiency, it often cannot afford to let employees go, so the cost gets passed onto the customer.  By contrast, law firms won’t be affected as directly since these types of businesses don’t have many or any minimum wageworkers at all.

True or False: Businesses will have access to a more skilled labor pool.

True: Another advantage that more diversified businesses (companies that have both minimum wage earners and skilled labor) will see is that they can start people at entry level with a more broad skill set.  It potentially opens up the field of available candidates for entry-level positions.  However, the downside is that management positions will also require adjustment, but business owners say that the long-term costs associated with raising pay will balance out with hiring a more skilled and specialized workforce [3].  
True or False: New businesses and startups will get hurt the most.
False: Older, more established businesses are often less flexible in their business practices, where young companies are prepared to scale accordingly.  That elasticity is key in responding to the pressures of the market, so new companies are often better-prepared, and willing to pay workers more.  
The business owners in America are split on the subject, but it’s interesting to note that the smallest businesses with 1-9 employees are overwhelmingly in favor of a national pay hike, where large companies would like to keep labor prices where they are [4].
It’s important to consider the intangibles when upping your workers’ pay; it’s great for morale and employee retention.  Also, more effort on your employees’ parts will likely mean gains in productivity.  One of the key decisions entrepreneurs must make is what to pay employers for the work in order to sustain and grow their companies.  If you are starting a business right now, factor it into your business plan that the price you pay for labor is likely going to change.    

Single and Working: 7 Ways to Balance Your Dating Life and Professional Life

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Somewhere around the age of 27, it may seem like you’re attending a wedding every other weekend.  This new “hobby” can take up half of the free time you have, particularly in the warmer months.  Gifts, questionable bridesmaid dresses, travel arrangements, etc….you get the picture, and let’s just say the effort and dollars add up quickly.

But this isn’t a problem.  You want to celebrate with your in-love friends, and your evolving career with paid time off is supporting the costs as well as your availability to not miss a thing.  But that very career brings up a really good point – as a single person with a focus on your professional success, how in the world do you yourself have time for a little romance?  How exactly did that happy couple whose wedding you’re attending this week get there themselves?

Dating is challenging enough at anytime in life, but when you’re in, say, college, at least the social environment seems to lend itself to meeting new people on the regular basis.  It’s not always the same as a hard-working adult, especially as a number of your peers are quickly marrying off.  You actually have to put forth effort into finding and keeping eligible dates, and the process requires time, effort, and even a little courage.

If you’re finding yourself at this crossroads, here’s a little insight to help you on your dating path, as you navigate through the daily demands of your career:

  1. Online dating can work. We understand if you’re rolling your eyes at this one, but consider a few points.  If you don’t have time to regularly hit up the latest restaurants or something along those lines, perusing others looking to date online can be a much faster route.  Also, according to a 2013 study from the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” individuals using online dating sites tend to be better educated, employed, and have a higher rate of marital success if they find a partner through an online dating service.  Remember, always initially meet up with a first-time online date in a public place; be smart and keep it safe.
  2. Make time for at least one regular activity. Even with a busy work schedule, it’s imperative to your mental health that you enjoy other aspects of your life, as it only boosts your productivity while on the job anyways.  Whether it’s a weekly happy hour with some friends, volunteering, church involvement, a fitness class, or some other social venue, these types of comfortable environments can be a great way to meet possible dates while also doing something positive for yourself.
  3. Consider a lunch date. Do both of you work downtown?  Does one of you work from home?  If hours are long and/or you’ve got a laundry list of stuff to do in the evenings, lunch break may offer the flexibility to meet up for a date.  Better yet, if it doesn’t go well, you have the truthful out of saying, “I have to get back to work now.”  There are even dating services that support first meeting people midday; check out It’s Just Lunch.
  4. Who let the dogs out? Have a furry friend that is cooped up a lot while you work long hours?  Taking your pooch to a dog park on a Saturday morning is not only beneficial to you both, but it’s also a great place to meet other singles.  Men and women who have dogs make particularly good partners, as they demonstrate the ability to care for another being, offer a sense of responsibility, and are able to form emotional attachments. 
  5. Try speed dating! This approach was made for the busy professional.  Kind of like a musical chairs with human chemistry, speed dating is a proven and time effective way to meet a future partner.  At an event, all participants are given a numbered badge, and will rotate around to spend time with everyone there.  When the activity is over, everybody writes down the badge numbers of who they were interested in, and any mutual matches are then informed so that they can go from there.
  6. Having multiple priorities is okay. So maybe thanks to speed dating or the dog park, you met a person you really like and enjoy being around.  In order to spend regular, valuable time with this person to get to know him/her better, something’s gotta give in your busy life.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a sacrifice, but rather a readjustment.  Between work and your daily responsibilities, though, you may be wondering, “When can I even see this person?”  Remember, if developing a relationship is important to you, just like your career is, you’re going to have to make it a priority in order for it to work.  This may mean moving your exercise session to before work, reducing time spent on an activity, or blocking out one evening per week where you are unavailable to work late.  Your whole life is a balance, and you’re doing your company no favor if you’re selling yourself short in other important aspects.
  7. Compartmentalize! If enjoying a healthy dating life and an advancing career would be the best of both worlds for you, the best way to keep these two separate worlds happy is by in fact keeping them separate.  This means when you are on the job, fully commit yourself to the tasks at hand, and when you’re on that date you set aside the time for, make the most of it, leaving work concerns at the office (and that includes not looking at your phone!).

So whether you’re a 20something or not, if you’re a wedding guest for the umpteenth time this summer, remember to keep it all in perspective.  Just like your career, a successful relationship wasn’t built in a day.  It has to be well established and nurtured; the whole process takes effort from the start.  At work, you’ve already demonstrated your intelligence, as well as your time management, cooperation, and creative skills, and these all can translate to also finding happiness in your dating life.  Clearly the trick is keeping everything balanced, and with some of the tips discussed today, it is possible, and maybe before you even know it, that next wedding you’re attending could be your own.

Supporting Girls In STEM Academics: The Latest Progress

susie almaneih

In the wake of International Women’s Day, we look at the progress we are making and where we need to go next.

As a nation, the U.S. has fallen behind on the global scale of young people entering the sciences, and the shortfall is significant[1]. In order to continue our strong streak in technology and to address some of the pressing problems we face as a nation, it is imperative that we look to young girls and women to fill these positions in the immediate future.

It is a very promising sign that other developing nations are changing their laws to allow women the right to education and professions[2] that were not accessible previously, and we should do everything in our power as professional women to assure our young women get the chance to make a difference that they deserve.

So what is happening out there in the world to support girls in STEM? Let’s take a look at the real work taking place in the name of female empowerment.

The Research:

An extensive series of studies supported by the AAUW, American Association of University Women, illustrates the tilted numbers in terms of hiring rates, raises, and paths to advancement in the workforce that favor men[3]. The project set out to determine if the percentages could be influenced with prescribed points of action.

The Solution:

The study used Harvey Mudd College as a test run to boost their female science graduates with a three-point plan. The results were staggering: in 2009, female

science graduates composed around 12% of the entire graduating class and by 2011, that number shot up to 40% while the national average remained static at

18%4.

The Research:

The Cascading Influences project examined informal STEM programs and their impact on moving young women into science and math. The idea was to look at everyday experiences that might influence girls positively. While a multitude of programs had been instituted to evaluate girls in STEM, that evaluation process ended when funding for the program ended, so there was no ongoing examination of how this affected girls into adulthood. From the ages of 10 to 14, interest in the sciences drops off sharply among boys and girls4. This overarching study attempted to see how early experiences with STEM based projects influenced higher education.

The Solution:

Overwhelmingly, girls who participated in the numerous programs evaluated were more likely to remain interested and pursue careers in math, natural sciences, and engineering[4]. These women reported lasting positive experiences that shaped their professional identities and outcomes.

The Research:

Despite the fact that girls represent 56% of Advanced Placement test takers in all subjects, they only comprise 19% in AP computer sciences[5]. This gap is particularly troubling because IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and reflects significant opportunity for high-paying positions after college.

The Solution:

The National Center for Women & Information Technology supplies this report targeting educators, curriculum developers, administrators, educational

policymakers, school counselors, and parents to raise awareness and implement methodologies and criteria for inclusion, including breaking down social

stereotypes, providing role models, and addressing self esteem issues. You can view the report in its entirety here:

https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/girlsinit_thefacts_fullreport2012.pdf.

The Research:

Women comprise 51% of the population in the U.S., yet they only make up 18-19% of computer sciences professions. Even more alarming is that this number has plummeted from 37% in the 1980s. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be another 1.5 million jobs in this field, yet with the current rate of graduates, we will only be able to fill 32% of those jobs6. Young women can be the key to solving this shortfall.

The Solution:

Google partnered with the Center for American Progress to help address the need for women to enter IT-related industries. Google has invested $23.5 million in K-12 education to tackle the gender gap, estimating that it will aid five million young women in advanced computer study.

The Research:

All around the globe, women are underrepresented in the work force, and so countries are recognizing that if they want to remain competitive, the workforce itself need to change to support the untapped potential of removing gender barriers.

The Solution:

The online publication Mashable put together a list of countries and organizations who are making remarkable strides in shattering the glass ceiling. Brazil for

example, ranks first in STEM gender equality by instituting progressive social policies, state-funded tuition, and education abroad programs2. View the Mashable article for more inspiring examples of success worldwide:

http://mashable.com/2016/01/22/women-in-stem-global/#alz98VbHNZqD.

While it can appear on an anecdotal level that women have achieved equality, there are still institutionalized attitudes that prevent women from entering these crucial industries, or from advancing in their careers. Not surprisingly, women have contributed significant innovations in the world of science and technology, helping to broaden our understanding and improve the human project.

It is clear that with guidance and resources, our young women are unstoppable in these arenas and if we continue to aid their progress, we are contributing to the future of humanity itself. For more on these exciting strides and how you can make your own contribution to these important projects, check out the National Girls Collaborative Project here: https://ngcproject.org/get-involved.

References:

1. https://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_11_02_06_cohen.pdf

2. http://mashable.com/2016/01/22/women-in-stem-global/#alz98VbHNZqD

3. http://www.aauw.org/research/solving-the-equation/

4. https://www.fi.edu/sites/default/files/cascading-influences.pdf

5. https://www.ncwit.org/resources/girls-it-facts

6.https://www.americanprogress.org/events/2016/01/25/129763/the-future-of-innovation-inspiring-the-next-generation-of-computer-scientists/

5 Reasons that New Year’s Resolutions are Great for the Whole Family

A new approach to goal setting is a healthy way to ring in the New Year.

As the year comes to an end and we’ve all eaten too many holiday treats, it’s easy to give a big sigh and make some halfhearted proclamations. However, there is a deeper reason to set some intentions for the upcoming year, a pact we can agree to so that we make positive shifts.

This is actually an opportunity for all of us to put our best foot forward and to revamp some of our habits, setting a great example for our kids. Below are some of the benefits that New Year’s resolutions present to our children.

  1. Make it a family ritual. If every year, you sit down as a family and state your successes and how you would like to improve in the coming year, you allow everyone to set their effort along a continuum. In other words, we can help our children see beyond their daily experience and see their own big picture.
  2. Setting reasonable expectations. Often we set ourselves up for failure when it comes to our goals, in part, because those goals were not aligned closely enough with our present lives. Claiming that you are going to work out five days a week when you don’t have the time to work out once is a good way to disappoint yourself. Being realistic and implementing small, workable solutions is a kinder approach with a higher chance of success.
  3. Take stock in what you already do right. Before making some sweeping promises, take a good look at what you already have done that you can build on. We are so caught up in our culture with achieving, that we often miss the real gold right in our daily experience: our moments with our families, the joy of putting our skills to use, the essence of our daily experience. Taking a moment as a family to look at the good and how we can add in more is a positive step.
  4. Age-appropriate goals. Another consideration in putting our best foot forward is making goals doable for our children’s age groups. Pediatricians recommend that pre-school kids work on things like brushing teeth, working on the alphabet, or feeding family pets. The emphasis for ages 5-12 can be more personal like sharing, helping, or improving study habits.1
  5. Progess, not product. Psychologists have conducted studies on “mindset” that indicate both kids and adults actually perform better on any given task if they are encouraged to improve, rather than prove their inherent skills. To put it another way, the human mind is more elastic when it adapts a growth mentality, rather than a “win” mentality2. So one of the best things we can do is point out our children’s headway, rather than their accomplishments. Applying this to resolutions, fostering development at the things that they already love to do, is a really a practical and actionable way to self-discipline.

To sum up, we can use the New Year to flog ourselves for not delivering on our overblown promises, or we can use it as a genuine motivator to further our goals. The distinction is subtle, but important, and it makes huge difference for our kids in demonstrating genuine effort. Take these last days of 2015 to count your blessings, acknowledge your milestones, and move your personal projects ahead together as a family.

References:

  1. http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/making-new-years-resolutions-child/
  2. https://www.mindsetworks.com/webnav/whatismindset.aspx

9 Things Professional Moms and Dads are Doing for Happy Work-Life Balance

 A new model of family is emerging, a model of inclusion with less emphasis on roles, and more placed on partnerships and collaboration.  One of the reasons this shift is taking place is the influence of women in business.

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Imagine a world where you run your company half the time from the comfort of your home office so that you can keep working on a fun project with your kids.  Imagine your partner’s schedule alternates and overlaps with yours, so that you all get regular quality time together.  Imagine you feel like you are on top of it, like your business gets the best of you and your family also gets the best of you.

Sound impossible?  According to the research, the workplace is shifting with the broader understanding that flexible company policies around time management and high performance go hand-in-hand1.  A sea of change is taking place in society.  The work we do, the hours we work, our location, and our company structure are all reorganizing with the new understanding that healthy, engaged employees build the best and the brightest companies.

We took a look at some of the social science that explores what families are doing to build and maintain work-life balance.  These common themes emerged at both home and the office among happy double-earner families.

  1. Apply all your negotiation and diplomacy skills with your family.  Part of daily life for managers, CEOs, and execs is navigating interpersonal dynamics effectively.  All those strategies like keeping your voice level, using “I” statements, and taking a cooling off period are applicable to your marriage and children.
  2. Don’t vent; just breathe.  When we are stressed out or frustrated, it’s the easiest thing in the world to come home and want to dump it onto someone else.  It’s human nature, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.  Make it a ritual as you drive home, or pull yourself aside for just three minutes, to take some slow breaths, leave work behind, and be present for your family.
  3. Listen actively.  Set down devices.  Make eye contact.  Talk to each other.
  4. Keep a family calendar and have brief, regular check-ins. If everyone is old enough to have a device, it’s easy to sync your calendars, but it is still a good idea to a have a highly visible white board up in a common space.
  5. Everyone pitches in.  Researchers have found that a key component to healthy dual-income marriages is fair allocation of the household chores2.  This specifically means men need to take an active role with things like dishes, laundry, shopping, and managing subcontractors like the cleaning service and the handyman.  And even young kids are tasked with age-appropriate chores.
  6. Say ‘Thank You.’  In studies that explored why women make good managers, employees often reported that women show their appreciation more often than men3.  Remembering to thank every member of your team is just as important at home as at work.
  7. Flexible work schedules.  As the boss, you can set up your schedule to maximize productivity.  Often successful working couples both have a “flex” day, so they can schedule in things that come up or make time for a spontaneous activity with the kids.  Or maybe they go on a lunch date.
  8. Family-friendly work culture.  Workingparents cited company attitudes toward family as a major contributor to their success.  Informal support was particularly helpful to men, while formal policies helped women.  Having an understanding supervisor was linked to that employee’s overall work satisfaction2.  So part of running a successful business is trusting your team.
  9. Don’t stop Date Night.  Regularly get non-refundable tickets to something.  Go wine tasting or rock climbing or bowling.  As unfun as it sounds, schedule in fun.  Don’t talk about kids or work.  Maybe even sit in silence and watch a sunset.

This is how we do our part in refashioning the work-life model to better meet families’ needs.  We contribute by seeing the big picture in our projects, by modeling the give-and-take of effective collaboration, and by instituting policies that nurture employees and business.  We do this by taking care of our partners and by relishing every moment we have with our children.

Research:

  1. http://hrweb.mit.edu/system/files/all/worklife/flexible_work_arrangements.pdf
  2. http://www.workandfamily.chhs.colostate.edu/articles/files/Practices%20of%20Duel%20Earner%20Couples%20Balancing%20Work%20and%20Family,%20’05.PDF
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-women-are-better-managers-than-men-2015-4

7 Ways Mothering Cultivates your Career Skillset

Consider that the results of a 2015 study showed that more than two-thirds of employers believe raising kids can make people better employees.  With more working moms than ever before, and many women striving to get back into the workforce after time spent raising children, this is an especially encouraging statistic.

The challenges full-time working mothers face are frequently and deservedly discussed, but another large obstacle is for parents who are getting back into the workforce after a “break,” when their full-time job was comprised of childrearing.  It’s important to see the parenting skillset as a relevant acquisition that can propel a working mom’s career, and help the stay-at-home mom jump back into the working world.  Becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and it empowers us to develop and refine skills we didn’t even realize we had.  

So what valuable career attributes come out of the parenthood experience?  Which are important to include on a resume?

1.  Superior time management skills

Having children inherently causes you to be more strategic with limited time because babies are happier on a schedule.  Moms get used to maximizing naptime, and procrastination is something new moms quickly outgrow.  Quick, concerted bursts of productivity support more efficient output, and parents recognize that time is a precious commodity, so they become better at plotting out concentrated chunks of time to get their work done. 

2. Increased ingenuity

Having a baby is identity changing; it’s a real confidence booster to give birth to a whole new human, and motherhood is entrepreneurial by nature.  You have to get crafty as a parent, and it’s almost a reflex to look around and see how you can do something better, solve a problem, or make a daily task more convenient.  Mothers have patented and improved upon many inventions, launching a whole new level of ease in modern life.  

However, research has shown that when making self-assessments of work-related performance, women use a more complicated platform of criteria than their male counterparts.  This could explain why studies tend to indicate that men are more confident in their jobs.  The take-away?  Women need to take more credit and recognize their contributions. 

3. Multitasking master

Moms need to be able to multitask, stay organized, and attend to the demands of many people at once.  These are crucial skills for employees in almost any line of work.  Performing multiple tasks like supervising your children, paying bills, and organizing and maintaining your household are all mom skills that help develop the ability to prioritize and juggle multiple responsibilities.  In a recent study, 59% of employers state that moms excel at this invaluable skill.

4. Managerial skills put to work

When you’re negotiating with your three-year-old over using the potty, it may not feel like you’re earning a graduate degree.  But “early parenting is the perfect boot camp for learning how to manage employees,” says Shari Storm, author of Motherhood Is the New MBA.  Moms learn fast to effectively allocate tasks, and permanently be on their feet with strong decision-making skills. 

5. Strength in Sympathy

We tend to think of sympathy as a negative in our culture, but psychologically speaking, it’s the position of deeply identifying with someone else’s experience while maintaining a role of support.  Having children teaches you the important art of sympathy, a skill that’s priceless in the workplace.  As mothers, we have plenty of practice helping our children navigate their feelings, and while our vocabulary for the workplace is obviously more sophisticated, the same principles apply.  Actively listening and trying to anticipate employee needs helps them feel supported and effective.  Being a good boss doesn’t mean getting lost in others’ emotions, it just means making space for their experience so they can process and move on.  

6. Team motivation 

As a parent, you excel in the role of personal motivator to your child’s aspirations.  Encouraging their progress and using feedback and positive reinforcement are great tools not just at home, but also with your co-workers.  Be careful to never sound condescending to a colleague, but remember that enthusiasm can maximize their abilities.

7. Last but not least – patience

About 67% of 2,138 employers in a recent CareerBuilder poll named “patience” as the number one trait that makes parents attractive as job candidates.  Every mother needs to continually develop patience in teaching and training her children, and once you’ve worked on that skill at home, it’s a whole lot easier in the workplace.  Being a parent can also help you learn not to take it too personally when things go awry, which is an invaluable career quality.  Parenting demands flexibility, and the ability to “roll with it” translates quite well to the office.

The good news is that the obstacles and learning you face in becoming a parent evolve into irreplaceable skills that can be put to use, and more importantly recognized, in your career.  These abilities can not only help you progress, but also better support those around you, in efficiently getting the job done each day.  If you are currently working hard to get back into the workforce, keep notes of the skills you’ve developed and polished as a parent, and be sure to include them on your resume.  Many employers will see parenting as an asset if you do.

Sources:

 1 . http://fortune.com/2015/05/06/parenting-professional-skills/

2.  http://www.hrzone.com/lead/culture/how-the-role-of-women-has-changed-in-the-workplace-over-the-decades-and-are-we-in-a

 3. http://www.ehow.com/way_5955704_turning-mom-skills-job-skills.html

 4. http://www.redbookmag.com/life/mom-kids/advice/g328/mom-skills-at-work/

 5. http://fortune.com/2015/05/06/parenting-professional-skills/

Creative Interview Questions CEOs Swear By

CEOs often know what they want, and some have creative ways of figuring out who can deliver. Why do they do this? They want to step outside of the traditional interview box, and provide an opportunity to watch a candidate work his or her way through a problem live, right there, in that moment.

Taken from an article on cornerstoneondemand.com, here a few of the wildest curveballs high-level execs regularly throw candidates — and why:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?”

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Hsieh told the New York Times reporter Adam Bryant, that he believes the question can identify individuality, something Zappos embraces as part of its overall philosophy. “Our whole belief is that everyone is a little weird somehow, so it’s really more just a fun way of saying that we really recognize and celebrate each person’s individuality and we want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment.”

“What’s your spirit animal?”

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite

Ryan Holmes told business columnist Jeff Haden that asking this question gets candidates to describe themselves while also pushing them to think creatively. Holmes said that he asked his current executive assistant the question and her answer was telling: “She told me it was a duck, because ducks are calm on the surface and hustling like crazy getting things done under the surface. I think this was an amazing response and a perfect description for the role of an EA.”

“What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?”

Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

According to an interview with Business Insider, Morris explained, while it seems silly and extreme, responses suggest how someone will react under pressure. “It’s interesting to get someone’s opinion and understand how they think on their feet. The hope is that for us, we’re going to find out who this person is on the inside and what’s really important to him, what his morals really are and if he’ll fit on the cultural level,” says Morris.

“Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder and president of Clarium Capital

In 2012, Theil told Forbes he loves this question because “it sort of tests for originality of thinking, and to some extent, it tests for your courage in speaking up in a difficult interview context.”

“What was the last costume you wore?”

Neil Blumenthal, co-CEO of Warby Parker

Blumenthal told New York Times reporter Adam Bryant in an interview that quirkiness and fun are core values at Warby, so Blumenthal uses this question to gauge cultural fit. “The point isn’t that if you haven’t worn a costume in the last four weeks, you’re not getting hired,” Blumenthal explains. “It’s more to judge the reaction to that question. Are you somebody who takes yourself very seriously? If so, that’s a warning sign to us. We want people to take their work seriously but not themselves.”

“Summarize your life in three minutes”

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

“I’m trying to figure out the formative decisions and experiences that influenced who you are as a person,” Chesky told the New York Times. “Once I figure that out, I’m trying to understand the two or three most remarkable things you’ve ever done in your life.”

 

Source: https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/blog/6-crazy-interview-questions-ceos-swear#.Vl8SPN-rRLA

 

Susie Almaneih’s Top Entrepreneurs: Part 2

4. Cyrus McCormick Sr: The Father of Modern Agriculture

“One step at a time, the hardest one first.”

Cyrus McCormick Sr. spoke these words from his own truth. Born on February 15, 1809 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, his father Robert McCormick, Jr. was also an inventor, who worked for 28 years on a horse-drawn mechanical reaper to harvest grain; however, he was never able to reproduce a reliable version.

Cyrus McCormick Sr. took over where his father left off, receiving a patent on the reaper on June 21, 1834, two years after having been granted a patent for a self-sharpening plow. He prevailed as an entrepreneur through his ability to find capitalists to fund the machine and salesmen to get it to farmers. With his innovation, farmers doubled their production, contributing significantly to U.S. prosperity and its status as an agricultural superpower. His company later became International Harvester Co.

After his father’s death, McCormick and one of his brothers moved to Chicago, where they established a factory to build their machines. At the time, other cities in the Midwest were more established and prosperous; Chicago had no paved streets, but the city had the best water transportation from the east over the Great Lakes for his raw materials, as well as railroad connections to the farther west where his customers would be. The McCormick reaper sold well, partially as a result of savvy and innovative business practices. Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant markets. McCormick developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a wide network of salesmen trained to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field, as well as to get parts quickly and repair machines in the field if necessary during crucial times in the farm year.

5. Andrew Carnegie: Philanthropic Steel Magnate

“No man can become rich without him enriching others.”

Once described as the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie believed the wealthy have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes. But it’s not his well-documented philanthropic efforts that place him as one of the greatest entrepreneurs. Carnegie foresaw the future demand for iron and steel at a time when railroads and bridges were largely wooden. He drove down production costs in his steel factories, where he implemented new, more efficient technologies that helped the United States surpass Britain in steel output. Carnegie attributed his industrial success to placing the right people in the right positions. He suggested for his own epitaph, “Here lies a man who was able to surround himself with men far cleverer than himself.”

Incidentally, his mentorship to personal-development guru Napoleon Hill laid the groundwork for Think and Grow Rich, arguably the greatest business self-help book of all time. What started as an unpaid assignment for Hill, then a young journalist, became a 20-year exploration of the common success traits of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

6. Charles Schwab: Trailblazer in How We Invest

There’s an old marketing adage that states, “When everyone is headed in one direction, chances are your best opportunities lie in the opposite direction.”

Charles Schwab clearly takes this to heart. By turning his back on stodgy Wall Street conventions, he blazed his own trail and sparked an investing revolution. At a time when most brokers were battling for large institutional clients, Schwab focused his attention on the individual investor. As one of the first brokers to offer low-cost, no-frills trading services, Schwab pioneered the discount brokerage industry and transformed a struggling firm into one of the nation’s largest traders. To afford such discounts and still make money, Schwab did away with the traditional service of offering research, put his staff on salary, and automated order processing via computer – one of the first brokerages to do so.

Schwab’s company reduced trade commissions and gave more power to consumers to pick and choose their investments. He also introduced e-commerce investing, allowing clients to execute, buy, and sell orders online.

Schwab once said, “A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm,” and his own enthusiasm and entrepreneurship truly changed the way the average person could invest money.

Susie Almaneih’s Top Entrepreneurs: Part 1

1. Benjamin Franklin: An Original Entrepreneur

Bf

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

Benjamin Franklin’s philosophic words mirrored the actions in his life.

Franklin was a printer and self-taught writer whose witty conversational writing style made his Pennsylvania Gazette and Poor Richard’s Almanack the most successful publications in the country.  His printing operations were so popular that he franchised printing in other cities when the concept of franchising was relatively uncommon. Franklin was a solutions man who turned potential problems into silver linings.  He also understood the importance of networking, striving to improve both himself and his community.  In this process, he made valuable connections that came to help him when bidding for lucrative government printing work.

Franklin and his wife also collected cotton rags, invested in paper mills, and set up a wholesale paper business.  By age 42, he had acquired such wealth that he retired, and was able to concentrate on his inventions, science, and experiments and, of course, politics and diplomacy.

 2. Henry Ford: Lasting Legacy

 henry-ford-18

“Stay true to your vision and follow your instincts-even if your backers advise otherwise.”

At the beginning of the 20th century, the automobile was a plaything for the rich.  Most models were complicated machines that only a chauffer conversant with the individual mechanical nuances could drive it.

 Henry Ford was determined to build a simple and reliable car that the average American worker could afford.  His goal ran counter to the wishes of his backers at Ford Motor Co., who sought to maximize profits by building cars for the rich.

As a key initiator of the moving assembly line, the company mass-produced cars faster and cheaper than other companies.  Ford also paid his workers a real living wage and, through mass consumption, made Ford Motor Co. very profitable–eventually buying out even the most skeptical of backers.  Perhaps most importantly, he helped create a middle class with “America’s Everyman Car,” his black Model T (the only color the company produced for years).

Ford’s ingenuity and acumen left a legacy that reaches far beyond the Model T’s driver’s seat.  His stunning success didn’t occur because of a masterful business sense; he was more of an idea man – a true entrepreneur.

3. John D. Rockefeller: Setting the Standard for Business and Philanthropy

jon rock

“Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

John D. Rockefeller was the single most important figure in the foundation of the oil industry.  With his brother and other partners, he founded Standard Oil in 1870 and built it into one of the world’s first and largest multinational corporations.

With an extreme focus on efficiency and buying or shutting down competitors, the company controlled almost 90% of the country’s refined oils by the 1890s.  Rockefeller, as controlling partner and the largest shareholder, became a billionaire and eventually the world’s richest man.  In 1911, because of anti-trust litigation, the Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil must split into 38 companies. Two of those companies eventually became Exxon and Mobil, which merged in 1999.

Rockefeller, who remained a major shareholder although he had retired from running the company in 1896, turned his focus to charitable endeavors.  Some argued that he used philanthropy as a moral shield from the critics of his aggressive business practices.  But he was as calculating in his giving as he was in business, creating the modern systematic approach to targeted philanthropy, with foundations benefiting medicine, education, and scientific research.  The Rockefeller wealth, distributed as it was through a system of foundations and trusts, continues to fund family philanthropic ventures today.