Staying Off the Mommy Track How to keep your career viable and still be a mom, daughter or wife.
Business & Professional Women/USAWebinar, Sept 26, 2007 Host: Eve Tahmincioglu Columnist for MSNBC.com’s “Your Career” Blogger for “CareerDiva.net” and “YourBiz” Author of “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons learned on the Journey to the Top”
Women still are not expected to have it all. • Just because you need a few weeks or a few months off to take care of your children or an ailing parent, doesn't mean you have to flush your career down the toilet. • There are ways to ask for the time off you need without alienating your boss, underlings or coworkers.
Continued… • Even though the workplace is more understanding when it comes to balancing work and family these days, many women still find they're having to apologize for their choices and they're constantly struggling to stay on the upward-mobility track. • What's going on? Sometimes it's women themselves who sabotage their careers, in addition to old attitudes toward women and work that just won't go away.
A strategy for making it work • Come up with a plan for where you see yourself once you have a child, or decide to care for a loved one. • Write down where you see yourself in your career and how you’ll be able to juggle work and family. • Crucial: Get your spouse on board right away. This is about the two of you; you are not a castaway on an island called motherhood.
Get your boss in the loop • When you’ve figured out your plan then go and sit down with your managers. • Ask to set up a meeting to discuss your future at the company before gossip starts. • Go in there with a list if there are changes you will need to the job. • If you want to maintain the status quo, make sure you tell your bosses, you plan on giving 110 percent and that the change in your personal life will not impact the great work you’re doing.
You need a whole new work structure • If you realize there is no way you can do your job the way it is now and handle your new family obligation then you need to have a detailed plan. • Tell your boss how you would like the job structured, including days off, hours on a daily and weekly basis, how extra work will be handled, whether you’ll work at home or not, etc.
Continued… • If you’re prepared to leave your job if things don’t work out, then ask for the sky and don’t be worried about the ramifications. • If you can’t afford to leave, either because you love what you do or you need the money, be much more open when making suggestions. Don’t demand. Ask if it’s possible.
Some ways to make sure they don’t Mommy track you • Get a mentor now. There is nothing more valuable than a mentor who can be in your court through it all. • Don’t discuss every detail of your personal life. Be short and sweet when announcing a new family situation. • Take the initiative. Take on new projects, clients, etc. Show them you’re still ambitious. • Stay up to date. Take a class, read up on the latest literature, etc.
Continued… • Don’t ever use you family as an excuse when you don’t get the work done. Just assure them it won’t happen again. • Make sure your boss and your boss’ boss knows all that you’re doing. Update managers with a periodic email, or note, or just stop by their office for a chat. • And keep demanding for more money.
It’s not fair but we have to live with it • Unfortunately, women carry most of the burden when it comes to caring for family. • And that’s how people perceive it at work,whether you’re an employee or boss. • An Elle/MSNBC.com survey of more than 60,000 people found that about 15 percent of people thought their female bosses’ child care responsibilities interfered with their ability to do their job. Only about half that many — or 7 percent — thought child care duties were interfering with their male bosses’ workday.
Opting out and getting back in • Women need to understand what they may face if they choose to give up their careers, especially those women who do little to keep their skills up to date or educate themselves during the years off. • No doubt about it, a 20 year hiatus from your career will be a huge hurdle. • But women can re-enter the job market, but you have to brush aside your fears, be extra savvy and in some cases be willing to take entry-level gigs in order to learn and to get back on the paid-work track.
Continued… • And play up stuff you did as a mom that would be valuable to an employer. No one cares if you volunteered at a bake sale, but if you ran the PTA and raised thousands of dollars that should definitely be resume fodder.
Contact me If you want to email me with questions in the future send those to email@example.com. Make sure you mention you sat in on this webinar. Also, here are some links to my work for: Your Career -- yourcareer.msnbc.com Career Diva -- careerdiva.net From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top -- sandboxbook.com