Sick of Feeling Guilty


SICK_DAY

Are you a workaholic? If you answered yes, then you probably have worked while being sick. “Oh it’s just the sniffles,” you’ve called the flu.  “A tickle in my chest,” you’ve called pneumonia. All the while, you are helping to spread germs around the office. And it doesn’t end there. More and more of us feel guilty about taking vacation time, as if the office will come to an end because we aren’t there.

Lesson: You are only hurting yourself.

I learned this lesson the hard way when I got bronchitis a few years ago. A supervisor called me (yes I answered the phone) and requested that I develop a banner for an overseas conference. Telling me that it was needed right away and if I could help it would most appreciated, I tossed my meds to the side and set to work. I worked all day long and felt worse than I had when I took the dreaded call. Turned out, the banner didn’t need to be completed that day! I worked for nothing!

The truth is that we all get sick or need a mental health day at one point, it’s just a part of life and it’s ok.

So let’s walk through this together:

Step 1 – You feel sick

Step 2 – Pick up your phone and email your supervisor and say, I am taking a sick day today.

Step 3 – Put the phone down and take care of yourself

See how easy that was?

Lesson: Don’t be fooled into thinking that working through being sick will be make you more appreciated. Take the time to take care of yourself, and be nice to your colleagues by not spreading the germs.

 

Crossing Old Bridges…Moving Forward From Your Old Job


Last night I had the opportunity to celebrate one of my former employers 25 years in business. One of their ways of celebrating was inviting their “alumni” employees back for a night of reminciing and good food. Intially, I hadn’t planned on going; partly because I am pregnant and since it seemed high-school reunionish, I was a little timid at showing the fat face and belly. But the other reason I had thought about not attending was because it was a journey back into the past and I didn’t want to remember the bad memories.

In the end, I decided to put all of the excuses aside and I went to celebrate. And I have to admit that I enjoyed myself. I loved seeing those that remained that I kept in contact with, those I hadn’t kept in contact and meeting those I had never met before. I laughed more than I thought I would and actually missed being there. As I walked the halls, I could remember the good times of putting the incoming mail in the mail slots, the hustle and bustle of the day, the big desk I had with the fax machine right behind me. I missed the laughter, the Friday bagel days and even “febreezing” the carpet in the large conference room after big meetings.

If there were such a thing as closure, this was it. As the evening came to a close, I walked away from the building feeling proud that I had worked there. The time I spent as an Administrative/HR Assistant was not all bad. I was a young woman, fresh from college, but I learned to prioritize, how to restart a voicemail server, how to fix a copier in 1 minute and the importance of always remaining professional. I was glad that the boss I thought hated me, actually had good memories of me. And most importantly, I was glad that I could leave the bad memories in the past and remember only the good.

I guess the phrase, “Don’t Burn Bridges,” is actually true. You never know what the future holds..

Hard-Cover vs Digital Portfolios: How to Best Showcase Your Skills


No matter your profession, having a portfolio is still the best way to showcase your skills in an interview. A portfolio allows you to tell the story of your career and show what you can do with the position you are interviewing. I have always benefited from bringing a portfolio to interviews and often it helped the interviewer to really get to know me and what I could offer the company.

While most experts recommend having a hard copy portfolio on hand, digital portfolios are becoming more and more popular. Freelance Switch offers advice for professionals seeking to make the decision of whether to go with a hard cover or digital portfolio in an article How to Make Your Portfolio Work for You. The article recommends taking a hard cover portfolio to the interview, but can’t put down the benefits of having a digital portfolio available as well. The benefits of having a digital portfolio include the absolute pure ability to reach a broader audience in finding a job or new clients for your business. The article recommends carbonmade.com and creativeshake.com as an option for those who want to get started uploading their portfolio items.

Got a new way to stand out in the interview pool? Add your comments here!

The Mommy Track


I now understand why women wait later on in their careers to have children. It can be difficult once you are getting started in your career to have a child because not only do you have to make sure that you do your job correctly and efficiently every day of the week (meaning getting a case of “Mommy Brain” is a major no-no.), but you also have to find a way to juggle the care of your family and maintain the high level corporate lifestyle you planned. Many of us are doing the best we can only to deviated to the “Mommy Track.”

Today I read an article about Goldman Sachs being sued by a former vice president who felt she was pushed onto the Mommy Track. Apparently, the woman was demoted when she came back from her first maternity leave and fired when she returned from her second maternity leave, after she switched to part-time; an option that is available to all employees.

The article reminded me of my experience with maternity leave. I planned my exit plan down to the last second of my pregnancy. I shared my plan with my supervisor and her supervisor in a meeting/writing. We agreed that I would be out for the typical time and that when I came back I would work part-time for the first two weeks so that I would be able to be get adjusted to the Mommy/Marketing Coordinator life. The result? Laid off the month after my return. Now granted the company wasn’t doing well, but in looking back I know I was on the list to terminate because my supervisor called me the week before my return to see when I was coming back. At the time, I thought they were genuinely interested in me coming back. I won’t be able to prove that allegation, but needless to say that it has caused me to plan my next pregnancy and be as prepared as possible for any negative consequences.

In the case of the woman from Goldman Sachs, that was case was dismissed, probably because this type of discrimination is extremely hard to prove. Especially since now many women are “trading money for family.” The lesson for all career-minded women who are considering having children is to do thorough research on the company you currently work for. Find out if there are women who have successfully gone on maternity leave and what was the result when they came back. And even though it shouldn’t matter, find a way to gauge your boss’s attitude about working mothers. This will help you find out whether you should look for another job or begin the baby making process!

For more information about the Mommy Track, take a gander at the following article from About.com

Equal Work Doesn’t Mean Equal Pay


It’s a proven fact that women comprise half the workplace. And it’s even more documented that women make less than men, even if they occupy the same position.

Over and over again, these reports can be seen and yet no one seems to want to rectify the issue. Instead of coughing up the dough to make equal work mean equal pay, companies are creating better flex-time and working from programs that will assist working mothers and there are even some companies that offer reimbursement for adoptions.

As someone who takes advantage of these programs at my own place of employment, I have to admit that while I am thankful to have the opportunity to work from home if needed, I would rather have the money. Don’t’ get me wrong, I enjoy my job, but I still have to do my part to take care of my family.

I think what bothers me the most is that companies fail to realize is that gender roles in this country are changing. They have yet to understand is that there are some women who are the breadwinners of the home and rely on their paycheck to handle the majority of the bills.

There are companies that offer mentoring programs for women to help them further advance in the company, but what is the point of these types of programs when the women will not make as much as men in the position.