Women, particularly young women, get a lot of conflicting advice about how to look and how to act. But that advice doesn’t come with validity, and the cost of following some advice is pretty high. A recent study in Psychology of Popular Media Culture looks at The Price of Sexy: Viewers’ Perceptions of a Sexualized Versus Nonsexualized Facebook Profile Photograph and it shows a small part of that cost.
In the study, only the views of adolescent and young adult women were assessed. The result shows that among her peers, a young woman in a sexualized picture is considered less attractive physically and socially. She also is considered less competent to complete tasks, and the only difference between the two profile pictures is the way the same woman presents herself. This is the price tag among her female peers right now, and it doesn’t go into why the other girls think the way they do or how it affects future careers.
Counting The Career Cost
If you want to prepare your teen for first job expectations, it might be a good idea to point out the increasing evidence that our online behavior has a price tag. Talk about the way our choices have consequences and let them experience some of those consequences in the safety of your home. Let them be late because they overslept, or wear wrinkles because they didn’t fold their laundry, and anything else that can be connected as a cost — a consequence because of a choice. Many times the real world cost helps a young person connect the way online behavior also has a cost.
Then look past the present choices at the career they are hoping to pursue and help them visualize how their choices today affect their future. Use the things they can see to help them understand the things they don’t see yet. Studies like “The Price of Sexy” can be helpful in discussions because you can talk about the study instead of the individual, and that makes things less confrontational.
By now you have had the first part of the season to evaluate your summer strategies for whatever is going on at home while you are at work. Households with children face some real challenges when school is out (I know ours does), and I’m pretty sure you have done your best to make a plan, but is it working?
Now is a good time to ask your kids how they feel about the summer so far and get suggestions for solving some of the problems that have come up. Talk to your caregiver and emergency backup and let them know you appreciate all they do. That stay-at-home neighbor needs to be thanked for being on call, even if you haven’t had to make the call. And don’t forget to thank your kids for acting responsibly even though they should be doing it anyway.
Have a family treat night and brainstorm how to deal with little things before they turn into door-slamming fights. Do you have a system in place for conflict resolution at home? Do you need to create a sign that lists expectations and rules while you are at work? Is the person in charge while you are gone abusing their authority? Are consequences clear and consistent?
Many kids (and adults) find it easier to discuss problems when there’s something to do while you talk. I’m thinking ice cream with all the toppings here, but do what works for your family. There’s something about a regular family time that you know will be happening that makes communication develop.
It’s easy to forget that family life does develop the skills you bring into your career. There are surprising ways family and career overlap and most of it has to do with the strengths we developed at home.
It’s that time again, the season where suddenly everybody wants to find a summer job if they are old enough to need money. If your teen (or even pre-teen) is asking about ways to earn some cash around the house, use this summer as a foundation for developing creative skills that come in handy their entire working career.
Look For What Someone Will Pay For
Challenge your kids to be entrepreneurs and create their own jobs. I know a kid who very carefully surveyed his siblings about which candy bars they liked and invested in a stash of their favorites — which he sold at a profit to his family members when they got the urge to snack. This is how a lot of jobs are created because it’s the essence of business.
Look For What Fills A Need
Again, this is the foundation of many entrepreneurial startups. Does a neighbor need help with yard work? Can they take over making dinner, or shopping? Is there a big project around the place that could use them? Is this a one-time need or an ongoing need? Sometimes a kid can earn some cash by doing these jobs, other times it is volunteer service but this leads to the next point…
Look For The Skills You Will Learn
The ability to see what needs to be done and do it is a skill that must be learned and practiced or your quality of life suffers. The ability to keep doing what isn’t fun anymore just because you said you would is part of being a responsible person. Keeping track of any money you earn, knowing how you spent it, and possibly saving some is a good idea at any age. Learning how to make change, for instance, will probably be in most entry-level summer jobs in the real world.
When a teen is ready to go out into the job market for their first summer jobs, having done some things that developed basic job skills really can make a difference in what their first ‘real’ job is like. Imagine two teens: one has never done anything to earn money or volunteered any service anywhere. The second teen has regularly done volunteer community service with a club and did odd jobs on the side. Which one would you want to hire?
When the U.S, government passed laws in 2006 enacting the new parent-rights portions of the Work and Families Act, they extended pay and leave for new parents, including men on paternity leave. Working dads have been eligible for up to two weeks of paid leave since 2003, but the new measures extend these benefits. Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance and Statutory Adoption Pay have been extended from 39 weeks to 52, with working fathers entitled to take an extra 26 weeks off of work to care for their child, if the mom has returned to work and has not used all of her eligible maternity leave.
These employer-supplied benefits are of course only available if your employer is a regular tax and benefits-paying entity. Those who are independent contractors or employed on a part-time basis may not be eligible for these benefits. Eligibility is also determined by requirements such as the father must be the biological father of the baby or married to the mother, and expected to share in responsibilities related to rearing the child.
Timing is also important for eligibility, and the father is expected to work for the same employer from the time of conception until the time of birth, with leave scheduled starting only when the baby is due, and arrives. Taking time off early might negate your eligibility, so be sure to carefully look over the rules and guidelines. You need to notify your employer of your intentions to take leave by the 15th week before the estimated due date. You can take the leave any time after the birth; it does not have to immediately follow the day the baby is born.
Men on paternity leave is becoming a more common phenomenon than ever before, with the paternity leave being extended to include unpaid time off, after the eligible time period for benefits expires. With the previous disparity in wages that was so clearly sex-defined being narrowed, more women than ever are bringing home as much or more money than their partners. This can potentially free up the formerly “conventional” situation where the mom stays home and raises the kids while dad works outside the home, to a more non-traditional family set-up, where dad stays home and mom goes to work.
It has raised a whole new crop of social issues as well, related to conventional gender roles in our society, and how best to raise a child with the new option of dad staying home. Since more and more people are finding it financially and socially viable to have the father be the primary care-giver and mom be the bread winner, whole social networks are now available to dads who need peers with similar experiences, and moms who have to deal with the stress of being away from their children. Conventional family settings have of course always been that mom stays and dad works, and the new dynamic inherent with choosing a different path brings a new set of challenges to both parents and children.
Many women choose to stay at home for several years after having children. While this time frame varies, it always creates a period of time during which you had no ‘real’ job. Once a mother is ready to go back to work, one of the first problems they face in deciding how to write a resume that not only accurately describes their professional experience and career but also properly addresses extended maternity leaves. By using tact and creativity while remaining professional, it is often possible to ‘spin’ an extended leave for the purposes of resume writing and interviewing.
Be honest. Some job seekers mistakenly believe that extended maternity leave is an automatic black mark. Because of this, some lie and claim they were self-employed during their maternity leave. This is a patently bad idea. While it is unlikely that a future employer will investigate the claim, lying during the job seeking process is unethical and can lead to problems down the line. Instead, be honest about your extended work leave. I have found that all hiring managers want is an answer. Where were you all that time? On an extended vacation? Watching Oprah? In prison? They just want to know about the gap.
There are two ways to present extended work leave during the resume writing process. The first is to simply include one or two sentences in the cover letter explaining the reason for your extended leave, the birth of children, and that you are ready to re-enter the work force. Job seekers who opt for this option should keep it short and focus on logical reasons versus cute stories about their children (please don’t do that). Remember to keep it professional.
A second option is including your work leave directly on your resume. Some job seekers have had success by including their responsibilities and skills used during their extended leave. Scheduling, organizing and multi-tasking are just a few of the skills new mothers hone during their absence from work. These skills, and others, can be beneficial in the work environment.
Unfortunately, the human resources community is divided on the subject. While there are laws governing hiring practices, the truth is a resume and cover letter is your first and often only chance to sway a hiring manager to meet with you. While an extended leave of absence for child care reasons may be admirable to some, actually giving the job seeker a leg up, other hiring managers may shy away from resumes that do not adequately cover the subject.
The best advice may be to carefully research the company and hiring manager for each job you are submitting your resume for and to craft a specific resume and cover letter for each job. Carefully reviewing a company website and Internet research may very well give you inside insight into the company and their practices.
Finding a job after an extended maternity leave can be a long process. In fact, it seems like the longer you were out of the workforce, the longer it takes to become employed again. Try focusing your efforts on professionally representing your time off and be as honest as you can. Remember that finding a job is a job in itself so stay positive, craft custom resumes and cover letters whenever possible and use your interview as a chance to really showcase what you can offer the company.
Working from home is the goal of many people. I understand. I work from a home office as well. It is great when you don’t have to dig your vehicle out of a foot of snow to get to work in the morning, or sit in traffic for two hours on the way home. There are lots of cons as well, but that’s for another post. So, if working from home seems like the right choice for you and your family, what is the next step?
From stay-at-home moms looking to supplement the family income to entrepreneurs hoping for a chance at a better life , work from home opportunities often seem like the perfect solution. Finding a position that allows you to work from home is possible, if you know where to look and how to apply. Cutting through the scams is just the first step. As a job seeker looking for an opportunity to work from home, you must be web savvy, able to articulate your skills online and tenacious work ethic.
Finding the perfect online job means sorting through fraudulent offers and scams. Many of the most “promising” opportunities require you to invest money, sometimes several hundred dollars before gaining access to the details of the opportunity. In other cases, the opportunity, which ‘guarantee’s’ income in the thousands of dollars per month simply do not live up to the hype. The best way to avoid these types of false opportunities is to carefully search for opportunities. Instead of using keywords like ‘work from home’ use keywords and phrases like ‘telecommuting’ and ‘virtual.’ This will allow you to find real opportunities.
While many online opportunities request a real resume, most simply request you start the process by filling out a form. This presents a problem for many job seekers who are concerned with safety. Avoiding giving sensitive personal information should always be foremost in your mind. Never send information such as your social security number via online form. It is also a good idea to set up a separate email address for the purpose of online job seeking. In general, be leery of any opportunity that requests personal information early in the process.
For opportunities that request a resume, job seekers are encouraged to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. Attaching portfolios or examples of your work is a great way to make your resume stand out. You’ll also want to add or attach a cover letter to briefly and professionally introduce yourself to the reader. No matter what the job is, highlighting organizational skills and self-motivation throughout your resume is critical as it sets you up as an ideal independent contractor.
In many cases the next step is a phone interview. Take this opportunity to highlight your personality, goals, ethics and belief system as they relate to working independently. Be sure to respond to all emails and phone calls promptly during the entire hiring process. Remember that once hired your primary contact with your employer will be via phone and email, so it’s critical to establish yourself as a prompt and courteous potential employee.
Working from home can be a viable career choice for many people, but only if they carefully select opportunities to avoid scams. Be prompt, professional and courteous in all your online dealings to increase the likelihood that you will land a plum at home job.
Men making the decision to stay at home have become a more common decision these days, with extended paternal leave benefits, and partners who are making as much or more money than their spouses. Stay-at-home fathers are more accepted nowadays too, socially, with more men making the decision with their spouses that the family as a whole would be best served by dad doing the bulk of the child-rearing, while mom heads off for work. I recently read that more women than men are working now.
In the decades previous, it was usually the dad who had the career. Women held the title of caregiver to the children, while men pursued their employment and brought home the paychecks. I couldn’t imagine my dad wanting to stay home with us, nor could I imagine my mom wanting to give up that role, as she always says it was the best time in her life.
With the advancement of equal-pay-for-equal-work initiatives all over the world, disparity between the incomes of men and women is not as large a factor in career viability; in fact, it’s often the women in traditional marriages who bring home the larger paycheck. Interesting!
Most often, men making the decision to stay at home starts off with financial reasons. Who earns more, which parent has the more comprehensive insurance policy, which one has a more flexible career or schedule, and whether either parent is able to work from home all need to be weighed and decided upon. If you can take the financial hit from losing a portion of the parents’ combined income and still be a viable bill-paying team, then your options about primary care-givers are much more flexible. However, if you will be extremely challenged to make your monthly financial obligations, you need to consider other options, such as both parents staying at work, and placing the child into a daycare situation.
New challenges still face the parents who choose to have dad stay at home, with this option still not being seen as socially conventional. While it’s true that it is becoming more popular, it is still not the norm, and some men do not fare well with the unconventional arrangement. Stay-at-home dads need to pay attention to their needs, just as women have had to do for centuries. These include socialization with your peers, and perhaps making sure you stay employable. Going to the park with your baby may be nice, but if you are a more social person, really dependent on your former office or job-site personal interactions, you may want to seek a healthy outlet for your needs.
As I was doing research for this article, I wondered if there were groups or resources for stay at home dads. When my children were babies, I joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) which saved my sanity by meeting every other week with moms in my position (little ones at home) for food, talk, speakers, crafts and ADULT TIME. I have been looking all over the internet and so far haven’t seen any groups similar. Hmmm…. maybe someone should start a “FOPS” group?
No matter what your career, there are probably refresher courses or seminars in your field that can provide the social stimulus you might be craving, as well as keeping you up to date in your line of work. There are lots of available resources online and in-print that can help partners not only make the initial decisions regarding which parent stays at home, but also valuable information about how to deal with that decision once it is made. Parenting classes, financial planning seminars, social gatherings for similarly-situated parents…All can be found with a little research and an honest look at how you want your child-rearing situation to happen. Good luck!
It seems unbelievable to me that Americans are still faced with employment discrimination when we there are so many other options available. While once rampant discrimination was perpetrated based on race, sex or religious affiliation, today one of the worst forms of discrimination is discrimination against primary caregivers (a.k.a. parents and children of sick/aging parents). Many people do not realize that there are several different kinds of primary caregiver discrimination. Learning the different types of discrimination that are practiced against primary caregivers is the best way to learn how to prevent it.
In some cases, there are laws that help prevent primary caregiver discrimination. These laws often include not only those who care of their children, but also those who care for a sick or aging parent as well a sick spouse. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed. Under this act, specifically Title VII, primary caregiver discrimination is declared illegal. The law gives primary caregivers protection without declaring them a ‘protected class.’
It is also true that women are the primary targets of this type of discrimination. This is because gender stereotyping is still rearing its ugly head, making many people assume that only women can be primary caregivers. This stereotyping can lead to an additional kind of discrimination against women. Some companies will refuse to hire young married women – specifically because there is a high chance that those same young women will soon have children and thus become a primary caregiver.
Preventing discrimination against primary caregivers is a tricky matter. The truth is no company would refuse to hire a primary caregiver and give that as the cause. Instead they will site lack of experience or even too much experience. Companies that have successfully implemented a program of primary caregiver discrimination prevention have typically taken one step: they disallow interviewers or hiring managers from asking questions designed to determine if a particular candidate is or will become a primary caregiver.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC has developed a list of guidelines specifically aimed at preventing discrimination against primary caregivers. These are merely guidelines and not legally binding, but it’s still important to know and perhaps implementing a similar program might ensure that a company is not actively discriminating. The following is what the list includes:
- Develop a list of qualifications for each open position
- Focus only on a candidates abilities, strengths and weaknesses
- Actively recruit primary caregivers
- Engage in careful review programs to monitor performance and compensation evaluations
- Whenever possible offer flex time as an option for employees
Remember: an employer IS NOT ALLOWED TO discriminate against primary caregivers. Because of the prevalence of lawsuits, employers are recommended to follow the guidelines set forth by the EEOC and to actively monitor their hiring practices as well as the terms and conditions of employment. Primary caregiver discrimination is still a problem today, but it doesn’t have to be.
The world is moving faster than ever. In fact, it often seems like everything about our lives is changing – sometimes on a daily basis. From online shopping to cellular phones that access the internet, technology has often driven the changes we see. Our work place is no different. Once it was expected that a 9 – 5 job was just that. Today employers have the ability to offer their staff a variety of work methods. Telecommuting is particularly popular. Less well known is the idea of flex time. While not as many employers offer flex time, those that do believe it allows their work staff to be more productive. Learning about work options should be an important part of every candidate’s research and decisions making process when looking for and interviewing for a new position.
I love the idea of flex time. When I was around 10, my mom went back to work. She was offered flex time. It went like this: she worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and Pat worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. It was perfect. They both worked hard those 2 1/2 days to make sure their work was done. Their bosses never once complained, in fact the opposite. You couldn’t find harder workers. It gave both women time with their children and families while earning a little extra income. Awesome. Why don’t more employers offer it? I decided to do a little more research on it to find out.
The idea of flex time isn’t that new. Employees are offered the ability to create a schedule that works for their particular needs. The employer typically publishes a set of guidelines and then works directly with an employee to pick a flexible schedule that will allow the necessary work to take place in a timely manner while still allow the employee to be flexible. This concept has worked particularly well for working mothers or employees with unique family obligations. For example, an employee with a school age child may wish to adjust their hours in order to be home when their child arrives back from school. They may request a flexible schedule of 6 am – 2 pm. The employee will still work a full 40 hour week but will have the ability to address the needs of their child.
Typically both the employer and the employee see flex time as beneficial. Employers tend to see a higher rate of productivity in their employees; after all happy employees are productive employees. Additionally, the absentee rate typically drops as employees schedule allows them to focus their work time on work and their off hour time on other pursuits, such as family. They also note that the ability to work during off peak hours often gives them quiet time that can be used to focus on larger projects without the worry of customers or coworkers bothering them.
Deciding to ask for flex time is very much a personal decision. Anybody considering the move should first determine if their company is even open to the idea. Try approaching your manager about your particular needs–it might be the next step in creating a flexible schedule. Whenever possible this discussion should take place during the hiring process to prevent conflicts.
Flex time can be an excellent tool to keep employees happy, healthy and productive. It can also help manage that all too often forgotten balance between home and work life. If you are interested in the idea of flexible scheduling, don’t be afraid to ask. A clearly presented explanation of your request and the ability to work within the guidelines of your company often go a long way.
Many years ago, this day–St. Patrick’s Day–was a day I looked forward to all year. Of course, that was when I was in my early 20’s… when my friends and I would start our day out at some Irish pub and then continue with the ‘pub crawl’ throughout the day. When I look back, I have no idea how I did that (I am sounding old). Fast forward 15+ years…
The significance of the day always stayed with me, even intensified since having my own children. I was explaining to my kids this morning why they are wearing green and why it is especially important for us to wear green because we are Irish. I could see their eyes sort of zone out when I went into our ancestry, but I figure one day they would feel proud, like I do.
My great, great grandfather, Michael Hankerd and his brother, Dennis, came here from Ireland in the 1830’s. They eventually settled in Jackson, Michigan, on an unoccupied lake. Michael married Margaret who came here as a nanny with another family from Ireland. Michael and Margaret began their family who would eventually make their way down to my grandparents, my mother, and then me.
My favorite part of the story is that even though through the years, bits and pieces of that land were sold off, we are still on that very same lake, though, now it’s completely occupied with year-round families. My grandparents bought a summer place on the lake 60+ years ago that is still in my family to this day. I look forward to going there every summer. That is where my roots are, where my history is, where it began… as my mom tells my children, “Your great, great grandparents swam in this water, in this very spot, too!” When I think of how my children’s children will be swimming there, I am just blown away by the connection of it all.
Everyone has a family history like mine. We all have ancestors who were settlers from another country– who came here with very little, and made a home and a family. We all have roots and we are all bonded together. Even though sometimes family drives us nuts, they are who we are, and where we come from.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!