Working from the comforts of a home office may sounds like a dream come true to most commute-weary professionals – virtual conference calls snuggled up to your pup, no more office-sponsored political coups, and enjoying all that extra time that doesn’t get eaten up by burning rubber back and forth, back, and forth, back and forth.
Transitioning to the ever-growing status of a work from home (WFH) professional can be incredibly liberating; however, like most work transitions, it can require a unique strategy to maximize productivity and keep you from feeling like you live in the office.
Here are three tips to help turn your WFH situation into am empowering career move:
When I was seven or eight, I’d heard a new word – sexual harassment – on the television and didn’t know what it meant, so I asked my dad.
“It’s something women do to get attention,” he replied.
I was young and I believed my dad’s explanation until I became the woman who was being sexually harassed.
Ironically, my first encounter with sexual harassment would come from one of my father’s employees – a physician who, as it later came out, had a long record of inappropriate behavior with women.
The “trusted” doctor came into my place of work, said he wanted to hire me to teach his son to ride horses, took down my phone number, and spent the weeks that followed sexting me and stalking me on my route to and from work.
What’d the organization do? Same thing they did with all the other sexual harassment complaints against this doctor – nothing effective.
I ended up quitting my job, changing my phone number (multiple times), and moving an hour away just to get the harassment to stop.
During a workplace seminar I recently attended, a member of the audience asked the speaker, “Why do millennials want the flexible work environments?”
The speaker replied, “Because they don’t want to work! Millennials don’t want to work.”
As one of the only millennials in the crowded event space, my interest was piqued by the speaker’s response and the subsequent non-millennial audience reception. The speaker and audience conversation continued dogging millennial employees, citing Generation Y’s preference for remote working opportunities and their engagement in the gig economy as sufficient evidence for the unfounded argument that millennials are inherently “lazy”, “have immature values”, and “lack sufficient work ethic”.
As a career-minded millennial that’s built her entire career through virtual work out of necessity (I am also a full-time caregiver to my spouse who was injured serving our country in Afghanistan), I was quite troubled to hear this discourse among industry leaders regarding generational misconceptions and ill-informed consensus regarding flexible work opportunities that can lead to mass discrimination within our caregiving community.
We’ve all been there – stuck in a job that (barely) pays the bills while sucking your very last ounce of inspiration and ambition with every passing hour.
Dead-end jobs aren’t anything new to 20 and 30-something’s that started their career mid-recession. On one hand, we were grateful for the paycheck (those didn’t come easy early 2000’s); on the other hand, we couldn’t believe our educational pursuits had left us stranded amidst a sea of literally-no-future positions.
If you find yourself clocking hours in a position that inspires reoccurring nightmares of spending twenty years doing the same drab thing, with the same drab people, in the same drab company, don’t fret!
There is hope.
Here are three things you can do when find yourself stuck in a dead-end job, besides the lunch hour/after hours job hunt (because that’s a given, right?): Continue Reading…
Miuccia Prada said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”
Ask any career expert and you’re sure to be reminded that what you wear to work matters.
Your presentation can communicate so much about yourself, your abilities, and your organization, and clothes are a big, big part of that professional presentation. Wearing an outfit that communicates the intended message – accomplished, capable, and intelligent – help you win over prospective clients, colleagues, and corporations while leaving a lasting, positive expression.
For many millennials and new grads, investing in an uber posh, The Devil Wears Prada closet full of couture power suits isn’t really feasible (nor necessary).
I’m a “Yes” person – it’s been my standing default response to just about anything, even stuff I really didn’t want to do.
Here’s just a sampling of the “I’m saying yes but really want to say no but don’t for god knows why” scenarios I’ve found myself in:
- “Want to eat grilled alligator for dinner, Hannah?”
- Gulp. “Yes,” I meekly respond, silently gagging inside.
- “While the semester starts this Monday, we were thinking you could add on an additional three hour course to your teaching schedule. Want to?”
- Cringing at the thought of creating an entire new course in 48 hours, I whisper a quasi-confident “Yes.
- “I know we agreed on a smaller campaign, but the board decided we wanted something bigger and we want it to start next week. You can do that, right?”
- Another (hesitant) but near-automatic “Yes” reply, as I mentally make a list of all the weekend plans I have to cancel to pull off this client’s request.
All I had to do was say “no”, but I didn’t.
Instead, I felt as though there was only one answer I could say, regardless of what I wanted to do or not do – “Yes.”
I didn’t grow up amidst a women’s lib culture.
In fact, I had never even met a true “professional” woman until I was in my early twenties (welcome to the bible beating Deep South).
The closest thing I’d gotten to gender equality principles was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show on my grandmother’s 1970’s circa television set, complete with tin foil attached to rabbit ear antennae ends. I remember watching this now-famous fellow Mississippian and thinking, “If she can get out of this hell hole and be successful, maybe I can too.”
After years of dealing with the dark side of an overtly chauvinist and oppressive culture – domestic violence, gender-based discrimination, and sexual assault – I did indeed get “the hell out”. Continue Reading…
Job hunting is the worst.
Rejection after rejection after rejection has become the norm for even the most talented of professionals.
Having your entire career scrutinized by people that don’t know you, don’t care about you, and are probably driven by their many subconscious biases regarding “people like you” isn’t fun.
In fact, recent studies indicate unemployment is a little more than nauseating – it can have disastrous effects on your health and relationships (not to mention finances).
As a job seeker, it’s hard to keep your chin up when you feel like putting your best foot forward simply results in being knocked to your knees – over and over and over. Continue Reading…
In 1997, a distinguished surgeon named Don Miguel Ruiz, authored an incredibly inspiring (yet rather small) book that spent over seven years on the New York Times Bestseller List – The Four Agreements.
One of my entrepreneurial mentors recommended the book to me, during a particularly challenging period of growth within my consulting company. Always down for a good read, I immediately ordered the book devoured its golden nuggets of wisdom in one sitting.
While not a very spiritual person at the time (I was raised in extreme fundamentalism, emerged as an atheist as an adult, and eventually found my way back around to New Age spirituality), the impactful concepts of Toltec inspired wisdom shared throughout the book emerged as incredibly applicable to my very millennial career.
So here are four ways in which Don Miguel’s Four Agreements impacted my career: Continue Reading…