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December 17, 2017

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Career Obstacles

The Heat is On: Don’t Let the Summer Sun Melt Your Career Search

School’s out, the sun is shining, and your career search is, well… did we mention the sun is shining?

It’s easy to get caught up in the lazy days of summer, but this is the prime time for you to really step up and stand out. With less competition during the slower summer months, you’ll have greater odds of grasping that employer’s attention. So while everyone else is relaxing by the pool, you should be running toward your goal. Here are some tips on how to keep your career search cool in the summer heat:
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On The Job: Who Gets Respect?

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In her new movie, The Switch, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who chooses to be a single mom. Bill O’Reilly criticized that phenomenon—just as Vice President Dan Quayle famously did when he knocked Murphy Brown for doing it back in the 90s. So Aniston has been thrust in a debate and argued that while it might not be ideal, every woman has the right to be a mom—without necessarily having a husband in the mix. That got us thinking about the workplace battle between employees with families and those who don’t have kids. Employees without children argue that many companies have become too family-friendly and bend over backward for employees with kids. But employees with kids—especially women – argue that when it comes to promotions and clout that they are at a disadvantage and that it’s difficult to compete with non-parents when it comes to long hours or often-brutal travel schedules—without it affecting their families. What’s your take? Do parents or non-parents have it better in today’s workplace with regard to flexibility and opportunity for advancement?  And then there’s the issue of money.  Women without children earn more in professional roles than their counterparts with kids–a fact we were reminded of during Elena Kagan’s appointment to the Supreme Court.  A modern day national maternity policy, among other shifts in the law and workplace culture, could eliminate the “parenting penalty” when it comes to pay, but in the meantime, what’s your take on how this has played out for you and women you know?

Ten Bogus Work From Home Schemes to Avoid

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1. Envelope Stuffing

Spend $20 to $50 and you’ll get a starter kit instructing you to mail flyers aimed at recruiting other people to stuff envelopes. You aren’t promoting a product or service—just getting people to accept the same offer. If they purchase the same kit, you get a commission. It won’t happen. Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-from-home gimmick. Don’t be fooled.

Who is The Authentic You?

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Thanks to Julia Roberts’ new movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love, a lot of people are being prompted to reflect on what matters most to them right now.

Gilbert says that at some point in all of our lives we need to pause and reflect “to take a CT scan on our soul to determine who is the authentic you.”

At our recent Spark & Hustle conference, a big theme was that in order to succeed, you have to do the hard work so that others can instantly “get” who you are.

In a blog last week, one of our speakers, publicist Laura Scholz, talked about how for years she avoided writing about difficult things that had happened to her, preferring instead to put on a happy face and write a blog that was “neat and pretty and upbeat, stocked with great photos and full of great tips about business and entrepreneurship and PR and social media.”

But then she connected with women who “run successful businesses without losing their identities. Who write about anything and everything because that’s who they are. The person and brand are one and the same.”

So she threw out all of those ideas of what a blog “should” be.

“This is my name and my blog, and I can write whatever I want to,” Scholz says. “Because I AM the brand. There is no distinction between Laura Scholz, the person, and Laura Scholz, the writer/speaker/business owner. It’s all part of the same whole, the same essence, the same being. I am who I am. No apologies. And no boundaries.”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s freeing and powerful to be exactly who you are all of the time, not just some of the time.  So who is the authentic you—and how have you discovered your passion and purpose? Let’s all chime in to share experiences of self-discovery and what they mean for us right now.

Has Adversity Made You Stronger?

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This recession has tested all of us—and there are plenty of tales of woe and sadness. But there are just as many success stories, instances where everyone from friends to strangers, neighborhoods to entire communities, have banded together to triumph over challenging times. For a continuing project that we have underway, Women For Hire is compiling these stories. What’s yours? Where exactly have found your resilience? What kind of solutions have you created at work to hold onto your job—from job sharing to a voluntary furlough and beyond? If you’re a manager or boss, tell us about the creative solutions that you put into place not only for the good of your company and bottom line, but for the people and their families who work for you. We’re looking for examples not just of how you or someone you know is coping, but specifically how you or they have actually implemented a solution. Share your story here.

Stress on the Job: The Recruiter's Perspective

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Since nearly 70% of Americans say they’re stressed about work, I decided to tackle the topic on Good Morning America, where I’ve been the workplace contributor for five years.

To prep for today’s segment, I asked women to write to me about their experiences.

I got a flood of emails in response—honest and heartfelt (heartbreaking too) letters that described workplace nightmares that caused them to quit, damaged their self-esteem, or left them doubting that real solutions may exist.

“I cry in the parking lot every morning. The panic in my bones is so severe and the worst part is that my manager knows it and does nothing to help those of us who feel helpless and hopeless about tripling our workload since laying off our dedicated colleagues. I don’t know how much longer this pace can continue without giving me a heart attack or worse.”

“My boss is secretive, my co-worker is sneaky, and the environment is so toxic. We’re encouraged to compete, to backstab, to out do everyone else. Who can live this way in peace? It’s turning me into a monster at home because I’m at my wits end. My kids fear the mood I’ll be in, which is awful since I’ve always been a very happy person—until now.”

And then there’s this one, which was echoed by many of those who shared their stories:

“My boss routinely tells us we can spend the day at the unemployment office if we don’t like it here. I can’t quit this job because my husband is out of work and my paycheck is the only thing that keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table. What can I do?”

I offered some suggestions in my TV segment, but I’d really like to hear from you—our friends and colleagues on the front lines in human resources and recruiting.

While wearing your company hat, what advice would you offer to this person if she worked at your company? Would the advice be different if you were talking to a friend?

Please tell us here—and you’re welcome to post anonymously. Just don’t include your name.