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October 15, 2010
Lately, I’ve had the chance to hear from moms who are considering a return to the workplace. Some are excited, others are apprehensive, and most are a little of both. As I listen to them, — their questions, fears, and concerns — I realize that several themes keep repeating themselves.
Here are some questions I hear…with my answers:
What salary can I expect to earn after being out of the workforce for years?
The implication here is that your skills are rusty and won’t be worth as much as before. Rubbish. Put that one right out of your head. I never bought into this line of thinking, and I’m encouraging you not to do it either. Look, if you used to be an accountant, you are still an accountant. Your value hasn’t changed. If you used to be able to do PR, then you can still do PR. Just because you haven’t used the skills in a while doesn’t mean that they have degraded. You just need a little practice! You must have confidence in yourself and in your skills and convey that to a prospective buyer.
Will I have to take a paycut?
No. It’s possible that you can expect a pay raise. The only reason you might have to take a pay cut is that the economy has changed, it’s an employer’s market, and some pay ranges have shifted. So, the answer really depends on the market. It does not depend on your being a mom or being out of the workforce for a period of time.
It’s important to know what you are worth BEFORE you approach the market. Once you decide what type of work you want to do, you will need to find out the pay scale for that job (or project) in your locale. Check job search websites, google payscales, and make sure that you are asking the question in your networking meetings with people.
Remember that your value in the marketplace has a lot to do with how your perceive yourself. Do you believe that what you do will provide value to a company? It’s up to you to create a value proposition for yourself…and then sell it to others.
Will it be more difficult for me to find a job as a mom?
Again, it depends on how you see yourself.
If you think that you have been cocooned from the workplace, focused on being a mom, and not using traditional work skills, you might have difficulty. I hear moms say all the time that they worry about how long they have been “out” of the workplace.
I see it differently. Moms are in a crash course and learn skills that are incredibly valuable in the marketplace. Moms learn how to plan, be organized, have great time management skills. They learn to manage the family’s calendar with play dates, school trips, lessons, and everything else that comes with being a mom. They develop more intuitive emotional intelligence skills. Reflect on all those things you’ve learned by being a mom – and think about how they could translate into a work environment.
And, here’s another plug for the value of moms in the workplace, one that I believe in my heart. Moms learn quickly how to shift plans when something unexpected comes up, which happens all the time, right? Moms are required to be flexible and adaptable, which are two of the most desirable attributes in a world of uncertainty and unprecedented change. The world has changed since you were in the workplace. It’s no longer predictable and repetitive. So, as a mom, you have developed two of the most important skills of this new century – and you are offering that to a potential employer. That’s valuable. Help them to see the importance of what you have to offer, especially given the changing context of the world of work. And, then sell it to them, unabashedly. You are valuable. You have a lot to offer. Make the case to the employer and stand by it.
Being a mom is AN ADVANTAGE in the marketplace. Believe it. And, learn how to sell the skills you’ve developed in one of the most difficult jobs in the world.
Are you a mom looking to re-enter the workforce? Would you like to learn how to profit from your passions? Motherhoodlater.com & Reinvention coach Leslie Evans Thorne are offering a FREE Teleseminar for Moms Looking to Re-invent and Re-Enter the Workforce. Sign up today at MomsReinventCall.com. 10/19, 12noon EST. Learn 7 Smart Strategies. Free recording for all who register, so you don’t need to be on the call to get Leslie’s wise advice.
Leslie Evans Thorne reinvented her career three times – from U.S. Senate Legislative Assistant to International Trade Specialist for a NYC bank, to Corporate Trainer and Consultant – before deciding she wanted to help others reinvent. She has since spent over 15 years empowering many to unleash their potential, leverage talents and find meaningful and rewarding work. Whatever a person’s professional aspiration, even if they feel stuck and uncertain, Thorne helps them think out of the box. She works with people of all backgrounds in varied industries, from CEOs to mailroom clerks, and is writing a book about the workplace of the future. She has appeared on CNN, The Employment Channel, and in Ladies Home Journal.com.
October 14, 2010
I’m sorry. I wish I had some amazing words of pithy wisdom this week, but I don’t. I’m working like crazy (just took on another contract), trying to manage my three children and all their varying degrees of dramatic mayhem (I got a call from the principal AGAIN about my 6 year old, who can’t seem to keep her hands off the boys in her class…hair pulling in gender reverse…actually, not in gender reverse…she literally was pulling the hair of a boy on her bus). I am just so tired and so pregnant and swollen and just stop the world, I want to get OFF.
I still feel very blessed, don’t get me wrong. I feel blessed to be so in-demand as a consultant. I feel blessed to have gotten spontaneously pregnant at the age of 40. I feel blessed to have the life I always dreamed of – a gorgeous husband, three beautiful girls, the house, the car, the friends, the family. But man, oh MAN, am I tired.
That’s all for tonight, y’all. I’ll try to be more …um… inspiring … next week.
October 13, 2010
My lawyer dealt me a harsh blow this past week. She informed me that based on new divorce laws that are now in effect, the anticipated alimony (now termed “maintenance”) and child support I would have originally received, will most likely be halved. The word devastated doesn’t even describe my reaction. We even have a legal rental property that I was going to use to supplement income after my divorce that my husband is refusing to rent. And if the property is vacant for 12 months or more, it cannot be used as a legal rental anymore. Goodbye extra source of income.
I live in an expensive community. But one of the benefits of living in this community is that the school system is one of the nation’s best. I want that for my child. I want to continue to live in my house so that my son has the security and consistency of living in the home and community he has always known. I feel let down by the judicial system. I feel let down by my husband who is not willing to keep our rental property rented. I feel let down by the whole world.
But there is something inside of me that is telling me that even with all that will be taken away from me, I will have what truly matters. I will have my son. That alone is the real comfort to this debacle. I personally don’t need clothes, I have enough make-up samples to last a few years, and I can manicure my own nails and highlight my own hair. I don’t even need to eat that much food. I will spend what little I get making sure my son is well fed, well clothed, and well cared for. I will find a way to make ends meet. I will find a way to make money even though I will have to be home some days so that my son gets the tutoring he needs. Heck, I will sell some heirloom, expensive furniture if it allows my son and me to remain in our home.
If worse comes to worse, my son and I could live in our rental property and rent out our house. Not my first choice, but as a last resort. I will even empty my bank account except for a cushion of emergency money, to pay off our mortgage. I will go to whatever extremes necessary to allow my son and me to stay where we are.
And who knows, perhaps since my husband now knows he won’t become bankrupt, maybe he’ll consider chipping in a bit of money to ensure that his son stays secure and will remain in our current school system. And he may possibly chip in to pay for camp and karate, and swim lessons and other activities my child loves.
I’ve spent several days now saying over and over, “Why me??!!” Why has my entire life been one horrendous devastating event after another?? I still don’t know the answer. To build character? To allow me to learn lessons that will prove to be beneficial for the next calamity that comes along in my life? Perhaps. I really don’t know. I do know that God has always been with me throughout all of these horrible events. And I do know that I am truly a good, decent, caring, gratuitous person. I just can’t figure out why I keep going through these cycles of misfortune.
But there has to be a greater reason for this misfortune to be occurring. I haven’t figured it out yet. But I know there IS a reason. I will admit that there was a small part of me that felt guilty that I was bankrupting my child’s father. Even though he deserves it. That guilt is gone now. I am more at peace with myself. Maybe my in-laws will help pay for my son to go to college. I was planning on using my own inheritance money for that, but that will be my emergency “cushion” of money now. Maybe there is a lesson I will learn that I just haven’t figured out yet.
My favorite dog has been around for quite a long time. I would be completely lost without him. My son would too. Maybe his longevity is a payoff also? If it is, I’ll take that at any price. Like I keep saying, there has to be meaning to all of this. Time will hopefully tell.
October 12, 2010
So we took our second family vacation last week. We went to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, where my husband used to spend his summers as a kid. We rented a small house that had a room advertised as “kid proof,” and it was full of toys, bunk bets, funky lights, a special TV, and dark curtains for proper napping. Even the wall outlets had childproof plugs in them.
I will interject here that the owners and management company only thought it was set up and safe for kids. They obviously never endured a week with my twin boys who managed to mangle the blinds, remove the window cranks, dismantle the lights, and eradicate the outlet plugs within the first 24 hours of their arrival.
When the boys were born my husband and I agreed we wanted to have flexible children. We wanted toddlers who could travel—kids who could cope with change. We certainly got that. We’ve lugged them all over the country, and they have enjoyed it. I am delighted that Lyle and Wyatt can roll with the changes better than most adults.
But what I did not count on was how hard it is on me. Without baby gates, cribs, childproof cupboards and doors, and kitchen necessities such as a waffle maker, my magic bullet, and a really good dishwasher, travel is challenging. It was non-stop cooking, cleaning and chasing after toddlers for ten straight days on that island.
Even at the beach we spent out relaxation time trying to keep the boys out of the ocean. They loved the waves and they wanted to play in them, but after only one swim lesson, I hardly think they’re ready for the surf. If they weren’t attempting the water, they were chasing after seagulls, digging fishing hooks out of the sand, and treating the beach as an all-you-can-eat buffet.
I was exhausted every night by 7pm. I had this fantasy that I would be putting the boys to bed and then watching the sunset with a margarita in hand. Instead, I was sleeping on the lower bunk of a bed watching the Disney Channel and picking the caramel corn out of my hair. Most nights I fell asleep in my clothes.
There were a few relaxing moments. When the family was sleeping, and when we were driving. Driving toddlers around is the best thing ever. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? I feel so gypped. We don’t keep our car in the city, so I can’t use it as a tool for peace and quiet, but on vacation we could strap those boys into the minivan, and they went to sleep almost immediately. I got to ride up front with my husband and talk to him about things. Like life. Like love. Like where we want to be in two years.
I listened to music. I did some bird watching. I saw some amazing sunsets. All from the front seat of our minivan.
I have come to the conclusion that every parent needs a car with them at all times. It’s a must in order to survive the first four years. I asked my husband if we could buy a house just so we could have a driveway where we could park a car.
The drive home to New York City was peaceful. The boys slept the first two hours, then I fed them a played with them for an hour, then they slept another two hours. It’s amazing what those cars can do. I want one. My husband may try to appease me with jewelry or a fancy trip, but he can forget about it. I want my minivan, and I want it tricked out for motherhood. It has to have a really good stereo. And a hookup for my iPod. And tinted windows. And room for the dogs and groceries and supplies to survive a nuclear holocaust.
Heck, forget the minivan. I’ll take one of them huge Chevy Suburban those housewives down in Texas drive. I’ll get big hair, get some of those long, acrylic painted nails and put sports team logos on them, and I’ll chew gum. I’ll wear football jerseys with sweat pants and convince myself I look sexy. I’ll make frozen food for dinner. And I’ll have a lot of it on hand because I’ll drive my boys and my really big Suburban to Costco every week, and I’ll but six-for-the-price-of-one pizzas just in case the guys come over for the game on Sunday. I’ll serve and eat only packaged food that I heat up in the microwave.
Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. And my life will be nice and quiet. Relaxing. It’ll be like I’m on vacation every day. If I only had a car. A really big car. A really, really big car.