Posts Tagged “from”

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Going back to work after having a baby is a big career (and life) switch. It isn’t exactly easy, balancing the needs of your child with likely way less sleep than you’re used to, while trying to be the same employee you were before you left. And having a baby changes the way you think about and prioritize your day, and can potentially make you question what you thought you wanted out of your career. It certainly did for me.

Navigating those first few weeks back takes patience, self-care, and boundary setting, both at home and in the office. As I’m transitioning back to work for a second time (I recently took almost six months off in between leaving a long-term role and launching my own company), I’m pulling from my first experience returning from maternity leave three years ago and the community of incredible moms I’ve been blessed to be a part of for advice on making the transition out of parental leave as seamless as possible.

 

1. Be Patient With Yourself
This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from my boss at the time. You don’t have to be perfect your first day back, your first week back, or really ever. This goes for parenting and your body, in addition to transitioning back to work. The advice is actually pretty universal.

Give yourself some breathing room to get back in the swing of things. Don’t schedule big presentations or client meetings or say yes to big projects right off the bat if you can help it. If you can’t avoid taking on something big, try to find ways to move other items off your plate so you can give that one project your main focus.

Do put blocks of time on your calendar to go through email and catch up on projects, reports, or anything else you missed while you were on leave. Note: You probably won’t get through all your emails in one sitting, and that’s OK. Try tackling the most important stuff first and get to the rest over the next few days.

And schedule individual meetings or coffee dates with your team to hear what they’ve been working on and in general how they’re doing (this will be a nice break from all the work-information overload!).

 

2. Build Trust in Your Childcare
If you have confidence that your little one is loved and cared for while you’re not there, you’re going to be a better, more relaxed person at work. So start looking for childcare early and take the time to get to know your caregiver(s) before you go back to the office.

If you’re going the nanny route, try to have the person start one to two weeks before you go back, on a reduced schedule if possible. Play and interact with the baby together and run some errands where you’re only gone a couple hours to get used to the idea of being away. And take your nanny to lunch—sans baby—to get to know them outside of their role.

If you’re doing a nanny share, schedule some family hangouts with both families before going back. And if you’re using a daycare, ask to shadow or observe, take advantage of the tour, and ask any and all questions. Again, have the baby start earlier than needed, potentially on a reduced schedule, so both you and baby can get used to the new setting.

 

3. Set Clear Boundaries With Your Team (and Yourself)
I came back from my maternity leave to a reduced schedule, so I made sure to meet with my team to explain my hours and come up with new normals in our day, including how we could work together in a way that made sense and benefited everyone. The first few weeks I was back, I also started checking in with my team every day an hour before my new “end of work day” to get us all used to the schedule. Even if you don’t have a new routine, make sure your team’s aware of when you are and aren’t available online.

It’s becoming more and more common for new parents to have flexible schedules in those first few weeks back to help ease the transition back to work. But in having more flexibility to work from home, I also had to navigate how to work from home. I experienced, and have heard from quite a few of my fellow parents, that it’s tough to be in both “parent” and “work” mode at the same time, so even at home I set boundaries with myself to try not to be both at once.

When I was commuting, I always checked my email and handled anything that needed immediate attention before walking into my apartment so I could be fully tuned into my family when I stepped through the door. My phone and computer go in another room so I’m not checking them in front of my child or trying to respond to a client while making dinner (and so words like “fart” don’t end up in work emails—yes, I learned that from personal experience). If you’re looking for more tips, here’s advice for working from home as a parent.

 

4. Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)
This advice, of course, transcends parenting and applies in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important after having a child. It’s simple: Ask for what you need and don’t assume people know what it is. You’d be surprised how much people will give you if you simply ask for it.

Do you need a meeting moved so you can make pickup time at daycare? Present an alternative solution in your ask, but ask nonetheless. Are you not as available for after-hour client events? Advocate for a colleague to take your place, or suggest other creative ways to get in front of clients that fit into your schedule. Who knows, there could be other working parents who will appreciate your ingenuity.

 

5. Manage Expectations
I don’t have to tell you that when you have a baby to get home to, you figure out quickly what’s actually important to get done—and that you need to set expectations in order to get those important items done on time.

So when someone asks you to step in on a project, don’t be afraid to ask: When do you need this by? Is this a priority? How much time do you expect this to take?

Then spell out exactly what you can and can’t do for them, clearly and directly: “I’d love to work on that, but since I have X to get done by the time I leave today and it’s not a huge priority, I won’t be able to get that to you until the end of the week. Does that timing work for you?”

While you may not be able to please everyone, by being direct you cover your bases and show you’re proactive and dedicated to doing your job well.

 

6. Schedule Time to Pump
If you need to pump breast milk at work, block off time on your calendar to do so, and add a 10-15 minute buffer to ensure you stick to your schedule. By slotting it into your day and really making it nonnegotiable (remember those boundaries we talked about earlier?), you can help keep it from being a point of stress. (And it’s not just about emotional distress: Skipping a pumping session can become physically painful, and you can end up wearing the consequences down your shirt.)

If possible, get a second pump to leave at work to minimize lugging the gear back and forth, and make sure you have a comfortable space to pump in your office. If one’s not apparent in your workplace, explicitly ask HR or an office manager about a “lactation room.”

Federal law states that an employer must provide both break time and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” for nursing employees. Specifics can differ from state to state and based on office size, which is why it’s important to first determine what your office has in place before advocating for what you need.

 

7. Find Your Support Team
Working parent guilt is real, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—guilt for being away from the baby, guilt for not feeling guilty for not being with the baby, guilt for saying “no” to a colleague so you can leave early to get back to the baby…the list goes on.

When these thoughts start to creep in, repeat this to yourself: You are enough.

And, find your community (whether inside or outside the office). Talk to other parents who have been through it and create a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. A quick Google search of local parenting and mom groups will at the very least hook you up with Facebook groups where you can start connecting. (These groups can also be a good source for nanny shares.) Also, some hospitals put together parenting groups based on when your baby was born. Take advantage of “Baby and Me” classes in your neighborhood or town, too, from swimming lessons to local library reading sessions to group walks.

I randomly ended up at a “mommy and me yoga” class, and after that class I went to lunch with three incredible women with babies the same age as mine. To this day (three years later) I still text with them weekly to talk about all things parenting, working, and babies.

 

8. Make Time for You—Just You
While it may seem impossible to carve more time out of your day outside of family and work, you can’t be the parent or employee (or really insert anything here) you want to be if you don’t take care of yourself. When I take time for myself, I’m more present in every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that a present moment (even a short one) is worth a million hurried moments.

Here’s how you can realistically make time for yourself during the week:

Actually put lunch on your calendar—and step away from your desk (or turn off your computer) to eat.
Keep up with that once a week yoga (or Pilates, or barre, or whatever) class—you’ll be grateful you did.
Wake up an hour before you actually need to (and an hour before the baby) so you can do something just for you. It’s not for everyone (if you’re not a morning person please sleep in), but for me this way I can take my time drinking my coffee and curl up reading a good book.

Above all remember: There are countless parents out there right now who’ve felt exactly how you feel and may still be trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them and their families. It’s a big deal going back to work after a baby, so hopefully it helps to know that you’re not alone, everything you’re feeling is valid, and it’s okay to be patient with yourself.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-parents-going-back-to-work-after-a-baby?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

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I sat fidgeting in an uncomfortable chair that was placed adjacent to my boss’ expansive desk, feeling the sweat already start to tickle my forehead. I kept picking at a piece of torn upholstery toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many articles I crank out about successfully putting in your two weeks notice, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.

That’s exactly what I was doing. I was seated across from a man who had been my manager for years—starting when I was just a college intern to when the company took me on full-time—and explaining to him that I was hitting the road.

“So, I guess you could consider this my two weeks’ notice,” I said to him while doing my best to avoid any direct eye contact. “Oh, here, I put it in writing too, in case you need that or, like, something,” I added while practically throwing him an unsealed envelope and simultaneously trying to edge my way out of the room.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, with a forced smile on his face. “Where are you going? Did you receive a better offer elsewhere?”

I swallowed nervously, took a deep breath, and attempted to keep my voice from trembling. “No, not exactly,” I replied, trying to stifle the nauseous feeling that was slowly rising from my stomach to my throat.

“So, why are you leaving?” he pressed, “Where are you going?”

“I want to be a freelance writer. I’m going to do that full-time,” I quickly responded.

His face said it all. Like so many others, he was confused as to why I would leave the comfort and security of a traditional, full-time job (and, hello, health benefits!) for a life of uncertainty as a freelancer.

I wanted to explain to him that this was something I just had to do. I’d been thinking about it for ages, and I could no longer tolerate it being only that—a thought. I needed to take action and give it a try.

But, in reality, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. Why? Well, the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have a plan that I could share with him. Sure, I had one big client that I was hoping would carry me until I could get things off the ground (that client actually ended up dropping me only a few months later, but that’s a story for another time). But beyond that, I didn’t have any other potential opportunities lined up. I lived in a small town with very few connections to the type of work I wanted to be doing. I really had no idea how I was going to go about running my own freelance business. Oh, and I had absolutely zero clue how I was going to pay those pesky things called bills.

As someone who loves security and predictability, to this day I have no idea what came over me. But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t really know what was coming next, I quit my job anyway.

Looking back, jumping ship from my full-time position with no firm back-up plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing. And, I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to march into your own boss’ office tomorrow and use that exact same tactic—unless you’re prepared for a lot of shameless crying into an open carton of those delicious (and somewhat addicting) frosted animal crackers.

However, I do think taking that terrifying leap of faith was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the (many, many, many) things I learned.

 

1. You Don’t Need the Approval of Others

When I would tell people about my plan to sprint away from my cubicle in favor of the freelance life, I so desperately wanted them to reassure me with statements like, “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or even a friendly and dad-like, “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Unfortunately, that’s not really what I got. Instead, I was faced with a lot of, “Wait, you’re doing what?” types of comments.

In the end, it really didn’t matter. I was the only one who needed to feel good about my decision. And I did—at least in between the animal cracker crying sessions mentioned earlier. Yes, we all naturally crave approval and reassurance from others every now and then. But, trust me, you don’t need it—at least not as much as you think you do.

 

2. Scary Is Exciting

There’s a reason that people fork over wads of cash in order to see a horror film about possessed grandparents or to walk through a haunted house where someone is guaranteed to leap out with a chainsaw. There’s a big part of being terrified that makes you want to run and cry—but the other piece is actually somewhat thrilling.

In the first few days (ahem, alright, months) after leaving my full-time gig, I’d sit down at my computer and feel totally overwhelmed. Every day was a battle to try to scrounge up work and at least take one step in the right direction. But, at the same time, I felt absolutely exhilarated. I had no idea what was coming next, and that actually made me feel surprisingly motivated and optimistic. It was one of the most distressing, nauseating, and anxiety-inducing times in my life—but it was also the most exciting.

 

3. You Never Know Until You Try

I hate to sound like a cheesy, cliché high school commencement speech. But, this sentiment really does ring true. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you push yourself to try it.

I’ll be honest—it’s not that I strongly disliked my full-time job. However, it didn’t set my heart on fire either. A big chunk of my duties were administrative. And, while I did perfect the art of mail merging like a total boss, I didn’t really feel all that challenged or fulfilled by my work.

However, as a self-described creature of habit, I think that I likely could’ve dealt with that mundaneness for the rest of my life. There was a big part of me that figured I was suited for that sort of life and career. It was safe and predictable. I was content.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve accomplished things that I never even thought were a possibility for me. I’ve been published places that I assumed were mere pipe dreams. I’ve worked with people who are essentially celebrities in my eyes. Just think—none of it would’ve happened if I had stayed with the “safe” route.

 

4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You

We all have the tendency to use our careers to define ourselves. But, it’s important to remember that your job isn’t who you are—it’s what you do. As Muse Managing Editor Jenni Maier explained in her article about being laid off, your position definitely adds to your life, but it doesn’t make up the entirety of it.

When I left my job, I felt the need to justify my decision and clarify every last detail until people were literally snoring in front of me. There was this immense need to explain my employment situation in order to give myself a purpose and identity.

Turns out, that’s really not the case—all of that pressure to define myself using my career was totally self-imposed. In fact, most people honestly didn’t care if I was a dog walker or the Dalai Lama. Although, above anything else, they were most likely just wondering why I gave them a play-by-play career breakdown when all they asked was, “Paper or plastic?”

Jumping ship from my full-time job was undoubtedly one of the scariest career decisions I’ve made in my life thus far. But, even though it had my knees shaking and my palms sweating, I’m glad I did it. It’s worked out well so far, and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way.

So, if you’re contemplating taking your own leap of faith anytime soon, I hope these lessons encourage you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in those moments when all you feel is sheer panic? Well, reach out to me on Twitter. I’ll come running—frosted animal crackers in tow.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-lessons-i-learned-from-quitting-my-job-with-no-backup-plan

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Let’s be clear: It’s innovate or die out there.

Ideas are the currency that buys you a starring role in today’s workplace. But too many people prioritize ownership over adoption, and watch their ideas waste away as a result. Truth is, you’ll be more effective if you work collaboratively with a team to turn ideas into action.

Here’s why you should ditch the old ideation silo and give your best thoughts to the group.

 

Team Buy-In Makes Things Happen
Ideas are often the prelude to change, and change generally rubs people the wrong way. So, how to get around the very human—but avoidable—friction that comes from shaking things up? Go out of your way to gain your team’s buy-in on the things that may affect them.

Especially if you’re a manager, inclusive decision-making may not only get you a better outcome by melding more minds during the ideation and decision-making processes, it ensures that the team understands the motives and considerations behind new ways of working. Ultimately that means less pushback, a deeper awareness about what led to decisions in the first place, and a more evenly distributed stake in the outcome.

Whether or not you’re a manager, this is a good way to conquer any resistance to change.

 

Tap Into a More Diverse Range of Opinions
A team brainstorm may be no better than a private one if everyone in the group thinks the same way. You need to mix it up.

Study after study has shown that diverse groups—gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, age, etc.—produce better ideas and make better decisions. Cloverpop, a company that tracks companies’ decisions to help them manage the decision-making process, found in a two-year study that gender-mixed teams comprising a wide range of ages and geographic representations made better decisions than homogeneous teams 87 percent of the time.

Makes sense. People with different backgrounds have different outlooks, motivations and experiences that shape their contributions at work. Hearing their voices and ideas produces a more well-rounded exchange of thoughts vetted by a wider variety of perspectives.

You may have to do some work to get a good mix of people in the room, but it’s worth it. While you’re at it, don’t discount less obvious diversity factors, like years of experience and time at your company.

 

See How Ideas Hold Up Against Messy Human Stuff
We’re all human, and regardless of race or gender or any of the other factors above, we’re simply wired differently.

For example, think about Myers-Briggs psychological types. People have different ways of perceiving and interpreting information, different thought patterns and emotional reflexes. The idealists on your team will have different ideas than the cynics. The process-oriented people will see things differently from the gut-driven types.

Working through ideas with a mix of personalities will help you find middle ground and flesh out a plan of action that works for everyone.

 

Test Your Assumptions
Idea sharing can be a valuable vetting exercise if everyone’s encouraged to speak candidly. Ask people to poke holes in your logic, to prove why your proposal won’t work, and to name every single thing that could possibly go wrong. The harder to tear down, the better the idea. Use the feedback to reformulate your idea until you’ve patched the flaws.

If you’re a team lead, this is even more critical. Sometimes you have to design new ways of working but you’re not the best person to do so because you’re not the closest to the facts on the ground—the people who work for you are. They can probably see the peril that lurks in a new idea right off the bat, and they’ll respect you more for recognizing that and hearing what they have to say.

 

Turn Ideas Into Action
In some ways, the idea is the easy part. The real challenge is executing.

If you think of ideas not as inventions that come out of thin air but as innovative solutions to complex problems, you and your team will have a better foundation for brainstorming.

And in the end, you’ll have a much easier time activating ideas if they’re vetted by a diverse group willing to provide constructive criticism, even if it means swallowing some pride and surrendering credit for the outcome.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-your-next-big-idea-should-come-from-a-team?ref=recently-published-2

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IF you’ve ever wanted a captive audience to show the best sides of Newcastle, here is your chance to shine.

Roughly 120 accredited guides will be chosen to promote Newcastle in a Newcastle City Council bid to spread civic pride to the city’s growing numbers of visitors and tourists.

The NEW Crew, established with Training Services NSW and TAFE NSW, will give guides free training to help showcase Newcastle’s tourism and hospitality hotspots to the city’s visitors.

“We are seeing more and more major events choose Newcastle as a host city,” interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said.

“From Socceroos, Matildas and Wallabies to Supermoto and Supercars, we’ve proven to be gracious hosts and we want to build on this reputation by having guides on hand.”

 Total visitor nights in Newcastle rose to 2.6 million last year according to Tourism Research Australia, a 9.7 per cent rise on the previous year’s figures.

With potential for international flights into Williamtown and a new cruise terminal, Mr Bath said the city was well positioned to maintain the trend.

Anyone interested in becoming a guide as part of the NEW Crew can email tourism@ncc.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Source: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4894641/keen-guides-to-showcase-our-citys-best/