#45 Escaping the Email Vortex of Death via Auto Responder

By Kathy Korman Frey for the series Building a Million Dollar Part Time.

There’s a trend in our country: We’re busy, but we’re not accomplishing anything. This trend has actually been researched and written about.  Could you have been part of the research? I could have been.

The Email Vortex of Death

My worst enemy in this battle over time is the “Email Vortex of Death.”
Setting: My computer in the Garage Mahal
 
Me: Oh, I’ll just check this one email.
 
Me (35 minutes later): What was I checking again?
 
Email Vortex of Death: Ha ha ha ha ha ha
 
Me: D*&m You Email Vortex of Death! D*&m You!
Read the rest of this post on our main blog, HERE.
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#42 Stress Solutions, Drag Queens, and Putting Fun Back in Business – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

By Kathy Korman Frey

Today I watched performers from RuPaul’s “Drag Race” show on a reality show “The Arrangement” which is about floral designers.  It’s basically Project Runway meets flowers.  You know what struck me, in addition to how gorgeous these drag queens were: They were having FUN. (Please note, blue dress is Gigi Levangie Grazer – a noted screenwriter and author who hosts the show).

So here’s what drag queens have to do with me: I realize I’m not having  fun anymore with my business.

Read rest of this post HERE

 

#39 Pt 2-Is My Career Less Important Than My Spouse’s? The Part-Time Worker’s Bill of Rights.

Click pic for music

In the last post I shared struggles with the following:

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  • In an effort to stave off the vampirism of my professional drive, I’ve entered a professional coma.
  • Or….am I simply entering a new, more mature phase of my life?

All of this was brought about when two angel investors jumped all over the Hot Mommas Project business model during the month of August.  We have the credibility. We produce great results in our classes with women. I am affiliated with a university and am an entrepreneur. And some other stuff. All of these things make the investors excited.  The real challenge is at home and how all of “this” will work. My husband is pushing me to kick it up a notch.  Should I? He even says he’ll help me. We’re a good team, see, just look at these T-shirts he got us…

Doesn’t this just spell “I support you honey?”


Pro argument: Don’t invite the vampire in. Having toned down the maniacal drive is a good thing. This is the “new phase” of my life where I learn that, in fact, the CEO of a major nonprofit being a snit is NOT that big a deal, but my daughter double-downing on Tylenol IS a big deal.  There’s maturity, perspective, and fewer highs and lows. DON’T LET THE VAMPIRE BACK IN!!

Con argument: Invite the vampire in. I’m in a professional coma. The old “get-obsessed-and-do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-it-done” part of me is possibly gone, or on hiatus. Only, no one has cured me of my coma or – conversely – ordered a DNR. I’m probably the only one who can do either. It’s time to welcome back our old friend…maybe there can be some cross-breeding with a Fairy like in True Blood so I can walk in the light with my kids and not be a professional troll/vampire holed away somewhere.

Sookie, a fairy on True Blood, whose blood allows Vampires to walk in the daylight. Bonus!

Well, “crat (this is my seven year-old’s attempt at a curse word).

Both of these sound sort of compelling.

I wonder if the answer is …. BOTH. I am BOTH in a new phase of my life, but also in a professional coma (compared to my past vampire drive self). So, what to do?  The main reason I don’t kick it up a notch is:

1. I get tired and

2. People in my house get cranky

If I’m not there to make things better, then…well….and that is when I came up with the Part Time Worker’s Bill of Rights. To keep people from thinking they’re doing too much, or not enough, and get my reinforcements in gear if I do hop back on the runaway train.

Part Time Worker’s Bill of Rights (Draft)

1. There is no such thing as “part-time.” The part-time worker is working ALL of the time. It’s really “split full-time.” List typical schedule here:

  • Typical schedule of split full-timer:________________________________

2. The part-time worker is home more often because it is understood that role has value. That value should be recognized and, if necessary, quantified to ensure a home filled with mutual respect for each other’s roles and skills sets. Quantify the numerical or other value of the part-time and full-time worker below:

  • Part-time professional worker:  ____________________________________
  • Full-time professional worker:  ____________________________________

3. Grievances of the part-time worker can and should be discussed, as they should for any member of the household. List what’s working and what’s not to be raised at a Sunday family meeting at 4:00. Use “I statements” in describing grievance, and make requests, not demands.

  • What’s working: _______________________________________________
  • What’s not working: _______________________________________________

4. The part-time worker reserves the right to “kick it into high gear.” If there is an opportunity,  he/she should expect some means to establish spouse and family support. Write an example of event, and type of support needed:

  • Kick it into high gear event/project example: __________________________________
  • Family/spouse support expected: _________________________________

5. The part-time worker should have a plan. Will they go back to full-time, if so when? Will they continue to work part-time? If so, the driven part-timer has an obligation to attempt to maximize “power per hour” or the amount accomplished/amount earned due to constricted hours. Write work schedule and plan for improving power per hour here:

  • Schedule: __________________________________________________________________
  • Power per hour tips: __________________________________________________________
  • Power per hour improvement plan: __________________________________________________

That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

What am I missing?


Related links:

Here is someone running for Senate with a platform of a policy-oriented Part Time Workers Bill of Rights

Read REAL Bill of Rights here.

From BPW Foundation: Women: Like Men, Only Cheaper

Momentum Resources: Part-time work for skilled professionals. Momentum DC CEO’s Hot Mommas Case here.

Hot Mommas Project Talk Shoe Audio Blog Episodes

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What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Since I started this blog, we have become the world’s largest women’s case study library. We showcase the stories of the women in your life in a TEACHABLE format, and they are published in major textbooks and used by educators. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page. Click here to check out our classes which are producing stunning increases in self-confidence for women and girls.

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#39 Is My Career Less Important Than My Spouse’s? The Part-Time Worker’s Bill of Rights.

If you’re like me, back from summer vacation, the grim reality is approaching like estimated taxes: It’s time to be a productive member of society again. Debbie Downer Soundbyte

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But just HOW productive? That is the question I’m grappling with today…and, kind of like everyday. I remember getting a survey for Harvard Business School Alumnae years ago. It asked if I worked part time, or full time. This study became the basis for the media flurry of “opting out” articles and TV segments. I thought, “You’re missing the point. I work part-time, and make more than I used to make working full-time.” Yet, the decision to be home more seems to relegate me into this land of the “professional coma.” I find my own flexibility confusing sometimes. One day is go go go professionally. The next day is subsumed by kid stuff, and the little voice says:

Oh, remember all those hopes and dreams and cool goals? Yeah, just stick those in the ’70s style trash compactor and be happy about it, little lady.” (Dot-dot-smiley-face).

    More people have to deal with part and flex-time:

  • In this Women’s Business Fact Sheet, we learn an interesting fact: More women prefer to work part-time versus men. This one sentence, alone, could fuel some excellent cocktail chatter.
  • Newsweek reports that one in five Americans works non-standard hours.

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What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Since I started this blog, we have become the world’s largest women’s case study library. We showcase the stories of the women in your life in a TEACHABLE format, and they are published in major textbooks and used by educators. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page. Click here to check out our classes which are producing stunning increases in self-confidence for women and girls.

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So, how do these factoids apply to our real lives? Here’s a quasi-interesting tale. On vacation at the beach, my husband and I took a walk and talked about plans for the fall. Okay, that’s a lie. We sat at our computers and opened Outlook and were scheduling like total nerds and sending each other appointments. He (Josh)  has a lot of commitments because he is chapter president of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization – formerly YEO).  I shared an observation with him: That, recently, he has been on the “EO Crack” big time.  He has a killer board, is all revved up, and can’t seem to “put it down” if you know what I mean.

I empathize. This was me at a certain point in time.  Now, I work part-time which I started doing when I had my second kid.  I am deciding if I feel evolved, or lame. Am I on a weird kind of “professional-drive-prozac”…in some metaphorical institution for part-time workers, wandering around with bed-head and a weird gender-neutral gown that ties in back? A tech-guy at x4243 and a fancy lunch would be the professional equivalent of a mani-pedi right now.

Do I want the professional-crack back? To be continued…. Former professional “career crack addicts” – where is this going?


Related links:

Here is someone running for Senate with a platform of a policy-oriented Part Time Workers Bill of Rights

Read REAL Bill of Rights here.

From BPW Foundation: Women: Like Men, Only Cheaper

Momentum Resources: Part-time work for skilled professionals. Momentum DC CEO’s Hot Mommas Case here.

#37 Is Business Un-FUNNY?

Most nights, I’ll embark on a several-part journey to ruin my vision by using Twitter on my Blackberry. I’m on the lookout for funny tweets. It’s a a good way to detox from the day.  Recently, The Onion has been my most reliable source for laughing out loud.  I’ll re-tweet stuff. People seem to like it.  But, where is humor appropriate and NOT appropriate in business? It got me wondering: Are PEOPLE funny, but is business UN- FUNNY?

I can’t think of ONE funny business.

A Recent Example

Good news: I met with a book agent in New York. Apparently, this is like getting in to see “The Wizard.”

Bad news: My humor/cutsey approach did not work in a specific section of my book proposal.

Laurie Liss (Uber-Agent): “Stop being so cute with your bio. You’re a Harvard MBA among other things. Just come out with it.”

Me: Uh, okay (I can almost hear the skeletons ratting in the closet, and baggage falling off the top of the wood-paneled station wagon.)

What about humility?  What about self-deprecating humor? And thus begins the complicated web of when FUNNY is okay in business, and when it’s not.

Takeaway: Publishers Want Your BOOK to be Funny, But Not Your Resume.

Funny good

Takeaway: I heart DIRECTtv right now because of this ad. It’s working!

Funny Bad

Takeaway: It’s not working.  I get the willies from this movie trailer for “The BackUp Plan” with Jennifer Lopez.

PARTING THOUGHTS:  Is it okay to be funny in business?

Where have you, and people, and companies you know used humor both appropriately and inappropriately? As I try to make a successful evolution from cheerleader…to leader, I ask you: Is it okay to be funny in business?

Related links:

Humor in Therapy – by Nancy Ronne

Microsoft Education on Humor

10 Ways to Use Humor on the Job – Tech Republic

World’s Funniest Company Names – Huff Post

ComedyCures – The ULTIMATE “Funny – Good”