#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.

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #4:The Productive Amoeba

This week sucked. I would like to blame all of my problems on Quicken.
I. WHATs WORKING?Lets start on a positive note. Doing my goals is working. I am accomplishing them, mainly due to the fact that they are hovering over me like a school marm tapping her watch. It prevents them from eking out into the abyss of 100%.  Dennis Hightower, former big-time Disney exec, advised “Good general managers must be able to make decisions with between 40 and 70% information.” So, there you go. Lodged firmly in between 40% and 70%, I listed Hot Mommas Project internships online at GWU (George Washington University), talked with a tech guru, forged ahead with my research, all the while taking care of my mom and being totally ill myself (now, having intense love affair with the z-pack).Playdate at Starbucks. Okay, back to work!

 Every blog needs a creepy doll picture.  Here is my loyal non-mammalian business partner (yes, a Starbucks coffee) on a playdate with my daughters doll. Okay, funs over, back to work. 

II. WHATs NOT WORKING.

1. SOMETHING – Its always something. If its not me being sick, its my kids…if its not my kids, its a friend…etc. etc. So, there were a lot of “somethings” this week. Something doesnt seem to be going away.

 2. FAMILY WITHDRAWL – Because of the “somethings” I barely saw my kids and husband this week. Need to do a bit more schedule triage (below). (See first post on schedule triage).

 3. BURN OUT – After many “somethings” and subsequent worrying about “somethings,” I was left with I the brain capacity of an amoeba, except crankier.

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 III. THE PLAN – WHAT DID I ACCOMPLISH?

 A. On the Hot Mommas Project PLAN (and granted, this is very tactical in nature) here is what I wanted to accomplish this past week:

 04/08/09 – Research (idea = research release to correspond with marketing of competition)

·     Accomplished this. On track.

 04/10/08 – Develop intern/staff listings and post.

·     Accomplished this. On track. (Even have first resume in!)

 04/10/08 – Research – Draft report 75% complete.

·     Accomplished this. On track. (This is a crock, however, as the remaining 25% of questions are a complete nightmare to analyze).

 B. This week – What I need to do:

04/17/08 – Conversation with software developer to sketch out scope and costs.

·     Confidence level: High. Need to develop priorities list and get to tech partner on 4/15.

 04/17/08 – Develop budget.

·     Confidence level: medium. Not sure how long it takes tech partner to develop budget. Will let him know about my deadline.

 04/17/08 – Develop sponsorship kit final + target list.

·     Confidence level – high. Can have draft and initial target list, even if budget is not ready.

 04/17/08 – Research – Draft report 100% complete. Submit to GW advisors for comment.

·     Confidence level – low. Have many open ended answers to code and not sure how this is going to happen.

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 IV. SCHEDULE TRIAGE RIDES AGAIN!

 A. The assessment

Hours available to me to work: 29. How I spent these hours:

 

12.5 –  Hot Mommas Project – accomplishing objectives

  6.0 –  Teaching / GW-related stuff

  4.5 – Client work

  6.0 –  Personal (sick/squeezing in time with kids /hubby due to “somethings”).

29.0 – TOTAL

 

Conclusion: An additional 6-8 additional hours will free up this and next week, and maybe another 6 to 8 the week after that. No G*d Knows What time suckers (see original triage post). Good.

 

 B. Going forward – the personal pledge

Personal Pledge to RESTORE BALANCE IN THE FREY UNIVERSE

 

In addition to my Hot Mommas Project goals, this week I promise to:

 

 1. Be outside of the house 1 night only (last week was 4 nights 3 with mom at hospital, one at my forum*).

2. Work out 4x during the week, one time at home or on walk with kids/hubby.

3. Plan 3 fun/nice things (each) for kids and for hubby.

4. Multi-task and work at my moms house now that she is out of hospital.

5. Plan time with my best friend Julie.

 

*Definition of Forum = group of mentors. Meets 1x per month. Amazing. Changed my life. Click here for book on forum (“Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders”) by one of the worlds leading forum facilitators, Mo Fathelbab

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V. Inspiration/Resources:

Found this interesting time management site: Mindtools. (This is in no way affiliated with “Mind Head” from the movie Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin.) I like the approach – specifically adding a “stress diary” to a daily time log. I am not sure what I would actually do once I realize something is stressful, but, is fun to think about nonetheless. The major topics are:

 1. Introduction to time management.

2. Beating procrastination.

3. Activity Logs.

4. Action Plans.

5. Prioritized to do lists.

6. Scheduling skills.

7. Personal goal setting.

 

As pathetic as it may sound, three of the most helpful things Ive been doing to get through my tasks are:

·     NOT LOOKING AT OUTLOOK,

·     NOT LOOKING AT MY BLACKBERRY (a la leaving it in another room), and

·     CLOSING ALL NON-RELEVANT DOCUMENTS ON MY COMPUTER.

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Parting Thoughts:

Things are getting done. This is good. Goals are good. Still have not completed action plan for writing “How to Be a Hot Momma” book. Need to balance a teensy big more prior to getting another plate spinning. Dont want to degenerate back into a cranky amoeba.  What is the #1 trait Hot Mommas (in our survey) are saying has helped them professionally? Perseverance. So, I am marching on.

Thanks – again – to all of you who have posted offering comments and encouragement. Feel free to post your own goals here, too.