Monday, October 1, 2007

My thoughts on W-O-R-K.

This SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) of 4 years has been somewhat unwillingly forced back into the land of real work. Ok. Sounds harsh. Let me re-state. In order to help supplement the family income while my husband forges forward with his new business I have decided to find a real job. Sound better?

So let me get to the point of this blog. In addition to my experience trying to find a job, a few other things have gotten me thinking about work in general. The first is that Nolanotes recently posted a top ten list of what she doesn't like about work. She is a new mom returning part-time to her career as an attorney after maternity leave. The second is some articles that BusinessWeek printed in their Aug. 20&27th edition about "The Future of Work".

So here are my 5 thoughts on W-O-R-K:

1. Priorities change when you become a mom
Full-time, 9-5, with a commute – not working for this mom. I interviewed for a few places to start that were full-time on-site jobs. After the first offer I quickly discovered it wasn’t my gig anymore. Daycare for 2 kids (1 part-time) averaged $1000 a month! While considering the jobs, my daughter started pre-school and the school calendar they sent home for the year had all these days that there would be no school – so I immediately thought “So what do I do with her on those days?” My husband has some flexibility, but what if he is out of town? It started a flurry of “what-ifs” and with no family around to have as backup I decided it was time to change my game plan.

2. Telecommuting
I have nine years of experience in my field and a resume and references to back it up. Do you really need me in your office? My industry is web design/development/usability. Do you really need to watch me work? Many potential employers said they were ok with telecommuting, but when it came down to it they wanted me in their office a few days a week. That created more scheduling conflicts and planning as well as still paying for daycare. Especially after reading NolaNotes top ten list I am convinced that woman needs to telecommute. To me it seems an Attorney should be able to do that. And right here at MyBayouVieux I am calling for all industries to lose the suits!

Bottom line on telecommuting: Who cares when I do it or from where or what I am wearing when I am working – if the work doesn’t get done, fire me!

3. Work rules are changing
BusinessWeek tells a story about an executive assistant to the SVP at Cisco in Silicon Valley. She moved to Dallas with hubby and they kept her on. Now when visiting the SVP you see “Virtual Margaret” and she can see you. She sits at her desk in Dallas and you see her on a 65 inch plasma. She can communicate with you real-time and see all activity in the office. She can even overhear her boss’s phone conversations to anticipate his needs. Now, that’s what I am talking about!

Work is global and highly technical now. BusinessWeek did a poll that predicates that over 28% of US workers will be on first name basis with someone in India in the next 10 years. Not surprising to me. No longer is work about putting in your 30 years at a good stable company and retiring with a fat retirement provided by the company and getting that social security check. Work is about making it for yourself. Pick something you enjoy and make your money you need to pay for yourself in retirement. There is no one to depend on anymore but you!

4. Loyalty and Job Satisfaction
Businesses need to understand that in order to be successful they need to create loyal employees and job satisfaction. If you aren’t doing that you are missing the boat and will be lucky if you can remain afloat. People make your business no matter what it is. Treat them right. Give them flexibility. Meet their home life needs first and then the businesses needs second. Praise them. Make them feel special and owners of your company even if they technically are not. Give them perks. Share the wealth! If you do that, you will get loyalty to the end!

5. You better pay me!
Part of building loyalty is paying people what they are worth and making working for you worth their time. Keep their bills paid and they will keep yours paid! Simple as that. Get stingy and well . . . ya know. I am a mom now. My time is valuable so ya better make it worth my time to work for you! Part of my frustration reentering the workforce was that I found it difficult to go back to the pay I was receiving when I left my career. I thought I might not start out as strong, but I thought I would get close. Part of the problem might be what BusinessWeek pointed out. They said that rising incomes for educated workers have come to a hault since 2000. We are temporarily experiencing a wage stagnation yet college prices are up 60%. Craziness.

Bottom line: If it doesn't work for me, I can't work for you.

I am calling for all moms who are returning to the workforce to call your own shots. Decide exactly what you want to do, what times, what days, what pay and don't stop until you get it. And by all means, don't be afraid to ask for it!

Anyway, I am happy to say I have found a telecommuting job with a local company that is paying me well and seems very flexible. On my first day of training a fresh out of college kid who started there in June was showing me his new laptop that the owner gave to him. The owner got it as a freebie from a vendor and didn’t want it. So in true cool boss fashion he slips it to the new college graduate and throws in a wireless anywhere card. Now, that is building employee loyalty!

I have found the following blog post that relates to my words above:

3 comments: said...

Agreed, sister! All the best for your new job and your new way of working it.

Bayou Belle said...

A reader sent this to me in a private email and gave me permission to post it here:

" I can so relate to what you say. I too am facing difficulty in trying to encourage flexibility at my workplace. I recently requested to reduce my hours to 35 hours per week so I could have more time with my kids and no one in management quite knew what to say or do about that request. To me it is no big deal but it seems like a foreign concept to some employers. I actually was so determined to shed light on the new "flexibility" mentality that I wrote a letter to the Governor (I have never done something like that before). But, I figured she is a mom too so what could it hurt."

Delilah said...