Career & Professionalism

Seasons Change and So Do WE!

Autumn foliage path

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

Stephen Hawking

Happy Autumn! Though it is still a bit too hot here in too sunny Los Angeles, I can still feel the change in the air, and in my heart.

Seasons are Mother Nature’s way of revealing how change is a natural part of life, and so very necessary, as well. Then, why is it that so many of us are afraid of change, especially since change usually equals growth?

For me, the only constant, amidst constant change, is my faith. With faith in my heart, all the changes around me don’t affect me on any level. That, I find, is the best way to deal with the fact that everything changes, and that I have no control over external change – only my inner self. [Read More…]

Life in Reverse – Entering the Work Force at 60

IMG_1292Next year’s birthday will be the Big One – 60! While everyone at this age is winding down, I’m revving up. I’m planning on going back to work after being unemployed for…forever. Let’s just say that big hair and suits with shoulder pads were in fashion the last time I was steadily employed.

There have been numerous paying jobs and volunteer activities over the last twenty-five years, but nothing that would indicate a career path. My resume looks like a schizophrenic on steroids: Parent Association President, Campaign Assistant for Gubernatorial Election, Associate Editor for Poetry Press, ESL Teacher. Is there a pattern there? No, just jack of all trades, master of none.

Why didn’t I work steadily all those years? I had my excuses: Monday through Friday, I had the sole responsibility of caring for the children. In addition to long distance trips, my husband worked in the World Trade Center – two hours round trip from home. After 9/11, he commuted weekly to another state for almost a decade.

My plan to find a full or part-time job was thwarted by the twenty-mile round trip drive to a school in another town. Instead of seeking out a paying job, I filled any free hours with volunteer activities, all very fulfilling at the time. [Read More…]

Three Tips for Choosing Resilience

To one degree or another, we’ve all suffered adversity and experienced setbacks. But have you heard about post-traumatic growth? You know, it’s always possible to bounce back.

Whether you’re hit in the face with a crisis or making a slow transition to the next chapter, expect a cascade of emotions–anxiety, the desire to hold on, fear, maybe even a sense of freedom. If you step back, take a deep breath and face the situation squarely, you can’t help but grow from the challenges:

Look into your part. You have a choice about how to see your situation at this moment and what attitude you want to assume. Try not to be a victim or feel helpless. And no matter who initiated what happened, don’t focus on accusation and blame. You can’t control others but you can change yourself. To work toward a more positive outcome, take whatever responsibility is yours and figure out what you need to do next.

Look at yourself. Put on your detective hat and examine your present circumstances. Is the increase in stress due to finances, work, family or other relationships? Your reaction to problems can be compounded by events that are outside of your control.       Take charge of what is within your reach. And begin to assess how to improve your competency in areas such as management, communication, delegation or conflict resolution. Track the changes you’re working on as you integrate them into your emotional toolbox.

Look for an action plan. Explore the cause and effects of the issues you’re confronting. Whether it’s about the end of your marriage, the loss of a job or the death of a loved one, set some long [Read More…]

Letting Dads be Dads at Work This Father’s Day

Yay DadA few weeks ago, I wrote about celebrating our mother colleagues at work on Mother’s Day.  And the same, I believe, should go for dads.  Both of these parental-celebration days are, for good reason, celebrated privately, among family.  But there is no reason not to tout the merits of great moms and great dads at our places of employment, too.

I know, I know – studies have shown that women get a “motherhood penalty” at work and are suddenly perceived as less competent, while fathers get the so-called “fatherhood bonus” simply for having kids.   These are biases that we, as a society need to work hard to educate ourselves about and to eradicate.  [Read More…]

Happy Mother’s Day, Heidi – From Your Husband, Mr. Mom

Marc Parsont and wifeThere are some parents, both male and female, who do not want to have children.  I respect their wishes completely.

It is not easy being a parent.  As a matter of fact, we know that there are lots of lousy parents out there – certainly a lot of clueless ones.

I remember when we (young newlyweds, albeit old newlyweds, too) visited my brother and his family in Tucson.  Heidi and I could not believe that anyone could raise children like that and not wind up in either an institution or in jail.

The snide comments and “suggestions” we made didn’t seem to go over too well.  I don’t know why?   Could the fact that we didn’t yet have children and didn’t have a clue, be the reasons? [Read More…]

Celebrate Your Mother-Colleagues This Mother’s Day

working momsDuring the holiday season a few years ago, the chief of my division at work gave each of us a bottle of wine as an end-of-the-year thank you gift.  Attached to the bottle was a typed note of the things she was grateful for, and at the top of the page was a handwritten, personalized note of gratitude.

To me, she wrote “Thank you for juggling work and motherhood so elegantly.”  Elegence?!  I was breathtaken.  I was only a few months back from maternity leave after the birth of my second child, and that word was the antithesis of how I would have described myself.

Here I was, thinking I was frazzled beyond recognition, burning candles at both ends, wearing  ponytails and quite possibly clothing that smelled like spit-up.  And the word she chose was “elegantly”?! [Read More…]

Five Tips to Reconnect and Grow the Roots Deep (With Your Adult Children)

Peggy and daughter

As our children grow up, it can sometimes feel as if they’re growing away from us.  We know they need to spread their wings, find themselves, and cut the apron strings, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling a little sting the first time we realize they don’t want to be seen with us at the mall.

The separation process continues as they develop their own interests and pursuits, many times going in very different directions from the well-intentioned road map we carefully created for them.

The teen years blow in, bringing the discomfort of change we’re not ready for:  a sudden disinterest in family vacations, less time with family and more time with friends, and a dislike for shared activities that were enjoyable just yesterday.

[Read More…]

New Beginnings in the Workforce (A Tale of the Modern Midlife Woman/Mother)

Melanie unmarriedEver since I was a little girl I wanted to be an actress.  I did plays in my youth with high school, community theatre and even in college.  Then, in the early 90s, I moved to Chicago and got an MFA in acting.

In 2000 I started the new millennium in Los Angeles with the hopes of using my degree to succeed as an actor.  I had some good auditions, did a bit of theatre, but suffice it to say, making a living as an actor in Los Angeles was not my path.  I often say the best part about my LA acting career was meeting me husband.  We met at an audition in 2000, got cast in the play together, our showmance became a romance, and we’ve been married a little over 11 years now. [Read More…]

Mindful Return: Returning to Work After Becoming a Mom

mindfulreturnMindful Mama Lori Mihalich Levin is the mother of 2 children and a regulatory lawyer in Washington, DC.  She is also guiding dozens of women as they navigate their way out of and back to work when their lives are transformed by motherhood.  We sat down recently to talk about the origins of her 4-week online course Mindful Return.

After her own maternity leave, Lori noticed how other new moms at work rarely spoke about the changes in their lives, the intensity of their feelings towards their children, and how they coped.  On one hand, her colleagues were undergoing a major transformation, but there was little outward acknowledgement at work that anything was happening.  On the other, fearful of criticism or loss of professional status, the returning mothers dodged necessary conversations about pumping at work, child care hours, or poor sleep. [Read More…]

How to Inventory Your Personal Assets for 2015

2015Have you ever noticed how, at this time of year, there are lists and lists circulating? You can find a list of the 20 best films of 2014, the 10 worst dressed people, the 50 most interesting books.  In addition to spending some of your spare time reading through these lists, how about taking some personal time to create your own list – of your 10 most important assets?

It may seem unusual for you, a midlife mother, to concentrate on yourself instead of on the needs of the family around you, but allow yourself to focus on and embrace your own development at this pivotal time.

Creating your asset inventory will give you a leg up on beginning 2015 from a position of power, but how do you begin?  [Read More…]

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