Happy Hour is 9 to 5

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9 to 5

Recently there has been a lot of press how Corporate America is awakening to employee happiness, balance work and life and thus increasing productivity. If you are from Europe, this is nothing new – six weeks of vacation and union audited work hour limitations.

One of the most inspiring talks about what’s wrong with today’s workplaces I found at:  Jason Fried of 37signals:http://bit.ly/Uc96q8

But here is my own epiphany: I was never unhappy in my work, the various companies I worked for. Yes, some days sucked but overall I LOVED my career.

Now, as I coach women on re-entering the workforce after staying home with their children, I realize how privileged I have been: great peers and inspiring bosses who were my mentors, a supportive husband who loves being single dad for a while.

Growing up, there were not many women role models in the 70s and 80s but the few I knew were powerful. Like my aunt Martha, a banker who told me “it is so much easier to walk out the door with a briefcase than staying home with an infant” and with that mindset raised an amazing boy who is now a succesful doctor and family man.

Or my best friend growing up, her mom taking all the responsibility as her genius  father was off to saving the world. Her mom raised a well-balanced girl and kicked ass as she rose to the top of her profession. I fondly remember her vanity of buying designer high heels which was the only fashion attribute visible under her lab outfit.

Many women did not feel that calling in their early careers. Maybe they were mismatched from the get go, a smart student pushed into engineering while suffocating her creative side. A young employee working in a company that did not  share her value system yet being too busy to notice.

For women re-inventing themselves once their kids are old enough, this is an amazing opportunity: What is my passion and who deserves me as an employee or business partner?

I invite you to explore What Good Came out of Your Past Decisions?

If you chose to stay home to raise your children, many many great things. If you chose to pursue your career, just as much. But here is the trap for every woman no matter which fork in the road she followed: it was never good enough.

Stay at work – what kind of mother am I?
Quit my career – where is my independence, why am I squandering my education?
Loose the sparkle in my relationship – time to shop at Victoria Secret?

The truth is, we all want to be perfect, living up to the Barbie Doll image which we despise yet have so happily replaced with the Well-toned-well-read-calm-and-relaxed-mom-juggling-an-infant-or-a-rabid-teenager-who-has-it-all (fill in the blanks…)

Ultimately, happy hour can only be 9 to 5 whatever your job is –  CEO of Corporate America or of Your Family, it’s all about the CONSCIOUS choices we make.

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Ever thought of finding your dream job in a flower shop?

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flowers2 As a career coach, one of the most common questions I hear is “what’s the point of knowing your dream job, no one is hiring in this economy.” To which I routinely reply – if you have found your passion you will be unstoppable. Finding or re-claiming your passion is what I usually focus on in the early work of coaching.

So here is a real life story. About showing up authentic and being at the right place at the right time.

In Bangalore, we have flower vendors at every street corner and if you want a special exotic bouquet you will go to a handful of flower boutiques run by proprietors who are passionate about flowers and beauty. One of these shops is owned by a wealthy and well connected woman. My client walked in there and they had a chat – within minutes, she had a referral for the owner’s friend who is running a hot start up. Fast forward a year later, my client is a vice president at the company and instrumental in shaping its future.

What happened? Opportunity often comes out of nowhere but if we are not open it will not find us. My own experience was going through a tough time in my life just having been layed off and also going through some dark personal times. A business acquaintance who I did not know that well but always felt we had a strong genuine connection, called me up and said “I want to hire you” – the job entailed some sacrifices including a long commute but his warmth and belief in me at that very moment was what counted. It turned into one of the best work experiences, one that shaped me and allowed me to find my own voice.

Have you visited a flower shop lately?