Workplace Dangers: Manipulative People
The most dangerous of all workplace dangers, the manipulative coworker has mastered the art of aggression disguised as helpfulness, good intentions, or working "for the good of the company". Here's how to survive...
1943 Tips for Hiring Women
This is a section of a 1943 pamphlet prepared by a mass transportation trade magazine that outlined "how to use [women] to the best hiring advantage. The seminar question is... if you put aside the "little lady" tone and the sweeping generalizations you ought to expect from 1940s public discourse, how do you react to the tips themselves?
What NOT to say to Pregnant Women around the Office
Now that Miss Minchin has stepped over to the other side of motherhood, she has become much more aware of the awfully insensitive, ignorant, or downright rude things that some people seem to spontaneously utter to women who are expecting. Below are the top things one should never say...
20 Business Books they expect you have read
In the interest of your time management, and just in time for holiday hinting, BWFSandSC present our crib notes for 20 commonly cited business references, to help you keep up with the herd and select which of these texts will get your precious time
The Office Cocktail Party
How to drink • There is no rule against it, but be mindful of your behavior. Act as if you have seen alcohol before, and are capable of buying it for yourself. It may be open bar, but it is not your sister's wedding. • Use the cups the caterers brought. Bringing your own cup went out with gatoring at the Delta House. • It is unnecessary to comment on the caliber of wine being served....
Feb 26, 2010
Feb 23, 2010
Our recent discussions of working from home, at-home parenting, and commuting have sparked a lot of commentary. Guest blogger Dichotomom contributes this reflection from her website. Note that this is Summer 2008, when the cost of commuting had become restrictive, particularly in traffic-burdened New England.
The other day I rushed to pick up my sweet, innocent little boy from camp. When I scooped him up in a hug, he scowled and pulled away, “Uh, Mommy, you wore that yesterday. And the day before,” he said, disgusted. “And your hair smells yucky.”
Busted. Such is the life of a work from home mother.
I love working from home. I think it’s just about the best benefit any company can offer, particularly when I think about balancing my work and my life. And now, with gas costing upwards of $4/gallon, more and more people are doing it.
Telecommuting really makes my life work. While I can’t say that working from home is going to save the world, it sure keeps my work/life/work/life roller coaster on track. Plus, it really appeals to my cheap side. Honestly if someone told me I had to come into the office every day, I would ask for a raise. A pretty big raise. The other night my husband and I were tallying the costs of commuting from my lovely suburb 20 miles west of Boston into the city. Now, this was cocktail napkin figuring, but here’s what we came up with:
- Keeping son in daycare an extra 1.5 hours/day = $175 more a month
- Keeping daughter in daycare an extra 1 hour/day = $50 more a month
- Parking = $300 more a month
- Gas = $300 more a month
- Food/coffee (let’s say I’m really good and bring my lunch half the time) = $150 more a month
Add in clothes, makeup, shoes (all that stuff that I frankly don’t put any effort into right now) and I'm saving about $1,000 a month by not commuting!
HOWEVER, working from home does have some costs, some of which are very high and should be taken into consideration:
- It’s freezing cold. Or it's blazing hot. This past winter was one of the coldest, snowiest of record in Boston, and the oil man cameth. So, to save some dough, the heat in my house automatically kicked off at 8 a.m. Thus, I spent most of my day wearing three sweatshirts and blasting a space heater at my feet. And, now that suburban Boston has decided that it wants to become SoFla with humidity at 110% this summer, I'm dealing with the other extreme, with the added bonus of frizzy hair.
- My house is a mess. Because I’m here all day, I figure I can throw in the laundry or do the dishes at any time. Except I don’t…
- I don’t exercise. In fact, I sit on my bottom for hours at a time. I’m so lazy that I even wheel myself around my little office on my chair.
- I munch. Sometimes all day. But, there’s a trade-off: I have to get off my chair to get to the kitchen (I can’t wheel there because there’s a small step).
- I look like hell. I only wear jeans and sweatshirts, or shorts and t-shirts. My hair is in a ponytail. My makeup is drying out in a case in the back of the vanity. I don’t shower. Well, not as often as I should (is that too much information?). Seriously, though, at 4:55, five minutes before I’m due to pick up my kids at school, I rush upstairs and do a quick rinse. I hardly ever wash my hair—I don’t have time.
- I am a social half-wit …I have tons of “virtual” friends online, but I’ve forgotten how to make small talk in person!
- I never turn off the computer--“Just one more check of email” is my mantra.
So, I have to ask myself if my plummeting self-esteem is a fair tradeoff for the time I get with my family. Right now, while my kids are young, I think it is…at least until they mandate webcams in the next roll-out of laptops.
Miss Minchin, Dean of Students
Wait now I see someone at the other end of the office getting a hug and putting on her coat. Now I'm back at my desk, nervous my boss is going to come and tap me on the shoulder. I'm late for my next conference call and as I dial in I wonder if it's in vain. I'm not panicked but feel a sense of dread. What did he just say? Two people on the project are no longer with the company? I didn't make the connection until later. Where are my project managers? They're not responding to IM. Oh I really hope they are not gone today. Everyone is being unusually nice on the call and I'm having trouble focusing.
Oh no, not him too. I see a coworker packing his desk a few cubes away. He's a recent grad, and has done great work for the past year (two years?) and he looks like he might be fighting back tears. I have an email draft half-written to him about some info I owe him. I'm still on the call and I can't say goodbye. I don't think he wants anyone to talk to him.
After my call I get some coffee. I see the manager from the UI team here. She doesn't work on Fridays and she isn't usually in this office. Now I know this is more than just a few people.
A little while later, another coworker comes by to tell me goodbye. He says he feels relieved and it's not too surprising since there aren't any projects pending for his area of expertise. I give him my contact info and wish him good luck. That's 3 people from my team now. I start wondering who's next? Are we all going? I see my boss waiting to escort him out. And I can't help but watch her out of the corner of my eye to see if she changes course and heads my way. I hold my breath when she looks like she is coming toward me but heads another direction.
Well I'll know something by 11. That's when I'm supposed to present in our team meeting. Surely she'd tell me before then and it's 10:30 now.
I'm IMing my neighbor about the layoffs on my team so far. He says he heard there were 17 cut in our Eastern Europe office. He is starting to freak out. I still can't get my project managers on IM.
It's almost 11 and my boss comes over. No she doesn't look like she is about to fire me. She says we'll have the meeting but we won't do our presentations today. She looks like you would expect someone to look like who just had to cut 3 good people from her team.
In our meeting she tells us the cuts to our team are done. That's a relief. We learn there is a large number being cut in our overall organization today. She tells us our leadership has changed again. I'm stunned. It just changed 6 months ago. He was a visionary, an incredibly inspirational leader, and he made me feel privileged to work for him. Not only that but he knew me and my work, and made me feel like a valued part of the team. How could he leave? Why would they make him leave? What is going on?
There's only so much she can tell us since the layoffs are still happening around us. There will be a meeting at 5:00 to discuss as an organization. Now we know the layoffs should be done by then.
Back at our desks I try to be productive but I can't concentrate. Every 20 minutes it seems someone else is packing up. In our office we can see straight down the row from one end of the building to the other. It is almost like being under fire by a sniper, but you can't duck under your desk, and you don't know who the next target will be, and there's no avoiding these bullets.
My calendar has almost completely freed up as all my meetings are getting cancelled. By 2:00 it seems the worst is over. My neighbor and I are almost joking about him being afraid of getting cut, but I'm sure he would have been told by now. I saw his manager having normal project meetings earlier in the day, surely he would have cancelled them and not delay the layoffs. Then his boss called him into a room. I'm certain he's just filling him in on what is happening today, but when he comes back he starts packing his things. I can't believe it, he's such a sharp guy. I've learned a lot just sitting next to him. I can't believe they made him wait until the afternoon when everyone can see layoffs are happening all around us.
Everyone is hyper-alert to movement in the aisles. Anyone putting on a coat is assumed to be leaving for good. But some are just going out for lunch or consolation drinks. I exchange information with a manager I work with. I'm stunned once again by the cuts that have been made. He clearly didn't have a say about the people who were chosen from his team. This confuses me. I ask if I can protest - how could they cut Her? He's just as upset about it. I wonder who made the decisions then, and how did they make them? If they can cut those great people, then why am I still here?
Around 3:30 I get an invitation to attend the 5:00 meeting. In the invite I can see several names have "zzz" before them. Dear God they are already starting with the z's in Outlook? Oh no not her too. She has z's next to her name. I have to talk to her. We started on the same day and she kept me going through some rough patches. I go to her desk and find out it's true, but she's not there. On my way around the office looking for her I run into my boss' boss. We exchange some words about how it's a rough day but I'm distracted. I can't believe they cut my friend too and I want to see her before she leaves. She walks by and I inadvertently cut off my boss' boss to get my friend's attention. I realize later what I did - not good! - but hopefully he understands.
My friend and I talk at my desk for a minute while I write down my contact info. I can see she's keeping it together and I tell her I hope we can be friends outside of work. She starts to cry a little and so of course I do too. I give her a hug and offer to help her carry her things. She cracks a joke that at least she doesn't have to work the release this weekend. She and I quickly compose ourselves, she doesn't need help and we say good bye.
Now I'm trying not to cry at my desk - NO CRYING AT WORK- RIGHT? I know these people are not dying, but it is still a loss. It's a loss for them and for me. I should be able to grieve a little and I just want to go home. We all came in today thinking it was a normal day. They are thinking - why me? Why was I chosen? We're thinking the same thing.You hear bits and pieces about their personal life now: parents to take care of, how many children they have, health issues in the family. I call my husband but can't talk about what's going on and stay together emotionally, so I ask about some errand he was supposed to do. I'm exhausted and drained.
I leave at my usual time and try to dial in to the 5:00 call from the train. I miss most of what is said anyway.
I'm relieved that I made it through the day, but what will keep me through the next round if these great coworkers were taken out this time? Do I want to work under the new leadership? Is my heavy workload just going to get even heavier? I'm grateful that I'm still employed and glad I have a healthy emergency fund. I find out about more co-workers who were cut as I check my email, and I wonder what's in store for us on Monday.
Feb 22, 2010
Feb 16, 2010
I am no good at a stay-at-home mother, and I don't know why....or do I?
Let's back up. I am a working mother. I teach school full time, and I have two very small children who spend their days at day care.
No, it's not the most preferable option, but it's what we've got.
There are times that I hate working - hate every second of it. I hate being busy all the time and living in squalor. I hate missing my children's parties at their school and I hate that I can't join mommy groups or be the room mother or organize play dates. I hate that I see my sixth graders more than I see my own children. I hate racing to the grocery store for a few quick items after my rushed, too-short-to- make-a-difference workout followed by blowing through the day care to grab my kids before they feel completely abandoned. I hate the $1200 check I write to day care each month, and I hate the year-end statement I just received for my taxes.
Would I spend my days productively if I got to stay at home?
Sometimes, I doubt it. I recently stayed home with my 10 month-old bundle of love while she healed from a double ear infection and double pink eye. I can say that I managed to shower that day, but little else was done. During her morning nap, I was aware of the laundry that needed to be done and the floors that needed to be vacuumed, but once I halfway unloaded the dishwasher, I sat on the bed and blankly stared at morning TV while facebooking and napping. I was hungry and I had to pee for a period of time, but the effort it took to get up and do those things was a little much for me.
Is this who I am? An insufferably lazy mother with zero-to-little housekeeping skills and absolutely no wherewithal to create structure and schedules without the confines of work?
Did we manage to get out that day, my tiny child and I? Yes, we did.
We managed to make a deposit at the bank drive-through, pick up a strawberry limeade at Sonic because Mama was thirsty, then we stopped off at my school so I could use the bathroom and the office ladies could fawn over my baby. Yes, that's right, I had a day off and I spent at least 30 minutes of it at work. I am pathetic.
Ok, so where does this leave me? Do I lack the stay-at-home mom personality trait? Do I have a total inability to create home structures? It's possible.
I do enjoy crappy TV and an unhealthy snack, and I never was good at keeping a gym membership. What made me think I would change into a responsible person when I became a mother? It seems that I have reached an impasse. I cannot change.
Work is what drives me, whether I enjoy the hard work or not, it gets me out of bed and forces me to maintain some sort of structure. No, my house will never be immaculate, no my fridge will never be fully, perfectly stocked, yes my pants will always look a little wrinkled, and yes my kids will learn to hold on tight and enjoy the ride, I might be able to achieve these things with a full time assistant and a monthly supply of ADD medication, but those are not luxuries enjoyed by the working, strapped-for-cash, frantic mother.
Related reading, for fun and otherwise:
I don't Know How She Does It
This is How We Do It
How She Really Does It
Your comments also help a great deal
Feb 14, 2010
CB: What attracted you to the Kindle, and what finally made you buy?
AK: I am a "gadget" person and an avid reader, so I had been intrigued with the idea of an electronic way of reading books for a long time. I read a lot of paperback fiction and then I donate the books, so this was a way to read them at a cheaper price and not have to deal with the issues of either finding room for them or getting them somewhere for donation. It is living up to that.
Cathie: I am a voracious reader. A year and a half ago, I took a trip to Spain. I never want to be without reading material on trips like this and so I brought plenty of books with me for this two week visit... I didn't count on my initial flight being delayed. I finished my first book before I even left the first airport. When I arrived in Philadelphia for my first of two plane changes, I was nearly halfway through my second book. Despite the many books in my checked baggage, I bought another book at the Philadelphia airport because I was sure I would finish this second one before I arrived in Barcelona.
Webb: First, I am CHEAP!! Like really cheap.
CB: But the Kindle certainly isn't cheap
I reconsidered [when] the price of the six inch version of the device had fallen to $259. I read that I could get a subscription to the Boston Globe for the Kindle for $9.99 a month, which is a bargain when you consider a single Sunday edition costs $4.00 up here in NH. So in early December, I made the plunge and purchased my very own Kindle.
CB: So...how's the reading experience?
Cathie: It's just a bit different than I thought it would be. And I'm using it differently than I thought I would. I haven't really traveled since I've gotten it, but the nice thing is that it's small enough that I can carry with me all the time. Then in those moments when I find myself waiting for something unexpectedly, I can take it out and read something that I've already been reading. I've never carried a book with me unless I knew I was going to be waiting somewhere.
AK: I wasn't too sure about the comments in the reviews that I had read ...that after a while you lose the "device" [feeling] when reading and you don't think about the fact that you aren't physically turning the pages. I was wrong - when I'm in the middle of a good story, I'm not thinking about the Kindle at all.
Cathie: I did notice, however, that I wanted to hold the device like a book [2 hands] and ... found that the most popular was the Mivizu Amazon 2 Leather Cover.
CB: Do you still read that ancient papyrus version ?
AK: I do still read in paper format. There are certain authors that I love and I want all of their books on my shelves, so I can go back and re-read them. I also love old books - I'm not a real collector, but I do still have most of my mother's childhood favorites, that became mine as well.
CB: Let's talk about purchasing, since you've brought that up. How is the Kindle purchasing experience?
Webb: When I am feeling cheap(er) I download classics that are frequently FREE! Like Treasure Island and Jane Austen - which I haven't read since I was a teen. Great fun to re-visit. All NYT best sellers are $9.99, so nearly paperback price while first edition. The main thing I don't like is that finding a random book is tedious on the Kindle. I usually do my surfing on my computer first, buy the book, and then when I open the Kindle, it downloads. If you know what you want, it's quick and easy to purchase on the fly - as I did Sunday in the airport.
AK: I do like the idea of seeing a book being reviewed/mentioned on TV or in a magazine and then being able to go and download it in 60 seconds. I have had pretty good luck with Amazon having most books available when I've gone looking for them. I have had a couple of instances where it wasn't available or I had to pre-order it, for delivery at a later date.
CB: Do you think you buy more books now than you did in traditional format?
CB: Do you think you're more willing to, say, "take a risk" on a book in Kindle format that you might not consider at full cover price?
CB: Is getting a Kindle gift card the same as getting a book as a gift?
Feb 11, 2010
convert their traditional IRA savings into a Roth IRA and reap the benefits of tax-free retirement withdrawals in their older age. What you have always wanted -- a paycheck in the full amount of what you earn (however you set your payroll in your golden years). If internet research has brought you to this post, then you are likely reading everywhere what you are about to read here: there is no universal answer to "Should I or Shouldn't I?"
We applaud you for trying to learn more; we are flattered that you chose us out of the many search results you must have been offered. What we want to stress to you is that you should not make such a significant financial decision without consulting an expert -- one who does not reside inside Google. We at the Finishing School are not financial advisors, and the School is not authorized to dispense financial advice. What we do is try to bring abstract ideas like money and work and raises and balance and performance reviews and "having it all down" to real life narrative so you can figure out who to use the information at hand.
Here are the terms you need to know
Roth: specialized individual retirement account that does not require automatic withdrawal at a given age, is transferrable, and taxed on contribution rather than withdrawl, allowing a smaller tax on a larger account. (named for the late William Roth, [R] Delaware)
Traditional: individual retirement account that allows tax-deductible contributions, and tax on the withdrawal as mandatory income at a determined age.
Taxes: When and how much. What you are really chosing here is whether to pay tax on funds you convert now, or funds you withdraw later. As they say around your workplace (and mine) "it depends."
Yes, I always say, I am sure it does. Depends on what?
Here are the factors to consider with your family and financial advisors before taking the plunge.
What is the money for?
For most of it, it is our retirement income, but if you also have a pension or other annuity, your IRA may be your investment fund, a savings fund to be given as inheritance, or your Foxwoods account.
Who is the money for?
Similarly, is this an individual fund, an income for a retired couple, or an older couple with other dependents, such as grandchildren, siblings. This question also answers How long does it need to last, which is also related to How long might you be being taxes on it?
Is is easier/more palatable for you to pay a large up-front tax or small back-end taxes over a period of time, depending on how long that period might be?
How old are you? In other words, how much time does your Roth have to grow, and how big might it be when you begin withdrawing?
What is your income bracket and how much money are we talking about?
Take, for example, an individual with 100K in a traditional account (IRA or 401k) today.
The 40 year-old may not have the cash on-hand to convert today, or want to liquidate $35K for the promise of a tax-free future.
The 60 year-old may have the cash and another 20 years to build interest before they want to/need to begin withdrawing.
The 75 year-old may actually save cash by paying tax on small withdrawals for 10 more years
A family may prefer the tax deduction today when expenses are plentiful over tax-free income in a future when there are fewer responsibilities and unexpected costs.
A single person may prefer building income in his/her name, when it is easier to control personal spending.
Will taxes go up....? Or down...? by the time you are withdrawing?
What will your income do?
A 35% tax bracket or higher can make that contribution tax feel like a sock in the stomach, especially if you will be in a lower bracket when you retire. But what will "lower" mean in such a distant future?
The entrepreneur with a big idea may prefer to pay a contribution tax at his Garage Inventor tax bracket of 25%. before his hopes of future wealth may come true.
The union man with a known future income plan may have a pension to rely on and may rarely contribute to his IRA.
The 2nd wife may be building an inheritance for her grown children. Roths are transferrable.
If we are your first stop on your research journey, let us recommend a few other resources to help in your scenarios. Do not expect any of them to tell you what to choose, but do work your own situation against the possibilities of your income changing, the tax rates changing, the tax laws changing, the amount in your account changing (anyone remember last year?) and your needs for that savings changing. Then make your best all-around decision. And don't be too scared: you can reverse your decision if you get cold feet.
Suze Orman: No Match? no Sweat?
Ameriprise: 2 Scenarios
Daily Worth: IRA Math
Feb 5, 2010
The company for which I work recently moved into its new headquarters building about 20 miles closer to my house and for the first couple of weeks the conversations in the elevator were “How’s your commute?”
It’s interesting to see how folks adjust to changes that affect that particular aspect of their day. The first couple of weeks, they check with each other to see who really has to commute further than they do and smile quietly to themselves because they no longer have a long commute. As the days progress, they compare different routes (and toll plazas) trying to figure out better ways to get from home to work and back. They also must learn new alternate routes if their preferred way has traffic issues on any given morning.
Just this morning I had a need to be at our former location and I wondered how I did that every day for 3.5 years! When I was asked back then "how do you do it," I usually replied, “Oh you get used to it.” And you do – until it’s time to change something else.
I have been commuting for the past 35 years – sometimes 10-15 minutes one way and more recently 45 – 55 minutes one way. Up until the move, my commute was about 90 miles a day, roundtrip. It is now 50 miles a day. I have lost half of the upside to my commute.
What is the upside to commuting? For me, it has allowed me to leave work at work and home at home. This in turn has helped keep the insanity at bay.
What I liked best about the length of the commute was that I could use it to “dump” all my at-home issues from my mind and prepare for my workday by making a mental ‘to-do’ list. On the way home, I can then “dump” the office and all that entails so that I can focus on what needs to be done or where I need to go when I get home.
One caveat – watch out for the homeward dump! If I had done everything at home that I’ve carefully planned out in my head (such as painting, new curtains, new anything, remodel, yard work, gardening – to name a few) my house would be a lead article in Southern Living and House Beautiful at the same time!! Other times, it’s “What shall I fix for dinner?” “What’s on TV tonight?” “Can the laundry wait another day?” “If I stop at the grocery store, what shall I get?’’ Shall I wait until Saturday and make a list?”
Just don’t think about work! If you can avoid it, don’t take it home with you at all!
My adjustment right now is realizing that I have a bit less time to process the same amount of data in both directions, so right now I’m finding that I am at home before I’m done and at work before I’m quite ready. I imagine it won’t be long before I will either process less or do it faster. I’ll let you know. What I am liking is that now I drive fewer miles a day and buy gas once a week instead of twice. Eventually it all evens out!
Feb 3, 2010
A lot of people make an immediate mental leap from "life balance" to "work/life balance."
Newsflash: "Work/life" balance is a misnomer. Yes, work is a part of life. But so are family, education, community and taking care of yourself so you can handle it all.
The impossible quest for "work/life" balance somehow says that work and life are on the same playing field, vying for position. It implies teeter-totter energy. It assumes that when one side goes up, the other goes down and vice versa.There is a perpetual give and take... with parallel neutrality being the ideal scenario.
Personally I think this is neither realistic nor desirable.
First of all, I'm not sure we want our lives to be "neutral." Surely we have more ambition than that! Most career-minded individuals I know want life to include some measure of hard work and I'm sure any boss we’ve ever had would be happy to know this.
Life is a juggling act, not a teeter-totter ride. Work is just one ball in the mix.
Here's the real secret: Life balance is not about keeping all those balls in the air in perfect rhythm at all times. Of course we try. It's important to have strategies around getting stuff done.
Still, the world is an unpredictable place and let's face it, we're human. Sometimes those balls are going to drop through some misstep of our own or with the help of others. We may even lose a ball for a while. Sometimes it feels like we are juggling bowling balls. They may turn into a little evil monster heads and try to eat our face. Like I said before, stuff happens.
The thing to remember is that true life balance is internal.
What's most important is the balance within you -- your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual self. When those things are in harmony, the objects of external life can explode into flaming stink bombs and you'll be just fine.
So how exactly do we get to that place of inner harmony while mired in the stress and demands of “external” day-to-day life?
Next time you feel “out of balance,” focus on three steps:
1. Internal -- Transform thoughts, feelings, words, feeding only positive energy.
When you find yourself thinking or saying such sentiments as, “What a horrible day!” “I’m so tired.” “My boss is such a (fill in the blank) “I’m not making enough money!” STOP. Energy flows where attention goes. You get back what you put out. Only invest in the positive.
2. External -- Engage in healthy, healing actions.
This may require honesty as well as discipline. Put forth the effort to align actions with goals. There’s an old saying, “Trust in God but tie your horse to the post.” If you see your horse galloping away, start being real about what part you may have played in that misfortune. And, learn how to tie a good knot already.
The key is starting. Not tomorrow, not on Monday, not on the first full moon of the leap year. NOW. Whether its meditation, fitness, a creative outlet or whatever; focus on daily activities which are aligned with your life balance goals.
3. Support -- Ask for help.
Get feedback, physical assistance, accountability and/or just the time and space for steps #1 and #2 to be possible. We don’t need to do anything alone.Many of us grew up such that we view asking for help as a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign of strength. If you don’t feel comfortable leveraging your “in real life” network, there is a virtual support system for just about anything.
Practicing these steps will provide you with the balanced internal foundation needed to cope, problem solve, persist and overcome anything that comes your way.
Including evil monster heads.
Life is NOT a Teeter-Totter
Find Your Strongest Life (Marcus Buckingham book)
Find Your Strongest Life (book review)
How I Took Back My Life Through the Miracle of Outlook
Feb 2, 2010
One of my favorite movie lines is from The Devil Wears Prada when Emily says "I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight." Right now I'm feeling kind of like Emily, except my life is not close to the high fashion scene and my stomach flu doesn’t end with me happily fitting into skinny jeans. I am a working mother. That means I’m just one stomach flu away from my finely crafted schedule getting flushed down the toilet.
There is a way my life is like a movie, though more like Groundhog Day than Prada. In the 1993 film, Bill Murray plays a weatherman stuck in Punxsutawney, PA, and he relives Groundhog Day over and over and over again, until he finally gets it right.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get it right. Getting it done is good enough. And if I can manage to do it all—or most of it, anyway—with just a modicum of yelling, well that’s a great day. I get it when Bill Murray’s character Phil says, “It's the same thing your whole life: ‘Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever.’ Oh yeah: ‘Don't drive on the railroad track.’"
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. For the most part, I’m okay with the go-go-go pace and I’m not that different from a lot of other working parents. Besides, I’ve never really been one for drama, I like my schedule and I thrive on routine. Why shake things up?
But I am shaking it up. After fifteen years working in marketing/communications, I’ve decided to try a new career path. I’m early into it, but this change has required me to rethink my priorities and rejuggle my schedule. I’ve got to fit in 10 hours of studying a week, so right now, my routine is critical. A stomach flu would derail all that I have going.
So this February 2, celebrate Groundhog Day in style: Make a meatloaf. Watch The Biggest Loser. Fold some laundry. And give a great big cheer for the routine (and a silent prayer that everyone stays healthy.)