This SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) of four 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. First, my job search experience was a real eye opener! Secondly, some articles that Business Week printed in their August twentieth and twenty-seventh edition about “The Future of Work” really got me thinking and inspired.
So here are my five thoughts on W-O-R-K:
1. Priorities change when you become a mom
Full-time, nine to five, with a commute—not working for this mom. I interviewed 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 two kids (one part-time) averaged $1,000 plus 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.
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.
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
Business Week tells a story about an executive assistant to the Senior Vice President at Cisco in Silicon Valley. She moved to Dallas with hubby and they kept her on. Now when visiting the Senior Vice President you see “Virtual Margaret” and she can see you. She sits at her desk in Dallas and you see her on a sixty-five 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. Business Week did a poll that predicates that over 28 percent 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 thirty 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 re-entering 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 Business Week pointed out. They said that rising incomes for educated workers have come to a halt since 2000. We are temporarily experiencing a wage stagnation yet college prices are up 60 percent. 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!
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!