Working Mom Tips

Advice for working moms looking for work and life balance.

Twenty Years From Now…

Whether you are grown or a high school student, we all need short-term and long-term goals. This post is about long-term goals. You know, those goals that sometimes get lost in the chaos of everyday life and just trying to make it through right now.

Here’s the thing, if we do not make decisions now to better our lives, we’ll look up in 20 years and wonder what happened.

Today I encourage you to think about the life you want 20 years from now. Pray about it. Think about the things you will need to have that life. Then pray again.

The praying is very important here, because you need to be sure your ideas match God’s will for your life. The praying is also important because when you need to make decisions that are not understood by anyone but you, or when things get tough, or when you start to second guess yourself, you’ll find peace knowing that your decisions are based on God’s guidance.

Now start working on a plan. Here are a few questions that can help:

What does a good life in 20 years look like to you? Don’t think about what others expect of you or of things that will impress others. Think of the things that bring you joy, peace and happiness.

Who is in that age group now that you admire? Why? Study their life choices and learn from them. If possible, find someone that will speak with you, either in person or online. This is a great way to get a mentor, too.

What type of career (if any) do you want? Look to your talents and things that you enjoy for inspiration.

What type of people do you want in your circle? You can consider status, but the most important things to consider are the character and morals of these people. Also, consider what they want for their own life. If you are surrounded by people that don’t have high aspirations, it is unlikely they are going to encourage you with yours.

Now make a decision today to get you closer to where you want to be. And if you’re comfortable share that decision. I would love to know what you are doing to make yourself better.

And if you have questions to add share that, too.

What Do You Buy Your Boss?

National Bosses Day Gift Ideas & Guidelines

National Bosses Day is October 16th. If you’re like many employees you are struggling with an appropriate gift idea for your supervisor, manager or boss. After all, what is a proper gift?

Here are some general guidelines to consider when buying a gift for your boss:

Do not try to wow your boss with an expensive gift. This is one instance where bigger is not better. After all, you’re buying a gift for someone that makes more money than you.

In addition to that, you do not want to be seen as kissing up or brown-nosing your superior. This is NOT the day to upset your colleagues. In fact, you may want to team up with your colleagues to buy a department gift.

Gifts should be nice, small and most importantly, professional. Stay away from personal grooming and beauty items (I remember one boss getting spa products from someone of the opposite sex. Needless to say that was a bit uncomfortable!).

Choose a gift that fits your boss’s lifestyle. For instance, don’t buy candy for someone that’s counting calories or golf paraphernalia for a football fanatic.

 Here are some suggestions for appropriate gifts:

Gift card to a favorite restaurant. This is a great choice, especially if you are teaming up with colleagues.

Donation to a favorite non-profit organization. If your boss is involved with a charity, making a donation on their behalf is an excellent gesture. You can notify them of the donation with a note inside of a Bosses’ Day card.

Greeting Cards (e-card or individual paper card). Hallmark has a great selection of cards, but you can also find nice cards at your local Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

If you prefer an e-card check out http://www.hallmark.com or http://www.123greetings.com.

Consumable products. These are a favorite because it can be shared and almost everyone enjoys a good snack in the office.

Harry and David (http://www.harryanddavid.com) has a great selection of snack baskets. Also, it is very hard to go wrong with Godiva chocolate (http://www.godiva.com) for the chocoholic, or gourmet popcorn from The Popcorn Factory http://www.thepopcornfactory.com.

Other good choices are executive books (review the top business books on http://www.amazon.com), and sports paraphernalia such as mugs and caps.

Remember, National Boss Day is to show your boss that you appreciate his/her hard work, encouragement, support and guidance. Really, that’s it.

Do you have any gift suggestions? We’d love to hear them.

 

Disclaimer: The original version of this post was on cafe30.com.

Why I Love Conferences and Seminars

If you are thinking about attending a conference or seminar I strongly encourage you to invest in yourself and go. As a seasoned attendee I can tell you that a good one will give you great information and action items to apply to your everyday life.

See, I love learning but I have a strong disdain for classrooms, studying and testing. The practice of reading, memorizing and regurgitating is torture to me. And before you think I feel this way because I’m not good at it, I graduated with honors. So really I can do it, I just don’t enjoy it.

However, my love of learning keeps me on a quest for information. I love “in real life” examples of things that went right, and what better way to learn a case study than from the person responsible for it?

I like learning about practical applications, pitfalls and mishaps that happened along the way and how they were solved. I love being able to ask questions of people that understand what I do and where I want to go.

This is where conferences and seminars come in to the picture. The learning is priceless. It begins from the time you strike up a conversation with a fellow attendee straight through the sessions and on to the parties and socializing in the evening. Okay, the socializing sometimes lasts well into the night… but, it’s still learning, right?

I love the feeling of camaraderie and the support of peers as we talk about business practices. I love the intellectual debates and the brainstorming that happens as a result of traditional views being challenged and the ideas that are born. More than that, I love the relationships that are formed, the bonds that are made and the follow-up that happens afterwards.

This fall I have three such events on my calendar: Blogalicious ’10, the PRSA International Conference, and just added is The 6th Annual Pink Signature Fall Empowerment Event Series.

There were others that piqued my interest, but the thing about great ideas is that you have to implement them. And that takes time I won’t have if I attend everything.

Any conferences/seminars on your calendar? If so, why have you chosen to attend?

Want to Get Along With Your Coworkers? Be Considerate.

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of ways to get along with your coworkers. Well, being considerate deserved its own post, because many of the things I have seen and heard could be avoided by this simple rule.

My top two offenses?  Eating a smelly lunch and using a speakerphone in an open space.

Okay, you may not mind the smell of tuna and garlic while you’re eating it, but your colleagues do. And they will especially mind hours from now when they can STILL smell it. If you must eat something that has a less than pleasant aroma, be polite and go to an area with a closed door.

And I CAN NOT tell you how annoying it is to hear a speakerphone conversation. It ranks right up there with nails on a chalkboard. If you do not have an office you shouldn’t be using a speakerphone unless you are in a conference room with a closed door. And if you have an office, PLEASE close the door. Your horrendously loud conversation is a distraction to your colleagues.

Another offense is using a smart phone during a meeting. Unless you are taking notes on it (and everyone understands that is what you are doing…) please put it away until after the meeting. Everyone gets emails and messages throughout the day and the people in your meeting deserve your attention.

Be respectful of your colleague’s time. Do not be the person in meetings that talks for the sake of talking. This is especially true if the meeting is before or after lunch. Also, don’t confuse your colleague’s office for a psychiatrist’s office. Yes, your coworkers may like you, but I doubt many have an hour or more to listen to your gripes.

Have you had problems with inconsiderate coworkers? How did you handle it?

Getting Along With Your Coworkers

Here’s the first rule in getting along with your coworkers,  “Watch What You Say!”

Do not say anything about a coworker that you wouldn’t say to that coworker. It is human nature to want to vent, but venting about other coworkers is almost always going to get back to that person. Keep the peace in your office by speaking with your coworkers directly if you have a problem.

Do this politely and preferably in private (at least the first time). If you are not defensive, and explain your position well, you are setting the foundation for a good working relationship moving forward. This shows your colleagues that you are open to discussing concerns, you are straightforward and you are not interested in drama. They will see that you are transparent and that you value efficiency over chaos in the workplace. It also helps to clear the air faster.

Want proof of this, think of kids. Boys will normally get upset, fight and be friends again in five minutes. Girls normally retreat, talk about the offender to other classmates and go days without speaking. Some even go on to teasing the offender, often for something that is extremely minor. Now, which do you think is better?

Be cordial, but don’t entertain gossip. It’s good to talk with your colleagues about things other than work. You spend a lot of time together and other topics can help you build rapport. I usually stick with family, weekend activities, shopping finds (hey, it’s a passion of mine…) and awesome desserts (I LOVE chocolate…). TV shows also make good topics (just stay away from politics, religion and sex).

However, anytime the topic turns to fellow coworkers in a negative light, try to change the conversation or leave. And remember that gossip has a funny way of turning back on you. Because just as your coworkers are gossiping about someone else, they will do the same to you.

So, have you ever run into problems in the office because of something you said? Have you seen it happen? I’d love to hear about it.

By the way, if you haven’t, be sure to sign up for Queenocracy’s RSS Feed or email notification (links at top of the sidebars). You don’t want to miss next Wednesday’s “Getting Along With Coworkers” Tip…

Restroom Etiquette For The Office

If you share a public restroom at work, school or anywhere else for that matter, please read. And if you have colleagues or classmates that struggle with restroom manners, please share. It’s for the public good and it can make everyone’s life away from home a little more pleasant.

Stall selection is key. If you have to “really use” the toilet, choose the last stall. This signals to anyone entering the restroom that someone is in there and they may be a while. Also, it is less likely for someone to end up in the stall next to you, which goes to the second point of stall selection.

If at all possible, leave a buffer stall between you and other occupants. Trust me, we all like a little privacy, even in public.

Courtesy Flush! Again, if you have to “really go!” please don’t wait until you are finished to flush. I don’t know how to say this delicately, so here goes – as soon as your “business” drops flush the toilet. The longer it sits in the toilet the worse the restroom will smell.

Spray. Lysol and Target Stores now have travel size sprays. I love these for two reasons. First of all, if you must sit you want to sanitize and these are great. Just spray, wipe and line the seat. Secondly, you can spray when you are finished and it shouldn’t be too bad since you’ve done courtesy flushes.

Rinse the sink and wipe the counter. Many people brush their teeth after lunch. Please clean the sink when you are finished. Your colleagues do not enjoy washing their hands in a sink with old toothpaste in it. They also do not enjoy seeing your hair or paper towels on the counter.

Double check yourself. Before you leave the stall, sink area or paper towels make sure all remnants of your use has been cleaned. This may mean another flush, wiping the counter of picking your paper towel off the floor.

No work. Conversations about work should be reserved for the sink area, if it must occur. And for the love of all that is good and right in the world, please do not try to bring files and papers into the restroom for discussion. It’s awkward and exactly WHERE are you supposed to put them?!

Tell Maintenance. If you see a problem, report it. The longer the problem is not addressed, the worse it will be for everyone.

These are my top rules; if you have other pointers, please share.

The Best Self Help Advice Ever

You already know what to do. Now is the time to do it. Stop reading the same tips over and over. Stop looking for a quick answer to give you the motivation and discipline you need. The answer is the same. The only way to get to where you want to be is to start doing something.

So, look at the list of things you know you should be doing and pick one. It can be the easiest or the hardest, it doesn’t matter. Just start. Discipline comes through doing. Success comes from doing.

That’s it.

Now, if you just have absolutely NO idea what to do, here are a few ideas from my other Monday posts… 🙂

Here are ways to prepare for a good Monday and ways to get the most of your Mondays.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Yes, I’ve been MIA the last few days, but don’t worry, next week Queenocracy will be back to normal. I took time this week to work on the back end of the site, to take care of those “little things” that hardly ever get done and to organize and plan for the coming weeks.

And while I’m happy to have done this for Queenocracy, I also did it at the office and at home. I took time to make the binders and labels that I’ve been putting off for months. I cleaned out drawers, organized my cosmetics and beauty products and so much more.

And now, I feel refreshed. It’s Friday evening and I’m going into my weekend knowing I am ready for Monday.

If you’re wondering what the moral is, here you go. Sometimes we get so caught up in our regularly scheduled life, that we don’t take the time for maintenance. We know we need to do the maintenance stuff, but it’s difficult. So we ignore it and it piles up to a point where we become overwhelmed and avoid it all together.

Instead of allowing things to get to that point schedule a maintenance week. Whether it’s once a month, a quarter, etc. put it on your calendar. And stick to it. Then give yourself a permission slip to let some other things go. You’ll feel better and you won’t have those “little things” muddying up your to-do list.