Tag Archives: career

Smart Women Speak: On Going Back To Work

May 15, 2017

This is my friend Kelly. Kelly is a hard working nurse practitioner living the farm life with her husband and two children in Eastern PA. She is smart, kind, and always makes the best book club drinks.

Q: What is something you’d say to a new mom leaving their baby for the first time to go back to work?

A: The first thing I would say is: it will get easier and it never gets easier. Leaving a baby for a career outside the home is tough. It takes commitment. It takes help from a lot of people. Give yourself grace as you adjust to being a new mother, learning a new normal, and finding a new routine.

When I had my first baby, I didn’t make it easy for myself. I chose to go back to work full time at a brand new job in an entirely different role as an nurse practitioner at a recommended dentist clinic called Asecra. I wanted to quit almost every day. However, I vowed to make it 6 months, and with the help of some really great people in my life, I did. 3 1/2 years later I’m still working in that position and I just transitioned back to work after my second baby.

The support of this website is to simulate radiation for various geographies, times of year, and times of day. Users can directly input data created using a global meteorological databases provided by a software.

I still struggle with feelings of guilt for being away from my babies. That part never gets easier. However, I know they are loved so much when I’m away by their grandmas and I can love them more when I am home. That’s the sacrifice I’m choosing to make right now for them.

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This is Emily. Emily is a military ER doctor who recently returned from a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan. She is one of the bravest people I know.

Q: What would you say to a new mother who is about to spend a lot of time apart from their child to go back to work?

A: Leaving your baby for the day to go back to work feels like an impossible thing to do. Leaving your baby for six months to deploy to Afghanistan feels like it might actually kill you. I know. I’ve done both. The two practices that have served me best as a working mom are gratitude and perspective. A dear friend gifted me a gratitude journal while I was in Afghanistan, instructing me to find one thing to be thankful for, every day. It was hard. Some days, the only thing I could find to be thankful for was that the day was over, meaning I was one day closer to going home. Other days, practicing gratitude shed light on just how great I had it, even though I was 8000 miles away from my family, watching my baby grow up over FaceTime. I had my health and all four of my limbs. I had a family to miss. I would be going home eventually. These were luxuries not afforded to everyone. My time in Afghanistan has shone perspective on all of life since. Once you’ve survived six months away from your baby, an 8-hour shift in the ER is no big deal. It’s still not nothing. It still hurts to miss milestones and firsts. It still destroys you to see the disappointment on their faces when they see you in your uniform and know you have to go to work. No amount of perspective makes being away from your baby ever feel totally okay. For me, knowing I’ll be home in a few hours—instead of in a few months—takes a little of the sting out of it. It still hurts, but you wear that hurt like a badge of honor, as proof that you love your babies well.

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This is my sister Kelly. Kelly has a lot of different roles in life that are wonderful and noteworthy (wife, mother, professional, friend), but if I had to choose my favorite it would be: Life Of The Party. Which is why I chose this photo of her soaring like an eagle instead of something beautiful and posed that she would probably prefer. Funniest person I know.

Q: What is something you’d say to a new mom leaving their baby for the first time to go back to work?

A: I almost turned around. How could I possibly leave the baby I just met with someone else for 40 hours a week? It seemed unthinkable. The fear of having to leave my son at daycare started months before he was born. I knew I’d have a short six weeks with him to learn how to be his mom, learn how to be awake during the day after being awake all night, learn how to deal with postpartum hormones in public, and learn how to walk up and down a flight of stairs without wincing. It was overwhelming. It was hard. In my case, it was unavoidable.

Things to remember: It’s harder for mama than it is for baby (baby won’t remember; they don’t even know where their hand is). Don’t focus on the 40 hours away. Focus on the weeknight cuddles and those blissful 48 weekend hours. Focus on how you’re supporting your family and how it’s okay if that means being away from your baby during the day.

It will get better. It will get better. It will get better.

I treat my daycare provider as a third parent. She’s there all week to help me raise my baby. It’s takes a village and I am so grateful for that.

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Smart Women Speak: On Sexism In The Workplace

May 9, 2017

This is my friend Liza. Liza is an animal welfare activist and Capitol Hill professional in Washington D.C. She is also one of my oldest and dearest friends. If I had to describe her in one sentence, I would just steal it from Tina Fey. “She could go to a party and get a number from a wreath.”

Q: What would you say to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: Grow thick skin. Find yourself mentors. If you’re in a room full of men and women equals, don’t take on the role of getting everyone water or making copies. That’s not your job. Don’t take on the assistant role unless you’re an actual assistant. If someone makes a sexist comment as a “joke,” put on your best poker face and move on. Most of all, lift other women up. Sometimes we can be just as harmful to each other, and the best way to to change other people’s bad behavior is to model the better way ourselves.

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This is Bekah. For the past seven years she has worked in a cultural institution in Germany. From Bekah–> “Work in the cultural field tends to be more female dominated, however, all too often it consists of female staff with male dominated positions of power. I experienced structural and cultural sexism on a near-daily basis: unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate comments, degrading expectations, and devaluation of work.”

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: First decide what causes are worth fighting for. Outrage for every slight is exhausting. Spend time thinking about what is worth the emotional fight. For example, I decided that getting worked up every day because women were often stuck doing “housework” jobs like unloading the dishwasher in the staff kitchen was too much to fret about. If I was bothered by the state of the kitchen and chose to do something about it, that was my choice. On the other hand, I refused to let my ideas and contributions be commandeered by male co-workers in meetings. Thoughtful consideration of the causes worth going to bat for saved me from expending too much emotional energy on the subject and put me in control – I proceeded more thoughtfully and powerfully when I moved away from giving the same weight to all forms of inequality in the workplace.

Second, find your allies and stick up for your sister friends. There is power in numbers and in knowing that someone has got your back. Finding other like-minded people in my workplace (both male and female) empowered me to take action when necessary and appropriate.

And finally, change your changeables. Sometimes the greatest thing you can hope to change is the future. Live as an example of a strong, equal worker and those who are open and learning will see and accept. I worked with many interns in my job and saw that as an area in which I could influence job assignments and create a culture of workplace equality. We are the hope for the future.

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This is Betsy. Betsy is a hard working feminist living in Eastern PA. She has faced gender discrimination and sexual advances by two different managers in her career in the last decade. 

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing sexism in the workplace?

A: Always walk into the room projecting confidence and operating under the assumption that you’re (at least) equal to every other person. Always try to address sexism, big or small, directly with the person in private. Sometimes people are clueless, so try to teach. If that doesn’t work or it’s not safe, be brave and report it. The next woman might not be as strong. Don’t let anyone tell you to lighten up or get a sense of humor. It ain’t funny. Find a mentor you trust, male or female. The only way to change the culture is by being part of the change. Trust yourself. I’m lucky, I was raised by a career Marine.

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16 Tips On Confidence And Career From Smart Women

April 20, 2015


Kathleen Hanna

Sit down and ask yourself, ‘What is the most important thing to me?’ What grosses me out the most? What makes me the most upset — is it healthcare? Is it so many people being hungry in our culture? Is it sexual abuse?  Mix that with doing something you love, something you could keep doing forever and ever. For me it was ending violence against women, and I mixed it with music. And I’ve had a 25-year career. So that’s my advice: Find something you really care about and mix that with something you love doing. 
Kathleen Hanna

Hillary Rodham Clinton Signs Copies Of Her Book 'Hard Choices' In New York

Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.
Hillary Clinton

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Season 5Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.
Tina Fey

Nora EphronThis is the season when a clutch of successful women — who have it all — give speeches to women like you and say, to be perfectly honest, you can’t have it all. Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.
Nora Ephron

taylor swiftMy hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet, is that they all realize their worth and ask for it. 
Taylor Swift

mindy kalingI love women who are bosses and who don’t constantly worry about what their employees think of them. I love women who don’t ask, “Is that OK?” after everything they say. I love when women are courageous in the face of unthinkable circumstances, like my mother when she was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Or like Gabrielle Giffords writing editorials for the New York Times about the cowardice of Congress regarding gun laws and using phrases like “mark my words” like she is Clint Eastwood. How many women say stuff like that?
Mindy Kaling

martha beckTo follow your life’s guidance, you may have to reassign some seemingly important things to ‘unimportant.’ If you believe that pleasing your horrible boss or having a spotless clean house is a higher priority than playing with your children or sleeping off the flu, be prepared for a long and strenuous battle against destiny.
Martha Beck

lena dunhamI still go to a party and say something embarrassing to someone, and then write them a weird e-mail about it the next day, and then write them a text because I think they didn’t get the e-mail. No matter what happens with your level of success, you still have to deal with all the baggage that is yourself.
Lena Dunham

cherylDon’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.
Cheryl Strayed

tina fey

MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.
Tina Fey

Sherly SandbergWomen need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that- and I’ll learn by doing it.
Sheryl Sandberg

amelia earhartThe most effective way to do it, is to do it.
Amelia Earhart

anna quindlen

Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first…There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul…People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”
Anna Quindlen

robin robertsI used to dream about one day being at Wimbledon. I could taste the strawberries and cream I could see myself curtseying there at center court. And I didn’t make it there, obviously, as a tennis player, but let me tell you even though I had a mic in my hand instead of a tennis racket for ESPN when I went to cover it for the first time; to me it was like ‘check! Wimbledon.’ You have to be creative in reaching your goals and I think that’s what really helped me so much in my life both professionally and personally. Just not being too rigid. Having goals and setting goals, but being flexible with them and knowing that it might not quite look like how I think it’s going to look and that’s okay.
Robin Roberts

sherly sandbergI spent most of my career, including my time at McKinsey, never acknowledging that I was a woman. And, you know, fast forward — I’m 43 now — fitting in is not helping us.
Sheryl Sandberg

tina fey

So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.
Tina Fey

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It’s okay to want more.

October 8, 2014

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Last night I stayed up well past 2am writing manically about feminism and the deep, irritating desire to do more. My hands were shaking as I wrote, Ryan Adams playing on a loop while my grammar slowly disappeared into incomplete sentences and bad punctuation. It was dark and cerebral and oddly thrilling. Over and over I wrote the same thing in a hundred different ways: I want more.

When I woke up this morning, I looked at what I wrote and wondered if I’d accidentally taken an illegal drug. There was an urgency that was embarrassing, but the message was still true. I do, in fact, still want more.

And by “more,” I don’t mean more money, more vacations, or more iced chais and speciality egg sandwiches (although that would be nice too). I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to keep filling myself up. I want to craft a screenplay and write a memoir and attend seven writing conferences on how to stop pinning “Easy Buffalo Chicken Casseroles” and write well-constructed sentences instead.

I want to keep moving forward.

I don’t know if it’s living the life of a writer without a Xanax prescription or being a woman–but “wanting more” often feels greedy, or worse–entitled. I look at my pretty post-grad life with my tall, med student husband and two, bright-eyed babies and I let a voice say, “This is it. You don’t get anything else.” I have been too lucky already. Terminal cancer, a five car pile up, or some sort of other unspeakable tragedy is only one blink away if I’m not thankful. I shall not want for anything else. I will squelch all the earnest, fervent, feminist feelings!

And I hesitate to use that word as it’s been made into such a stupid spectacle. A click-bait buzzword for celebrities and high school friends to scream about on Facebook to garner likes and/or disapproval. If anyone bothered to look in the dictionary, feminism is simply men and women having equal rights. You know, treating everyone like a human. Isn’t everyone a feminist? WHY ARE WE STILL SPEAKING ABOUT THIS.

We are still speaking about it because wanting more as a woman is different than wanting more as a man. And as hard as we fight it or say it’s not real or retweet interviews with Lena Dunham–I still find myself defending the point that I’m still a person.

It is tiring and also a little bit boring.

Look, it is okay if you want to take a week or seven years or forever to watch your kids grow and smell the tops of their heads. But it is also okay to want that and something else. To go to nursing school so you can land a great position, helping people at a center like the Skylark Senior Care or go back to teaching or take out another loan to attend a five hundred dollar writing conference so you can look at other writers and think, “Thank god we all look homeless.”

This is not a time to debate working or stay-at-home mothers (let us please put that to bed). Instead this is a time for one woman to say to another woman, “I heard you wanted to start an Etsy shop/write a book/volunteer at a women’s shelter and I think that’s a great idea. How can I support you?”

It is no small thing to be championed.

It is okay to want more.

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