Hi there - Discussion Divas is in quiet mode as we work on our next Big Thing, a new site for Working Moms: www.maybrooks.com. Hope to see you there. Best, Stacey
I've been helping Moms and women (and a good number of men!) keep up with the news for many years, truly believing it is important to know what's going on in your neighborhood and world even while you're busy doing other things. If you're a Mom who is taking time out of the workplace, you know how important it is to keep up with your industry, too.
But now, with job postings calling for a "web presence" or "at least five Pinboards," there's another mountain looming--one of time-consuming things to learn and do if you want to stay competitive in the workplace now or in the future--things beyond Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (which you should already be using one or more of anyway).
So, let's start a dialogue of what's needed to stay current these days, and add to it over time. Be sure to add your thoughts in the comments, please. Again, this won't be an exhaustive, but it's a start!
1. Know Tumblr (super easy blogging software), Pinterest (the latest Web phenom where you "pin" things you find intersesting), Google Docs (it's all about sharing in the cloud these days), Dropbox (transfer large files), TaskRabbit (find people to do things for you like go to the grocery store or put together Ikea furniture) and Prime (meaning Amazon Prime).
3. Understand how important Facebook is to companies like Zynga (gaming company that derives majority of revenue from Facebook) and Airbnb (rent a room in someone's home for the weekend) and Branchout (find a job).
4. Try to read Top 10 publishings now and then, like this one from FastCompany: http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2012/industry/webinternet
5. Pick a site or two to read daily (or at least a couple times a week - even reading the headlines will help!), like WSJ's Career section: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-career-jobs.html?mod=WSJ_topnav_careers_main
6. Read our weekly-ish EMAIL! You'll walk away smarter in five minutes or less. SIGN UP
What are you doing to stay current?
“She’s gonna change the world. She’s gonna make the world a better world.” - Sesame Street
It says a lot about my life when I’m linking the week’s news to a catchy Sesame Street ditty about girls changing the world (watch the video... it will stick with you!).
But it’s ringing in my ears as I digest the recent data on employment, which shows that while women as a whole are helping push the economy forward by joining the workforce in larger numbers, some with higher-earning spouses are also quitting.
The stats on those getting hired
In the last two months, more than twice as many women as men have been added to the workforce (see chart), according to NYT.
The Times credits this growth in part to the high number of new female college graduates and the strong demand for educated workers, and also to the specific sectors that are currently hiring, such as health care and education.
Overall the economy has added around 245,000 jobs a month for the last three months--strong numbers--but at the same time, more people jumped into the active job search pool, which is why the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3% in February.
The stats on those getting out
Meanwhile, in another part of the working world, an upcoming Federal Reserve report is said to show that well-educated women who marry higher-income earners are leaving the workforce. From Reuters:
--It shows that between 1993 and 2006, there was a decline in the workforce of 0.1 percent a year on average in the number of college- educated women with similarly educated spouses.
That contrasts with growth of 2.4 percent a year between 1976 and 1992.
The result: the labor force in 2008 had 1.64 million fewer such women than if the growth rate had kept up its earlier trend, slightly more than 1 percent of the total workforce in that year.--
The Reuters article goes on to say that during the recession of 2007-2009, the number of educated women leaving the workforce stalled. But the exit picked up again as the economy improved, with this trend happening at various income levels, not just among the wealthy.
So what does all this mean?
There are many ways to look at this information: Education begets higher incomes, begets the luxury of one parent not working to take care of children, run the house, etc. Or, the high expenses of childcare render a spouse’s (often the woman’s) salary a wash, so the woman stops working.
But it also prompts an interesting discussion about whether women who can afford to leave financially do so because they don’t want to work, or because they can’t find the right kind of work.
One conservative WSJ columnist summed up the Reuters story saying the opportunities afforded by the feminist movement have made way for the “unchained woman”--a woman who isn’t tied to her desk everyday, and the emergence of a two-tiered culture--those who are unchained and those who aren’t.
We all know that when it comes to working and raising children, flexibility is huge. My theory is that in many cases, highly educated women who can afford to not work quit because they can’t find a work scenario that works for them. If one is chained to the desk, there's no flexibility.
It’s too bad when highly educated women leave the workplace--their skill set is valuable to the economy, and their experience can help younger women climbing the ranks. Corporations would benefit from letting experienced women step back for a few years to have kids and then rev up again--they don’t lose all the time and money they’ve invested in the talent.
Of course I’m curious what you think, soplease share your comments (Did you leave your job? Why? Would you have stayed if you found a more flexible situation? If you work full time, have you found flexibility that works?)
Calling all Moms!
What would the perfect online resource look like to you? Take the survey and tell us! We're gearing up to help. CLICK LINK TO TAKE THE SURVEY: http://goo.gl/EhdMO
One of the hardest things I have found as a working Mom is finding the time to keep up with my professional network, let alone my friends. When I am at work, I'm working - there's no time for power lunches. After work, I really want to be with my kiddo. The other days, I'm tired!
But keeping up those social AND professional networks is so key and can make a big difference when you're on the job hunt or when starting your own business. Turns out that men do a better job of referring each other and asking for help from their networks.
So what to do other than drink a lot of coffee and burn the midnight oil?! Some words of wisdom, tips and encouragement from a recent round-up of stories on this topic:
Final thought: I think it’s best to set some goals to help keep up with friends and colleagues, past and present.
No matter how you do it, get out there and strengthen those networks--for yourself, and for all of us. Raise the tide!
"This is a violation of conscience. We must have a President who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God."
- Mitt Romney, speaking in Colorado on Monday
From Rick Santorum’s wins to the birth control controversy, this week probably reaffirmed what we already knew: religion plays a large role in U.S. politics. The birth control debate, in particular, is making for good dinner-table conversation in our house (that is, during the five minutes before we fall asleep post work, bath and bed time).
First, the Santorum Surprise
Santorum, the most religiously conservative candidate among those vying for the Republican nomination, won contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. Santorum is a devout Roman Catholic and has always been a favorite of evangelicals. His wins underscore how split the Republican party remains as to who should be their candidate.
Second, Obama vs. Catholics
Catholic authorities and the Obama administration have been clashing for weeksover the administration’s decision to require certain religious organizations to cover birth control in their health insurance offerings without a copay.
But the sparring bubbled up to front-page news this week as Republicans seized the issue,calling it an affront to religious freedoms, and leading Romney to make the bold statement above. Congressional Republicans threatened legislation to overturn the policy, playing up the issue as one of religious liberty rather than women’s health, while Democrats rallied in support of the move.
The White House signaled it was open to awork-around, and by Friday, a compromise was announced: women who work for affected religious institutions, largely hospitals and universities, will still have access to free contraception through their insurer, who will pick up the cost, leaving the employer out of it. While this may seem costly for insurers, the argument is that the alternative--pregnancy--is far more expensive. (See White House Fact Sheet on the revised policy.)
Interestingly, a recent poll shows that 58% of Catholics actually support a requirement that health insurers cover birth control (see chart). Ah, politics!
Despite Santorum’s wins this week, Romney, a Mormon, remains well ahead in national polls of Republican voters. Does the Santorum surge suggest discomfort among Republicans about electing a Mormon? Although Mormonsconsider themselves Christians, some on the religious right have likened Mormonism to a cult. Still, despite this, Pew Research shows Romney’s strongest support against Obama in a general election would come from evangelicals (76% say they would vote for him), and that his Mormonism will likely be more of a factor in the primaries than in November’s vote. (Obama’s strongest supporters are religiously unaffiliated.)
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are still in it to win. Paul identifies as a Baptist but is a libertarian and basically leaves religion out of the conversation. Gingrich was a Baptist until he married his third wife Callista, at which point he converted to Catholicism. He has actively courted evangelical voters, claiming that Democrats are waging a “war” on religion, but many on the religious right remain skeptical due to Gingrich’s rather tumultuous personal history (he had a long-time affair with Callista before marrying her).
Religious voters have been the bedrock of the Republican voting base for decades. They are a crucial, organized block and the GOP needs them to turn out at the polls in November if it wants to unseat Obama. But it will be interesting to see which candidate is able to strike the right chord to mobilize this key group.
Good dinner table discussion
The spat over birth control coverage makes for a lively discussion about the separation of church and state. One side argues that being forced to cover birth control flies in the face of their religious freedoms as protected in the Bill of Rights. But while religious institutions are free to practice, they are still subject to the laws of the state. What do you think?
Growing up my mother made everyone in our house eat Black-Eyed Peas on New Year's Day, even the cats and dogs. She took it very seriously. Tradition has it that they bring prosperity. More on this here.
I love the sentiment that food can bring good luck so we do this in our house, too, washed back with Champagne. This year we paired it with Schramsburg Mirabelle, a rose sparkler that sells for about $20. My mom cooks hers with a ham bone -- we take a chicken approach in our house. Here's the recipe:
1 Bag Dried Beans (soak overnight and remove the bad beans)
2 Boxes of chicken broth (the 16 oz ones)
Carrots (I use the mini ones so there's no chopping necessary)
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 Sliced chicken sausages (the pre-cooked ones, choose your favorite)
Great recipe for a slow cooker. Bring to a boil, then simmer all day. Same if you do it on the stove top, just simmer for a good four hours at least.
All this talk about Newt Gingrich is somehow reminding me of Fig Newtons (a little odd, I know). You might remember both the cookie and the politician from years ago. And it depends on your taste buds and your political preferences if you remember either fondly.
There’s been a landslide of news recently about the “surge” of Newt as a Republican presidential candidate.
In the latest round of polls, Gingrich has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney (27% vs 20% on average). Newt’s also doubling down efforts in South Carolina, which has backed the eventual winner in every Republican presidential primary race since Reagan.
So what should you know about Newt? He’s been on the public scene for a long, long time--here are some highlights: