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blogging on high-commitment workplaces

Will Marissa Mayer’s Baby Give Birth to a Leader?

How fitting that Marissa Mayer birthed her baby on the eve of National Work and Family month.

Yet she disappoints other moms, bloggers and work-family advocates by stating she’ll work throughout her maternity leave, appearing on Fortune Magazine‘s cover in a decidedly not-pregnant glam shot and remaining silent about the feminist status her new power-mom-CEO role confers.

5 Steps to Building a High-Commitment Workplace

In 2004 I co-founded a digital strategy company that focuses on inbound marketing (i.e., getting clients found via the Internet). My team consists of independent contractors that work virtually throughout the US as well as in other countries. In talking with Joan Blades, I learned that we worked under a high-commitment workplace model. At the time I didn’t really know what that was. The business structure was initially created out of necessity. But indeed, that is how I have worked, in my company as well as a few prior corporate and entrepreneurial assignments. So how did I figure this out? Below are five guidelines that set me on the path, and that I still follow today.

1. Think Like an Engineer

The New Girls’ Network: “The Polite Little Girl in the Room”?

Every year The Center for WorkLife Law, which I direct, runs a leadership academy for women law firm partners. One key message we send is that sometimes what it takes to make partner is different from what it takes to rise in the partnership.

“I’ve noticed that the women work so exceptionally hard,” said a management consultant, when I asked her whether she thought women have to Prove It Again!  “It’s really hard for anyone to be biased against them because they are doing above and beyond many of their male peers.” This could be, she continued, because they sense the bias. Or it could be that “there’s something cultural about a level of accommodating men—and mostly their bosses are men—where they do whatever they say, they never push back, they don’t know how to say no. And so they become incredibly valued on the junior level.”

Comcast Worker’s Story Reminds Us of Why We’re Here

You’ve heard of Reddit, right? It’s a social link sharing site with a very active user base, and it’s called the front page of the internet.

On Reddit, they do this thing called “AMA” (ask me anything) where users will post their occupation and answer any question they’re asked from other users.

Anyway, there was an AMA from a Comcast employee the other day that was called to our attention. And when Cali and I read it (reddit.. see what I did there), it just pretty much blew our minds. It was so familiar, and it’s the kind of thing that drives us to make Results-Only Work Environment the new normal.

From user dlenoxx - I work for Comcast, and it is ruining my life. AMA

When I started working for Comcast I thought it’d be the job of a life time. I love the internet, computers, and love helping people. I’d like to think I’m a really nice computer guy, but that’s not what this place wants.

HLN Featuring Mompreneurs

Today, on Making It In America, Vinnie Politan will feature Holly Reisem Hanna who is a mom entrepreneur committed to helping other women successfully start their own businesses. Her book, The Work at Home Woman is a site dedicated to mom entrepreneurs.  The show airs today at 4 p.m. Eastern.  Making it in America takes viewers into the struggles and triumphs of people trying to carve out their own path to the American Dream.   Viewers will leave armed with ideas they can use in their own lives. Making it in America inspires you to take a risk, reinvent yourself and live your own American dream life.

Stop! Don’t Listen to Advice that Women Can Plan Our Way to Worklife Fit

I am so fed up with advice from people telling women that if they just make the right personal choices at the right time in the right order then there is no problem fitting career, marriage, and kids into our lives.

That’s a load of crap. If anyone had been able to figure out a way to PLAN her way through this mess it would have been me.

Let me just take one example of this kind of advice – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells women in commencement addresses and TED talks:

The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we’re 50/50…having a supportive spouse — a real partner — will play a huge part in your success.

The implication is that as long as you marry the right guy you’ll be fine, and if you aren’t fine, well, you made the wrong choice. Too bad.

My Advice to Women Who Give Advice to Women

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post.

By now, you’ve probably either read or read about Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic essay in which she recounts from personal experience why she believes women cannot “have it all” and calls on all of us to recognize the conditions that must change to make it possible for women to thrive in careers and motherhood.

As someone who has been writing about this issue for three years, I read her essay with relief. Finally! Now, at last, we can have the dialogue we should have been having for the last few decades instead of all the bogus “Mommy Wars.” How can we make the workplace more friendly to women — and men — with family obligations?

The question no one is asking about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

The world is sludging Sheryl Sandberg. What is “sludge?” you ask? Read on!

This story has been buzzing around the internet this week, and it’s been driving me crazy.

Pete Cashmore of Mashable writes in this article:

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently set off quite a debate in the tech world when she told an interviewer that she works a 9-to-5 schedule:

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a video posted on “I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

Work Stronger, Not Longer

Cross-posted at Out of My Head

An article on made the rounds yesterday about returning to a 40 hour work week. Sound familiar?

The new ideal was to unleash “internal entrepreneurs” — Randian übermenschen who would devote all their energies to the corporation’s success, in expectation of great reward — and who were willing to assume all the risks themselves. In this brave new world, the real go-getters were the ones who were willing to put in weekends and Saturdays, who put their families on hold, who ate at their desks and slept in their cubicles. Forty-hour weeks were for losers and slackers, who began to vanish from America’s business landscape. And with their passing, we all but forgot all the very good reasons that we used to have those limits.

I posted the article on Facebook and got a lot of agreement from entrepreneur friends, then I sent it in an email and got complete push back from an entrepreneur friend. Hot button topic much?

A Day in the Lives of 15 Working Mothers

Have you ever wondered if your work day is anything like other working mothers days? Recently, my website followed the working day of each of our work-mom bloggers (15 of us!) and we found it fascinating to see how alike our days actually are. (Credit for this terrific idea goes to our blogger Christa Allard)

A few themes we discovered:

  • We are all, very, very tired at the end of the day.
  • We often use the TV to entertain our kids while we get ready for work in the morning and/or try to prepare dinner at night.
  • Working moms are heroes! Seriously. It’s amazing how much each of us gets done in a single day.

Check out each one of our blog posts. I think you’ll find we all have a lot more in common than you may think.

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