Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work-life balance: Is it possible?

The Wall Street Journal printed an article a while back in which Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, states that [there is] " such thing as work-life balance." Mr. Welch remarked that "We'd love to have more women moving up faster ...but they've got to make the tough choices and know the consequences of each one." "Taking time off for family...can offer a nice life," Mr. Welch said, "but the chances of going to the top on that part are smaller. That doesn't mean you can't have a nice career," he added.

Of course, for a lot of women, this is reason to stand up and prepare to fight! In response to these provocative remarks, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner responds "...We're tired of people bemoaning the presumed fact that work-life balance isn't possible..." This remark was followed by many others from women who either felt the same as Kristin or agreed with Jack Welch and backed up their assertions with experience and examples. The controversy continues but in the end, while most business women with families and social lives might agree that achieving this balance isn't easy, they would also suggest there is plenty that can be done to achieve it.

The delemma
If you spend more time at home, you may just miss out on that coveted promotion.
If you spend more time at work, you may miss out on a rewarding personal life.

How some women responded

The following remarks are from women who believe or do not believe that work-life balance is attainable:

Kate: (no)

Everyone would like to have it all, but the majority of us are not built for that….we have limitations. You can’t expect companies to accommodate our lifestyle choices when there are other single women who will work 10-12 hour days to do just as good or even better than those of us who choose to balance work with family.

Chris: (yes)

With so many women working, employers need to provide family-friendly policies like flexible work options and paid family leave which can simultaneously increase productivity, as well as attract and retain high quality employees.

Amalia: (no)

We cannot have it all. That is a lie furthered by the media. Trying to have a Work-life balance, that just bring chaos to our society. Women with children should stay home with them.

Jennifer: (yes)

I believe that you can have “it all” but it depends on what you want. It's mostly about finding the right job. It’s not about giving women all these extra perks, or making special compensations. It’s about making sense. It’s about not having to sacrifice ones family in order to get ahead. I’ve done it. It is possible.

SKL: (yes/no):

It depends on the field and the company. And also on how each woman defines “having a family.” Personally I would not have kids if I didn’t plan to be the primary person raising them. For me, that means being there for them during some significant part of almost every day.

Vera: (yes/no)

I personally knew that it would be difficult for me to climb to the top as a mother and a wife. That’s the reason I decided to leave and create my own wealth. I believe that through business ownership, investing, it’s possible to reach the top. Sky is the limit

How are you coping?
Our economy now depends on the millions of women who work outside the home, and the vast majority of these women are mothers. In fact, women now make up almost half of the workforce and obtain more than 50% of college degrees. How can we, as women, create balance in our lives?
Some tips from the Mayo clinic

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guest post by P.C. Wheeler

 I know you will enjoy this compelling and interesting personal narrative  by Ms Wheeler who generously gives you a peek into  how her life's experiences have influenced her writing...........

A Slice of History
by PC Wheeler

I sometimes hear authors get asked, 'what are your influences?'. As a writer, it's important for me to analyze my own influences. After all, what you're getting when you read my work is something written through the lens of my experiences.

So, what does influence me? Well, everything!

That may seem like a pat answer, but it's true. All of the things I've been through - all my associations with people, my politics, religion, worldview - it all bleeds through one way or another. Even as a writer of fantasy, I can't escape myself.

But, there are some events in my life that have had a greater impact on me than others. As a way to show you a little bit about who I am, I wanted to give you a glimpse of one of these events. It's something I will never forget, as long as I live. To go there, however, I need to start from the beginning.

I was born in a small town in Southern Africa called Sinoia. (On a side note, as an homage to my heritage, my husband and I named our daughter Sinoia.) At that time, the country, then called Rhodesia, was going through political upheaval, which ended in civil war. The Regime of Robert Mugabe began in 1980 and by the February of 1982, my parents, unsure of the political climate and concerned for our future, relocated our small family, just the three of us, to a town in white-ruled South Africa. I was six years old.

As a child, I understood nothing of the ramifications of Apartheid. The world existed as it did, and I didn't know that it could be different. Black people lived separately to white people. Black people were house maids and gardeners while white people were family and friends. I didn't know that there was anything wrong with this. It was just the way things were.

My father was the one who taught me to think for myself and always ask questions. As I grew older, I began to question the way things were. Perhaps I did not know the extent of the injustices that were being done around me, but at some point I knew that how we lived was wrong. Fortunately, things were beginning to change in South Africa.

As the Apartheid regime began to be dismantled, South Africa was like a bomb waiting to explode. I remember watching the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 on TV. I may not have fully understood who this man was or how important he was, but something inside me lifted with hope at the sight of him. Later that year, on a school trip headed by two of my more progressive teachers, English teachers I might add, I attended a week of the Grahamstown Arts Festival - an annual celebration of the arts. That year, it was also a celebration of the newly unbanned political group, the ANC. If my parents had known of this little fact, they might never have let their fourteen-year-old daughter go on that school trip. The ANC was still considered a dangerous organization by many whites.

The week culminated in an event that I would never forget: a jazz concert. It struck me, as our small group of white students and white teachers (schools were still segregated at that time) walked into the concert hall, how non-white the rest of the audience was. I can't remember the name of the band, only that they were good. They were damn good. They had bongos and drums, and a veritable orchestra of horns and guitars, and other instruments that kept us all thumping our feet. The atmosphere in the hall was close like the air on a humid summer night, even though it was the middle of an African winter outside. The audience had a rhythm of their own as they danced and swayed to the music.

Our small group began to unwind as we let the music seep into our bones. To me it felt like the drip, drip of a thaw that had finally turned into a flood. We were no different to our fellow audience members, despite the pasty color of our skin. That night of revelations culminated in one last eye-opener. Unplanned and unscheduled, after the band had played out their final encores, they struck up with one last song: "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika". For decades the song had been the anthem of the oppressed, and here, those who were the very same oppressed raised their hands with us, and we sang together. I barely knew the words, but they came easily to my tongue: God bless Africa.

Four years later, I voted in the first democratic elections in South Africa.

If a sense of the innate equality of all people flows through my fingers as I type, or if my characters sometimes act out my belief in the spirit of triumph over tribulation, of forgiveness over retribution, then here is a big part of the reason why.

About Ms Wheeler: Priscilla Clare Wheeler was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa.  Her parents and grandparents instilled in her a love of reading and it was her grandfather in particular who inspired her with his gift of storytelling.
After gaining a Higher Diploma in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a couple of years teaching high school Math and Science, she spent a few years traveling and living in England where she met her husband Jason Gatties.  She now lives in Michigan with her husband, their daughter and two cats.

*Note: You can find Ms Wheeler blogging at Tea and Magic

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Tango lesson

I know this is not a "dance" site, but I just had to post this video. The Argentine Tango is such an exciting dance, that I think you'll find it hard to take your eyes off these dancers. Keep your eye on the intricate footwork. Let me know what you think?

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Guest blogging: A great opportunity

Julie Anne Lindsey is a Midwestern wife, a homeschooling mother of 3, and an all around caffeine addict. She’s also an unpublished author blogging her journey to publication at Musings from the Slush Pile, where she shares writing tips, author interviews, personal experience, and opening chapters from her works.

Guest Post
by Julie Anne Lindsey

I’m a guilty girl. I struggle and frizz my hair out over what to blog on every single day. Then, when I get more than one or two requests for a guest post I go into a full-on panic mode. What will I write about? What if I’m not interesting? Will they throw virtual tomatoes? You name it, I worry about it.

The thing is, thank heavens, after my complete freak out, I always rally. Based on a similar spaz-attack I had this week, I’ve decided to blog about guest blogging. Yes, it sounds nutty at first, but it needs done.

Guest blogging is a fabulous opportunity to you (and me) as a writer. Stopping by another writer’s blog moves us out of our comfort zone, and into the eyes of new friends. Writing is a tough road to choose and networking is the absolute best way to stay positive and motivated and …well happy. On the flip side, guest blogging gives the blogger you stand in for an extra day of writing without the burden of a blog post. SO, it’s a win-win.

Guest posting is a chance to think critically about what matters to you and how you can address those issues. Blogging is an issue for me. I try to be diligent and blog every day. In the midst of life and other writer-related responsibilities, it can be nearly impossible to find the time. This is where guest blogging becomes a Godsend.

First, as I get guest bloggers, it frees me up and that is a priceless gift. I appreciate my guest more than I can ever express with words. I also appreciate hosts, like Nancy *hugs*. It’s through the fabulous network of writing blogs that I get away from my blog addy and out into the blogosphere. If it wasn’t for guest blogging, I’d never get away.

So, if you’ve ever considered guest posting, I implore you, please do it. Don’t be afraid to ask bloggers if they’d like a guest post from you. I promise they’ll SQUEE and dance over the gift. You can tweet your willingness or go to Thursday’s Novelists on Facebook or just hit the contact button on your favorite blog.

If you don’t blog, this is an awesome opportunity to get your name and personality out there without the ongoing commitment of a blog. If you already blog, moving around will increase your traffic and widen your network. Guest blogging is too often underrated as a tool. It’s an opportunity. Grab hold! Carpe diem!

*Note: You can find Julie Anne blogging at:

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