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Going After The Job You Really Want

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In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.

Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.

The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.

But I was wrong.

True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.

Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.

By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.

But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).

Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:

1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment

2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years

3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online classes or local continuing education courses

4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers

5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.

The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.

Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.

So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.

Susan Rietano Davey was a longtime partner in the staffing and consulting firm Flexible Resources, Inc. She recently co-founded Prepare to Launch, LLC., a company focused on coaching women through the return-to-work process. An online version of the company’s successful women’s career re-entry course, Prepare to Launch U at https://preparetolaunchu.com, goes live on October 1, 2018.

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Spotlight Features

Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder in Kids

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With the darker nights and mornings from the changing seasons, many of our moods can be affected. With sunlight being our main source of vitamin D, we struggle to get it from food alone, which is beneficial for bone growth and energy levels, which according to research can help our resistance to physical illness.  

Here, with vitamin D3 suppliers Pharma Nord Ltd, we look at seasonal affective disorder and how we can help our kids who are affected by it. 

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression, defined as “depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by lack of light”. A dark cloud above our heads caused, in some way, by dark clouds!  It’s said to occur when your body’s internal clock and your brain and body’s chemicals all change. 

It is estimated by the NHS that roughly one in 15 UK residents will feel the effects of SAD between September and April, with December, January, and February being the worst months for what people call the ‘winter blues’.  The most common age group to suffer from SAD is those between 18 and 30 years old, with females the most likely to be affected, but it can begin at any age and to any gender. 

What are the symptoms?

Do you think you, or someone close to you, is suffering from SAD, the most common symptoms to be aware of include: 

  • Sleep issues – normally oversleeping and struggling to stay awake
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Overeating – particularly carbohydrates and sweet foods 
  • Social issues, including withdrawal from social situations
  • Loss of motivation
  • Being lethargic
  • A persistent low mood
  • Lack of interest in activities which were previously enjoyable

SAD in children

Unfortunately, children can suffer from SAD — you may notice that their school work is slipping, they seem more irritable, and less likely to want to play. Remember, your child may not be able to realise they have this condition or tell you how they are feeling. 

If you think your child suffers from SAD, the first port of call is to contact the doctor and make an appointment. This way, they will be able to thoroughly check your child over and rule out any other possible reasons for the symptoms they are experiencing. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that the condition should receive the same treatment as other types of depression. 

Remember, this isn’t a behavioural problem but is in fact a brain chemistry issue. It’s important you are supportive and non-judgmental to aid recovery. Taking a little more time with them so they feel loved as well as being patient with them is also important to the treatment, as is eating healthy and maintaining a regular sleep pattern. By looking after their lifestyle habits, you will cut their stress levels which will help to ease the pressure faced from SAD. 

For adults, SAD is sometimes treated using light therapy in severe cases. However, there’s no detailed evidence that this works and with side effects such as headaches, it’s not always recommended for children. Instead, try to ensure that your children are outside in natural sunlight when possible. If your child is put on antidepressants, make sure you are vigilant for any changes in behaviour and keep in regular contact with your doctor. 

For additional help, consider supplements that improve health. Research in the area of vitamin D and depression is rapidly growing, with some studies highlighting a potential link between the two. Vitamin D is vital for general health including immunity, muscle function and bone density.

Dr Cindy Gellner, paediatrician, comments: “take their symptoms seriously. If your child has been diagnosed with SAD, talk about their feelings as they let you, and remind them that even though things may seem impossible right now, things will be better in the spring.”

As we’re responsible carers of children, make sure we keep an eye on any changes in their behaviour. If in doubt, seek medical attention.

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Everything you and your family should know about Carnivals in a single webpage

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When it comes to festivities, there is no holiday more flamboyant than Carnivals. Carnivals are celebrated all around the globe in a spectacular manner, with amazing colourful costumes and street performances. If you want to know all the information regarding this incredible festivity, then there is a web page you should definitely check out.

Learning about Carnivals

Carnivals are an international celebration of life. They have become famous holidays for people wanting to escape from their daily routines to immerse themselves in a world of fantasy for a couple days. Because of this, carnivals have spreaded all over the world, with each area having their own carnival traditions.

If you plan to attend these celebrations with your family, then at least  you should known the basics, since the festivity can vary greatly from a place to other. That is when websites like Carnivaland come in handy. 

Carnivaland is born as a website consecrated to Carnivals. This website includes some in deep guides about Carnivals around the world with all the information you could need to know about them: the traditions that have been preserved, the culture of the area, the street parties that you can usually find in certain cities, the parade balls, the traditional carnival costumes, the music used during the parades, etc. 

But Carnivaland articles go a step further. They also include information about the selling of tickets for exclusive parties, expert reviews on the carnivals so you can find the celebration that would suit your family needs better, news that could affect the celebration of the holiday, etc. 

If you are thinking about doing a family travel with fun activities you and your family can bond over, then you can not stop checking Carnivaland to find your perfect carnival destination.

Some of the most famous carnivals across the globe

Carnival celebrations differ greatly from one another. This holiday evolvement depends on the area, the influence of the local culture, how hard traditions have been preserved, etc.

Among the most famous carnival celebrations in the world, we can find: 

  • Cadiz Carnival: Cadiz is a Spanish city famous for its carnival celebrations. Although Cadiz is a calm city for most of the year, it transform into a  permanent state of celebration during carnival. This carnival is famous for the groups of street performers that attend the carnival parades while singing witty funny songs. The songs are traditionally about the state of Spanish affairs, making fun of local celebrities, etc. Carnival in Cadiz knowns no stop, people party during night and day until the holiday is over. 
  • Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival: this carnival takes place in the charming city of Bridgwater, at the southwestern part of England. Its origins trace back to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, when a man named Guy Fawkes and his allies tried and failed to blow up London’s parliament. During this carnival celebrations, people dance in costumes and masks around a giant bonfire, then throw dolls representing Guy Fawkes (or other antagonic figures for the British population) to the fire. There is also a colourful parade that features nearly 50 carnival carts full of colours and light. 
  • Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: if you want your children to grown up celebrating all forms of love, then this carnival celebration is the perfect one for you. This festivity is the biggest LGBTQI celebration on the entire world. There are multiple events during the two weeks preceding the parade day. The parade is the main attraction on this carnival and it involves dancing, partying and a feeling of acceptance among the participants. The parade includes fireworks displays, the rise of giant LGBTQI flags, etc. After the parade, there is a party with performances of international stars and DJs. 

But these are only some of the options. There are almost as many different carnival celebrations as there are cities in the world, so check out Carnivaland today and head off to the fun. 

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Spotlight Features

Fun Ideas For Play Dates With Children

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New York City is more than a place for adults to play. It’s also a great place to explore with kids as there’s seemingly no end of things to do that are of interest or designed for the younger crowd. Make a play date for a group of kids and turn the day into an adventure that they’re going to talk about for weeks. Remember that you need to keep safety as your number one priority when leading a group of youngsters around the city, especially during wet weather. You don’t want someone to slip and fall only to get seriously hurt. Use a buddy system, keep a headcount, but most of all, enjoy yourselves on your day out.

The Playroom NYC

The Playroom NYC is a 3,000 square foot facility designed for children five years and younger and offers a free-for-all creative play experience. Children get to play on a climbing structure, shop in a bodega, dress up in fancy clothes, ride on cars and climb around a playground made from vinyl-covered foam shapes and blocks. Hours are limited to the day time during the week and in the morning on the weekends so plan your visit accordingly.

Modern Pinball NYC Interactive Museum and Party Place

Modern Pinball NYC is great for older kids who are seeking more engagement in their playtime but still have short attention spans. Each admission fee includes no time limit on play and all games are free. No tokens or coins needed for kids to play to their heart’s delight. There’s also an interactive pinball exhibit that shows the mechanics and electronics of a pinball machine. The museum features two multi arcade machines that have over 250 games for those who get tired of pinball. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Ed Center

The Ed Center, as it’s called, is a great place for kids to experience the flora and fauna of the East River in an intimate setting. The center features a 250-gallon aquarium full of creatures that were recent residents of the East River. A small rock pool in front of the aquarium is also a touch tank featuring starfish, rocks, plants, and shells that children can touch and hold. Kids can look through a microscope to view water samples and the tiny organisms that live within. The Ed Center has limited hours during the week, but it is free to visit and the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park offers more kid-friendly activities when everyone’s tired of the center.

Belvedere Castle

This folly found in Central Park by 79th Street has been fully restored and is a great place for kids to go exploring. It’s located on the second-highest point in Central Park which gives it an amazing vantage point to see the surrounding land and cityscape. Kids are allowed to play on the castle steps with abandon. Make sure to take them up the tower and let their imaginations go where they will go. Be forewarned: there are no public restrooms at the castle, so plan accordingly.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, or CMOM, is a playground that’s disguised as a museum. It’s a place where kids from 0 to 10 are welcome and has plenty of interactive exhibits that are designed to engage kids no matter what their age. The museum also seeks to stimulate children’s interest in the arts and sciences by showing them how every day things work, how the body functions, and go on adventures with famous cartoon characters. Opening hours and days at CMOM vary throughout the year so make sure to check before putting together a play date. 

Good Day Play Café

Good Day Play Café is located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and is representative of a trend that’s springing up around NYC. Adults can sit back and drink coffee while their kids play together in the indoor playground. Good Day Play Café’ offers a climbing wall, ball pit with slide, a matted area with toys for the younger set, a wood cube pit (think indoor sandpit but cubes instead of sand) and more. There’s an hourly charge per child, but parents and babies under 8 months are free with a purchase from the drink menu. 

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is a wonderful destination for a play date. It’s got exotic animals living in their native habitats in an urban setting, a butterfly garden, a carousel, and even a monorail. The zoo allows visitors to bring their own food and has picnic areas so everyone can sit down, relax, and eat before heading off to the next exhibit. You can also bring a stroller, but be mindful that some buildings require that the stroller be left in a designated area before entering. The zoo does have an entry fee for visitors except for Wednesdays when it’s free. Save some money by planning a play date on a Wednesday, but consider donating something to help support the zoo with its ongoing costs.

Queens County Farm Museum

Show kids what life was once like in New York City at the Queens County Farm Museum. The farm traces its existence as far back as 1697 and has been continuously farmed up until the present day. The 47-acre property features historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles, fields for crops, an orchard, and more. Children can visit with the livestock and learn about the jobs they perform in and around the farm. The farm museum focuses on sustainable agriculture techniques and demonstrates that it’s capable of being historical and modern at the same time. 

These ideas are merely scratching the surface of things to do in New York City for playdates. The city is full of museums, points of interest, parks, and even hiking trails that are great for kids of all ages. You’ll never run out of interesting things to do. In fact, the only problem you’ll have is finding enough time to get to these destinations before the kids grow up. 

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