I recently had the opportunity to speak with my friend and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Joey Price of JumpstartHR on his Business, Life, and Coffee Podcast. We had a great conversation about when I knew I needed to start my business and discussed whether women make better CEOs than men.
You’ll have to listen below to hear what I had to say about whether women are better than men at leading organizations. I think you will be surprised at my response. The one thing I learned for sure listening to this podcast is:
“We all have a story and we should share it as much as the universe will allow.”
Joey was able to capture my journey to entrepreneurship in a way that I have not in the past. Life often feels like thousands of vignettes that run into one another, blend and become distorted the further away from them you get. Asking the right question and a dose of honesty will always bring forth something compelling and useful.
Joey and I started on our social media journey at about the same time and have since become both colleagues and friends. It is pretty neat to see where both of us have landed respectively in our lives and businesses.
If you have a business, are thinking of starting a business or just have an interest in a story about someone who chased their dreams when everything was falling apart around them – you will want to listen to this podcast.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on the podcast below in the comments. Also, if you like this episode you will love the variety of his other shows- give them a spin!
Thanks for reading and supporting! I appreciate you immensely.
Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.
Day 7 of 31- Jealousy
When I was in junior high school, I went through a tough time. Socially, I was smart enough to be considered a nerd but cool enough to not be completely shunned by the cool kids. The school district I went to was a mostly middle class district with a healthy portion of some low-income families mixed in. By the time I reached the seventh grade, I had a healthy helping of girls that would make my life miserable in school and after school as well. It was customary that a certain group of girls would somehow initiate other girls by fighting them. I had the displeasure of being one of the chosen ones. At that time, I was vying for Ms. Junior America here in NY and my face was posted up in most of our neighborhood establishments because they were sponsoring me. Full disclosure, I wasn’t a fighter. My parents were strict about school and so I focused on my studies and pretty much kept to myself and the small nucleus of friends I had at the time.
I fought every week for the majority of my 7th grade year. It got so bad that my grandparents had to come from Queens to where we lived in Long Island to pick me up after school just so I wouldn’t have to fight. I didn’t understand right away why I was the one to fight until the perpetrators started spilling the beans during the fights. I would hear “you think you’re cute because you have long hair” or “I don’t care if you were Miss Junior America, I will cut your face.” It took a while, but the conclusion was these girls were jealous of me and who I was becoming. I did well in school, was well-liked, came from a great home and had things going for myself. In contrast, these girls that often tried their hand with me were terrible in school, disruptive in class, pretty much all came from troubled homes and other unfortunate circumstances.
I was so disgusted with the fighting that I remember telling my parents I wanted to go back to Queens to go to school. I couldn’t imagine going through high school with these girls. The answer was “no”, of course. However, something kind of miraculous happened- I got tough. I hated junior high school for what I went through, but the truth is after 7th grade no one would dare come to fight me. After being antagonized daily, I decided I was not going to be a victim anymore and I fought back.
The end of junior high school was a blast and high school was pretty much smooth-sailing. I had one or two try to test me in 9th grade and they were sorry they tried. Beyond that, I went on to excel academically and no one was happier than me when I graduated and moved on to college.
In hindsight, this was an important time in my life. It was the beginning of a series of tests where people would try to beat me down and instead I would come out swinging. Friends of mine laugh when they hear me speak and find out I have an edge to me. I always tell them this story and say I had to become tough to survive. From my first job until now, I have been tested in a number of ways professionally- only this time the bullies have grown up and they have leadership positions in companies. What has never changed is “me”. I show up unapologetically to do the best job possible. Sometimes it was appreciated by my bosses and often times I was seen as a threat. When the green-eyed bandits entered once again- the 13 year old Janine is activated with a dash of wisdom and I come out swinging.
Being green with envy and/or being jealous is a hell of a thing. It robs you of honing in on the things you excel at. It impedes your progress, because all of your focus is on what others are doing. Jealousy is certainly experienced by both males and females, but I have to say women have the men beat in this regard. From the playground to the corner office, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to advancing the women’s movement. Beating each other down is just one of the ways we undermine our wants and needs for equality. If I see another woman doing something I would like to do, it’s empowering to me. It doesn’t even dawn on me to hate her or wish her bad. Hence why, it has always been a mystery to me why some women dwell in this emotion of jealousy. It’s an ugly and counterproductive way to be.
Here are some other things I have learned about jealousy:
1) You are not the problem. Compromising who you are to make the jealous party feel better is unfair and unnecessary. You deserve to be who you are without repercussions (it took me a long time to figure this one out).
2) The root of jealously is admiration. On some level, the person who despises you sees things in you they wish they could be.
3) If it walks, talks, and sounds like jealously- it is jealously. I never like to jump to conclusions where humans are concerned. I would often see signs and try to talk myself out of the reality that there was a jealousy problem. When I was honest with myself the answer was apparent.
I’m fairly sure there are less egregious ways I could have become the woman I am today. I don’t think anything that has happened in my life so far is without purpose. As such, I choose to remember this time in my life as a time when I rose above the green-eyed bandits and found my strength.
Czarina’s Lesson: We cannot expect to be equal, when we are stepping on each other; rather than uplifting one another.
FTC Disclosure: I participated in Dice’s Hour of Code event on December 9th, 2014. I have been compensated to discuss my experiences and thoughts in relation to this event. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. All views contained in this article are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Representing women in technology and science begins with raising girls to become a part of those fields. ~ Lexi Herrick, Marketer for Global Technology Company
You may not know this, but I am a sucker for science and technology. Before I started down the road of studying behaviors in the workplace and my career in HR, I was biochemistry major with aspirations of becoming a forensic pathologist. As a teen, I took science classes long after it was still required for me to do so. I often went to county finals with my science fair projects and participated in my high school’s Intel program. It is fair to say that I had a natural affinity for science early on in life. However, I am sure that my fascination and curiosity may not have been as robust- if I was not introduced to science and technology at an early age; while also being given the chance to explore my abilities in this area.
I ultimately gave up the hard science for a soft science discipline, but have never lost my scientific edge. Now that I have two little girls and a boy, I will not miss the opportunity to spark that same wonder for science that I possessed at a young age. This is why I was so excited to work with Dice on their Hour of Code event in NYC earlier this week.
Dice in conjunction with Code.org put on an event in support of coding called a #HourofCode. The idea is to get kids to spend at least an hour coding in hopes that it will spark an interest and appreciation for the Computer Science field. With Computer Science slated to inspire some of the most essential jobs of the 21st century, it is clear that we must get kids engaged earlier and on a consistent basis in STEM learning. Code.org has made the learning part easy and fun by creating free coding exercises on their website that not only exhibit beloved characters that kids are already familiar with, but encourages them to code simply.
Did you know?
Only 4.9% of all Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science in 2010 were awarded to women? More importantly, less than 2.4% of college students overall graduate with a degree in Computer Science, and the numbers have dropped since last decade. There will be 1.4 million computing jobs to be filled by 2020 according to Code.org. We have a STEM shortage and crisis on our hands.
Courtesy of Dice.com
It was an amazing experience to be able to learn with and champion my daughter as she progressed through the Frozen™coding exercise. It starts off simple enough to grab their attention but also presents the right amount of challenge as you get to higher level puzzles to allow the child to critically think through creating the proposed scenario. In case you hadn’t heard, a lack of critical thinking is a common complaint from primary school through post-graduation- our kids are being starved of creative and critical thinking so much so-that it is nearly non-existent by the time they are looking for jobs.
In November, Dice reported that job postings seeking candidates with Hadoop experience are up 43%. There are currently 2,192 Hadoop-related job postings on Dice. Further proof that we need to be inspiring next generation STEM Enthusiasts.
It’s clear that we need a bigger push for STEM learning in our schools. However, I’m also a firm believer that you cannot force a child to be what you want them to be. That said, I think it is my job as a parent to provide a varied enough sampling of activities to allow my daughter to find her strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Dice is passionate about inspiring future leaders in STEM which is why they asked me and all of their employees to participate in this event with their children. How smart and cool!
Event Swag Alert: For those of you that have attended other Dice events- you know they usually spare no expense when it comes to their gifts. Guests received a cool, sling backpack full of fun Dice-branded goodies.
I encourage each of you to try an hour of code and share it with the young people in your life. You will be surprised at what you can do. Who knows you may even find a new hobby while you’re at it.
Need some more convincing? Check out the video below from some familiar faces in support of the “Hour of Code.
I was inspired by the TLNT wrap-up written by John Hollon last week discussing the demographics of people participating in flex work and questioning why there is a lack of women teleworking. For more on what he said- read here.
As someone who considers herself fortunate to telework, I can tell you that merely referring to the arrangement as “fortunate” is part of the problem. You see there are many employers that still see this flex work as the ultimate privilege. It is almost as though they should be crowned best employer and have employees kneel before them for bestowing such an honor. They put unnecessary and onerous hurdles in front of employees that are afforded flex work and in turn it becomes a less desirable option.
Women in particular have been made to disclose every nook and cranny of their home arrangements. Some are subjected to presumptuous questioning regarding whether or not they have a nanny to watch their kids during telework time. While other flex work infractions have to do with being exclusive to a certain subsection of employees- leaving those with other non-familial obligations feeling singled out from the possibility of teleworking.
When the strategy becomes this entitled all or nothing process, you have to ask yourself are companies really all-in regarding flex work or are they slapping a policy together to appear as though they are a part of the growing trend?
I like what Cali Yost of CEO of Flex+ Strategy Group said in a recent press release, “Telework is not a perk and it’s certainly not just for moms and Gen Y. Rather, it’s an operational strategy.”
If you have a flex work option for your employees, is it being treated as an operational strategy or is it a wild-card policy that you pull out of your bag-of-tricks to appease employees?
It needs to be an operational strategy. Your employees both men and women are stretched at home and at work; with or without children. If the job lends itself to some flexibility- give it to them. Like most concepts of giving- try to give flexibility without ultimatums and ridiculous demands in return for this alternative.
Here are some rules of engagement if you are serious about offering your employees more flexibility:
1) Focus on results. It is none of your business who watches their kids, if a nanny is present during telework hours, spouse’s work hours etc. As long as you are receiving their work and it is quality, focus on the results; not how they got there.
2) Trust your employees to do the right thing. If you don’t ask your employees to document what they do every minute of the day in the office, why would you do it when they flex work? Trust your employees to do the right thing unless you find out otherwise.
3) Do not offer flex work unless you believe in it as an “operational strategy”. Everyone wins when trust and flexibility are given. The second you start to micromanage or make your flex work policy an elitist offering it will do more harm than good for the company and your brand.
According to a recent infographic by Flex+Strategy Group, 31% of workers are working from home, a business center or another location. Employers can expect decreased absenteeism and tardiness, less employee burnout, increased employee productivity as a result of offering flex work.
So I ask employers that are still hesitant about flex work- what are you really losing?
Need some innovative ideas on flex work strategies- contact us.