Fair and Equal

These days, in many marriages men are becoming more “woke” to imbalanced invisible labor and the importance of realigning responsibilities, especially when both partners are working parents. A new Gallup study shows that even though men agree with the idea of gender equity in the home, the reality is that roles often fall according to gendered lines with women taking on most of the tasks around childcare and managing the household. However, and here is the rub, the same study shows that a majority of men think they are doing an equal share. That’s what Fair Play is all about– it’s a system for families to look clearly at the tasks that go into maintaining their family and deciding who and how they get done. It’s not always going to wind up being equal, but it should be transparent and honest and up for negotiation. 

 

Eve Rodsky, the creator of Fair Play, offered to coach two lucky Second Shift members as they reorganize their family responsibilities using the Fair Play system. Marlo and Pia (names are changed to protect their privacy) generously offered to let us follow their journey. Here are their initial thoughts as they start Eve’s process. 

 

Marlo:

 

How long have you been married?

11 years

How many kids and ages?

3 kids (ages 6, 9 & 11)

Where do you live?

Miami Beach

What inspired you to apply for a Fair Play bootcamp?

I read the book and loved it.  It resonated with me more than any other book I’ve read regarding the challenges I face trying to balance work and home responsibilities.

What makes you excited to work with Eve?

I am hoping that she can help me get my husband on board with implementing the program.  He is more hands-on and helpful around the house than many other husbands/dads I know, but I think he is afraid that the program is an attack on him and criticism of him not doing enough when he feels he does a lot.  I am excited to work with Eve so she can help me reframe the goal of the program and get him on board.

What is the ultimate goal and what does success look like?

My goals are to reduce the amount of home-related things that I’ve become solely responsible for and create clearer expectations with my husband as to who is responsible for what.

Was your partner/spouse on board? Has he/she read Fair Play?

He has not read fair play and has resisted reading it.  He claims to be on board with the book and with working with Eve, but I think he’s a bit afraid that it’s going to be an attack on him.

 

Pia

How long have you been married?

6 years in April 

How many kids and ages?

3 kids (12, 10, 2)

Where do you live?

NYC

What inspired you to apply for a Fair Play bootcamp?

The desire to have a stronger partnership 

What makes you excited to work with Eve?

She has amazing experience and insight on this topic

What is the ultimate goal and what does success look like?

More balanced approach and feeling like we can prioritize each other’s priorities as if they were our own

Was your partner/spouse on board? Have he/she read Fair Play?

My partner is on board. Neither of us has read FairPlay. 

 

Women on Fire! Join us March 9th.

In honor of International Women’s Day we hope you will join us for a special performance  of Women on Fire: Storie’s from the Frontlines:

 

 

This group of true stories was collected by writer and artistic director Chris Henry as she explores the “State of the United States” from different cultural, socio-economic, and diverse perspectives. The all-female cast will be complemented with a modern dance element choreographed by Lorna Ventura with original music by Lars Jacobsen.

 

 

The Second Shift team has a block of tickets set aside for our members, friends and allies. Please join us and stay after the show to hear Chris Henry and some of the performers talk about the making of the show.

  • Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines
    written by Chris Henry and As Told by a Group of Anonymous Women
    choreographed by Lorna Ventura.
  • The Royal Family Performing Arts Space
    145 West 46th Street, 3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10036

Comeback Careers with Ginny Brzezinski

Ginny Brzesinski and her sister-in-law Mika (you may have heard of her) have a new book out about making a career comeback in your 40s, 50s and beyond. It’s filled with valuable insights and advice from experts (including our co-founder Jenny Galluzzo) as well as a roadmap to pivot or relaunch a career. We had the chance to ask Ginny about her personal experience and inspiration for writing Career Comeback.

 

Tell us about your own personal journey and how that inspired you and Mika to write this book? 

I spent 12 years on Capitol Hill as a press secretary — a job I loved.  When my boss, Senator Bill Roth of Delaware, lost his re-election bid, I was 7 months pregnant with my second child and my oldest was barely one.  I took that election loss as my own personal off-ramp and embraced being an at home mom for seven years. When the kids were school aged, I got my real estate license and set up a business in residential real estate sales, a career that gave me flexibility and did not require a commute.

 

Fast forward ten years…as my kids were getting ready to fly the nest, it occurred to me that it was time for me to fly the nest as well — to seize the opportunity to do something meaningful and challenging, something I could love for the next 20 years.  I saw my kids transitioning into super exciting things, and I thought, why not me? But I had no idea how to do that – who changes careers or starts something new in their fifties? I did not know what that would look like or how I would get there…or if I was crazy since I was…gasp…over 50!  It was the perfect midlife storm.

 

So one morning as I was sitting there, contemplating how to make my next move and watching Mika on Morning Joe talking about her Know Your Value movement, it occurred to me that Know Your Value could help women like me who did not lean in or who had hopscotched their work life around kids.  I also felt that Know Your Value was not talking to women in Mika’s and my own age group. We “mature” women (seriously, we need to come up with new, more flattering verbiage here) have different wants and needs and challenges than Millennials. I thought that Know Your Value could help. So I texted Mika (it may or may not have been an all caps text…) and said KYV needs to help women like me, stat!  We have value too! And Mika texted back (while live on air, no less): Let’s do something together – join the team and we’ll write a book.

 

At the time, I didn’t think she literally meant a book.  I mean, who just says, let’s write a book? But I said yes, and here we are.

 

In researching this book, what was the most surprising you discovered?

I was surprised at how many women (like me!) had insecurities about their age and career zig zags.  To me, they appeared totally together, intelligent, amazing, experienced and strong. For so many, their confidence in the career area was crushed.  That’s why we came up with the #strongerwiserbetter hashtag. We all need a little reminder of how awesome we are, and how much value we have.

 

What do you think are the most important attributes that predict success in a career comeback?

The women I talked to who had successfully returned, transitioned, or started something new had been resilient, unafraid of failing, willing to learn new things, intellectually curious and they didn’t give up.  If they were returning after a career break, they had also been realistic about starting over and willing to play the long game – they realized that their first job back might be a lower level or for less pay, but that they would prove themselves and rise.

 

What is the goal of this platform and what do you hope to teach women about how to think about their career paths?

We wanted to know: how do you reboot, relaunch, return to, or reinvent a career at age 50?  Or 40? Or 60? And how can you create a career and life that provides purpose and financial security at age 50 and beyond?  With this book, we created a road map to find that comeback career, from revving up your networks to rebooting your resume and aligning your digital footprint with your goals — all through the 50+ lens. But as importantly, we help with the inner journey – rewiring your mindset, calling BS on ageism and building confidence.

 

Women often psych themselves out before they even get started—what do you advise women who lack confidence or think they cannot have a new career in their 40s and 50s?

We learned so much about the fears and deeply personal feelings women have when they are looking to make a comeback after midlife.  We put up barriers and find reasons why we can’t do things. Just get started – make it a priority.

 

A few mini tips from our book —

 

Build confidence through knowledge and expertise.   Make sure your skills and knowledge are relevant – relevancy trumps age every time!  Check out the LinkedIn profiles of people who are in jobs similar to ones you might be interested in.  Compare their resume to yours and see where you might need to brush up or fill in skills. Take a volunteer or pro bono project to freshen your resume.  Keep up with your industry, so when you are ready to go back you are conversant and knowledgeable in interviews.

 

Own your story.  Don’t apologize or be embarrassed about a career break or your age!

 

Rev up your network — 85% of jobs are found through connections – start having strategic conversations with people and let them know you are interested in returning or transitioning to a new field.  People want to be helpful – they may not have a job for you, but they may be able to connect you with someone in the field.

 

There is so much fear in this process!  But don’t fear failure — fear never trying!

 

Most of all, call BS on ageism, starting with the ageist narrative in your own head.  Turn your age into an advantage! Remember, with your age not only comes wisdom, maturity and experience, but you are more available – no more maternity leaves (!), no more carpools (or fewer), so much less drama.  You can put 120% into something, and that is a huge selling point.

Featured Member: Ife Obi

 

 

Ife Obi is an optimist, over-achiever, and a realist. She is our Featured Member because she understands that to #makeworkworkforyou,  it’s important to take risks, make bold changes when it isn’t working for you and trust in your own resilience.  

 

Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do?

I’ve spent over 15 years in marketing entertainment, consumer products, and services. Always striving for more, I ventured out on my own and started to focus on marketing consulting while opening my own small chain of fitness studios in Brooklyn, NY.

 

What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?

My hardest challenge work-wise was to leave a situation that wasn’t healthy for me and to enter a world of the unknown. I spent a long time in a situation where the environment was toxic but the pay and perks were great. Deciding to leave and take a chance on what’s next, or to stay, make great pay but to give up on my mental well-being was a hard choice to make. But ultimately, in my opinion, it was no longer a choice.

 

What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side?

We thrive in environments that excite us. If a job or a career is not serving us any more, it’s time to change. If not, we just grow resentful and it eats away at so many parts of our lives. It’s important to remember that we are extremely resilient. All the work that we put into what we do is not exclusive to one company, or one department, or even one field. We are problem solvers and hard workers. When we make the change, there may be some hurdles but ultimately, we’ll figure it out and get to where we want to be. And with that you’ll find much more happiness and fulfillment.

 

What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?

I believe marketing is all about solving a problem which is what excites me. How do we get this to be viral? How do we drive more revenue? How do we increase users? It always requires new ways of thinking or new techniques or you will end up falling behind. Marketing is the biggest part of the success of any business, and as a business owner myself, it’s important for me to stay in the know, applying those learnings to my own business.

 

 

How do negotiate the balance between life and work when you are the one setting the boundaries?

 

I still struggle in finding the balance as I’m a workaholic, but I have gotten over the idea that I need to prove myself to anyone. If I’m hired to do a job, then they are confident in me getting the job done. So with that I can work remotely, I can leave the office at 5, I can stay home when I’m sick, I can have my life outside of work…and have no guilt.

 

 

How do you make work work for you? 

I can’t work just to earn. I have to enjoy what I’m doing, learn from what I’m doing, and it has to come with balance and fulfillment. I make sure whatever I do checks all those boxes.

We want YOU to be a Featured Member!

Sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/featuredmemberquestionnaire

The Juggle: Nell Diamond

The Juggler: Nell Diamond, Founder and CEO of Hill House Home, a New York based direct-to-consumer home and lifestyle business.

 

ON MORNINGS: My morning always changes depending on what time I set my alarm. Henry usually wakes up somewhere in the 7 o’clock hour, which is great. When he was a newborn, he woke up at the 5 o’clock hour, and that was not great. There’s a huge difference between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock hour. Our nanny comes around eight thirty, so usually, either Teddy or I will work out in the morning, or we’ll all have breakfast together as a family. Henry really likes to make his own smoothie in the morning, with our supervision. Then, at eight thirty, usually depending on whether Henry has a long way to get dressed or not, I will walk to work through Washington Square Park which is my favorite part of the day. It’s so nice.

 

ON SYSTEMS: I love calendar invites. I think it’s the way to do things. Teddy and I definitely send each other a ton of calendar invites for things we’re doing, including when we’ll be gone for work. Like, lately, Teddy has to be in D.C. a lot for work, so I’ll get a calendar request that I can see on my calendar, reminding me that he’s gone before it actually happens. Other than that, I definitely look at my calendar every night, so that in the morning I’m not surprised by anything. I don’t have to wake up and remember that I have something big that day.

 

I really like the Gmail snooze feature, too. I’ve been using it a lot. So, I use my inbox basically as a to-do list. If it’s in my inbox that means I have to do it. And I hate at the end of the day when I have all of these things left in there that I can’t actually take action on. So if there’s an email that I need to have an internal meeting before I respond to, I’ll snooze it until the day of that meeting, so that I will get to it then, but I don’t have to take up my mental space thinking about it now when there’s nothing I can do about it. Because there are a ton of emails all the time that I can’t act on right away without doing other things, so that’s been really big for me is to snooze emails because I still get through the ones that I get through.

 

And then I really try to always respond to emails that I can respond to in less than a minute. So if the response takes less than a minute, just do it right now.

 

ON BACKUP PLANS: I have a really amazing built-in backup plan: my parents live here. So, there’s definitely been quite a few occasions where I’ve totally misscheduled something and forgotten that both Teddy and I will be at a late meeting until seven thirty or something, and my mom has definitely stepped in. I’ve gotten better at that. I try to look in advance a little bit and know when something is going to be out of the ordinary—that’s where it helps to have a real routine so that I’m not always being surprised and having to recalibrate all the time.

 

ON COUNTING STEPS: I walk home from work which is a really nice wind down time. I track my steps kind of obsessively. So, I use my Fitbit. I try to get 10k a day, which Teddy laughs at because he’s a crazy marathoner so if he goes outside, he gets ten thousand, whereas for me, it’s a journey. I have to be on an epic odyssey to get ten thousand, but I do it. I do it every day.

 

ON ME TIME: At night, I really love to read. I love fiction, so I try to read a little bit, even if it’s just five pages. During the week, I find it really hard to be social and then spend a whole day at work the next day, so we try to keep weekday social or work events to a minimum because it’s just hard to recalibrate the next morning.

 

ON DREAD: I dread being late for work and having to take a cab. I hate it, it starts my whole day off wrong. I hate the feeling of being late, in general.

 

ON A FIVE-YEAR PLAN: As a business, what we’re really hoping is to re-define modern womanhood. And to kind of allow women to consider things like, what color pink piping goes best with the monogram on my bed at the same time as they’re considering what valuation they should give their business, and how much equity they should give away. And we don’t believe that those two things are mutually exclusive and we do believe that this kind of group of women that have become our customers contain multitudes. We want to allow them the space to be all of those things at once, and never the same thing twice. We’re really proud of the community that we’re building, and we’re also proud of how our products speak for themselves, and allow women to speak for themselves at the same time.

 

 

Pitch Perfect: The Not So Perfect Pitch

For Pitch Perfect this month, we are comparing two pitches for the same job and one of them is an example of what NOT to do. 

 

Example of pitch that needs improvement: 

While my extensive marketing background in luxury e-commerce may suit well, my experience is more strategic than daily tactical so my skills overlap your requirements and your nice-to-have with gaps. I’m the right person to help you build out your growth plan, develop strategy and KPIs, write content, find vendors and tools, and identify growth areas for lead gen and sales. I’m not the one to manage the shopify store, place ads, or design graphics. I realize that I’m not an ideal fit to your posting but Second Shift identified our match so I thought I should respond in the event you don’t find the right fit as soon as you hoped.

 

Our feedback: 

  • Stay Positive- When applying for a job, don’t say that you are NOT an ideal fit and that there is likely someone better out there for the role.
  • Tell a Story- Don’t call out the gaps in your experience and that you don’t have ALL the skills they are asking for.
  • Be a Team Player- Sell yourself with your can-do attitude and excitement for new opportunities to learn skills and gain experience. 

 

Example of a good pitch for the same job: 

I am XXX and I am currently the co-founder of an e-commerce site. As we wind down our operations, I am seeking my next role in the design and e-commerce space with a company whose aesthetic inspires me. I hold and MBA as well as over 7 years experience managing e-commerce businesses, but my most recent role is most parallel to this one at XXX.

 

Over the past four years, I built and managed a Shopify website – with a limited budget. As the lead of e-commerce, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the platform, as well as some coding and software integrations that streamlined business. In addition to managing our site (products, collections, homepage, merchandising, etc.) and keeping it fresh, I’ve lead content and marketing initiatives across all other platforms, including social media and email. For these I wear every hat – from photographer to budgeter and planner.

 

A self-starter with various applicable skills, I’d love to discuss this more with you.

 

E-Commerce Manager Job Description and Responsibilities-

The role requires the ability to strategize and execute programs to achieve goals. This includes taking initiative, working with existing retail team, and executing programs from start to finish. In this job you will need the ability to multi-task and manage internal and external resources to successfully bring projects to life. The best team member should have strong visual and communication skills and understand how to prioritize projects. This person must also be a self-starter who has the ability to work well independently and in a team setting (ok if remote)

Managing Products in Shopify

  • Add new products and manage existing products
  • Uploading Pictures
  • Product Description & Dimensions
  • Shopify Tag Management

Merchandising Products and Updating Collections on Shopify

  • Updating Homepage
  • Curated Themes – Product or Inspirational Imagery
  • Test ideas to increase conversions
  • Merchandising/Curation Calendar

Customer Engagement via Social & Email

  • Manage Social Media Accounts
  • Plan daily/weekly campaigns
  • Email Marketing Outreach

 

 

 

Tell Us Your Story!

Featured Member: Cayce Cage

Cayce Cage has built a career around seeing, cultivating, and celebrating other people’s talent, which is why it’s especially nice to be able to celebrate her unique talents as this month’s Featured Member. We love her commitment to others as much as we love her commitment to herself. She is a beacon of respect, support, and enthusiasm in the workplace, which are qualities we value and that lift up everything and everyone.

 

Tell us your work story : Who are you and what do you do?

I am a consultant who specializes in brand building through staffing placement, content creation, training and sales strategies.
 
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
A 30 year corporate career helping lead and develop people to their potential that became a spring board for me to start my own business.
 
What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?
My hardest challenge was starting a new job, only to find the culture was not the right fit for me.
What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but who are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side? 
First, you have to decide what really matters most to you and make that a priority. Once you let go of what you are ‘supposed’ to do or be, it’s very liberating. Then decide what you love doing for work, your passion. Then decide how little money you can live on while you make the transition and find a way to ensure that you have that money for one year while you build your own business. Then hustle, hustle, hustle!
Happiness is not connected to financial income.
 
Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?
Be yourself and speak your truth. Don’t write what you think they want to hear. Promote your skills and offerings. Have confidence in yourself. You can do this!
 
What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?
Staffing is where my passion is really based. Helping people find people and helping people grow. I hope to continue to work as a consultant part to full time on a regular basis forever. Maybe write a book…
 
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? 
Trust your instincts
 
How do you negotiate the balance between life and work when you’re the one setting the boundaries? 
I make the decisions of balance based on my projects and not taking on too much work that would create an imbalance. Learn when to say ‘no’.
 
If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her?
It just keeps getting better!
 
How do you make work work for you?
I have created a business that I can do remotely from anywhere. That’s most important to me.

The Juggle: Lisa Gersh

 

 

THE JUGGLER: Lisa Gersh

HER JOB: Member of the Board Hasbro, Establishment Labs, Popsugar and The Second Shift

MARRIED FOR: 13

NUMBER OF KIDS: Two daughters age 22 and 28.  

 

ON LIFE STAGES: So much depends on your stage of life. Right? There’s one stage where your kids are little, and they’re in school, and you’re working, and going back-and-forth, and trying to figure it all out. That stage is pretty defined. I think it’s more defined than other stages where, you are really busy and you don’t have kids in your life and you’re trying to figure out how to organize with your spouse, and your job, and his job. Maybe it’s just the grass is greener on the other side. But when you look back and say, How did I get through that period of time when I had little kids and a job? I think you get through it by going to work, and coming home, and being with your kids. And that’s pretty much what I always did.

 

ON PUSHBACK: I got the most pushback from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t necessarily committed to going back to work right away. After I had her, I really wanted to be home. I think I made that clear to her, and I ended up getting more pushback. But, when my second child was born, work was not a question, it was just something that was part of her life. She was born in February, and I went back quickly, and then took time over the summer to be with her.

 

But I did get pushback from her about why. So I think it’s important to talk to your children about what you do. You want them to know that you love what you do, because if you don’t love what you do, why are you leaving them every day? 

 

ON THE DAYS BEFORE SMART PHONES AND AMAZON: I remember with Maddie, I got asked to be the first grade mom; this was a real challenge because there was no internet, no email. I’m the first grade mom; how am I communicating with all these mothers with no email? I would literally write a memo, have it printed, and send it to school for them to give them out. It’s crazy to think about it, but there was no easy way to communicate with the group. So, obviously, that part was a lot harder.

 

I also think about the fact that, when I was a lawyer in the beginning, you couldn’t go home and work on a document because that’s not how it worked. There was a word processing center at the law firm and you stayed until the document was done. That said, today it’s really hard for working moms to disconnect; they think they’re disconnected and they think their kids don’t know, but their kids know.

 

One time, I was at one of Samantha’s soccer games—I drove all the way to Staten Island from New York City to go watch her play—and I said, Oh wow, Sammy, that was a great game. And she said, How would you know? You were on your phone the whole time. You don’t even think they’re watching you, but they’re watching you every minute. She’s in the middle of a soccer game and she knows I’m not watching.

 

ON SUPPORT SYSTEMS: My mother was quite available when my children were younger. She lives in New York City and would come over a lot and put the kids to bed if I was stuck in the word processing center. I had a babysitter, too, who, if I was stuck, would stay late. My children’s dad was more traditional and thought it was my job and that he didn’t really have to make any commitments. On the other hand, when he was around, he was fantastic. So there was a healthy balance of parents. But I think you have to rely on your family a lot. When people who have kids tell me they are moving away from their parents, I’m like, don’t do it. You’re going to want them.

 

ON THE SANCTITY OF TIME: You really have to prioritize because things just get away from you otherwise. So, I always hate doing anything on Sunday nights; I like to take Sunday nights and make sure my week is completely organized, and that everything I’m spending time on is something that’s important to me and that’s going to make a difference.

 

The biggest luxury today is time. And I hate wasting it. I’m trying really hard to not be a slave to email. And what I mean by that is not letting someone else control your life by shooting you email. Because if you’re a compulsive-type, like I am, and feel the need to empty your email box all the time, then you can spend your life doing that, and not doing the things that are really going to make a difference.

 

The other thing that’s important to me at the beginning of the week is to make sure my workouts are organized so I know which days I’m doing what. That’s on the top of my list because I need to work out in the morning and if I don’t organize that like a week in advance then that doesn’t happen. 

 

ON BEING SUPERMOM: It took me a while to figure out that there were going to be situations where I wasn’t going to be supermom, and I had to try to give myself a break about it. It’s just a moment in time, and then it’s the next moment. If you prioritize and you enjoy being with your children, you’re going to find that time again. It’s not about, did I do it every single day; it’s cumulative: Was I able to be there for my children? It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s a life. 

 

Read about how Lisa combats the “Sunday scaries” as part of our Juggle partnership with PureWow!

 

The Second Shift and Microsoft take on the “gig economy!”

 

Microsoft was one of the first employee partners we had at The Second Shift, hiring one of our members even before we had the site up and running. And in the years that we have been working together, the “gig economy” team has gone from a few visionaries to an entire cross functional team dedicated to leaning into the freelance economy.

 

When this team asked our co-founder Gina to speak at their Future to Work conference earlier this month she used it as an opportunity to introduce more than 400 employees and partners to The Second Shift and our incredible members. To balance out a day filled with research presentations and panel discussions on productivity, Gina told the story of Marie Thomasson, who found a way to balance her career and life as a single mom of twins with the remote work she did for Microsoft over almost two years. Using this real life example, the audience was given insight into why our members work this way and how valuable they can be to full-time employees.  

 

We are thrilled to be a part of the company wide program that will be rolled out at Microsoft and hope to bring you lots and lots of opportunities!