work-life balance

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The debate about work-life balance rages on, even for women in the highest levels of the workplace as seen this this week’s NYT piece “Elite Women Put a New Spin on an Old Debate”. Many of us have been there, done that, and, like the women in this article, we’ve had the experience to look back and give a perspective that goes beyond the theoretical. We’re all different, so there is no “answer” to this issue– but we’d like to hear your perspective. Care to share any real-life examples of how your handled it? Any advice that rings true for you or advice that makes you shake your head?

has Apple lost its spiritual leader?

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It feels like Apple is missing its spiritual leader… I just had a really un-Apple like experience two days in a row…condescending, uninterested sales associates. Would be really sad if they can’t keep the spirit alive without Steve Jobs.

I spent a good part of last Tuesday and Wednesday having a very unsatisfying experience at my local Apple store in New York. I encountered disinterested, condescending “sales associates”, I arrived committed to buy a new computer and looking forward to dealing with an informed and engaged employee, one respectful of the fact that I was making a major purchase.  What I found was an impatient employee who after literally spending 4 minutes with me, wanted to know if “I wanted it or not”. I had a hunch this wasn’t going to get any better so I left and went to a different Apple store where I had a better experience and bought a new AirBook, with all the trimmings.  I even bought the $99.00 lesson package….being a glutton for punishment, but heck, I wanted the convenience of going to a store in my neighborhood, I signed up for a class for the next morning at the original store…again, the employee “instructor” didn’t come through. She arrived 8 minutes late for a 1/2 hour lesson and started wrapping it up after 20 minutes, I reminded her we had started late. I didn’t feel she cared if I learned anything or not and she spoke to me in the tone you might use with a child, well, actually I wouldn’t speak to a child like that, I wouldn’t want to offend them…way too condescending.

This is the first time I have experienced an attitude at Apple, which I have always given high marks for customer service…and it took me by surprise. I wonder if the new management is sending a different signal to its employees or has the quality of employees slipped? Reading how little they make in the NYTimes yesterday might confirm that.. Do you think it was because I’m an “older” women?  If so, they need to take note that research confirms on average we have a lot of expendable income and spend mucho dinero and time on computers, iPads, iPhones, Kindles…the list goes on.

What do you think?

top 5 industries for the over-45 set

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According to Encore.org there are 5 Industries currently hiring people over 45. Research indicates that these industries will likely be hiring millions more in the years to come:

1. Education

2. Health Care

3. Environmental jobs

4. Government

5. Non-profit Organizations

How can you get started in a new field? See the tips from Encore.org here: http://www.encore.org/work/get_started_guide

Looking for a job in these industries? How is it going?

a time machine for your closet

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The founders of Shabby Apple would consider it a compliment to hear the joke “The 50’s called, they want their dress back!”. The retail site was born out of the need for timeless outfits not readily found in the marketplace. The Shabby Apple “About Us” page proclaims:  A return to what dresses were always meant to be—a one piece outfit. No need to add anything…no tank tops, no cardigans, nothing. 

What do you think about this direction in fashion?

http://www.shabbyapple.com

am i raising a mean girl?

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I’m Tynicka. Ask any mother of of a grade school girl and she’ll tell you straight up: these young ladies are getting meaner at a younger age. We’re talking, gang-up-on-a-girl-that’s-wearing-fake-Uggs-at-the-age-of-5 mean. I remember talking with a group of moms at a Kindergarten function about how cut throat things were getting amongst a group of girls. I remember smirking inwardly when the mother of the meanest girl vehemently agreed that things were getting out of hand, and then it hit me. There are five of us talking. None of us thinks our daughter is the mean one. That means at least one of us is wrong. Is it me?

My daughter was 5 at the time. She loved Caillou, the color pink, sippy cups and talking ad naseum about babies. Her tiny legs were still a little bowed and she looked more like a smurf than a human being. She’s the one telling me that these girls threaten to kick her out of their club, that she can’t be their friend if she doesn’t play pretend shop with them. The teachers have never had any complaints about her behavior. No moms have ever approached me. Clearly, my daughter is the nice one. Right? To be honest, I’ll never know for sure.

But what I do know is when I really thought about it, my reaction to her complaints about the other girls in school had been wholly inappropriate. Oh, who am I kidding, I was more than inappropriate. I was mean.

My daughter is really smart, naturally beautiful and unnaturally confident for her age. So when she would come home and rattle off all of the girlie infractions for the day, I would categorically point out that the aggressors were not as bright, or wise or cute as she was. So duh — that would explain their behavior! I’m smacking my forehead just thinking about the things I probably said to try and make her feel better:

“Her mom said WHAT about wearing Crocs in the winter? You have seen her mother right?”

“Oh please, the next time she says she’s not your friend, then grant her the wish. Just pretend that you no longer see her. That she doesn’t even exist. Do it for the whole day until she apologizes!”

“She still can’t read The Cat in the Hat so she snatches it from you every time you read it? Well, next time tell her to S-C-A-T and wait for her to catch on”

In trying to protect my baby from these attacks, I almost created a monster. The correct response from me should have been “Tell her not to speak to you that way. And if that doesn’t work, tell the teacher. And if that doesn’t work, tell me. I’ll handle it with the parents.” So now, I am careful to give age appropriate advice and have learned to play devil’s advocate, and ask pointed questions to gather all the facts before weighing in.

Me: “What exactly happened before she snatched the book and called you a dodo head?”

Light of my life: “I told her that reading wasn’t her strength and if we wanted to have time to read before snack, that I should read the book to her”

Me: “Ok, then you kinda had that one coming honey.”

Is your daughter dealing with mean girls? Tell us.

losing it

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I’m Liz. Former corporate marketing executive, now a marketing consultant. In the midst of downsizing from the suburban house where we raised our son to a city apartment;  husband of 21 years; college grad son who lives half way at home; and wheaten terrier, Waffles. I find myself rethinking and re-organizing my life, because in recent years, so much has changed: my mother died, my only child graduated and moved across the country (sort of—his room at home remains, just in case), and I had cancer. These sorts of life-changing events tend to happen after five or six decades out there on the firing line.  They tend to make you stop and think: what am I doing with all this stuff?

Does letting go of things mean letting go of memories, of love? Rationally, I know this is not true. But, as you will see, I am capable of finding an emotional connection to almost anything, including but not limited to a piece of cheese.  So, because I know I have miniscule will power, I will not try to get rid of everything at once.  I will get rid of one thing at a time, one day at a time. The worse that can happen is that in a year, I will be 365 things lighter.

I plan to start tomorrow.  You?

a ring, a stone and the truth

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Somewhere in every woman’s well-lived life is a touchstone.  The trinket or thing that’s close to her heart that, by holding or touching, brings her back to that place where she feels grounded and valued.  It might be a ring given to her by a loved one.  Or just a stone found on the beach. A feather, a teacup, a coin, a letter. Whatever it is, for her, it stands for the truth.

 A Ring, a Stone & the Truth is a virtual touchstone for women.  If you’ve lived life well, you may have a number of these to share. This is a place for women not “of a certain age,” but of a certain mindset.  We’ve earned our stripes in life and in work, in parenting, partnership, alone or together, and sometimes a little of each. We’ve spent our 1.0 years being someone’s daughter, our 2.0 years being someone’s something, and now this is our time–  our 3.0 period.  We’re the master as well as the mistress; we’re the parent in surround sound— sandwiched between our kids and our aging parents; the role-players who became the role-models.  We’re confident and in control.  But we’re women in motion.  Changing, morphing, evolving.  From daughter to grandparent, from mom to manager, from guardian to graduate, from beloved to bombshell.  We are not a fixed point, except for one thing:  we seek not the end, but the way forward.

Who’s in?