Friday, October 1, 2010

Can you be happy at work and at home?

Like many working moms, public relations and marketing professional Caitlin Friedman is seeking to simplify. "I want to keep working, but I need more flexibility!" she says. She and her business partner, Kimberly Yorio, run TC Media in New York City and are the coauthors of the "Girl's Guide" series of books. Their latest, Happy at Work, Happy at Home: The Girl's Guide to Being a Working Mom, offers hints and advice for making the most of your work-life juggle.

"I have a boy and a girl, who just entered Kindergarten this fall," she said during an email interview (you can read the entire Q&A here). "Which is one of the reasons I need to simplify my life a little and start working from home. It's been hard to do everything, as I am sure all of your readers can relate!" Here's her advice on ways to be happy at work and happy at home, and what inspired her to write about it.

You and Kimberly Yorio have written three other books together: The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business, The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss without Being a Bitch, and The Girl's Guide to Kicking Your Career into Gear. What inspired you to write Happy at Work, Happy at Home: The Girl's Guide to Being a Working Mom?

The ideas for each of the books came out of our personal experiences, and after we turned in book three we realized that while writing a series of books and running our PR business we were also raising our kids! I have 5-year-old twins and while I love them more than anything, I don't want to stop working to be a stay-at-home mom. I admire people who make this choice, because being a full-time parent is hard. So we wanted this book to help women who love being parents and who love being career women.

Why call your readers "girls" instead of "women"?

We love the word girls, we think its a bit lighter and more fun than women. We had a Madonna moment writing the first book where we decided we wanted to reclaim the word "girl" and apply it to fun, focused, passionate, ambitious girls.

According to recent research, working mothers earn less than non mothers (and working dads, especially ones with stay-at-home wives, make more than anyone else). Do you think that men are as concerned about juggling career and parenthood, or is this more of a female phenomenon? How can women close this newest gender earnings gap?

If I had the answer to that, I would run for office! I would say that women need to sell themselves a big harder in the workplace. Be vocal, share successes, don't be afraid to take on big, high profile projects. And don't apologize for having a personal life. For too long we have felt guilty about having personal responsibilities -- it impacts us asking for raises, projects, and other plumb gigs. Support the women you work with.

Is there any overlap between the skills you need to nurture in order to be happy at work and the ones you need in order to be happy at home?

Delegating is a big one. You can't possibly do everything. Just because you do it better doesn't mean it should stay on your list!

Don't mircromanage. If someone is helping you or taking work off your plate, let them.

Be realistic about how much you can accomplish on any given day.

Take a little time for youself. You can't give everything away otherwise you will be depleated and then crabby!

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