As schools across the nation close, and the majority of businesses mandate remote work, working parents are now faced with the ultimate challenge - how to balance their families and jobs under one roof while COVID-19 still remains a concern.
PowerToFly is bringing thought-leading professionals (and working moms!) to speak about balancing our new realities and how to best optimize your time at home. In this panel, we'll discuss maneuvering the difficulties of working from home from taking conference calls to juggle homeschooling/ childcare.
Don't feel the pressure, your children, partner and pets are welcome to join this virtual chat!
Join us for this live Q&A to learn new tips, strategies, and hear personal anecdotes from our panelists that have shaped these women into the incredible founders and mothers they are today. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during our free, virtual conversation and have the chance to snag a giveaway sponsored by PowerToFly and our panelists!
Meet the Panelists:
Christine Michel Carter, Creator of Mompreneur and Me
Featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Christine Michel Carter is the #1 global voice for working moms. Christine clarifies misconceptions about working mom consumers for brands and serves as an amplifier of their personal truths.
Mary Beth Ferrante, Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360
Mary Beth Ferrante is a mom of two and advocate for creating inclusive workplaces for parents. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360, a career development platform designed for working parents and managers to help companies support, retain and recruit working parents. In addition, she is a senior contributor for Forbes and her work has been featured in Today, Thrive Global, Working Mother, FairyGodBoss, ScaryMommy, and other leading publishers.
Amy Henderson, Founding CEO of TendLab
Amy Henderson is the founding CEO of TendLab, a consultancy addressing the challenges and opportunities parenthood brings into the workplace. TendLab's research-based approach reveals how parenthood can unlock career-critical skills--such as resiliency, courage, and the ability to collaborate--skills which are especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Be Thoughtful and Respectful with Office Costumes
I've always loved Halloween. As a kid, I was that girl who went all out, planning my costume months in advance—some years I even wore a different outfit each day for "Hallo-week."
As an adult, I still love Halloween, but there's no doubt that it's become an increasingly complex holiday. While I highly doubt that anyone intends to offend others when they pick their costume, it happens all the time. And not every Halloween costume faux pas is cut and dry.
Similar to microaggressions, most Halloween costumes gone wrong are the result of ignorance on behalf of the perpetrator. I'm speaking from experience here — it was brought to my attention recently that one of my costumes from years past could be seen as reinforcing unfair cultural stereotypes, and it was a truly eye-opening experience for me.
Never in a million years did I intend to offend anyone with my costume, and to think that no one mentioned this to me when I wore it is all the more mortifying. Although this was a few years ago now, I've always considered myself to be pretty attuned to issues relating to D&I — after all, it's what I do for a living now… so how did I miss the mark on this one?
I've come to realize that I was so focused on crafting a witty costume that I didn't spend enough time considering how others might perceive it. Just because you haven't meant to offend someone doesn't mean their feelings aren't valid.
So in order to help other well-meaning folks avoid similar pitfalls, I've taken what I learned from this experience (and a bit of online research) to share some tips for ensuring you're making a smart and respectful costume choice!
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you settle on a costume, as well as some things to avoid so you don't inadvertently offend your coworkers. After all, dressing up as someone or something else is not an excuse to disguise racism/sexism/discrimination with, "But it's just a costume!"
When you choose a costume (especially if it's a costume to wear to work), ask yourself the following:
- Am I reinforcing cultural/racial/gender stereotypes or making fun of a group of people?
- Will my costume prevent me or those around me from functioning safely and efficiently during the day?
If you've answered yes to either of those questions, you should probably choose another look. And when in doubt, ask someone from a different background what they think — they may help you see things from a different perspective.
If you're putting together a last-minute costume to celebrate tomorrow, be sure to steer clear of these Halloween costume mistakes. And try one of my 10 suggestions below for looking fabulous at the office this Halloween!
Things NOT to do:
- Dress like your favorite politician
- You're going to work to work, not to get into a heated debate with your coworker about their Trump costume. There are LOADS of "punny" politics-related costumes that won't offend/alienate coworkers who don't share your beliefs, including Rosie The Riveter, the Declaration of Independence, or even Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.
- Forget cultural significance
- Certain costumes have been popular for years (dressing like a Native American, gypsy, Geisha, etc.) — but just because you've seen them done doesn't mean they're a good idea to keep doing. As we grow as a society, so does our understanding of what may be offensive to others, and why would you want your costume to hurt someone else? There may not be mal-intent behind these costumes, but no one wants to see their own culture hyperbolized into someone else's costume.
- Disregard the office dress code
- The office Halloween party is not the place to break out your sexiest costume or break health code violations. Check-in with whoever is planning your office festivities prior to the event and see what the dress code is for the occasion. Some companies may not allow full masks, face paint, or costumes at all, so it's important to make sure you're in compliance. If your company doesn't allow costumes per se, head over to your local Walmart or Target and pick up a cute headband, earrings, or holiday tee-shirt.
If you're still wondering what all might be considered offensive, you can check out other online resources to better understand Halloween costumes that have missed the mark in the past so you can avoid those same mistakes.
Ultimately, if you think your costume is teetering on the line of what is acceptable, just put it away. Better safe than sorry.
10 fun ideas for work-appropriate costumes you can pull together in under ten minutes!
Have other ideas? Let us know in the comments!
A 3-hole punch version of yourself!
This Jim-inspired costume never gets old.
Arthur, the beloved cartoon Aardvark!
All you need is jeans, a yellow sweater, a pair of glasses, and some construction paper to make your own ears.
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Super easy if you already have to wear a button down and blazer to work! Just add a t-shirt underneath and you're good to go.
You can even get your coworkers in on the fun and ask them to share more post-its for your board!
Pigs in a Blanket
This sounds so much more difficult than it is! just find your favorite blanket (or large scarf) - make some cute pink pig ears, tape on a pink nose, and you're done! Plus this will keep you warm in your office that's probably always too cold!
Whether you do it by yourself or with a group, the key is having fun with a low key costume!
A Q&A with Ginger Wong, Software Engineer at Philo
Over 91 years ago Philo T. Farnsworth invented the electronic television. Today he has a San Francisco based startup named after him that is finally creating the television experience we've always wanted. Philo is growing fast to shape the future of television and they're looking to hire innovative, passionate and collaborative team members through PowerToFly... who also can crack a few jokes.
Ginger Wong, a Software Engineer at Philo, gave us more details on how Philo makes hires, what their interview process is like, and why she feels heard there.
Want to join the Philo team? Click here to see all of their available roles on PowerToFly and don't forget to press 'Follow.'
What is your role at Philo?
Ginger Wong: I'm a Frontend Software Engineer at Philo, working on developing our product's UI/UX across web and streaming TV device platforms.
Why do women and underrepresented talent feel they can thrive at Philo?
GW: I find that Philo has a no-nonsense, no-politics work environment that proactively emphasizes fairness for everyone, whether it's to each other as employees, or even to our customers. We are also pretty transparent about what's happening within the company and have many open channels of communication so everyone can be heard.
The team and leadership have been great at openly recognizing the work that you and your colleagues have done. If there are new product initiatives that you would like to pursue on the engineering side, they will work with you on developing these ideas and getting them into production!
What about your interview process should candidates be aware of?
GW: For our technical roles, after an initial phone screen, we usually give our candidates a small, and hopefully fun, project to work on at home. We leave the assignment somewhat open-ended because we want to see what their strengths and interests are in this role and we'd like to see how they'll end up putting this project together.
If their project submission lands them an on-site interview, they'll get to speak with a few members from different roles on our team. This way we can get to know how candidates think and solve problems, as well as determine how well they can work in a team environment like ours (the "culture fit" aspect).
We find that most candidates really appreciate the take-home mini-project because it lets them show us their work in a low-stress way on their own time and their own terms. However, for people who find it challenging to find time for the project, we also offer an on-site alternative.
What traits are you looking for in your next team member?
GW: On the engineering team, we generally look for people who are self-starters and are open to a collaborative work environment that could involve other developers, designers, as well as our Marketing or Support teams.
We tend to love people who enjoy problem-solving, and who also have a good, detailed sense for user experience. They also don't necessarily have to know in-depth all the languages we use, but if they have a strong willingness to learn and a good foundation to pick it up quickly, that would be highly encouraged.
PS - An appreciation for witty humor and a tolerance for dorky puns are bonuses!
What do you love most about working at Philo?
GW: Besides the no-politics work environment mentioned above, I'm currently really appreciating the work/life balance that Philo offers! I find that our product goals and delivery schedules are very reasonable to work with. And as my own personal schedule frequently shifts, I love still being able to flexibly work during my sometimes odd hours, with a dependable, equally passionate team that is dedicated to consistently shipping a great product!
4 Tips (And A Download!) To Ease Your Anxiety
Recently, I decided to take the first two-week-long vacation of my professional career, and in full transparency, I was terrified.
To be clear, I've taken plenty of vacations before, but I've always strategically taken trips on long weekends or during the holidays where the impact on my team is minimal. There's nothing I hate more than that feeling of doom that sets on the last day of work before vacation, when you start thinking about the work you'll be missing, clients relying on you, or what could go wrong in your absence.
As an individual contributor, leaving was easier. I could literally do all of my work leading up to my days off, putting in long days and even longer nights, and only when I was completely finished could I turn my Slack notifications off and leave for vacation in peace. Of course, this is not healthy behavior for anyone, but I got through it.
As a manager, my work is never "complete." Now, I have even more clients depending on me, a team who relies heavily upon me for decision making and guidance, and company initiatives that are mid-cycle.
At any other company, this scenario probably would have set my anxiety completely over the edge - but not at PowerToFly. I can testify that the process we've developed has made taking a vacation just that - a vacation. For the first time, I left for my trip without the doom cloud following me out the door and I knew my team was adequately prepped for what to do in my absence.
So, how can you implement a vacation process at your organization that actually works? Follow these easy steps, and you'll be enjoying a little R&R at the beach in no time!
1. Make the decision to stay available, or go off the grid, and stick to it.
- It is absolutely crucial to take time off without work distractions, and if you're going off the grid, stick to it. Don't check emails, turn your notifications off, and offer proper escalation pathways for any emerging issues (see below). Many companies have policies in place where at least one week of vacation should be contact-free - that's when the creative magic happens!
2. If you choose to stay available, set clear expectations about your communication method and schedule.
- Decide on a time or cadence for checking in that works best for you. Whether that's one hour every morning, 30 min in the evening, or periodically throughout the day, let your team know when and how it's best to contact you. For example, if you're going out of the country, it may be easier to Slack or WhatsApp as opposed to email or text.
3. Let the team know how to ask for help.
- If a situation does arise that needs to be escalated, be clear with your team about how they should escalate: tell them to be direct, explain the entire situation, and include an ask and when the response is needed. Make it known that there is no need for small talk in these messages, i.e. "I don't want to bother you on your trip, but…". It doesn't hurt to note that logging into different software while away from your desk is a huge pain - if your ask requires a login, don't forget to include a screenshot!
4. Fill out a PTO tracker (Make a copy of ours here!).
- This tracker is your golden ticket to a stress-free vacation and should be shared org-wide. Once filled out in its entirety, everyone has the opportunity to see what's being handled while you are gone, which tasks and projects are assigned to whom, and who to reach out to in case of an escalation.
Want to see it in action? Here's a sample of a great day-before-vacation team email:
Sample Day-Before Vacation Email
Just sending everyone a note, as I am planning to be in Mexico for the next 2 weeks.
Also as we support all of our team members in our work-life balance, I think it is important to share what that means for each one of us. It is OK to take time off and be fully off. It is OK to take time off and work a little to stay on top of your burning priorities. It is OK to sometimes do one and sometimes do the other.
So for that reason, it is very important to set clear expectations with your teammates on what your PTO style is/ or will be this particular time you're going away. To demonstrate this principle, here is what my next 2 weeks off mean:
1) Ask for help, and allow me to triage
Even when I am on PTO, you can always reach me, you're not bugging me. I am extremely good at protecting my time, and making a judgment call whether the issue you're bringing to me needs me to get engaged while I'm away or it can wait. I am good at putting my phone on silent when I need to nap. So don't hesitate to reach out when you need me.
2) How to Ask for Help
For this to be effective don't say things like "Hi are you there?":) that doesn't give me enough intel on whether this can wait or not
Phrase it more like:
"Hi we just heard back from XClient, and their legal department is requesting something that I don't know how to answer" - obviously as much detail you can provide so I can help even without getting on a call is helpful.
3) Don't make me log in to different softwares
Most of the time you will be reaching me on mobile, so don't send me salesforce links - send a screengrab of the relevant info instead. If you need me to send an email to a client, draft it for me, with all the relevant attachments, etc
4) Err on the side of over transparent
That is kind of repeating the first point, but I much rather know about an issue you're dealing with, and have the opportunity to get involved (and perhaps decide I won't), then later hear "I didn't want to bother you while you're on PTO". Transparency and over communication always wins.
5) My schedule
July 1-5 - planning to be more deeply off. I will not be taking internal check-ins/ group calls
July 8-12 planning to take customer-facing and sales-related calls. I might need to prioritize the bigger ones. Not taking internal check-ins/ group calls
6) Escalate the medium, not the message.
Feel free to WhatsApp me or text me for anything pending from me if you don't get a response in slack. This is true any day of the week, and some of you use it more effectively than others. Seriously, leverage the escalation points!! If you're texting me too much I will tell you (no one has texted me too much in the past. :) )
Thats it team, you know where to find me.