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WOMEN’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY: Who are we really fighting with?

Many women go to work knowing they’re paid significantly less than their male counterparts. More men than women are high-level executives, sit on boards, and become politicians.  Women feel they don’t get the same respect and blame glass ceilings or “Good ol’ boys” clubs.  When half of our population is female, how can this still be so imbalanced and why does progress seem to be reverting?

WTF: Way to flounce

WTF: Way to flounce

Part of the battle originates with the media’s portrayal of women. The must-see film MISSrepresentation shares shocking statistics on how media companies, run primarily by men, spent decades telling stories from their perspective, portraying women as helpless sexual objects for men to overpower or rescue. The absence of female role models or multi-dimensional characters on tv or film kills any proof that women may aspire to be more. The film points out that history preserved primarily male perspectives and while not wrong, it remains extremely one-sided. Our country is far behind other countries’ empowerment of female leaders.

Highly recommend the film for everyone as we're all media consumers.

Highly recommend the film for everyone as we’re all media consumers.

Two trends emerge in the workplace:

  1. Women feel power comes from being bitchy or sexy – This alienates both genders while painting women as emotional and unstable
  2. Women are our own worst enemy, as Sheryl Sandberg states in Lean In – Women constantly compete with both genders to earn a coveted top spot on the cutthroat career track. However, the few sporadic individual victories won’t launch women into more equivalent roles quickly. Additionally, women can be so catty and quick to criticize fellow women’s appearances or behavior in magazines or in person.
WTF - Straight up!

WTF – Straight up!

Shift perspective:

1)   Stop fighting and join forces – The battle shouldn’t focus on knocking others from the top, it should be to earn positioning, building a balanced representation of both genders and working together.  A more cohesive unit has more strength than a disputing unit.

2)   Lift each other up – Rather than running to stay in front of the competition, turn around and give them a hand. You gain far more than you lose by training someone to be your replacement.

WTF: Work through friction (C) Peanuts

WTF: Work through friction
(C) Peanuts

MISSrepresentation and its supporters chant, “If they can see it, they can be it.”  Stop to think of what you want others to see and learn from you.

I've said it before... Always a good lesson!

I’ve said it before…
Always a good lesson!

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INFJ – WTF!

Let me introduce you to Meyers & Briggs.  You may recognize the implication of these letters – to identify one’s personality type – even if you don’t know their meaning. While researching the colors of my parachute, I tested to see if my instincts and the experts agree about what I do well.  This stemmed from contradictions of getting high SAT math scores yet abundant budget headaches.  I felt I would thrive at job interviews presenting key words that effectively communicate my strengths.  What I found became an insightful window into my self!

I started with this easy to follow book.

I promptly popped strong, accurate keywords into my job-search cover letter. Next, I turned to the well-known Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator.   Employers trust this test to find quality complementary employees to build effective teams. I hesitated for a moment knowing tests may reveal things you don’t want to hear about yourself, but I prefer full-disclosure so I would rather know.

Definition:  Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging – Way Touchy Feely! 

Introverted (vs. Extroverted) doesn’t mean I am shy. More it that I need to recharge in between social events with some quiet time living alone inside my head for a spell. Some characteristics below have extroverted tendencies.

Intuitive (vs. Sensing) doesn’t mean I’m psychic or follow my gut well all the time. It means that I prefer an abstract big picture train of thought and letting my imagination wander for a while.

Feeling (vs. Thinking) doesn’t imply I never use my head, rather that I consider the impact that decisions may have on others with the goal of restoring harmony when possible.

Judging (vs. Perceiving) doesn’t mean I’m judging or diagnosing people, it means I try to control my environment to bring about closure.

Click here for a full explanation – it’s scary accurate!

Fun facts for INFJs –
Known as “the Confidant/Visionary”
Less than 1.5% of the population
Famous INFJs: Oprah, Gillian Anderson, The Tinman from The Wizard of Oz

I can’t wait to spend time with Google to learn more.  Note, I took the free test, not through M-B website, but I took two different free tests and they agreed… feels great to be understood.

What are your letters?

BLOGGING PROFESSIONALS: START LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL!

My name is Sarah and I am a blogger! I no longer have to hide my dirty habit!

I couldn't have said it better myself!

After celebrating my 100th day blogging by attending a blogging seminar I am validated and energized that one can follow many realistic paths to various careers that didn’t exist 5 years ago or even 5 days ago!

One encouraging gem shared was to know your skill set, know what you can do for a company, then convince them you are the person to do it! A whole generation of hiring managers exist that get the willies from the words “online presence.” They pray that you will come along to direct the effort. As Oprah says, Preparation + Opportunity = Success! Once inside, keep telling people what you love to do and customize your job into something that tickles your fancy.

This theme kept coming up. The seminar’s stellar cross-section of blog founders, web content managers and editors agreed that their start came from researching then sharing information in areas they were passionate about. The ultimate expression of their affection was to write about them.

Even if creating your own money-earning blog, they had realistic advice that the job can be flexible, yet under grueling deadlines. Instant feedback becomes a blessing and a curse, but it adds to the view bottom line! Keep chipping away towards your goal. I love their mantra: Start local, Think global! Rather than share specific lessons, look for networking groups or seminars in your area, it’s worth it! Don’t have any? Build a support group and bloggers will come!

I’ve saved the best for last… 

I have been humbled by my blogging journey thus far. The support from my 82 and growing friends joining me as I wander motivates me. Your comments inspire and help me improve – so keep them coming!! I love checking as many of your blogs as possible, and vow to do more as my learning curve flattens out. I’ve passed 4,800 views and even received a few much-appreciated nominations for awards – I vow to catch up on the quizzes this month. I hope to keep improving and expanding the site so we never run out of shared adventures!

THANKS!

37. IF YOU JUST WON A MILLION DOLLARS, WOULD YOU QUIT YOUR DAY JOB?

The cashier swore these tickets would win!

Winning a million dollars isn’t truly a million dollars. First, calculate cash up front brings it down to $500,000, then paying 50% taxes reduces it to $250,000 – no, I wouldn’t quit my job.

What I would do – all or some of these until I’ve spent $250,000:

1)    Invest half

2)    Put a down payment on a house

3)    Rescue a dog or two

4)    Buy Disneyland annual passes

5)    Ride the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to the northern-most part

6)    Disney cruise to Bahamas

With investing half, and not touching it, the money could grow quickly into college funds for my kids.  It would afford me more flexibility in where I’d work since I currently follow a 7-year plan to work at one of two private universities in my area to earn my children free tuition.  It’d afford me to take regular summer vacations, big or small, to build family memories.  What does your “Win a million list” have on it?

Money doesn't make the world go around... experiences do.

For a character comparison, let’s ponder winning the lottery that I actually bought a ticket for.  I limit myself from becoming a problem gambler by only playing the large lottery drawings for $100 million and above – as if winning 7 million ISN’T worth its weight in gold.  I know my odds fall from “Not even” to “Never in a million years!” with this strategy.  If I won the $241 million Mega Lottery – cash up front brings it down to $120.5, then 50% for taxes reduces it again to $60.25 million. Yes, I would give sufficient notice to quit my job.

Then I would:

1)    Invest half

2)    Donate to charities

3)    Pay cash for a house

4)    Rescue a dog or two but not until we returned from…

5)    2 Semesters at Sea – before my kids go to college. Anyone may book the 100-day around-the-world cruises. Two hemispheres means two semesters. Add in the cost of flying their dad to come spend weekends with them at ports around the world.

6)    I’d love to randomly reward kindness and goodness that I witness in strangers

7)    Set up more scholarships locally for kids to play sports

What would you do with $241 million dollars?

HUNGARIAN FOOD TRUCK DREAMS

My family and I visited family in Hungary recently. I won’t bore you with tales of family fun and unforgettable memories; I’ll get straight to the food!  One day I’ll drive a truck full of mouth-watering Hungarian food to a neighborhood near you if I can talk my family into quitting their day jobs to hit the road with me. If someone else tries, they owe me dough (fried).

Food in Hungary boasts beautiful colors!

My chemist brother-in-law and my didn’t-cook-for-30-years-of-her-life sister, boast mad recipe translating skills!  My lawyer brother-in-law handles the paperwork and cooking rig – the man knows how to tailgate.  His wife, (my other sister) sets the perfect scene on our stretch of blacktop near you layering dried red paprika, hand-embroidered tablecloths and lively Gypsy music! I build and promote the social media community. Once we get people to taste the food, they’ll be hooked.

Favorite pasttime on our trip!

Here are some delectable ideas to simmer on. These items are portable, easy to prep anywhere (or pre-prep and heat on the grill before serving):

Langos:

A family favorite my grandmother used to make and I fake. These flat doughnut-size fried doughs tasted awesome with garlic, or sugar sprinkled on them. In Hungary, it’s like street pizza in size and toppings.

Sour Cream and Cheese - very popular!

Pogacsa:

These crossed the heartiness of a bacon buttery scone, and a light dinner biscuit tasting like gold  when popped into one’s mouth!

See my noseprints on the glass?

Kürtőskalács:

This chimney cake was light andcrispy sugary outside.  Baked on wooden cylinders, we’d need a mechanism to cook a few at a time, like a wall of gyros meat spits.

Twisted, the way I like it!

Gulyas:

Possibly the most popular soup in Hungary, which varies by region or what one finds in the kitchen, gulyas simmers meats with veggies and hand-cut dumplings for hours in a pot manly enough for your guy to tend to.

Every Gulyas tasted better than the last!

Chicken Paprikas in Palacsinta:

Knowing portable food sells well, these crepe-like wraps hold a rich mushroom and chicken paprikas inside. RICH!

Chicken paprikas and palacsinta? Pinch me!

Fried fish:

Not on the menu.  Here’s why.

Stop staring at me!

Fanks:

A sweet treat, these light fried pastries boasted fresh sour cherry filling within their powdered sugar, bubbly exterior.

Can't stop at just one!

There are others, but these lingered longest on our taste buds.  If you created a food truck, what would it be?

NO DUMB LUCK, NO FIRST-TIMER’S LUCK, NO SUCH LUCK!

What's your good luck charm?

I’m with Oprah, if you come prepared when opportunity knocks, your dreams come true. In college, although working toward a major, I rarely pursued relationships with my professors. Now, more than ever, workplace successes depend on whom you know so networking counts. Some advice:

1) Find mentors – I regularly learn from every interaction. If you know someone whose career path involved your dream job, humbly ask for a research interview to get current advice for training, industry insider information and even important contacts. Don’t “mildly insist” that your mentor meet with you – its a fine line between determination and arrogance. If they only offer an email, take it – the first step is the hardest, but it could lead to other things.

2) Be courteous – Anyone at any level could be the person to give you the spot on your mentor’s radar and hopefully on his calendar. Depending on who they are, they may be asked to share their opinion of you. Don’t take anyone for granted.

3) Be clear – Clarify your interests so the mentor gets a better feel for what information you desire, your current knowledge and how best to help. Don’t expect them to read your mind. You wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity. Come with specific questions.

4) Follow through – Confirm appointments, provide an agenda, know where you’re visiting. Your mentor took time out of their busy day to graciously meet with you, please be respectful of their time. Don’t hit the Snooze button. When this reminder appears on your calendar, do not reschedule it for later. Assume your chance to pose your questions will only come around once.

5) CALL! – In the unique situation where you have to miss or reschedule an appointment – Tell them in advance! Don’t make them track you down.

This advice is common sense, but people forget significant steps! You’ll learn how small your industry is and how many degrees of separation are between you, your mentor and Kevin Bacon when you’ve left a positive or negative vibe with your mentor. Start your career path off on the right foot and arise to each challenge and play on weekends while relaxing after landing your dream job!

FCW: BE TACTFUL, DO NOT OVERLOOK YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES

Part of my growth involves remaining open enough while wandering to see the signs that the universe broadcasts. The message comes from people, whether friends, work-study students, or the Almighty O herself. Perhaps they come from social media status updates. Today’s wisdom presented itself in the oldest form of messaging with limited characters – fortune cookies! I don’t consider the fortune valid unless I’ve eaten half the cookie, otherwise, I am just cracking open cookies looking for fortunes to support my agenda.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom!

The cookie advised: “Be tactful, do not overlook your own opportunities” [in bed]. Do you still play that game?! Since the odds of those opportunities presenting themselves today seemed slim-to-none, I asked WWOD? while focusing on the message. The obvious place to locate opportunities was in my new, albeit temporary, job. After two weeks, I remain blissfully in the honeymoon stage not sensing any craziness. The only time I feel unsettled centers on contemplating this job’s fit into my career path. The exhilarating excitement of a new adventure mixed with the devil-may-care short-timer attitude creates bold creativity for facing challenges. To function well, even if short-term, one must know the processes, histories, and root oneself in the establishment.

First, I must be tactful: treat people well with respect and manners (Duh!) and don’t get sidelined by drama. Then, before I “don’t overlook my own opportunities,” I must identify them.  I know that I love brainstorming ideas and but don’t have the [insert one: patience/attention/balls] to carry them out before the next idea comes. Perhaps, it’s because I lack formal method training and not being young enough to allow a steeper learning curve with trial-and-error, I’m afraid to waste time guessing. I know that there are no guarantees. Miss O wisely points out that luck results from preparation intersecting opportunity.

So from my vantage point, I see experts who teach and mentor. Perhaps I’m backing myself into another position where I will, again, realize that I was meant to be here all along. This time, I’ll look over my shoulder to plot the journey some and enjoy the view. After backing myself up and positioning myself, I’ll launch forward in the direction meant for me.

Check all your mirrors to make sure you don't miss something spectacular!

JANUARY’S GEMS IN BEING UNEMPLOYED

Determined to keep crazy in 2011, I resolved to live this experience as it reveals itself, focus on every gifted moment, feel each emotion and pay attention to lessons offered. After a leap of faith, a break-neck turn, we experienced a little turbulence but no sinkholes! Occasionally, I reality checked myself to make sure I didn’t drown in denial either. Here the gems January presented:

Stolen gem from my friend's Project Reconnect 2012!

1) Each trip to Red Bullseye does not cost $100! Truthfully I found it easier to resist it completely, but there were a few trips where we escaped with just what we came for. Turns out, I didn’t need every cute nail polish and the kids survived without recruiting more futuristic $1 soldiers.

Despite having no new recruits, the general was pleased with the month's outcome!

2) Food prepared by me ranks with that prepared by others! I used to sing the praises of anything prepared by other people. You could serve me anything (but liver and onions) made by someone else and I savored it as if gourmet. Turns out my simple recipes can taste amazing in a short amount of time!

3) Farmer’s Markets – Fresh Veggies and Fresh Perspective!– Want to get back to nature during the week? Hit a Farmer’s Market for veggies still warm from the sun wrapped in the flavor of rich soil! Plus they were usually cheaper and more likely to be organic (where I shop).

Juicy January Gems!

4) Opening your blinds feeling the sunshine warming your PJs is almost as great as a triple, venti, skinny hazelnut latte. It doesn’t have to be fancy to give me the kick and I don’t need the kick when my senses lure me into each day reminding me that I’m alive!

5) Escaping is not quitting – When looking for work, I hit a stride where every living moment was spent finding a resolution to my problem. Upon hitting a point where the job-search became a dead-end mosh pit, I found a trap door, leaped through it, found a space where I could breathe, reconnect with friends, remember who and what I love then return with a fresh perspective.

Cheers to great friends (here or running the Tinker Bell half!)!

The reward was 3 job opportunities in 1 day.

Crazy how that happens. Let’s see what February finds – hopefully not a Groundhog shadow.

WHAT THE HELL YOU BLOGGING FOR? GET A JOB!

One thing I missed from having roommates was the end-of-day debriefing. Oprah filled in for a bit, but once her show went dark, I yet again pondered – What Would Oprah Do? She Journals! this blog enabled me to unwind with some whine. I hoped to force creativity, practice writing and organize thoughts. Being Gen X, my hands cramp trying to write as fast as I think. Fortunately, my typing rocks. My plan included purging info from my head, organizing it and freeing up space to focus on important things – like find a job!

Fork in the road...

Part of me, more than I’ll usually admit, dreams of being a mommy-blogger! My work/life balance became effortless with this blog! [Cue: Booming nagging voice] “You’re writing an online diary! Get a real job!” At first, I ignored it, allowing time for myself. I knew if I didn’t indulge and write during this period, I’d wonder what might have been. I’ve been researching blogging and while it takes consistent effort, the possibility of reaching paid blogger status is a reasonable goal! Plus, it feels more tangible than job hunting where I’ve done what worked before, rewritten to work better, reinvented for technology and have nothing to show.

With blogging, I’ve measured site stats.

Great place to grow from!

Each experiment yields positive or negative measurable results. It’s restored my confidence knowing that the blog’s success depends wholly on me driving people to the site. I blogged yesterday about putting this hobby out there, stating how quickly I want to learn and getting great energy in return! Today, I reached a calm. I don’t know if it reflected inner peace or that I found an answer to appease the voice. I am doing something I love while learning new skills for my next step, and have show-and-tell for the job interview when they ask “What did you do during this down time?” If I only spent time sending resumes, I could say I’d been looking for work in a tough market, but I’d be drowned out by sobbing violins.

So, world, this is how I spent my break. Thanks for wandering with me! Can we keep the fact that I started this blog to whine between just us?

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

I wonder as I wander...

My town’s 70,000 residents may not qualify us as the smallest. However, we hold the record as the densest town I’ve lived in. I’m not calling my neighbors names; close to 11,000 people live in each square mile. Why, then, am I surprised so many people here know my name?

Recently, after hardly seeing people besides where I met them, suddenly the degrees of separation between my acquaintances all but disappeared!  The number of overlapping circles of friends unsettled me at first. My usual habits formed a few life-long friendships, rather than large collections of great friends. I comfortably resided anonymously in any community.  After earning the honorable badge of “My Child’s Mom,” getting recognized by more people was unavoidable – even if they’re all kids.  I comforted myself upon realizing that my family established roots – something we missed.

I now appreciate seeing similar faces at various extra-curricular events around town.  I dig that while the kids enjoy their activities, sometimes the parents head to the local watering hole where everybody knows our names and how to serve one quick round and get us back in time for pick up. I’ve found the best networking happens spontaneously on the schoolyard or store parking lots.

Today, I experienced glowing examples of community support.  During coffee with a friend who shared her latest exciting business venture, she gifted me by offering her similar experiences and sentiments toward life experiences and as a bonus, when I told her about my latest passion she immediately introduced me to two more established women for guidance.  She also invited me to a support group for business moms for another strong network to back it up. Later, at another kids’ activity, I chatted with another parent and when mentioning my goals, he quickly told me of his friend who already exists at a level I am still researching.  He offered to ask my questions and gather information on upcoming conferences.

Reach out, reach out and help someone!

Bottom line, staying within the walls of our own lives happens so easily, especially when going through life transitions when you feel every moment should focus on “fixing” things. Make the effort to step outside your walls to see who calls your name.

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