Work Talk Wednesday: Having it all

Work Talk Wednesday is back this week.

Here’s what we’ve talked about in the past:

This week we’re talking about work-life balance and having it all.

I saw this video posted on Facebook last week and thought it was really interesting and wanted to share it with you all and get your thoughts. Click the link below to watch the video and then share your response in the comments.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, shares her thoughts on work life balance.

I’d love to know:

Can we have it all? 

Do you agree with the statement that “one of the most important career decisions you’ll make is who your life partner is?”

Other comments, thoughts, responses?

Let’s get a discussion going!  Share your thoughts in the comments.


work talk wednesday: good job!

have you had a chance to think about how your work and identity effect each other since last week? if so, share your experience in the comments!

today’s edition of work talk wednesday is about recognition.


today’s topic came to mind after mike was recognized in a staff meeting yesterday. [thanks for the idea, mike! and good job!]

recognition is important in the workplace. recognition can be about big successes–an event running smoothly, or surpassing sales goals–or smaller ones–handling an irate customer with grace, or completing a project ahead of a deadline. it can take many forms: praise in a meeting or a group email, a raise or promotion, an additional day off, a bonus, an office, lunch out, or even a high-five. it makes the employee feel valued and appreciated, and lets them know that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.  it can also help to rejuvenate an employee or to make them feel like a part of the team. and recognition doesn’t only have to come from managers or those higher up (of course it’s nice when it does), it can also come from teammates, other colleagues, client, etc. no matter what it’s for or how it’s done, recognition feels good. employers should make an effort to have rewards and recognition in place but as employees, we should go out of our way to recognize our colleagues for a job well done.

so tell me:

when was the last time you were recognized at work?  how were you recognized?

let’s do it:

sometime in the next week, recognize someone you work with.  it can be a teammate, a direct report, a colleague, an intern, or even your manager.  (if you need help on how to do this, let me know.)

work talk wednesday: job and identity

after a hiatus last week, work talk wednesday is back.  today we’re talking about jobs and identity.

whether we like it or not, our jobs become a part of our identity. sometimes in how we define ourselves and at other times in how friends, family, strangers view us. when meeting someone for the first time, we are often asked “so, what do you do?” and when we answer this question we don’t tell them what we do in our free time, we tell them what we do for a living.

today i share three examples of how jobs intertwine with identity/perception and hope that you’ll share your experience or thoughts too.


i wanted to be a teacher for as long as i can remember.  i dreamed of inspiring students, imparting wisdom on them, life-lessons shared through math, songs, my experiences and theirs.  i was going to build confidence and postitive attitudes.  i wanted to teach my students to be good people, to encourage them to follow their dreams and to dream big.  i was going to change the world one student at a time.

i taught for 3 months before realizing that teaching wasn’t a good fit for me.  while i loved the kids and was a fine teacher, the lesson planning and pressure i put on myself to do it all and be everything to everyone consumed me.  leaving teaching was one of the hardest decisions i ever made.  it was one of my biggest dreams but one i had to walk away from.

sometimes i still think of myself as a teacher.


we moved to dc a week after college graduation so that mike could pursue a job on capitol hill.  after a brief period of networking, mike was offered the first job he interviewed for: staff assistant for a pennsylvania congressman.  mike loved the hustle and bustle of the hill, being at the center of it all.  after losing his job as a result of the 2010 election, mike found a job off the hill. last week i sent mike a link to belle‘s post about things she misses about being a hill staffer, and after reading it mike said he really related to some of her sentiments. it struck me when he noted that now when he tells people he lives in dc and they ask what he does, he’ll preface his answer with “i used to work on the hill and now i…” because there is just something about life on the hill. working on the hill tells the listener something about him.


my mom owns a tanning salon and works there during the week.  she is very friendly with her customers and they often get to talking. when she mentions something about running the business, women reply “you own this place?” in disbelief and shock. even though, the customers are impressed it bothers my mom that this is the case. she thinks “what difference does it make?”


here are just three examples of work intersecting with identity. do any of these sound familiar to you?  do you or does someone you know have a similar or different experience with their job and it’s impact on their identity.  how does it work for you?

work talk wednesday: perks at work

it’s wednesday again and we’re talking about work.  or, i’m talking about work. [but you do have the opportunity to chime in through the comment section below.] so far we’ve talked about coming back from vacation and productivity.  today’s topic is perks at work.

perks at work.  there are perks that come with every job, some big and some smaller.  they can make your life a bit easier or just a little more fun.  here are some examples:

small perks

  • coffee provided
  • plastic silverware provided
  • casual fridays
  • getting out early before a holiday weekend

bigger perks

  • your own office (mike’s thought, and at first i didn’t think this was a perk but the more i think about it the more i realize how right he is.)
  • tuition benefits/reimbursement
  • free meals
  • manicure mondays. tina works for a PR company in NYC and they have manicure mondays every third monday.  how sweet is that?!
  • flex schedule
  • work from home
  • laundry service
  • condensed work schedule–work more M-R and get out early on friday or have fridays off, every other friday off
  • transportation benefits
  • discounts
  • meeting celebrities or otherwise famous people
talk to me [i.e. write in the comments below]: what perks come with your job? how motivated are you by perks?  would you take a job or stay at a job because of a particular perk? if you could have any perk at your job right now, what would it be?
if i could choose a perk for my job this week it would be an afternoon massage (i’ve been holding a lot of tension in my shoulders), someone to organize my space (my desk is crazy messy right now).

work talk wednesday: in the zone

today is the second installment of the work talk wednesday series. today’s topic is semi-related to last week’s topic of work after vacation.  today’s topic is productivity.

there are some days that are uber-productive, when things get checked of the list left and right, the day flies by and you’re flying high.  then there are days when you feel tired and unmotivated, the day seems to drag, that you have things to do but can’t quite get them organized or decide where you should begin. i’m sure we’re in agreement that the former is much more satisfying.  so how can we increase our productivity and make most days feel accomplished?  are there things that help you be productive?  what gets you in the zone?

background noise helps me to be productive.  it could be the tv, the radio, the hustle and bustle of a coffee-shop just something to occupy the other half of my brain while i work.  in college i found that watching gilmore girls helped me get through my probability homework with less anxiety.  since i can’t watch tv in my office at work, pandora does the trick.  a little zac brown band or michael buble radio helps me buckle down and focus.  if i’m working on a spreadsheet or another more monotonous task, i like to listen to npr’s talk of the nation. something about background noise helps my mind stop wandering and get in the zone.

i’m also a huge fan of the to-do list. i’ll write down everything i have to do on a blank piece of paper or a double sticky note.  then i’ll start with the smallest task on the list and start crossing things off one by one.

sometimes i’ll just say to myself “ok, i’ll work for 25 mins, just 25 mins and then i’ll take a break.”  and i’m always surprised at how many things i can get done in that small window.  a lot of the time i’ll keep working straight through the 25 min mark because i’m on a roll.

tell me.  what do you do to get in the zone?  what helps you to be productive?

work talk wednesday: back from vacation

today i’m starting a new weekly “column:” work talk wednesday.  each wednesday, i’ll write about an aspect of work from work-life balance, managing up, and interviewing skills to dream jobs, productivity, and office perks. today’s topic is being back at work after vacation.

this topic came to mind after a long weekend at the beach.  as we said goodbye to mike’s family and drove away from the beach, i felt sad and nostalgic.  i wish we had one more day at the beach, one more day of sun and relaxation. i also felt a little bit anxious about getting back into my normal routine.

going back to work after a vacation, even a short one, is not fun.  there are lots of things to catch up on, tons of emails to read, and you have to remind yourself of where you left off before you set your out-of-office reply.  it’s also difficult to be back at a desk in a chilly, beige office in front of a computer all day when you just spent days laying on the beach in the warm sun and a cool breeze with a juicy novel or your favorite magazine in your lap. so how do we make the best out of the first few days after a vacation?  how can we make “back to the grind” a little more tolerable?

one thing that i have going for me is that i have a wonderful team at work and i always look forward to catching up with my coworkers upon my return. we’ll spend some time chatting about the trip or long weekend as our computers boot up (and sometimes a little beyond that).

here are some other ideas to make the transition from vacation to normal life a little bit more enjoyable:

  • treat yourself to coffee on your way to the office
  • plan to grab lunch from your favorite sandwich shop near your job
  • send an email to your travel buddy with your favorite moments from the trip
  • post pictures from your getaway on facebook or share them with friends and family
  • make fun plans for the following weekend so that you have something to look forward to
  • go shopping while you’re on vacation and wear a new outfit on your first day back
what’s one thing you have going for you when you return to work? what do you do to get through the first few days back at the office?
are there any topics you’re particularly interested in seeing in work talk wednesday?