Posts Tagged “work life fit how to”

How Do I Tell My Boss I’m Pregnant

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“How do I tell my boss that I’m pregnant?” When a young woman posed this question to a career panel I participated in recently, she reminded me why it’s important to review the basic work+life fit questions periodically. It’s easy to assume everyone knows the answers, when the truth is we often don’t.

So here’s a recap of the “when and how to tell” advice the panel offered:

First, tell your boss as soon as you are showing. Your boss, as well as the rest of the team, will know you’re pregnant. But they’ll be too scared to say something potentially illegal. So as soon as you are comfortable disclosing your good news, share it. The earlier they all know, the sooner everyone can plan for your time out of the office.

Second, offer no apologies when you break the news. Be happy and proud. This was great advice offered by the two senior executive women on the panel with me. Both of them had stories of taking new jobs only to find out a couple of weeks later that they were pregnant. Breaking the news to their respective new employers wasn’t easy but in both instances they received nothing but support.

Third, by the time you are ready to leave to have the baby, make sure that all of your work is covered by and transitioned to others. Trouble happens when you leave and the people you work with don’t know what’s going on with your projects, where to find information, etc. If managed the right way, maternity leaves should be an employer’s favorite work+life fit challenge. Why? Because unlike illness, a natural disaster or eldercare, pregnancy usually allows time for advanced planning.

Fourth, be clear about your expectations related to connectivity to work while you are out. Some women will want to send and answer emails on the delivery table. Others don’t want to have any interaction with work at all. Neither choice is right or wrong. It’s what works for you; however, try not to send mixed messages. If you email during your leave, work will assume that you want them to keep you in the loop. If you start one way and then change your mind, just let people know. Don’t suffer in silence.

What do you think?  How do you tell your boss that you are pregnant? Obviously this is a question on the mind of many young women. How can we help them navigate this big, happy transition as smoothly as possible?

(This post originally appeared on

Top 10 Work Life “Fit” Tips Every Woman Needs to Know

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(This post originally appeared on the blog of a wonderful non-profit, Women With Drive, founded by my friend Molly Cantrell-Kraig)

Some people call me an expert, but, really…I’m an explorer continually searching for new and better ways to help people manage their work and life.

This 15 year journey has led me to write a book, Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You, start a blog, and help companies to become more flexible in the way they work.  But Molly Cantrell-Kraig’s invitation to write a guest post for Women With Drive (Twitter @WWDr1ve) was a unique opportunity to stop and reflect upon what I’ve learned.

For this post, I challenged myself to pick out the “Top 10” work+life fit tips that I think every woman should know.  It wasn’t easy, but here’s my list. Remember, I’m an explorer on a never-ending quest to learn more, so I really want to hear what you think too!

  1. There is no “balance,” only the unique way work fits into the rest of your life day-to-day and over time (for more check out The 10 Tyrannies of Work-Life Balance).
  2. Contrary to popular belief, you can choose what your work+life fit looks like about 70% of the time (which is way better than 0%).  Nothing is ever perfect and even the most careful plan will change.  But being thoughtful and deliberate about the choices you make and actions you take does ensure that more of what you want does happen in work and in the rest of your life.  Make 70% your bar of success…not “perfect.”
  3. Managing the way work fits into your life is a practice not a destination. You will never “have” work+life fit.  All you can do is try to make your “fit” the best it can be based on where you are now.
  4. Keep a calendar with all of your work and personal “to dos” in one place so that you have a complete picture of your life. And if you aren’t comfortable adding your personal goals and responsibilities to your calendar at work, keep your personal calendar with you on the job.   Glance at them both a couple of times throughout the day to stay on track.
  5. Take 20 minutes each week to sit quietly and ask yourself what you need more of/less of in your “fit” and make it happen. Small actions make a big difference.  A cup of coffee with a friend.  A half an hour walk.  Lunch with your daughter.  An appointment to get your hair cut.
  6. Understand that it’s about managing your time and your energy. Taking care of yourself requires time but it gives you more energy…so it’s a net gain.  Women tend to feel guilty about taking time to sleep, eat well, and exercise especially if it means we’re not focusing on others.  But, a good night’s sleep, a healthy meal, and a yoga class, for example, prepare you to give even more (and better!)
  7. Make your back up plans in advance so you are prepared and less frazzled. For example, who will take care of your child when they are sick, or if there’s a snow day?  Who will walk your dog if you have to stay late at work?  How will your mother get to the doctor if you can’t take her?
  8. Prioritize managing your personal finances. Having a handle on your money—no matter how much or how little you have—is critical to your long-term work+life fit success.  When my parents divorced 35 years ago, my mother had very little money and few job prospects, but she was always careful and deliberate with what she had.  By the time she retired, she’d paid off her house and car and was able to truly enjoy retirement.   That careful management, even when there wasn’t much, gave her choices in the long run.   (Great resources for women: Manisha Thakor, Daily Worth)
  9. Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help from your community, your friends, and family. We are not superwomen.   Ask.  Someday you will pay it forward.
  10. Finally, guilt is a corrosive energy-waster. Stop comparing yourself to others.  Everyone has different circumstances; therefore, they will have a different work+life fit. Maybe you can’t make it to your child’s school events as often as another parent because you have to work.  That doesn’t make them right, and you wrong.  It’s about making it all fit together the best way it can…right now.

What advice would you give to other women to help them more successfully manage the way work “fits” into their lives?

Did you find the information in this post helpful?  If so, I invite you to also visit my Fast Company blog and connect with me on Twitter @caliyost. Also, you might be interested in our NEW!  How-To “Make Flexibility Real” Newsletter and LinkedIn group.

“The Keys to Finding Work+Life Fit” from Psychology Today

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In addition to being the author of a smart, engaging new book, Success: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Heidi Grant Halvorsen writes The Science of Success blog for Psychology Today.  Recently, she asked me to explain work+life “fit” for her readers.   The following is an excerpt from her post.

Like a lot of working parents, I find myself constantly juggling both professional and personal goals, trying to find time for everything that matters, and sometimes feeling like I’m screwing it up big time.  So for a little wisdom and practical advice, I turned to Cali Williams Yost, the CEO of the Flex+Strategy Group / Work+Life Fit, Inc., a flexibility strategy consulting firm. (Her book is  Work+Life: Finding the Fit That’s Right for You).

Me:  Why is it a problem for us to think in terms of work-life “balance”?

Cali:  When your goal is work-life “balance,” it causes more problems than it solves.  In fact, here are what I call the 10 Tyrannies of Work/Life Balance:

  1. Balance is always discussed in the negative-what you “don’t” have.
  2. Balance keeps you focused on the problem, not the solution.
  3. Balance assumes we’re all the same.
  4. Balance infers that there is a “right” a answer.
  5. Balance leads us to judge others (and ourselves), often unfairly.
  6. Balance results in unproductive guilt.
  7. Balance suggests that the goal is an impossible 50-50 split between work and the other parts of your life.
  8. Balance leaves no room for periods where there’s more work and less life, and vice versa.
  9. Balance ignores the fact that work and life are constantly changing, and
  10. Balance will never be taken seriously by corporate leaders, who only hear “work less” when you say “balance.”

Plus, have you ever noticed that when the term “work-life balance” is written out, there’s either a “-” or a “/” between work and life?  The truth is that work and life are one and the same today.  Not separate.  You may want them to ultimately be as separate as possible, but you need to start from the premise that it’s all one big ball of time and energy that you need to deliberately and consciously manage.

Me: What is “work+life fit” How will I know when I have it?

Cali: Work+life fit is the way work “fits” into your life, day-to-day and at major life and career transitions.  It’s like snowflakes.  Everyone has a different work+life fit reality.  No two are the same.   Thinking about the goal as work+life “fit,” frees you from the ten tyrannies of balance above because you:

  1. Talk about what you could have.
  2. See solutions.
  3. Know we’re all different.
  4. Realize there’s no right answer.
  5. Stop judging yourself and others, harshly.
  6. Lose the guilt.
  7. Embrace and plan for the ebb and flow of work and life, and
  8. Increase the likelihood that corporate leaders will support the need to flexibly manage work and life better and smarter.

How will you know you “have it?”  (Click here for my answer to this great question that Heidi posed!)