Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Return to Work Project Gift Packs

Wow, I have been having so much fun networking with other businesswomen and busy working moms in support of the Return to Work Project. I have received numerous contributions from businesses whose products directly support working moms or whose mission is to balance work and family.

I was very excited to meet last week with the owner of the Golden Orchid Spa and Shop in downtown Frederick. Yvette is a busy working mom herself and a very successful entrepreneur with a gorgeous spa. This meeting was so exciting because Yvette is truly passionate about providing services to women guilt-free. Why should a mom feel guilty taking time for herself on the weekend to relax and get a facial? Don't we always leave the spa feeling renewed and truly beautiful? A place like the Golden Orchid is a wonderful retreat whether you have an hour or a whole day without work or kids.

I am trying hard to reach out to all types of businesses that support working moms living in Frederick. Whether a mother returns to work after a short maternity leave or a long leave of absence spent raising her children, these gift packs will have something for everyone. Whether a mother returns to work because she wants to or because she needs to, she will find resources and support through the project.

As we move forward with the project, I am always looking for more contributions. I am also anxious to hear from working moms about the businesses and resources that were essential during the transition back to work. For more information about the project, please visit the project blog site: http://ReturntoWorkGifts.blogspot.com. To find out how you can participate in this wonderful project, please contact me at flexibleworkforce@gmail.com.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Book Review: The ParentPreneur Edge

When local author and entrepreneur Julie Lenzer Kirk asked me to review her new book, The ParentPreneur Edge, I was thrilled by the opportunity. Kirk posits that the skills we hone through parenting can be invaluable in running a business. This supports my championed belief that being a parent is not our greatest detriment in the work world. However, I am forced to use the excuse that as a busy working parent myself, I fell victim to obligation overload. Kirk's book migrated from my "Work - To Do" pile to my "Summer Reading" pile, you know the pile that gets lugged along on every summer vacation yet is never touched. Finally, I share with you a review of Julie Lenzer Kirk's enlightening book, The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business.

Kirk's book was written for parents and entrepreneurs; however, the lessons she conveys make good business sense for any manager. The ParentPreneur Edge is filled with stories of parenting and entrepreneurship that serve as a step-by-step guide to entrepreneurship or a source of motivation for any parent experiencing developmental growing pains whether that "child" is a small business or biological offspring. With personal anecdotes from her family and her business, Kirk walks readers through the stages of development including:

Preparing for Entrepreneurship - Getting Pregnant
Launching - Labor and Delivering
The Early Days - Baby to Toddler
Ramping up: A Time to Learn - Elementary School
Growing Pains - The Preteen Years
Emerging Independence - The Teen Years
Exercising Your Exit - Letting Go

Each chapter is full of good advice for the seasoned manager or budding entrepreneur. Throughout the book, Julie stresses the importance of fiscal responsibility to the tiniest detail and a need to view a business plan as a living document. Kirk also takes a moment to discuss the challenges of managing employees who desire flexible scheduling. As an entrepreneur, Julie started her IT business out of a home office practicing maximum flexibility of her own schedule. Flexibility with a new baby and a new business was essential. However, Kirk quickly discovered that managing a small staff provided a large challenging in approving flexible scheduling. For the employee who wished to alter his schedule just one night a week to pursue graduate education, Kirk went to bat. However, for the office manager who wanted to telecommute two days a week, Julie found the request impossible to grant. Her policy of "balance at all costs" went out the window as a procedure for granting flexible scheduling evolved.

If you are thinking of starting a small business, The ParentPreneur Edge offers step-by-step guidance through the stages of entrepreneurial development. If you are a business owner or a manager, The ParentPreneur Edge offers a variety of resources from websites to support groups to other books to read. If you are a working parent, the book offers uplifting and motivational anecdotes from another parent who has juggled so much and found so much success.

The ParentPreneur Edge is published by John Wiley & Sons.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Walking to School for a Future Flexible Workforce

October is National Walk to School Month with local schools participating in Walk to School Day earlier this week. Similar to events held earlier this summer, including Bike to Work Day on May 17 and National Dump the Pump Day on June 21, October is a full month to celebrate our children's ability to walk safely to school. Events such as these indicate our society's loathing of a culture that revolves around the commute marked by long lines of cars that clog our highways and pollute our air.

The intended purpose of National Walk to School Month is:
  • to enhance the health of kids
  • to improve our air quality and the environment
  • to create safer routes for walking and bicycling
Whether the final destination is work or school, by promoting events such as these, we are teaching our children to value the health of our environment as well as their own health and safety. The increasingly younger workforce values flexibility over monetary rewards. We may be raising a generation who live closer to work than ever and find innovative ways to make telecommuting work.

What do you think: Is National Walk to School Month another failed attempt to curb childhood obesity or have we successfully planted the seeds for a more flexible workforce?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Local: Fall Job Fair

The Herald-Mail Company, the One-Stop Job Center, and Hagerstown Community College will hold a job fair tomorrow at the community college. Participating employers include Canam Steel, Waynesboro Hospital, Chase CArd SErvices, Cedar Ridge Ministries, AFLAC, and the Board of Child Care, among others.

Fall Job Fair
Hagerstown Community College ARCC
Friday, October 5, 2007
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Monday, October 1, 2007

Try On a New Job: Temporary Staffing Agencies

Temporary placement agencies offer employment options not just for those seeking temporary work but also for those reentering the workforce, changing careers, or enduring an extended job search. In additional to flexible assignments, many temporary agencies provide health care benefits, accural of paid time off, and other benfits.

Historically intended to provide temporary administrative staffing, temp agencies are now used to cover extended absences and new positions for many positions in nearly every field. Increasingly, companies are using temporary agencies as recruiting firms to "try out" potential employees for a new position. Given a built in six month probationary window, companies can hire a temp employee to determine fit for a permanent position with no legal obligation.

Similary, for job seekers, assignments through a temp agency can provide financial security during a job search while giving you time to try out a particular position, company, or career path. By taking on increasingly difficult temporary assignments, you can build your resume and gain valuable experience to bolster your job search. While working with a company, pay attention to internal job postings or talk with your supervisor about making a temporary assignment a permanent one.

Numerous temporary placement agencies work with job seekers and companies to fill a variety of open positions. Look for a temp agency that operate specifically within your field of expertise. Employers generally pay a placement fee to the agency. If you, as a job seeker, are asked to pay for placement services, seek temporary employment with another agency.
You are free to share, copy, and distribute the content of this page.
Please, always attribute this work to its original author at Flexible Workforce. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.
You may not use this information for commercial gain or alter, transform, or add to this work in any way.

Flexible Workforce Solutions
State College, PA