Preparing for the Hunt

By: Sherree Thompson

In light of me heading back into the workforce, I thought I’d share with y’all how I’m going about it. The next few posts will no doubt be some interesting writing sessions. I know that most people have their own way of seeking employment, but I may have a twist or two that might bring a tad bit of comedy to the table.

The process has actually already started. It started when I spoke the words “I’m going back to work,” out loud to a friend. That simple verbal admission made it real. Since then I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to job announcements. I’ve perused the internet for listings. I’ve looked at a few state job vacancies, skimmed over Amazon postings and even asked around a bit. It’s really an interesting world out there in the land of job-seekers. I didn’t look through all of this information to find my dream job. I looked at this to see what employers are seeking. To get a snapshot of what is in the work world. What type of minimum education employers are seeking. What the time allotment is, part-time versus fulltime. Are employers looking at all applicants or for a specific set of qualifications? And of course, pay.

So now that I have an idea of what’s out there, it’s time to start a résumé. Oh fun! I’m totally joking; this is not fun for me at all. In fact, I may find a friend to help me because this Job searchis one of my very, very weak spots. To me it’s collecting all your talents, achievements, skills wrapped up in a nice gift that you present to a complete stranger to judge. At the moment, my skills are a bit rusty, my talents are hard for me to see, and frankly I’m not even sure what achievements look like anymore. I mean in the work-world. In my best attempt to remedy the previous sentence I’ll be writing a list of them. But most importantly, I’ll be seeking help from the people that know me. They will be a jewel of information. I see a few courses in my future too. I mean, I’m still using Word 2007 for crying out loud.

Something else that I have to do to get this ball rolling is to make sure that I set time aside to do all that needs to be done. This includes, but isn’t limited to, getting up and implementing a “work” routine. For me that is showering, getting dressed (makeup and shoes), sitting down in a clean work space (my kitchen table) and having the tools I need ready to go (computer live, pen, paper, other resources.) Today was the first day I implemented this key step. Without it, I’d be vacuuming, doing the dishes and other things that “need” to be done. I’m actually sitting here with my back to the dishes from last night. I can hear them screaming at me, but this must take priority.

I know I’m not mentioning a few of the other things that I have started but I will get there. My brain is funny in how it prioritizes steps, so bare with me. If you don’t see me doing something you think I should be, chances are that I just haven’t mentioned it yet. But feel free to guide me; I need all the help I can get.

Transition

By: Sherree Thompson

SherreeWith the onset of New Year comes renewed goals and resolutions.

Our goals for our financial future, for our children’s education and of course, personal growth, cannot be met without change. For these goals to resonate, I must return to the world of employment. As you know from my last post, my son just had his fifth birthday. His birthday also marks the anniversary of me being home and out of the workforce.

I know far too well that I am not alone in the world of stay-at-home-moms. This community has been really good to me. The support I have found in them has been amazing. I also know many of them who have returned to work for a number of reasons. And that is how I am finding comfort. Knowing I am not alone when “returning to the real world” (as some have said to me) somehow brings solitude in such a nerve-wracking decision. What I didn’t know or expect is how I actually feel about being at this particular step in life. I am a freaked-out, scared, nervous wreck. I mean five years is a long time (or “A bunch” as Daisy says) to not have worked. I’m not saying that balancing the house, family, and the rest of the crazy isn’t work, because we all know it is. But to be accountable to someone that is giving me the vehicle to reach these life goals is scary. Having to be ON-TIME in itself is almost impossible for me right now. And then to function at someone else’s level of expectation and be accountable for maintaining (or surpassing) that level is major. I struggle with meeting my own expectations. Yes, I realize I said accountable twice. I felt the situation warranted the overuse of the word.

I always knew that I would go back to work. There were days I’d beg to go back. I just never expected that when the time actually came that I would feel this amount of heartbreak having to leave the children. There is worry that goes hand-in-hand with entrusting someone else to fill my shoes on a daily basis. I’ll take comfort in my mom-community. Knowing they are there giving me their trusted contacts, ways to navigate being a working mom, and just cheering me on. I take comfort in knowing I am not alone during this milestone transition and trust that God’s plan is in place.

Let’s Do This!

Get Down to the Business of Sustainability

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

When it comes to implementing sustainable solutions for the workplace, it can be a jungle out there. But it doesn’t have to be if you let the 2013 Green is Good for Business Conference be your guide. This year’s conference is designed to cut the clutter and get you down to the business of going green.

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Two Columbia-based speakers with national acclaim will keynote this year’s SC Green is Good for Business Conference on September 10 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Dr. Andrew Spicer, associate professor of international business in the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, will open the morning with Sustainability Strategies from Wal-Mart. In 2005 Wal-Mart made history when then-CEO Lee Scott announced a bold sustainability strategy that would impact every aspect of its business. Along the way, business researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Arkansas were given unprecedented access to study the process. Spicer will share his case study of the retailer and offer insights on going green in business.

WLTX-TV Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy will conclude the morning’s keynote with The Business of Climate Change. Gandy, a professional meteorologist with 37 years of experience, continues to study weather and is interested in climate change which he has studied since 2005. Looking for better ways to communicate climate change, he is working with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University and with Climate Central.

The seventh annual Green is Good for Business conference will show how workplaces of all sizes – from a large corporation to a home-based business – can become more sustainable and likely even save or make money at the same time. Business and sustainability leaders will conduct a wide range of sessions including:

  • Greening the Fleet
  • Eco-preneurship: Making Money and Making a Difference
  • Recycling: Good for the Environment, Great for the Economy
  • How Ozone Could Choke Business Growth
  • Updates from SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Thinking Outside of the Bin: Recycling Non-Traditional Materials

The conference also will provide an up-close and personal look at the latest sustainability products, services and technologies at the Green Expo, featuring more than 40 vendors. New to this year’s conference is the Propane Road Show, sponsored by Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition, where you’ll see up close and personal alternative fuel vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

Conference registration is $50 per person with a $10 per person “Green Team” discount for organizations sending three or more people. Every Woman blog readers can get an extra $10 off by entering using the promotion code LMCEW. Additional details and registration information are available at http://greenbiz13-eorg.eventbrite.com/.

The City of Columbia coordinates the SC Green is Good for Business Conference with a host of partners, including Lexington County, Richland County, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, DHEC’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling, and the SC Department of Commerce. This year’s sponsors include Pratt Industries, Sonoco Recycling, and Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA.

 

The Privilege of PACE…

By: Shannon Shull

I have discovered that our great state of South Carolina has really done something right with an amazing program called the Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE). The program has been bringing incredible educators into the public school system since 1984, and is open to professionals who have graduated from college, worked within Teacher Quotethe workforce and have a passion for teaching. But it is NO easy task to get accepted into this prestigious program. Applicants have to meet very high standards and pass certification tests. Once an applicant has met all the requirements and been accepted into the program, an applicant can be hired by any public school in South Carolina. When hired by a school, the applicant signs a three year contract, continuing to train and work toward gaining their teacher certification while teaching in the classroom. It is an incredibly intense program – a program in which I can vouch for because I have the honor of being a part of it!

There are so many of us passionate educators out there in every field you could imagine, who all share a love for teaching but never received a degree in education. So this program is a fabulous way for highly qualified people to get paid to teach as they are getting their teacher certification.

I am incredibly honored to be a PACE teacher. When I attended Winthrop University, I started out as a theatre education major, but the performance major was more attractive to the_influence_of_a_good_teacher_me at the time. In terms of scheduling, I could not fit in the theatre and dance departments with the performance that I so desired AND all the education major requirements. So, at the time, I chose the theatre and dance performance focus. After working in the entertainment business in Los Angeles for ten years, teaching privately and doing arts integration in the public schools here in South Carolina, my passion for teaching led me to the PACE program.

I recently survived the first INTENSE pre-certification training at the end of July. Two full weeks – ten days, 8am to 5pm, every day full of priceless education training. We were taught everything an incredible, willing teacher needs to know in order to be the best teacher they can be. The training was so intense, it literally felt like a college education degree crammed into two weeks. Daily assessments, assignments and lesson plans kept many of us up into the wee hours of the night. One night I was up until 2am working and then back up at 5am to get back at the work before heading to the training. The program is very strict  – and rightly so, because it will certainly weed out anyone not suited for or willing to be the best teacher they can be. Participants were scored on all assessments and assignments. I was determined to do my absolute best and am very proud to say that I achieved an almost perfect score.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

Teacher QuotesI take the role of teacher very seriously and consider it a great privilege to be in this amazing position to inspire and educate our young people. This year will mark my first full time teaching gig at a public school – I am honored to say that I am teaching drama at Chapin Middle School this year. I could not be more thrilled! And I have the SC PACE Program to thank.

For more information about PACE, check out their website: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Alt-Licensure/pace/.

Though the program is demanding and intense, South Carolina is doing its young students a great service by giving professionals with a passion for teaching the opportunity to educate within our public schools.

“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats

Teachers are true gems of society and bare a great responsibility. As I begin my journey into the world of teaching in the public schools, my respect for this priceless profession is boundless!

What Kenny Rogers Taught Me About When To “Say Uncle”

By: Roshanda Pratt

RoshandaRemember when you were a little kid wrestling with your brother or sister? If you were like me, you were probably the one in agony on the bottom while your sister tried out the new moves she learned from G.L.O.W. (Glorious Ladies of Wrestling). It never failed; my sister would have me a “Nelson hold” while I worked tirelessly to maneuver out. Unfortunately, being the smaller sibling, I had to wave the white flag and scream out, “Uncle.”  I hated admitting defeat. My sister, on the other hand, relished in it.

There is something about the idiom “say uncle” that makes one feel like a wimp or a quitter.  Why is it that women seem to have difficulty with surrender?  I blame Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” with her damsel in distress drama or maybe I should blame the bra burning movement with their mantra, “I am women hear me roar.”

Surrender, as defined in the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary, means “to yield to the power of another; to give or deliver up possession upon compulsion or demand.” Let us focus for a moment on the first definition, “to yield to the power of another.” I would interpret that to mean the one who surrenders is the one receiving the greatest benefit. Let’s consider my beginning example.  My sister had me in a half nelson choke hold. I fought for as long as I could and finally decided to “surrender” my will in order to give her some “brief” power.

In my life, I have realized that “saying uncle” does not have to be such a bad thing. I learned the art of surrender as a college student embarking on the adventure of forgiveness. I learned how to surrender when it came to marrying my college love. I learned the beauty of surrender when my face was in a toilet dealing with morning sickness with my first child.

And, as I type this, I am again screaming “uncle.” Last year, I took the plunge into business ownership, starting a media consulting business.  The first year had lots of success, but there was also failure. Recently, I was brought on as a media consultant for a new business endeavor with other professionals.  The workload has increased, but I am having a great time being able to control my own schedule.  However, at the same time my schedule was becoming hectic, forming me to work late into the night trying to meet deadlines and projects.

One night, as I struggled to write a blog post, I realized I was again on that imaginary mat, pinned to the ground but refusing to surrender.  I needed to “say uncle.” That decision came recently when I submitted my “resignation” to the Every Woman Blog. I have enjoyed what I like to call my online “diary” community for the past two years. But, as the famous song goes, “Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…” I have enjoyed this experience, the friendships I have made with fellow bloggers, and the chance to connect with all of the readers. But, I must surrender.

As I typed my resignation letter, I disliked every bit of it, but knew it needed to be done. I had been taking a gamble for a long time and I had to look at my hand and stop “bluffing” with my life. The wonderful team at the Every Woman blog was supportive about my decision and left the door open for me to guest post. I was extremely grateful because this experience has been amazing!

Life is a series of wrestling bouts where someone has to “Say Uncle.” As women, I think we have to learn how to be okay with walking away, surrendering for something better or just to gain some priority in our lives. Doing so does not mean you are quitter, it just means you are smart enough to know when something is no longer working or you are no longer giving your best!

In the words of Kenny Rogers, “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

So my dear friends, what do you need to surrender or “say uncle” to? And why have you not done it yet?

I won’t say goodbye. Instead, I will say see you soon!

The “New” Working Mom

By: Roshanda Pratt

r8 bloomShe arises at 6 a.m. to get the children ready for school. By 8:30 a.m. she is back home, preparing for a meeting with a potential client and putting in a load of laundry.  This is a brief description of the “new” working mom.  She is known as a “mompreneur.” According to Biz Online, Ellen Parlapiano and Pat Cobe, two leading authorities on women-owned businesses, coined the term back in the late 1990’s.  Entreprenuer.com defines a mompreneur as a female business owner who’s actively balancing the roles of mother and entrepreneur. According to statistics, women make up the fastest-growing segment of small business owners today.  There are many reasons why women venture into the business world.  For some, it is an opportunity to provide a better service or product than is currently available, while others want to be their own boss. For most, it is the opportunity to make more money.

As a mompreneur, my reason for leaving the traditional workforce to work from home is solely to pursue my passion and to create a legacy for my children.  My husband and I want to give our children greater opportunities or a better start in life than we ever had.  What a blessing to pass on not only generational wealth, but a business idea in which our children could further expand.  Isn’t this what Sam Walton, Truett Cathy and Jerome Monroe Smucker did?  For too long, the business world has been left up to the men.  But there is an emergence of women who are not just staying at home, but making it profitable.

However, this “new” working mom requires a considerable amount of discipline, time management and support.  For example, I work up until 30 minutes before the children get home from school. This allows me to transition my thoughts from work mode to being plain old mom. Then comes homework, dinner (which is sometimes prepared by my husband), baths and preparation for school with some goofing off in the midst of it, and then it is back to the work grind until sometimes midnight. Since I have roles both as a business owner and a mom, I must work hard at not only one job, but two. In no way am I minimizing my friends who work outside the home, in particular single mothers. In fact, let’s take a moment right now to applaud our sisters who are working hard both outside and inside the home. We celebrate YOU!

Even though I have many roles, including acting as a referee in the disputes over toys, serving as a taxi driver, reviewing additional problems while returning client phone calls, and finishing up a project or blog post, I would not trade my “work” life.  It has been a juggling act between maintaining a family life and growing my media and marketing business, but the lessons I have learned and the legacy it will create for my children is priceless.  The other day, I asked my oldest daughter, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She told me a school teacher. I asked her, instead of being a teacher why not own the school?  My daughter may not have understood at the time, but I am putting an image in her that she does not need to work in a job that already exists; she can create one. Is this not what every woman wants; a chance to create her own thing?

What do you think? Is there a difference between mothers who work from home versus those who work outside of the home?

Ro 🙂

Time After Time

By: Roshanda Pratt

I would like more time.  There, I said it.  Last month, I talked to you all about my late nights, which resulted in a lack of sleep. I need more time.  No, actually I need to prioritize.  I have gotten better at getting to bed before the start of the next day. However, I need to be a better steward of my time – between dropping kids off, working from home, picking kids up, supervising homework, making dinner, going to bible study, and the list goes on and on and on.  I have recently decided I am going to make my days and my time count! How about you?

I have started by making time for my family.  In our busy-ness, we sometimes forget the people that matter the most.  In our home we always have Friday nights as “Family Fun Night.”  We have three young children: 2, 4, and 6 years old.  As you can imagine, when we first started family night, it sometimes ended in complete disaster: sibling squabbles, crying, and me saying to my husband, “We are not doing that AGAIN!”  But we stuck it out, and I can say my children look forward to it now, so much so we have added another day.

I am a big fan of creating memories with my family.  Children grow up fast!  Have you discovered that?  Some of our favorite family memories have been putting a puzzle together, tag at the park, playing the matching game, and eating out at our favorite restaurant.  I am so serious about family time, I have made a rule that I do not speak to clients on those two days.  Time is a precious and valuable commodity.  Years from now, you won’t want to look back and see that you wasted you precious time, so spend it with those who you love.  Make it a point to prioritize your time.  Time is a gift, so make sure you give it to the right people.

Here are some “Family Friendly” ideas. You can get the complete list at Discover Fun.  Have you tried any of these? Let us know what you do with your family!

  • Attack a household chore as a team – then go out to celebrate!
  • Build a fort with pillows from the couch
  • Have a backyard vacation
  • Make up a funky dance with your children
  • Play miniature golf
  • Have a cooking or baking party
  • Get some old magazines and glue to put together a collage of your dreams
  • Make vacation plans for somewhere outrageous. Then work as a family to cut down on expenses and save money so you can actually go!
  • Set up an “Olympic Games” obstacle course in the backyard
  • Create a family “workout routine”
  • Go camping or fishing – or both
  • Do charity work together