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  • I'm a new mom, and I am feeling a lot of pressure to attend an "optional" holiday team dinner. I will not be allowed to have my cell phone on me. My DH will most likely be working late due to year-end preparations at his company, and my MIL has never watched my baby for that long. She also doesn't speak English, so if she calls the restaurant for an emergency, I'm worried it won't get to me. I am extremely uncomfortable attending this dinner, but feel that if I do not attend, there will be backlash. What do I do?

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    Tags: Career advice, Management issues, Work-life balance
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    If it wasn't for the fact that you state that you will not be allowed to have your phone on you, I might have asked questions about the nature of the "pressure" that you feel. I find the inappropriate use of cell phones in social situations rude myself, but your purpose for having and monitoring your phone is not inappropriate. It seems odd that you cannot ask for an exception to have your phone in your pocket on "silent" mode in case of emergencies.

    I don't what the nature of the pressure is that you feel - I would simply offer that in my 40 year career I have seem a number of women lose out on important opportunities because they don't pay attention to the informal side of working relationships - unfortunately building this side of the relationship often happens after working hours.

    There are some great suggestions of ways to attend this event listed above. If there is any way to attend, I would try to do so if you view this role as part of your career and not "just a job".

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    Here are a few ideas: 1. Can you take a half day off of work on the day of the dinner? This way you can spend time with your baby, and your MIL won't be there any longer than usual. 2. Your husband may need to work that night, but it doesn't sound like that's set in stone - can he reorganize things so that he can be at home? Perhaps he goes in early a couple days that week? 3. Can your husband arrange to be your MIL's emergency contact during the dinner? (I assume he would have cell access). This alleviates the language barrier issues. 4. Is there someone at work (another working mom, a mentor, HR representative) who you could talk to about the "backlash" piece? Maybe they would have some insights. 5. This may be more trouble than it's worth, but is there another babysitter who could relieve your MIL at around the time she is normally done watching the baby? This may also help with the language barrier issue. Best of luck!!

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    If you don't want to go, then don't! Unless skipping will cost you your job, just say you have an infant, you can't attend, and leave it at that. As a new myself I've been learning to do this too and I'm not even making up lies anymore. I've found many women who soften as soon as I say I'm a new mom- they've been there too and understand!

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    I remember well this feeling of anxiety about leaving my baby! Most of the time it all goes well with no problems, as I'm sure others with kids will tell you! That (I know!) doesn't make it any easier to leave your little one at home. I am curious about not being allowed to have your cell phone. If you explain to the organizer that you have a new baby at home, would they really deny you having your phone with you? If so, can you go to the dinner for a short time, only the minimum to make an appearance, say hi to the boss, and then leave? If you can't bring your phone, you can talk to the restaurant manager and explain the situation, enlist her/his help in making sure you are alerted if your MIL calls. Also, you can step out every 30 min or so to "use the bathroom" and call your MIL to be sure everything is ok.

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    If you feel that uncomfortable, maybe you should listen to your gut. Why do you think there's going to be a backlash? If it's optional and called optional, there must be a reason. What if you simply were out of town for the holidays early or your baby got sick? A little white lie here and there never hurts...I remember feeling really anxious when leaving my newborn and it's totally normal. I don't think you need to beat yourself up for it but I also don't think anyone at work needs to know it's because you feel anxious.

  • I work in a small company with 43 employees. I supervise a team of 3, our section is responsible for conducting testing on components used in consumer products. A few months ago it came to my attention that one of them was falsifying test reports. I notified my boss and a meeting was scheduled with the employee, rep of her choice, my boss, HR person and myself.

    At the meeting the employee opted to bring a friend from another department. I attempted to provide a summary of the matter when asked by my boss. I say attempt because I was continuously interrupted by the "friend" and the employee with comments that I was jealous of the employee, stupid and that they were tired/bored listening to my attempts to present the summary. My boss and HR stayed silent during all of this.

    After the meeting my boss and HR person said they would deliberate. A week later I was informed that no action would be taken against the employee. I have multiple issues now.

    I feel like the work I am doing has no meaning if someone can get away with falsifying reports (I know it is not rocket science but I don't consider ensuring consumers get quality products to be nothing). The employee and her friend giggle in my presence and make reference to her "getting away with it", I really want nothing to do with her anymore but am still her supervisor. My boss tells me that he does not have confidence in the employee's capabilities and would like me to "get her up to scratch", this is the same employee that stated how stupid I was. So while I had to train her for the position and evaluate her performance I am too stupid at some points (disciplinary role) but am suddenly competent when it comes to getting her up to scratch. I feel used by my boss and get really upset when this employee asks me for help (if I am so stupid, she should not need my help).

    Finally I feel very disillusioned by my boss and the HR rep who at no time attempted to bring order to the proceedings. When I voiced this disappointment to my boss he advised me that he was "sorry" but that these sort of things get nasty. He said if such an incident arose in the future he would do better but in the mean time I need to get over it.

    I now supervise an employee I don't trust and a boss for whom I no longer have any respect. My boss says he wants more comraderie in my section (but I just don't see how I can have a positive relationship with this employee).

    Any advice.? Am I overacting like my boss says? Do I just need to buck up and get over this? How do I deal with these issues with the employee and my boss?

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    Tags: Management issues, Other, Women in tech
  • In my experience, in harassment situations, I've found that HR is unhelpful or even sometimes complicit. What should someone do in this circumstance?

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    Tags: Discrimination, Inappropriate situation, Sexual harassment
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    I would talk to people in HR and see if you can find someone who has your back. I only submitted a problem to HR once, and in that circumstance I got one person working with me, and one working against. If I hadn't had that person on my side, a pretty horrific case would have been swept under the rug.

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    I agree. There is a tendency to protect the harasser.
    In my male dominated industry (energy, oil and gas) it is common that the woman will lose opportunities to progress her career as she has demonstrated that she cannot "play with the boys". It is common that the woman will be moved to a different department, or offered to move. This is wrong, the one who should have the consequences or even get fired is the harasser.

  • Hi everyone,

    I graduated from Grad School in May 2016 - although I have a job as a Business Analyst, my role is basically that of a Data/Business Reporting Analyst and I feel under-paid, which is $20/hr - I have a total of about 7-8 years of experience spanning, Software development, web administration, Database Development, Data Analysis and Business Analysis - although not all in the US.

    So I am trying to get a new job but I have a few concerns:

    1. I am not a US citizen or Permanent Resident but I am legally authorized to work for any employer in the US
    2. I am pregnant - 6 months gone now and showing
    3. My current salary is really low

    There is nothing I can do about the first concern , the second one - Am I to let the employer know I am pregnant? Do I wait till I put to bed? but I really need to change my job. Then lastly, My salary - is it OK to put in my true current salary when filling job application forms or during interviews?

    Thank you all for your response.

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    Tags: Interview, Job search, Salary negotiation
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    I think if you're showing already then you're probably not going to be able to hide it so you have to let your prospective employer know....but it will probably become obvious when you physically interview. I don't see why you need to mention it before your in-person interview however. Re salary, I would just avoid putting it in the job application if you can skip it. You don't have to answer the question and can instead frame it as how much you expect to earn.

  • It is better not to share. However you would like to find out the work environment and don't want to get into a place where you have to put crazy hours. You can mention that you are looking for a family friendly environment, not in the first interview though.

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    Tags: Interview
  • Wired has posted a call for stories of sexual harassment - thought some people might be interested "https://www.wired.com/2016/10/share-stories-sexual-harassment/"

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  • Hi, I am starting a new job shortly as Head of Marketing for a tech company. The logical part of my brain knows that they believe I can do the job or they wouldn't have made the offer but another part of me is gripped by imposter syndrome and feel out of my depth. Do any of you have some advice on how to overcome imposter syndrome?

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    Tags: Career advice, Women in tech
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    I am a fan of listening a lot when you start a new job - whether you are out of your depth or not (and I bet you are not!!). When I got a recent promotion, I went on a "listening tour" within our company to invite folks to help me get oriented and share thoughts and ideas for how to be successful in my new role. Listening doesn't cost you anything and you can still have your own opinions and ideas, but it helps folks know you are open to collaborating and hearing from everyone. Folks like new colleagues that want to learn what's been going on, what has worked, what is needed, etc. You don't have to position yourself as having all the answers. By asking questions and really listening, folks will see that you aren't just there to do things "your way" and you will learn. It is truly one of the most underutilized leadership skills: Listening.

    Bravo on your new job - you will no doubt be wonderful!

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    Congratulations for landing the new job! How great to be starting a new adventure. Here are some suggestions.

    First of all, the company knows what you bring to the party so to speak when they hired you. If they thought you were unable to do a great job, they would never have hired you.

    Secondly, if a person is 100% qualified, then there's no room for growth. My former manager who was the VP of HR told me once that when a person is 85% qualified for a job, move them on. Why? because they will get bored and perhaps under-perform. This just reinforces the fact that your new manager knows that you are 100% capable and have room for growth.

    Thirdly, men will apply for jobs for which they are 65-75% qualified (in general) and yet they rarely suffer from imposter syndrome. So, ask yourself why you're feeling insecure. Write the reasons down and objectively look at them. Then, counter them with examples of your experiences and/or background. This is an interesting technique for focusing on your strengths vs. what you perceive your deficits. Self-limiting stories are deadly.

    There is always a ramp-up time when you're learning about a new company, product, industry, team members, your "internal go-to-people", and your manager. This information gathering phase is part of the process vs. a reflection on your competence. Many, many people doubt their competence at this point so you're in good company. Just remember has nothing to do with that as much as it has to do with building a new knowledge base. And, if you were unqualified, you would never have been hired!

    Last, but not least, find yourself a mentor and/or buddy who does comparative activities. Use them as a resource when you come across a problem. Or, do some research to find the answer to your challenge -- the Internet has an answer to everything!

    You'll do great!

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    Whatever you do, don't lose sight of your team (the people who report to you). If you feel unsure of yourself, they'll feel unsure of you. Lift them up and make them feel empowered and you might start to feel the same way.

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    First of all -- CONGRATULATIONS!

    I personally believe in "faking it until you make it" really can work. There are also some practical, confidence hacks out there -- have you heard of Amy Cuddy and her Ted Talk about confidence? "https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en"

    Definitely worth checking out for practical advice and inspiration for the kind of challenge you're talking about....

    Of course you can try to get some career / executive coaching if you want to talk to someone more in depth. But the bottom line is that it takes time to get over that feeling and it's doubtful any one thing will just turn the switch off which is why I love the Amy Cuddy approach.

  • I've been working in a business development role that involves a lot of nights out with clients. But now I'm pregnant and I'm afraid that I won't be able to - or want - to be out entertaining clients at night once the baby comes. Do I need to find a different job? What have others in my situation done?

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    Tags: Career advice, Pregnancy at Work, Wealth Management
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    I think you shouldn't worry too much in advance -- different women experience different things after a baby is born. Unless you an interview now, I think it's just a waste of emotional energy...see how you feel after maternity leave before deciding to make a move.

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    You can certainly still continue to go out for a meal and have a fizzy water! I am sure that you will be excused as tummy gets bigger that you are not able to stay as late as you normally would and people will understand completely but appreciate the gesture that you made the effort to come. I think as women, we do over analyse the situation sometimes and make it an issue when it doesn't have to be. Enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy the dinner out paid by work and your clients/colleagues. Once baby is out, it's a different adventure indeed that those nights you were out, you'd appreciate them for what they were.

  • Any advice on ways to depart from my workplace before maternity leave? I want to leave on a good note.

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    Tags: Maternity leave, Pregnancy at Work
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    Do you have someone stepping in for you? Leave them some notes about project that are in the works, or other oddball situations that may come up. Ask that person what they need from you, and finish what you can. You have bigger fish to fry, and they will survive without you!

  • Pumping at work. All my office has to offer is a small closet with a task chair thrown in there for nursing mothers. Has anyone else experienced a similar situation and how did you handle it?

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    Tags: Pumping At Work
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    I have! When I started at my office, the pumping room was a shared space with a shower and toiletry shelf for women who worked out before work or at lunch. It was NASTY. I'm talking people would leave hair brushes covered in hair and curling irons out. Tons of dried hair spray every where. Toothbrush without a cover, and extremely dim lighting because the bulb burnt out and no one bothered to fix it. It never appeared like it was cleaned on a regular basis. It was also right off of the bathroom so I could hear/smell people when they'd use it. I spoke to HR and when she reached a dead end, I involved the office manager and even the janitor! Fortunately all three were moms themselves and became very passionate about my cause. I'd recommend using your internal network to try and start the discussion. Google photos of nursing rooms and show them examples from other companies. Remind your HR group or your boss (if you have that kind of relationship) about the laws in your state. Talk to other moms in your office. There were 2 others pumping at the same time as me and one pregnant woman who planned to pump - we were louder in numbers! Good luck :)

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    I was expected to use my office (because it has a door), but it also has windows (to the hallway, and outside). I brought curtains to cover the windows and made the best of it. i could have requested a space, but it would have been similar to your situation, so I just made my office more comfortable. If your office is not very big, or there are not many (any) other nursing mothers, I would try to make the space more comfortable. If there is a manager or decision maker you are comfortable with, I would recommend going to them to at least ask for a more comfortable chair.

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