Inflexible Flexibility: What Happens When Dad Gets on the Mommy Track

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due with our first in about four months, so I though now would be a good time to talk to my employer about taking time off under the Family Leave Act and possibly making some more permanent changes to my schedule so I can be a more hands-on dad. I mentioned this to a friend who used to work with me, and he warned me to be very careful. He said that after he took paternity leave, he was passed over for a promotion and got a smaller bonus. He eventually quit. I find that hard to believe, but he insists it’s true. Are companies really allowed to do that?

A: Theoretically, no. Under the Federal version of Family and Medical Leave Act, your job is protected and your employer isn’t allowed to penalize you in any way. (Some states have their own Family Leave programs and the rules may be different, so I encourage you to look into both very carefully.) Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a big disconnect between what companies are allowed to do what they actually do. And even if the company itself does everything exactly by the book, individuals within the company—meaning your managers and coworkers—can always find a way to skirt the law.
[Read more...]

Don’t Be the Parent You Hate

Deborah Gilboa, author of Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate.
Topic:
A guild to what works and what doesn’t–and why not.
Issues: The three essential Rs of parenting: respect, responsibility, and responsibility; how to avoid being the parent you hate; learning to say No and not regretting it later; rights vs. privileges; the importance of consistency in parenting.

Drunk Mom + What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why

Jowita Bydlowska, author of Drunk Mom.
Topic:
A brutally honest memoir of motherhood in the shadow of alcoholism.
Issues: The inward and outward struggles of someone battling addiction; the anxieties that characterize life with a new baby and saying goodbye to a childless lifestyle; concealing alcoholism–and relapse–from friends and family; lies, deceptions, and betrayals; finally, the transformative power of love and the triumph over debilitating dependence.

Deborah Gilboa, author of Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate.
Topic:
A guild to what works and what doesn’t–and why not.
Issues: The three essential Rs of parenting: respect, responsibility, and responsibility; how to avoid being the parent you hate; learning to say No and not regretting it later; rights vs. privileges; the importance of consistency in parenting.

How To Get Hired Outside Your Major

In college, you had no trouble selecting a major that interested you, and after graduation you were fortunate to find a well-paying job that related directly to your degree. Now, several years later, you are ready for a career change, but you are understandably unsure if you can find a new job outside of your area of expertise.

Take heart—as Career Advice notes, by following some tips and advice, it is very possible to land a plum position in an industry that is outside of your college major. For example, consider the following:

Get Experience Through an Internship

For people who are considering switching to a new career, try getting some on-the-job experience prior to sending out applications. For example, if you are currently employed in the financial industry but dream of working in an IT department, see if you can land an evening internship at a local technology company. If you aren’t sure where to look, Internships.com helps place people in almost 80,000 internship positions with over 56,000 companies. Interning in your desired new field will not only help you land a future job, it can also show you quite clearly if this career is right for you.

Gain Knowledge Through Education

Depending on what new career you want to pursue, it might be prudent to take some classes to learn more about the industry and the skills needed to succeed. If you are unsure how you can balance your current job with classes, an online school might be your best option as you can complete classes at night or on the weekends. College Online is one of many resources that can connect you with over 100 online schools and 2,000-plus degrees, which will help you choose a program suited to your needs.

Take Stock of Your Skills

As you prepare to interview for a new job, remember that you are far more than your degree. Make a list of all of your strengths and skills that go far beyond your job title or what it says on your diploma, notes Career Realism. For example, if you majored in telecommunications and film and currently work for a television station, you probably have interviewed and trained new people, organized staff events, learned new computer programs and given presentations about industry-related topics. These skills are sure to impress future employers, and show that you have experience that goes far beyond your college major.

An honest assessment of your many skills should also come into play when composing your new resume. Focus on creating a skills-based resume rather than an education-based resume, explains Investopedia. To do this, start by listing the tasks you have learned and been responsible for at work, and then note how you completed these responsibilities. This will show future employers that you have an abundance of problem-solving and organizational skills.

Understand That You May Be a Small Fish Again

You might be the head of the math department at your local high school, but if you want to change careers, you should be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up again. In other words, be willing to swallow your pride—at least a bit—and remind yourself that you will need time and experience in your new career to be successful. This positive, can-do attitude is sure to impress potential employers during the job interview process.

Clinging to Summer

The days may be getting shorter and the nights a little cooler, but we’re not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. Here are some great activities that can help your family make the most of every minute between now and the day school starts.

Disc-MasterDisc Master (Ideal)
Combine a friendly game of Frisbee (aka disc) with the more precision-oriented golf, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Disc Master is all about. You start by designing your own nine “hole” course using the goal (which looks a little like a basketball basket mounted on a short tripod). Just like with golf, you make a series of shots that bring you closer and closer to the target. The player with the lowest number of throws wins. The package includes one very sturdily built target, two discs, nine flags, and a storage bag. All you need is a couple of acres of open space. Ages 8 and up. Retails for around $75 on Amazon. http://poof-slinky.com/

pro gold flag footballPro Gold Flag Football Set (POOF-Slinky)
Golf is a pretty laid-back kind of game, so if you’re looking for something a little more energetic, this flag football set is for you. The rules are the same as regular football (the American kind), but instead of bone-crushing, concussion-inducing tackles, the defense stops the player with the ball by yanking one of the flags clipped to his or her waist. It’s a really fun way for everyone in the family—boys and girls—to work up a sweat, work as a team, and develop throwing and catching skills. Comes with everything you need for a 4-on-4 game (one foam football and two different-colored sets of eight flags (two per player)).  For ages 5 and up. Retails for around $20. http://poof-slinky.com/

bizainy lemonade standLemonade Stand Start-Up Kit (Bizainy)
The vast majority of people who play sports will never make it to the pros. So you’ve got to have a backup plan. And what could be better than running your own business—especially one that can cash in on all those sweaty athletes? The Bizainy (a combination of “business” and “brainy”) Lemonade Stand Kit is a smart, creative way of teaching kids about business and money management in the most effective way possible: by putting them in charge of their own enterprise. Kids can learn about budgeting, marketing strategy, attracting customers, negotiating rates, closing the sale, and calculating profits. Those are all skills that will come in handy as they move toward independence. If this one isn’t your cup of, well, lemonade, Bizainy also has Charity Bake Sale and Babysitting kits. For kids 5 and up (adult supervision suggested). $30. http://www.bizainy.com/

zoku-slush-maker-+-art-of-slush-bookZoku Slush and Shake Maker (Zoku)
Make your own slushies, milkshakes, and smoothies without leaving home. Put the core of the Slush Maker into your freezer at least eight hours in advance. Then, just whip up your ingredients, pour them into the frozen core, and you and the kids can be drinking virgin daiquiris on the porch in about 10 minutes. The Zoku is sleek, colorful, and BPA/phthalate free. Zoku also publishes a beautifully photographed, 96-page book, The Art of Slush, which is packed with dozens of delicious sounding recipes, including blood orange mojito and purple antioxidant berry slushes, pistachio cardamom milkshake, and espresso vodka dark chocolate smoothie (to enjoy after the kids go to bed). Kids of any age can pour the liquid into the core, but an adult should be involved in the actual blending phase. The Zoku and the book each retail for about $20 at http://www.zokuhome.com/