Four best jobs for work life balance

More workers are looking for work life balance than ever before. These four jobs are the best for maintaining the peace of mind that comes with good work life balance.

  • Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor

More and more Americans want better work-life balance. In the U.S., 57% of full-time employees indicate that their spouse or partner works 35 hours or more a week, too.

However, no other group craves a better work-life balance more than millennials. While 78% of full-time working millennials have a spouse or partner also working full-time, only 47% of full-time working baby boomers and 68% of Gen X experience this scenario. With two full-time working parents, quality couple time, family time and “me time” are becoming more and more scarce.

If your employer doesn’t sympathize with your desire for a more flexible arrangement, it may be the time to switch jobs. To help you escape the rat race, here are the four best jobs for work-life balance.

Recommended: Fifteen best entry-level jobs of 2015

1. Data Scientist

According to Glasdoor’s 2015 list of best jobs for work-life balance, the role of data scientist provides the best work-life balance. With an average 4.2 rating out of a possible 5.0, data scientist took the top spot in work-life balance across users of the recruiting site over the past year.

If you keep on hearing everywhere about the “power of big data,” this is what it’s all about. A data scientist uses the power of algorithms to process large amounts of data and use those findings to make recommendations that drive customer engagement and monetization. You’ll have to be comfortable working with monster spreadsheets and databases (think millions of rows and several terabytes), develop mad SQL and SAS skills, and keep up with the latest data mining tools and techniques.

Companies well-known for providing great perks and flexible schedules, including Facebook and Google, are hiring data scientists. With an average salary of $114,808 (according to Glassdoor), data scientist is one attractive career to look for.

2. Web Developer

U.S. News maintains a list of 100 best jobs in the nation. The list uses seven criteria, including 10-year growth volume, employment rate, and work-life balance, to rank the jobs. While U.S. News gave the dentist occupation the top spot in its list of best jobs, a closer look to the job satisfaction reviews shows that the web developer occupation provides better work-life balance.

According to U.S. News, web developers tend to have above average upward mobility, below average stress level, and high flexibility. Interviewed employers indicate that often their web developers don’t have to punch a clock. “We set deadlines, and as long as they get their work done, we’re flexible with hours.” two employers said to U.S. News.

The median annual salary of a web developer was $63,160 in 2013, with individuals earning between $33,320 and $110,350.

3. Tutor

In a study from Ernst & Young, respondents pointed out that the option to telecommute(working from another location other than the office or client site) is an important flexibility issue. In the same survey, millennials are more likely to say it’s important to be able to telecommute one to two days a week.

Tutoring enables individuals looking to telecommute as much as possible to really own their schedule. For example, since 2006 I have been tutoring business professionals to prepare for the GMAT, a standardized admission test used by most MBA programs around the world. I have been able to consistently tutor students first in Mexico and now in the United States. Currently, I work with Kaplan, a test prep company, and I’m able to teach students in person and online on my own schedule. (See also: The 3 Best Jobs for Expats and Travelers)

With the advent of several online tutoring sites, such as Tutor.com, Skillshare, and Wyzant, you’re not limited to your geographic area and can find students across the world. Some sites, such as Tutor.com, require you to commit to tutor at least five hours per week. However, you decide when those hours happen.

Having the ability to do their job in any country is key for millennials as 38% of them would make the sacrifice to move a country with better parental leave benefits.

4. Talent Acquisition Specialist

Ranking third on Glassdoor’s list, the talent acquisition specialist has a rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 in work-life balance satisfaction. Also known as recruiters or human resources (HR) specialists, talent acquisition specialists are in charge of finding, screening, interviewing, and recommending the best candidates for a job opening. One key requirement for talent acquisition specialists is people skills. If you can’t get along with different people in different settings, then this may not be the field for you.

While Glassdoor says that the average salary for this position is $63,504, U.S. News puts the median salary at $56,850. One of the main advantages of this occupation is stability, given that employment in this field is expected to balloon 15.5% from 2012 to 2022.

To some, it may come off as a surprise that respondents to the Glassdoor survey gave such a high rating to the work-life balance satisfaction of this job. However, those critics should keep in mind the following points:

  • Like web developers, talent acquisition specialists have to meet deadlines and have flexibility as long as they can hit their numbers.
  • Like tutors, talent acquisition specialists can leverage the web and their cellphone to do the bulk of the work remotely. With cloud-based HR software becoming the industry norm, a recruiter can do her work as long as she has an Internet connection.
  • Depending on their field of specialization, HR specialists have different hours and hiring seasons. Many recruiters welcome the break of pace and opt to work only during hiring seasons or on a part-time basis.

 

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Your Name Affects Your Opportunities In Life

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

People tend to stop caring about their names once they get past certain life landmarks: getting teased for an unfortunate last name in high school, agonizing over a nickname in college, wondering if a spouse should change their name. After all, it’s just a name. Right? Wrong. Psychological studies have proved, time after time, that our names have a real impact on our fiscal, educational, and personal success.

Which is what makes the recent trend of bizarre baby names even more confusing. Many European surnames evolved from occupations — Glover, Baker, Smith, Abbot, Draper — and the plethora of first names that now exist is actually a pretty modern phenomenon; according to a BBC report, until 1800, 50 percent of all men in England shared the same four first names. You were most likely named after your parent, or a common saint. Looking to celebrities and book characters for inspiration is a very modern preoccupation, as is wanting your kid to be “different”. As we’ll discover, for some kids, that can actually backfire pretty badly, with far-reaching consequences for future education and success. You’ve got to be wise when you’re naming your kid.

As somebody who’s named her cat Eglantine (after Angela Lansbury’s dignified but clumsy character in Bedknobs & Broomsticks), I’m not one to talk. But at least Eglantine won’t have to navigate preschool, college acceptance, resumes, or changing her maiden name. What’s in a name? As it turns out, rather a lot.

1. You Earn More If Your Name Is Shorter

A large quantity of research has gone into what many adults worry about: is their name holding them back from professional success? According to a survey done by an online job search site, perhaps. The top-earning names for men among the site’s six million members were Tom, Rob, Dale, Doug, and Wayne, while top-earning women were called Lynn, Melissa, Cathy, Dana, and Christine. Seeing a pattern? Shorter — albeit, “whiter” names, which we’ll get to in a second — seem to be the key to a successful career. Five letters, in fact, was the optimal length.

Forbes, which analyzed the study, pointed out that the most common names among “C-level executives” (that is, CEOs, CFOs, CTOs and other big guns at the very top of any company ladder) were names like Lawrence, Marc, Denise, Cindy, and Sarah. Commonality didn’t guarantee you a top-level salary, though; having an easy-to-pronounce, familiarly short name did. Part of this may be that shorter names are seen as more sociable, because we as humans like easily understandable bits of information. It could also be that giving yourself a nickname makes you seem more “human” and less Christian Grey.

If you think this is nonsense, the study even put it in cold hard cash: every extra letter a C-level executive had in their name above the five-letter “ideal” cost them $3,600 in earnings per year.

2. A “White” Name Is More Employable Than A “Black” One

This famous but seriously upsetting bit of information comes courtesy of a 2003 study that demonstrated just how much harder it is in America to get employed with a so-called “ethnic” name. The study, “Are Emily And Greg More Employable Than Lakisha And Jamal?”, sent out resumes in response to Wanted ads in Boston and Chicago. The resumes either had a stereotypically “white” name or a stereotypically “black” one, and were of either respectable quality or high quality (you know, sterling references, lots of experience, the things that make a resume shine). The results were pretty sobering.

“White” names received 50 percent more callbacks for interviews than “black” names, and even if “black” names were attached to the really stellar resumes, they still received a seriously low level of interest. “White” names on the awesome resumes, however, got a 30 percent jump in callbacks. The scientists pointed out that having a “white” name equated to having eight more years of experience on your CV.

In case you were wondering if things have changed since 2003, a 2014 research paper found that employers are just as racially discriminatory now as they were then. It’s a seriously unfair world, and white privilege and racism are very real.

3. An Easy-To-Pronounce Name May Get You More Promotions

A 2011 study found something interesting: if your name’s easy to pronounce, it may help you get ahead. And that applies to both first names and surnames. Apparently we form more “positive” impressions of words that we can pronounce and process easily; our brain rewards the name for being easy as opposed to driving us slightly nuts.

The study pointed out that even drugs with simpler names are seen as safer and more effective than ones with complex names. The scientists did experiments with name association that proved that people “like” shorter names better in others — and found that people with easy-to-pronounce surnames tend to have higher-up jobs in law firms.

4. A Last Name At The Beginning Of The Alphabet Might Help You Get Into College

There’s a caveat on this one: it was done in the Czech Republic, where names obviously differ in some significant ways from America, complete with cultural associations. But a study, done in 2007, found that if your last name is at the beginning of the alphabet, you’re more likely to be accepted into both application-only high schools and into college.

It’s likely this is because, in some places, applications are processed alphabetically, and that quotas are filled early on, leaving spaces few as the alphabet progresses. Of course, this depends on how your college processes applications, so don’t count on it helping you out.

5. Highly-Gendered Names Influence How You Do In School

It seems that social expectations of gender actually have a predictive role in how a kid behaves, at least when it comes to their name. According toresearch by Northwestern University reported by TIME, linguistically “feminine” and “masculine” names actually may predict a girl’s interest in more male-dominated subjects like math and science. Studies of twins showed that girls with less girly names were more inclined to stick with STEM subjects.

And there’s a flip-side, too. The studies also showed that boys with stereotypically “feminine” names, like Ashley or Courtney, often exhibited significant behavioral problems in middle school, likely in response to bullying. Poor kids.

6. Keeping Your Maiden Name May Earn You More

In an interesting revelation from 2011, a Dutch study revealed that people assess women who keep their maiden names as smarter and more career-focused than those who don’t. Part of this is likely the result of social change and evolved expectation: there’s a clear statistical link between high levels of education, marrying later in life, and the practice of keeping maiden names.

So it could just be a case of (albeit highly-problematic) connect-the-dots. But the research also found something more concrete: women who hadn’t changed their names earned higher salaries overall, often by up to $6,000 more a year. It seems that public perception about maiden names may be keeping married women who remove theirs from reaching their full earning potential.

7. Using Your Middle Initial Makes People Think You’re More Intelligent

If you’ve ever read an academic paper by “Professor A. E. X. Whatever” and wondered why they felt the need to cram every little initial into their title, there may be an answer in public perception. The practice in academia often comes from an attempt to distinguish your name from similar ones, butresearch in the European Journal of Social Psychology has revealed that using the initials of your middle name actually makes people think you’re smarter.

People rated essays as better-written and more intelligent if the writer was given a middle initial, or three. I didn’t know this before I started to go by my initials, but I’m pretty damn glad I did now.

Images: Evelyn Giggles/Flickr, Giphy, QuickMeme

Work email is making us a ‘generation of idiots’. Time to switch off

Einstein warned that technology could surpass human interaction. It’s happening, and workplaces have to step in when employees can’t kick the habit
An older man on holiday using his phone
‘Accessing their work email in the evening or while on holiday can have a hugely negative impact on quality of life.’ Photograph: Alamy

Social media damaging our work-life balance – that was the subject of the talk I gave to the British Psychological Society in Liverpool a few weeks ago. My topic was “mental capital and wellbeing at work”: the need for people to have control or autonomy in the job; to be managed by praise and reward rather than fault-finding; to have manageable workloads and achievable deadlines; and, most importantly, to have some balance in their lives.

I highlighted research that showed that consistently working long hours was having a damaging effect on the health of workers, their family life and their productivity. I mentioned that the work-life balance of most people was made worse by emails, by the unending electronic overload experienced by many of us, day in, day out. Smartphones and tablets mean that people who access their emails in the evening and on holidays – when families should be spending time together without work interference – were potentially damaging their health and productivity. And although my comments on emails represented only a few minutes of my one-hour presentation, the audience overwhelmingly picked up on the issue, and so did the press.

Email and social media have served a very important purpose in the workplace, and have been an enabler in communications and virtual work relationships. The downsides, however, now outweigh the benefits, and these include: unmanageable workloads (when faced with an excessive email inbox), the loss of face-to-face relationships with colleagues; and the misuse of emails to avoid having face-to-face discussions about difficult work-related issues. As Einstein once wrote: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction, the world will then have a generation of idiots.”

The adverse consequences extend beyond the workplace and into employees’ homes, as communication technologies encourage people to access their work well into the evenings and holidays. This can have a hugely negative impact on quality of life. How often have we seen families out for dinner where parents (and children) are looking at their mobiles for text messages or emails rather than listening to one another? How often have working parents come home to access emails on their smartphones at dinner or when the family is spending time together? Can this lack of communication within the family create problems that have a negative spillover effect into the workplace?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating dumping emails or texting, but suggesting that we all must begin to manage this technology, rather than let it manage us. Employers should be encouraging their employees, as some are currently doing, to avoid accessing emails at night or during their holidays, unless absolutely necessary. They should provide guidelines to employees on how to minimise overload on others (for example, cc-ing only if others are directly involved in the issue); avoiding sending emails to colleagues in the same building – thereby encouraging face-to-face interactions; and ensuring that anybody sending an email should let the receiver know how important their response is, and by when their response is required.

Some firms – whose employees are not listening and are continuing to overload themselves and others – are shutting down the servers at night. I don’t advocate this, but a strong message has to be given if our businesses are to be more healthy and more productive. As John Ruskin, the social reformer, wrote in 1851: “In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it, and they must have a sense of success in it.”

What “Where’s Waldo” Can Teach Us About Finding The Right Opportunity

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Does anyone else feel that when an opportunity presents itself, you’d be a fool not to take it? That it would be a “resume booster” and an experience that could be beneficial to your overall self rather than detrimental?

Lately, opportunities have been coming at us at every angle (you might argue that’s such a great thing!)–a part-time job here, graduate school student over there, oh wait, there’s another part-time job over here too selling cricket protein bars, another opportunity to be apart of a huge app launch, a facilitator at TEDxNewYorkSalon, a summer full-time position at a major banking company, and who knows what tomorrow will bring–but it’s when we were sitting in Washington Square Park that we realized we are all over the darn map!

For some reason, we thought of “Where’s Waldo.”

Maybe it’s because the nature of Washington Square Park on a sunny-80-degrees day is reminiscent of those old school Waldo games we played as a kid…hundreds of people, activities all around, objects, trumpet players, street performers, trees, even some brave souls taking a dip inside the fountain, yet ONE Waldo. It got us thinking…

When we are not focused and disciplined on doing one thing at a time like solely concentrating on finding Waldo, we don’t have our “eye on the prize” and are blinded at seeing what we really need to see. This leads to distractions, to confusions, and to overwhelming feelings–all of which we’ve been going through these past few months.

Things are just not going the way we want them to go. We’re not where we want to be. In fact, we are so frustrated thinking about ways to grow Renaissance Swag that we are looking at every opportunity that comes our way as the ah-ha! opportunity that gets us off the ground. We’re unfocused. But the Universe has a funny way of working, you just have to be open enough to see it. You have to follow the signs and listen to your intuition.

So there we were, sitting on a bench (one of our favorite places to be), overlooking the fountain and arch, listening to this young lad play the guitar to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,”  and two people approach us, with a sign in hand saying “Made with Love” and a container filled with some baked goods.

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“Do you have a minute,” they asked. We looked at each other, sighed a small sigh thinking, “How do we always get suckered into these raffle/fundraisers(!),” but we said, “Yeah, whatya got…” Well, let’s just say, twenty minutes later, we looked at each other again after they had walked away, this time with a smile on our face, thinking we just got “God winked,” as we like to call it or you could even say, “Waldoed.”

Their story about traveling the world for 8-months from places like Croatia, Norway, Sweden Egypt, and Italy to find homemade recipes “Made with Love” of all cultures was so inspirational, let alone mouth watering! You could see the love in their personality and the passion in their voice, so much that we recognized we had lost a bit of that sparkle ourselves.  Comparing ourselves to others and trying to echo the top players in the blogging world are certainly big reasons why we feel our sparkle is fading. So it was refreshing to listen to both Leila and Anthony tell us their stories.

So here’s the scoop, for awhile now, we’ve had a vision to create a band of women looking to all sectors of thought, career, relationship status, age, wellness, culture, entrepreneurship and creating a story of Renaissance Women with 21st Century Swag – women that blend the old with the new.

This is not about pushing women to hold masculine roles contradicting their feminine inclinations, but rather, on the contrary, this is getting women to come back to their roots. We started contacting women to interview, but haven’t officially executed, letting those doubts seep in like:

“Who’s going to want to read this anyway?”

“So many other people are doing similar things? What makes us different”

“Will we be providing value?”

But then, a “God-wink.” Leila, the Co-Founder of “Made with Love,” said something that for anyone else wouldn’t mean a thing, but for us was a cue to follow what our hearts have been telling us all along…”you should interview my sister, she’s a badass woman, totally Renaissance Swag.”

ARE YOU KIDDING, ME?!?! Thank you, UNIVERSE!

You might say that was a coincidence. But for us, that was exactly the sign we needed. One simple word. One short encounter. And we are feeling more focused and driven than ever. We knew it all along, but forgot about it along the way.

The message we are getting across is this: when you focus your energy and discipline yourself to seeing the right opportunity that is in alignment with yourself then you will keep seeing the path you need to take, you will keep finding Waldo.


 So what does this all mean and how can we learn from this?

 

1. PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS.

The real problem of life is resistance. Resistance, as Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art, is “a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”

So by going on a spiritual path of  nonresistance we are in essence, following the signs, the cues, the God-winks, and the Waldos. It is our ego that wants to tell us these signs are not what we are supposed to be doing. It is the ego that fills your mind with all those doubts and fears. But it is the self that knows what is right for your greater good. Don’t resist the signs. Follow them. You’ll get closer and closer to fulfilling your purpose.

2. TRUST YOUR INTUITION.

How many times have we heard that? Yet, how many times do we actually listen to it? Your intuition is there for you to help you in places of danger, telling you something doesn’t feel right. So too is it there for you when resistance comes knocking on your door. Resistance is louder than your intuition, but it can become weaker when we defy it and we start to listen. Listen to that little voice within, that gut response, that energetic pull. Intuition will always be there pointing you in the right direction, we just have to silence the honking that’s happening all around us and focus in on the whisper of intuition.

Can you find Waldo now?  WheresWaldo

With focus and concentration,

Why People Cry at Work

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The stress of the workplace can bring out plenty of feelings in all of us. As an executive coach, I see joy, sadness, frustration, and disappointment on a daily basis. But while we may experience an array of emotions at work, there’s a general consensus that we shouldn’t see anyone reduced to tears, hopelessness, or defeat on the job. If you as a manager have caused an employee to cry, your primary objective is not to let it happen again. How?

First, you need to understand exactly what happened. What, specifically, caused the crying? Tears can signal sadness, or, quite frequently, they can be a cover for other feelings: frustration, anger, a sense of powerlessness, anxiety, poor self-esteem, or negative self-image. As a trained psychologist, I know that we have to consider the particular cognitive and emotional makeup of the person who’s in tears, as well as the situation that the person is in. What did that person reallywant to do: slug her insensitive boss, or walk away from a demeaning job? Those alternatives are rarely an option, so sometimes the only recourse may be to shed tears.

I’ve generally seen three primary circumstances that reduce people to tears:

The formidable manager:

It’s a good thing to be a manager who’s seen as extremely smart and highly accomplished. But remember that you may be viewed by your reports as someone who sets such a high bar that they’re quaking in their boots and sorely afraid of the consequences of not measuring up to your high standards at every turn. If that’s the case, then the simple critique you thought you’d delivered in the spirit of helping your report to develop her or his skills could have been translated as “You’ll never measure up,” resulting in a crying spell based on a sense of hopelessness. Other types of formidable managers might use fear to motivate employees, or might snap at subordinates in stressful situations, rather than using more skillful language, such as: “Hey, we’ve got a tough row to hoe here. Thanks for your effort; we all have to keep at it, but it will be worth it. Let’s stretch to reach this goal.”

Organizational culture and differences:

Like families, social groups, and geographical regions, each workplace has its own culture and expectations of behavior. In some organizations, an interaction with some edge to it is seen as the norm, and people rarely take offense. In another company, the expectation is that a critique or correction will be voiced with sensitivity and compassion. If you’re the new manager in an organization, or you’re managing a new employee, you may have erred on the side of directness when your team member was expecting more caution. I’ve often had to help a manager see that his or her definition of “calling it as I see it” equates to an employee’s sense of being unfairly attacked.

Personal life intersecting with professional life:

How many office conversations begin and end with:

“Good morning! How are you?”

“Fine; how about you?”

“Doing well, thanks.”

People don’t always reveal at work the challenges they’re facing in their lives outside of work. The person who started to cry when you mentioned that the quarterly results weren’t met may not have been hopelessly despondent about the fiscal outcome, but may have felt that everything in his or her life was currently going awry. Maybe your employee was given a diagnosis of a serious illness, experienced the loss of a close friend or family member, or was trying to absorb some other recent personal setback. Your simple observation or comment may have felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

YOU AND YOUR TEAM

Regardless of the source of your employee’s tears, it’s important to try to understand what happened. Here’s how:

First, listen. Find a safe but private place, such as an unoccupied conference room or office where you can speak quietly. Ask him what happened and listen as he tells you. It may take a while for him to formulate just what he’s feeling, so be patient. I’ve heard from formerly tearful employees that their manager’s willingness just to listen to their side restored the trust in their relationship and brought everyone to a more productive level of understanding.

Be empathic and willing to learn. Even if you don’t fully understand why your report or colleague would be upset over whatever it was that triggered the tears, your openness to consider the other’s feelings will help you work with that person more effectively and may help you to become a better manager in general.

Offer an apology if it’s appropriate. If your behavior was sub-par or could be viewed that way, let it be known that you regret your words or actions and the impact they had on your employee.   If it turns out that the tears were primarily due to a personal struggle outside of work, acknowledge that pain and extend your best wishes.

Help them save face. Female or male, few people want to be seen blinking back tears at work. It can be humiliating. You can’t take back the incident that’s already occurred, but you can pledge not to be the cause of someone else’s tears ever again. If the incident was viewed by others, and your employee agrees to it, you can make a public apology and request that your employees let you know if you’re ever again keeping people on edge this way.

Take note if this employee is particularly sensitive by nature or going through a difficult time. Then, be specific about your objectives for this particular person and strive to catch her doing something right. That effort is always a key element in keeping people motivated, instead of hopeless, through challenging times.

Look at the big picture. You’ve talked over the situation with your employee, you’ve apologized if you contributed to that person’s distress, and addressed how you can change your own behavior. You’ve also considered the stressors that your employees may experience. If you realize that you need to listen more, create new means to express your faith in your employees, or change the organizational culture, start working on it. Demonstrate to your team that this is a workplace where no one needs to shed tears, ever.

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