As a job seeker, your jobactive provider can help you to:
- write a résumé
- look for work
- prepare for interviews
- get skills that local employers need
- find and keep a job.
What help can I get?
jobactive providers have the flexibility to tailor their services to your assessed needs to help you get and keep a job.
Your jobactive provider will meet with you to help you find work and develop a Job Plan that could include:
- activities to help you get skills that local employers are looking for
- help for you to overcome or manage non vocational issues where relevant
- looking for up to 20 jobs each month—your jobactive provider can tailor this number to your circumstances and local labour market conditions
- Work for the Dole or another approved activity (such as part-time work, part-time study in an eligible course, participation in accredited language, literacy and numeracy training or volunteer work) for six months each year.
To help you get and keep a job, your jobactive provider can access funding to pay for work-related items, professional services, relevant training and support after you start work.
Your provider can also connect you to a range of other government initiatives. These include relocation assistance , employer wage subsidies, training, apprenticeships and help to start a business through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).
If you’re under 25 years and have been registered with your jobactive provider for more than six months, Youth Jobs PaTH can help you gain the skills and experience you need to secure a job.
Through Youth Jobs PaTH you can undertake practical face-to-face training, tailored to your needs, to improve your job preparation skills and better understand the expectations of employers. You can also undertake an internship placement of between four and 12 weeks with a business looking for new staff to show them what you can do.
If you’d like to know more about Youth Jobs PaTH, including the eligibility criteria, talk to your jobactive provider or visit the Youth Jobs PaTH page on the jobactive website.
Want more information?
- Call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or talk to your provider if you are already registered with jobactive
- Search for a local jobactive provider on the jobactive website
- Read the jobactive—helping you find work fact sheet
Sunshine Coast Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer and 10 business leaders from the region will embark on a mission to Boulder, Colorado to connect with key entrepreneurs to future proof the Sunshine Coast workforce.
The trip, which follows council’s participation at the March 2018 StartUp Catalyst Mission to Boulder, will provide a greater understanding of the trends influencing the skill set required for our future workforce.
The 10 business leaders from Sunshine Coast’s technology, innovation, health and education high-value industries will join the Deputy Mayor on the six-day mission which supports the Regional Economic Development Strategy’s local-to-global pathway and will aim to secure new programs, businesses and education opportunities for the region.
Cr Dwyer said this mission would showcase the potential of our healthy, smart, creative region.
“The international broadband submarine cable, which is set to be in operation in 2020, has the potential to deliver up to $927 million in new investment into Queensland with a significant chunk of that into the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Dwyer said.
“The cable is a significant asset and one that must be capitalised on by both the domestic and international business community.
Cr Dwyer said strong partnerships have started between the regions, as evidenced by the fact SunRamp Australasia, an offshoot of Colorado-based CableLabs will launch a program on the Sunshine Coast this year which will find, support and accelerate early-stage technology businesses.
“Colorado is very similar to the Sunshine Coast. It has a growing technology community and one we can gain much insight from as we navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape,” Cr Dwyer said.
“In addition to the business meetings, I will also meet with key organisations and government representatives in Denver and Boulder to explore a potential relationship between Boulder and Sunshine Coast local government authorities.
“This will provide us with a greater understanding of the Boulder innovation ecosystem and enable us to collaborate on projects that will support innovation and entrepreneurship here on the Sunshine Coast.
Organisations the Sunshine Coast delegation will meet with include angel investing group, the Rockies Venture Club, CableLabs, Colorado University, Galvanize and Boomtown.
To find out more about the City of Colorado and innovation, visit https://bouldercolorado.gov/innovation-technology
Two Sunshine Coast community organisations will receive a combined $2.7 million in Federal Government funding in round three of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club Inc has secured $2.5 million for its Club Redevelopment Project to demolish its aged clubhouse dating back to 1983, paving the way for Evans Built to begin work on new clubhouse due to open in November.
Next up, local charity STEPS Group Australia received $190,000 to fund the construction of new residential units at the Murphy House extension at its Pathways College in Caloundra, in aid of young adults with a disability.
Up to 330 new infrastructure projects and community initiatives – including 38 throughout Queensland – were funded as part of a $204.3 million investment in this BBRF round. Some $45 million of this funding was earmarked to support tourism-related infrastructure projects.
The $641.6 million Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) underpins the Federal Government’s commitment to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional and remote communities into the future.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, recently announced 915 grant applications were received in this highly competitive funding round, under both the Infrastructure Projects and the Community Investments streams.
Regional Development Australia (RDA) Sunshine Coast assisted STEPS in its BBRF grant application by providing it with a Letter of Support and access to RDA’s new grants support resources.
RDA Sunshine Coast CEO Paul Fisher said he was thrilled to see both STEPS and Sunshine Beach SLSC secure the Federal Government BBRF funding.
“I’m thrilled to see vital, local community groups like these receive BBRF grants to ensure they remain strong, resilient and prosperous,” Mr Fisher said.
“We applaud the Federal Government for recognising the value of both the STEPS Pathway College and Sunshine Beach SLSC to our community.
“RDA Sunshine Coast is excited to see the positive difference these grants will make for local residents.”
The RDA Sunshine Coast is a community-based organisation whose vision is to create an innovative, dynamic, connected and sustainable Sunshine Coast.
Workplace social media apps might make our work life easier, but similar programs can have detrimental effects on our personal lives. So, should we really be using them at work?
Organisations work hard to create connections and collaboration between their employees. Firms are increasingly embracing social media platforms to encourage this with tools such as Yammer’ and ‘Workplace’ becoming ubiquitous. But as there’s an increasing body of research showing the negative effects of social media usage in our personal lives, it might be time to consider whether using these tools at work is similarly damaging?
Social media is a fact of life in most workplaces. Thirty-thousand companies around the world use Workplace by Facebook in the hope it will “promote openness, feedback and diversity to engage employees and drive cultural change”.
Subscribers to Yammer, Microsoft’s rival platform, are harder to spot as the platform is integrated into Office 365, but a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute study found that 72 per cent of companies were using some form of internal social media to promote communication and collaboration.
The plus side
There are plenty of advocates who point to the benefits social media has brought to our workplaces. In the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that employees who used such platforms were 31 per cent more likely to find colleagues with relevant expertise to complete a task, as well as using the platforms to “make faster decisions, develop more innovative ideas for products and services, and become more engaged in their work and their companies”.
Impressed? It gets better: the McKinsey study, which looked at just four industry sectors, argued that maximising the use of social media technologies at work could unlock $1 trillion in value annually.
The benefits are not just clear, they are substantial, inarguable even. Workplace social media platforms are designed on the same principles as their non-work counterparts. Engaging and user-friendly, they provide a constant stream of news, video clips and updates from colleagues across the organisation. Posts can be liked and shared just as they can outside of work.
The dark side
While the above research argues the productivity benefits of social platforms in the workplace, there is an increasing amount of evidence that these exact same features can be very damaging to users in their personal lives.
A 2014 study from the University of Toledo demonstrated the impact Facebook can have, finding an inverse correlation between time spent on the platform and self-esteem; the longer you spend on Facebook, the less likely you are to feel good about yourself.
This is in part because we compare our lives and experiences to those we see online; photos of a friend on holiday can reinforce the fact that we are on the sofa at home, and eating our reheated pasta in front of an Instagram feed of Ottolenghi delights has the same effect.
This in turn is proven to lead to feelings of envy and social isolation, which can be hugely damaging both mentally and physically. And then there’s the productivity issue: social media is addictive – it’s designed that way – and users can easily spend hours on the platforms, feeling genuine symptoms of withdrawal when they eventually log off.
Those cravings can also be accompanied by a fear of missing out, physical fatigue and depression. These are hardly feelings you want to cultivate in your employees.
To cap it all off, a 2018 study demonstrated that the reverse is true; reducing participants’ exposure to social media to ten minutes a day led to a decrease in loneliness and depression.
So, if there is such a large body of research demonstrating the negative impacts of social media, surely it’s time to consider all of these findings in a workplace context?
It’s not hard to imagine employees spending too much time on social media at work just as they do at home, particularly when many companies encourage the creation of online social groups alongside work-related content.
Anxiety can quickly be generated by looking to see whether or not your boss has “liked” your latest post, or when you notice that peers in your team have more followers or connections than you do.
Work platforms are often used to share positive news about promotions, team achievements or company successes. Managers might, post something to provide updates, or to create a sense of shared success and community. But if you’ve missed out on a role you applied for, or feel that your pay rise doesn’t reflect the wider performance of the firm, then this sort of celebration could easily feel smug and self-congratulatory.
Perhaps your colleague has posted a selfie from their trip to the New York office that you see while you’re sitting on the bus on your way to work. Are you going to ‘like’ that? The main social media platforms had a long honeymoon period before academics seriously studied the potential downside of this new phenomenon that was sweeping the world, and it’s only in recent years that this has been comprehensively analysed.
So now it’s time to cast an analytical eye onto workplace social media. Much of the writing to date has focused on the potential upside and benefits it brings – like that trillion-dollar McKinsey bounty – and we are still arguably in that same honeymoon phase.
But if we know beyond doubt that social media can be damaging and dangerous to users in their personal lives then surely it’s time to think twice about how far we should encourage its use in our workplaces?
To go one step further, if a manager insisted their employees perform activities that were proven to have negative physical and mental side-effects then they would be negligent at best, and at worst, culpable. Social media does exactly that, so we should reconsider how we use it at work.
The Jetty Specialist has today (March 5) opened their new $13 million purpose-built marine manufacturing facility in the Sunshine Coast Industrial Park.
Joining the business owner and founder, Neil Morris and his family, Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson praised The Jetty Specialist team for their tenacity and dedication to building the business to where it is today.
“From its origins on their back porch in Minyama in 1986 to this outstanding new facility here today, the Morris family is a great example of local entrepreneurs growing their business, providing employment opportunities and contributing to our Sunshine Coast community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This new purpose built factory incorporates state-of-the-art equipment, the latest technology, high-end fixtures and fittings along with a waterway specifically created to test marine infrastructure.
“It’s an impressive space and will enable The Jetty Specialist to boost production and continue building high quality pontoons, jetties and marine infrastructure from the new factory.
“When businesses like The Jetty Specialist have confidence to re-invest in the region, it has a flow-on effect of creating more jobs, better access to products and services and supporting other businesses to grow through their product and supply chain requirements.
“The Jetty Specialist currently supports 60 full time jobs and is predicted to grow to 75 full time jobs within the next four years.”
Owner and founder Neil Morris said he and his family were proud of their contribution to the Sunshine Coast.
“Spending time on the water, whether it be out on the boat fishing or enjoying lunch at one of the many marinas, this lifestyle is what we love,” Mr Morris said.
“So to be able to run a national business on the Sunshine Coast and service people across Australia is a real honour.
“In addition, as our business grows, we can offer more jobs to locals, giving families the opportunity to live and work on the Sunshine Coast, just as we have done.
“We’re excited about this new phase of our business and look forward to continuing to build high quality marine infrastructure for all Australians – shipped from the Sunshine Coast.”
Most people take time to adjust to retirement. A job provides not just money but lifestyle, self-image, purpose and friendships. For those who have turned an interest, hobby or passion into a career, a job is a means of personal fulfilment and creative expression.
Responses to retirement for each person, and depend a lot on the reasons for leaving the workforce. For example, a person who carefully planned for their retirement is more likely to feel positive about it, while a person who is forced into early retirement due to redundancy or illness may find it harder to cope with the transition.
If you’re unsure about whether or not to retire, it may help to take long service leave or extended unpaid leave to give retirement living a trial run. Stepping down the number of days you work from five to four, and so on, may make for a more successful transition into retirement.
Plan your post-work lifestyle
Some people look forward to retirement as an extended holiday where they can finally slow down and ‘smell the roses’. Other people expect to have a busier, more active life than when they were working.
The life expectancy for women is around 83 years and for men, 77 years. If you leave work at 65, for example, you could expect between 12 and 18 years (at least) of retirement. How are you planning to live those years? It is important to consider the kind of lifestyle you want before you retire and start to make plans, and even implement some of them, before you leave work.
Financial issues and retirement
Consult with your financial planner, accountant or similar to work out the financial issues of retirement. Some of the factors to consider include:
- the size of your superannuation nest egg
- other savings and assets
- whether you have any dependants
- if you are planning to continue working part-time or not
- your eligibility for pensions or part-pensions
- financial options if you or your partner fall ill
- the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re anticipating.
Emotional issues and retirement
At first retirement can feel like a holiday and the initial phase is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon’ period. You can sleep in, catch up on reading or hobbies, and spend more time with family and friends. However, once this ‘honeymoon’ period wears off, you may feel down or depressed. Emotional issues to consider include:
- Our vocation forms part of our identity. Some people can feel a loss of self-worth once they stop working.
- Daily routine and activities add purpose to life. If there is nothing in particular to do or look forward to on any given day, a person is more likely to feel bored and depressed than a person who lives an active meaningful life.
- Spending time on hobbies and interests, for example, may not turn out to be as rewarding and meaningful as anticipated.
- Grandparents may find they are expected to baby sit all the time.
- Partner issues can include differing (and conflicting) ideas on retirement lifestyle.
Partner issues and retirement
Some of the common issues include:
- One partner has retired or plans to retire, while the other wants to continue working.
- Ideas on retirement lifestyle may clash; for example, one partner may want to keep busy with travel, hobbies and volunteer work, while the other expects a more relaxed daily routine.
- It can be difficult at first to work out how much time to spend together. This is particularly the case if one partner is outgoing and social, while the other is more introspective. In this scenario, the outgoing partner may feel ignored, while the introspective partner could feel harassed.
- Some people may try to do everything as a couple, but lack of personal space can cause stress and relationship conflicts.
Planning can help create a happy retirement
People who plan an active life after retirement tend to be happier than those who have no plans or routines. Suggestions include:
- You’ve retired from a 38-hour week, not from working altogether. If you love what you do, consider dropping the hours to part-time (if possible), rather than fully retiring.
- Volunteer work is a satisfying way to add structure and purpose to your life, and there are many community organisations to choose from.
- Put time and energy into much-loved interests.
- Try to achieve at least five hours of purposeful community activity a week.
- Think about all those hobbies you wanted to try but didn’t have the time – you do now.
- Further education options range from short courses through to university degrees. You could launch a new career during your retirement years, if you wish.
- Reduce the risk of health problems by exercising regularly. Joining a gym, walking club or team sport, which can also add a social element to your weekly routine.
- Make sure that you and your partner discuss ways to accommodate each other’s wants, needs and expectations.
- Loneliness is a common source of depression in older people, so make sure you maintain and increase your social networks.
A person who has retirement forced on them because of redundancy may find it harder to adjust. Suggestions include:
- Ask your employer if it’s possible to continue working part-time in the same position.
- Look for other opportunities. There may be another job you could apply for in the same company.
- Apply for jobs with other companies, either full-time or part-time.
- Consider retraining to update your skills and make you more employable.
- Try volunteer work; it may help get your foot in the door and provide valuable contacts.
- Discuss your options and expectations with your partner. Remember that meaningful activities, regular exercise and social contacts can help make retirement a satisfying time of life.
- Seek professional help if you feel prolonged anxiety, stress or depression.
Construction has begun on the $35 million Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable network project, which will provide Australia’s fastest data and telecommunications transmission speeds to Asia.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the cable will prove a key catalyst in boosting the local economy.
“This exciting project will see an undersea fibre optic cable built to connect the Sunshine Coast and Queensland directly to Asia and the United States,” Mr Dick said.
“The cable will be a major business and investment drawcard, particularly for enterprises with large data requirements.
“Connecting Queensland directly to a major international hub will future-proof our digital infrastructure and provide massive economic stimulus for the Sunshine Coast.
“An independent assessment commissioned by council estimates the project will create up to 864 new jobs and could add $927 million to our state’s economy.
“This is a transformative development for the fast-growing Sunshine Coast, delivering the only international cable landing on the east coast of Australia outside of Sydney.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to support Sunshine Coast Council in delivering this visionary infrastructure with $15 million funding through our $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.”
Sunshine Coast Council will invest the additional $20 million to deliver the $35 million Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable network project.
RTI Connectivity are building a 9600-kilometre submarine cable between Japan, Guam and Australia (JGA), and a 550-kilometre branch would connect the JGA cable to a new landing station at Maroochydore.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the council is the first local government in Australia that’s been able to secure investment in an international broadband submarine cable.
“The cable will provide the Sunshine Coast and Queensland with direct data and telecommunications connectivity to Japan, Hong Kong and the United States, increasing the speed and capacity of Queensland’s international connections,” Mr Jamieson said.
“Our Sunshine Coast is fast becoming a digital leader, and the submarine cable network will help position our region as a key digital trading hub from Australia.
“By now being able to offer Australia’s fastest international data connection point to Asia, this will provide a significant step-change in the Sunshine Coast’s attractiveness as an investment location.
“We will be stimulating investment and jobs growth on the Sunshine Coast thanks to the superior telecommunications connectivity and data infrastructure that we will be able to offer – and this project is already generating substantial investment interest”.
The submarine cable network is expected to be in service by mid-2020.
The landing station is situated adjacent to the Maroochydore City Centre Priority Development Area.
At Jobs On The Coast we are keen to help our customers find ways to maximise their quality of life and disposable income, which can be achieved through increasing your income (e.g. finding a higher paying job) or reducing your expenses (e.g. reducing the money spent and time absorbed on the daily commute to Brisbane).
As a mortgage payment is often our largest financial commitment, many of us also recognise the importance of making sure we regularly check we are getting the best deal from our lender. A great way to help you do this, is by contacting a Mortgage Broker.
If you’ve ever used a Mortgage Broker to “keep your bank honest”, find the best deal, or navigate the complicated rules to get your loan approved, you may wish to join the campaign to save their business model.
The proposed changes from the Banking Royal Commission mean that you will not have access to a mortgage broker’s advice in the future, without having to pay fees for service.
As the value of a Mortgage Broker’s business is based on their trail commission revenue, the proposed changes will force first-class brokers out of the business, having the opposite effect to what most of us want to see. Without Mortgage Brokers, the banks will have reduced competition, allowing them to increase their fees and interest rate margins. Ultimately resulting in us, the customers paying more!
According to the Credit Industry Ombudsman you are 760% more likely to have a complaint about your bank than about your Australian Credit Licensed Mortgage Broker.
Mortgage Brokers trailing commissions have been portrayed as “ money for nothing” and but here are a couple of important considerations:
- Trailing commission provides a menu of services that the banks would otherwise struggle to provide – such as rate reviews to ensure you are still getting a competitive deal on your loan, help with ongoing matters such as transactional assistance, removal of guarantees, swapping properties over whilst retaining the same loan when buying and selling, and such forth. These services are hard to leverage from the bank directly and the services are not able to be provided free of charge by brokers as for good brokers it accounts for 25% of their working hours. Trailing commissions pays for these services. Without trailing commission these services will be either be charged for by brokers or we can approach our bank and see how we go with getting through to the right department in the bank to get help with matter at hand.
- When a loan goes into arrears, trailing commissions cease until the loan is back in good conduct. Subsequently, the broker makes contact with the borrower and assists with getting the loan back into good conduct. This is an important trigger in our economy – banks are risk-rated according to a number of parameters but most importantly on loan delinquencies. The banks risk rating affects how much it costs them to raise capital to lend to us. The more loan delinquencies, the higher the cost. In summary it’s realistic to expect that more loans will stay in arrears for longer when trailing commissions are removed- and we could all end up paying a higher rate solely due to removal of trailing commissions.
The following graph shows the fall in banks net interest margins since 1989 and a significant contributor to this has been the increased competition brought about by mortgage broking:
If you want to show your support the future if Mortgage Brokers, follow this link and it takes less than a minute to sign the petition and send an email to your local MP …
Going back to work after having a baby is a big career (and life) switch. It isn’t exactly easy, balancing the needs of your child with likely way less sleep than you’re used to, while trying to be the same employee you were before you left. And having a baby changes the way you think about and prioritize your day, and can potentially make you question what you thought you wanted out of your career. It certainly did for me.
Navigating those first few weeks back takes patience, self-care, and boundary setting, both at home and in the office. As I’m transitioning back to work for a second time (I recently took almost six months off in between leaving a long-term role and launching my own company), I’m pulling from my first experience returning from maternity leave three years ago and the community of incredible moms I’ve been blessed to be a part of for advice on making the transition out of parental leave as seamless as possible.
1. Be Patient With Yourself
This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from my boss at the time. You don’t have to be perfect your first day back, your first week back, or really ever. This goes for parenting and your body, in addition to transitioning back to work. The advice is actually pretty universal.
Give yourself some breathing room to get back in the swing of things. Don’t schedule big presentations or client meetings or say yes to big projects right off the bat if you can help it. If you can’t avoid taking on something big, try to find ways to move other items off your plate so you can give that one project your main focus.
Do put blocks of time on your calendar to go through email and catch up on projects, reports, or anything else you missed while you were on leave. Note: You probably won’t get through all your emails in one sitting, and that’s OK. Try tackling the most important stuff first and get to the rest over the next few days.
And schedule individual meetings or coffee dates with your team to hear what they’ve been working on and in general how they’re doing (this will be a nice break from all the work-information overload!).
2. Build Trust in Your Childcare
If you have confidence that your little one is loved and cared for while you’re not there, you’re going to be a better, more relaxed person at work. So start looking for childcare early and take the time to get to know your caregiver(s) before you go back to the office.
If you’re going the nanny route, try to have the person start one to two weeks before you go back, on a reduced schedule if possible. Play and interact with the baby together and run some errands where you’re only gone a couple hours to get used to the idea of being away. And take your nanny to lunch—sans baby—to get to know them outside of their role.
If you’re doing a nanny share, schedule some family hangouts with both families before going back. And if you’re using a daycare, ask to shadow or observe, take advantage of the tour, and ask any and all questions. Again, have the baby start earlier than needed, potentially on a reduced schedule, so both you and baby can get used to the new setting.
3. Set Clear Boundaries With Your Team (and Yourself)
I came back from my maternity leave to a reduced schedule, so I made sure to meet with my team to explain my hours and come up with new normals in our day, including how we could work together in a way that made sense and benefited everyone. The first few weeks I was back, I also started checking in with my team every day an hour before my new “end of work day” to get us all used to the schedule. Even if you don’t have a new routine, make sure your team’s aware of when you are and aren’t available online.
It’s becoming more and more common for new parents to have flexible schedules in those first few weeks back to help ease the transition back to work. But in having more flexibility to work from home, I also had to navigate how to work from home. I experienced, and have heard from quite a few of my fellow parents, that it’s tough to be in both “parent” and “work” mode at the same time, so even at home I set boundaries with myself to try not to be both at once.
When I was commuting, I always checked my email and handled anything that needed immediate attention before walking into my apartment so I could be fully tuned into my family when I stepped through the door. My phone and computer go in another room so I’m not checking them in front of my child or trying to respond to a client while making dinner (and so words like “fart” don’t end up in work emails—yes, I learned that from personal experience). If you’re looking for more tips, here’s advice for working from home as a parent.
4. Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)
This advice, of course, transcends parenting and applies in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important after having a child. It’s simple: Ask for what you need and don’t assume people know what it is. You’d be surprised how much people will give you if you simply ask for it.
Do you need a meeting moved so you can make pickup time at daycare? Present an alternative solution in your ask, but ask nonetheless. Are you not as available for after-hour client events? Advocate for a colleague to take your place, or suggest other creative ways to get in front of clients that fit into your schedule. Who knows, there could be other working parents who will appreciate your ingenuity.
5. Manage Expectations
I don’t have to tell you that when you have a baby to get home to, you figure out quickly what’s actually important to get done—and that you need to set expectations in order to get those important items done on time.
So when someone asks you to step in on a project, don’t be afraid to ask: When do you need this by? Is this a priority? How much time do you expect this to take?
Then spell out exactly what you can and can’t do for them, clearly and directly: “I’d love to work on that, but since I have X to get done by the time I leave today and it’s not a huge priority, I won’t be able to get that to you until the end of the week. Does that timing work for you?”
While you may not be able to please everyone, by being direct you cover your bases and show you’re proactive and dedicated to doing your job well.
6. Schedule Time to Pump
If you need to pump breast milk at work, block off time on your calendar to do so, and add a 10-15 minute buffer to ensure you stick to your schedule. By slotting it into your day and really making it nonnegotiable (remember those boundaries we talked about earlier?), you can help keep it from being a point of stress. (And it’s not just about emotional distress: Skipping a pumping session can become physically painful, and you can end up wearing the consequences down your shirt.)
If possible, get a second pump to leave at work to minimize lugging the gear back and forth, and make sure you have a comfortable space to pump in your office. If one’s not apparent in your workplace, explicitly ask HR or an office manager about a “lactation room.”
Federal law states that an employer must provide both break time and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” for nursing employees. Specifics can differ from state to state and based on office size, which is why it’s important to first determine what your office has in place before advocating for what you need.
7. Find Your Support Team
Working parent guilt is real, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—guilt for being away from the baby, guilt for not feeling guilty for not being with the baby, guilt for saying “no” to a colleague so you can leave early to get back to the baby…the list goes on.
When these thoughts start to creep in, repeat this to yourself: You are enough.
And, find your community (whether inside or outside the office). Talk to other parents who have been through it and create a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. A quick Google search of local parenting and mom groups will at the very least hook you up with Facebook groups where you can start connecting. (These groups can also be a good source for nanny shares.) Also, some hospitals put together parenting groups based on when your baby was born. Take advantage of “Baby and Me” classes in your neighborhood or town, too, from swimming lessons to local library reading sessions to group walks.
I randomly ended up at a “mommy and me yoga” class, and after that class I went to lunch with three incredible women with babies the same age as mine. To this day (three years later) I still text with them weekly to talk about all things parenting, working, and babies.
8. Make Time for You—Just You
While it may seem impossible to carve more time out of your day outside of family and work, you can’t be the parent or employee (or really insert anything here) you want to be if you don’t take care of yourself. When I take time for myself, I’m more present in every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that a present moment (even a short one) is worth a million hurried moments.
Here’s how you can realistically make time for yourself during the week:
Actually put lunch on your calendar—and step away from your desk (or turn off your computer) to eat.
Keep up with that once a week yoga (or Pilates, or barre, or whatever) class—you’ll be grateful you did.
Wake up an hour before you actually need to (and an hour before the baby) so you can do something just for you. It’s not for everyone (if you’re not a morning person please sleep in), but for me this way I can take my time drinking my coffee and curl up reading a good book.
Above all remember: There are countless parents out there right now who’ve felt exactly how you feel and may still be trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them and their families. It’s a big deal going back to work after a baby, so hopefully it helps to know that you’re not alone, everything you’re feeling is valid, and it’s okay to be patient with yourself.
I am so tired.
So today I decided, six years into being a mom, to invest in a little thing called “self care.” I went to get my makeup done and when the girl at the counter asked me what look I was going for, I told her, “I want to look like a person who didn’t spend all night googling Coxsackie symptoms through the cries of a screaming two year old while also panicking about a big client presentation.”
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. As a working parent you experience tons of feelings you’re not properly prepared for. Sure, you’ll get the, “Sleep now while you can”, but once that baby comes, it’s up to you to figure out how to manage it all (and make it look easy). But don’t worry, the 70% of working mothers with children under 18 years old get it, too.
We get it in the way the girl at the counter did when she picked out the heaviest concealer they had.
So, remember, you’re not alone in this. Here’s how to navigate the feelings that come with this crazy, beautiful thing called parenting.
Yesterday, my new babysitter started. I came home at 7PM to unfed children, one with a leaking diaper, and a house that looked like my boys had used crayons and Play Doh to get vengeance for any parenting mistake I’ve ever made.
And this was after a day of back-to-back meetings and an inbox ticking towards the triple digits.
So here’s what I did:
I ordered takeout. Immediately and without hesitation.
I put my phone in my bag and stopped looking at it (work panic avoided).
I told the kids I had to go to the bathroom, screamed into the shower curtain, and then came down smiling.
I asked my kindergartener what the best part of his day was.
I did NOT clean the house. And I was OK with that.
That last sentence is very important. Sometimes, as moms, we think that we need to do everything at once.
But I’ve let this go, and you can, too. Let. It. Go. All of it. Or at least, try to. I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to friend’s cute Facebook photos of children in matching outfits in clean houses. It’s not real. They might have gotten it right this week, but next week they will have a messy house and unruly children. And it will be OK because we are all in this together.
The truth is, I recently realized that I spend too much time thinking about how tired I am and not enough time sleeping. So, I did something I don’t think I’ve done since my children were born. After I put my boys to sleep, I went to bed, too.
And although I didn’t do any work the night before, the next morning I felt like I accomplished more. I was more focused. It was so much better.
So, relax when you can. I’ve started listening to music and reading books on the way home from work instead of answering emails. It’s for my own sanity. Cherish those fleeting moments of “you” time and grab hold of them as tight as you can.
Being a working parent comes with a feeling I never thought I’d have, but one I’ve heard repeatedly: loneliness. Yes, you’re constantly around kids, co-workers, and clients but the connections just aren’t the same as they used to be.
Here’s my hypothesis: Parenting is hard. You often can’t do a lot of the things you used to (like those fun girl’s trips or romantic weekend getaways). Making friends at work can be difficult (it’s not exactly easy to go out for happy hour). And many of us don’t want to admit when we need help, especially if you never had to wave the white flag before having children.
Here are some ways to combat it:
Find your fellow work parents: You know who gets it? Other parents who work at your company. Here at The Muse, we have a #museparents Slack channel. Do some digging to find your fellow moms and dads.
Put yourself out there, even just a little bit: Attend activities that match your family’s schedule. Make awkward conversation, rinse, and repeat, until you find a mom or dad friend.
Pick one day a month to be kid-less: Get a babysitter once a month to do a whole day of socializing. Maybe that means seeing an old friend, taking a day with your spouse, or attending that co-worker thing that you always say no to. Just make sure it’s something that will leave you feeling good and socially replenished.
Join a networking or support group: I believe in this so much, that I started one. With my hectic schedule I never have time for more than a few minutes of socialization, but through my online social circle, I’ve discovered that plenty of moms and dads are going through the same things I am.
This is probably the most common. Why? Because as working parents we have a lot of stuff going on. And there’s studies that show being a working parent is the equivalent of working more than two full-time jobs (but you didn’t need a study to tell you that).
So, here’s how to to keep your head above water:
Accept help: From pretty much anyone who will give it. Your mother-in-law just offered to come over for an hour so you can stay late and grab a quick cocktail with friends? Let her. Your direct report said he would pitch in so you can pick up your children from childcare? Let him do it. Bottom line: Be honest with others about what you need.
Make lists: Buy yourself a notebook or planner and write everything down. Cross it off as you accomplish it. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than manually crossing something off, but do what works for you.
Say no, but not sorry: Even superheroes need a break. It’s OK to decline when a non-essential 6 PM meeting encroaches on family time. It’s OK to turn down a work event because it is just too much this week. It’s OK to take a rain check on the girl’s trip because you can’t find sitters or can’t afford it. It’s OK to not have your child in six activities and always wearing matching outfits. Do what feels right for your family, not anyone else’s.
In short, you are not alone. I know it can feel that way at the end of one of those long, hard days. But remember, even when you think you are failing, your children see a hero… and your co-workers are likely in awe of how you do it all, and make it look easy.