Yesterday I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. I know we all have those days. I’ve been working on something with my speaker agent, prepping for a keynote in Edmonton, and then there’s a mounting email, and social updates. Sometimes I feel like I just need to shut down and take a break, I wonder how the heck I’m gonna do it all?! That’s usually when I ring mum and she talks me through, reminding me not to give up, and how hard I’ve worked to get here. She reminds me I’m probably tired, and maybe hungry. For this, I’m grateful. I call her almost everyday with something, so today on International Women’s Day, I’m especially thankful.
When I got off the phone with mum the other night I arrived at the Rotman School of Business at U of T for a special presentation with TD, their 10 Lessons: Women @ Work Report. I was happy to see my friend & fellow social entrepreneur Gracie’s smiling face and we sat down together, all ears. Tweets from the night can be found at #YourStoryYourFuture.
TD partnered with University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to release a joint report that uncovers insights about how women across the country perceive the challenges and opportunities in advancing professionally.
Career, relationships, family, finances, it’s hard (and often stressful) to manage this stuff all at the same time. I don’t have my own kids yet but there’s challenges with a blended family, we’ve got a sassy 8yr old 50% of the time, and Sean and I are both entrepreneurs, managing very different businesses. Learning about the challenges of other women in professional careers, really made me feel better about my own challenges. I don’t share things I struggle with very often but managing the blog, clients, marketing, fiancees, the house, staying on top of it all, is hard work. It’s also hard work to make it look easy or glamorous. 🙂
The report, 10 Lessons: Women @ Work Managing Career, Family & Legacy, is the result of a year-long research project and essay competition that engaged close to 400 working women from across Canada. 10 key themes emerged on how women can achieve success. Research for this report started in February last year when TD and the Rotman School launched an essay competition inviting women from all across Canada to submit personal essays describing their experience navigating family, career and legacy aspirations.
The report is now online and I encourage you to check it out here. If you feel the stress of managing career, relationships, finance, or mental health, you are not alone.
- Being financially prepared for the unexpected to allow you to better deal with unexpected events including illness, divorce, and unemployment
- I wrote about planning for unexpected expenses a couple months ago, you never know when something will break at home, you lose a job, or someone gets sick. It’s really important to have an emergency fund so you don’t risk losing everything if something happens. See that post here.
“A key finding from our perspective is the significant role education and financial preparation play in contributing to solutions and future successes in furthering women’s careers,”
- Develop business acumen which happens through formal education, on-the-job experiences or self-directed learning
- I feel that a formal education has drastically helped me in my career, I studied marketing at college and university and the skills I learned there have helped my business skills in every other area. My on-the-job experience in start-up, tech, finance, and agency have really helped my freelance work. It’s important to always be learning and educating yourself! In social & digital media, I need to know more than my clients so they want to work with me.
- Understand the trade-offs of a career break.
- I’ve not taken a career break (yet) but it was interesting to learn about this stuff from some women who have.
- The first element to consider when ‘taking a career break’ is the true cost involved. Consider long-term financial and skills implications, when making the decision to opt out.
- The second element to consider when ‘taking a career break’ relates to the challenges of reentering the workforce. Finding work and feeling your skills are relevant and current can be difficult following a career break.
One key finding was the lifetime impact on lost earnings due to child care absences from the workforce can be larger than they appear at first glance. Such absences were found to generate a persistent 3% wage penalty per year. When added to raises foregone during an absence, the cumulative earnings loss of a career break is amplified, and can be quite large added up over the span of a woman’s working life.
The second part of the night was a talk by Laura Vanderkam from her new book ‘I Know How She Does It’. She interviewed a ton of women with children under 18 who make $100/year to see how they spent their time. I was really inspired and am very thankful to receive a copy of her book. I’m starting it today!
I find hearing other women’s challenges really helps me feel better about my own struggles. I woke up today ready to face the world and checked a bunch of things off my to-do list.
Thanks TD Bank for inviting me to this event, inspiring me, and sponsoring this post.