Belle’s Workday Reading: August 6, 2014

Aug 6, 2014

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1) Why do mothers leave the workforce in droves?  Slate believes it’s because they’re rational people who can’t reconcile salaries that barely cover the cost of child care with a desire to keep working.  Perhaps this is why the Japanese government, which is desperate to bring women into the workforce, is tackling a lack of child care as part of its economic policy.

2) From the solids to the prints, this $46 Halogen cardigan delivers.

3) Nine West is taking heat for their new ad campaign that advertises shoes for “husband hunting.”  Let’s just say that I think their attempt at cheeky humor fell short.

4) Reiss kills me.  Sometimes their clothes are so beautiful.  Both the Lola and the Leena sheath are everything you want in a basic dress.  I love this sleeveless top with a slight flutter sleeve.  And these laser-cut Lupin pumps are perfect for a creative office or awesome for a night on the town. (So damn cute.)

5) Four productivity hacks to help you focus at work.  

6) We talked about black flats yesterday, and then I found these cool bow-front flats from Louise et Cie.  The bow is structured, not girly.  And the size selection runs from size 4 to size 11.

7) The main female character on one of TV’s most popular shows, The Big Bang Theory, is about to get a real job.  “She’s going to start making some money, which will unbalance [the main characters’] relationship as the power shifts,” says the show’s creator.  

Glamour wants to know if there’s a good way to tell the story of a man feeling insecure when his partner becomes financially independent, and frankly, I’m not sure there is.  But with more female professionals entering the workforce, the shifting power dynamic between the genders is an issue worth discussing.

8) This elegant long jacket from H&M is incredible.  I love the gold-zipper details.  I also like this dark blue blazer with an inverted collar.

9) If this resume came across my desk, it would take paramedics and a shot of adrenaline to revive me.

10)  If you’re looking for a basic, conservative business suit, Dillard’s has a good selection.  This Tahari ASL suit has a clean look to it.  With a rolled sleeve jacket, this Gianni Bini suit is youthful but classic, and under-$250.  And I’m intrigued by this Alex Gentry suit that can be thrown in the washing machine.

11) Elle offers four tips on “How to Stop Being Late for Everything.”

12) Banana Republic has some lovely blouses right now.  This piped cutout top can be worn in any season.  This pintuck blouse is elegant and sophisticated.  But my favorite top is this tonal animal-print top. (Also in tall and petites.)

13) A good friend recently started a business making custom letterpress stationery.  I bought some of her personalized note cards, and I love them.  You can add your name, your monogram, your business name or just “thank you.”  You can choose the ink color, up to five envelope colors and metallic foil is available at an extra charge.  Visit Chez Gagne and enter code CAPHILLSTYLE to save $25 on custom stationery orders through October 1st.  

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Workday Reading

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  1. Melinda says:

    I actually took advantage of California’s maternity leave when I had my twins. It saved us!! Then, because I am the primary breadwinner for our family, I went back to work and my husband stays home to take care of them. Paying for daycare for two infants would have been $2k+ a month and NOT worth my husband working. It would still be $1,500 or so now that they are a little older, but daycare is more expensive than most average salaries – especially if you factor in the time getting there and the stress of getting the kids out the door. Hats off to single parents!!

    • Belle says:

      I don’t know how you ladies with children do it. Frankly, I’m in awe of people with children who work hard.

  2. That’s an interesting thing to think about — why women leave the workforce. My thoughts are:

    1. Their partners put pressure on them to (maybe they’re on a fast track to something), and they want to be the breadwinners, so a lot of women tend to give in and give up their career (if they had any aspirations) to let their partner go full force.

    2. Daycare is expensive. $55/day is not chump change. You better be making more than $1210 or so a month (NET!!!) to be able to cover just the cost of daycare, not to mention then having to pay for perhaps a second car, gas, etc.

    3. Some women don’t want to work. Sometimes they’d rather be at home. If my partner had a choice, he’d stay at home with the baby all day long. Me, I’d rather be at work.

    4. Maternity leave is too short in the U.S. 3 months was considered generous, and it was appalling to me (a Canadian) who is used to hearing about 1-year maternity leaves, which I think are the minimum.

    5. There is no paternity leave to speak of, so husbands don’t get to stay at home to relieve their wives, and paternity leave is looked down upon as well.

    6. Mothers are penalized, fathers are promoted. (Read: Getting to 50/50, an EXCELLENT book that covers this very topic)

    Sorry for the long comment. This is a big issue for me because I am a working (freelancing) mother who JUST managed to get a contract and my child will be just past 6 months when I take it.

    • Helena says:

      There is no federally mandated paid leave in the U.S. None. At all. Under FMLA, you may take unpaid leave and be guaranteed your job when you return, but only if your employer is subject to the law. It sucks.

  3. Anna says:

    Ha, on #3 of dealing with late people…I come from a place where it is socially acceptable to be late (we had a town hall meeting scheduled for 1pm. At 1pm, a few people milling about, by 2pm the room was packed, and no one thought anything of it). Growing up, you would always put 1:00 on birthday party invitations, knowing everyone would show up at 3, or 8pm for a party that starts at 10pm. Everyone just seems to adjust and just assume everything will start later than planned, which made the transition to the northeast pretty tough. I guess it isn’t the most practical way of life, I mean we could just tell people to get somewhere when we want them to be there, but is a whole lot more laid back.

    • Belle says:

      It’s been weird being out West when an invite says 5:30pm, and I’m there 30-40 mins before everyone else. Back East most people are there before or within 10 mins after.

  4. Monica says:

    California’s PFL is pretty generous by US standards, and even gives father’s 6 weeks at 55% pay for bonding. Is it still frowned upon by employers? Perhaps, but the only way to change that is for more men to take advantage of it so it becomes the norm. We are a two-income household with pretty close to equal salary, neither of us is the ‘breadwinner’ so neither of us can afford to just stop working. Personally, I wouldn’t want to, but I also have all the things the article states. Adequate maternity leave, paternity leave for when I returned to work, and a fairly progressive boss who allows me to work a flex schedule (at least for the first year) to be home with my daughter every other Friday. First we need the Federal laws protecting mothers, and then the culture has to catch up. Hopefully they get moving soon.

    • Belle says:

      I agree about Fathers taking advantage of it. It’s a use it or lose it situation. And old boss had paternity leave and four men in a row didn’t take it because they didn’t want to fall behind and they eliminated it, which really sucked for the guy who had twins the next year and needed it.

  5. kat says:

    The new Nine West campaign just disgusts me. I’m usually a huge fan of theirs-where else can you get a pair of on-trend shoes for less than $75-but this just shows me how disconnected they are from their audience.

    http://www.yousaucyminx.com

  6. Corporate Attorney says:

    My gut, as a childless person who’s watching many friends deal with this, is that it’s very hard to leave your infant to return to full-time work after maternity leave – it’s hard emotionally, and it’s hard logistically. In addition to the cost issues and points other have raised, I just don’t see my friends getting the support they need to get through that transition period – even just someone to say, “yes, you may cry every day for a month when you drop your baby at day care, but that’s okay and it won’t last forever, and eventually you will feel excited about your job/career again.” Given that lack of support and the real difficulty those first months back and work can pose, I think that staying home just seems like an easier choice for some people. And given all of the stresses of new parenthood (including sleep deprivation, emotional challenges, colicky babies, etc.), the downsides of staying home (like the long-term impact on career prospects and income) may seem far outweighed by the benefits of not having to juggle. Those downsides may not feel real until much later in life (and are often not admitted because admitting that staying at home might not have been the right choice can feel to many women like saying that they don’t love their children).

  7. CSJ says:

    RE: Parents staying home – I worry that parents don’t consider the long term financial effects of staying home rather than paying for daycare. Even though the cost of daycare makes it less attractive for both my husband and me to work, we’ll both stay on track for promotions and pay increases if we keep our jobs while our kids are little. I’m interested to hear what parents who’ve reentered the work force think about this.(Full disclosure – I don’t have kids yet (but I am expecting!) and might have a completely different opinion on this after the baby comes and maternity leave ends).

  8. Nancy says:

    1. Corp lawyer mom here – it is different for every mom and every family. I love my kids, but was happy to be back at the office after maternity leave to be around adults. Luckily I had great day care. It is now as the kids have aged there have been child care concerns due to my increased work travel. The answer for us is a stay at home dad/husband. As I was always the breadwinner, there was no significant financial sacrifice. Again – every family is different.
    9. The resume was stunning! After the shock, all I could think was ‘copyright infringement.’ A corporate nightmare of an employee

  9. When I first started working, my salary barely covered daycare. Now I make much more, but I have two kids in daycare. The bill is double my mortgage. I keep thinking that when both are in public school I will suddenly be freaking rich (compared to what I’ve been, I mean).

  10. scmd2 says:

    1. Articles like that make me pessimistic about the short-term future, when I presumably will have kids within the next 10 years (currently mid-twenties, no kids). My hope is that my employer will let me work on a part-time basis for maybe six months after maternity leave, and then go back to full time. The lack of a good daycare system in the US is deplorable. It’s also ridiculous that a year of daycare can cost more than a year of in-state university. My mom still worked after she had me, but she quit for a few years after she had my younger sister, although that was probably because we moved to a different country around that time as well. My mom went back to work once both my sister and I were in elementary school.

    7. Big Bang Theory – I used to love that show in its first few seasons because my friends (men AND women)and I are science/engineer nerds, but I quit watching because I couldn’t stand Penny being the stereotypical dumb girl. So I’m happy that Penny is being given an “actual job” that is a little more on par with the others in an intellectual context. But Glamour brings up a good point, “By the time Leonard backs off his insecurities or Penny quits her new gig to save his ego, we’ve all already lost.” I think they’re spot on with that, and more’s the pity if the show does go in that direction. Also, Amy and Bernadette, the other two main female characters, have advanced degrees and I’m pretty sure they make a substantial amount of money.

    • Heather says:

      Wasn’t Bernadette’s making more than Howard addressed in one episode? If I remember correctly he bought a 3d printer with her money and she had to lay down some rules.

      • Belle says:

        I don’t think she made more, I think it was that it was their money, not his. They also discussed who would stay home with their kids and whether they would have kids. I think the determination was that because she had raised her brothers and sisters, he would stay home.

  11. Elz says:

    The Nine West campaign is offensive. I guess that’s why Nine West shoes never fit or appealed to me, because I’ve never hunted for a husband or got my weeks off when my kids went to school or packed for one night stands. How ridiculous. And green lighted by a female head of Marketing? Disgusting.

    • Belle says:

      The thing is that there was a real opportunity here. “Shoes for climbing the corporate ladder” or “Running to meetings”…I don’t know, anything would have been better.

  12. GingerR says:

    I think it’s a series of things that encourage women to leave the workforce. Daycare is expensive, so if you aren’t a big earner it hardly seems worth it. Leave policies are stingy. Sick kid, snow day and daycare closed — there goes your summer vacation.
    I liked my job and was happy enough to leave baby with a sitter and spend some time with other adults, but once I had two children it was a problem to put in the hours that were expected of me. I lucked out because I was able to go part-time. Daycare was a joint expense so it wasn’t like my salary all went to pay for it. In the Tech field it was a good move because it kept me up on developments so when my kids were older and I went back full-time I was still current.

    I think the workplace needs more flexible arrangements for working moms.

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