Workday Reading

The Edition: No. 192

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. // William Feather

+ Overcoming common productivity fails in the age of COVID-19.

+ This green Donna Morgan sheath is perfect for the office (and <$40).

+ Whatever happened to Nanette Lepore?

+ BR’s Luxe Lounge collection is amazing.  This shirttail tee is fab.

+ 10 Remote Interview Questions You Need to Be Ready For.

+ Ann Taylor has gorgeous work pants in teal-green and lake blue.

+ How to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.

+ Dry hair? Don’t sleep on Olaplex’s Holiday Hair Fix Kit. It will sell out.

+ 865,000 women left the workforce last month. Sheryl Sandberg tells company’s to step up to protect their female employees.

+ The Drop’s staple pieces are worth a look. This sweatshirt dress is amazing.

+ Millenials are trying to shake the stigma of moving back home.

+ J.Crew has amazing jewelry right now. This long pearl necklace is perfection.

Long Read. No one likes a mad woman; but rage can drive progress.

Last week was just off the rails.  I had multiple written deliverables that forced three all-nighters.  Nothing else got accomplished. And all of the productivity and confidence that had been built the week before was just dashed.

Right now, I’m working 80-hours a week.  It’s not sustainable.  So when I saw this on Pinterest, it really hit me hard.  The truth is that while I am in my office 80-hours a week, I am not working 80-hours.  Like many of us, I am sitting, trying to force myself to work probably 25% of that time, maybe more.

So yesterday, when I felt like I was dragging myself along and accomplishing nothing, I decided to take a break.  I went on a walk. I played with my dog.  I cleaned my bedroom.  I just stopped trying to force it.  And unsurprisingly, things went a lot better.

We’re all depleted right now.  Nothing is how it would normally be.  And we need to mold our habits and patterns to fit how our daily lives look now.  I feel like I’ve been fighting the changes, trying to keep things as they were, and it’s just not working.  It’s time to build a new way.

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LEAVE A COMMENT

    25 comments

  1. E says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again for likely the rest of my life, in response to the articles on women leaving the workforce. Women need to fight for true equality in their partnerships at home. The NYT article cites the unpaid labor forcing women out of the workforce. What if men shared the burden of that unpaid labor? How would our economy benefit? Why does the media place this burden solely on employers (through the unlikely medium of articles geared only at women readers)? Wages are a part of this equation and inequalities there need to be addressed. But without a more equitable distribution of unpaid work at home, women will continue to need “more flexible hours” (i.e. fewer hours), and thus perpetuate existing explanations for the wage gap. Phew, okay, rant over for now.

    October 6, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I think you’re absolutely correct. But the sad reality is women have economic power at work, a power that most don’t enjoy at home. Because every husband thinks they’re doing way more than they’re doing and that when we complain about unequal distribution of labor, we’re talking about other people’s husbands.

      October 6, 2020/Reply
      • Sarah says:

        While there is NO question that there needs to be equality in the household and men HAVE to step up, parenting is STILL hard with equal partners. When is anyone going to talk about that? That it is actually almost impossible to be a parent during covid times with no childcare and two parents working. There is no support. There is no breaks. There is no lifeboat coming. There IS a parenting crisis in America. Full stop. And there are no policy options that are being talked about.

        October 6, 2020/Reply
        • E says:

          Totally fair and valid, Sarah. What policy options would best ameliorate that issue, in your opinion?

          October 6, 2020/Reply
        • Nancy M says:

          100% agree Sarah. I want at least a $1k per month childcare check from the government per child. I would hire a babysitter to stay at my house and watch my vitual school aged kid, and my 2yr old for a few mornings a month. THEN, my husband and i could get some work done.

          October 6, 2020/Reply
          • JL says:

            Is this satire? Maybe? But in the event that it was not intended as such, I would offer that parenthood is a lifestyle choice. Granted, it is a very common and popular choice, but a choice nevertheless. Should everyone be entitled to stipends, to support their own lifestyle choices?

            If anything, if there is “extra” funds lying around, better to support needy children in the foster care system, orphanages, etc.

            Those who choose not to have children are often called selfish. I see a big disconnect when parents who “just want to love a child” insist(through their actions) that the only children worth loving and caring for are the ones which are a genetic “mini-me”. If you truly want to love a child, there are plenty already in need of love and care. Unfortunately, what many people mean is “I want to love a care for a child that is a miniature version of me & my partner”.

            October 7, 2020/Reply
            • Anon says:

              JL, I don’t think it was intended as satire and you make some good (if likely unpopular) points!

              October 7, 2020/Reply
          • Nellie says:

            Totally agree.

            October 8, 2020/Reply
        • Lindsay says:

          I just want to say THIS! Every word. The system is broken. And even with a husband who does 50% or more of the housework/parenting responsibility, with both of us working, having a toddler at home without daycare, and being now 37+ weeks pregnant we both feel like shells of our former selves (and we come from a place of privilege). It is relentless. And should I not have disability/leave coming up, one of us would have to quit our job. There’s got to be a better solution because without it, economic recovery will be slowed.

          October 6, 2020/Reply
          • Chelsea says:

            With all humility, help me understand. Mine is not a perspective that I usually notice in the comments and I’m genuinely seeking others’ perspectives. Even pre-covid, I haven’t held a full time job for the last few years because we have four kids under 10 and what I might make was negligible after we paid for all the childcare necessary for me to work. There are still days I would chose that negligible net income over being home all the time but the point is, I choose not to work because it didn’t make financial sense. And we are blessed in my husbands good job that we can make that trade. But that doesn’t mean my husband makes a huge amount of money, that we live in a nice remodeled home, drive newer cars, go on many vacations that aren’t camping trips, eat out a lot, get many new clothes, sign our kids up for sports more than one season or any other things I would now consider (pre-kid for us) luxuries. We traded the stress of both working plus kids for one working and less income and moved into a less desirable but still safe neighborhood. Sometimes the solution is choosing for one parent to stay. home. I’m not saying that most of your lives do include those expenses, and, yes, there are many many circumstances for families where both parents need to work or where there is only one parent and they have to work in order to put a roof over their heads and provide dependable food and transportation and healthcare. But for many of us, I would guess very many who read a this wonderful fashion blog full of lovely “wants” but not “needs”, we don’t fall into that latter category. Are we suggesting that the government pay $1,000/month per kid for childcare for all parents who choose to work? Even for those who choose to both work even though the family could provide for their needs on a single income? Let’s assume this particular question is not specific to these COVID times, as changing lifestyles isn’t always a quick process.

            October 6, 2020/Reply
            • Amy says:

              Yes, yes that is exactly what we are saying. Because not all families are just like yours, women don’t always WANT to stay home (even if they would only come out a little bit ahead now, what about benefits, social security, an up to date resume, insurance in case a spouse dies, etc. etc. etc.). MANY studies have shown that providing a stipend for childcare or to families is good for the entire economy as it keeps more motivated workers(men AND women) in the workforce, increases gender equity in pay, and increases birth rates.
              More support for working families (including deductions for child care, better access to quality child care, universal pre-k, etc.) are also MAJOR policies of the democratic nominees this year and I for one am glad to hear them talked about as they support BOTH men and women – childcare is NOT a women’s issue, it’s a family issue that happens to fall disproportionately ON women.

              October 6, 2020/Reply
              • Chelsea says:

                Thanks for your response. I actually didn’t say that I wanted to stay at home, I said it’s what works financially for my family. Should the government also pay $1,000/month per child if both parents don’t want to work? It seems some of your rationale is based on how the parents want to spend their time, not how they need to just to take care of the family. If so, would I also get the $1,000/month per child so I can put my children in childcare while stay home and choose how to spend my time rather than childcare? Whether that is relaxing or volunteering? I think we will end up on different sides of this either way because I don’t want to spend taxpayer money in this particular way, but I appreciate the understanding of other perspectives the conversation brings for me.

                October 6, 2020/Reply
                • MARY says:

                  Chelsea – what do you think tax dollars should be spent on, if not to improve our quality of life?

                  October 7, 2020
                • E says:

                  I could think of a lot of things– support of the poor and infirm spring to mind as top priorities…

                  October 7, 2020
                • Chelsea says:

                  Mary – I think the role of the government is (ie tax dollars should be spent on) to uphold the law, protect its citizens, provide education, manage infrastructure that an individual citizens can’t manage (roads,etc), and provide a financial safety net for citizens who need help to meet their basic needs. I’m sure I’m leaving out some important roles but, for me, it isn’t to provide the highest level of quality of life possible for every citizen beyond meeting basic needs. Once our basic needs are met, we are welcome to use our after-tax income to improve our quality of life how we see fit, making the choices (and sometimes sacrifices) that work best for our own families.

                  October 7, 2020
                • MARY says:

                  Most other countries consider childcare a basic need especially since it’s linked to labor force participation which is in turn linked to GDP. It’s a shame some Americans are so short-sighted.

                  October 7, 2020
                • MARY says:

                  Yes, E, spending money on those populations would indeed result in great quality of life improvement for many. Thanks for mentioning them!

                  October 7, 2020
                • E says:

                  Come on, Mary, you know other countries tax their populations differently than in America and that style of taxation would be wildly unpopular among the American middle class. Would you be willing to give up your dependent deductions as a trade off for govt subsidized health care? If you currently get a tax refund, would you be willing instead to pay into the tax system? How much of your income would you be willing to pay in taxes? There’s a large discrepancy between what the American populace says it wants from its government and what it is truly willing to pay in taxes. That’s not to say I’m against govt subsidized child care for the poor and needy (I think that’s a great idea), but not for across the board childcare whether folks need it or not.

                  October 7, 2020
                • MARY says:

                  The money’s already there, E – it just needs to be allocated differently. I don’t have kids (nor do I plan to ever) but I’m happy to see my taxes go toward schools, parks, childcare, etc. to help women and to leave the next generation better off. A rising tide lifts all boats.

                  October 7, 2020
            • heather says:

              I agree. I don’t have children, but I 100% support child stipends for childcare/expenses. As a hiring manager, I have experienced first hand, ALL of my best employees are female and are either considering starting families or have young families (my team is 70% male, 30% female ages 30-60) and I worry every day that my best employees are going to quit because the homeschooling, working, full time childcare situation of COVID and beyond is completely is unsustainable. If offering working parents stipends keeps young mothers in the workforce long term, that means our workforce will be able to sustain more gender equality in the workforce and will be able to promote more women to leadership positions bc they haven’t lost years of prime work experience due to maternity leave and child rearing that men don’t have to deal with.

              October 7, 2020/Reply
              • Nellie says:

                Our current economic and domestic lives were not set up to have both adults in a two-person household work outside the home. There is a reason women (I wish it weren’t so, but historically it is) stayed home to take care of domestic responsibilities and children; it’s because it’s a full-time job. Once I realized this I felt far less guilty about outsourcing some help; i.e. using my comparative advantage to pay for things I did not have the time for or the time to do well. Yes, it’s partly because my spouse does not contribute at quite the level I’d like, but even I also don’t want to spend all my free time cleaning. We don’t even have children yet. Sometimes I think this is because my spouse is a man and wasn’t socialized or trained to clean, etc., the way I was, but no matter how you slice it it’s still too much. I value feminism and equality of division of labor, but I also value my time and a clean house. Leaves me more time for necessary tasks I can’t outsource like managing my finances and my possesions.

                October 8, 2020/Reply
      • Pam says:

        Thank you belle for saying this. It is a true reality. When I read lean in i realized the big mistake i had made in my life was inadvertently/unknowingly letting the distribution of work at home grow unbalanced. But unlike having a superstar husband like Sheryl… well that secret to success was long behind me. But unless i want a divorce, trying to change things after 23years will make my life more of a hell. So yes i do all the emotional work for he family, yes i resent it, yes i have a thriving professional career and bring home 4/5ths of the income, so i do hire a housecleaning service and sometimes a meal service, and my mom. My mom helps me be in two places at once while I work 50-60 hours routinely, and sometimes more.

        October 7, 2020/Reply
  2. Trisha says:

    Thank you for talking about struggling to work. It’s always reassuring to know that I’m not the only one spending a chunk of each day trying to talk myself into doing something productive.

    October 6, 2020/Reply
  3. Olivia says:

    So sad about Nanette Lepore 🙁 I stalk Poshmark and ThredUp for dresses from her real line (Nanette Nanette Lepore is trash) and her designs were just such an amazing fit for my body and so fun.

    October 6, 2020/Reply
  4. Whitney says:

    Highly recommend following “The Nap Ministry” on Twitter and Instagram. Really important reminders to rest and not define your worth on your productivity. She is very active on social media because she views her pages as one of the many tools to help deprogram the masses from grind culture. https://thenapministry.wordpress.com/about/

    October 7, 2020/Reply

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