This Week In Your Wallet: Confidence, Careers and COVID
Maybe it’s the fact that the days are getting shorter or that the pandemic continues to linger, but right now I’m feeling like we could all use a boost. It’s great when we can turn to the outside world for the sort of affirmation that makes us feel like we’ve got it going on. But sometimes — and now seems to be one of those — we’ve got to get it from within.
That’s why I wanted to start this week’s newsletter off by sharing writer Lindsay Tigar’s take on how to build confidence so that we can all feel a little more ready to, in her words, “take on the world.” To come up with her step-by-step, Tigar debriefed mental health experts who explained precisely what confidence is (how “solid” a person feels in their own qualities and abilities), why it matters (to remind us that not only can we make goals, we can also meet them – and move through challenging situations).
Then she laid out a five-step plan for how to get more of it. My favorite take away from the story: Having confidence doesn’t mean you won’t experience fear or anxiety. Rather, it means that when fear and anxieties arise, you don’t let them discourage you from completing the task.
It’s a great read – and a needed one, as you’ll see when you look at the other news of the week.
A 1-2-3 Punch For Women 40+
That’s been the impact of the pandemic for working women between the ages of 40 and 65, according to a new report from AARP. The Washington Post’s Michelle Singletary dug into the findings: 14% of these women lost jobs, 13% lost hours at work, 9% were furloughed, 4% had their salary or hours reduced. The situation is worse for Black and Hispanic women. And despite trying, 70% of unemployed women over 40 have been out of work for 6 months or more. Singletary calls it a Trifecta Effect. “In looking for work, they are more likely to face age discrimination. Once they lose their job, they experience a longer period of unemployment. And if they do find work, they often have to take a pay cut,” she writes.
And it’s not as if women had it easy to begin with. To write her book, The End of Bias: A Beginning, Jessica Nordell dug into the “everyday gender biases” that are, as she wrote for The New York Times, “endemic in the workplace.” These slights – like the fact that women get less credit than men for projects they take on themselves, are penalized more than men for failures, the list goes on – compile through the days, weeks, months and years. And what happens? Fewer women get promoted, receive tenure, stick with the careers that their graduate degrees prepared them for. The article itself had me shaking my head with each paragraph – I had seen many of these facts before, but not such a laundry list of them – but what I really want you to do is click here to look at the illustrations by the Times’ Graphics Editor Yaryna Serkez. Astonishing. And incredibly well done.
The Great Resignation In 5 Clicks
The other thing I noticed this week was a continuation of highly-readable stories on The Great Resignation, each approaching the phenomenon from a different angle. Whether you’re looking for a new job, want to figure out a way to come to terms with the one you have, or are just determined that you will never commute again, reporters are pounding the pavement with you in mind. Here’s a sampling of my favorites:
The resume gap is nothing to fear anymore. So says Anthony Klotz, the associate management professor at Texas A&M who is credited with coining the term “Great Resignation” in this Wall Street Journal story. Writer Krithika Varagur explores ways to not just quit your job, but find one that suits you better.
How to keyword-up your resume like a pro. When you are ready to dip a toe back in, this story from HerMoney’s Molly Povich has your back. She lays out a plan to, as she puts it, “calibrate your resume to beat the robots and get it into human hands.” Hint: There’s a difference between using keywords well – and overusing them. You need to know it.
Working too much? How to care a little less. For many of us, pandemic work hasn’t gotten easier, despite our lack of a commute, work travel and all the rest. When your office is your home, it’s always there. I really like this take from the Journal’s Rachel Feintzeig on how to put the pressure into perspective. “We sat down at our computers in the spring of 2020 and haven’t let up since. Now we can’t figure out how to turn it off. Can we learn to care less? (Ideally, without having a brush with death?) What happens if we let go, just a little?” Then she offers real strategies including asking – about each task – if it actually has to be done or can slide, and how to sit on your hands and let others volunteer.
Questioning the commute. Finally, this story from Yahoo Finance on the future of the commute actually forced me to do the math. Two hours a day, times three days a week, for 25(ish) years: That’s 7,800 hours of my life (which translates into 325 days, 46 ½ weeks, or a little under an entire year of my life) that I spent commuting from my house in the New York suburbs to my assorted jobs in the city. To be honest, it was probably more than that – I always made myself feel better by shaving off the time it took to get from my house to the train station. Would I do it again? Actually, I might. I worked from home two days a week – which gave me more balance than most. More than that, I made great train friends. Friends I don’t see often enough anymore. Sounds like a good time to give them a call.
Have a great week!