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Connecting across Generation & Gender to Achieve Work/Life Goals

Connecting across Generation & Gender to Achieve Work/Life Goals

Have you ever felt isolated due to your generation or gender?  I was honored to be the first webinar speaker for Women In Metalcasting, a special interest group sponsored by The American Foundry Society focused on providing a platform for women for networking, mentorship and the sharing of ideas, experiences and best practices.  We talked about making connections across generations and gender to achieve work and life goals. 

Read the excerpt below.

Don’t you wish people didn’t make assumptions about you based on your generation?  Just a few weeks ago someone I had just met over lunch said, search “Karen, don’t be offended, but you’re my perfect client – an older person who knows nothing about technology.”  Ouch.

Are you frustrated like me to find there’s still gender bias against women in the workplace that impacts our credibility?  I was being considered for a project that required manufacturing experience.  I was a manufacturing manager for 5 years at my previous company, but when this information was brought up the response was, “Yes, but she didn’t do it here.”  I get it that a woman plant manager is still not a common occurrence, but why would I have to prove it again?

In a recent webinar I conducted with the Women In Metalcasting (WIM), we explored ways to make connections across generations and gender to achieve work and life goals by: 1) Identifying generational perspectives and gender bias, 2) Sharing experiences and strategies to connect, and 3) Living your own work/life blend to achieve your goals.

The WIM group found that not only could they identify with generational perspectives by their birth year as Millennials, Gen X’ers and Boomers, but they also identified with traits of other generations in an online quiz.  Individuals don’t fit neatly in a generational box!  Contrary to the assumption my lunch partner had about me, I do pretty well as a Boomer finding my way around technology.

Sidebar gender biasI shared Joan Williams’ 4 patterns of gender bias with the group: Prove It Again, Tightrope, Maternal Wall, and Tug of War.  We took a poll to see which patterns the WIM group encountered.  Similar to how my manufacturing credibility was questioned, Prove It Again was the most frequent obstacle for the WIM group.  Nonetheless, all 4 patterns received votes showing the breadth of gender bias in the workplace.

We discussed three strategies to achieve work and life goals by connectiong across generational assumptions and gender bias.

  1. Be mindful of first impressions and adapt your approach to best project your capabilities.
  2. Seek opportunities to build relationships to allow people to get to know you as an individual.
  3. Find your champion and be a champion for others to overcome incorrect assumptions.

As you navigate through generational perspectives and gender bias, it’s important to be authentic.

Purposefully live your life to keep on track with your work and life goals.  I shared my ROCK your Work/Life 4 step process with WIM.  Write down your Roles, describe your Outcomes, align your life through Commitments each week and Keep these commitments visible with a weekly plan.

One woman in a male dominated field can feel isolating, but women together in groups like WIM – sharing experiences and building work/life strategies – are powerful!

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Contact Karen Murphy to visit with your group to share experiences and build work/life strategies as part of a Work Life Pursuit workshop, keynote or mastermind group at ktmurphy@WorkLifePursuit.com.  Visit WorkLifePursuit.com to learn more.

“Karen leverages her decades of experience in corporate America to provide tangible real world solutions for managing the “whirl-wind” of your work-life!”

“Karen was very enthusiastic – the presentation was not dull because her tone was very energetic and also very friendly, approachable. I appreciated all of the resources she gave to all of the attendees on the call as well.”

Want to learn more right now?  Here are some reading recommendations…

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Create Your Work/Life Vision: 4 Steps to Take Charge and Live the Life You Envision – Week by Week, Karen Murphy (Working Parent Café 2012).  I wrote this book to share my four-step plan for work/life survival.  It’s easy to follow, simple to apply, and yet life changing.

You Raised Us – Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams, Lauren Stiller Rikleen, (American Bar Association, 2014).  With 4 Millennial daughters, I definitely related to the description of how Millennials were raised.  This book was published in 2014 – a current view of the multigenerational workforce.

What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know, By Joan Williams & Rachel Dempsey (New York University Press, 2014 ).  I recognized each of the 4 patterns described as gender bias in my career.  It was disturbing to see how the odds are stacked against women in the workplace.  Thank goodness the authors provided a multitude of strategies to deal with the obstacles still present for women. 

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