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Who attends a working parent party?

Who attends a working parent party?

If you had a “labor day” party for a group representing the US labor force in the 25 – 54 age range, about 40%* of them would be working parents!  (The 60% who are not parents would be wondering if these folks will ever stop talking about their kids.)

Can you see a problem? Corporations view the 25 – 35 age range as a prime time to develop their employees for bench strength, which corresponds with the age employees start their families.  For working parents, career development opportunities may mean long work hours, a major project involving travel, or relocation.  On the home front, these same parents want to keep up with their children’s sports schedule, school events and doctor appointments.  As a working parent with 4 children, I can remember thinking, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”  (Or fantasizing about running away with the 60% above.)

Who are today’s working parents?  They are single parents struggling to do it all alone.  Married couples with dual careers coordinating their schedules like air traffic controllers. Married couples with one partner at home, but still very involved with their children.

Out of 100 working parents at this “labor day” party:

  • 66 are in dual career marriages, 33 men and 33 women.
  • 17 are single parents, 2 men and 15 women.
  • 17 are married with their spouse not working, 15 men and 2 women.

Today’s working parent representation is not a “one size fits all” model.

How can working parents survive and thrive? 

  • Reflect on your expectations and values for your career and family.
  • Be confident in your decision to be a working parent.
  • Set your priorities to live the life you envision.

How can corporations provide support for today’s working parent reality? 

  • Develop tools that weave together career development with family plans.
  • Challenge paradigms on travel and relocation.
  • Realize that managers may need to develop empathy for a variety of family models.

(Stay tuned for future blogs on the above concepts.)

Working parents are in the ideal age range for career development and starting a family.   Doing both at the same time, however, ain’t easy.  Working parents come in all flavors – married dual career, single parent, and married one career.  Corporations need to know how to keep the 40% working parents at their party.  Working parents need to learn how to cope.  We won’t have fun at the party, if we are stressed to the max!

Working Parents:  You are not alone!  What one thing do you want from your workplace?  What do you do to combat stress?

 

*40% is an estimate based on no. of working parents in 2010 (http://webcache NULL.googleusercontent NULL.com/search?q=cache:kw2Br6hYpp4J:www NULL.catalyst NULL.org/publication/252/working-parents+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) and US BLS statistics for 2010 (http://bls NULL.gov/news NULL.release/ecopro NULL.t01 NULL.htm).

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