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Traveling for Work and Late-Night Emails

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn September 10, 2014In: Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Traveling for work has its pros and cons.  I spent the last two weeks in sunny Santa Monica, California.  I was there to take multiple depositions in an expedited proceeding, which meant that I escaped my hotel room / conference room for a combined total of approximately 4 hours over a 14-day period.  In fact, I didn’t leave my hotel room or the conference room from which we were working at all until Day 4, when I took the extreme liberty of walking to the beach and back.  (Picture below).  I was out of the room for about 10 minutes—I didn’t even put my toes in the sand for fear that I’d never return to the room.

Two weeks felt like a long time to be away from home.  But it also felt like a long time to be away from my regular work routine.  In particular, my email Inbox expanded beyond my normal comfort level, as I prioritized the case that required my attention the most. Sunny Santa Monica

It wasn’t until late in the evening that I was able to make meager headway in responding to emails I’d received for other matters.  But, had it not been for those late-night (and, sometimes, very early morning) email binges, I would never have been able to get caught up upon my return.  I also would have had some very unhappy clients, who require their lawyer’s prompt attention to deal with emergency issues as they arise. 

So I have to question the premise of a recent opinion piece in the NYT, titled, End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email.  The piece features companies, such as Daimler, the German automaker, that sets limits on when employees can send and receive emails.  According to the article, “limiting workplace email seems radical, but it’s a trend in Germany,” where some companies have “adopted policies that limit work-related email to some employees on evenings and weekends.”

On the one hand, putting technical barriers and/or policies in place that restrict certain employees can have its benefits.  In particular, it limits the risks associated with non-exempt employees who send emails during off-hours and who must be paid for that time as time worked.  But it also seems to have some less-than-ideal outcomes.  Specifically, as we move more and more towards a flexible work schedule in an increasingly mobile society, the ability to respond to emails when and where we want can be very important.  And limitations on that ability may not be all its cracked up to be. 

Alas, the work-life balance continues to be more of a juggling act than a graceful performance on a balancing bar. Either way, it’s good to be home. 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 15, 2012In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Internet Resources, Resources, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Earlier this month, the President proclaimed October 2012 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The observance is intended to raise awareness about disability employment issues and to celebrate the contributions of our country's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

In conjunction with NDEAM, he U.S. Department of Labor has launched an online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit to "provide employees, job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers with information, resources and a unique approach to workplace flexibility."

According to the U.S. DOL, the toolkit "points visitors to case studies, fact and tip sheets, issue briefs, reports, articles, websites with additional information, other related toolkits and a list of frequently asked questions. It is searchable by type of resource, target audience and types of workplace flexibility, including place, time and task."

White House Focuses on Workplace Flexibility

Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn April 2, 2010In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Workplace flexibility has been a hot topic, a highlight of which was President Obama's White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility, televised earlier this week. The forum was designed as an opportunity for labor leaders, CEOs, small business owners, and policy experts to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for workers and their families. During the conference, the President compared flexible work schedules to the early stages of email: some companies have it, some don’t, but eventually, all companies will. Get ready employers – if you haven’t gotten aboard yet, the train may run you over!

Juggle work and home workplace flexibility

With healthcare out of the way, the administration is freed up to focus on other priorities. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama included work-life issues as an important part of his agenda, committing to expand FMLA, to prevent caregiver discrimination, and to offer incentives to employers to expand flexible work arrangements.  The forum indicates  that work-life issues remain a focus of this administration. Although the Obamas now have a personal chef, chauffeurs, and other assistance to make their “balance” a little easier, I am sure that Michelle’s experience managing a demanding career and raising her two girls has helped to ensure this issue remains on the President’s radar screen.

The discussion has taken different varied focuses over the years, but the bottom line is this: for many reasons, in order to retain employees in the modern workforce, employers have to reinvent the old model of an ideal worker. Flexible work schedules are over and over again focused on as the reasonable way to accommodate the needs of both employer and employee. The impetus for employers to engage in this discussion has  evolved a bit over the years.

First, employers were interested in the topic primarily due to the economics of investment in skilled workforce (particularly professional women), who often left the job because unable to balance their work and family responsibilities. Then Gen Y came along, with both males and females placing a greater value on “down” time, whether with family or pursuing other activities. Gen Y consistently ranks workplace flexibility among the most desirable employment benefits. With the economic downturn, the discussion turned to how flexible schedules could immediately help the bottom line (4-day workweeks, voluntary reduction in hours for reduction in pay, etc.).

Law and politics have not shied away from the discussion: both Republican and Democratic administrations have made important advancements to the cause of work-life balance. In 2007, the EEOC under the Bush administration issued it Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities. In 2009, Obama’s administration issued  Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities, which focused primarily on flexible work arrangements. The White House Forum has work-life balance advocates everywhere eager to see what will come next!


See these related posts for more about work-life balance:

Resources for Work-Life Balance and Flexible Work Arrangements

Maybe It’s Not All Gloom and Doom for Work-Life Balance

Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth

Caregiver Discrimination: The "Sandwiched Generation"

5 Steps Toward a More Flexible Workplace

Work-Life Balance Update

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn March 22, 2010In: Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Work-life balance is a hot topic in the world of workplace initiatives. It’s so hot, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest developments.  Here are a few items to get you started:



Work-Life Balance Award Act of 2010

This bill was introduced on March 16 by two Democrats on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. The Act would establish an annual Work-Life Balance Award to be presented by the U.S. Secretary of Labor based on recommendations from an appointed advisory board. Any private and public employers of any size, except federal agencies, would be eligible for the reward. The list of winners would be published on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.


Work-Life Balance on NPR

National Public Radio has an interesting series on work-life balance and the need for more flexible work arrangements, done in the context of its impact on children and the education system. You can listen to the program (for free, of course), via the NPR website

Why We Should Dump “Balance” from “Work-Life Balance” Altogether

Cali Williams Yost is the go-to expert in the area of work-life balance and flexible working arrangements. Except that, according to Yost, there’s really no such thing. In an interview with BNet, Yost encourages businesses to drop the word “balance” in favor of “fit.” She says that “balance” suggests that there’s a right way to manage your life and work. But there’s no one right answer for anyone and what’s “right” is likely to change over time, depending on where you are at the moment.

Sloan Work and Family Top 10

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn February 26, 2010In: Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Sloan Work and Family Network published a list of the Top 10 Posts from its blog for 2009 and I am so honored that my post, The Four-Day Workweek and the Death of the Flexible-Workplace Initiative, ranked #1! The four-day workweek got a lot of publicity in the latter half of 2008 and early 2009 but lost its fizzle as the economy continued to worsen. Although the concept was touted by advocates as a way to promote a flexible work schedule, I argued that it served the exact opposite purpose and served to create an inflexible workplace.

Have a look at the Four-Day Workweek post, along with the other excellent articles that combine to form the 10 most popular blog posts of the year at the Sloan Work and Family Network Blog.

Good Reads for Human Resources Professionals

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn February 15, 2010In: Employee Engagement, Retaliation, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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The February 2010 issue of Law Practice Today, the webzine published by the ABA's Law Practice Management section, is now available and can be read in its entirety at the Law Practice Management section's website.  I was the issue editor for this edition, which focuses on the Human Resources side of management.  The articles are great and offer lessons that apply to all industries.  They include:

Managing Your Relationships With Your Staff

Avoiding Retaliation Liability

Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Associates

Taking a Break From the Professional Hurricane

How Law Firms Can Use an Ombudsman to Resolve Conflicts

Appreciating the Difficulty Involved in HR Issues

Important Keys to Practice Success

Outsourcing Legal Support Services

Hardcore Scanning for Law Offices of Any Size

Women Rainmakers: Wanji J. Walcott, American Express

28th Edition: What's Hot in Technology for 2010 (Podcast)

All of the articles are excellent but I want to give an extra-loud "thanks" to fellow employment-law bloggers, Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employment Law Blog, and Phil Miles of Lawffice Space, who each wrote features for the webzine.  John authored Avoiding Retaliation Liability, which deals with the hottest topic in employment litigation these days and gives great advice on how not to become a defendant in a retaliation lawsuit. And Phil wrote Fostering an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Associates, which reminds us of the undeniable link between engagement, motivation, and success. 

Should Women Shun Work-Life Balance Benefits?

Posted by Teresa A. CheekOn December 1, 2009In: Women In (and Out of) the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Glass-ceiling research shows women continue to be harmed by gender stereotypes.  Managers continue to discriminate against female subordinates because they incorrectly perceive women as having greater conflicts between their family responsibilities and their work responsibilities than men, reports The Academy of Management Journal. Somewhat surprisingly, both male and female managers harbor this misperception.

The study, entitled "Bosses' Perceptions of Family-Work Conflict and Women's Promotability: Glass Ceiling Affects," was conducted by members of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Department of Managerial Studies. Lead author Jenny Hoobler commented that she expected that "[w]hat we're talking about ... is one of the subtle, entrenched forms of discrimination that make up the glass ceiling."


The study cautions women about using company-sponsored programs such as on-site child care, flex time or paid parental leave, which are designed to assist employees with work-life balance. The problem is that managers may view use of such benefits as confirmation of women's greater susceptibility to work-family conflicts, and then view such women as less committed to the company and less promotable than their male counterparts who do not make use of such benefits.

The authors recommend that to reduce the potential that gender stereotyping will affect workplace decisions, companies should educate managers about their own possible biases and should be aware of and guard against allowing "biased perceptions of caregiving roles" to affect promotion decisions.

How Often Should Employees Check E-Mail After Hours?

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn November 6, 2009In: Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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If you’re an associate at the law firm Quinn Emanuel, the answer is “very, very often.”  According to legal tabloid, Above the Law, clients of the firm expect their attorneys to be on call 24/7.  Well, according to a memo written by a partner and circulated to associates, 24/7 may be “something of an exaggeration—but not much.”

In fact, the memo tells associates, they should check their e-mail while they’re in the office, as well as during off-duty time.  Specifically, unless there is a “good reason not to,” which the memo defines as “when you are asleep, in court, or in a tunnel,” associates are expected to check their e-mails once an hour. 

How would your employees respond to a directive like this? How would such an instruction affect morale, not too mention productivity.  This means that, when out to dinner, associates would have to check their Blackberries twice, maybe more, during the meal.  How romantic.

October Is For: Work-Life Balance & Workplace Politics

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 19, 2009In: Policies, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Workplace Prof Blog reports that, last week, Congress designated October as National Work and Family Life Month.  The primary force behind the measure was the Alliance for Work-Life Progress, and the purpose was to encourage employers and employees to seek flexible work environments to better balance the needs of work and families.

October is also Workplace Politics Awareness Month.  So, how can we put these two noble causes together? 

How about by creating an “official” work-life policy.  An often-heard complaint is the lack of transparency in part-time or remote-work policies. Many organizations, especially in professional-services fields, negotiate reduced-hour schedules on a case-by-case basis. This often results in unequal application of the policy.  The uncertainty also causes some employees to avoid the discussion altogether. In other words, those “in the know” is more likely to request a flex or reduced-hours schedule than someone outside the loop, only because the employee in the know feels more confident that they’ll get an answer they’re expecting.

To prevent unfairly preferential treatment of those with access to the key information holders (i.e., the “favorites”), create a policy on flex schedules for circulation to all employees.

Women as Breadwinners

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn September 23, 2009In: Women In (and Out of) the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Unemployment is painful for anyone who wants to work but is unable to locate a suitable position.  With the increases in unemployment finally starting to lessen, the aftermath of layoffs has come into focus.  The manufacturing and construction industries were two of the hardest hit by the recession, suffering higher job losses than other industries.  Because these two industries employ disproportionately large numbers of males, men have suffered an equally disproportionate number of job losses. 

Since December 2007, men were at the receiving end of more than 74% of cuts.  Women, on the other hand, hold nearly 50% of payroll jobs, making them less vulnerable to financially motivated layoffs.  In June 2009, a record 1.4 million men left the labor force, as compared to a near-record 1.2 million women. 

The highest unemployment rate for men since the Great Depression was 10.1% in 1982.  In June, that number reached 10%. Post-Great Depression, the record for women was in 1982, 9.3%. Currently, it’s 7.6% today.


What is less easy to quantify is the impact this shift has had on workplace and home-life dynamics.  As more and more women find themselves in a position of the sole wage earner, societal attitudes inevitably will be affected in some way, even if it's not immediately noticeable.

Becky Beaupre Gillespie, of Good Enough Is the New Perfect, wrote a very insightful post detailing the struggle she and her husband have experienced in navigating their roles since he was let go from his job with a national law firm.  Her journey is surely one that many working women are experiencing across the country.  How it will impact the gender roles is yet to be seen.

A Turning Point for Women in the Legal Profession? Almost.

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn September 21, 2009In: Women In (and Out of) the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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While in law school, I was defeated in the semi-final round of a moot court competition.  The reason for the loss?  My outfit. I'd worn a pantsuit and a female judge, who was a judge in real life, also, ridiculed the choice, telling me that no "real lawyer" would ever have worn pants to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, which was who we were "pretending" to argue before in the competition.  The harsh criticism came as a total shock to me and I've never forgotten it. 

Well, after these many years, I've finally been vindicated. In her first argument before the country's highest court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, former Dean of Harvard Law School, wore a navy blue pantsuit and light blue blouse. So it seems that my judge was wrong.  A woman would and, in fact, did wear pants before the Supreme Court after all.  Does this brazen fashion choice signify a coming of age for women in the legal profession?  bw sexual equality male female scales of justice

Well, almost.

It would have been a far more remarkable silent victory but for the fact that it wasn't silent at all.  Kagan's choice was all over the legal newsboards.  Above The Law ran a story detailing the choice and discussing the outfit at length. The fact that her clothing garnered so much attention lessened the potentially important impact of what was surely a high point in Kagan's legal legacy.  Had the media not found it so remarkable, Kagan's pantsuit choice may have been a much more significant symbol of how far women have come in our profession.  But, by spotlighting it as a key point of interest, the news stories just reminds us that our fashion choices do matter--at least to the interested public. 

Nonetheless, the fact that Kagan was not dissuaded in her selection by the media's interest does give me a great deal of satisfaction.  Would I follow Kagan's lead?  I'd like to think so but I dare not speculate.  After all, an attorney with Kagan's pedigree has plenty of reasons to be as confident as she was--she's got the legal acumen to back up any outfit she "dares" to wear. 

See also:

Gender Discrimination & Dress Codes. Who wears the skirt, I mean, pants in your office?

Are Women Attorneys Being Stricken by a Pantsuit Pandemic?

The Pantsuit Pandemic Part II

Resources for Research on Work-Life Balance & Flexible-Work Arrangements

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn August 4, 2009In: Family Responsibilities (FRD), Flextime, Telecommuting, Women In (and Out of) the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Thanks to everyone who attended the audio conference on Caregiver Discrimination, presented by Adria B. Martinelli and Margaret M. DiBianca.  As promised during the conference, we're posting some of the many resources that are available online where employers can locate specific information and research to use in pitching the idea of Flexible Workplace Arrangements.


Two of the Leading Work-Life Centers

Workplace Flexibility 2010, at the Georgetown University Law Center, has a virtual tremendous amount of helpful resources,including A Fact Sheet on Flexible Work Arrangements and Flexible Work Arrangements: The Overview Memo.

Another leader in the field of work-life balance is the Sloan Work and Family Institute.  Here, you'll find a treasure trove of detailed information about flexible work arrangements, including an extensive compilation of Workplace Flexibility Case Studies.



The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), has a good webpage on the topic of flexible workplace initiatives, where it links to several other great resources, including:

Article: "Incidence of Flexible Work Schedules Increases"
A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Monthly Labor Review article stating that from 1991 to 1997, the percentage of full-time wage and salary workers with flexible work schedules on their principal job increased from 15.1 percent to 27.6 percent. baby wearing headset

Article: "Flexible Schedules and Shift Work: Replacing the '9-To-5' Workday?"
Article from BLS' Monthly Labor Review Online.

Article: "Over One Quarter of Full-time Workers Have Flexible Schedules"
More information on flexible schedules.

Article: "Flexible Work Schedules: What Are We Trading Off to Get Them?"
More information on flexible schedules.

Article: "Executives most likely to have flexible work hours"
More information on flexible schedules.

Article: "Workers with Longer Workweeks Often Earn More Per Hour"
Article published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stating that the weekly earnings of workers who work an extended workweek (between 45 and 99 hours) earn at least 32% more money than those who work a standard workweek (between 35 and 44 hours).

Index of BLS Reports on Workers on Flexible and Shift Schedules
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the trend towards flexible work schedules.


10 More (Great) Resources

The Center for Companies that Care is a national, not-for-profit organization "dedicated to enhancing the well-being of employees and communities."

Center for Women's Business Research "is the go-to source on the trends, characteristics, achievements, and challenges of women business owners and their enterprises."

Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP), "undertakes research and works with employers to design, promote, and implement workplace policies that increase productivity and enhance personal/family well-being. CWLP is committed to promoting policies that enable individuals to realize their full potential across the divides of gender, race and class."

Corporate Voices for Working Families is a "non-profit corporate membership organization created to bring the private sector voice into the public dialogue on issues affecting working families."

The MIT Workplace Center is part of the MIT Sloan School of Management

Parenting in the Workplace Institute's  mission is "to promote, educate, and provide resources for successful implementation of parenting in the workplace structures nationally and worldwide."

Rutgers Center for Women and Work, is part of the School of Management and Labor Relations, and addresses "women's advancement in the workplace and conducts cutting-edge research on successful public and workplace policies."

WFC Resources formerly Work & Family Connection) has been working since 1984 "to help employers create a workplace that's both supportive and effective."

When Work Works "is a nationwide initiative to highlight the importance of workforce effectiveness and workplace flexibility as strategies to enhance businesses' competitive advantage in the global economy and yield positive business results."

Winning Workplaces is a not-for-profit providing consulting, training and information to "help small and midsize organizations create great workplaces."


And, of course, Delaware Employment Law Blog has bunches of resources, too.

See Previous posts on Alternative-Work Schedules, Flextime Initiatives, Telecommuting, and other Work-Life Balance issues.

Tweet Me! It's Friday, for cryin' out loud!

Posted by E-LawOn July 31, 2009In: Employee Engagement, PDFs, Social Media in the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Twitter continues to gain popularity and I've jumped on the bandwagon.  Here are my "tweets" from this week, grouped into rough categories by topic.


Social Media

Video HowCreate an Account in LinkedIn (via Professionally Speaking) Now you've got no excuse to avoid #social #networking

Using Twitter as a teaching tool (via #elearning future) Twitter_logo.jpeg

RT @mashable High School Admins Coerce Cheerleader for Facebook Password (and then disclose the info on her pers. pg.)

RT @fyiscreening4 Tips On How To Use Social Networks For Employee Screening (from N.Y. Law Journal)

RT @Twitter_Tips Top 10 Rules of Twitter Etiquette: --Share this guide:

RT @LissaLawyer: AmLaw Daily asks whether the Future is "Oh So Social"

RT @HRSocialMedia: White House using LinkedIn to get comments from small business on health care reform

Canada's #privacy commissioner gives #Facebook a failing grade (RT: @cybercourt)

RT @mashable Top 5 Funniest Fake Facebook Pages Slate's fake Obama #Facebook page is a riot



FTC has postponed (again) the start of its "Red-Flag Rule" until November due to ?s re: how to comply.

Thanks to @MelanieMcClure for mention of my "anti-harassment policy tip sheet"

RT @Eric_B_Meyer: Philly Inquirer article rips Sen. Specter for wavering on #EFCA.

In Philly, $10m #verdict in police officers' race-bias suit cut to $30k max per Title VII cap


Presentations and Public Speaking

Delaware gets its own #Ignite night! (via The News Journal) YCST E-law did #Pecha Kucha back in April w/great response.

RT @pptninja: 31 Flavors of PowerPoint - Part I #ppt (Great post re: diff. presentation styles needed diff. settings


Work-Life Balance

WSJ's The Juggle talks about how we handle pressure differently at home vs. at work. Is there anyone who doesn't?

RT @DrDavidBallardRT @jessicapeterson Employees financial problems cost employers $4.5 billion annually (BusinessWeek)


The Paperless Office

RT @DisabilityTips 6 Myths of Going "Paperless" | Colorado Social Security Law

Why are fed courts so opposed to #technology in the #courtroom? NY lawyers want the rules changed. Agreed.

Great #acrobat article re: What You Can Accomplish With Adobe Acrobat Forms RT @acroboy: RT @wikiatech.


Management & Leadership

Here's a real shocker from @nytimes: Corner Office: No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers (via @wbowser)

Great book on management: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy by Bruce Telgan. Supposed to be re: Gen Y but is applicable to all

RT @hrmagazine: PricewaterhouseCoopers offers program to develop 1st-yr college students. Great idea for #GenY!

The Power of an Almost-Apology

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn July 27, 2009In: Employee Engagement, Jerks at Work, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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President Obama has made an "almost apology" to the police officer he offended with his "acted stupidly" comment.  The President made the comment when discussing the arrest of Black Harvard scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., by Cambridge, Mass. police. The police were called to Gates' home to investigate a possible break-in but ended up arresting Gates for disorderly conduct.  From most accounts, it seemed that both sides probably overreacted. No charges were pressed.  When later asked to comment on the incident, which was perceived as having racial undertones, President Obama said the arrest was a "stupid" thing to do.

Oh my.  Cambridge police, as you may imagine, didn't appreciate the accusation that they, as a collective whole, tending to act stupidly.  3d businessmen communicating

Responding to the escalating pushback, Obama called Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, to "clear the air."  At a subsequent press gathering, the President told reporters that he had called both men and invited them for a beer at the White House.  The President did not say whether his calls included an apology, nor did he apologize publicly about his comment.  

Many are now asking whether a true apology is necessary or appropriate, or whether it's enough to simply "clear the air" and put the whole issue to rest.

My answer to this question is a practical one.  If "clearing the air" without a full-blown apology actually does the trick, then no apology is needed. But, more often than not, if you want to be sure that the matter is resolved, an apology is the way to go.  Remember, you don't have to apologize for something you didn't do. So, if your intentions were good but the words came out wrong, then apologize for your word choice. 

Is a public apology needed?  Again, I vote "no."  If those persons who were offended by the comment, they were offended only on behalf of the individuals involved.  No slight was done to members of the public directly.  So, it makes sense that, if the individuals involved are satisfied with the President's almost-apology, then the public should be satisfied, as well. 

In the workplace, conflict arises constantly.  Employees who understand the value of a sincere and immediate apology (or even an almost-apology), will avoid more senseless arguments, hurt feelings, and have less stress overall.  Plus, when you are the one apologizing, you feel as if you've conquered a big part of the conflict just by stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for your actions. Then, even if the conflict does not resolve, you can take away the satisfaction of knowing that you tried and then let go of the results over which you have no control.

With that in mind, be extra kind to your co-workers today.  It's Monday, after all.

No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance?

Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn July 17, 2009In: Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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"There’s no such thing as work-life balance . . . There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences,” proclaims former General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jack Welch. The Wall Street Journal reported Mr. Welch’s comment made to the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference in New Orleans on June 28.climbing-ladder

Mr. Welch added that he knows the women who have reached the top of Archer Daniels, and of   DuPont, and that they’ve had “pretty straight careers.”

One female CEO quoted in the article commented that women can “take a couple of years off,” to raise children and still become CEOs. “But if you take a decade off, you probably aren’t going to make it to the top.”

None of these observations is particularly shocking. It’s not surprising that most current female CEOs have had “pretty straight careers.” Nor should it be a barn-stormer that someone who spends ten years out of the work-force—male or female—is unlikely to make it to the highest possible rung on the corporate ladder. I would expect that anyone who makes it to the CEO level has had to make tremendous sacrifices in their personal life to get there. Obviously, those who make it to CEO are a unique breed in many respects.

For anything short of CEO, however, to the extent “straight career” means full-time with no time out of the workforce whatsoever, one would hope companies are learning that’s not the only way to get from point A to B. When a woman takes time off or slows down her career for family reasons, it may take her longer to get to the top, but her cumulative experience should be what counts. Her path to get there—whether straight, jagged, or curvy—should not matter.

To read more posts on work-life balance, see:

Maybe It’s Not All Gloom and Doom for Work-Life Balance
Editor’s Note: A Moment for Reflection
Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth