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I Need a Day Off

puzzle CareerBuilder just released the results of their annual survey on absenteeism. They found that about one-third of all the people they surveyed had played hooky at least once in the last year.

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marylynnWhen I was a DJ working mornings, I had to be to work at 4 a.m. It’s hard to call your boss that early to tell him you won’t be in, even if you are sick!

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Here are the real reasons people played hooky, according to CareerBuilder:

#1 – they didn’t feel like it
#2 – to relax and recharge
#3 – to go to the doctor
#4 – to catch up on sleep
#5 – to run personal errands

Look at that list. Does that tell you how much pressure we feel in our day-to-day lives? Is the only way to remain psychologically healthy by playing hooky?

We also found it interesting that 10% of the time people play hooky is actually work-related. They don’t want to attend a meeting. They need some quality time to work on a past due project. They want to avoid a confrontation with a co-worker.

Companies today are trying to do more and more with less and less. That means you have fewer co-workers. Your day off may leave them in a bind. So try to plan for your time off. If you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, talk with your boss. See if you could work a little extra for a few days to get a day off. Everyone will be much better off if you’re upfront.

As a boss, do everything you can to honor your employee’s request. If you know you can’t give him or her the requested day off, offer an alternative. Employees today prize flexibility. It’s one of the best things you can do to retain employees who give their best.

Excuses, excuses

CareerBuilder also compiled a list of some of the most unusual excuses employers heard in the last year. Here are three of our favorites:

“I hit a turkey while riding a bike.”
We wondered if this was really a way to save money on Thanksgiving dinner!

“I donated too much blood.”

We found it hard to believe that any blood bank would take too much blood. Maybe this person ran into a vampire!

“My wife burned all my clothes so I have nothing to wear to work.”
So, here’s a question – how is this person going to get out of the house to buy the clothes he needs? We hope he’s not our neighbor!

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georgeI remember one of my managers telling me about an employee who wasn’t at work. It’s my favorite excuse ever. This guy worked hourly and had already used up all of his personal days. He said he was so stressed out by his lack of money that he just couldn’t come into work! Guess what – he got more stressed out!

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What’s the worst excuse you ever heard?

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One More Thing to Add to Your Schedule

balance We were at an event recently as was one of our friends. As he was leaving, he announced that he “had another thing”. Now he’s a really busy person; there’s no grass growing under his feet as the old saying goes. He’s into his job, which requires a lot of meetings.

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But his “another thing” remark got us thinking. What a great way to politely excuse yourself!

And that “other thing” could even be personal. He may have been going home for dinner for all we know!

It leaves a good impression – you’re a busy person. You like to stick to your schedule. It’s also a great way to excuse yourself, even from people who like to talk your ears off!

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georgeI’ve used this before. As a business owner, I had some flexibility with my schedule. I would go to a “lunch meeting” which sometimes meant I was meeting a friend. Or I’d sneak in a work out in the middle of the afternoon by saying I was off to a meeting.

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marylynn When I was in radio, we used to have a “Morning Show Meeting” once in a while. My co-host and I would get off the air and sneak out for some breakfast. It was a great way to bond, talk about work, and just get away for a bit. We found that sometimes we got more done by leaving the office!

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Now we’re not recommending that you use this technique to excuse yourself for a huge part of the day. But as a busy person, sometimes the best way to balance your personal and professional lives is to integrate the two!

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There’s a new study that shows mean breeds mean. Next time, we’ll discuss how to avoid the trap. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How Dual Income Couples are Bucking Traditional Roles

man_womanThe Council on Contemporary Families published a summary of previous studies, looking at data over 30 to 40 years. Here are some highlights:

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1. Men’s share of household duties doubled as a percent of the total over last 40 years, from 15 percent to 30 percent of the total. The number of hours women spend on these same duties has declined over that period.

2. The younger the couple, the higher the share of household duties performed by the man.

3. Time spent caring for children tripled for men and doubled for women over the same period. Couples are placing much more emphasis on spending time with their kids than they did 30 years ago.

4. The longer a woman works outside the home, the greater the percentage of household responsibilities assumed by the man of the house.

5. Men are working less and spending more time on family duties. Women are trending in the opposite direction.

6. When the woman of the house works more hours, earns more money, or has more education than the man, the man’s share of family duties increases.

7. About one of out three couples now has a woman who earns more than the man.

They pointed out that there had been an expectation of immediate change when women started working. That didn’t happen to the disappointment of many! However, over the span of a few decades, things have changed quite a bit and they predict this trend is here to stay!

The bigg payoff

Couples are redefining what it means to be the man or the woman, the father or the mother, in a relationship. This summary shows that the divorce rate is lower when couples divide up the duties more equally. In fact, it’s even lower than with the traditional relationship where one person is the breadwinner and the other person runs the house.

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georgeMary-Lynn and I both grew up in a traditional family that stayed together. But we’re pretty non-traditional.

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marylynnYeah, I remember that my mom was always in the kitchen. I determined long ago that wasn’t for me! She kept telling me “you’re going to have to learn how to cook, what are you going to do when you are out on your own?” I told her I would just meet a guy who knew how to cook and marry him. And that guy is George! And let me just add…he’s an AWESOME cook!!!
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Roles are getting redefined so don’t listen to what other people say. If it works for you, your spouse, and your family … it works!

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This week, our newsletter subscribers received a great article about how to get more flexibility at work so you can have more time at home. You can get it, too, click this link to subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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You Will Enjoy Your Vacation if You Know This

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

You probably have a good grasp of your daily pattern. The bigger challenge is understanding your patterns for refreshing yourself, for getting away and recharging.

With vacation season upon us, we thought it would talk about these patterns. Obviously, your ability to fully control how you take time off depends upon your flexibility at work. 

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George said that his dad was always looking for a job with two paid vacations a year … six months each!

3 questions to make time off more rewarding

#1 – Do you need a long break or a series of shorter ones?
Some people are so stressed by the time they take a break that a short one just won’t do. They never get past the stress so they can relax and enjoy their time off. If that describes you, then take a long vacation!

Others get more stressed if they’re away from their normal routine too long. They start worrying about getting further and further behind so they don’t relax. If you’re one of these people, take a series of long weekends.

#2 – Do you need a day or two to get back in the swing of things after a break?
Do you need a vacation to recover from your vacation? If so, plan your vacation so you get an extra day or two to “unwind from unwinding”. If that’s not possible, try to schedule your daily routine a little lighter for your first day or two back in “the real world”.

Others get back from vacation, whether long or short, and are immediately ready to jump into daily life again. If that describes you, you can max out your days at your destination.

#3 – Are there certain times of the year when you really need some time off?
Some of us have extremely busy seasons. A break immediately after the season is often the best medicine! You’ll be able to keep pushing, knowing that some needed time off is on the horizon.

Another example is people who live in areas where the winter months are cold, long and dreary. Time away in the sun is just the prescription to cure their winter blues.

“Vacation is what you take when you can’t
take what you’ve been taking any longer”
Author unknown

Our top 5 signs that you need to take a vacation

#5 – The last time your phone rang at your desk, you picked up your stapler and started talking.

#4 – You’re secretly hoping to get sick so you can take a day off.

#3 – You’ve been at the airport so much, security is greeting you by your first name.

#2 – You had to call your spouse and ask for directions home.

#1 – When you look in the mirror, you realize that you actually look like your passport photo.

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Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

An increasing number of people have given up on the balancing act. They have found that it’s impossible to draw a line in the sand and divide their lives into two parts.

We only have one life to live, so why complicate it by trying to reach our goals in two separate worlds as if one doesn’t have anything to do with the other one?

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You might find that it pays to NOT try to balance your life!

Thus the emerging trend of work life integration. This concept is still in its early stages, but more and more people are finding that it works better for them than trying to keep things in balance.

Work life integration is all about flowing seamlessly from one area to the other. Your spouse may say something that helps you at work. Your co-workers may give you insight for things at home.

Pay attention to all the important people and priorities in your life all the time, rather than thinking that you need to segment them.

A paradigm shift

That’s the essence of work life integration. It requires a paradigm shift … thinking about your life a different way. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to be great in two separate areas of your life, focus on doing your best in your single life. Remove the limitations that you’ve placed on yourself.

Limitation #1 – Place
Work only occurs at the office; personal only occurs at home. We shouldn’t mix the two. It’s how we’ve been trained to think. The problem is … it doesn’t work!

Limitation #2 – Time
Many people think they of work as the activities they do during certain times of the day (e.g. 9 to 5). Then they live their personal lives. It may make sense for you to adjust your schedule, depending upon the flexibility your employer allows.

A recent study by Hudson, a leading international recruiting firm, showed that nearly one-third of the people surveyed ranked flexibility as their #1 priority in considering a new job offer.

Limitation #3 – Daily reconciliation

We think that we need to achieve balance every day. In reality, sometimes work demands more of us; at other times, our personal life needs the most attention. Give yourself permission to focus on what’s most important. Don’t worry about whether everything is balanced every day.

If you think about it, work – life balance is sort of an unnatural expectation. Work – life integration is more congruent with how most of us actually live. It’s just more natural.
How we use work – life integration

Here at Bigg Success, we understand this concept very well because we live it. We work together, often at home. We play together. We often get to travel together, combining some pleasure with the primary purpose of the trip. We also find that a lot of personal conversations lead to ideas like the one you’re reading now.

Of course, not all spouses can (or should) work together. Do what works for you. The good news is that, according to the Chartered Management Institute, there will be a blurring of boundaries between work and family because more and more of us will be working virtually.

Our bigg quote today comes from Karl Weick.

“Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do.”

So pull yourself together … integrate your lives.

Next time, we’ll discuss four things to pay attention to that pay off. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Couples Today are Rethinking Traditional Roles

By Bigg Success Staff
07-15-08

Work – Life Balance

family

If you’re half of a dual-income couple with kids, working out your work – life balance involves negotiating at home and at work. First, you and your spouse need to discuss how household duties as well as child care responsibilities will be divvied up. Who does what when?

The best solution is what works best for you, not what society has traditionally expected. If it works for the two of you and your family, it works!

Redefining roles

According to the Council on Contemporary Families, working couples have seen some significant change in responsibilities over the last 30 years. Men are assuming more duties at home and with the children.

This evolution has been a logical response. If a woman has greater career potential than a man, it may make sense for the man to shoulder more family duties. This is now the case about one-third of the time.

So if a couple decides that’s the best trek for them, the next step involves negotiating at work. For men, this can be difficult because society still often regards household chores and child-rearing as the woman’s role.

Pay vs. flexibility

One of the most effective ways to get the flexibility you need is during a review. Especially if your employer is not able to offer you the pay raise you feel you deserve. Perhaps you can negotiate greater flexibility in lieu of the full pay raise you might like.

Balance your costs with your gains. You may not make as much money as you like, but you may also lower your costs. You can spend more time with your kids rather than paying someone else to do it. That difference may almost offset the lower pay raise.

Pay vs. telecommuting

A question to ask yourself (and your boss) is – can you do more work from home? Save both the time and money of commuting. With today’s high gas prices, you’ll save a lot of money. It doesn’t even have to be every day. Any day you don’t have to drive is a plus.

Once again, it may be best to bring this item up as part of a discussion of pay raises. Perhaps a concession to accepting less of a pay raise is to let you telecommute at least some of the time. You can quickly figure out if your savings equals what you had hoped to earn in additional income. And don’t forget – more income gets taxed, saving money on fuel doesn’t. So compare the after-tax income to the savings from not driving as much.

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