Episode 44: The motherhood factor

July 14, 2014

“All of a sudden, all of the things the workplace seemed to accept about these women and that they seemed to accept about the workplace…had been thrown out the window, and they were put under this intense scrutiny as if they weren’t as committed to their jobs as they had been before having kids.” – Rachael Ellison

25 minutes.

For years, motherhood was considered our only job. Today, many women head back to work full-time not long after becoming parents. For some, everything goes smoothly, but for others, the return to work is challenging and confusing: they may not want the same things from their job that they did before, they crave flexibility (and can’t seem to get it), or their employer’s perception of them as a worker has changed – and not for the better.

In this show we look at the transition from worker to worker-parent, find out what companies are doing to accommodate employees, and discuss how overburdened parents can make the pitch for a saner existence.

Ivalo Andreassen with, l to r: Elanor (2) Aputsiaq (2) and Aleksander (4). Ivalo has Alopecia, which causes hair loss.

Further reading:

Flexibility: who wants it, who gets it - my blog post on workplace flexibility featuring Rachael Ellison.

The unspoken fears of maternity leave - my blog post on maternity transition featuring Karen Rubin.

Rachael Ellison is a coach and work/life advocate. She specializes in helping people navigate the twists and turns of working parenthood.

Karen Rubin is managing director of Talking Talent US, a firm founded in the UK by CEO Chris Parke. It works with companies and female employees on maternity transition coaching and on developing the female talent pipeline, which tends to leak in the middle.

Ivalo Andreassen works in sales for a Danish IT company. 



Welcome to The Broad Experience, the show about women, the workplace, and success. I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte.

This time on the show: what happens to a woman’s career when she returns to work after having a baby.  Some women find other people’s perceptions of them begin to change…

“I was quite stressed and then I talked to my boss and she said yeah, it’s because you have all those children, so of course, no wonder you’re getting stressed.”

And making the pitch for flexibility…before you hit a wall.

“As put upon and as burnt out as you might feel, you have to be able to re-frame that for an organization and just make sure you’re not bringing that emotional dump to them, because they’re not going to respond well.”

Coming up on The Broad Experience.


Read More

Episode 15: Do we have to fit in?

April 1, 2013

"If you don’t have the courage to step out of your comfort zone, you will not lead. So I don’t view that as a male or female thing." - Kathy Caprino

This has become a big point of contention for many women - the idea that to do well at work we have to fit in to company culture, instead of the company bending to accommodate itself to the way we do things. In the first part of the show I talk to career coach and Forbes writer Kathy Caprino (above). I interviewed Kathy for a print piece more than a year ago, and as soon as I started doing The Broad Experience I knew she'd be a great guest. She's been through it all - the corporate job from hell (that she couldn't quite leave), complete with workplace drama galore, the reinvention-that-didn't-work - and finally found her niche as a career and leadership coach for women. We talk about whether women are really 'fixing ourselves' if we do things the Sheryl Sandberg way, and the extent to which corporations need to alter their inner workings (a lot).

In part two I meet a representative from one of those big corporations, the multinational consumer goods company Unilever. The company has just been honored by Catalyst for its progress in getting more women into its leadership pipeline all over the world - and believe me, it's doing this in some very interesting ways. Can you imagine a company attracting women in the west by cozying up to their parents? Tune in to hear all about this, and more. 17 minutes.

Show notes: Kathy Caprino's book on women getting their careers and lives back is Breakdown, Breakthrough. For more on women and the workplace in India, this recently published piece in the Harvard Business Review has some good information.

You can read more about the details of Catalyst's award to Unilever here

Oxfam's 'Behind the Brands' report can be read here