When your man (or woman) gets laid off

Since January I’ve been gobbling up the Love in the Time of Layoffs column by Deborah Siegel on Recessionwire. Siegel is an academic-turned-author/consultant (as well as a friend of mine) and the column was born when her newly wedded husband Marco lost his job as a graphic designer (full disclosure: Marco designed the logo on my personal website.)

The column is so readable because it talks stuff few people are talking about. Like what happens to a heterosexual relationship when a woman suddenly becomes the sole breadwinner, what happens when someone who’s used to office culture suddenly gets used to the rhythms of home life, how two people (one of whom is pregnant with twins) can avoid driving each other batty when suddenly confined to a 650 square foot apartment.

Like any good serial narrative, Love in the Time of Layoffs had a major plot twist this month: Marco is back to work, albeit in a freelance gig. Questions abound for interested readers. Will he keep the job? Will the couple inch back into their former patterns again? What will happen once the babies arrive in a few months?

Stepping away from Deborah and Marco and the column, their experience leads to the more general question of how to best support an out-of-work partner. For answers, I spoke to veteran career coach, Belinda Plutz, who speaks not only as a coach but from personal experience since her husband just went through almost year-long period of unemployment himself.

Below are Plutz’s tips (many of which mirror the themes from Deborah’s column): {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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5 reasons women should focus on finances

At first, I didn’t get it. Shouldn’t women and men be seeking parity in everything?  If so, why do financial advisors like Suze Orman write books called “Women & Money,” and why are women opening brokerage houses catering to women? I spoke to financial expert Manisha Thakor, one of the rising voices in the financial-advice-geared-towards-women set to get some answers.

As Manisha put it to me: In the new economy, where many financial decisions formally made by employers (particularly with regards to pensions and healthcare) are now squarely in our hands, a solid knowledge of personal finance is important for both men and women.  That said, financial knowledge is extra important for women – because the place that women are ending up right now is a financially ugly one. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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The new flexible workforce

When I was researching my book a few years ago, I was looking for employers who were taking advantage of people’s desires to build significant careers while working a flexible schedule. I highlighted companies like Axiom, a new kind of law firm that caters to lawyers who don’t want traditional full-time hours (e.g. working parents, artists, or those starting businesses on the side).  Axiom pitches itself to clients as an economical alternative to big law firms since it can avoid the high overhead associated with overstaffed firms. Another firm, Virtual Law Partners,
has been getting some buzz lately with a similar approach.

Now scores of companies are thinking flexible and virtual, in all kinds of fields — from virtual assistants (check out Delegate Solutions), to corporate executives (see EPOCH). The troubled economy has been a boon to businesses like these, which can offer part-time employment to displaced workers and deliver lower cost services to clients. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Are dads the new working moms?

The voices of working mothers have long dominated much of the conversation on work/life issues. But lately, and with a new generation of men coming down the pike, it seems like men are chiming in more often, giving voice to what it feels like to be a stay-at-home or involved dad or how it feels to blend their working and parenting lives.

On Daddy Dialectic, a popular blog about 21st century parenthood (which has spawned a new book, The Daddy Shift by Jeremy Adam Smith), Smith and other fathers record their daily experiences and philosophical musings on fatherhood and philosophical musings, much in the style of so many mommy blogs. Typical posts describe his son’s favorite imaginary characters, give advice on how people can support the parents in their communities, and offer thoughtful discussions of gender roles.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Do women lack ambition? Chime in.

Do women lack ambition? That was the question posed by Anna Fels, in a 2004 article in the Harvard Business Review, and again at a provocative luncheon panel earlier this week in a room full of high-powered women lawyers at a New York City law firm.

Read on for their take on this fascinating question, then let us know what you think.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Artist/Mother, An Uneasy Marriage

A new documentary film explores the tension between being a mother and building a career as an artist.

Law Firms Get Rated on Female Friendliness

A celebration in honor of the second annual survey of the country's best law firms for women highlights progress, as well as trouble spots.

Happy Anniversary, Shifting Careers

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the Shifting Careers blog, a top 10 list of favorite posts.

Starting Businesses as an Encore for Women

Exploring entrepreneurship as an option for women in later life.

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Core Competency Mothers

A series of blog posts on The Huffington Post documents the arrival of the “core competency” mother, who focuses on what she does best and outsources or ignores the rest.

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