Mind the gap

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News flash! The glass ceiling is alive and well. A researcher at University of Chicago Booth School of Business studied why that is still the case.

Professor Marianne Bertrand says although women are now earning more college degrees than men, they tend to choose jobs in lower paying fields.

Higher paying fields offer less flexibility and require more time commitment. Since women disproportionately care for children and the home, those fields are less appealing. And if women do by some chance take a job that pays more than their husband’s, that often leads to marital strife and divorce.

Finally, women are psychologically more risk averse than men. Competing for higher paying jobs and negotiating higher salaries entails taking risks.

Family friendly policies help with the flexibility issue but fail to address the pay gap.

Bertrand sums it up like this: an economy that does not fully tap into the leadership skills offered by women is necessarily inefficient.

As the economy continues to boom, will the glass ceiling finally crack?

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Which road to choose?

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I just finished this summary of research that made me very, very sad. Psychologist Tom Gilovich and former Cornell graduate student Shai Davidai published their conclusions “The Ideal Road Not Taken” in the journal Emotion. 

What they found is that people regret not living up to what they perceive as their ideal self far more than they regret not living up to obligations.

They base this on the idea of three components of a person’s sense of self: the actual, ideal and the ought selves. The actual self is who a person believes they are. The ideal self is who they would like to be. The ought self is who they feel they should be.

When the men asked hundreds of people in six surveys to list and categorize their regrets, they found people have an easier time defining what they ought to do than in what they would do to be their best self. People wait for inspiration that may never come or they worry about what others will think of them. The researchers conclude that Nike has been right. The best course of action is “Just do it.”

These ideas resonate with me. I’ve always been the conscientious one, the one who follows rules. I let fear of failure and of the unknown stop me from making job choices that may well have led to a happier life. The regrets are real.

As a result of the soul-searching I finally did, I wrote Career Finder Workbook for Teens in the hopes of helping young people make more intelligent decisions than I did. I wrote it for middle school age students, but if you are an adult who is wondering what to be when you grow up you might find it helpful.

 

Are your “shoulds” holding you back?

#MeToo’s Forgotten Victims

How to Prevent #MeToo from Happening to You

Georgina Chapman, wife of Harvy Weinstein, has finally given an interview regarding the #MeToo accusations against him. The two had been married ten years and have two young children.

Chapman says she the man she fell in love with was “charismatic,” “smart,” and “charitable.” Of course, he was also very, very rich and powerful.

Chapman claims she knew nothing of the allegations, yet from all accounts his actions were well-known by Hollywood insiders. Was she as naive as she claims? Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll never know.

What we do know is that two innocent children may be tainted for life by the actions of their father. Many of the other alleged harassers also have children. These are victims that not many people are acknowledging in these sordid scenarios.

I certainly can’t help those victims, but I feel I can help young women entering the workforce avoid being victinized themselves. My book How to Stop #MeToo from Happening to You: Emotional Intelligence for Gen Z Women in the Workplace is now available as an ebook on Amazon as well as on  Kobo.

Combatting #MeToo

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Just wanted to share that my book is now available on Kobo.com.

While many situations have unfortunately occurred which women couldn’t have avoided, I firmly believe that some personal responsibility is called for. In no way is this book intended to shame victims of crimes. But what about actions that fall short of criminal? We women can always choose how to behave, but it is also important to realize that certain choices may have unwelcome consequences.

Agree or disagree? Please comment.

Do who you are

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Career counselors have long advised clients they will be happier if they can find a job that matches their personality. A new study suggests they will earn more money too.

Lead researcher Jaap J. A. Denissen of Tilburg University examined nearly 8500 Germans in terms of the “Big Five” personality traits: openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extroversion agreeableness, and neuroticism. Then two independent psychologists looked at each of the participant’s job with respect to those same characteristics to determine what level of each characteristic made for an ideal employee in that particular job. Not surprisingly, bookkeepers require the least amount of extroversion.

When it comes to extroversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, a closer match between an employee’s own personality and a job’s demands was linked with higher income. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. For example, an employee who is more agreeable than the job calls for will earn less than someone who is less agreeable.

Findings from previous research have indicated that some personality traits such as being conscientious are generally beneficial when it comes to any work environment. It appears that is not exactly true. They found that highly conscientious people whose jobs didn’t demand it earned less than their less fastidious peers.

The takeaway is that one size, one set of universal personality characteristics, doesn’t fit all. No two jobs are created equal.

Pay me now or pay me later

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Whether you call it deferred gratification or maximizing, it will make you happier. So say researchers at the University of Connecticut.

Their study refers to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant toiled all summer laying in provisions for the winter to come while the grasshopper played and had a good time. The human version of that ant behavior is called maximizing; the grasshopper behavior is satisficing.

For Satisficers, good enough is good enough. These are the people who would’ve taken one marshmallow in that classic childhood study instead of waiting so they’d get two.

Because Maximizers are concerned with making the very best choices for the future, they were thought by earlier researchers to be less happy. Having so many options to consider might lead to stress and second guessing themselves. Did all that work and no play make Jack or Jill dull?

It turns out that the maximizers aren’t unhappy after all. They feel good about their forward-thinking ways. As you’d expect, they save more money.

Of course, most people aren’t strictly one or the other. The behaviors are on a continuum. So which end of the scale are you on? Do you identify as an ant or a grasshopper?

 

Maslow and evolution

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If you’ve ever taken Psychology 101, you know about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization may not be merely an intellectual or spiritual exercise. Researchers at Arizona State University have discovered that biology might be involved too.

They asked 1200 people what being self-actualized looked like. They found it is connected to the desire for status.

From an evolutionary perspective, living up to your full potential gives certain social advantages: respect and affection from your peer group and even the chance to wow a mate. As a result, your genes can be passed to future generations.

So it seems finding your purpose in life might not be an act of altruism. What do you think?

 

What’s Your Face Saying About Your Wallet?

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A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto will have you rushing to your mirror.

They set up an experiment to see if college students could tell if their peers were richer or poorer than average. It turns out many can. Students with family incomes below $60,000 or over $100,000 posed with neutral expressions. Other students could successfully tell the difference 53% of the time, more than they would have by chance alone.

By college age, their habitual expressions had already etched themselves on their faces. The researchers inferred that those who had smiled more often were richer. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy as those already deemed of higher social status will more often be hired than their poorer peers. This happens without conscious thought; it is a “gut reaction.”

The implications are scary. By very early in life, those of lower socio-economic status are already behind the eight ball just by the look on their faces.

What is your face saying about you?