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The Ultimate Mom’s Guide to a Rewarding Career

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Moms have it tough, but this is nothing new as moms have always had it tough.  These days, moms are not only the primary caregivers at home, but more and more moms are also looking after their aging parents while trying to have a rewarding career.  With that in mind, here is the ultimate mom’s guide to a rewarding career.

Don’t Fall for the Traps

Let’s face it: you are driven, this is why you were successful in your career, and it is what makes you a great mom.  However, the complexities of motherhood do change a few things – for example, you can’t solely focus on your career.

As such, life goes from something which is easy to navigate to a patchwork of pitfalls.  These include being a great mother to your kids, being the same high performing person you were at work before kids, to being active in the relationship with your significant other.  While this isn’t exactly fair, it does mean that you have a lot of balls in the air.

To make matters worse, it can seem like sometimes you are being pulled in some many different directions that you have almost no time for yourself. As such, life is full of traps and here are a few that you will need to avoid:

Trap 1: Thinking the Grass is Greener

It can be hard to get back on the career track when you have kids at home.  However, one of the worst things you can do is start to think that the grass is greener on the other side – in this case, stay-at-home moms.

As the saying goes, ‘be careful what you wish for,’ the reality is that both working and stay-at-home moms face tremendous challenges.  This means the glossy picture of an easier life is not exactly true, and as such you want to stop focusing on what the grass looks like on the other side.

Trap 2: Using Work as a Place to Hide

This can be extremely dangerous as you had to fight to get through the door after taking time off to be with your kids.  However, far too many working moms see work as an opportunity to get some respite from the chaos at home.

While there is something to be said for this, you don’t want to make hiding out a habit.   As such, you want to use your time at work for forwarding your career – that means getting involved in projects and other activities.   When done right this can help you to contribute while giving you the chance to get earn some praise.

Though you do want to be mindful of scheduling – especially in terms of having some semblance of a work-life balance.  This means that you will need to set and manage expectations every step of the way.  Doing so will help you to meet the constant demands you face without risking burnout and will give you a great story to tell them next time you need to use a Resume Builder to find a new job.

Trap 3: Succumbing to the Guilt

For most working moms it is natural that they will feel a certain amount of guilt when they first reenter the workforce – after all, you have just left your kids under the supervision of a stranger.

It could also be a feeling that you are not living up to what is expected of you, or that you are a bad mom.  No matter what the voice in your head is saying, it is wrong.  You are a good mom, and the reason that you have gone back to work has to do with providing a better life for your family as well as seeing if you can really do it all.

What can you do?  Dissect your guilt to understand the real causes and then talk about with your spouse as this the only way you can get rid of that nagging feeling.  Then start to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.  Doing so will give you a north star to guide you along your journey.  Also, learn how to say no as you don’t need to be ‘super mom.’   Lastly, forgive yourself as you don’t need to be perfect.

Appreciate the Little Things

Too often we get caught up in the stress and the grind and for working moms, this can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed.  Instead, you want to take time to stop and smell the roses.  Not only will this make you happier but it will help you in your quest to building a rewarding career.

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The Right MBA Will Have Many Specializations to Choose From

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The world has changed a lot in eight years. Since the global financial crash of 2008, the popularity of MBAs has been on the wane, and their overall value is being called into question more and more. Requiring that one put a career aside, and coming with program fees in the tens of thousands of dollars, people are beginning to ask: why do an MBA? The real answer may be surprising. While the obvious assumption is that an MBA pays bigger dividends is true (after all, most MBA graduates see six figure salaries within the first five years of employment), the real value is the versatility of an MBA program. A business degree will allow you to specialize in any number of fields, setting you up for a great job immediately upon graduation. The following is a small list of the specializations available at most business schools.

Accounting

This MBA specialization covers the principal subjects in the field including financial accounting and managerial accounting, taxation as well as auditing. Financial accounting is the foundation for investment analysis, corporate or forensic analysis, as well as mergers and acquisitions breakdown. Accounting also forms the basis for external reporting up the chain to shareholders and other stakeholders. An MBA with this specialization traditionally provides information for managerial decision-making such as performance evaluation and resource management.

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Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurship specialization will teach you how to become an entrepreneur and prepare you to play a key role in society through the relentless pursuit of opportunities that allow you to create and sustain a competitive and vibrant enterprise. Whether your goal is to own your own business or to help existing organizations grow and develop, this is the spec for you.

Operations Management

Operations management is the corporate area in charge of designing, managing and tracking the various processes that make up a successful business, which are themselves made up of interrelated, sequential. The key is that the product has a greater value than the elements pre-process. At a school like Wilfrid Laurier, MBA students who choose this specialization will apply local, national, and global focuses to stay a step ahead of companies’ current needs, giving them the knowledge, skills and perspectives they need to create value for their companies in the future.

Strategic Management

The strategic problems managers face are typically unclear and do not lend themselves readily to solutions using traditional formulae or models. Strategic management as an MBA specialization will allow you to understand the practical realities behind organizational decision-making. Strategic management solutions are necessary for anyone who wants to answer questions such as: What products should our company make? Which markets should we enter? What type of organization should we be building? How should our company respond to competitors’ behavior? Choose a school with a curriculum that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that involves sociology, psychology, and economics to develop analytical frameworks that examine the strategic issues managers face.

Marketing

Marketing as a specialization provides flexibility for students seeking careers that deal with behavioral concepts and quantitative methods in business whether from a marketing-management point of view and provide opportunities for in a wide range of profit and nonprofit situations.

With an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier, you have the option to specialize your general MBA degree. You can choose from one of the specializations listed below:

  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategic Management
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • International Business Management
  • Golf and Resort Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Marketing
  • Financial Management
  • Operations Management
  • Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management

The top MBA programs in Canada should offer the right combination of versatility and specialization, and allow you to focus on the precise business path that best fits your skills and desires. Business school should help broaden your possibilities, not pigeon hole you in a discipline you don’t enjoy. Before you choose which MBA to pursue, look into their specialization options.

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Deal With an Irate Customer, Don’t Lose Them

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angry customer

Irate Business Customer

Facing off with a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer represents the ultimate test of any employee’s service skills.  It can take you to your breaking point if you’re not careful.  Staying grounded and above the fray requires you to find inner strength, and persevere beyond the initial difficulties.

Dealing with irate customers is one of the most pressure-packed experiences you will ever encounter on any job.  During every confrontation it is important to remember:

  • Every customer is a different person with a unique set of circumstances and personality traits.
  • Irate customer encounters can emerge out of nowhere—the key is to be ready.
  • You represent an opportunity to set things right.
  • Compassion is essential.
  • Despite your best efforts, sometimes there is nothing that can save a situation.

Ditch the “I’m Sorry” Script.  Sorry, just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  Saying “”I’m Sorry” is so overused it sounds insincere.  Be specific by saying “I apologize for this issue…”  Make sure your apology directly makes reference to the actual issue, and ALWAYS try to use the customer’s name when addressing them.  It adds a personal connection to them.

Get on the customer’s side of the counter.  Visualize for a moment an upset customer walking in your door and approaching you.  The first thing an angry customer does is attack you.  It’s very important to remember that you are not personally being attacked but are listening to someone who is in an attacking mode.

Partner with your customer.  Let the customer know that your job is to go to bat for them.  This tells them that you are their emissary and you want to resolve it together.

The 4 C’s of Handling Irate Customers and Difficult Situations

It’s all about:

  • Compassion – Listen carefully and react to their words, not just their behavior.  Examine the facts.
  • Calm – Remain calm and don’t lose your cool.
  • Confidence – Handle the situation knowing you are following company guidelines—and serve the customer.
  • Competence – Save the customer with your competent handling of the situation so he or she continues to be a customer.

Regardless of how a problem is solved, getting it done now is the best way to stop the venting and to bring an irate customer around.  You need to show your customer than, as an employee and as the face of your organization you are invested in solving the problem.

6 Steps to Handle Irate Customers

  1. Listen carefully and with interest. Put yourself in your customer’s place
  2. Ask questions and actively listen to the answers
  3. Suggest alternatives that address their concerns
  4. Apologize without laying blame
  5. Solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Remember, it costs at least five times as much to gain a new customer than keep an existing one and with social media it’s even more costly.  The average number of friends on Facebook is 130.  Keeping a complaining customer, according to Tschohl, should be the top priority, and at these cost ratios you can afford to be generous in your time and effort.

Take Care Of Yourself.  Dealing with irate customers will drain you physically and emotionally and put your skills to the test.  You must find ways to take care of yourself.  As part of your “recovery time”, know that dealing with irate customers is allowing yourself to relax, recharge and assess your role.  Recovery separates you from the situation and gives you a chance to breathe.

Learn from every complaint.  Do something!  Fix the process; train staff in the issue; eliminate the fault.  Wherever possible let the complaining customer know that they have helped you resolve a problem – they’ll feel great and come back again and again (and will probably tell their friends!).

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John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” has written several books   on customer service including his new program Handling Irate Customers and Difficult Situations. John’s strategic newsletter is available online

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