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Keeping your Career Intact During Maternity Leave Since, for the most part, maternity leave in this country is not paid, the reality of returning to work after having a baby comes much sooner than it does in most countries. No one wants to return to absolute chaos after they have the baby. Cut down on the stress of going back to work by being prepared. The length of your maternity leave can determine the amount of stress you return to. If you are willing and able it is a good idea to work as long as possible. Of course, everyone is not willing and able. For those that need a longer leave, they should put some plans in place to make the transition back to work smoother. How long you are on maternity leave varies. However, if you plan on returning after you have the baby, you do not want to return to a totally chaotic situation. That means that you want to have the needs of your career in tact before you take your maternity leave. Nothing should interfere with your new addition to the family. While you are bonding and spending time with your newborn you do not want the stress of the office hanging over your head. Lay the ground work so that you do not have to worry about the office while you are away. If you are the boss, you have a lot more stress to manage. It is important that you leave a responsible and capable person in charge of things in your absence. Start training that person to deal with the aspects of your job that they will have to handle as soon as you know you are pregnant. Nothing is more annoying than getting ?How do I?? phone calls when you are on maternity leave. If your job is massive, split the responsibilities between two employees. You do not want to split up the tasks among too many people because this can lead to confusion. Two should be the maximum. Be sure to leave things in order. If you are not the most organized person, get that way when you find out you are pregnant. While you are on maternity leave anyone should be able to walk into your office and find what they are looking for in a very short amount of time. If things are messy there is more of a chance for things to go wrong. If you are one of those women that needs to have an extended maternity leave because of pregnancy complications, don?t fret. Enjoy your time offer and relax but also, if you can, try to stay on top of what is happening in your career field. Take an online class and brush up on skills. If you are not sure you want to return to your 9-5, research a new career. The Internet has made working from home a very real and popular option. Search for a job that will allow you to stay at home but also bring in some income. Some jobs, such as Computer Programming, can fetch a pretty penny. Do some research and find out what will suit you best. Work part time until you are ready to have the baby. While some women are eager to take their maternity leave, others are not so excited about it. If that is the case, talk to your employer about working part time until you are due. Some women work until they go into labor. There is no need to do that if you are uncomfortable but if you are having an uneventful pregnancy and love your job, why not?

Networking Know-How: How to Get Through to the Busiest of People When you are job hunting, sometimes the most frustrating part is just getting your foot through the door to let the right people know that you are out there and available for work. Companies can be like members-only clubs; they tend to be a little distrustful of cold callers and most executives advise their assistants to run interference for them on the phone so they do not get stuck having a protracted conversation with someone they just aren?t interested in doing business with. The thing is that to get an interview, these people can be the very same people you need to talk to. How do you get these busy people to clear some time off in their busy schedule to speak to you? First things first ? you have to get the right attitude. If you want busy people to make time to talk to you, you have to present yourself in a way that makes them feel like you are worth the time investment. The trick here is that you have to do this by phone, and often, you have to first convince an operator or personal assistant that your call is one worth putting through to the boss. Your phone etiquette and vocal confidence will be the key here. Consider you basic phone manners first. Instead of launching right into what you want, respond to the greeting of the person who answers the phone with a hello of your own. Animate your voice and always remember that simply saying ?please? and ?thank you? can go a long way. Be the kind of caller that you would want to talk to if your job was answering the phone all day. People will respond to your positive attitude with a positive attitude of their own. Next, consider your confidence level on the phone. Do you tend to get tongue-tied and stumble over your words? That kind of delivery from you will set all the warning bells ringing on the other end of the phone, and you will find the person with whom you wish to speak always ?out of the office.? Instead, work on sounding like you are confident that it is a forgone conclusion that you will get to speak that busy person you want to talk to. Be confident that what you have to say is something that is worth hearing. It may help to write out a framework of what you will say and practice a few times so you sound relaxed and composed when you make that call. Once your attitude is right to make the call, you can then employ a few tricks of the trade for getting through to those busy people. Instead of giving away too much up front, start your call by asking if the person with whom you need to speak is in. If the answer is yes, then you can remove on potential ?excuse? for not putting your call through. If your call can?t be taken at that time, skip the message. Let the PA or operator know that you will call back again. That way you have a legitimate reason to keep calling. Of course, you might have to keep calling and calling, and that assistant might start knowing the sound of your voice. If you keep speaking to the same person, it?s time to open up with some person details. Let them know your name, why you?re calling, and if someone referred you, who that person is. Developing that personal relationship can help you get your call through to the boss. Last but not least, don?t give up. Busy people are, well, busy, and not necessarily avoiding your call. Persistence pays off, so keep on calling until you get through.

Why Time Management Makes for a Better Employee Time management is a major issue in the workplace. When time is not utilized efficiently, it leads to sloppy work, missed deadlines, and way too much stress. Employers are constantly seeking ways to teach their employees to manage their time better for a simple reason ? a team that manages its time well is a team that is productive and successful. Everyone has done it. You?ve know that there is a big deadline approaching for weeks on end, and you kept telling yourself that have plenty of time. Then, suddenly, it is the day before the project is due, and you haven?t even begun it. You know you will have to pull an all-nighter, and even then you will be lucky to get everything done in time. Your heart is racing, your head is pounding, and you?re cursing your procrastination yet again, thinking about how much time you wasted surfing the next when you could have been doing a little work on the project every day, so it wouldn?t be so overwhelming. The end result of a project like this is predictable. You may get it in on time, or at least close to the deadline, but your work is likely to be sloppy. The rush job you did will be evident to everyone, and if your project involved making a pitch to a potential customer, your time management failure may end up costing your company big money (and costing you a job). As if you were not stressed enough already! If you contrast that performance with one in which you had effectively managed your time, the difference is clear. If you have worked on the project over the entire time span you had to finish it, a little bit at a time, then you would have had time to make sure your work was up to par. You wouldn?t have been scrambling for last minute information to include, and you could have made sure your work was free from little errors like typos or pages that printed incorrectly. Most importantly, you wouldn?t feel like you needed a week long vacation when the project was over, because your stress level never would have hit the roof. So, how do you become a happier and more effective employee by managing your time better? The first thing you can do to become an effective time manage is simple ? write yourself a to-do list everyday. Not only does a to-do list help you think through exactly what you need to accomplish so you don?t forget anything in the rush, but it also helps you feel accountable for everything that needs to get done. If you write ?spend 30 minutes on the big project? on your to-do list, it is a lot harder to come up with excuses why you can put it off for another day. Your conscience will make you want to get through everything on that list. If it seems like you never have enough time in the day, keep a journal of all of your activities. If you spend 20 minutes chatting by the coffee pot, write it down. After a week, look back over your activities. You may be surprised how much time you actually spend doing nothing. Now that you know, you can reinvest that time more wisely. The last thing is the hardest thing ? getting over procrastination. This one is sheer willpower. When those voices in your head start arguing over whether to work on something now or put it off until later, listen to the work now voice. Give yourself manageable goals, like working on something for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, to get started. Once you experience the freedom from stress that time management brings, that procrastination voice will be a thing of the past.