#5SmartReads - May 19, 2023
Jessica on the effects of a bad boss on home life, being middle-aged, and the cost of childcare on the economy
Jessica Wilen is a nationally-recognized executive and leadership coach who specializes in helping high-achieving professional women—across career stages and industries—create deep and sustained personal and professional growth. In addition to her coaching work, Jessica is an assistant professor at the Yale Child Study Center and writes the popular Substack newsletter A Cup of Ambition. As the mom of two kids, she is an expert bedtime story reader, chicken nugget connoisseur, and the master of the family calendar.
The Ripple Effect Of A Bad Boss On Dual-Career Parents (HBR)
If you or your partner have an unsupportive boss, you’ll appreciate some of the tangible suggestions this article provides for preventing the spillover of toxic feelings at home. I especially want to highlight two of the authors’ major findings:
“The supportiveness of one’s supervisor was significantly more impactful on both the co-parent and their partner than other forms of support at work (either from coworkers or the organizational culture, more broadly). In other words, even after controlling for the supportiveness of your own boss, the supportiveness of your co-parent’s boss affects how likely you are to thrive at work and home.”
“Partners who had supportive supervisors were, in turn, more supportive of their co-parent at home. Having a supportive supervisor allowed individuals to bring more time and energy to their home lives. They were able to take on more of the parenting and domestic responsibilities, as well as be a more focused, engaged, and patient co-parent.”
Smells Like Middle-Aged Spirit (A Cup of Ambition)
As an Elder Millennial, I find that I keep having some version of the same conversation with friends and clients. In addition to feeling a collective disbelief that we're entering middle age, many people are also feeling a professional restlessness. Most aren't miserable in their jobs, but there's a sense of uncertainty. "Am I on the right path?", "Should I be doing something else?", "If so, how do I make that happen—especially given all of the realities and responsibilities that come with this life stage?"
Middle age is always a reckoning, but for Millennials, there's an added layer of complexity. Multiple articles have been written about how the pandemic has led everyone to reassess their priorities, but for our generation, this situationally-motivated soul-searching is coupled with a developmentally-grounded crisis. This double-whammy of existential panic can feel overwhelming--to say the least.
I wrote about how to make sense of this new life stage and find resolution. (And remember to subscribe to A Cup of Ambition for more on working motherhood!)
How One Mother’s Love For Her Gay Son Started A Revolution (The New Yorker)
This article is long, but it’s wonderful and life-affirming and absolutely perfect for the week after Mother’s Day.
By all accounts, Jeanne Manford was a reserved, “utterly average” suburban mother. But despite the fact that homosexuality was viewed as a mental illness, when her son Morty came out to her in 1968, she was unwavering in her support for him. She ended up creating the organization that is now known as PFLAG, the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. This article explores her fascinating life—she is truly an example of how one person can help change the world.
The Child Care Crisis Is Costing The Economy $122 Billion A Year (CBS News)
A new report found that the lack of accessible and affordable childcare in the US, costs our economy over $120 billion (yes, BILLION) in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue each year. This number is more than double the cost to the economy in 2018, the last time the analysis was run.
Oh, and this number only includes care for kids under 3, so it clearly underestimates the total cost. I read articles like this and I’m filled with rage—what will it take for us to finally do something to change this?
From Praise To Profits: The Business Case For Recognition At Work (Gallup/Workhuman)
What is the lowest cost way to boost employee morale? Specific and meaningful praise. This study by Gallup and Workhuman sought to quantify the tangible business benefit of giving employees praise. They found that employees who reported receiving praise in the past week saw a:
9% improvement in productivity
22% decrease in safety incidents
23% decrease in absenteeism
When was the last time you praised a direct report? Team member? Collaborator? Consider committing to offering genuine praise to someone in your life at least once week.