Viewing category ‘Business tripping’

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Always workin’ it, baby

Categories: Business tripping, Fighting the Stereotype

22 Comments

Yeah, so, I bought a shirt at Target today for $4.98. That’s my sassy, naughty splurge, peeps. I feel dirty, oh, so dirty. Go on. Lick me. I taste just like the armpit of a 12-year-old in a Chinese sweatshop.

I’m writing this while waiting for an unemployment insurance rep to get to me. Twenty-two minutes, the recorded message said I would need to wait. Gives you an indication of roughly how many folks are calling unemployment these days.

I’m calling to check on my eligibility for another unemployment extension. Some folks argue that I might be eligible; some folks argue that I’m not, that that well has dried up for good.

I have learned a few things about public welfare in my time. I know what government cheese looks like, I know that state health insurance means well but is a tangle of red tape, I know what WIC stands for and that it saved our lives, for a time.

Here’s what else I know: Did you know you can still receive unemployment benefits with an occasional writing gig here and there? I was relieved to find that out. That will be really helpful while I work on putting the finishing touches on my new dominatrix den. I hear it’s rewarding work. Good pay, very undemanding clients.

Thank you for holding. All claims representatives are still busy. We are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls.

Yeah, I figure it’s worth a call, to see if the government is still including me in the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to keep three figures in the checking account. I figure it’s worth 22 minutes.
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Whatever you do, don’t look under the desk

Categories: Business tripping, Fighting the Stereotype, Sleepless in the Board Room

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Here’s a career tip for single moms everywhere:

Don’t cry over the dead mouse under your desk.

Yeah, I made that move. 

The poor little guy looked like he was sleeping. Except he was wrapped in a cobweb. Which meant he’d been resting in peace by my foot for quite a while.

It happened during the early days of the marriage coming apart, and something about that little fella sent me over the edge. I’d been holding it together pretty well at the office until I came in one morning and found him.

O, wee, dead mouse. You did me in.
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The Business of Being a Mom

Categories: Best Practices, Business tripping

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I spent the majority of last week at the BlogHer Conference in Chicago.  Though I’m a blogger myself and interested in maximizing my own personal opportunities in the space, I was there for business.  I have worked for BlogHer for three years now, selling digital advertising to agencies and Fortune 500 companies.  It is the best career I’ve ever had, and I love it, in large part, because I am wholly excited about what I sell.

Marketers, more than ever, have realized that Moms are the primary decision makers in household purchasing decisions.  And they know that many of these women have turned away from TV, radio, and newspapers in favor of the Internet.  In particular: Moms have turned to blogs as a way of understanding, absorbing, sharing and relating.  And the big brands, in turn, are looking for a way to reach these women who write blogs, and who read them.  I feel privileged that I have both the knowledge and the opportunity to help connect companies with the audiences of the smart, tech savvy women who are paving new paths with their writing about parenting, products, relationships and life.

But I’m also a little worried about the possibility that these Moms - whose attention is so very coveted by these big brands - might be sabotaging their golden power of influence by overreacting to marketer’s attempts to reach them.

***

I woke up early on Sunday morning at the Conference to respond to email and peruse through the trending topics at Twitter when I saw conversation that made me suck in my breath.  A few tweets told me quickly of a happening at the Conference: a Mom blogger had attempted to take her baby to a Nikon invite-only event, and had been turned away - the event was at a bar: a cocktail party.  The Mom was offended and apparently so were dozens of other Moms - so much so that they initiated a hashtag to aggregate the conversation - #nikonhatesbabies.

As someone who works in the digital ad space to sell marketing on Mom blogs, I obviously have both a bias and a vested interest here.  I want my customers to see Mom bloggers and their audiences as savvy and valuable.  I want them to see Mom bloggers as business women as well as lucrative spokespeople.  When I see stuff like this, I cringe: it makes me wonder if companies will stop attempting to outreach to us, if they will eventually dismiss us as too dangerous, vocal and shrill.  We’re such a diverse group, we Mom bloggers - but I still feel we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves professionally and with integrity.  Labelling a company as “baby hating” because they denied an infant entry to a cocktail party seems to me a giant mis-step.

***

Chris from Notes from the Trenches has a brilliant post on this subject, and I particularly like Kristen’s, too.  My own opinion is this: Nikon invited Mom bloggers to their event in hope that they would woo the women as writers, as business women, as consumers.  The fact that they did not allow a baby at a cocktail reception was not a personal attack on Motherhood, and I wish the offended parties could have contacted Nikon via email or phone to rectify the situation if it was that offensive to them.  I believe the punishment in this case is much worse than the crime, and has the potential to hurt the reputation of Mommy bloggers as savvy business women - as well as fierce adorers of our babies.

Avoiding business trips

Categories: Business tripping

3 Comments

I was navigating the precarious zooming of an LA Freeway on Friday morning, an ear glued to the irritatingly last-minute GPS lady and an eye glued to the gleaming SUVs and whizzing green highway exit signs, when my boss stopped mad-emailing on her iPhone.

“Did you hear about that commuter plane crash?” she asked, eyes wide,”Killed 50 people in New York.”


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The Organized Business Trip

Categories: Business tripping

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I had one of my killer day-trips to LA yesterday. The trips last from 6 AM (an early flight) till sometime around midnight, when normally, I slip my key into my front door and stagger, saggy kneed and bleary like a drunken old man, into my bed.

Most normal business women would stay the night in LA, of course, it’s a two hour flight from here and it’s semi absurd to pack in four meetings and traffic in one day. But for me, it’s necessary. I need to get home for my son. Bonus: it saves my company hotel fees! And, it provides Grandparents with a little extra Nolan time.

It normally kills me dead, trashes my body and messes with my sleep patterns. But last night, though I arrived home from the airport at around 1:00, I slept like a baby and felt fine all day today. And I think it’s because, after nearly two dozen trips this year, I am starting to get organized on the business trip front. It’s about time, I know.

Here are my top 5 trips for a smooth, frazzle-free business trip.


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Why aren’t more offices flexible?

Categories: Best Practices, Business tripping

13 Comments

This past weekend, I lined up a play date for Nolan with an adorably chubby-cheeked three-year-old from his daycare. I was actually really looking forward to it: I knew Marco’s Mom was an advertising sales executive too, and I thought we’d have lots in common. In my neighborhood, full-time working Moms are rare, and it was sweet relief to chat about the impossibility of steady work/life balance with a woman who understood.


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Parenting a Mom

Categories: Business tripping, Relying on parents, Sleepless in the Board Room

7 Comments

I arrived home from four nights in San Francisco, bedraggled and more than slightly crotchety. The flight had been delayed, the man next to me had some serious garlic breath, and I somehow lost an awesome little organic shirt I’d bought as a gift for my son. It was the longest stretch of time I’d ever been away from my son.

My Mom had sent me little updates, of course, as she always does. She titles them “Dear Sweetpea” and provides little details about the toasted tomato sandwiches she and Nolan ate for lunch, how he thrilled to touch a white jellyfish at the beach near the house. She tells me he is mostly happy and just gets a little teary at night, when he asks how many sleeps till I come home. I had a fantastic time at the BlogHer Conference - professionally and personally - but my heart was left in the hands of a little boy searching for skittering crabs under barnacled rocks and I couldn’t wait to get home.


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Should Single Mom Travellers get Perks?

Categories: Best Practices, Business tripping

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I sprinted up to the United Airlines counter, passport and boarding pass soaked with sweat in my left hand, one high heel wedge sticking haphazardly out of my oversized purse. I lost my grip on my laptop bag and twisted my ankle a little on the freshly washed lemon-vinegar floors of the late evening airport and when I screeched to a bedraggled halt in front of the coiffed man at the counter, he looked thoroughly unimpressed.

I looked at my boarding pass: 8:20 boarding for an 8:55 PM flight. We both looked at his large silver watch: 8:42 PM.

“Oh, man, I missed it, didn’t I?” I was aware that I looked like I’d just rolled out of a filthy livestock bus, with all the running hysterically through the noxious fumes and consuming fury of LAX, and I didn’t even try to charm him.

He looked to the attendant to his right and frowned.

“Ms. Darguzas?”

“Yes!” There was hope.

“Next flight leaves tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM. You’ll have to get a hotel.”

I slumped against the counter, letting my head rest on the cool marble. My Mom had arrived at my house at 5 AM that morning, I had been on a 6:30 flight and I’d finished four business meetings. And then been steamrolled by LA traffic before being punched in the face by the Red Tape at the car rental place. I knew my brother was looking after my son, but even on the flight I was supposed to be on, I wouldn’t have been back home till after midnight. Tomorrow was too late. My son expected me to be there when he woke up. Not to mention what staying the night in LA would do to my work load the next day.


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Independent Single Mom: a Dichotomy?

Categories: Best Practices, Business tripping, Fighting the Stereotype, Missing Parent

29 Comments

It’s 4:37 AM and the streets are pitch black, the birds silent and the house completely still. I’ve blow dried my hair and guzzled my third cup of coffee, vainly hoping that the caffeine will shoot up into my face and do something about those godforsaken black bags, hanging limply underneath my eyes like old-lady stockings.

At 4:47 AM, there is a quiet, purposeful knock at the front door and I tiptoe down in my bare feet to get it. My Mom stands there, immaculately coiffed as always. The fact that she only got three hours sleep is only evident underneath her eyes: her sacks match mine.

“Hi. Thank you, Mom,” I say, and I am wracked with guilt again, as always.”He went to bed late, so hopefully he’ll sleep in till at least six — I put some pillows on the couch and the coffee’s on. Can you rest?”

I have my laptop, my business cards, my small box of schwag for potential customers.  I slip on my Serious Business heels and slip my trusty black ballet flats in my purse and check one last time for my passport.

“We’ll be good,”my mom insists,”He’s a joy, don’t worry, I’ll email you and let you know how our day goes.  You’ll have your Blackberry?”

I nod and slip out the door into the silent almost-morning, and watch as my Mom sits in front of the TV.  She won’t sleep, I know.


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The business of fake wedding rings

Categories: Business tripping, Fighting the Stereotype

36 Comments

My business meeting checklist:

  • Macbook (remember projector adapter and charger in case the laptop starts to fade mid-presentation)
  • Blackberry (remember to sync with calendar before getting on the plane; I’ll undoubtedly need the phone number of the media buyer of the second meeting or to triple-check the time of my fourth meeting)
  • A pair of flats in case I find myself lost in heels (San Francisco is hilly)
  • My engagement ring

One of these things is not like the other, of course, and it comes in the form of a still-sparkly solitaire that was worn for a painfully short period of time.


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