Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Fast Company" magazine and enterprising Moms

I've been hanging out in the tech media world lately, reading Wired and the like to do research for my new blog on CNET. I've always liked Wired but not felt a part of it. This month's cover story about the Transformers kind of sums it all up for me: it's a magazine for grown up 80's fanboys. In a way it's not a bad thing, in that the magazine represents a version of masculinity that I can live with (it's basically my husband, minus 10 years!). The bad news thought is that I don't particularly enjoy feeling shut out of the leading technology & culture magazine.

So it was a nice surprise to pick up Fast Company on a plane trip a couple of weeks ago. Entrepreneurship, technology--for a change I actually felt included! I generally don't read a lot of business magazines either, but Fast Company had just the right mix of culture, news and enterprise to keep me reading.

Three things to recommend to you from the July/August issue:

Charles Fishman's brilliant feature, "Message in a Bottle," which will change the way you look at bottled water forever. Others have written about this but not as eloquently as he has. (You can hear an interview with Fishman on a recent podcast episode of WUNC radio's The State of Things.)

Made to Stick
authors Dan and Chip Heath have a recurring column in Fast Company. Their book is still one of my favorites of 2007, and definitely one I refer back to on a regular basis.

And lo and behold, there was an article close to my heart: an "Open Debate" between Vivan Steir Rabin and Leslie Bennetts on the topic "Is staying at home with kids career suicide?" You might be getting tired of this subject, and to be honest, so am I, but Vivian Steir Rabin gave such good answers that I had to cheer.

I have been encouraging women to develop the confidence to take their careers in their own hands. Steir Rabin gives encouragement to "career relaunchers:"

Steir Rabin: "Telling a woman not to take time off because she might not find work again is like discouraging someone from starting a business because he or she might fail. Better to suggest ways to minimize risk, like ensuring your family has adequate savings and staying professionally connected. Give women the tools to return rather than intimidate them from trying."

Vivian Steir Rabin and Carol Fishman Cohen have written a whole book on career reinvention, Back On the Career Track. I take issue with the title, since for many women the career "track" is replaced by a career version of "off-road adventure," but I recommend their work as a resource for Mojo Moms everywhere.

On a related note, today I met with several community leaders to talk about several projects that are near and dear to my heart. I realized that there is no career ladder or prescribed path that leads to where I am now. I love my life, including my family, community involvement, activism and accomplishments as Mojo Mom.

Why don't we teach women to strike out on our own? It's easy to be a "good girl" by staying on the path. Be a good high school student, get into a good college, get a good job. But then that conveyor belt lets us down when we become Moms and try to integrate work and family. I would love to see more women develop business skills that they can use to create their own job opportunities. Even if you don't start out as an entrepreneur, you might end up as one, and that can be a very good thing.

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Blogger Robyn said...

Steir Rabin is right! If everyone lived their lives in fear of worst case scenarios, no one would take risks. Informed risk is what is the key issue here. And changing lanes by taking time off to be with your kids often presents new opportunities that you may not otherwise be aware of. I love your blog and the podcasts!

8:34 PM  

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