Tag Archives: college

Daycare costs more than college?




When my daughter was young, I hired a series of nannies until I found one who was reliable.

It was an ordeal.

I wanted so desperately to leave my daughter with someone who I could trust. I also wanted so desperately to keep my job, which in the news business meant unpredictable hours. To land the perfect nanny — one that didn't fall asleep on the job or show up an hour late –  I painfully forked over more than half of my paycheck.

So, it's not at all surprising to me that other working parents are desperate to find high quality, low-cost child care. When I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about the high cost of childcare, it disgusted me, but didn't really surprise me.

In nearly half the country(23 states), it’s now more expensive to educate a 4-year-old in preschool than an 18-year-old in college, according to the Wall Street Journal. The largest disparity between the cost to attend day care and the cost to attend college resides in Florida, my home state, according to Economic Policy Institute data.The average child care costs in Florida are $ 7,668 a year, making it 73 percent more expensive to care for a 4-year-old in Florida than for a student to attend college.

“High-quality child care is out of reach for many families,” said Economic Policy Institute research assistant Tanyell Cooke. “This crisis is not limited to low-income families, nor is it unique to certain parts of the country. It affects everyone, in every state.”

It's not just full time childcare that's costly. If you're a working parent who needs after-school care, get ready to pay a lot of money for a few hours of supervision.

Costs have risen to the point where parents need to do the math and consider child care costs when offered a salary to determine if taking a job is worth it. And, if you're a parent who works off hours, like an evening shift or a Saturday, finding after hours child care can be a huge scramble and an expensive endeavor. A blog post I wrote many years ago about where to find after hours child care remains one of the most well read.

For single mothers the cost of daycare is a GIANT problem when women are paid 75 cents for every dollar men are paid. I wonder how many bosses have considered that when doling out raises or making job offers.

What can be done about rising childcare costs?

Some ideas are pay parents bigger salaries, subsidize the cost of childcare, open more government-funded childcare centers, encourage more businesses to build onsite childcare centers.

I am sure there are more possibilities. It's time our country considers what those solutions could be.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Work Life Balance When Your Child Leaves For College

I just have experienced work life balance in a whole new way. I took my daughter to college hundreds of miles away from home. The reality of this life event is something for which a parent never can fully prepare. It is bittersweet realization: I have one less child to cook for, one less lunch to pack for school and one less schedule of activities to coordinate. As I kissed my daughter goodbye, I reminisced about the night I got stuck working really late at the office and cried because my babysitter had put her to bed before I had returned home. I felt guilty and crushed that I had missed an entire day of my infant’s young life. If only I knew then that work life balance was less about one day and more about the next 18 years. The truth is I enjoy the chaos that has ruled my life as I have juggled writing deadlines with chauffeuring her to soccer practice, sleepovers and movies with friends. It was through that chaos that I built a bond with her that will only strengthen as it evolves. Now, I face a new reality: My daughter becoming independent doesn’t just mean that I suddenly have more free time. It means that my entire home life has shifted in ways I had not anticipated. Walking past her quiet bedroom, I know the change is going to be an tough adjustment. But watching her explore her passions in life is going to be exciting. With two children still at home, I am savoring the daily chores that I used to consider annoyances. I am packing lunches with a new appreciation and giving homework help with more enthusiasm. Suddenly, I see a future where my balancing act gets easier and my mom duties less needed. I’m not sure I will ever be prepared for that life transition. For now, I’m trying my best to shake off the feeling that my chest is a bit heavier and my house a bit emptier.
The Work/Life Balancing Act

Learning to Juggle Work Life Balance While Still In College

W-l college



Today my guest blogger is a senior at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania pursuing concentrations in Finance & Management and top contributor to WallStreetOasis.com, Wall Street Oasis is one of the largest and most entertaining finance communities online. This Ivy Leaguer has a lot to say on the topic of work life balance even though he hasn't even graduated college. He didn't want me to print his name because he's in the proccess of applying for full time positions. He says he plans to pursue a career in investment banking after graduation because he finds the field of work fast-paced and exciting. 


Here is his take on work life balance: 

In the spring of 2011, I was accepted into my dream college. After meticulously double-checking (no, triple-checking) the word “Congratulations” on my acceptance letter, I broke into tears of joy and relief. As I cried like a baby, I recalled the years of leadership activities that I hoped would make my candidacy stand out compared to that of my peers, successful and failed SATs & AP exams, varsity sports, and the amount of studying I had to do while balancing the other aspects of my life. I thanked my parents for their Draconian teachings and God for standing by my side. Like any other immature high school student, I thought my life was set.

As I glance back now in retrospect as a junior in college (still immature), I realize I was so wrong.


Since coming to college, I have felt like an ant in a world overrun by giants, a soldier in a war-torn battlefield, and David standing in front of Goliath. Every peer was intelligent, cunning, and built for success in the field of finance. As a prospective student interested in pursuing a career in investment banking, I had to stand out once more against my colleagues. In order to do so, this past fall I decided to pick up a an investment banking internship in addition to juggling my academics, on-campus activities, and my social life. Quite frankly speaking, the work/life balance was difficult at first.


My typical day started with classes at 9AM that concluded at around 2PM. Afterwards, I ran back to my apartment to switch into my suit, pick up a banana or a yogurt for a quick snack, and left to catch a subway that would take me to a train transit station. After a brief train ride, I would walk twenty minutes or so to my office that was located in suburbs outside of my city. All in all, the commute took approximately an hour. In between my train rides, I would study for my classes or brush up on my outstanding work for my firm. On Friday’s when I did not have any classes, I would spend the whole day at the office from morning to evening.


Unfortunately, the work of investment banking varies quite frequently, making the work/life balance all the more difficult to maintain. At times, I would get off work on time at around 7PM, but if the office were flooded with transactions, I would have to stay until much later to finish the work. Once I left the office, I went straight home to change, and try to pick up dinner with my friends. If not, I did whatever I could to study with my friends in order to make sure my social life was still intact and separate from the work itself. Of course, I would miss weekday lunch/dinner reservations at times because of work, but that naturally made my weekends more valuable and time for friends.


In regards to my academics, I knew falling behind would be so easy. In hindsight, this aspect was the most difficult one to maintain in my work/life balance during this period. I made sure to attend every one of my classes, put in my utmost effort to stay awake through every single one of them, and write copious amount of notes for review. After I had dinner with my friends, the remaining amount of time was left for study. Even then, I did not perform well on certain exams at times. However, once I got accustomed to the schedule, my grades did not fluctuate.


Within this strict routine, I still kept one hour of each day for myself to watch my favorite TV shows, workout, nap, cook, or even just bum around as a couch potato. The hour was no one else’s, but mine. It was truly a time that allowed me to get away from everything and focus on myself. In a way, it was a sanity check.

Throughout the three months, I questioned myself frequently why I am putting myself through the routine. Of course, I completely understand that many professionals or full-time parents who are reading this post may feel that I am just a fragile college student complaining of another day at school. However, at least for myself, the three months were difficult and rigorous.

Nevertheless, I do not regret them at all.

While I may have complained back then, in retrospect, I really enjoyed the work, the people I was with, and the routine that I set for myself. Again and again, through the experience, I matured and grew. Everyday was a challenge, and overcoming it in and of itself was exciting. As I gear myself ready for my full-time summer investment banking internship, I am not worried because I am going to do the same thing I did for the three-month work: live everyday to the fullest, but not forget to recount each and every moment.



The Work/Life Balancing Act

2014 College Grads Want a Job — and Work Life Balance

You would think 2014's college grads would be so desperate for a job that they would take whatever they could get — as long as it pays a decent salary. 

Not true.

This group wants work life balance and they are steering away from jobs  – and internships — that seem too demanding. 

Let me know what you think of the mindset of today's college graduate. Will they get the flexibility and work life balance they seek? Will employers have to bend a little to accommodate these young workers?

(The Miami Herald, May 22, 2014)

Many new college graduates seek work/life balance, flexibility as they look for jobs


Here come the 2014 college graduates, flooding the highly competitive job market over the next several weeks and bringing their workplace expectations.

University of Florida graduate Stephanie Savage is one of the 11 percent nationwide who has successfully landed a full-time job. Yet, she notices an interesting trend with some of her friends who still are searching: “They’re picky.”

With their notably high debt from student loans, you would think new college graduates would jump at any job they could get. Instead, some of this year’s crop are selective in their job searches, reluctant to be stuck in a cramped cubicle from 9-to-5 each day and looking to be wowed by the jobs they land, career experts say.

“The idea of not being in a job they love is stressful for them,” says Christian Garcia, executive director of the Toppel Career Center at the University of Miami. Garcia said he has had students shy away from jobs in which they’ve heard the boss is difficult, the hours or commute long or the job description “boring.”

“They want to feel each opportunity is THE opportunity. Some can afford to be picky, but there are a lot of students who can’t. I bring them a reality check.”

Savage, 21, who will work as a preschool teacher, sees the same thought process in her peers. “They realize the job market is horrible but they still say, ‘I don’t know if I want to work for someone like that’ or ‘I don’t like the job requirements.’ ”

The pickiness is perplexing considering this is the sixth consecutive graduating class to enter the labor market during a period of profound weakness. However, the Class of 2014 is uniquely optimistic and expects to find positions in their chosen fields, according to an employment survey released this month by consulting firm Accenture. These graduates also are determined to find work/life balance in their jobs — or come up with ways to obtain it.

In fact, for the past few years, work/life balance has been the number one career goal among students in the global surveys by Universum, which offers research and services worldwide to help employers attract talent. More than leadership opportunities, security or prestige, these college graduates seek balance. They want their jobs to reflect who they want to be and the lifestyle they want to live, one that might include training for a 5K or giving back to the community.


Fortunately for the 2014 grads, they are the first generation that can easily expect to find a telecommuting or remote job in their fields, according to FlexJobs.com, a website designed to help people find flexible work options. Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, said almost every flexible position on her website has entry position levels — and college graduates are applying for them. Many pay salaries equal to onsite positions.

“Telecommuting options are a natural fit,” Fell says. “The younger generation is mobile by nature. They’ve grown up with technology and without having to do location-specific tasks.”

In compiling the best remote jobs for college grads, FlexJobs says some of the jobs to consider are accountant or bookkeeper, online teacher, market research analyst, computer systems analyst, business consulting, data entry positions and customer service posts. “With flexible work, we’re seeing a real broadening of types of opportunities available at all levels,” Fell says.



The Work/Life Balancing Act

College grads: Using free time in your 20s to make it pay off in your 40s

These last few weeks, work life balance has been elusive. I've been crazed with the wind down of the school year and ducking from editors who might want more from me. I long for the days when I was in my early 20s and had the time to more easily invest in my career. 

So, if I was a college graduate, how would I spend my free time? I tackled that question in my Miami Herald column today.


Advice to graduates: Combine networking with true passions

 Andrew Lucas / MCT

By Cindy Krischer Goodman


In the boardroom of large public companies, where few women sit at the table, there’s a dysfunctional dynamic going on. The female directors say they are left out of strategic decision-making because those conversations often happen on the golf course and they don’t play golf.

After learning about this in the Harvard Business Review, I brought it up with a female CEO who wishes she had mastered golf and said she would advise new college graduates to learn the sport. I wonder though, will professional networking and back-door decision-making in the future even be done on the greens? Or will it be done some other place entirely that requires a different skill?

With work/life balance an increasing concern, how should today’s college graduates optimize their free time now to build the right networks, learn the right skills and lay the foundation to become successful leaders in the future?

Advice from high-level professionals varies greatly, and there’s acknowledgement that today’s formula might not be the recipe for tomorrow.

Most of today’s board members and CEOs began their careers when email and social networks didn’t exist. This 2013 crop of college graduates, an estimated 1.8 million people, enters the workforce with highly developed digital skills, multitasking abilities and an expectation of work/life balance. And, even with the hiring outlook still bleak, many prioritize the nature of the work over compensation when considering a job, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

One South Florida professional advises college graduates to master multiple languages and leave the country rather than spend that time learning to golf.

“Your 20s is the ideal time to raise your hand to take on a project in Portugal or enroll in a business program in Spain,” says Bonnie Crabtree, senior client partner and office managing director of Korn/Ferry International’s Miami office. Contacts in other parts of the world and a different perspective can become valuable in your later career, she says.

Crabtree says her firm recently researched the backgrounds of board members at the nation’s top public companies. “International experience really shows up in statistics.”

Sometimes knowing what you want to accomplish can shape your early career strategy. J. Preston Jones, interim dean of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, often networks on the golf course, playing alongside university presidents, community leaders and fundraisers. He advises graduates to identify the ultimate job they want and study where and how those who now hold those positions built strategic relationships.

“If the decision makers are playing golf or fishing or climbing the Himalayas, those are activities you should consider adding to your repertoire of things you become passionate about.” Doing activities you enjoy, outside the workplace with other professionals makes business fun, he says. “You are not only bonding but welding relationships.”

Using your 20s to position yourself as a leader can also pay off. Community, charity and political organizations are the lunch clubs and golf courses of tomorrow. Getting involved in Make A Wish, the Cuban American Bar Association or the University of Florida alumni group can put a college graduate or new associate in front of judges, senior vice presidents and business owners.

You can’t just be a member. You have to chair a committee or run events. You want others to see you as a leader,” says Jill Granat, senior vice president/general counsel of Burger King Corp. and president of the Burger King McLamore Foundation. But she cautions that you need to choose an organization you are passionate about or you will come off as superficial. “Don’t do something you don’t like.”

Granat also advises positioning yourself as a leader inside your company, too, by showing you are flexible and seizing opportunities. “You need to be willing to make your mark where the company needs you. You might want to do X, but if you are willing to do Y, you will get a foot in the door.”

Of course, today’s college graduates feel more comfortable than prior generations building connections online. Building and maintaining social networks are worth the time investment. But that is only one step of the process, says Mary Leslie Smith, a partner in the Miami office of Foley & Lardner and the newly installed president of the Dade County Bar Association. Be bold and invite people to enjoy experiences with you, she says.

“I just went with a client to a Madonna concert and now we have that experience that we enjoyed together. You can’t get that by connecting on Linked In,” Smith explains, adding that building a vibrant network in your early career includes forging relationships at all levels. “Ten years from now that associate next may be a general counsel who becomes a client. The more friendships, the more relationships you build, the better.”

Smith also believes one of the best time investments a young professional can make is financial education, particularly for those without business degrees. “Learn to read a financial statement, the key terms in the stock market, how to read a prospectus. It will pay off for you.”

It may seem overwhelming, but start now building a community invested in your success — mentors, sponsors or supporters. Jennifer Moline, senior vice president of finance and accounting at Terremark Worldwide, says it takes courage and a time investment to ask for advice and listen well, which becomes increasingly challenging later in your career. She suggests making a list of everyone you know and ask them to introduce you to successful people who have careers that you are interested in. An introduction by someone who knows you is most effective. “Don’t ask for a job, ask for advice.” Throughout your career, keep your network of supporters informed of your progress, which can be done on social networks, she says.

With this advice in mind, I wanted to dig deeper with Boris Groysberg, a Harvard Business School professor and author of the HBR article on women in the boardroom. Groysberg said while golf has proved key in board culture today, even he is not convinced it will pay off when college graduates are leaders.

“Having cutting edge skills is what’s going to be most important,” he said. To get those skills, he advises young people to scout for companies that will develop them by moving them around within the organization. In addition, he advises them to determine their strengths and then cultivate them. Though the likelihood of reaching the top is small, he says, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “If you combine what you’re passionate about with your strengths, it can be a satisfying journey.”





The Work/Life Balancing Act

“Don’t leave college without a husband”: Mom’s advice causes a stir

What the heck is going on? The women's movement is in turmoil.

The newest controversial figure to get women's panties in a tightwad is Susan Patton who wrote an open letter published in the school newspaper to the Ivy League school's female students.In the letter, Patton tells female students that they should take the opportunity to find a husband while on campus before they graduate, because they will never again have a deep pool of qualified potential mates once they leave.

"Smart women can't (shouldn't) marry men who aren't at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are,” she wrote.

“And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you. Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them."

Patton, a 1977 graduate, is the mother two boys — a Princeton alum and a current undergraduate  – and says if she had daughters, that's the advice she would be giving them.

What craziness!

I did exactly what Patton is telling the female students to do. I met my husband my senior year of college and got engaged shortly after graduation. I'm married 26 years. You won't find me writing a letter like Patton's. As blogger Vivia Chen writes: "Fact is, it's not always easy to make the transition from a college relationship into adulthood. People grow up and grow apart." So true, Vivia, so true….

While my husband and I have grown up together, it hasn't always been easy to work through the what it takes to accommodate two career interests at the same time.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has said, "The most important career choice you'll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we're 50/50." 

She spoke passionately about how there's a "stalled revolution for women" right now, and how having a supportive spouse — a real partner — will play a huge part in your success.

Don't get me wrong, I can see where Patton is coming from. As a student you're in contact with people your own age, or close to your age most of the time, which makes meeting potential partners much easier. But does that really need to be a graduation goal for young women? Those Princeton guys might be smart, but we've all learned that it is what you do with that knowledge that counts.

My advice to my daughter is make your education and career a priority while you are young and you will find the right guy at the right time who supports your choices.That right time might be in college or it might be a decade later.

What do you think about Patton's advice to young women? What would your advice be?


Susan patton
(Princeton grad Susan Patton unintentionally launched a media storm with her open letter to young women.)



The Work/Life Balancing Act