Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leverage Two Synergies and Call Me in the Morning

Last week I got a text from my good friend and former corporate colleague, M, who is now a stay-at-home-Mom (SAHM). M had just dropped off her oldest for two hours of pre-school; she was sitting in her minivan in the Starbucks drive-thru lane when she realized she was slipping into SAHM-hood, perhaps losing her corporate edge.

Racing to the elevators on my way to a meeting, I thoughtfully texted back, You are a lost cause. I was joking--just because M doesn't have a corporate paycheck doesn't mean she isn't the same smart, savvy corporate player she always was.

But I can understand her concern about losing her corporate mindset in a world filled with Yo Gabba Gabba. So I have helpfully developed a list of things that SAHM's like M and other women who find themselves away from the corporate grind for a while can do at home to stay in the zone corporate-wise.

Create a corporate atmosphere - It's probably not possible to cover your walls in grey cubicle fabric, but there are a few inexpensive ways to create a more corporate atmosphere in the home
  • Ask your neighbors for some random leftovers. Put them in the back of the fridge and let the lovely aromas instantly transform your kitchen into a corporate break room. Bonus points for posting a passive aggressive note above the garbage disposal switch. Oh, and don't forget to burn some popcorn in the microwave once a week, at least.
  • Create a cumbersome barrier to your bathroom. Lock the door and tie the key to a giant block of wood or maybe walk through three or four rooms of the house each time before you get to the door.
  • Get a lot of fake, green leafy plants. Or if budget permits, get a lot of real plants and hire a lady with a cart to come through and water them. Bonus points for posting Don't water me signs on each pot.
Simulate corporate interactions - It's the people that are a company's most important asset, right? Do what you can to recreate the special feeling of belonging to a corporate workforce.
  • Type up a detailed report of everything you did this week--then e-mail it to someone in another city who you have only talked to on the phone but never met. Bonus points for using Excel.
  • Instead of talking to the people you see every day, like your neighbor or even husband, send them lots of detailed e-mails.
  • Stop driving all over town for PTA or neighborhood association meetings. Make every meeting a conference call. Bonus points for scheduling them back to back.
Enjoy an expense account - Recreate that feeling of satisfaction you felt in spending the corporate budget like it was your own money. Except now it really is your own money.
  • Hire an agency to do something you used to do (e.g. housework, childcare, cooking, landscaping). Announce that you will be doing the strategic thinking while they act as your hands and feet. Fire them in six months when you get sticker shock from the invoice.
  • Go on a boondoggle with one of your biggest vendors. Note: Call this by the corporate name of User Conference rather than the SAHM term: BlogHer.
So you see, it is possible for SAHM's who want to re-enter the workforce eventually or women who are currently looking for a job to keep their head in the game. I guarantee that these tips are just what the doctor ordered to keep you prepared for corporate life. If they don't, you can always leverage two synergies and call me in the morning.


  1. Have you considered a second career in comedy writing?

  2. Thank you, Jane. I know you have high standards so I consider your comment a great compliment.


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