Agonizing over your resume?  Put it down and pick up a pen and paper.  The key to career satisfaction might lie, instead, in figuring out your own personal definition of success.  Rather than focusing on title or salary, focus on who you want to help and how, where you want to be, and think about the goals you have for your non-working hours.  Then build your career around that.  We talk about this, and much more, in this episode of This is My Silver Lining, where we speak with Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, Director of Corporate Partnerships at Boston College Center for Work and Family (BCCWF), about how employers and employees are adapting to make work work for them.  

Jennifer shares her own career path and the twists and turns that have led her to her current position.  She’s an optimist who looks at situations for what they can offer as an opportunity.  We talk about the challenges the pandemic magnified and created in the workplace, and how it has provided an opportunity to rethink how we are working and how we are living our lives.  Jennifer talks about trends she is seeing around workplace flexibility and the emergence of the hybrid workweek.  More and more employees expect that their employers trust them to do the work that needs to be done, but also respect life’s other demands, personal interests, and overall well being.  People want to work for an employer who “views you as a whole person who can add value.”

We talk about the fractious state of paid leave policies in the United States, which is an outlier among developed nations.  Jennifer says that while we all want to believe that our country is family friendly, looking at the policies that exist to support families proves otherwise. 

We talk about “work-life balance”, managing boundaries, learning how to say no, and finding your voice at work.  Jennifer gives some excellent advice as she suggests that we “look beyond titles and salary and look at your own personal definition of success.”  

We talk about the increase in awareness  and discussion of mental health issues at work. Jennifer’s suggested reading includes a recent report prepared by the BCCWF, which can be found in our episode links below.   

With respect to diversity and inclusion, Jennifer talks about the importance of turning our focus to BELONGING in the workplace.  Our workplaces, which were historically built by and for white men with spouses at home, do not serve the modern-day workforce.  To thrive and succeed, corporations must build structures and work cultures where all people (BIPOC, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, veterans, and really all employees) feel welcome, know their voices are heard and valued, and have equal opportunities to grow within the organization.  

Lastly, we talk about the newest generation entering the workforce – Gen Z.  Jennifer encourages students to think about their work and life in the long term.  Think beyond “what’s my major” and “what’s my first job” to “what do I want my life to look like.”  She suggests undertaking the valuable exercise of crafting a personal vision for yourself.   “Plan for an adventure and a long journey, and sometimes a detour actually brings you to the place you’re supposed to be.  Be open to opportunities that don’t necessarily align with what your plan was.  Those might be the opportunities that bring you to the next level.  You will get to where you’re supposed to be.”

Episode Links and Resources:  

Jennifer Sabatini Fraone LinkedIn Profile

BC Center for Work and Family

BCCWF Mental Health Executive Briefing Series

BCCWF Research Materials  

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