Who’s Eating all the Cake?

Who’s eating all the cake?

You?  … Your Partner?  …  Your Boss? … The Kids?  …. Your Siblings? … Your Work Colleague?


Tina Fey

In this world where “Lean In”, “You Can Have it All”, Equality, Feminism, Targets, Quotas ….. have women gone from the belief that we can have a very decent crack of having it all to …. you can get back onto the career path after having kids, and yes, your work will give you that opportunity to work part-time, and yes, you’ll be able to manage drop off, pick up, and yes you’ll do dinner, and yes you’ll witching hour, and yes, you do most of the housework (still), oh and jamming in some quality time with kids at the end of the day before you have to log back on and finish off work at night …. does it never ever stop??? Yes yes yes yes to everyone else but YOU.

And seriously, YOU.  Yes YOU.  Where is the time for you? That moment when you can just have your mind wander off whilst you’re folding the washing drinking your luke warm glass of wine ….. Is your life timetabled out to within an inch of its life that the possibility of a lazy day or a relaxing with your partner, not running around to pick up, raises a lump in your throat, stings the eyes and you just are so perplexed as to how you got on this running machine that feels like it’s never going to stop ….. SO,

Who can have the cake and eat it to?

Thought we could right? Yep, about 4-5 years ago when flexible working arrangements started to be discussed under the Fair Work Act that we thought we could have it all.  We thought Hell Yes, we can shoot for the stars, have kids, have work, love partners, enjoy life and DO. IT. ALL.  But as reality hits, it’s turned out to be exhausting, anxiety driven and relentless.

Natalie Reilly wrote a great article in The Age(1) last month where she talks about working mothers being 18 per cent more stressed than other people.  Researchers from Manchester University and the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University in the UK looked at 11 indicators of chronic stress, including blood pressure and hormones, in 6025 women; they found that working mothers of two children record 40 per cent higher levels on those stress indicators.

But sadly, that article seems to nail all the issues that we have been speaking about for the past 4-5 years, and Annabel Crabb’s book “The Wife Drought” highlights.  “Women Need Wives and Men Need Lives …..

Michelle O’Bama nailed it: That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time,” Obama said, according to the The Cut. “That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”

Taking turns and sharing the cake seems to be how we roll these days.  And is this true even, as the tide is turning so more women are having the opportunity to be move involved in the workforce, how do we make sure that EVERYONE has the opportunity to participate and contribute to their own career, lifestyle and family fulfilment.

Our latest PodCast “Chewing the Fat on Flexibility” talks about this very issue.  How important it is for conversation, agreements, discussion, wobble room on the home front.  Agreements and support for partners, by partners, is key to making this work.

How will we ever create a new way of living, working, socialising, parenting and being if we cannot start with our homes?   It isn’t about everyone having it all, it’s about the family unit creating an opportunity for you to achieve your goals in life.

Is there any need / requirement for a 40 hour week at work?  More and more studies and business cases are being trialled – 32 hour week, 4 day week, flexible working arrangements being implemented in organisations.  BUT, are they really flexible working arrangements if you feel the glare of your Manager watching your every move, because you’re the only part-timer in the Team.  You feel pressure to logon after the kids are asleep to finish something off.  When will we get the balance right?

It all starts with conversations, trialling new ways of working and that’s where FlexConnect can help you.  Whether you are

  • an employee re-entering the workforce
  • wanting to job-share your role
  • negotiate flexible working arrangements
  • a Manager who wants to introduce flexible working arrangements with your organisation
  • an Organisation who wants to walk the talk and actually apply flexibility

we can help you.  We have practical tools, tips, coaching to help you succeed, and be a place where flexibility shines.

Isn’t it time for everyone to take the time, to eat the cake and enjoy it too?

FlexConnect equips Organisations, Managers & Employees for Flexibility



E hbutler@flexconnect.com.au

T 0413 15 88 77

Belated International Women’s Day


We’re back in 2019 with a catch up on flexibility in our lives, our community and the general consensus across Australia on a whole range of issues to do with flexibility – family, lifestyle, wage disparity, women in politics and our politics/leaders generally.

Apologies for the audio quality from Helen’s end – persist because we have some great discussions around flexibility and what it looks like into this year!


New PodCast: Kim Grady updates us on Gourmet Roaming


We welcome back Kim Grady to our PodCast as she updates us on all things Gourmet Roaming, and what has bought her back home, the dangers of hiking, and falling, and seriously hurting yourself, and being carried down a Mountain by some amazing strangers, meeting McDreamy and his gorgeous girlfriend, the kindness of strangers and the path of what’s next ….. it was and is, always a pleasure to Chew the Fat with the effervescently positive Kim Grady.  Follow her adventures @GourmetRoaming and we hope you enjoy this chat.

Click here to enjoy the Chat!

Our Workplace Relations System is Broken ….


This was and is a big call made by one of Australia’s pre-eminent Workplace Relations Specialists – Michael Harmer, Chairman of Harmers Workplace Lawyers.

Never one to sit on the fence on a human rights, equal opportunity, discrimination and workplace relations dispute, Mr Harmer has come out swinging on this one, and some will applaud him, some will not.  Having worked with this kind Man for a number of years, and followed his ever-increasing public profile as he shines the light on his perceived injustices in the workplace and the world, it was, with not so much a surprise, but a salute to him that he took up the cause for NSW people who would be affected by yet another Union, seemingly forced to bully its key stakeholders, inconveniencing its millions of customers across the State, all because two parties were unable to sit around a table and negotiate, in good faith a reasonable outcome for their employees and/or members.  Strikes are not new to our system, but the unfairness of them is and the ability to stop them, although the power is there, seems to bob up and down like some floating wood on the tide.  Gets bashed around by waves, ends up on shore and then sucked out again to bob up and down and generally, have no focus, direction or outcome other than to be pushed around.   But Mr Harmer took action, and his piece leads to a more interesting and thought provoking argument …… is our system broken?

Our Workplace Relations System, Fair Work, bought in under the Gillard Government was hailed as a major success.  In fact, it seemed to me that going through the process of award “modernisation”, this time it was Lawyers rubbing their gleeful hands together, much like the IT crowd at the turn of the millennium – everything will fall apart unless I hold your hand through every single step of the process.  Who would have thought numbers were at the crux of so much, and yet they are.

It always comes down to numbers doesn’t it?    Mr Harmer’s take on the situation and his resolute action, saw this matter move to cause minimal harm to commuters and business.  But, as Mr Harmer puts it …. is our system “old-fashioned and inefficient” if the only option left for waring parties is to result to this cause of action.

Read Mr Harmer’s article here. 

What are your thoughts? Would be great to hear your experiences.

We’re Hiring: HR Business Partner


Kick Start 2018 in style with a brand new role with a diversified, fully engaged and highly evolving company. 

  • Full time or 4 days/week
  • Full autonomy and advising amazing Managers
  • ASAP star|  6 month fixed term contract | Based at Brighton

We need you, an engaged true HR Generalist to mentor, coach,  guide  and 7 Managers on all facets of HR in and around Melbourne.   This role is autonomous, intense, full of potential for growth, adventure and no day will be the same, but you will truly partner with key Managers to run their teams more effectively.  HR truly is respected in the business and this role is newly created, crying out for HR to partner and join the team with these Managers.

Working for an amazing GM of HR, this role is originally a 6 month contract, ASAP start with the successful candidate possessing experience in Aged Care or Health industry.  Based at Brighton, but travel to various sites around Melbourne, Laverton and Mornington Peninsula is required as part of your role.  You will be the go to Human Resources for Managers on these sites, you’ll be responsible for providing advice on all matters of HR from performance management, retention, attraction and employee engagement through to compliance issues.

Are you an experienced HR professional who enjoys getting the job done?  Are you looking to sink your teeth into a new role and hit the ground running. Are you confident and capable, can make decisions on your own, provide advice and offer true HR partnering to your Managers?  We need you ASAP!!

The role is initially as a 6 month fixed term contract as the HR structure gets re-aligned and bedded down.  There is a competitive salary and autonomy to work your magic, but you have the backing and support of a phenomenal HR Team – Australia wide.

Want to make your mark on a business in 2018?  Look no further.  Please send your CV, a copy of your supporting qualifications to me, Helen Butler at hbutler@inspiredpeople.com.au.

Here we are – 2018!

So, 2018 has arrived, where has the first month gone exactly?

This week officially marks a major milestone for me.  I’ve managed to raise my two small boys into little men and they’ve ventured off to School.  School. I made it.  I can sit back and relax for 5-6 hours a day, enjoy my own company, again.  Finally, yet not so finally ….


People said I wouldn’t know myself.  People said I’ll be a mess, a wreck, I’ll have to find things to do for myself now.. well, about a week ago, I started getting a little bit excited.  My brain started to turn back on, my crippling self doubt, self esteem abyss and anxiety started to fade away.  What was this determination not to solve things, to let little things overwhelm me  after I had kids – now I’m determined to try to fix my own problems and not be bought to tears by the craziness of life and having no control over it …… I feel like I’ve turned a corner.  Have you felt like that at all?  Have you sent your little precious wee ones off to School and realised, I can start doing stuff again …

People might say I’ve had it easy …. But in my time since having my first boy, almost 6 years ago, I went from running an amazingly fun and vibrant company which I loved, to relocating to Brisbane when he was just 4 months old, working remotely, having a Husband that was called to work intestate 5 days/week, fell pregnant with my 2nd child, continued to run a business, realised Brisbane was not our solution, had baby #2, somehow survived the blur that is 2 kids under 14 months old, moved to a small regional coastal town with no friends or family to be close to the beach – and still worked and then returned to Melbourne with kids, dogs and husband in tow to re-establish ourselves into the brilliant Melbourne life..  I mean, seriously, who does this crazy stuff, I think someone who is flying by the seat of their pants and can’t sit still!


No body, I mean NO BODY tells you how hard kids are.  How the relentlessness of serving these little beings that require your every ounce of energy, patience, love and care can be so H A R D.  Confession: I loved my kids most when they were asleep.  Oh the joy I felt when I made it through a day and their little peepers closed and their faces looked so angellic.  I forgot about the haze of my parental craze – I had managed to keep them alive, didn’t snap too much, made sure they ate well, didn’t eat dirt or paint, didn’t break a bone and had an adventure at somewhere wonderful …… and the only thing I managed to do for myself was glug wine.  And glug I did.  Who doesn’t?  Who wouldn’t? Self discipline, time for self was replaced by exhaustion.

Don’t get me wrong, that hasn’t gone away, when I have my little Cherubs running around on the weekends I’m really really really hanging for a nap during the day.  Where exactly do they get their energy from?  Work is so much easier than kids.  Who needs a nap when you’re at work, dealing with complex problems that are itching to be solved and you can have a logical, thought provoking, idea inspiring discussion about it rather than dealing with a 2 or 4 year old who don’t understand reason, just screaming.

So here I am, 2018 ready and willing to be able to have a conversation, an adult conversation about life, work, loves, passions, career progression, and not be interrupted by someone constantly, who bellows at you for food, drink, play  ….. to be back in your world, I must say I’m incredibly excited.

So, as the School year kicks into gear, I’m ready.  So ready to get back into work.  So ready to start doing things for me and YOU.  So ready to embrace some of my old life back.  My ability to think, to solve problems on my own, to talk work, career, business goals, life goals, career objectives, change of career, talk about you.  Join me, as 2018 is the year to be invigorated, harnessed, focussed and achieve some amazing things.

Let’s get back together again, I’ve missed you and am here to help you in your journey.

Here’s a little sampler of our new PodCast for 2018 – Chewing the Fat on Flexibility with myself and Leonie Green.  An easy, thought provoking and fun discussion about life, loves, work and trying to do it all, failing and laughing.

Chewing the Fat on Flexibility PodCast

Working from Home & Employee Trust – What’s the Problem?


This is a very interesting read.  One of my constant findings as we delve into the world of finding the balance between our professional and personal lives, is employers distrust their employees.  This article highlights some really interesting points about how business needs to adopt the way different people work.

It’s not about presenteeism, it’s about results, output and delivery of business requirements.  Employees who are known to business seem to have better results in obtaining flexible working arrangements.  But if you’re re-engaging in the workplace, how do you manage your flexible working arrangements as a negotiation tool?

How is your business managing this?  Are your Managers’ equipped to manage staff remotely, flexibly, or in fact, at all?

FlexConnect engages, equips, empowers people and organisations to work flexibly.  Don’t miss this wave of engaging and empowering your people.  FlexConnect – TODAY.


Click Here for the full article



The Holiday Queen


Laini Shaw is the Holiday Queen.  And I’m jealous.  She has managed to intrinsically manouvre a HR career and massive chunks of time off to enjoy her passion of travel.

How? What? Why? How? Blink, gulp, how on earth did this HR Professional manage to challenge the status quo, re-align her entrenched professional ethos of 4 weeks annual leave per year and move to a more holistic, laid back, balanced lifestyle.

Well, her gorgeous bloke had something to do with it.  A Mr “Challenge the Status Quo” kind of guy who adores the pants of Laini and gives her passion room to roam and her head space to think.

Laini is fabulous.  She talks us through her background and how she came to breakthrough her thinking of enjoying life more, embracing her passion and loving life more and more, enjoying and thriving in her career and taking stock on what’s important.  Laini lights up my world when I’m around her, I hope she lights up your life for 40 minutes or so and you can enjoy her story.

Laini hopes her chat with Helen will inspire others to think outside the box of 9-5 and do things that make their heart sing – including travel…take that trip!!!

You can check Laini out on Facebook or Instagram – The Occasional Israeli.  

Enjoy x

iTunes Chewing the Fat on Flexibility


Ladies: Put up your hands for Board positions


I’ve been accused of saying the term “crusty ball sack” far too often in our PodCasts on Chewing the Fat on Flexibility much to my dear Leonie Green’s chargrin, but Luke Sayers says it all.

Board’s are suffering due to their innate conservatism and incestuousness. Women add value, they don’t detract. It brings up the whole question of “quotas” and “targets” and the ongoing struggle of women who are battling to get on Boards.

I attended a KickStarter Board Breakfast recently and one of the key takeaway messages was this – Put your hand up and tell people you’re interested! Women, it’s time. Put your hand up. Generalist skills are being more valued than the structured risk, accounting, legal backgrounds. This is a really interesting and I think brave stance by Luke but one that I’m applauding!

Click Here for a great read

New PodCast: Finding Your Balance


The Gorgeous Joanne Stevens joins us in Chewing the Fat on Flexibility – This is just a refreshing and upfront look at life. The battles that we all face, but Jo is someone who you just want to have a cuppa or a vino with and hug. She’s like a CWA crocheted blanket. There’s something inspirational but so totally safe and familiar with Jo but in the same light she’s amazing. I hope you enjoy our PodCast as much as I enjoyed talking with her.

Finding Your Balance