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

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


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


Job-Sharing – Is it for you?

JobShare Pic

The world of work is changing and we need to change with it.  Job-Sharing is something that is myth busting it’s way into business and we are delighted at FlexConnect that this is part of our offerings to you – employees, managers and organisations.    In a recent study, a few case studies arose, and this HR Director had some great tips.



Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements

Negotiating Flexible Work Arrangements

A recent study provided us with these stats from the 400 people they quizzed:

  • 11% of working mothers believed they had a flexible working arrangement
  • More than half of Australian women have been discriminated against in the workforce, for being a Mum
  • One in Four were forced to resign because their request for flexible hours or duties were denied

Don’t let luck and hoping for the good faith of your employer be your only guide in obtaining flexible work arrangements.  Follow these steps and put fate in your own hands, put your best foot forward by following these steps:

Actually Ask …..

recent study showed that despite nearly 80% of the population believing that they could benefit from flexible work, they were too afraid to ask for it for fear of how they would be perceived. Rarely will organisations expressly offer flexible working arrangements, so the first step in arranging them is overcoming your fear of being perceived as ‘less committed’ or ‘slack’ and mustering the courage to ask.

If you’re a Mum or Dad returning after paternity leave, the ‘double whammy’ of returning to work and trying to negotiate flexible work arrangements can be particularly daunting. However, if you are in this situation it is always in your best interest to try and negotiate prior to returning to work. This is because if you try to ‘see how the first few months go’ and then your performance suffers as a result, you will be far less likely to be successful in any future negotiations.

Know your rights

What can you ask for?  First port of call – check your organisation’s policy and then check Fair Work Australia.

Leverage the success of others

Although the benefits of flexible work are extensively documented, some managers/organisations are just not able to believe it until they see it. Thus, arm yourself with several real-life examples of successful flexible working, ideally within your organisation, but at the very least, in your job role/or within your industry. This will demonstrate to others that not only can flexible work work, but that it can work for you.  Check out this link for a case study http://inspiredpeople.com.au/flexibility-in-2015/.

Prepare your business case

Keep in mind that this is a business case.  You need to focus on the benefits to the business for you to work flexibly, so it’s all about them right!  Here’s a few tips to preparing and presenting a killer business case for flexible work:

  • Have your best practice examples at the ready and be familiar with the benefits of flexible working. Need some? Let us help you.
  • Prepare answers to any potential objections you feel may arise, such as how you will remain contactable, how you will manage your workload, etc.
  • Utilise your performance to your advantage (if it has been good!), for example, state that: ‘I have already proven that I achieve more than what is required of me, and I know I can continue in this vein, regardless of my work location.’ Even if you are returning to work after maternity leave, it is still ok to leverage your past performance – after all, your ability to do your job hasn’t changed, you are simply seeking a more flexible arrangement.
  • Plan a catch up with your manager at a convenient time – you will be far more likely to achieve success if they have the time and energy to consider your proposal.

Have a back-up Plan

If your request to work flexibly is denied, then it is a good idea to have a back-up plan – or two. Firstly, if your request to work flexibly full-time or work part-time is refused, consider asking your organisation whether they will consider a job-share arrangement.  Organisations can only deny your request on business grounds, find out what they are and see if you can work with those.

Secondly, if your organization cannot or will not consider flexible working arrangements, call us. We can help you, your organization with tools and frameworks to manage flexibility.  FlexConnect specialses in “Equipping Organizations, Managers and Employees for Flexibility”  FlexConnect.com.au


Welcome to FlexConnect

FlexConnect empowers and equips organisations to attract and retain high calibre Flexible Professionals and provides tailored solutions that meet the needs of business, individuals, families and communities.


We provide frameworks, tools, training, coaching, goal setting and accountability to ensure success in setting and achieving Targets for both Organisations and Employees.

  • Managers are coached on how to effectively communicate and manage their teams as well as how to identify and overcome important challenges
  • FlexConnectors are coached in the art of managing up and down as well as communicating effectively and establishing clear targets and frameworks to ensure delivery on KPIs, and influencing expectations and team

Enjoy PodCasts? Want to join the discussion around Flexibility?  Click here to listen to our PodCasts on Flexibility and Click here to join FlexConnect Community.

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