[Please ignore any typos. This is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
How has the society changed in regards to gender roles?
Pete: Our next guest is Brandy Kerby. Brandy is Regional Vice President with SNI companies, running all business operations for branch offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, and the Tampa, St. Pete area. She knows firsthand the ordeals and challenges facing working parents and more specifically working moms. Brandy, I know the landscape has changed drastically over years. Back in the day, dad went to work, mom stayed home to run the household, take care of the kids. How is that change today?
Brandy: So, women make up about 46 percent of today’s workforce, about half, about half. And out of that population, 70 percent of those women are actually working moms with children under 18 at home.
Pete: You’re a working mom yourself. What’s your experience as a working mom?
Brandy: Being a working mom is like having two full-time jobs with no days off and failure is not an option. So it’s a challenge.
Pete: You get pulled in a lot of directions, you know, it’s tough and not to get too personal, but is your household also a dual income household where dad works as well?
Brandy: Yes. So my husband and I both work.
What advice would you give to expecting parents? Particularly, expecting moms.
Pete: Yeah. Whoa boy. What advice would you give working moms or even let’s even back it up, moms that are expecting,that are working? Let’s talk about that. What kind of advice do you give those folks?
Brandy: Yeah, well I was a perfect parent until I had children and realized how difficult it was. And so I think the first advice that I would offer is to, to give up on perfection. It’s and the guilt of not being able to achieve it because it’s really an unrealistic expectation.
What are the challenges of being a “working mom?”
Pete: Okay. Well, so what are some of the challenges? Let’s just get right into it. What are some of the challenges?
Brandy: It’s time management is a huge challenge for working moms were, as you’ve mentioned, in many different directions and so we have to find ways to be able to achieve more with less time because we’re not home with our children all day. And we also have the responsibilities of work to manage. And so I think that for me, and I think another thing I would add is it’s going to be very different for each person. You have to figure out what works for your individual family. And then you also have to consider what type of flexibility that you might need from an employer if you’re going to be a working mom and make sure that you have a good balance there. Um, so for me, like some of the things that I’ve done, Amazon delivers everything to my house. From dry goods, groceries, I use a delivery service. And so while I’m not shopping at the store, spending that time, I can be home with my children or I can stay to get an extra little bit of work time in. And so, I think it’s finding the things that you can outsource that you can cut out and letting go of some of the expectation. I don’t care where the food comes from, I just care that it’s in my house when my children need it.
Pete: Okay. So we plan meals, you know, whether they can deliver or like you said, where it comes from, doesn’t matter. Not everybody might be able to afford a delivery service, maybe they have helpers and other folks. But that part, what happens when you’re so planned out and then a crises happens, you know, a child is sick or something happens. Is it your burden? Do you share the burden? Do you plan ahead for crisis management?
Brandy: Well, the first move in that situation would be to call my mom. So, I think to know, building a community that’s helping with raising your family. So that might be neighbors, friends, hopefully, the other parents in this scenario, but I would say you can’t be a successful professional if you don’t feel like a successful mom. And so sometimes the answer is the report has to wait and you have to come to the rescue.
What do employers need to know about employing a working/expecting mom?
Pete: As a prospective employer, you’re one, I mean, you employ a lot of people, you’re a manager. What do employers need to know about employing working mom?
Brandy: Flexibility is the number one driver to attract and retain that population. If a working mom is faced with a decision between doing what’s in the best interest of their family and achieving their goals at work, the family’s going to win 100 percent of the time, eventually. And so, I think I’m coming up with collaborative and creative ways of accommodating that season of life for the working mom, like flexible hours, maybe. If this person has to drop off kids in the morning; maybe they can work 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or if they’re the pickup person, maybe they can work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; remote options, often work in business where the person might be able to a remote in and do their work from home. So, I just think really finding out what type of flexibility that working moms looking for is key. But I think as a working mom, I can’t assume that my boss knows what I need. It’s my responsibility to tell them what I need to be successful as a mom and as a professional and for us to come up with some solutions that make sense for the business and for my family.
Pete: Outstanding, you know, I can say from personal experience in a job that I worked hard. I gave it my all buzzer to buzzer. But then there was a certain amount of guilt when my child was old enough to play tee ball and I want it to be the tee-ball coach, which meant I had to leave around 5:15 p.m. and I got in in the morning at 6:45 a.m. and at 5:15p.m. when I left, there was this guilt that I felt because I’m coaching my son’s baseball team, I felt the guilt then. But I’ll tell you what, I’d feel more guilty now if I didn’t leave at 5:15 p.m. to go coach my son’s team. Do you have kids that play sports by any chance?
Brandy: I do. My son, Caleb, he’s 10 and he is a soccer player and his practice is at 5:00 p.m. two days a week and that would be during the normal business day. And so, um, I, I definitely feel guilt. So, I pick and choose the things that are most important to my son. And I asked him, would you like me to take you to practice or would you like me to be atthe game? And so we kinda talk about what’s going on in the day and as a family, we work through who’s doing and so, I think it’s just something that you can’t avoid. You want to be there for everything, but there are ways to achieve what you’re looking to achieve with the time that you have. You just said you have to be a good communicator at home and at work.
Is there an ideal schedule for working/expecting moms/parents and how will I (employer) know they will do all of their work?
Pete: Got it. And in a scenario where we say, let’s give the workforce moms and let’s be fair, there are workforce dads too that also need that flexibility. Is it important if you let somebody leave a little bit early, maybe at 4 p.m. or 4:15 p.m. to take care of something and you showed them flexibility. Do you also kind of say, well you have to come in early to other days to make sure that you meet the essential functions of your job? Or do you also make it a flexibility available to others as well? It’s a tough scenario and sometimes it’s a catch 22.
Brandy: Yeah. Well, I think every employee is an individual and so you have to look at it that way where we’re all people and we all have things going on in our lives, whether you know about it or not. So, I think that that’s the best way to assess the needs of each individual; as far as a working mom and offering flexibility, if my employer is aligning with my family, I’m really aligned with them so that loyalty is there and you find a way to get the Job done and that’s really at the end of the day what the employer’s looking for. They want the work done and they want it done at the quality level that it needs to be in, within the timeframe that it needs to be. And if the employee can achieve those two things, it really didn’t matter that they left at 4:15 p.m.
Pete: Great. That is good. What else would you tell working moms out there?
What is the best advice you can give working/expecting moms/parents?
Brandy: I would say that being a good communicator about what your needs are to your employer is important. And I think that also making sure that, that your children are heavily involved in the discussions of what’s going on, it’s just barely been beneficial. So I would really suggest that it’s a bigger discussion than just with the mom. It’s the mom and the employer, it’s the mom and the kids. It’s the mom and the dad and the scenario. It’s the grandmother. So, just really enriching your children’s lives with as many people that are able to be there and support them as important. And I think that that’s something that’s been really helpful is having that bigger network: neighbors. So, just really leveraging all the resources that are available to you. And if you don’t cook the dinner and you get the takeout, the kids will survive. It’s okay. So letting go of this expectation of being “perfect.”
Pete: If I asked your kids, “what does mommy do,” what kind of response would that you would have?
Brandy: Interesting that you asked that question because my son’s kindergarten teacher asked him that question and he told his teacher that I was a taxi driver.
Pete: Well you are…
Brandy: And the reason he said that I was like, I’m always taxiing around; I’m taking kids here, they’re going all these different places. So, I tell my son that I helped get people jobs and so, it’s not as cool as like what his dad does, you know, his dad’s an engineer, so that’s a little bit more interesting for him because of his interest. But he would tell you that I help people get jobs.
Pete: Well, that sounds good.
Brandy: And I do on a daily basis.
If I am an employer looking for talent, or someone looking for a job, who can I connect with?
Pete: Tell me a little bit about you, your profession, we talked about your work as a mom. Tell us a little bit about your job.
Brandy: So, as you mentioned, I worked for SNI Companies and I oversee the Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, St. Pete area and I work with a team of professionals that specialize in accounting, finance, IT, operational staffing contract and direct hire placements. And we find talent in local markets that we serve. We create professional marriages for our clients.
Pete: Outstanding. If someone wants to reach SNI Companies here in Jacksonville, how can they do that?
Brandy: So you can contact our local office at 904-713-2550.
Pete: Okay. And what if they would like to apply for a job or see any of the open positions that you have in this area?
Brandy: Right! So you can go to SNIcompanies.com and access any of our specialized brands and they’ll have a listing of all of the current openings that are available, You can apply directly and if you have additional questions you can certainly reach out to the local office and ask to speak with one of our recruiters.
Pete: Outstanding. Brandy, I want to thank you. I think you’ve, you’ve touched on a lot of things. It’s going to the uh, your, the information that you provide is going to help a lot of working moms, working dads, too, and also employers to understand some of the challenges that we all face. So, thank you very much for being here. Brandy.
Brandy: My pleasure.