From The Desk Of The Working Mom

From the Desk of the Working Mom….

Now that we’re back to school, the chore of packing school lunches has been re-instated.

I dread…loathe….absolutely detest this task.

I will literally waste as much time as I can in the morning, to avoid the daily dance with my pantry and refrigerator that is figuring out what my 3 darlings are going to eat that day.  This one likes cream cheese but that one can’t stand it and with the third, I never even get around to bagel spread options because she’s too busy deciding if her bagel has too much “toaster burn” for her to even consider eating it.

It’s some kind of reverse psychology trick when they follow me in to the kitchen, watch me painstakingly pack their lunchboxes, only for them to unzip the boxes…and remove each item one by one and offer their critique.

Seriously?   In the time it takes us to accomplish the lunch task, I could’ve negotiated a union contract, changed the oil in my car AND figured out who shot JR.

In the end I make it through only to have the lunch boxes returned to me at the end of the day, with half the contents still in there. Why? Because they weren’t hungry.

 

Until next time

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From The Desk Of The Working Mom

She’s BACK!

After a brief hiatus, the Working Mom is back with a new post!

From the desk of…

The Working Mom

Every summer, I work from home the last 2 weeks before school starts because camp has ended and the options to fill my children’s time are slim and expensive.

I’ve always equated the gap between camp ending and school starting, to the inequity in the number of hot dog buns in the bun pack (typically 10), to hot dogs in the hot dog pack (typically 8) as in the fact that there are about 10 weeks of summer, and about 8 weeks of camp (7 weeks, in many cases).

As a Working Mom, I think of camp as “Summer’s daycare”.  Am I flying solo with questioning the scheduling or is everyone making analogies between food packaging and their kids’ summer activities?

Let me know…I’ll be here, re-purposing the leftover hot dog buns.

 

WM

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The Value Of An Accounting Temp Staffing Agency

What can an organization do towards the end of its financial year when the accounts team is burning the midnight oil to get all the books in order, only for the organization’s most valuable accountant to call in sick? Instead of forcing your employee to continue with his or her work while on the hospital bed, the best chance of meeting the accounting deadlines and caring for your staff is getting a temporary accountant.

However, where do you get a good accountant at the last minute on temporary staffing basis? Here is where accounting temp staffing agencies come in.

They Respond Fast

If you think of how much time it takes to advertise for temporary accounting work, to hold interviews, and to bring someone on board, your organization will have suffered a major blow. Agencies that deal with providing temporary staff have the ability to send a highly qualified accountant to continue from where the permanent one left off. These agencies have already conducted interviews; they know the accountant’s skills and experience, and they can send the accountant within the shortest possible time.

They Have The Best Fit

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Accounting staffing agencies have a database of accountants willing to work on a temporary basis, a database that also contains the qualifications and experience that each one has. The above means that depending on the circumstances; the agency can find the most qualified individual to meet the need. Some situations require a temporary accountant with specialized skills that the current ones lack while others need accountants with basic qualifications; the agencies have access to all.

They Deal With The Temporary Accountants

If you conduct an interview and settle for someone who is simply not working out, you will have to terminate the contract and start the recruiting process again. However, when an agency sends you a professional who is not the right fit, you just communicate with the agency, and they will send you a replacement sooner rather than later. It is common knowledge that a bad hire, even for a short period, can cost an organization losses in the tunes of hundreds of thousands of dollars; do not risk it.

Qualities To Look Out For In Temporary Staffing

At one time, every organization will require temporary staffing services. As the name suggests, a temporary employee is an individual who comes to fill a position in an organization for a short period, owing to some reasons.

The two main reasons for hiring a temporary employee include employee absence due to maternity, illness, vacation, etc., and sudden work demands such as seasonal peaks, individual demanding projects, etc.

Hiring a temporary employee can be more challenging than permanent recruiting because the company cannot afford to underperform even for the shortest period.

Here are the primary qualities that companies look for in a temporary employee:

High Qualifications

Unlike a new employee who has a probation period to learn the ropes of the organization, a temporary employee has to hit the ground running. An individual who has received the training and experience to fill the open position elsewhere would be a great fit because he or she would need little to no training.

Willingness ToLearn

Some highly experienced professionals get to a point where they think they know everything, a very dangerous point to reach for anyone. A temporary employee must be willing to learn how to do what he or she is good at in a different way or learn the same thing afresh, to meet the company demands.

Ease OfAdaptability

A temporary employee has the task of adapting into a new organization very fast since there is no option here because every organization has a culture that is different from all other organizations. A temporary employee has to adapt to the culture and deliver as if he or she has always been a member of that particular organization, a quality that people acquire through experience.

Passion ForEvery Task

A temporary employee must attend to every task with a passion that the permanent employees should look up to, because the end goal, even for a temporary employee, is to get the job on a permanent basis. Someone who knows that he or she will be out of the job in a few months will choose to either outdo him or herself during that short period or just give up; you need someone who will outdo him or herself.3033995-poster-p-1-everything-you-need-to-know-before-hiring-a-temp

How An Accountant Can Move From A Temporary To A Permanent Position

The job of an accountant is one of the most stressful jobs on the planet, especially because such an employee is dealing with the most sensitive aspect of every organization – the money. Therefore, hiring an accountant, whether permanent or temporary, is a headache because you have to get the perfect fit.

Temporary accounting workhas its benefits, but not all temporary accountants want to remain in that same position. The following is what most temporary accountants do to become permanent.

They Do More Than Is Expected

If a temporary accountant does what the permanent one does, he or she will never attract any attention. In addition to accomplishing the assigned task perfectly and in a timely manner, a temporary accountant should do extra to get the job. Employees who move from temp to perm always ask “what else can I do?”

They Become Irreplaceable

A temp can cause the people at the top of an organization to change the structure to accommodate him or her. By acquiring further skills and knowledge and implementing new and efficient methods of doing the job makes a temp receive a renewed contract. Whether such an individual will go back to school or apply something they learned in another organization, real change is always welcome.

They Become Part Of The Team

A temporary accountant usually has a short period to understand how the team works, let alone complete the assignment at hand. One way of becoming part of the team is by breaking the ice as early as possible, and this involves making friends with the new colleagues and attending social functions with them outside work. When employers consider a temp to be part of the team, chances of letting them go will be slim.

They Ask For TheJob

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Whether they choose to ask for the job directly or indirectly, temporary employees who eventually become permanent make their intentions clear. An average temporary accountant who shows interest in joining the organization will have a better chance of becoming permanent when compared to a great accountant who shows no interest.

US gains jobs, pay jumps; jobless rate 5.7%

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Unemployment Plummets
Did you see the article on philly.com?

Here are the highlights:
“U.S. employers added a vigorous 257,000 jobs in January, and wages jumped by the most in six years – evidence that the job market is accelerating closer to full health.

The surprisingly robust report the government issued Friday also showed that hiring was far stronger in November and December than it had previously estimated. Employers added 414,000 jobs in November – the most in 17 years. Job growth in December was revised sharply up to 329,000 from 252,000.

Average hourly wages soared 12 cents in January to $24.75, the sharpest gain since 2008. Over the past 12 months, hourly pay, which has long been stagnant, has now risen 2.2 percent. That is ahead of inflation, which rose just 0.7 percent in 2014.” (source)

Unemployment Down = Wages Up

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It’s Not 2010 Anymore

Our job at Accountants For You is to educate our clients about the changing employment environment. Know one knows it better than us because we see it every day!

Unemployment is down from its peak of 10% in 2010.

What Does Low Unemployment Mean For Your Company?

You can’t wait for that perfect candidate anymore. Whereas there used to be 7 applicants to every job opening, there are now only 2!

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Good News

We are here to help by easing your hiring processes, allowing you to put your organization in the best position for success.

Please keep us in mind next time you have a job opening. Let us show you what we can do.

The Summer Flu

Summer is in full-swing at my house.  And with it… the new variety of germs that seem to come every year, as the weather gets warm and my children suddenly decide it’s ok to share everyone’s everything, anywhere they happen to be.
These past 2 weeks have been a brutal cycle of sick…on the mend…feeling great and ready to party, just as a sibling (I have 3 children) starts the cycle all over again. Thus the next kid is sick and needs to be tended to while the previous is hysterical….not because she doesn’t feel well, but rather bucause she is feeling SO well and wants to go out and play but can’t because Mom is stuck tending to her sick sibling.
Admittedly one of my 3 is FAR worse about not being able to get on with her regularly scheduled Summer-fun programming, than the other 2.  And for that reason…I’ve enrolled her in Theatre camp.  One way or another, SOMETHING good is going to come from me having to listen to the whining and so I am going to channel her dramatics into this program,  with the hope of being mentioned in her Academy Award acceptance speech someday.
Anyhoo….last week was the stomach virus.  I won’t go into too much detail except to say my cat, Julius, won’t ever be the same. Nor will he ever sleep on the floor, just below the top bunk.
This week….Strep throat and Pink Eye…Pink EYES to be exact.
Here’s the rundown for those keeping score:
  • My Drama Queen had both the stomach virus AND strep throat 
  • My Son had only the stomach virus and a severe cold  
  • My baby had the stomach virus and Pink Eyes
***I feel the need to mention that the baby laughed her way through her bout with the stomach virus.  I’m guessing it had more to do with the fact that I relocated a few of her favorite toys to the bathroom where we camped out over night (It just made cleanup easier)
Antibiotics have been administered and eye drops have been dropped….though I have to say, trying to give a baby eye drops is something akin to target practice from the Moon.  And I also have to say that thanks to the anitbiotic, I didn’t have to go to the gym one time during this whole episode b/c chasing my kids through the house, dispenser in hand, trumped anything I was going to do on a treadmill.
With all that being said….you’re no doubt wondering, “What does any of this have to do with work?”
Well I’ll tell you.  Not a darn thing.  While in the midst of any of this stuff, you can’t get anything else done. Nothing. Despite best intentions and bester efforts. (Yeah I said it…bester) 
Again, I’m lucky…EXTRAORDINARILY lucky….The kind of lucky that wins the lottery (though hasn’t!!!!!! ) to be able to work from home and more importantly, that I report to someone who understands the need to get things taken care of at home while trusting that I will find a way (AND I DID!) to get my work done.
Here’s the thing…when the kids get sick, and we know they do, there is nothing else that can (or should) be done before making sure your children get well. Companies that pressure employees to cut corners with regard to their own healthcare or that of their children, are in the end going to lose good employees.  But in my book….I’d rather be a good parent. 
I’m a firm believer that good parents make GREAT employees and I value working for a company that feels the same.
With love and heavy doses of Vitamin C,
The WM
 
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How were the Kids? “Perfect. After all, they are MY grandchildren”

When our children are in the care of others (Teachers, Babysitters, Family etc.) and we pick them up, we always ask “How were they?”
Well let me ask you this…. when you ask that question….do you RE ALLY want to know the answer? 
With regard to family, and I’m VERY LUCKY because I have a hands-on family most of whom live within a 5 mile radius of me, depending on which family member has been watching the kids, I can predict the answer:
      Dad (aka Grandpa)
  • My Dad is the best Dad in the world.  He loves his children, my sisters and I, unconditionally but until I gave him grandchildren, I never knew how expendable I truly was. Grandchildren are the fiber of his being and anyone that knows him, has met him, will meet him in the future or happens to be employed at Costco (his F AVORITE store on the planet) will inevitably know every detail about his grandchildren- their names, ages, grade in school, reading level, mathematic and basketball ability and favorite food ( Are you getting the picture???).  According to him, these 5 children, and any additional who are yet to come, will each grow up to be President, they will together, find a cure for cancer and they will each be enshrined in Canton, Cooperstown and Springfield (for those of you who don’t know the significance of these cities, they are home to the Football, Baseball and Basketball Halls of Fame, respectively).
So…it stands to reason, that if I’ve left my kids with my Dad for any length of time, when I pick them up and ask “How were they?” , his answer will always be a simple “Perfect. After all, they are MY grandchildren”.  And that’s it.  Someone could have lit the garbage on fire and bleached the dining room carpet, and his answer will not change.  It’s ridiculous almost infuriating to the point that  I actually walk out of his house muttering to myself about how he NEVER would’ve let me get away with whatever he lets them get away with, whatever that is since I’ve already told you, I’ll never know.
      Mom (aka Grandma)
  • My Mom, on the other hand, is an excellent counter- balance to my Dad.  She too adores her grandchildren taking great pride in each and every one of their accomplishments.  However, as it was when I was a kid, my Mom is the “heavy” as I suppose many Moms/Grandmothers are in their own families.  If there’s discipline to be doled out, it ain’t coming from Grandpa so it’s left for her to handle…which stinks sometimes.   
She’s fun and creative and has boundless energy which is a good thing considering, in reality, when the kids are with Grandma and Grandpa….Grandma is really the one doing all of the “heavy lifting” ie cooking, homework, and kissing boo-boos.  And while she won’t dime them out in any great detail when I ask her “How were they?”, she will give me snip-its of truth related only to the things she thinks it’s important that I know i.e. Darby might be hungry later b/c she didn’t eat anything for dinner or you need to make sure you stain-stick Zachary’s pants AS AP b/c he just happened to “fall” on a permanent maker. 
My Mom runs circles around me for sure …she’s a stop-what-she’s-doing and  sit on the floor to play a game, and a stay-up-late and watch movies and eat popcorn, and a have ice cream for breakfast kind of Grandma but, she’s also a reliable source of info. about the children when I’m not there to be with them in-person.  I always trust what she tells me, and I trust that anything she didn’t mention ireally wasn’t important for me to know. I love that.
Sisters (aka The Aunts)
My sister Emily falls into the same category as my Dad.  She will NEVER release information that might incriminate one of her precious Nieces or Nephews. NEVER.  It’s not even worth wasting the breath it takes to ask “How were they?” because whatever they did, she’s taking it to the grave…and they know it.  Sometimes I think I should get Emily and the kids matching satin jackets with an embroidered name on the back just to show their solidarity….they are their own gang and she is their Leader.  Dad is perhaps, their mascot.   Aunt Emily always comes through in the clutch and I ALWAYS trust that she can handle any situation thrown her way….and I also trust that anything she can’t handle, will be cleaned up really well to the point that I’ll never know it happened:)
My sisters Jodi and Perri, are more in line with my Mom.  They are funloving and crazy and active and outgoing but they can put on the Authority Hat when necessary.  Again, they would never give me any information that might get someone into trouble but they will let me know snipits, when it’s something they think is important. 
In fairness, I have to assess myself as I now have a Niece and a Nephew of my own (courtesy of Jodi).  I think I fall more in line with my Mom, I’m pretty honest about what happens on my watch, BUT, I expect that my Sister trusts that I handled any situation that may have arisen while the kids were with me and therefore no one is getting into any trouble at home, as a result of anything that happened with me…because that’s just not fun.
When I started my family, my parents were clear with my Husband and I that while discipline is important, the rules at my house are just that.   And the rules at their house aren’t necessarily the same…nor should they be.  There are certain privileges that come with Grandparenthood and I’m reminded of that on a near daily basis (by my parents).
I’ve mentioned it before in my posts…..It definitely takes a village.  I’m so lucky because my village is available on a moment’s notice, to step in when I can’t be at a school show or when the big game happens to coincide with a big meeting.  Regardless of what I’m told or not told about “how they were”, I never worry about what goes on when I’m not there because I trust that they (even my Dad) are handling situations as they arise and I also trust that my kids respect their grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, as they do their parents. 
So if one of my kids spills an ice cream on someone’s dog and I don’t find out about it…so what.  After a long day of work, when I finally get to pick up my kids to head home and after I’ve thanked whichever Village-member has so graciously helped me out yet again by stepping in with the kids…. As I turn back and causally toss out that last “How were they?” to be honest, all I was really hoping to hear anyway was “They were fine”.   
 
 
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SEPTA Stories – Excuse me. May I please sit there?

I am a SEPTA Regional Rail Commuter. This blog will feature stories from the rails. Some are funny, some not so funny & some are very very strange!
My first entry is entitled “Excuse me. May I please sit there?”
To set the seen; It’s my morning commute from Jenkintown to Suburban Station. I take any train between 6:00 AM & 7:00 AM. If you’re not a Regional Rail Commuter; most SEPTA trains have one side with 3 seats and the other side with 2 seats. At each end of the car there are the 4 seaters (my favorite). Oh, by the way. It’s important to know I am 6’4” and weigh 260 lbs.
Question? How many times have you gotten on the train and said to yourself. “Where Do I Sit!”
I scope out the train and realize the only open seats are the middle seat on the 3 seat side of the aisle. I find the row with the 2 smallest & thinnest people. Why? Because, I’d like to fit in the seat and not sit on top of someone!
As I walk down the aisle some people are looking up at me with the look saying “You better not sit here, I’m not moving!” While others are pretending they’re reading or asleep.
I choose my row carefully. I look down and the middle seat is filled with a briefcase or a bag or something else.
You stand there waiting for them to move their stuff. There are people standing behind you waiting to get by. The seated passengers just look at you.
Their look is saying: “Oh you want to sit here? Well my things are here” Or they just stare at you and don’t move anything. (If only looks could kill)
You look down again and they make you say “Excuse me. May I please sit there?” They grunt and groan & eventually move their things. You have now officially ruined their day!
I didn’t ask for their first born. I wasn’t trying to steal their things. I just wanted to sit down for the next 20 minutes. What happened to plain old common courtesy?
So if you see me coming down the aisle on a crowded train & I’m looking at you, it means; I’ll most likely say “Excuse me. May I please sit there?” I’m sorry, but I really didn’t mean to ruin your day.
Happy Rails!

Maybe the Poet Laureate reference was an embellishment

 
The Working Mom is working hard….My house is back to school/daycare and though the hum of our routine is barely audible just yet, we’re getting there.
As I was packing up my 2 older children for the first day of school, I realized I had a tip to share with you fine folks….and when I began this blog, I promised tips every now and again…so here it is:
If your children require “nap” items for school or daycare…i.e. blankets, pillows etc., send them in to school zipped in the clear plastic packaging of a comforter or sheets that you’ve purchased.  It’s a clean way to neatly store them at school, plus there’s usually a little sleeve on the front where you can stick a piece of paper with your child’s name on it, for easy recognition in the classroom.
I started doing this a couple of years ago so now, I’m careful to save any kind of zippered plastic packaging…you might want to do the same.
Now that the tip is out of the way….let’s talk homework.
Is it me, or has homework changed?  When I was growing up….I had worksheets (or “dittos” as they were called) with blank spaces all over them.   My job was to fill in the blanks, in my room, with a pencil…end of story.
Apparently, times have changed…my first grader comes home with multi-media, seek and find, you may need to contact your nearest Poet Laureate for this….homework.
Ok, maybe the Poet Laureate reference was an embellishment but I’m telling you, my Journalism degree will only take me so far with this stuff and I fear that I can see the “so far” in my rear-view mirror already.  I’m telling you, we are cutting and pasting our way to whole new Homework reality.
After week one…really, after day 1, I knew we were in trouble (though my Husband has yet to fully admit this). 
To combat the Homework haplessness in my house (and by that I’m strictly referring to my husband and myself as our son has done really well with his part of all assignments thus far)…I’ve established a Parental- Homework buddy system.  I reached out to one of the Moms with whom I’ve become friendly, and was perfectly candid with her….the initial call went something like this. 
Ring, ring (really, I was calling her cell phone so it was probably less of a ring, ring and more of a snappy ringtone).  “Hi! May I speak to Lauren? (It was her husband)….it’s Heidi, Zachary’s Mom”.
Her Husband “She’s putting the kids to sleep….but let me guess,  this has something to do with Math Explorations”.
Me, ”You got it! Can I leave a message?  Here goes, please write this down.  If you don’t help me, help Zachary with his homework….we will never get out of week1 of Math Explorations—urgent assistance needed”. 
To which he responded (after he finished laughing) “Will do…us too!!”
So when she returned my call, promptly I might add as her Husband clearly passed along my message with the necessary crazed inflection I’d intended, she and I started a judgment-free dialogue (usually over email) that has since been shared with several other parents in the class…where we essentially “whisper down the lane” (But with accuracy) our way through the nightly homework assignments..



In the Math Explorations book, it says that we’re supposed to be discovering new concepts around every turn.  See…here…I DID make a discovery!!!! After talking with my homework buddies,  I discovered that I wasn’t the only adult relying upon a 6 year old to guide me through the “learning with my Adult” section of the nightly homework…and I felt better about that.

But…to be truthful, I have to tell you that even with this newfound support-system…I truly relish Fridays now because of our Teacher’s (and I say “our Teacher” because in my house, we are ALL learning from her) policy of “no homework” weekends.  It gives me 2 free nights to get geared up for what Math Explorations has in store for me in the week ahead J.
 
 
Sincerely,


The Working Mom
 
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