TIME health

Why So Many Women Are Crying at the Gym

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Yoga mudra Stefano Oppo—Getty Images

For a generation of stressed-out working women, exercise is as much about emotional release as it is physical training.

“Let it out! Let out the sludge!”

It’s 7am on a Tuesday, at a small dance studio in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, and Taryn Toomey is stomping her feet into the floor like thunder. “Get rid of the bullsh*t!” she shouts. “Get rid of the drama!”

Two dozen women in yoga pants and sports bras sprint in place behind her, eyes closed, arms flailing. Sweat is flying. The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” is blaring in the background. There are grunts and screams. “Hell yes!” a woman bellows.

When the song ends, Toomey directs the group into child’s pose, torso folded over the knees, forehead on the floor, arms spread forward. Coldplay comes on, and there is a moment of rest. “Inhale. Exhale. Feel your center,” Toomey says. Heads slowly come up, and suddenly, tears are streaming down the faces of half the room. A woman in front of me is physically trembling. “I just let it all out,” a middle-aged woman in leggings and a tank top whispers.

This is “The Class”—one part yoga, two parts bootcamp, three parts emotional release, packaged into an almost spiritual… no, tribal… 75 minutes. It is the creation of fashion exec turned yoga instructor Toomey, and it is where New York’s high-flying women go for emotional release (if, that is, they can get a spot).

“During my first class I didn’t just cry, I sobbed,” says McKenzie Hayes, a 22-year-old New Yorker who has become a regular in the class. “Whether it’s your job or your relationships, I literally picture my emotional problems being slowly unstuck from my body and moved out.”

Toomey calls that “sludge”: it’s the emotional baggage we carry in our muscles that has nowhere else to go. She’s not a doctor. But week after week, she encourages participants to sweat, scream and cry out those emotions, in the company of a group of mostly women who are doing the same. “I’ve had classes where people are literally on all fours sobbing,” Toomey says. “But it’s not just my class, it’s happening everywhere. Emotional release in public can feel very uncomfortable. But I think there’s a growing movement of people who want to find a space for it.”

Indeed, the message to women has long been to hide your tears lest you look weak. (Among the tactics: jutting out your jaw. Breathing exercises. Chewing gum. Drinking water.) Yet while crying in the office may remain a feminine faux pas, tears at the gym seem to have lost their stigma — to the extent that there are a bevy of fitness courses that even encourage it.

For Asie Mohtarez, a Brooklyn makeup artist, it began in hot yoga. The music was on, the floor was warm, the instructor was standing over her encouraging her to let go. “I was in child’s pose and I just lost it,” she says. Then, two weeks later, it happened again – this time at Physique 57. The Dirty Dancing soundtrack came on and it was waterworks again. “There’s something about these classes that feel safe,” says the 33-year-old. “I can’t cry at work. I’m not emotionally distraught enough to cry in the shower. I can’t just burst into tears in front of my husband. So, what does that leave you with?”

You could go to therapy – or you could hit the gym. Women are getting teary in SoulCycle, and misty-eyed at Pure Barre. They are letting out wails in yoga and rubbing the shoulder of the weepy woman next to them at CrossFit. “I think people have started to notice that their clients are just showing up to class and just unloading, and so they’re tailoring their classes to create space for this,” says Hayes, who is a pilates instructor by day. “When I take private clients I end up feeling like a therapist for them.”

These fitness instructors aren’t trained in that, of course. But they’ve probably been there.

“I usually just go over to the student after class and quietly ask how they’re feeling,” says Kristin Esposito, a yoga instructor in Los Angeles who sees criers often. “My classes are focused on release so it feels pretty natural.”

Physiologically, it is: Exercise releases endorphins, which interact with serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that impact mood. In yoga, deep hip openers – like the “pigeon pose” – are meant to stir emotions (yogis believe our emotional baggage lives in our hips).

But many of the newer courses are specifically choreographed to release emotion, too – making it all that much more intense. The lights are dim, candles flicker in the background. It’s not an accident that just as you’re starting to relax, coming down from the adrenaline, you’re blasted with a throaty ballad. Those playlists are meticulously constructed. “I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years, so I’ve basically seen it all: crying, laughing, throwing up, overheating,” says Stacey Griffith, a Soul Cycle instructor. “There are moments in the class that are directly programmed for that reason – but it’s not like we’re trying to get people to cry. We’re giving them the space to step outside of themselves.”

And indeed, that may be necessary. We’re busier, more stressed and more connected than we’ve ever been. Simply finding the time to have that “space” can be near impossible, making the release that these courses offer – packaged neatly into an hour – a kind of fix. “The night before, I can’t wait,” says Hayes of Toomey’s class. “I already know what will be the flood that I’m working through. And sometimes conversations with friends just don’t cut it.”

Getting those emotions out is a good thing – at least in moderation. Emotional tears contain manganese, potassium, and a hormone called prolactin, which help lower cholesterol, control high blood and boost the immune system. Crying reduces stress, and, according to one study, from the University of Minnesota, actually improves the mood of nearly 90 percent of people who do it. “You really do feel lighter after,” says Hayes.

“To me, it’s a sign of being present, it’s a sign of feeling your feelings, of being in the moment,” says Toomey, just after “the class” has ended. Plus, shoulder to shoulder in a hot room, there is almost a sense of communal release. Of high-charged emotional camaraderie. “I so needed this,” a woman tells her on the way out, with a hug. And, of course, with that much sweat, the tears are almost hidden anyway.

Read next: I Taught Fitness and Failed a Fat Test

MONEY First-Time Dad

Why Work-Life Balance Is Just As Impossible for Dads

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This mug is what I'm missing out on when I'm working late.

We're struggling with the same issues working moms face, says MONEY reporter and first-time dad Taylor Tepper.

Sometimes I feel like a bad dad.

Doubts over my parental savvy often correlate with how long I’m at the office. When I call to tell Mrs. Tepper that I’ll be here until 7:30 p.m. working on a magazine feature—and won’t be home to put our son Luke to bed—the soft disappointment in her voice stays with me like a faint ember.

The same guilty feelings apply to my job, too.

I’m 28 and now is the time to work long hours, take on more responsibility and show my bosses just how willing I am to immolate myself for the greater good. Every time I leave the building at 5:30 p.m., a part of me thinks I’m sacrificing future promotions, raises and glory.

What it means to be an American father, and the responsibilities therein, have changed radically in the last few decades. In 1975, 45% of families consisted of a male breadwinner and a stay-at-home mom; today 31% do. And now, men are taking on more chores and spending more time with their children than their dads spent with them.

But this blending of gender roles has done much to confuse the male mind. We want to spend more time with the kids and earn accolades on the job; we want to attend the soccer game and become senior management; we want to be Bill Cosby and Steve Jobs.

Many of us feel—just as working moms do—that we’re succeeding at neither.

The Research Backs Me Up on This

According Boston College’s Center for Work & Family, 86% of dads agreed or strongly agreed that “my children are the number one priority in my life.”

That’s well and good.

At the same time, though, more than three in four fathers wished to advance to a position with greater responsibilities and three in five demonstrated a strong desire to reach senior management.

Half of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance the responsibilities of work and family, according to Pew.

And on the whole, we don’t feel like we’re living up to the dad role either. Almost eight in 10 dads want to spend more time with their children on an average workday, and one in two say they spend too little time with their kids. (Only 23% of mothers feel that way.) From first-hand experience, there is nothing quite as enervating as coming home from work to an already-sleeping son.

In Boston College’s research, you also see dads grappling with perceptions of what they want and the reality of how things are.

While today’s fathers also recognize that parenting is a two-person job—65% say they believe that partners should take care of a child evenly—only one in three say that they actually split the work in half. Women typically spend more than three times as many hours per week solely looking after the child than men.

Even on weekends, men fail to live up to their ideal. On Saturdays and Sundays, moms spend 1.2 more hours on housework and childcare than dads do. When it comes to time spent on leisure activities, dads out-loaf moms by an hour.

While Mrs. Tepper and I have something of a modern marriage—split chores, female breadwinner—she almost certainly watches Luke more on the weekends, especially when sports are on.

In spite of my few hours more on the couch, however, I’d still argue that achieving and maintaining true work-life balance is impossible. You can’t achieve these competing goals—working at the top of my game, being the best dad and husband ever, and getting in a few NBA games to recharge my own engine—within a finite number of hours in the day.

So, What Is a Modern Dad to Do?

I put that question to Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs.com, a job search site focusing on companies that allow for flexible schedules and telecommuting. Her advice: to think of work-life balance as more of a journey than a destination.

“As a working parent with two young sons, I believe that work-life balance is often mistaken as an end-point that we reach eventually,” she says. “In my experience, it’s more of a balancing act—shifting your weight back and forth between your various responsibilities.”

Some days you’re going have to work long hours at the office to close out a project or meet a deadline, in other words; and some days you’re going to work from home to take your kid to the doctor.

Try to find an employer that will embrace that flexibility, Fell says.

This makes sense.

But we’ve also got to try to overcome our own guilt. That means accepting our limitations as parents and workers and people, and setting realistic expectations for ourselves.

It’s difficult to remember, but today’s dads spend more time with their kids than their fathers spent with them by a factor of three. Today’s fathers are by and large more engaged in their kids’ lives than previous generations. So we’re definitely doing better, if not up to the standards we’d hold for ourselves.

When I’m stuck in the office until dark, maintaining that perspective is difficult. But I try to remember that the next morning I’ll be there when Luke wakes up, and with any luck, arrive home in time to help his mom put him to sleep.

And if not, there’s always tomorrow.

Taylor Tepper is a reporter at Money. His column on being a new dad, a millennial, and (pretty) broke appears weekly. More First-Time Dad:

MONEY job hunting

The 7 Social Media Mistakes Most Likely to Cost You a Job

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Dado Ruvic—Reuters

Jobvite's latest social recruiting poll shows exactly what hiring managers are looking for when they check your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.

Your Facebook postings might win over your friends—but they could also cost you a job, a new study finds.

Recruiting platform Jobvite has released the 2014 edition of its annual Social Recruiting Survey, and the results might be disconcerting to those who tweet first and ask questions later. The data shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.

And that review matters: 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on what they find, with most (61%) of those double-takes being negative.

According to respondents, the worst thing you can do is make any kind of references to illegal drugs. That should probably be common sense—but in case it’s not, know that 83% of recruiters say doing so is a strong turn off. (Perhaps more interesting: 2% of hiring managers think it’s a positive.) Also on the “obviously don’t do this” list are “sexual posts,” which 70% of recruiters say will count against you (only 1% are fans). Two thirds told Jobvite that posts including profanity reflected poorly; over half didn’t like posts on guns, and 44% saw posts about alcohol as concerning.

“Okay,” you say, “but I keep my nose—and my posts—clean, and I wouldn’t think of making any of the 10 stupidest social media blunders MONEY recently wrote about. So what have I got to worry about?”

Well, you might want to take another read of what you’ve written: 66% of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates.

You might also want to consider keeping your political affiliation to yourself, since slightly over 1 in 6 recruiters said that was a potential negative.

And hey, while you’re revising your LinkedIn profile, polish your halo a little: Jobvite’s survey said that information about volunteering or donations to charity left 65% of recruiters walking away with a positive impression.

The survey also showed what other positive qualities recruiters are seeking on social—although the results aren’t that surprising. Respondents said they try to determine things like professional experience, mutual connections, examples of previous work, and cultural fit.

The study also lends some insight into how recruiters use different social networks. LinkedIn is clearly the king of the hill—79% of respondents say they have hired through the network, vs. 26% through Facebook and 14% through Twitter. Nearly all hiring managers will use LinkedIn for every step of the recruitment process, including searching for candidates, getting in contact, and vetting them pre-interview.

In contrast, Facebook is primarily used for showcasing the employer’s brand and getting employees to refer their friends. About two-thirds of recruiters also use the network to vet candidates before or after an interview. Twitter appears to be the platform least used by hiring managers, and is used similarly to Facebook, but with less of an emphasis on candidate vetting.

No matter what the platform, however, the takeaway for workers is clear: Best be vigilant not to post anything you wouldn’t mind an employer or potential employer seeing. Make sure to check your Facebook privacy settings, but don’t depend on them because they’re known to change frequently.

And remember, just because your social media postings haven’t hurt you yet, doesn’t mean they won’t. When MONEY’s Susie Poppick talked to Alison Green, founder of AskAManager.org, she had a simple message to those unconcerned about their online presence: “To people who don’t lock down their accounts because ‘it’s never been a problem,’ I say, you don’t know whether that’s true.”

Read next: 10 Job Skills You’ll Need in 2020

MONEY Workplace

Which Horrible TV or Movie Boss Is Your Office Stuck With?

October 16 is celebrated—at least theoretically—as Boss Day. We're celebrating it with a rundown of the seven kinds of bosses you never want to have, as embodied by iconic TV and movie characters.

Before bashing bosses on their big day—Boss Day, one of a bajillion faux holidays now on the calendar—let’s point out that not every manager is a bad boss. In fact, in a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 63% of workers said their bosses deserved an A or B grade for their performance on the job, while only 14% gave the boss a D or an F.

If you’re in that majority, let’s hope that you’re never subjected to the managerial styles of the D- and F-worthy bosses like these.

  • The Incompetent Schmuck

    THE OFFICE, (from left): Steve Carell, Angela Kinsey, Kate Flannery, 'Stress Relief', (Season 5, aired Feb. 1, 2009), 2005-.
    THE OFFICE Paul Drinkwater—NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Probably the best thing you can say about the hapless Michael Scott-type managers of the world is that they’re not intentionally mean (assuming you’re not the office Toby Flenderson). Rather, they’re simply clueless. Or at least that’s what employees think of them: In one poll, one third of workers described their bosses as “somewhat” or “completely incompetent.”

  • The Abusive Bully

    THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, 2006.
    THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA 20th Century Fox—courtesy Everett Collection

    Best embodied by Miranda Priestly, the iconic character played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, the abusive boss seems to take pleasure in torturing his or her underlings. Presumably, the purpose of treating one’s employees harshly is to shape them into better workers and help the company, but the strategy can backfire. More than 13% of employees say they’ve worked under hostile and abusive supervisors, and the frequent result, according to some research, is that when people are ridiculed by managers on the job, they’re more likely to engage in deviant behavior that’s counterproductive to company goals.

  • The Horny Lech

    HORRIBLE BOSSES, from left: Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, 2011.
    HORRIBLE BOSSES John P. Johnson—Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Co

    In the 1980s, Dabney Coleman served as the prototypical arrogant, sexist boss who was constantly hitting on attractive workers in movies such as Nine to Five and Tootsie. More recently, this creep has been played, surprisingly enough, by Jennifer Aniston in two Horrible Bosses movies, in which her character is a dentist who crudely and memorably sexually harasses a dental assistant played by Charlie Day. In real life, the majority of restaurant workers have reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job, and that’s no joke.

  • The Psychopath

    THE SOPRANOS, Tony Sirico, James Gandolfini, Steven Van Zandt, (Season 2, 2000), 1999-2007.
    THE SOPRANOS Anthony Neste—HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

    The writings of psychologist Kevin Dutton have shed light on how many of the characteristics found in psychopaths—confidence, charisma, ruthlessness, focus—are also common among leaders in the business world. And the underworld too, of course, embodied by Tony Soprano. In studies of corporate professionals, psychopathic traits are more prevalent than they are in the general population, and Dutton’s research indicates that the profession with the most psychopaths (in terms of percentage) is … CEO.

  • The Cruel, Cheap Bastard

    THE SIMPSONS, l-r: Mr. Burns, Smithers in 'Specs and the City' (Season 25, Episode 11, aired January 26, 2014).
    THE SIMPSONS 20th Century Fox—Courtesy Everett Collection

    The stingy, money-hungry Montgomery Burns is “The Simpsons’” Ebenezer Scrooge (before the ghost visits), known for giving out raises, well, never. Perhaps he’d get better production out of Homer and the rest of the nuclear power plant crew if he showed them a little more appreciation. According to a 2013 Glassdoor survey, 81% of employees say they work harder when the feel appreciated by their bosses, and workers say that money is by far the best way to motivate and show them appreciation.

  • The Untrustworthy Backstabber

    WORKING GIRL, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, 1988.
    WORKING GIRL 20th Century Fox—Courtesy Everett Collection

    Nearly 9 out of 10 employees polled by StaffBay.com said they don’t trust their bosses. In another Glassdoor poll, two-thirds of employees said that a direct manager has had an impact on their careers—and of those, 20% said the impact was negative. Apparently, the Sigourney Weaver character in “Working Girl” isn’t the only sneaky, backstabbing boss out there. (By the way, there are some smart strategies for coping with bosses who take credit for your work.)

  • The Annoying Bureaucrat

    OFFICE SPACE, Gary Cole, Ron Livingston, 1999.
    OFFICE SPACE 20th Century Fox—Courtesy Everett Collection

    What’s … happening? If you’re a fan of the cult favorite “Office Space,” you’ll get that reference. And if you’ve got a boss like Bill Lumbergh in the movie, then you’re guaranteed to be uninspired on the job, at least partially because your manager is inept in terms of interpersonal skills, expects more of his workers than he does of himself, and lacks vision, energy, and enthusiasm. All of those characteristics just so happen to be listed among the top 10 fatal flaws held by bad bosses in a 2012 Harvard Business Review study.

    Now, all you bad bosses, if you could just lose all of these negative traits and allow your workers to handle their jobs in peace? To quote Lumbergh, “That would be great.”

    But until that happens, check out these posts for some tips on how to cope. Oh, and Happy Boss Day!

    Related:
    How to Work With a Boss You Can’t Trust
    Good Ways to Deal With Bad Bosses
    How to Impress Your Boss When You’re Never Face to Face
    How to Fire Your Boss and Break Free of the Corporate Grind

MONEY Careers

Study Shows Americans Slightly Prefer to Work for Male Bosses. But the News is Better Than You Think

Fifty years ago, the majority of people polled by Gallup would have chosen a male manager to a female, but today most people have no preference, and the numbers who'd choose a female are growing.

A new survey finds Americans would rather have a man as a boss over a women, but the results also showed attitudes are slowly changing for the better.

The data comes from Gallup’s annual work and education poll, which took place this August. Gallup asked respondents “If you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or a woman?” to which 33% favored a male boss, 20% preferred a female boss, and 46% said that they had no preference.

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The fact that so many preferred a male boss to a female (or that there was any gender preference at all) will likely focus attention on the need for increased equality in the workplace. But these results actually offer some good news, since this most recent survey also shows that attitudes have evolved considerably over time. This year’s results represent a modest change from last year, when 35% said they preferred a man, 23% wanted a woman, and 41% told the surveyor it made no difference. And when you look back to when the question was posed for the first time in 1953, you see a serious shift: 66% of respondents at that time favored a male boss, compared to 5% who preferred a woman and 25% who said it made no difference.

So while gender mattered to most in 1953, today nearly half of people do not consider it an important factor. And meanwhile, the percentage of people who’d prefer a female boss has quadrupled.

Back to this year’s survey, women were more likely to prefer a female boss than men: A quarter of women surveyed said they would choose a female boss over a male vs. only 14% of men. However, women were also more likely to prefer having a man as a boss than men. Female respondents favored a male boss to a female, 39% to 25%, compared to male respondents preferred a male boss by a margin of 26% to 14%. Men were also more likely to say their bosses gender made no difference.

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Members of different age groups and political parties also produce slightly different results from the general population. Past studies have shown young people are somewhat more likely to want a female boss. This year’s survey found Republicans more likely to prefer a male boss to a female boss (42% to 16%, a slightly wider margin than last year) and Democrats more split on the issue (29% preferred a man, 25% preferred a woman).

 

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Data from 2013 survey

 

Finally, Gallup notes, employees who currently have a female boss are more likely than those with a male boss to prefer a female boss in the future. “This could mean that as more women enter management, preference for female bosses could continue to rise,” the release speculates.

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MONEY Careers

Career Advice for the New Mrs. Clooney

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Robino Salvatore—Getty Images

Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney. Chances are the name change won't hurt the human-rights attorney's career, but less famous wives may want to do some planning before adopting a spouse's name in the workplace.

Just back in the office after getting hitched to an actor in Venice, London-based human-rights attorney Amal Alamuddin is going by a new name: Mrs. Clooney. While the former Ms. Alamuddin, 36, has established a professional reputation under her own moniker, it’s safe to say that being identified as the woman who got the sexiest man alive to settle down won’t damage her career prospects.

But what about accomplished women who aren’t boldface names by marriage or—like Kim Kardashian, who announced earlier this summer that henceforth she would be known as Mrs. West—boldface names in their own right? Suddenly appearing in the workplace as Mrs. So-and-So can cause some confusion among clients and colleagues.

As we noted when Kim made it official, the fact that women are marrying later, often after they’ve spent years establishing a career, can make the change to a new name more complicated—and risky. If you’re considering going by a different handle in the workplace, here are eight steps to ease the transition without hurting your prospects.

1. Hedge your bets. Think about how costly it would be to cut off your connection to the body of work or marketing that’s tied to your maiden name. If that worries you, opt for a more moderate approach. “The easy out is to keep your maiden name at work and in professional contexts, but use your spouse’s last name socially,” says Danielle Tate, founder of MissNowMrs.com, a site that helps women change their legal name.

Another compromise is to use both surnames, either by making your maiden name your middle name, using both last names, or creating a hyphenated last name. Kim took this approach initially. Shortly after exchanging vows with Kayne, she changed the name on her social media accounts to Kim Kardashian West. And just as Kim has done, you can use both surnames for a brief transition period to help people get used to your new identity before dropping your maiden name.

2. Get help from your company. If you plan on making a complete switch, reach out for advice. “You don’t have to figure it out all on your own. You’re not the only who has gotten married or changed your name,” says Michelle Friedman, a career coach who specializes in women’s career advancement.

A good first move is to check in with your HR department, which may have policies in place outlining exactly what changes you need to make to your beneficiary designations, insurance benefits, company email and directory listing, and tax and Social Security forms. Aside from offering help with name-change paperwork, HR may be able to offer advice about managing contacts, as well as insights into how others in your industry have handled the change successfully (ask co-workers too).

3. Don’t make it a surprise. Give co-workers and clients ample notice about your name change to avoid confusion, especially if contact info such as your email address will be updated. Sandra Green, a U.K.-based executive coach, recommends reaching out a week to ten days before the wedding.

One easy way: Put a small note in your email signature in advance, says Julie Cohen, a Philadelphia career and personal coach. It’s an unobtrusive reminder and a good way to get people familiar with the change.

Not everyone in your email contact list needs to know. Run through your list of clients and sort them into groups based on the closeness of your working relationship. Some you’ll just need to include in a quick email blast, while others you should talk to directly.

“Obviously you don’t want to get on the phone with everyone, but in certain important client relationships this may be good to do,” says Friedman.

4. Stay on top of the technology. After you’ve made the switch, set up forwarding on your previous email account, or write an automatic reply that includes your new contact info. This way you don’t miss any important messages, and people have a longer grace period to update their contact info and adjust to your new name.

5. Go back in history. Give former employers and references a heads-up about this change as well. This way if you’re applying for a new job, your background check will go smoothly, and you won’t run the risk of having people mistakenly deny that you worked for their company.

6. Use this as an excuse to network. Send an email to everyone in your work circle. “Whenever someone changes jobs or retires, they send these emails about good news,” says Cohen. “Do the same with this.”

This also gives you a perfect excuse to remind your network what you’re up to. “You always want to remain in contact,” says Friedman. “But sometimes it’s hard to think of a natural reason for reaching out. This gives you a celebratory excuse.”

You could even send this blast twice, says Green. First a few days before the wedding and again after you return from your honeymoon, when the change is in place.

7. Make yourself easy to find. Think about how people locate you and your business. Is it through search, a review website, social media, or all of them? Update all your bios.

When you add your new name on sites like LinkedIn, keep a vestige of your old name. That can help people find you during the transition period. “Include your maiden name on social,” says Cohen. “If people are finding you by search it will serve you best to keep connected to both names.”

If you had a more common name or are making the switch to a more popular surname, adds Tate, having both names online could even help you come up higher in search results.

8. Update your memberships. To further help your new name show up high in search results and build up credibility for your new moniker, Friedman recommends having any professional organizations, alumni associations, company or community boards, or other groups you belong to change your name on their membership roles.

If you hold a leadership position or are listed elsewhere on an association website, perhaps for winning an award, request that the name change appear throughout. Ask to have any older content that can easily be altered, such as a post listing you as a guest speaker at a conference, updated too.

 

MONEY pay gap

3 Ways Women Can Make Sure They Get the Raises They Deserve

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DAJ—Getty Images/amana images

Career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine weighs in on the controversial comments made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last week. Her take: They underscore the need for women to find sponsors and sponsor others.

I imagine that the savvy, self-starting executive women of Microsoft felt particularly deflated by CEO Satya Nadella’s recent remarks (later withdrawn) that women shouldn’t negotiate for more money. Here they are most likely doing all the prescribed “right” things:

  1. Entering a high-growth industry, such as tech
  2. Working for a brand-name firm, like Microsoft
  3. Proactively working on their negotiating skills

…and then BAM! Here comes Nadella essentially saying that they should just wait for the system to even out the gender pay gap. If the CEO isn’t going to support your efforts, why even bother?

Actually this is precisely why you should bother with all of the proactive hard work. Your effort and skills belong to you, and you can take them somewhere else if you should hit a brick wall.

Sure, Satya Nadella’s unfortunate admission shows that a CEO of a major corporation may thwart your efforts just as a mid-level manager or even a narrow-minded friend (in the guise of well-meaning advice) might. You may not get the support you expect. But if you keep doing the prescribed “right” things below, you will collect some supporters to your cause along the way—including more open-minded, equitable executive sponsors.

Create an amazing body of work

It still starts with getting results, establishing your expertise, and contributing to the bottom line. Don’t let your own work product suffer because there is someone at the top of your company who doesn’t care—others do care and are watching for promotion-worthy candidates. You want your name to surface.

But you cannot simply let your accomplishments stand for themselves. You need to advocate for your them, to ensure they are recognized. See my previous post on preparing for your next review for step-by-step instructions on making sure you get your due.

Build a strategic and supportive network

So Nadella is out of step, and there are probably other CEO’s who share his view. But there will be men and women—at every level, in every industry, in every functional area—who are supportive.

I once had a banker at a big-name firm encourage me to “follow my heart” and take an unexpected career turn, even if it meant turning down his firm’s offer. He was so supportive and generous and gave me courage when I needed it most—and this was a BANKER! If I managed to find a mentor with a heart of gold in that industry, there will certainly be supportive senior people in any industry.

Find them. Enroll their support.

Be a strategic and supportive of others

Be the anti-Nadella. Don’t just throw your hands up at the amorphous system; proactively help others along and do your part to change the game.

Pick the smart but shy person in your group and plan to call on that person in the meeting; let the person know what you will ask so they have a chance to prepare. Think of that colleague from another department who always helps you and write a commendation to her (or his) manager, cc’ing the person you’re writing about. Return to your alma mater for a networking event or career talk.

As you build your amazing career and advocate for yourself, reach back and better the system for others.

 

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart®career coaching. She has worked with professionals from American Express, Condé Nast, Gilt, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms. She’s also a stand-up comic. This column appears weekly.

Read more from Caroline Ceniza-Levine:

MONEY Careers

The Best Way to “Come Out” to Coworkers and Bosses

Desk with photo of two brides
MONEY (photo illustration)—iStock (main)—Getty Images (inset)

Tired of ducking out of relationship conversations at the water cooler and using gender-neutral pronouns? These strategies can help you open up with your colleagues.

On Saturday, in celebration of the 26th annual National Coming Out Day, many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals took the courageous step of expressing their sexual identity to parents, relatives, and friends.

Few of those who spoke out, however, are likely to share their news with co-workers and employers now that they’re back at their jobs.

Despite rising public support for LGBT rights and the increase in state laws recognizing those rights, a majority (53%) of LGBT workers in the U.S. hide this part of their identify at work, according to a study released this year by the Human Rights Campaign.

According to the survey, the reasons for not being open at work range from feelings that one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is “nobody’s business,” to fear of being stereotyped, to concern that bias could have a negative effect on one’s career and professional relationships. What many don’t realize, however, is that remaining in the closet can itself have negative effects: Many LGBT workers report feeling exhausted and distracted at work from all the time and energy they spend hiding their identities, according to HRC.

Coming out to professional relations can seem just as challenging—if not more—as coming out to personal ones. “But often fears are overblown in our minds,” says Sarah Holland, an executive coach who formerly headed the Visibility Project, a national organization that helped corporations address issues of sexual orientation in the workplace. “The world is more receptive to LGBT individuals than it’s ever been before. More often then not your colleagues have already made assumptions about your sexual orientation, especially if you never say anything about your personal life.”

There’s no need to share your orientation if you don’t care to, experts say. But if you decide that it’s finally time to let your guard down, take these steps to make it easier:

Assess the Risks

Before doing anything, you want to make sure that you won’t put your career or personal security in any kind of jeopardy by saying something.

Start by checking whether your state has a non-discrimination law that would protect you from being fired, harassed, or discriminated against. Currently 21 states have such laws in place regarding sexual orientation, and 17 of those for gender identity as well. (No workplace protections exist in federal law.)

While it’s a reassuring backstop if your state is among those that offer protections, it’s arguably more important to assess your company and department culture to get a sense of how your news will be received, suggests Deena Fidas, director of workplace equality for the Human Rights Campaign.

Does your employer have a written non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation and/or gender identity? The vast majority (91%) of Fortune 500 companies have workplace protections in place on the basis of sexual orientation and 61% on gender identity. Does your company offer domestic partner benefits? Is there a support or affinity group for LBGT individuals, or is anyone in your department openly gay? (If so, you might want to talk to people to learn about their experiences coming out and for their insights.) Is your company ranked highly on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index?

On the other hand, have you heard anyone at work make derogatory comments about LGBT people?

Should you get the sense that it wouldn’t be comfortable to come out, you might want to rethink your corporate affiliation, says Holland. “Consider why you want to be at that company. Do you really want to spend your work life being closeted for fear?”

Start with Your Closest Colleagues

Once you determine that your workplace is LGBT friendly, begin by sharing more details of your personal life with a trusted coworker whom you know is LGBT-supportive, recommends Fidas.

Having an ally will make you feel more comfortable opening up to the rest of the workforce, and can help you deftly handle any conversations that get awkward or too personal.

For the other folks in your social circle, “use the Monday morning coffee talk as a chance to be more forthcoming,” suggests Holland.

Chances are, you’ve been ducking out every time the social chatter turns to relationships or dating—and 80% of straight workers say that these conversations come up weekly or even daily, according to the HRC survey. But now use them to your advantage: “When asked how you spent your weekend, don’t change the gender of your partner,” says Holland. “Say if you went to a function for gay rights.”

By speaking about your LGBT identity casually, you can help coworkers to follow your lead and treat it the same way.

Let Everybody Else Figure it Out

While coming out to family and friends often happens with a discrete announcement, “in the reality of the workplace, coming out is more of a daily process, not an announcing that one is gay,” says Fidas.

In other words, you need not go around to everyone from the IT guy to the mail clerk to formally and awkwardly inform them about your sexual orientation. There are many subtle, discreet ways you can clue in coworkers with whom you’re less likely to talk about these topics.

For example, putting photos of your partner on your desk or having your loved one pick you up at the office allows coworkers to make the discovery themselves without you hiding any aspect of your identity.

Fidas also recommends using an opportunity to correct a coworker’s mistaken assumption as a way to make your sexual orientation or gender identity clear: “If you’re staring a new job, and a coworker asks if you moved from Boston with your husband, you can say you moved with your wife, rather than saying your spouse moved with you.”

Remember most of all that “you do not need your coworkers’ approval,” says Judith Martin, author of Miss Manners Minds Your Business. “You only need them to be respectful of you, which your workplace probably already obligates them to do.”

MONEY Benefits

Bummed About Having to Work on Columbus Day? Read This

empty train of commuters
Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz—Getty Images

Why is Columbus Day a paid holiday for some workers, but just another work day for others? And does the way decisions are made about who gets what days off make a lick of sense?

If you’re working on Monday, you’re in good—though perhaps bitter—company. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there are six annual days that are almost universally embraced in the U.S. as paid holidays, meaning that at least 90% of businesses and organizations give workers the day off. These days are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Columbus Day, you’ll notice, is not among them.

Columbus Day belongs in a category that might be considered second-tier holidays, in which a sizable portion of employees get the day off, but the majority of us are expected to work like normal. Of all these days, Columbus Day gets the least respect. Whereas slightly more than one third of organizations are closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and President’s Day, and 22% are shuttered on Veterans Day, only 14% are closed on Columbus Day. And the idea that Columbus Day should be a paid day off at all is on the wane: In 2011, for instance, SHRM data indicated that 16% of organizations were closed in honor of the holiday.

So who gets Columbus Day off, and why? All of the days mentioned above, Columbus Day included, are considered official federal holidays, meaning that non-essential federal workers have the day off, and no mail will be delivered. Government contractors tend to follow the lead of the feds, at least partially for purely practical reasons. “If the job depends on being able to reach out to government sources and they’re not working, it’s just not cost-effective to stay open,” said Lisa Orndorff, a human resources business partner at SHRM.

Beyond the federal level, however, there is little consensus on Columbus Day. As of 2013, 23 states (plus D.C.) give their workers the day off as a paid holiday—meaning that state employees in the majority of the land go to work as usual. There’s no real standard for whether schools should be open or closed on Columbus Day either. In parts of the country where schools are closed, many parents face the frustration of scrambling to arrange childcare because they’re expected to work.

The fact that businesses, school districts, and state governments are divided about how to categorize Columbus Day is a pretty good indication that we as a nation are not sure how we’re supposed to feel about the day—or, for that matter, about Christopher Columbus and his historic “discovery” in general. Critics say that because Native Americans were here long before Columbus sailed to the Americas, he didn’t really “discover” anything in 1492. What’s more, Columbus’s arrival in the Americas is widely blamed for launching a centuries-long era of exploitation and genocide.

With that in mind, this year Minneapolis and, more recently, Seattle officially redesignated Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day, following in the footsteps of Berkeley, Calif., which did the same way back in 1992. Meanwhile Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii do not recognize Columbus Day at all, and since 1990 South Dakota has been celebrating Native Americans Day rather than Columbus Day on the second Monday of October.

The Great Recession brought with it new justification to cancel Columbus Day observances. “When the economy started taking a dip, businesses began looking at ways to scale back on paid vacation days, and Columbus Day was one of them,” said SHRM’s Orndorff. Considering the controversy surrounding the day, it’s understandable why it was one of the first targets among governments and businesses trying to save money. For instance, rather than risk angering Italian Americans by declaring Columbus Day dead for political reasons, then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger blamed a budget crunch for striking the day from the calendar of paid holidays for state employees as of 2009. That same year, Baltimore and Philadelphia canceled their Columbus Day parades, though the traditions have since been brought back—typically with the help of increased private funding.

To avoid agitating employees by shorting them of paid vacation days, some states and localities play games with the calendar. State workers in Tennessee, for instance, generally get a day off for Columbus Day, but the day they get off is actually the Friday after Thanksgiving. Federal workers, mind you, aren’t guaranteed that Friday off, even though two-thirds of businesses and organizations nationally are closed on “Black Friday” so employees can enjoy a four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Retail workers, of course, are expected to work on both Black Friday and Columbus Day, though the latter is not the monster sales day it once was—because fewer people can go shopping nowadays since they no longer have the day off!

Among the other quirks in paid vacation calendars around the country, the New York Stock Exchange is open on Columbus Day and Veterans Day, but closed on Good Friday. (There are many theories as to why this is so.) Massachusetts and Maine are the only states to close schools and government offices to celebrate Patriots’ Day in April, while most workers in Utah have July 24 off in honor of Pioneer Day. Every fourth year, plenty of workers (including all federal employees) in the Washington, D.C., area get a bonus paid day off on Inauguration Day.

Overall, it’s a balancing act for employers when it comes to deciding when and how many paid holidays companies should provide. “They want to keep morale up and still maintain the business,” explained SHRM’s Orndorff. In the grand scheme, granting days off is a cheap and easy way to make workers happy. “It’s a fairly inexpensive benefit; there’s nothing to administer, so the costs are minimal.”

Even so, Orndorff cautioned, “One thing’s pretty certain: Companies won’t be adding paid holidays.”

Read next: How Indigenous Peoples Day Came to Be

MONEY Careers

Microsoft’s CEO Wasn’t the Only Male Exec to Say Something Clueless About Women This Week

Microsoft Satya Nadella gives a lecture about dream, struggle and creation at Tsinghua University on September 25, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Microsoft CEO Sayta Nadella isn't smiling after his comments about women in the workplace were universally panned. ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Yesterday, Microsoft's CEO said something really wrong about women. But he's just one of a number of tech executives to make similar gaffes in the last few days.

Updated—3:52 P.M.

This has not been a great week when it comes to equality in the workplace. On Thursday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made waves when he advised women against asking for pay bumps. “It’s not really about asking for the raise,” he told a mostly female audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, “but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”

By Thursday night, Nadella was in full damage-control mode, renouncing his previous statement in an email to Microsoft staff. “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask,” he wrote.

It’s good that Nadella acknowledged his mistake, but the gaffe shows how many in the business world still have difficulty understanding the prejudices faced by their female colleagues. And as our colleague Margaret Magnarelli points out, “he still doesn’t realize it’s not as simple as ‘just asking’ for us.”

What’s more, the Microsoft chief wasn’t the only boss even in the past few days to make clueless comments about how women should behave in the workplace. Earlier at the same conference, a group of male execs from Facebook, Google, GoDaddy, and Intuit participated in a panel purporting to offer tips on how both men and women could help stamp out tech’s bro-centric culture. A video of the event is available here, and Readwrite gave the blow-by-blow.

It did not go well. Here are a few of the most most off-base observations:

“It’s more expensive to hire women, because the population is smaller.” – Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook

Actually, it’s not. While Schroepfer was trying to say that it’s more expensive to recruit women because they are underrepresented in computer science, it’s been widely reported that women make 78% of what men make. This is the so-called gender pay gap.

And yes, the gap persists even in the supposedly meritocratic tech world: According to a recent analysis of Census data, men with a graduate or professional degree working in Silicon Valley earn 73% more than women with the same degrees working in the same industry.

While some of the pay gap is explained by factors like experience level and industry choice, economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn found that even when you control for those factors, 41% of the gap remains “unexplained.”

In fact, at a conference last month, Australian tech mogul Evan Thornley made the opposite point: that women are “Like Men, Only Cheaper.” That quote comes directly from his slideshow. “Call me opportunistic,” he elaborated, “I thought I could get better people with less competition because we were willing to understand the skills and capabilities that many of these women had.” Thornley later apologized.

“The only thing I would add is speak up … Speak up, be confident.” – Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy

This isn’t bad advice by itself — studies have shown that women who self-promote and negotiate harder do end up with with higher salaries — but like Nadella’s email to employees, it fails to acknowledge that women are often punished when they do speak up. “Assertive or competitive qualities are usually associated with men, and are thought to be essential for successful leaders. But for women, they can be a landmine,” said Daina Middleton, global CEO of Performics, in an interview with Fast Company.

Need evidence? Economist Linda Babcock ran a study where she videotaped men and women asking for raises using the exact same script. Viewers of the tape agreed that the man deserved the raise. But they did not like the woman who asked for the exact same thing, in the exact same way.

“People found that to be way too aggressive,” Babcock told NPR. “She was successful in getting the money, but people did not like her. They thought she was too demanding. And this can have real consequences for a woman’s career.”

Other data suggests that women entrepreneurs also get turned down more often than men do. One study found that investors are more likely to accept pitches from male entrepreneurial teams than from female teams — even if they’re making the exact same pitch. In another study, business school students read a prospectus for a mock company. In some versions, the CEO was listed as male; in others, the CEO was female. The students were four times more likely to recommend the company led by the male CEO.

“It will be twice as hard for you … but you can make a big difference in your company.” – Alan Eustace, senior vice president of search at Google

True, but unfortunately women are often absent from the kind of high level positions that would allow them to “make a big difference.” Only 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female — and those 24 women represent a record high.

Women already know it’s at least twice as hard for them to succeed. They just wish business leaders would do something about it.

To Eustace’s great credit, he acknowledged the panel’s issues on Twitter and made a great suggestion for future male allies.

 

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