Rep backs working moms

January 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

As Mrs. New Jersey America 2001, Sabrina Malone's focus is encouraging working mothers.

As Mrs. New Jersey America 2001, Sabrina Malone's focus is encouraging working mothers. The subject hits close to home for Malone, an eight-year sales rep for New York-based Pfizer Inc. and a mother of two, Daniel Jr., 4, and Christiana, 2. "In pharmaceutical sales, it appears over 50% of the field force representatives are now women, and if they aren't mothers, a great many of them will someday be mothers. So this is an issue that we all really have to work with."

Although the challenge is often described as a balancing act, Malone compares life as a working mother to juggling. "And juggling is stressful if you don't know what you're doing. But if you understand the art of juggling, it can actually be extraordinarily rewarding for you." Based on her experiences and those of other working moms, Malone recommends these strategies:

1) Develop a support network. "Family is important, but you also need a network of other people who really do care about you."

2) Eliminate extraneous commitments, like the PTA or clubs, or soccer practice or piano for the kids. "Those are all good things intrinsically, but if you've got a nine-hour work day, and your children go to bed two hours after you get home, the driving around is not worth it."

3) Reduce time spent on the telephone or watching television at home. "Face-time with your children once you're home makes all the difference in the world."

4) Multi-task. "The first thing to do when you get home is put in a load of laundry, load the dishwasher and put dinner in the oven, so that you can sit down with your children and help them with their homework, or just talk. You're doing four things at once without extra effort."

5) Find good child care, and always have a plan B for the inevitable days "when school is closed and work is not."

Malone considers herself doubly blessed with kids and a great job, and encourages other reps with children to look at the positives. "You really can make it work, to the benefit of the company, to the benefit of the children, and yourself."

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