Transferable skills – or why you should ask for a salary raise after parental leave

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The best management training you can get

In case you are just returning from parental leave, have you ever thought of asking for a salary raise. Yes? That`s so great, as you know your value! No? Why not? Didn’t you know that you just completed successfully one of the toughest management courses you can get?

You don’t think so? Ok, grab a coffee or tea, take a seat and think again. What is it you learned and trained the last months or maybe years? How organized you had become.  How you learned to be flexible and to prioritize by heart, to delegate. How you learned to be creative, effective and efficient at the same time – even with no sleep, often in chaos. How you learned with your child, with every new situation. How you dealt with failures and just tried again until you found a solution. How you learned to form a team, your family. Sound familiar? Those are all typical management skills.

I know, unfortunately, still too often too many people use the term “family manager” with a condescending smile. Don’t jump on that train. Heads up! As mom and as dad, you develop a whole set of skills along your parental journey – and of course not only during parental leave – skills that are highly relevant in today’s rapidly changing business world. Skills that can be easily transferred from unpaid care work into paid workforce. We are talking about transferable skills.

What are transferable skills?

A transferable skill is a talent or an ability which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations. Transferable skills can be hard skills, which are easy to quantify like computer skills, and soft skills, which are harder-to-quantify skills like time management. All skills and abilities can be transferable – depending on where they are being transferred to and from. 

You may have transferable skills from previous jobs, school or private learning environments such as for example caring for relatives, being actively involved in sport activities or voluntary work or – as mentioned before – experiencing parenthood. It’s especially in private learning environments where we acquire lots of informal abilities that often stay hidden and unused in a paid job just because we are not aware of them or don’t value them as we should.

Soft transferable skills? Essential skills!

Transferable soft skills are in many ways more relevant than hard/technical skills because without these talents all the know-how, expertise and experience in a dynamic working environment would not be deployed in an optimal way. Why?  Well, when I studied business administration in university years ago, I learned that soft skills aim at rising motivation and lower resistive positions among employees to increase the willingness to cooperate within an organization. Soft skills are like grease in an organization’s (technical) gearing. They make the company work. You see, transferable soft skills are not only important and complimentary skills, they are essential skills in our rapidly changing business world.

Which are typical transferable skills?

As you learned before, every skill can be a transferable skill. It just depends on where they are being transferred to and from. But due to the rising skill gap caused by digitization there are lot of current studies highlighting transferable skills that are urgently needed in the so-called working world 4.0. And here it comes: required (transferable) future skills are not just digital skills: human and meta skills become extremely important, such as communication skills, empathy, learning agility, self-management, self-reflection, adaptability and many more.

Ready for your treasure hunt?

Besides school, further education and within the job, every one of us has developed and acquired a bunch of hidden skills in our very private learning environments. And it’s up to us to go on inner treasure hunt, discover our very own “gold nuggets”, reflect them, make them transferable and use them proactively for our professional career and our next salary review. How to do so, this we’ll find out in one of the next articles.

6 things that will change in 2021

Last year I just couldn’t imagine how to proceed with our beloved Living Room Lectures when the tiny big “C” with its social distancing stopped not only every face-to-face meeting but also our founding process (see also year in review).The original idea was to train our brains, meet like-minded parents to break out of the mummy bubble and at the same time having our babies and toddlers with us or include babysitter service. We thought about transferring that setting to Zoom.

But have you ever had an external zoom call with a toddler at home, not mention two or more toddlers? In my case a total nightmare, absolutely no way to concentrate and latest after two minutes (which seems already an eternity!) it always ended in a fight about the tablet or laptop to watch Peppa pig, fireman Sam or whatever. Also evening calls are difficult for me to meet. In our case it’s always quite late until every child is finally asleep and often, I’m just too tired to attend any Zoom session afterwards – if I haven’t fallen asleep with the children myself before.  Let’s face it: zoom calls just did not work last year and they still do not work right now with the children around. At least for me.

But there are more ways to empower parents to contribute their value into society and the labour market without tearing themselves apart. So, following consequently my motto of 2021 to take a clear-cut position, these six things will change in 2021:

1. Building my naptime empire

I love the sound of it: naptime empire. There’s so much power in these two words. And it says everything at once: I am building my empire aka business while baby sleeps. And here we are with a new baby in town, working on a new business idea.  So, time is rare. Baby does not like to sleep that much anymore. Therefore time (and energy) management will be one of my top priorities the next months. But whatever may come, this is going to happen for sure: in summer we will become officially a business. Not like we expected last year but maybe even better. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but also loads of baby naps to use.

2. Kill the company to save the company

Sometimes you have to kill the company to save the company. Sounds maybe a little harsh but it’s a very common tool in systemic business coaching to open minds for change. How does it work? Let’s say you know it’s good to question your business’s status quo because you want to make progress. But you don’t feel the real pain or urgent need right now or you feel so comfortable right now. Maybe you just want to stick to processes, things, settings which feel good to you or which are dear to you. Maybe you want to change something but you feel like being trapped and don’t know how to escape the situation. Then the question is: what does it need to let my business fail. It’s incredible how much energy will be set free just thinking about how to drive your business totally at full speed against the wall. But that’s the door opener for change! Only then you’ll have the free mind and energy to ask yourself what you need to change to bring your business to success and to take action.

Now what does it have to do with the Living Room Lectures? Well, I took me very long to accept the fact that if we want to proceed with the Living Room Lectures in one way or another, we’ll have to let go of our former educational setting. At least for the moment. I cannot change the current situation. Therefore, we herewith allow ourselves to leave the Living Room Lectures Sessions under sleeping beauty’s spell until the Covid situation allows us to meet again. That way we will not “kill the company” but are open for new roads – wherever they may guide us. This leads me to …

3. A blog is born

If someone would have told me a year ago that one day I would start to blog I would have laughed very hard at her/him. I’m not the big writer. I’m more the one for direct personal interaction. But I have a lot of ideas which need to be structured. And there is no better way to structure them by first writing them down and second look at them from different perspectives. This is how my blog was born.

As queen of procrastination (with small children there is always a reason why you have no time, energy, concentration …) I knew that if I start blogging alone, I would go lost very soon. That’s why I joined “The Content Society”, a blogging community of around 80 entrepreneurs who support and motivate each other. The main target is to write an article per week and spread our expertise into the digital space. Judith Peters, the “Queen of Blogging” guides us through the process by sharing her knowledge and experience and providing a general editorial calendar for the whole year. So, all I need to do is write, stick to the process and keep blogging about …

4. Smart parents, smart transferable skills, smart work

I truly believe that parents are an underestimated but highly valuable workforce with high potential, competencies and capabilities which stay hidden or unseen by future or current employers. That’s why I’m about to start a project about the skills every mom and dad develops along their parental journey. Skills that are in great demand the next years in the labour market. Skills that can be easily transferred from unpaid care work into paid workforce. I want to raise awareness about those gold nuggets, make them visible, available and usable – and that way bring value to both parties. And as different ways lead to Rome, one part of this project will include ….

5. An Interview journey

During the last weeks of research for the smart-skills-project I spoke a lot to and read a lot about very fascinating and inspiring people who are very much supporting my idea of parents being a valuable asset for organizations. So, what started as a pure research approach will continue in an interview journey. And – maybe- published in an own podcast. Dream big!

6. Social Media learning journey

Blog posts and interviews do not make sense if they are solely written to be parked on an unknown homepage. So, we are talking about coverage and visibility here! Blog articles and interviews are important markers on my learning journey on how to hack a parent’s life to shape the labour market and through that our society. And there is no better place as social media to spread ideas and thoughts, to interact with a community of like-minded people and to exchange different opinions and perspectives.

So, I invite everyone of you to join me on my learning journey on my social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin) to get to know each other, try out new things, fail, stand up, try again … and build the fundament of a bridge between smart parents and family friendly employers.

Taking a clear-cut position! My motto for 2021

I am a huge fan of making plans. But much more I love to make them happen. That’s why I sit down every year around New Year’s Eve, review the past year, close it mentally and look at what I want achieve in the new year and which frame or motto I would give it. Maybe you will laugh right now, maybe you are on the team “New year’s resolutions are made to be broken”, maybe you still believe in the power of resolutions. Well, it works for me, gives me focus. It’s like a guiding star and I really work to follow that star and fill that path with life and adventure.

And then there was this rollercoaster ride through the past year when I was challenged on so many levels. When so many things in life, in society, business, family and partnership I took for granted were questioned. When the “New Now” aka the tiny big “C” swirled around our family and business setting. When I drove at full speed into a brick wall, found myself suddenly in a time machine back into the 50s,  welcomed a new baby in the family and struggled my way out of the mummy bubble – again. Quite adventurious I must admit. So dear 2021, it’s really time to reshuffle the cards.

Do I have a motto for 2021?

Yes, absolutely: Taking a clear-cut position or rather “Klare Kante” for the german speaking readers. As a passionate sailor girl I’d like to compare it with communication and decision making on board. For me it  means: clear communication, straight to the point, no juggling around, claim (for time and support), withstand opposing winds and tough discussions, keep the course and nevertheless always make sure to have everyone on board. I’m the captain of my boat – with all the responsabilities for the crew aka my family and the boat aka my life.

How to tackle “Taking a clear-cut position” in my daily family chaos

There is one thing I learned very soon as a mum: If YOU as an individual don’t want to get lost in the daily turbulent family life, you need something you can focus on: your vision, your dreams, your goals. And more importantly, YOU need to take action if you want them accomplished. Your dreams, your responsibility.

At the end it was my decision last year to focus on family due to all the circumstances around the tiny big “C” and our new family member but something was missing. Therefore, this year first of all I will take a clear-cut position towards myself and taking much more care of me and my time. This implies of course a lot of communication and learning within partnership and family. And to decide wisely when to say “yes” and when “no”. Secondly, I will take a clear-cut position towards my entrepreneurial way and follow my hearts projects. And last but not least I will take a clear-cut position towards my finances and start earning my own money again after almost five years (and three kids) of maternity leave and being an expat partner.

My guiding star. My challenge. My priority

As I said, my dreams, my responsibility. That’s why taking a clear-cut position will guide me through the year like a lodestar. I already know that it will be tough as I will have to confront myself with quite a lot bad old habits, role conflicts and dogmata. But change releases new energy and opens new doors. So where do I start? I will clearly set focus on making myself a priority. For the sake of my family and myself because:

Happy wife, happy life! Happy mum, happy kids!

You see, it’s time to take a clear-cut position, set sail and take action!


My review of 2020 of “an unexpected journey”

I honestly can say that I am not a big fan of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” as the whole trilogy has been played endlessly at home. Nontheless if I had given myself a motto for 2020 retrospectively and from my current perspective,  it would have been “Heading into an unexpected journey with full speed”. Unexpected in every way. Saying this, you must know that I usually tend to look always on the bride side of life but this 2020 really turned out to be an absolutely unexpected rollercoaster ride for The Living Room Lectures as well as my family and myself. The tiny big “C” messed up with our plans for The Living Room Lectures. Personal challenges arose. My family setting got mixed up. And I truly can say that my learning curve throughout the year was immense, especially about me and my limits. But let’s have a look together…

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At full speed into 2020

Parents empower parents. This is how we started in January.  The Living Room Lectures sessions about modern working models were a huge success: Lucia and Florian Ries, a married couple, talked about their jobsharing model at the German Embassy in Budapest. With Edina Törö we discussed about working culture and modern working models in Hungary. And Katrin Wächter dived deep with us into the life of a digital nomad and virtual assistant. Super informative and inspiring sessions and lots of networking in Anna’s and Arabell’s living rooms and the living room The Marriott Budapest created for us.

Lots of more cool topics all around digitalization and working were about to come:  design thinking, artificial intelligence, bots, driverless cars, building businesses around sustainability …. Our first call for lecturers from parents for the parents was quite a success.

Our new year implied new footprints: our Homepage was online! One more digital footprint in social media space as we’ve had started our Facebook account just recently in December 2019. And last but not least did we got featured in the Budapester Zeitung with a fantastic article! 

Honestly, there could not have been a better start into 2020.  If we would have known what was about to come …

Now or never

So often did we talk about creating a digital living room for our community but we really couldn’t think of how to integrate babysitting into the digital world. And how would it look like? How to integrate the exchange and the personal interaction?

This was when, beginning of January, my rollercoaster ride for this year began: I just found out I was pregnant – again! Quite far already and it was for sure that in August there would be a new baby in town. I heard the clock ticking, countdown on having some working time before the baby would be born was running down. This was when I read somewhere “what would be the cost of not investing right now?” And so, I said to myself – it’s now or never, searched for programs of how to build up online businesses and found myself in the middle of the night, two minutes before the doors to SOMBA closed and joined in Sigrun’s 12 months online program. Without any precise picture in mind but very determined to start building our digital living room. Trial and error. And so I found myself in the middle of SOMBA Kickstart program developing, organizing and advertising my very first online course. Having a buddy who’s exactly in same situation helped a lot. Together with Stephanie and my friend Anna I brainstormed, structured, tried out, threw out, assembled one puzzle piece on another until finally “Rescue your inner superhero – How to stay balanced and keep calm” was born. And my wonderful friend and Co-Founder Arabell illustrated our very personal superheroine surfing the turbulent daily family chaos waves with ease and fun for that course. Wohoo, this was really stepping out of my comfort zone, over and over again.  What a great experience running this beta-course with fantastic 33 participants from 8 nationalities – and a huge learning curve for myself. My mind was blown away by the feedback. But I just felt that this online course thing alone simply could not compare to the kind of digital living room we had in mind.

At full speed into a brick wall

As for so many people and organizations, the pandemic caught us red-handed. The year started so well. More and more parents and their kids were joining the LRL sessions. The energy was so inspiring and catching. We had big plans to finally start professionally: we developed business plans, business model canvas, value proposition canvas for The Living Room Lectures. We took legal advice about the best way for a legal formation in Germany AND Hungary. But how to travel to Germany in full lockdown? And for what reason would you found a company when the basis breaks off? At the end, full stop.

Nevertheless the spirit remained. With every social meeting stopped and our focus on re-structuring the new personal family and working settings with very limited time resources, we organized in nightshifts our own LRL-learning platform. And with the help of our amazing international community, we started the community driven online course “The Living Room Lectures@home Edition C-19”. Again a huge thanks to Anna Miller who shared her experiences how to live with the Virus in China, to Sonja Schuster who provided short mind hacks to get easier through the days and to Carina Laubscher who shared some relaxing yoga. Short but inspirational, informational and/or relaxing lectures how to keep your balance in these extraordinary days. And self-paced, so it perfectly fits in the turbulent daily family life. Also here, we learned our lesson: Even with very limited time budget, next time we need to offer virtual weekly guidance in online courses – doesn’t matter if self-paced or not.



When a tiny little virus comes around… or two or three

When Hungary went into Corona Lockdown in March I felt like being already in lockdown for another month as my two toddlers were ill for almost whole February and part of January. In the middle of “Rescue your inner superhero”. Here’s what I learned during that time:  working. with toddlers. at home. is. simply. not. possible!  And as I did not want to “park” them for hours in front of Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Bobo or Fireman Sam, I prepared the course content and shoot the video parts when the boys were sleeping. Meaning working nightshifts starting mostly around 22:00 hrs. Followed by my daily “night party” with my youngest twice or three times a night and the boys’ wake up call around 6:30…. I’m really not a make up girl but that time my face cried for some good make up to cover all the profound marks of total exhaustion and sleepless nights. Nothing to do with what I taught in the course myself.

Welcome back into the 50s

Tough start into Lockdown but lesson learned? Now being in Lockdown it really felt as if I was thrown back into the 50s. Me – an educated supposed modern woman with academic background and former HR director position in her best age! How on earth did that happen? My husband got lost behind the laptop and millions of conference calls. And I? I was still on maternity leave of Nr.2 and pregnant with Nr. 3. So, it was my turn to deal solely with housekeeping, cooking, home kindergardening …  And I must admit I really hate housekeeping. The house looked like …. well… At least nobody cared as we could not receive visitors. This total focus on kids and house and total loss of self-determination took me very hard. I can adapt easily to new situations but from time to time everyone needs a break to recharge their batteries. Deficits and a lot of emotions were put on the table, we had to reorganize and negotiate everything new. As working at home with the children did not work for me, I headed for two or three hours a week to a nearby café with good WiFi where I could sit outside even almost freezing to death. 😉 Thank god, summer came fast. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children to bits. And I never experienced such an intensive family time as in the first months of the pandemic. We created worlds of our own. Painted, danced, made a lot of arts and crafts, built castles, fought against sharks and pirates, turned into all kinds of dinosaurs, jumped into water holes in the park … We made the best out of it, laughed a lot and as a family we really grew stronger. But never again do I want to feel so reduced of being “only” a housewife! This was not me!

Heading north

My belly got bigger and my radius of movement became more and more limited. As I suffered from lots of early contractions I slowly became nervious if we could really head north to my parents place in Germany or not. Due date was in August and being this the hottest time of the year in Budapest I wanted to deliver in the north of Germany. End of June we got my Doctor’s “GO” and we finally headed north into the holidays we were so long longing for. We visited family and friends along our trip north before arriving at our final summer destination: grandparents, a huge garden and the Baltic sea in front of the door. And this was how we spent almost three months. My husband working remote and enjoying holidays in between, the boys enjoying their paradise, their grandparents available 24/7 and just waiting for them to play with and me finally focussing on the baby and myself. The days went by. Summer showed itself by its best side.  And I used the time to reflect the past months and read a lot of books something I did not do for years. Time to breathe.

New baby in town

If I look back at 2020 many things happened and only one – one totally unexpected,  heartfilling, special one outshines everything: the arrival of our third child. There are no words for it – just overwhelming feelings. Our big surprise in January and the big joy when he was finally born. The caring and loving way my two toddlers accompanied the pregnancy and see them becoming big brothers afterwards, how they loved their little brother from the first moment they looked at him. How Nr. 3 was already part of the family even before he has been born. Beyond words. We felt complete.

The second wave

Reality entered our summer paradise August 29th and ended our time at the sea abruptly: Hungary declared to close borders within the next three days. An entry afterwards would have been only possible with 14 days of quarantine. Just the thought of it:  a total nightmare for all of us after almost three months spent mostly outside. So, bags packed overnight and the next morning we sat in the car with two toddlers and a 2-week-old new born heading towards Budapest, including a rockfall incident which made us think of life’s finiteness.

Trapped in the mummy bubble – again

And there we were, back again, after an emotionally tough and hard landing for all of us. Thrown out of the summer paradise, back to our normal course of life of home-everything – except nursery and kindergarden remained open. But not only us, also the kids had a hard time emotionally arriving. Especially our second one struggled a lot adapting to the new family setting and therefore refused to go to nursery for a few weeks. And I? It suddenly felt as if everything I gained and worked for the last two and a half years were lost -now more than ever.  I wanted everything: happy children, happy partner, me(=working)-time, revival of the LRL sessions, clean house. In the middle of social distancing and Corona, with children refusing kindergarden and looking for their new role in this new family setting and a Baby around me 24/7.

I was exhausted, very honestly sleepless in Budapest.  Six weeks after giving birth I felt so trapped in the mummy bubble – again. Something I thought I would have overcome. But no, it came back to me like a boomerang. Next baby – bang! Here we are again. And no LRL sessions to organize to “rescue” my sanity.


Things needed to change. During summertime I thought a lot about what drives me and gives me purpose. And I can honestly say, it is still it:  empower parents to contribute their value into society and the labour market with confidence and motivation – without tearing themselves apart. My heart beats for HR and for being a mother  –  and hell yes! They fit perfectly together!  Parents are of such a high value for companies and building this bridge between them and the labour market triggers me immense.  So, here I was beginning of October having on the one hand this profound urge to restart right now with building this bridge but no tranquility and no proper me time and on the other hand this foremost emotional imbalance in the family setting for the children which cost everyone lots of energy.

I felt that my family, my children needed my full attention. So I tried to put myself in my childrens’ shoes and as a consequence I focussed on family first to get everyone on board with a good feeling. I even looked for support to improve communication among us. And after everything would be settled at home I would in a second step focus on the LRL comeback. Pressure can be very productive but sometimes you need to release air to avoid explosions and get back on track.

New year. New challenges. My outlook for 2021

The Living Room Lectures Blog

Me and writing? Well, if anyone would have told me in January that I would start writing a blog, I would have laughed very hard at them. I’m really not a big writer. I’m more a person for direct personal interaction. But I love challenges! So this is Me stepping out (again) of my comfort zone starting to write about what really triggers me, about that kind of humans who experience fundamental change in their life, their perspective towards themselves, partnership, employers’ behaviour and how society treat them – just by becoming parents.

Et voilà: here it is – my very first blog post!

Time to shine

Since Arabell and me founded The Living Room Lectures initiative two years ago, the LRL sessions focussed on breaking the mummy bubble, learning, inspiring, showing new perspectives and returning self-confidence. This year we got hit, swirled up and split by the tiny big “C”. 2021, it’s time to come back and continue building the bridge between parents who are temporarily out of their job for whatever reason and great employers. I want to show that parents are an underestimated workforce with high potential, competencies and capabilities which stay hidden or unseen by future or current employers. I want to make them visible, available and usable to bring value to both parties.

How I will do it? Let’s set sail and join me on my learning journey on how to hack a parents’ life to shape the business world and through that our society – here on the blog or on social media (instagram, facebook, linkedin). Let’s join forces, get to know each other, try out new things, fail, stand up and try again.

And whatever may happen, after this year I will always expect the unexpected.

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