Texting 9 to 5: A Generational Throwdown

Lately, I have noticed that my Gen Y colleagues have been spending more and more time pecking away at their mobile phones during the work day, (a boomer pet peeve that I have learned to live with). I assumed my millennial partners were exchanging one-liners or plotting cool parties with friends but in today’s Wall St. Journal, I learned that the person most often on the other end of the text is a mom.

Seems that twentysomething’s are g-chatting parents, mostly moms, as often as 20 times a day, just to dish on the sly or to share an indignity of office life. The article didn’t question whether daylong cubicle texting is a career-enhancing move but instead, asked whether the younger generation ought to be dumping work issues in mom’s lap rather than building independent problem-solving skills. After my initial eye-roll’s, I realized that I have actually embraced this digital reality and can even see the good in this changed office etiquette.

First things first. When I was climbing the corporate ladder (yes, and I walked barefoot to school in the snow), personal phone calls were NOT allowed. If Mom called, which she didn’t because she thought I would get in trouble, I would rush to hushed tones and hang up with promises of “I’ll call you tonight!” I’d been taught that the boss was paying for my attention to the job, not to my personal life.

But that was back when my workdays used to end at 6PM and when that same boss rarely, (make that never), called me at home at night. And there was no email. Can I say that again? There was no email. Today’s jobs aren’t 9 to 5 and haven’t been for years. Work summons us with the beep on the bedside table and haunts us with the last blink of night, while emails pile up on the pillow. So, with the workplace boundaries widened, the window for daytime personal duties opens. So I’ve decided I can get over my reflexive cringe at the sight of a clutched iPhone and admit that I like to text from my desk too–my husband, my friends, my to-do’s zip seamlessly in and out of my day. (Oh, how I would love to still have my Mom to text to!) Distracting? Yes. But helpful. And hard to kick. And I’m the boss, so why not? And if so, why not, others on the team?

And while at first, I felt annoyed reading about young-un’s running to mom with every office bruise, on second thought, maybe it’s not a bad idea. While it’s critical that we learn coping and negotiation skills early on, there’s nothing wrong with turning to “the source” for advice. I know I talked to Mom every night about every little nick and achievement. One friend said to me that her daughter texts her the moment her lunch break begins, her cue to lay out all her morning frustrations. And my friend’s responses are usually wise: “Give it some time.” “Think about why that might have happened.”  “Next time, try this approach.” Sound, thoughtful perspective or, one might say, skills training, which let’s face it, is rarely coming from the boss who can barely keep up with her/his own email avalanche. So, as long as the digital umbilical cord doesn’t extend into the performance appraisal session (“But she’s was so smart in fifth grade!!!”), I welcome the life line of Mom, AKA career coach. If the job gets done, I’m good with it. Ping away!


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Making a big leap after 40?

Writing and performing my mother’s story is a dream come true for me. This piece published today on LearnVest.com shows how it came to be! Read it HERE!

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One month. 6,000 books already sold. And almost as many undone to do’s.

First, the good news! “The God Box” launched exactly one month ago today and it is flying off the shelves, both in stores and online and off– an amazing start. Mom’s little box seems to be touching so many and we hope that those who received it as a gift for Mother’s Day yesterday might want to buy copies for friends, family and just anyone who needs the love tucked inside. I traveled to Philadelphia (multiple times), Charlotte, Portland, OR, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and of course, held a bunch of NY events, spoke to at least 25 different audiences, visited bookstores to sign, tweeted, FB’d, blogged, appeared on a dozen radio shows and a couple TV programs, logged thousands of miles and breathed a couple of times. We are so excited and raring to go!

Now, the bad news of what it means to go on a book ‘tour’ of my own design. (Aren’t we our own worst boss?) Here is the list of what I haven’t done for a solid month.

  1. Exercise
  2. Make the bed
  3. Eat salad and drink water
  4. Read the paper with Rocky my dog on my lap (a favorite morning ritual)
  5. Go to yoga class
  6. Fill the car with gas (see yesterday’s post)
  7. Sleep much
  8. Take my winter clothes out of my drawers and closets despite 80 degree temps
  9. Skip dessert
  10. Do you see a pattern here?

So, starting today, for the next phase of what I hope is a lifelong journey with “The God Box”, I went to the gym, made the bed, sat with Rocky, ate oatmeal with skim milk(ok, it’s a start), and had a great night’s sleep. Still stuff on the list but don’t we all have that? What’s on your to do list?

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Good news in the Media!

So happy to hear such great support and recommendations from America’s most loved and respected publications. See what the news and entertainment media has to say about The God Box!

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FROM @PINTEREST: Chatham University Natatorium

Just presented at Pittsburgh’s Chatham University in the Mellon Board Room that was once the Natatorium, one of the first indoor swimming pools ever-gorgeous white tiled ceiling. And yes, robin’s egg blue shining from the sun!

I added this picture my on @Pinterest here.  Join me there.


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DAY OF REST: On the road today with Joe and Rocky

Here is my backseat companion, Rocky. We are on our way to pick up Joe’s Mom and Dad in Levittown to go to Easter Mass and brunch and then heading up the NJ Turnpike to NYC to celebrate in New York with Joe’s sister Ginny, brother-in-law Tony and their children and grandkids (all our nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.) Easter peeps, here we come!

And in between, Rocky and I are studying my lines for upcoming performances of The God Box, my one woman, one act play. Well, I’m studying. Rocky is, well…resting!

What are your plans today? Enjoy in every way!

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Acting the Part

Ever wonder what it’s like to become an actor, not that making powerpoint presentations at work isn’t a thrill? Check out my new blog on Huffington Post and the backstory on Mom, the woman backstage behind me all the way. Click here for the full story.

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My Mom was always encouraging me to go onstage. She wasn’t a stagemother like Mama Rose but she was certainly ready to stand behind whatever talent I could muster. She was the architect of my theatre ambition, signing me up for tap, ballet and jazz lessons (my faves thanks to the costumes and the shoes!),  putting me in the choir (a weak soprano), and sending me to the convent for piano lessons.  I’m a good dancer but just an okay singer but that never stopped me from belting out “Funny Girl” and believing I was just a hair off Barbra. A grade school friend who reached out on facebook told me that once I actually walked up and down the aisles of our classroom, singing to the students. I was a Gleek before there was one.

The piano lessons never worked. My Mom and Dad put the old upright down in our basement so that they could shut the door on me while I practiced. I can remember banging away so badly that even our dog Andy would climb to the top of the steps and scratch the door to be released from musical prison.

But my acting bones grew strong from high school and college plays and then morphed into a career of making new business presentations and speeches–not exactly theater. Mom never gave up though. With every book I wrote, she used to say, “You should get on Oprah!”  “You should have her job!” Yeah, right.

Now, six years after losing my Mom, I am going for it. I’ve been working with a terrific playwright and director named Martha Wollner who’s with the LABYrinth Theater in New York. And I’ve been developing and rehearsing the script of the “The God Box” with her. This blog on today’s  Huffington Post tells the tale.

Hey, Mom. I did it. Thanks for all those years of waiting in the wings. Your turn to take a bow.

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FROM @PINTEREST: pitcher of sunshine

I always try and bring flowers into the office on Monday mornings to start the week off right. They make me happy and create a much more cheerful work environment (not that we need it here, coral colored walls already brighten the office). I have a glass pitcher that I fill with a quick, but pretty, arrangement of flowers.  This picture, I stumbled upon while on Pinterest, made me smile, I just might have to copy this one day.

Find me here: pinterest.com/marylouquinlan

Let’s pin!

(photo credit: @pinterest via curbly.com)

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Asking for It (or Positive Thinking About Negative Feedback)


Check out my latest blog for the Huffington Post! My new adventure has been taking The God Box on stage, performing in her own one woman, one act play. A a role that requires me to ask audience members and peers for feedback, both positive and negative (well, I prefer the term constructive).

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sample chapter
Enjoy a free selected chapter from The God Box.

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Invite your book club to join this engaging conversation about Mary Lou’s book.

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Share these mini note cards or write notes for your God Box.

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press & praise
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  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."
  • "The courage and wisdom from the messages left in her mother’s God Box will inspire you to create a God Box of your own."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan has told the story of her mother in a way that entertains, moves and inspires. The thoughts about life and values will stick with you forever."
  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
  • "In the slips of paper that carry this sweet story forward, we can see the love in our own families and the great possibilities of simple faith."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."

The God Box App is shiny new and ready to welcome your cares

November 28, 2023
by Mary Lou Quinlan

Since The God Box book was published in the spring of 2012, so many readers have told me that they started their own God Boxes. I love hearing stories of children creating God Boxes and married couples joining their prayer and cares in a family box. (And my mother would be thrilled!)  A 'real' God box is a constant reminder that we are not in control and that letting go is the first step to finding comfort, hope and relief for life's worries. But did you know that many thousands have gone virtual with their God boxes? To help the many busy ...

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