Laura Gerson

Laura Nix Gerson is the co-founder of Hello Métier. She is a digital content producer and marketer, specializing in lead generation and audience development. She has directed marketing and business development strategy in both corporate and agency environments. Over the course of her career she has been at the table with industry leaders and heads of corpora

ghostbusters women cast
28 Aug

Ghostbusters Busting Glass Ceilings

A few days ago, our nation celebrated National Equality Day, a day to remember the early fight for equal rights and celebrate the 19th Amendment. In my in box was an email from The United State of Women reminding us to participate in politics because the right to vote was a giant leap forward for feminism. They also asked us to continue to make strides for women by pursuing our passions, by supporting women in business and fighting for causes that support women's rights. And they asked us to support females in film, accompanied by the image of the all female cast in the Ghostbusters remake.

"Movies inspire us and give us some of our first role models. Let’s help girls realize that being a princess is only one of a million different dreams they can have. Support strong women-led films with your wallet and round up your #squads (and male allies!) to see movies the opening weekend." - United State of Women

I took my daughter to see the Ghostbusters remake on opening weekend (because opening weekend ticket sales determine if a movie is a box office hit). When the movie ended we were in the ladies room hashing through all the best parts. A woman in the ladies room overheard our conversation and stopped me to thank me for what I said, calling me "the mother of the year" a title I definitely haven't earned but I feel really great about what my daughter and I discussed - it will stick with her for many years to come.

Here's what I said. As my daughter told me how much she loved the movie I asked her why, what was so significant. She said she loved watching those women taking on the ghosts. Lets say that again. She loved "seeing those women take on the ghosts."

"Yes," I said. "Those women were pretty fierce." And then I pointed out to her that this movie was groundbreaking for Hollywood in so many ways. Four women in the lead roles typically reserved for men. Three of the characters the women played were scientists...physicists in fact. (Mind blowing! Women cast as scientists.) Leslie Jones's character had a much more significant part and a leadership role with the team in this movie, a big departure from the "sidekick" role Ernie Hudson originally played in 1984. And this movie was directed by a man, Paul Feig, who is an advocate of casting more women in leading roles in Hollywood. And to prove the point he cast the role of the dumb, hot assistant as a male played by Chris Hemsworth.

For me, an advocate of change in Hollywood, a supporter of the Geena Davis Institute and a feminist, this movie meant so much more to me. I loved seeing an a-typical casting of women in this movie. Melissa McCarthy who has oft been described by her appearance rather than her immense talent. Melissa is killing it in comedy in Hollywood in lead roles in major blockbuster movies. And Kristin Wiig, an incredibly talented performer and writer. We know her for her work on Saturday Night Live and in countless TV shows and films but did you know she also wrote Bridesmaids? Yes - she wrote it! The brilliant Kate McKinnon who has an incredibly long list of acting appearances on her resume and the insatiably funny Leslie Jones, who had us laughing every step of the way through the movie, just like she does every week on Saturday Night Live. Her recent tweets about the Rio Olympics got her invited to personally come to Rio and cover the event first-hand. She's innovative and funny and what some in the industry consider an anomaly because her acting career didn't pick up until well into her 40's.

So ladies, have your daughter's watch this movie and explain to them what I explained to my daughter because "if they can see it they can be it." And read more ideas about how to celebrate the 19th Amendment and all we've achieved for women in this Huffington Post article from The United State of Women.

ABOUT UNITED STATE OF WOMEN: The first summit on The United State of Women represented an important moment for women and girls domestically and internationally, as well as for all proponents of gender justice and equality. Following the summit, The United State of Women remains committed to giving a megaphone to the importance of gender equality and providing a platform for addressing these critical concerns. The summit may have concluded, but our work is far from over.

ABOUT GEENA DAVIS INSTITUTE:  Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. Our biennial symposium is the only event convening over 300 decision makers, content creators, and thought leaders to share best practices and create a blueprint towards establishing a gender-balanced media landscape. Review information their our past and upcoming symposiums

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04 Mar

Why Hollywood’s Battle to Improve the Role of Women in Their Industry is So Important for Future Women in Business

There's an ongoing discussion in Hollywood about unequal pay and unequal opportunity for women. Actresses including Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette have all made public statements about the gender inequality in Hollywood. I hate to tell you ladies, its not just Hollywood. Its everywhere.

But its not the pay gap and the number of roles available that is also a hot topic, its the types of roles and the types of stories being told that are at the core of problem. This past week at the Oscars as the nominees for the two top acting categories were read off for both the men and the women, we couldn't help but notice the roles these actors characters played. Note the disparity in the descriptions between the men and the women. The "J" next to each one indicating a job. Three of the ten female nominees' characters were described by the job or career they held in the film, while all but one of the male characters had jobs. Thats women 3...men 9...jobs that is.

Best Supporting Actress A murderous fugitive with a price on her head A young woman drawn into a forbidden relationship in the 1950's An intrepid reporter searching for the truth  "J" An artist who's spouse undergoes pioneering gender confirmation surgery Plainspoken marketing chief goes toe to toe with Steve Jobs "J"

Best Supporting Actor Ex neurologist turned financial genius "J" Sadistic fur trapper "J" Persuasive investigative journalist "J" Socialist spy pivotal to prisoner exchanged "J" Aging fighter named Rocky Balboa "J"

Best Actress Divorce bound woman finds unexpected passion with a shop girl A young mother who with her son escapes captivity and adjusts to the world outside A struggling single mother, an inventor who builds a business empire "J" A woman whose marriage is tested by the revelation of a decades old secret A young Irish immigrant torn between two countries and two separate lives

Best Actor The blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo "J" The resourceful astronaut abandoned on Mars "J" The vengeful frontiersman betrayed by his companions "J" The brilliant and complicated co-founder of Apple "J" One of the first people to undergo gender confirmation surgery

If we are going to change Hollywood, we have to have more women behind the scenes writing stories that feature women in careers. Bottom line. And we need more women in studio executive roles and management roles, pushing the envelope and forcing change from within. ABC recently named Channing Dungey as the new studio head, a bold and wise move on the part of ABC we say. After all, it was under her direction as the head of Drama for ABC that Shonda Rhimes developed some of the top rated television for the network.

Channing Dungey, previously ABC’s drama chief, will take over the prime-time part of his job as the head of ABC entertainment, making her the first black network president. Ms. Dungey’s elevation is a breakthrough for an industry that has often struggled with diversity, especially among the senior executive ranks. - New York Times

In an old boys club like Hollywood, Channing's promotion is a "hurrah" that we all hope will lead to more notable moments. She joins the ranks of other female executives in Hollywood including Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm) and Donna Langley (Universal Pictures) but the numbers are still glaringly low in comparison to the roles the men play in Hollywood leadership.

Why does this Hollywood struggle mean so much for the rest of us? Its because we all emulate what we watch. What we watch, the roles women and men play in the television shows and films we consume, the message we send through every sexist, narrow-minded role we put a woman in tells 10 year old boys in Mumbai, Singapore, Denmark and Iowa that's the way women are and should be treated. Without more women in leadership roles, director roles, screen writing roles, editing roles and acting roles - and women over the age of 30 too - we cannot implement a culture shift that will positively affect the opportunities for all girls globally who aspire to be something more. As Geena Davis says "If she can see it, she can be it." Not just young girls, all of us. We are all influenced by what we watch.

Female directors are in what ‘‘Girls’’ creator Lena Dunham calls ‘‘a dark loop.’’ If they don’t have experience, they can’t get hired, and if they can’t get hired, they can’t get experience. ‘‘Without the benefit of Google,’’ Headland said, ‘‘ask anybody to name more than five female filmmakers that have made more than three films. It’s shockingly hard.’’

 

The problem is so glaring that in 2005, the actress Geena Davis, who would go on to start her own gender institute, commissioned Stacy Smith, a researcher at the University of Southern California, to study the issue and help push the studios beyond Dude World. From 2007 through 2014, according to Smith’s research, women made up only 30.2 percent of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films.

 

But the most wildly lopsided numbers have to do with who is behind the lens. In both 2013 and 2014, women were only 1.9 percent of the directors for the 100 top-grossing films. Excluding their art-house divisions, the six major studios released only three movies last year with a female director. It’s hard to believe the number could drop to zero, but the statistics suggest female directors are slipping backward. Prof. Martha Lauzen of San Diego State University reports that in 2014, 95 percent of cinematographers, 89 percent of screenwriters, 82 percent of editors, 81 percent of executive producers and 77 percent of producers were men. - New York Times

How are women going to make it in Hollywood?  By helping each other. As someone who has pitched a TV show to network television, met with ALL of the women-centric you tube channel producers, met with top women in tv development roles and even has a female agent (with one of the top four agencies I might add)...the lack of "let me help you make this happen" in the Hollywood community is kinda astounding. I have been in the business world for more than 25 years. I have sat the table with Presidents and CEOs of major corporations and time and again those incredibly busy and in demand women (and men) have said "let me help you make this happen." Calls and emails were sent, introductions made and deals got closed because I was able to follow up on an introduction. In Hollywood, that has not been my experience. If we expect Hollywood to do more for us women, we first have to do more for each other. If help each other it will mean more women producing thought provoking, inspirational, educational and entertaining content in Hollywood which means more opportunity to impact and influence how women are perceived worldwide. Which means more career opportunities for more women.

So ladies in Hollywood keep pushing and we will keep pushing with you. This is why we support the Geena Davis Institute. This is why is was so important to us to introduce you to Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair of Playing House on USA (the ONLY two women writers / actors / producers in with their own show in comedy tv today). Support those women who are producing content in Hollywood by watching their shows and movies. And tweet them. Every link is this post is to a twitter account. Tell them you read this post and you appreciate their efforts!

Media is powerful. Our voices are powerful. Our actions are powerful. With every stride forward we affect positive change. Whether we are fighting for moms in the career world or pounding on the doors of Hollywood, MomFair is in it alongside you.

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Young Woman Working at Home, Small Office
02 Feb

FlexJobs Announces Their Annual List of 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2016

If you are interested in finding a work from home or freelance opportunity, one of our favorite online resources is FlexJobs. Sara Sutton Fell and her team carefully curate the jobs listings on their site to ensure that every job listing meets their criteria as a FlexJob. The benefit to site users is that the legwork is already done. Every job listed is a true freelance or flexwork opportunity.

Every year they release the list of the 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs. We were thrilled to see household names like Amazon and Dell at the top of the list accompanied by staffing firms like Kelly Services. To see the full list CLICK HERE.

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PlayingHouse_Season2_1
23 Jan

Meet Comedy Writers and TV Stars Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair of Playing House

Two years ago I was invited to visit the set of USA's Playing House, a new sitcom by real life best friends and (at the time) new moms, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham. Already of fan from watching their previous incredibly funny show, Best Friends, I was eager to see what it was all about. We went backstage in Maggie's house and at Rosie's, the bar they frequent on the show and got watch them shoot the "Spaghetti and Meatballs" episode. Up close and personal with Keegan-Michael Key and the guys as they enacted a "full monty" segment was hilarious! Afterwards, the ladies met with all of moms on the tour and chatted with us about the show. These ladies are so real both on tv and off that when you bump into them at the grocery store (like I did recently) I just walked on up and gave Jessica a hug and said "nice to see ya."

In PLAYING HOUSE, when pregnant Maggie discovers her husband cheating, her BFF Emma gives up her career to help Maggie raise the baby. Now the lifelong friends must navigate their biggest and most hilarious adventure yet, in the best way they know how - together. - USA Networks

What I love about the show is the chemistry between Maggie and Emma....and the laughter!  These women are craazy!  Plus the casting and writing are superb! Keegan Michael-Key, the hot cop, as Emma (Jessica St. Clair's) ex , Zach Woods (also on Silicon Valley) as Maggie's quirky brother and Jane Kaczmarek as Emma's mom. You can binge watch the first two season on USA!

What's so relevant about these two women and their show is that, well, they are two women, two FUNNY women who write comedy for television, on their own show which they developed, produce and star in.  Plus its a show about female friendship and motherhood and it has a largely female fan base. Which in Hollywood is pretty rare. They are part of the ranks of writers like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kourtney Kang (How I Met Your Mother and Fresh off the Boat), Liz Tucillo (Sex and the City and Smash) and Dawn Dekeyser (Samantha Who). These women whose names we may not know, by and large, influence the media we consume.

And the media we consume influences the way we see ourselves and our careers. A few years back Geena Davis launched the Geena Davis Institute because she realized the media she and her daughters were consuming were not accurately reflecting the roles of women in contemporary society. The statistics on what Geena and her team discovered are staggering. The media our children consume affects the way they see their future roles, and the way young boys see women's future roles.

But our children aren't the only ones affected by the media we consume. There are not enough women in leadership roles in TV and film both on and off camera. How the world see's women on the screen affects they way we view our abilities in the real world.

"Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female." - Geena Davis Institute

Jessica and Lennon are two women in Hollywood who are making a difference to change these statistics. So we invited Madeline di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute to chat with them about their show, their careers and their friendship. Join us at 4:30 on Sunday, January 31 at MomFair as we cap our incredible day of empowerment with a really cool (and fun) discussion! Playing House just announced their 3rd Season and its starting soon. I for one can't wait #Girlfriends. Get tickets to MomFair online.

*To read the full reports from the Geena Davis Institute CLICK HERE. MomFair is a supporter of GDIGM and their efforts to improve the quality of film and television for future generations of girls and women.

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12 Jan

Your Personal Brand Needs Polish and a Headshot

Digital and social media are driving today's online conversations and your social media profiles and websites are the first place anyone interested in doing business with you is going to look. Your social media profiles and website answer questions about who you are, what you offer and the style in which you do it. Your digital footprint and personal brand need to be polished and professional.

"The social media skills gap at work widens. With the explosion of workplace social networks like Slack (which recently saw more than 1 million users logged in at the same time) and the imminent launch of Facebook at Work, using social media in the office has gone from taboo to requirement. Businesses are incorporating social tools to streamline internal communications, to help sales staff reach customers, and, of course, for marketing and advertising. The problem is that front-line employees aren’t up to the challenge. Among 2,100 companies surveyed by Harvard Business Review, just 12 percent of those using social media feel they use it effectively. Even millennials brought up on social media are falling short: “Because somebody grows up being a social media native, it doesn’t make them an expert in using social media at work,” explains William Ward, professor of social media at Syracuse University." - Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite (Read the rest on Linked in)

When you've been out of the workforce for a while. the first place most people fall short are their social media skills. Luckily there are resources out there like General Assembly where you can take onsite and online classes and workshops to hone your skills or learn new ones. They teach classes like "A beginner's Guide to Email Marketing", "How to Succeed at Being a Digital Nomad" and "Instagram Marketing Workshop".  You can enroll in their full time programs as well and learn to code, do graphic design, build websites and become a digital media expert. In fact, General assembly will be hosting a "Creating Your Digital Footprint Skillshop" during MomFair LIVE!

Linked in is usually the first stop for anyone updating their career focused online presence. I've spent countless hours on Linked in looking at countless profiles and I can quickly tell you what makes great profile. A great profile starts with a great headshot. Headshots do not need to be expensive. You can find affordable resources in your city. We regularly partner with The Headshot Truck in Los Angeles (soon to be coming to a city near you) to bring their talented team to our events and make getting a headshot accessible and affordable. At MomFair LIVE! they will be shooting head shots all day at our event. You can purchase your headshot for $25 for one or $50 for three  when you download them from their website.

A professional header is a necessity. You can simply list you current job title or list the three skills you want to be recognized for. This is followed by a concise summary of your work history positioning yourself in that summary for the type of work you want to do or are currently doing (if you are self employed).  Listing your past employment should be brief. Many people just put dates, titles, and a link to the company they worked for. This is great for someone not actively looking for work. If you are actively looking you need to list the top 3-5 things you implemented, spearheaded or succeed with at that position.

Sam Ettus Linked in Example

If Linked in seems a little challenging for you, not to worry. You do not have to go it alone. We are hosting a "Winning Resumes Skillshop" at MomFair LIVE! with recruiter Barbara Ballard and digital media expert Christina Diener to help you craft the best profile and resume. Yes resume. Once you've tackled Linked in a basic resume you can adjust for every job you apply to is a must. The same principles for Linked in apply - eye catching header title, professional summary, highlight your skills and I always recommend adding your headshot and links to your digital footprint - send them to your Linked in page.

Many people are now creating personal websites just to showcase your personal brand and control how people are viewing your profile. This also gives you the opportunity to link to your other social media profiles...but only if the are work appropriate. If you are self employed or own a company, a personal website is not necessary as you will have an About or Team page on your business site. It very easy to set-up an affordable, simple website. The folks at Wix have created a template system that makes it easy for your to build a great looking digital presence in minutes. Hear from Vivian Hernandez of Wix at MomFair LIVE! as she hosts our "Wix Website Skillshop."

With the boom of social media for work in 2016 its going to become a necessity to know at least the basics. We will continue to bring you resources to advance your skills and put your best digital self forward.

 

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01 Jan

Start the New Year with Intention

As we embark on the New Year, we are all taking stock of the previous year and thinking about plans for the coming year. For many of us, our careers and balancing our home life are top of mind. The holidays are wrapping up and the kids are going back to school, now its time to think about Mom. What does mom want or need?

The first thing you should do is think about your passion. What do you love to do? There's something about motherhood that makes us want meaningful work, now more than ever. Perhaps its that our job as a mother is so meaningful, or because we've spent time volunteering at our children's school or in the community and its been a rewarding experience. Maybe we're just older and wiser and unwilling to compromise on company culture and our daily activities. Whatever your reason, meaningful work should be your first priority.

Think back to the jobs you loved prior to having children or in your past career. . What was it about those jobs that fulfilled you?  What made you smile as you drove to work? Put those items at the top of your list. Now as you start to explore all the options for yourself and the career ahead of you, keep those items in a note somewhere that you can refer to. We can't always land a job that fulfills all of our requirements but we can at least strive for some.

"I loved being my own boss"

"I loved running a team"

"I loved the flexibility of my hours"

"I loved being creative"

"I loved the structure of my last job"

Whatever those things were that made your favorite jobs your favorites, always keep that in mind. The next thing to do is assess your skills. Everyone feels more successful and purposeful in their work when utilizing their skills. Some of the items on your list above might even be skills.

"I am a natural leader"

"I am a great writer"

"I am a great time manager"

"I am highly productive in short windows of time."

"I am a good communicator."

Now think about industries or businesses that you love. Where do you want to work? What kind of a company do you want to create? Envisioning yourself in those environments, while meeting your list of career requirements and utilizing your skills will help you find or create meaningful work in the coming year. Don't sell yourself short. Do what you love. And find your passion.

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10 Sep

MomFair LIVE! is Coming to UCLA Commons on January 31, 2016

Once a year at MomFair LIVE! we gather our experts under one roof so that moms can directly interact with hiring managers, career counselors, work from home experts, recruiters, entrepreneurs, business and home resources and like minded moms in a comfortable setting. Whether you want to jump start your career, launch a new business or build a work from home empire, TheMomFair is here to help! TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!  

Pencil in the date ladies - Sunday, January 31, 2016. MomFair is such a timely and important conference, with more moms looking to get back to work, either for fulfillment or to generate an income. But today's career mom is looking for meaningful work and finding it or creating it is the challenge. MomFair was created to help moms get directly in front of the resources they need to work from home, launch a business, freelance, work 9to5, negotiate flexible work situations, brush up your resume, open a franchise or earn income from home with direct sales or work from home opportunities. We also put you in touch with financial planners, investment managers, estate planning and corporate attorneys, bookkeepers, dog walkers and groomers, delivery services (meal, laundry and dry cleaning, grocery), home tech and cleaning services and more that help you smoothly run your homefront so that you can have the energy to focus on your career.

Our Tracks:

  • Finding a Job
  • Flexwork
  • Gain New Skills
  • Work from Home
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Home Front (work life balance, planning, inspiration)
Our Resources:
  • Job Fair (hiring managers, recruiters, career counselors, franchise and other opportunities)
  • Work from Home Marketplace (direct sales and companies offering mom home based jobs)
Moms who attend our conference will walk away having interacted directly with:
  • Recruiters
  • Hiring Managers
  • Career Counselors
  • Work from Home Opportunities
  • Financial and Family Planning Experts
  • and many more....
Interested in sponsoring our event or having a presence at the event?  Click here. 

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TMF-May-Flyer-V2
16 Mar

MomFair is Coming to Blankspaces (Co-Working Space) in Santa Monica on May 18

TheMomFair: Job Fair and Conference is coming to Santa Monica, May 18, 6-9pm! Join us for an informative panel discussion and network with team recruiters, staffing recruiters, counselors and other moms who are also looking to relaunch their career. (Get a new headshot for your Linked In profile!)

6pm-7pm:   Work from Home Marketplace and Networking 7pm-8pm:   Panel Discussion 8pm- 9pm:  More networking

What else happens at MomFair?

WORK FROM HOME MARKETPLACE & CAREER RESOURCES At every event we set up a career marketplace. While it may look like a trunk show, its really about finding career opportunities. And direct sales is an amazing way to hone your skills and stay sharp - plus work from home! Come meet team recruiters from the following companies:

                rodan & fields     tmf wildtree logo         ever logo      arbonne logo  TMF CluckCluck_Logo  younique

Wildtree is providing the snacks this evening!


MINI CAREER COACHING SESSIONS Panelist Jennifer Chow Bevan, Founder of Path Relaunch is a certified Career Coach who helps moms get focused and on the right path every day. She is happy to answers questions and spend a few minutes with you at the event to help you get on the right path.


RESUME REVIEWS WITH RECRUITERS At every event there are  professionals available to review your resume and offer advice on how to put your "best you forward" on paper. BRING YOUR RESUME WITH YOU to the event. Representatives from talent recruiting firm 24 Seven will be available to answer questions! 24 seven logo 3

GET YOUR HEADSHOT DONE Your Linked In profile is the first place hiring managers look after they see your resume. A professional but personal headshot makes a big difference! Our friends from The Headshot Truck will be joining us to offer affordable headshots for only $99. You MUST book your session online - see tickets above.

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WANT TO ATTEND BUT NEED A SITTER? Problem solved! Get a $75 credit with UrbanSitter good for one month FREE membership and a $50 sitter service when you book a sitter. Just visit https://www.urbansitter.com/promo/momfair to redeem.urban sitter logo copy

BE A PART OF THE MOMFAIR Are you a direct sales representative looking to add to your team? A recruiter looking for top notch candidates? A career counselor? Resume specialist? Or do you offer other resources to busy moms? Email galite@momangeles.com to find out about being part of our marketplace.

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11 Feb

It’s Time to Retire the Phrase “Working Mom”

I am absolutely fed up with the term “working mom.” In fact, the next time someone asks me if I identify as one, I am going to answer that the very term “working mom” is redundant. Yes, I founded my own business and I’m a professional writer. Yes, I work from home. But even if I didn’t do these career-oriented things, I am and will always be a working mom.

When we use the term “working mom,” we are implying that mothers who are homemakers do not work. Being a homemaker and a mom are the two hardest, most physically and emotionally exhausting jobs I can think of … and I’ve had some pretty demanding jobs in my lifetime. READ THE REST ON BABBLE>>>

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