Remember to manage your life as well as your career.
Can we have it all –career, family, social life? Or do we have to make choices to keep a happy balance
These days most people feel they are expected to put work first and fit their life around it, making a balance very difficult to achieve.
Recently many women have spoken out about this in response to Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean in. Ms Sandberg is COO of Facebook and a married mother of two. Her book urges women not to sell themselves short in their career aspirations, but to lean in to the challenge.
She argues that women make many small decisions along the way, and often without even realising it, they stop reaching for new opportunities.
In our society this must apply to many men too, who are pressured to be a new man at home as well as the breadwinner at work.
Sandberg’s advice is that women must not aim lower in their career because they want to have children eventually, but to work their way up the corporate chain so they are more able to set their own terms when they have children. She claims the lack of women in senior positions is as much about women’s unconscious self sabotage as by institutional sexism.
Marissa Mayer CEO of Yahoo has recently ended work at home arrangements at Yahoo, and has been accused of being out of touch. She has built a nursery next to her office, an option not necessarily open to everyone.
Anne –Marie Slaughter, an academic at the USA State Department, who has left her job to spend more time with her teenage children, says that it is not women who need to change but the macho work culture.
Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post believes that everyone should lean in but the culture needs to change; the male dominated model of success does not work for men or women
Erin Callan Former CFO of Lehman Brothers says that before the crash and her resignation in 2008, her every waking moment was spent working. She commented that she has followed with interest the escalating work life balance debate and the positions taken by Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Anne –Marie Slaughter and others. She has no children but says her spouse, friends and family did not get the best version of her.
Here are some extracts from a Sunday Times article she contributed to on 24 March 2013 “my boundaries slipped away until work was all that was left ….What I did was who I was…I am beginning to realise that I sold myself short….“
She goes on to say her marriage has ended and at age 47 she and her new husband are now undergoing IVF because she missed having a child of her own .
She ends by saying “Whatever valuable advice I have about managing a career, I am only now learning how to manage a life “
These days’ people do not have the opportunity to look forward to retirement as our parents generation did. So lean back, before you topple over, and carve out some time for yourself, family and hobbies.