Gini Dietrich

Women Can’t Have it All? Change the Conversation!

By: Gini Dietrich | July 17, 2012 | 

The number of self-employed women has been on a steady increase during the past 30 years.

Women are starting new firms at twice the rate of all other businesses. Female-owned firms number 9.1 million, or nearly 40 percent of all U.S. businesses.

Together they employ 27.5 million people and generate more than $3.6 trillion in sales, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.

And yet…the conversation about women and our rights is heating up.

Call it the war on women. Call it women can’t have it all. Call it the mommy wars. Call it what you like. But it feels like we’ve regressed 50 years in the past six months.

I travel for work. A ton. I think I’m on my 15th week in a row of travel…with another eight to go before I spend one full week at home. And you know what I see? Men. Lots and lots of men.

I see them in the expert security lines. I see them getting on the plane first because of their status. I see them sitting in First Class. I see them at the rental car facilities. I see them everywhere. And, every once in a while, a woman stands out from the crowd. Not because she’s dressed sharp or is attractive, but because she’s one in a sea of hundreds of men.

Don’t get me wrong. I love men. But it sure would be nice to see more women on the road.

The Women Having it All Debate

Earlier this month, The Atlantic ran an article by Anne-Marie Slaughter titled Why Women Still Can’t Have it All. According to the magazine, it is the highest read article they’ve ever had. And, to no surprise, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs posts, articles, videos, and podcasts produced about the very topic, sparked by this one article.

You see, the article’s author tells the story of how she went to work for the government (after spending many years in academia) where she no longer had the flexibility to adjust her schedule based on what her family’s needs were each day.

She said:

In short, the minute I found myself in a job that is typical for the vast majority of working women (and men), working long hours on someone else’s schedule, I could no longer be both the parent and the professional I wanted to be—at least not with a child experiencing a rocky adolescence.

We All Work on Someone Else’s Schedule

I did my professional growing up in the global PR firm world. It was expected we bill 40 hours a week and, if we wanted to get ahead, another 20 hours a week went to business development. That was fine in my 20s and even early 30s. I didn’t mind the hours and, truth be told, if I work 60 hours in a given week today, I feel like I’m on vacation.

But having it expected of us is the old way of doing things…and it’s a hard habit to break.

Before the web and virtual offices and even the economic crash, it was expected we be in the office for a certain number of hours. I remember when I started working for a Chicago-based ad agency in 2001, the receptionist clocked us in every morning…but was never there at 8 p.m. to clock us out. That used to infuriate me because I’d get docked for coming into the office at 8:45, but didn’t get credit for being on the road or entertaining clients or working with my team until well after 5:00 p.m.

And, because of these two experiences, I took that same mentality when I started my own marketing communications firm. In by 8:30, out by 5:30. Most of us eat lunch at our desks, so don’t even think about leaving the office for an hour. And, if clients request you before 8:30 or after 5:30, you’d better be on call.

And then I learned employees are much more productive when you give them goals and hold them accountable to that instead of the number of hours they work.

How Can We Have it All?

The conversation isn’t about how we have it all. It’s about how to we get our bosses to allow us to work toward results instead of number of hours. It’s about how we start businesses or freelance or become solopreneurs so we can change the conversation. It’s about getting flextime and working from home. It’s about using technology to our advantage so we can work from the kid’s soccer games or from the coffee shop or a beach.

If you don’t have goals, that are tied directly to the organization’s goals, that’s your first step. It won’t be easy and it’s going to take some time, but if you can deliver results – real results that drive business growth – asking for flextime or a couple of hours off to go to your daughter’s dance recital, to take a parent to the doctor, or to exercise at noon will become a non-issue.

Change the conversation. It’s not about not having it all. It’s about having it all by delivering results instead of hours.

A version of this first appeared on PR Daily.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • ElissaFreeman

    I’m so glad you wrote this…this article as been on my mind – as it has been with most women.  It’s important to start this conversation…because so many people in positions of power do NOT get this concept.  Both men and women, I hate to say.  Work habits need to change; we are hired for our skill and acument…but we also have lives.  People who don’t get that, in my view, are neandrathals and could never wrap their heads around this kind of thinking.  But it just makes so much sense and we need to at least start this conversation to enact change.

    •  @ElissaFreeman And technology has created an environment where we’re supposed to be working 24/7/365. Doctors are supposed to be on call for 24 hours or more. PR pros are supposed to be on alert for crisis in the middle of the night. Even pilots are flying planes without eight hours of sleep. No one is productive that way. No one.

      • terreece

        @ginidietrich @ElissaFreeman The sad thing is technology was supposed to improve productivity and eliminate overwork.

  • VirginiaMann

    Let me be really controversial.  No one can have it all. Not men, not women.  Maybe it’s time to stop making women think they can or should have it all.  The reality is that women can live happy, productive, meaningful lives without having children. And, the further reality is that no ones genes are so special that the world won’t survive if they aren’t passed along. We live on an overcrowded planet with limited resources. Now might be a good time to re-evaluate whether or not everyone has to have kids. So, let’s also quit perpertuating the myth that motherhood is a critical component of a happy successful life.
    The reality is that if a woman wants both, then she probably has to find a husband or partner who is willing to take on more of the child and household responsibilities than most men take on. And I don’t mean someone who’s willling to do the grocery shopping once a week or pick up the kids from day care. I mean a spouse who’s willing and able to recognize that groceries need to be bought, figure out the list on their own, do the shopping, put the food away, throw out the old stuff, etc. Not someone who arrives as daycare as they are told, but who actually knows the schedule and was instrumental in creating it.  Without that, it’s probably just not possible for women to have it all.

    •  @VirginiaMann Thank you for this.  I believe that we do put a lot of pressure on men to “have it all” as well, and I am not sure it is doable for anyone in the same way it used to be.  Perhaps it never was. 

    •  @VirginiaMann I agree men can’t have it all, either. I wrote this, responding mostly to The Atlantic article. And I also agree with you that women can live productive and happy lives without children. It pisses me off to no end when people look at me with sympathy as if I chose a career over having kids. No one knows why someone chooses to have kids (or not). And, frankly, it’s none of anyone’s business. But just because it’s right for you doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. But now I’m getting steamed about an entirely different topic. 🙂
      And you know Mr. D….I lucked out in the helping out around the house department with him.

      • VirginiaMann

        Gini, I agree with what you said about the kids. As someone who decided long ago not to have kids, I was always offended when people would tell me I’d change my mind. I didn’t and I’ve never regretted it. But one point I have to raise regarding your comment is the notion that you “lucked out” with Mr. D. helping around the house. That’s a notion that has to change. Until women demand that men take on equal responsibility, men won’t do it. The expectation has to change. It shouldn’t be about luck when a spouse does their fair share around the house. It should be that nothing less would be acceptable.

        •  @VirginiaMann YES, yes and yes for this. 

        •  @VirginiaMann Totally agree. But men aren’t there yet so I did luck out. Most are not raised to help out around the house (at least not in my generation or the ones before it). So, until our kids and our kid’s kids figure it out, it likely won’t change.

        • VirginiaMann

          Gini, I guess I don’t think women need to wait for another generation. If they don’t accept someone who isn’t a full partner, things will start changing pretty quickly.

        •  @VirginiaMann @ginidietrich Or we are single, but I digress…

  • margieclayman

    Gini, I love you.
    That being said, what I liked best about that article was that it offered some solid suggestions on how to make the current working world more pleasant for both women and men. For example, I really thought her recommendation about changing school hours was solid. But that suggestion also reflects the fact that in many ways, the US has simply not evolved. We still (predominantly) run like the agrarian culture we were 200 years ago. Not surprisingly, this is creating clashes with our current 21st century world. In order for these issues to be addressed, our entire culture needs to be addressed, and that really tends to freak people the heck out. I’m not sure when we will be at a point where we’re ready to turn everything upside down, and it could be a very messy process.
    What a ride.

    •  @margieclayman The school example really struck home with me, too. There are lots of things that have to happen in order to change society and our culture. But I know I can affect my little corner of the world. And that’s to create an environment where my team is focused on results so they can exercise at noon or take their ailing parent to the doctor or, heck, be home with a spouse who has cancer.

  • Great post Gini.  I particularly enjoyed that you discuss how this “old-fashioned”- let’s just call it Mad Men- mentality affects men and women. I believe there is an enormous amount of pressure on men and women to achieve so much, be in constant motion, and yet also be happy and content- a hard, perhaps impossible, challenge. 

    •  @RebeccaTodd It’s a hard lesson I had to learn. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I realized people are happier and more productive at work if they have balance in their lives and are focused on results instead of number of hours. Not to say I don’t sometimes want people to put in a little extra effort to go beyond, but that’s just me being an entrepreneur and looking for the next revenue source.

      •  @ginidietrich I really believe thought that when given a goal-based environment rather than one concerned with clock punching, more gets done.  The more flexible my schedule is to pursue balance through yoga, etc, the more productive I am, and the more likely I am to work freely on the weekends just because I am feeling the work flow. 

      •  @ginidietrich  I really believe though that when given a goal-based environment rather than one concerned with clock punching, more gets done.  The more flexible my schedule is to pursue balance through yoga, etc, the more productive I am, and the more likely I am to work freely on the weekends just because I am feeling the work flow. 

        •  @RebeccaTodd I’ve discovered that for myself just this year. Because I can ride my bike at noon (instead of 5 a.m.), I am MUCH happier. And I’m exercising more. And I’m eating better. And I’m sleeping better. And I’m MUCH more productive. Funny how that works, huh?

        •  @ginidietrich When my hours are counted, I actually choose not to do the work at times that I am inspired to do so because those hours don’t “count”. How is that in any way a good system?!? Work smarter, not more. 

  • sherrilynne

    I share your views on this. But what you don’t mention is the demand put upon working women outside the office.  For the most part women do most of the household chores, shopping, child care, elder care etc. When are the men going to step up and become true partners?

    •  @sherrilynne I lucked out in this camp. It wasn’t always equal at our house, but Mr. D sold his partnership in his business a couple of years ago and set about figuring out what he was going to do next. While he did that, he took on more responsibility at home while I worked. Now he even knows my cycling shorts can’t go in the dryer! But you’re right – things have to be equal at home and in the workplace.

      •  @ginidietrich  @sherrilynne I’m definitely the more domestically-minded between Lisa and myself, and much of that arose because I’ve worked remotely since 2007.  

        •  @jasonkonopinski And you cook…which is super nice!

        •  @ginidietrich Lisa has often said that if I didn’t cook, we wouldn’t eat. She can’t cook – at all. 🙂 

      • sherrilynne

         Your situation is atypical.  Until men step up…women really cant’s have it all.

      • terreece

        @ginidietrich @sherrilynne My husband actually is more committed to the cooking/cleaning aspect of the house. He’s better at it and the tension has come from my lack of interest (and teetering paper piles he must never ever touch). We’ve worked at finding that balance where he doesn’t feel like the unpaid help. It’s tough all the way around, each aspect of life is a figuring out thing and the pressure to have it figured out is phenomenal.

        •  @terreece   Oh I can think of ways you could pay him. 🙂

        •  @terreece  @ginidietrich  @sherrilynne Have to agree with Terrece here. My husband is at home with the girls all day and then still goes to work most nights. He takes the lion share of household duties. Together, we make sure that the girls are always with one of us (excluding pre-school etc). I work the 9-5 or 7-4 to be more exact, to make sure this happens. 
          I don’t think having it all is the right term. I think @AmyVernon  had it right when she shared the “good enough is the new perfect” quote. I think we all just do the best we can. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @terreece Dirty bird. 😉 

    •  @sherrilynne Sorry, that is the sort of blanket statement I can’t abide because it is based upon anecdotal experience and not fact.
      There are enormous numbers of fathers who share the chores around the house and life in general.
      When we fall into the trap of keeping score we create numerous issues. For example, I spent 8 years as the sole income provider in our house.
      During that time my wife stayed home with the kids and took care of many of the “traditional” roles. But there were many times where I took care of the meals, handled repairs on the house and did what needed to be done.
      We would have gone crazy if we tried to figure out who did more and who was more valuable.
      But the real point here is that it is unfair to make statements about true partners. It is divisive.

      •  @TheJackB This is lovely, Jack, and I believe it highlights how many people are not in true partnerships. Keeping score is just as erosive as being non-participatory.  

        •  @RebeccaTodd I have a friend whose wife proudly tells her friends that she is a housewife and that her responsibility is to take care of the kids and to do the housework.
          She truly loves it and doesn’t want to work at a desk or in any sort of office environment.
          Some of her female friends go crazy because they feel like she is holding women back, but I disagree.
          If she is doing this by choice and they are happy who are we to complain.
          A good partnership is based upon what works for the partners and that doesn’t have to match what others think or see on television.
          Perception and experience plays such a big role in this.

        • rdopping

           @RebeccaTodd  @TheJackB 100%

        •  @rdopping  @TheJackB I am a little envious of someone who is both self- aware enough to know absolutely what makes them happy and has the courage to go for it regardless of what “society” says. I always say- I really don’t care what you do, but be happy about it. Tell your friend’s wife she is the one who really has it all. 

      •  @TheJackB Thank you. 🙂

    • AmyEricsonBuhrow

       @sherrilynne You didn’t mention parent teacher organizations, teaching Sunday School, coaching, community organizations, etc. At least in my sphere, theses roles are dominated by women and more often than not, dominated by working women. 

  • Maybe our goal should be to work fewer hours. What kind of a business culture expects goals to be realized at the expense of young children or ailing parents? When more women became doctors, they worked fewer hours, resulting in the need for more doctors. If we worked a little less,  there would be less unemployment and more opportunities for young people.
    It was possible for me to raise two kids as a single parent because of the flexibility of working freelance. Now I need more time for my parents. Even so, I wish I had more time for fitness, reading, fun and other activities and interests that make life worthwhile. Yes, I have business goals, but I integrate them with my larger life goals.

    •  @barbsawyers Yeah…that was kind of my point. You don’t have to be at your desk 50 (or even 40) hours a week to be productive. If you can do your job in 25 hours a week, more power to you (though, if you work for me, I’m going to make you responsible for more).

      • VirginiaMann

        But Gini, that is part of the problem. Those who do more are asked to do more. If you’re efficient and productive, you are given more work, so there’s no letting up and no opportunity for balance. And, it’s been my experience that at times that extra work is helping out with work that would otherwise go to people who have to leave at 5 to pick up their kids or took the day off because their kid was sick. So, while it’s great when women can create boundries around their work so they can also be great parents, it’s not so great that most companies don’t hire another employee to make up the difference, but expect those who are already there and have more flexible schedules to do do.

        •  @VirginiaMann I said that in jest. But if the employee has the wherewithal to work 40 hours a week and has the passion to do so, I am going to give them more to do. But if the agreement is a part-time position, I’d never ask them to do more. I’d only do so if my full-time employees are kicking butt and taking names and want more to do. 

      • theredheadsaid

         @ginidietrich you just contradicted yourself!

        •  @theredheadsaid I know! I was joking…it didn’t work.

      • theredheadsaid

         @ginidietrich I worked at a startup in California as the sole tech writer. As the company grew, I kept working harder and harder, until at once time I was responsible for 12 products, researching, writing and updating all the manuals, plus testing products as they came through to catch product problems early so I wouldn’t have to make users suffer and “write around it” in documentation. When I finally left, they replaced me with THREE people. As my wise friend Jaye once said, “if you keep pulling rabbits out of hats, pretty soon they will expect kangaroos.” and boy did I pull out a lot of kangaroos. And what do I have to show for it? Nothing. Not a damn thing.

        •  @theredheadsaid This is slightly off topic, but your comment makes me think of something my Grandpa always says… When you’re kind and you give money to the homeless guy down the street every day, the one day you can no longer do that, he’s mad at you. But he’s not angry at the people who pass him every day without giving him a cent.

  • magriebler

    Gini, you have found the nail and you keep hitting it on the head. This post dovetails beautifully with a post you did a little while ago on time management. Where other writers on this subject keep getting stuck on gender roles and who does the laundry (the subject of many fights at my house, but still), you take the macro view and call on a culture shift that will benefit everyone: male, female, parents, child-free, single, partnered. It’s not about having it all. It’s about getting it done, about naming goals and rewarding results. How long it takes you to achieve those results is beside the point. As you said, “It’s about having it all by delivering results instead of hours.” Make that a reality and we’ll all get more efficient in our work habits. Because right now, our work environments reward the hours.

    •  @magriebler Hmmm…almost like I’m testing this idea for a book perhaps? 🙂

      • magriebler

         @ginidietrich Well, I’d buy it …. I’d even read it!

  • We can’t have it all. There is no such thing as balance. It’s figuring out what is most important RIGHT NOW. The reason I started my own company (and then later, very carefully chose a partner) is so that I could determine what was important to my life, my career and my family. My day starts at 6 usually, I don’t do lunch and I know that once the school bell rings, that my priorities shift until after 8 when things calm down enough for me to go back into my professional world. There is nothing that we do that can’t take a break and if something critical comes along, then guess what? That’s what’s most important RIGHT NOW. 
    Women will never rise above this until we stop being our own worst enemy. The SAHM -v- WAHM -v- Working mom -v- Childless Woman war has to end. We’re sisters that should be united in support of one another no matter what path we choose.

    •  @KristenDaukas Did you read The Atlantic article? I really loved when she said she went from one of those women that looked down her nose at other women to actually empathizing with those who were OK with not “having it all.” I get that same look when people learn I don’t have kids…like I chose my career over having a family and they think me very selfish. And yet they have no idea why I don’t have kids.

      •  @ginidietrich Not this one honestly, but it’s the same message that’s been tossed around for a while. And people that judge you for not having kids are just as bad as those who judge me for having kids. Believe me – it goes both ways. Trust me – if it weren’t for my kids, I’d still be bartending in Vail instead of banging out 60+ hours a week wherever I can squeeze it in. I know that in order to be MOM and PROFESSIONAL at the same time, I have to pony up the schedule.  The best line I learned was from my friend/mentor Sue Lecin Polinsky .. working for yourself means you get to pick the 80 hours a week you work.  
        I agree with one of the other 130+ commenters  that this is an old-school mentality problem. This is a new world and until the crusty old dudes are retired, we’re going to have this struggle. 

  • This has always been something I’ve had a hard time understanding ever since I entered the working world. In my first job I worked for a retired general. Most of the employees worked 12+ hours a day (and they made a point of reminding you of it too). They were working when they were home at night, although telework was not an option and we were only allowed to put down 40 hours on our timesheet.
    What was lacking though was productivity. There was no work life balance and no boundaries. I remember the CEO actually saying in a meeting, “we’re in a recession everyone is working overtime, we should all just be happy to have a job.” I understand that, I loved my first job and learned a lot, especially about people and the work place, but to me wasn’t it important as an employer to actually care about your employees well being, health and family? I witnessed first hand the repercussions of this type of work environment unraveling before me. People snapped easily, their family life was falling apart, all for what? And one day my immediate supervisor said to me, “never forget that at the end of the day it’s your family and friends who will be there at your death bed taking care of you. And no one will be at your funeral remembering you for the 60+ hours of work you did.” All of this taught me a very important lesson early on and it made me realize I did not want to define myself by my career.
    I’m not saying I don’t love what I do or that I don’t stay late, I value hard work, exceeding goals and doing the best work possible. But not at the sacrifice of what other life priorities I have and I see more and more people deciding the same. I think we all have a responsibility to change this way of thinking and doing business. I think the companies that do will experience better success and employee retention rates.

    •  @rachaelseda if an employee can accomplish their goals in 4 hours a day and that is all they can contribute and be happy, more power to them. Probably one of the worst things someone could say to an employee is “you’re lucky to have a job”.

      •  @hackmanj I used to write a lot of SAS code for the marketing department at GEICO. Sometimes I’d be typing away for four or five hours straight and notice that everyone around me had gone to lunch. It was surreal, because it seemed like it had only been 30 minutes. There were other times, when I had to work out how the code was to be written, that I’d spend an hour, motionless, staring at my computer.
        The assumption was, I wasn’t working, because my fingers weren’t typing. People would stop in to chat and I would lose my train of thought. I had 5 stress hippos on my desk. I learned that if I tilted 3 or 4 of them down on their noses, people assumed that this was a signal that something was up. If I tipped all 5 down, nobody would talk to me. (Defcon/Defhipp 5) (Note: defcon 5 is actually ‘At Peace’, but the person who came with the term didn’t know that.)
        The point is, one component of quality work is careful consideration of how to proceed. After only a few projects, my bosses stopped caring if I was “actively working” or “passively working”, they just let me be, and read my results when they were done.
        I was fortunate because they were able to focus on results not hours or appearance of work.

    •  @rachaelseda I love that you learned this early in your career. I wish I had. It’s been really hard for me not to watch how many hours people work, instead relying on whether or not they’re accomplishing their goals. I blame it on my career upbringing…but also take responsibility for changing it.

  • When I shifted to a corporate world, little did I know what I was getting into. Not only in terms of work pressure but in terms of how woman are seen. Living in the Middle East, seeing woman go to work is a fairly new concept. I was a stress counselor for about five departments and the first thought (out loud) by the employees coming to me was  – you are a woman!
    My department consisted of about fifteen men and I was the sole female. Not because they didn’t want to work but because men didn’t think they could. Given the fact that they “had to work ten hours a day and that they couldn’t handle the stress”. And yes, I was questioned when I came in ten minutes late and the “boss” wasn’t there to see my work when I worked hours beyond closing time. And they cut my pay once a month because I was stuck in a traffic and came in an hour late. They said, “you don’t have kids, you aren’t married, why didn’t you start early, what’s your excuse”. And they carefully overlooked the fact that I had conducted counseling for almost double the employees than the suggested target for the month. 
    Sometimes, it really becomes tough to have it all. And this comes from a single girl! Some people just don’t get it. The only way is to fight back and show them what we’ve got! 🙂

    •  @Hajra  Your experience is so vastly different than what women are experiencing in the U.S. I’m curious…would you be interested in writing a guest blog post about women’s roles in the Middle East and how it compares to America?

      •  @ginidietrich I found Hajra’s comment to be VERY interesting and would love it if she would write a post for you.  Hajra, it sounds like you are fighting an uphill battle against the ‘norms’ of your society, and I find that heroic. I’m very impressed and I hope you will always remember to look at what you’ve accomplished as incredible.

        •  @ExtremelyAvg  @ginidietrich There really are no norms. I feel it is more of a perception than a reality. I was fighting a more uphill battle when I was not in the Middle East! 
          Woman here are actually encouraged to work and come and contribute as much as they can. Even their families are more supportive of the whole idea. Earlier, that wasn’t the scene. Especially in corporate sectors, but Middle East, especially the UAE (the country I stay in) is very adaptive to the change their people are seeing.
          There is a good record of how woman in the UAE have advanced over the years and it is remarkable. It breaks many myths.
          You could read more about it here

        • @ExtremelyAvg@ginidietrich
          There really are no norms. I feel it is more of a perception than a reality. I was fighting a more uphill battle when I was not in the Middle East! 
          Woman here are actually encouraged to work and come and contribute as much as they can. Even their families are more supportive of the whole idea. Earlier, that wasn’t the scene. Especially in corporate sectors, but Middle East, especially the UAE (the country I stay in) is very adaptive to the change their people are seeing.
          There is a good record of how woman in the UAE have advanced over the years and it is remarkable. It breaks many myths.
          You could read more about it here

      • terreece

        @ginidietrich @Hajra That’s a great idea! I’d love to hear more too!

        •  @terreece  @ginidietrich  @Hajra @ExtremelyAvg Yes yes yes!

      •  @ginidietrich As much as I would love to; I don’t think I would justice to that post. My experience is hugely different from the local woman here; I am an expat and my experiences are going to be hugely different from that of the local woman here. Maybe when I think I am able to put in a sensible structure of what is happening around, I might get in touch! The local woman here are just much better at working towards the change. 
        It isn’t about Middle East not “allowing” their woman to work. There really is nothing like that. Even when I was in India, I saw how some of my friends struggled to work in a corporate male dominated environment. When I was counseling couples in India, I had so many cases of men not “allowing” their wives to work, they felt she won’t be doing justice to her family. 
        And people in the Middle East are somehow more open to the idea of woman working and balancing a home. Woman here are actually encouraged to come to work! They are offered incentives to work. When I was working in the organization, most of the men I was working with were not from the Middle East; they were from Europe and Asia. So as far as I have noticed, it isn’t about a place, it is more about how much people have evolved and accepted change. 
        As for balance, I saw woman in my work towards that balance, but what worried me was the fact that people kept judging them on how well they could handle both. Nothing else matters. One (man or woman) should be judged on well they work, not because they come in fifteen minutes late or are having a little trouble handling their kids.

  • terreece

    So you know I had to write on this one girl! I hate it when people say I have it all and I’m Superwoman, etc. and I have to say it nicely, but I really just want to yell out “Bullshit, there’s no such thing.”

    Superwoman, having it all, etc. it’s all really just others trying to define what it is you should have and be doing. This year, the 13th year of owning my business and being a full-time writer is the first year I’ve realized I set the schedule and tone of what I do. And I know full well that putting in too many hours sets the stage for procrastination which leads to deadline pressure and burn-out.

    You hit the nail on the head when you talk about goals and results. I had to really just drop a reality bomb on a client who remarked about my perceived office hours with a simple “Are you getting everything you need from me? Am I exceeding your expectations?” when they replied yes, I just gave the look.

    It’s people like us who have to keep having these conversations about expectations and redefining what it ‘looks like’ to be a good producer.

    •  @terreece “putting in too many hours sets the stage for procrastination which leads to deadline pressure and burn-out.” Amen!

  • I love the idea of results based compensation because that is the rules that an entrepreneur/self employed individual lives and dies by. This is one of those issues that falls under the culture category. Strides are being made and stereotypes are being torn apart but it takes time. I think the best way to affect this kind of change is through leadership (lead by example). Make the decisions that are best for you and your family (if you have one) and never be ashamed of it. As a business, capitalize on the opportunity to employ those that are considered un-employable by the ill informed. Those talented workers that need to be employed based on results but don’t want to go it alone and accomplish great things together, win. It is difficult to argue with success. Never apologize for your success or “having it all”. If anything that sort of talk just further motivates people that know it is crap.
    The reality is the rules only apply if you believe them, we’ve got to stop believing these rules, stop blaming and start doing. I think changing the conversation is accomplishing that…

    •  @hackmanj That’s how I feel about it, too. I figure there is one way I can change things…and it’s by changing the way things are done at my business. Sure, we have to track our time and we have to be profitable. But our clients pay us for results, not hours worked. So why can’t people work the same?

  • Gini, this is so well-written. I’ve been amazed at the hours I’ve seen employees clock at startups. Literally — amazed. Amazed that they could be productive and sustain themselves for so long. Amazed that they didn’t burn out after two weeks of it. Amazed that this is not only sustainable, but more or less expected. 
    And then I realized that they’re not trying to clock in the hours. They’re just extremely passionate about what they do and where the company is going.
    That being said, I’m a huge supporter of having a work/life balance. If I burn it, I seriously burn out, and I need to recharge. I like to have time to myself to recharge so I can come to work the next day as refreshed and eager as possible. Thankfully, work (at least in the startup world) is becoming more flexible to allow employees to do what they need to be the best they can be. I can only hope that other industries see the benefits of this and start moving in that direction sooner rather than later.

    •  @annedreshfield The problem is, no one can sustain it. So they might be passionate about the work they’re doing, but it’s eventually going to affect their health and their family lives. In my previous life, people were having affairs at work because they couldn’t get home to, well, have the spousal attention. It affects you, even if you think you’re fine.

      •  @ginidietrich Definitely true. I’m a little leery of the “throw yourself all in” attitude because I know I personally wouldn’t be able to sustain it while keeping my health and sanity intact. To each their own, but there absolutely has to be a line where you say enough is enough, here’s what I need for my own health and happiness. Work is work…it’s not life! 

  • VirginiaMann

    This is a great discussion @ginidietrich  I really think that the bottom line is that people need to be more thoughtful about what they want in life and have a plan to get it.  Man or woman, if you want a super career moving up the corporate ladder at break neck speed, or building your own widely successful business, you are going to have a difficult time also having a family.  And, it’s ok if you don’t have children.
    If you want the widely successful business or the corporate C-suite, you need to plan to have a partner who can truly relieve a lot of the domestic burdens, or hire enough outside help to do so. And if you want to have “balance” in your life, you probably aren’t going to be the next CEO of GE, so you need to be ok with that. That too is a reasonable choice. You don’t have to have it all.
    I wonder how all our male executive friends with kids made it happen. My guess is they didn’t also have mulitple children and a wife who worked 60 hour weeks in a high-pressure job outside the home.

    •  @VirginiaMann We kind of got a good discussion going, didn’t we?

      • VirginiaMann

        That we did. So glad that I make my own schedule and could waste part of my day staying on top of this topic. Fortunately, I don’t have kids so I can spend tonight working on making sure my business accounting is up-to-date.  I must say, as a radical feminist, there were times I had to restrain my comments, but I love the conversation. Thanks for getting it going!

  • I’m a single, never married, middle aged man, and as such, I don’t pretend to understand the emotional/psychological impact this age old “Having it All” debate has on women.
    I do have a question, though. The term “all” seems to be, work, husband (partner) and kids. Is that really “all” for most women, or has the percentage who consider it all, been inflated by society?
    I can certainly understand how a career could be a plus. I can imagine that sharing one’s life with another, would also improve life, but having kids seems to me to be a HUGE negative to the score.
    I’m the son of a mathematician and I’ve done a little calculating, 1 + 1 = 2, while 1 + 1 – 1 = 1. Now, please understand, I’m not a parent, so I can’t say if it is true, but I’ve heard rumor that once you have children, they insist on being fed (often multiple times a day), clothed, and bathed. How is that fun?
    In all seriousness, though, is it possible that there are plenty of women who feel like they have it all, by being in a relationship and loving their jobs, that are afraid to “come out of the closet” and tell their mothers, their happy sans les enfants?
    If that were true, then maybe we should lift the burden of breeding from the women who really don’t want little urchins taking over their lives and, instead, celebrate their accomplishments.
    So, are some women striving for the label “Mother”, just because of guilt?

    •  @ExtremelyAvg I think “all” has various meanings. My wife voluntarily gave up her teaching career to raise our kids and educate them, and has had no regrets. I think the key is to define what “all” means to you and not let the culture dictate it. The culture shouldn’t dictate that a woman “must” stay home and not work, in the same way that it shouldn’t tell a woman she is less if she doesn’t work outside of the home. 

      • magriebler

         @KenMueller   Yes, Ken! And this goes for whether people decide to have children or not … and why they make those decisions. Being a parent has been the greatest source of joy in my life. I would never dream of making that decision for anyone else. I respect them for their choices and, in return, ask that they respect mine. Simple as that.

    •  @ExtremelyAvg Love this! Highlights some of my issues with this statement as well.  If you aren’t creating your own personal definition of what “it all” really means, you will never achieve it. Completely agree with @KenMueller as well! 

    • VirginiaMann

      @extremelyAvg I couldn’t agree more. There has always been way too much of an expectation that women will have children. Society as a whole, and women in particular, will be better off when that is not assumed to be part of everyone’s equation, but rather is a thoughtful choice made with full awareness of the commitments required and impact it will have on their lives and their careers. 

      •  @VirginiaMann  @extremelyAvg I believe that if this pressure were lifted and only those who really wanted to have children, had them, then society as a whole would be better. How good is the parent who never wanted the job?

    • Jbzee

      It took a man to say it but thank you. In all of these conversations, a stereotype is enforced of the woman who chooses not to have children and concentrate not only on a successful career but on a successful and happy personal life that is childfree. The stereotype is that this woman is lonely, loveless, and nightly returns to a solitary bleak apartment to share take out Chinese with her cat. The truth is that many more of these women than dare to admit it are content and happy in addition to being fulfilled and successful. I am one of them. Whether married or in other successful relationships, many of us thank the deities every day that we live in a time of decent birth control, legal abortion and the right to fight back against the notion that all women must want and value children above career, travel, deep friendships, literature, parties, the arts, sports and other pastimes unavailable to those who choose a child centered life. Some of us are not cut out for 18 years of mind numbing child chores, guilt, and self sacrifice. We do no service to children to have them anyway just in case society is right and we might regret not having progeny later. Why doesn’t anyone cover successful career women who do have it all because children are not in the mix of what “all” is?

      • VirginiaMann

        @Jbzee I totally agree. I don’t know what the corporate work environment is like today, but I was always amazed that it was ok to leave at 5 to pick up kids from day care, but not for those of us who chose to not have children. I certainly hope that today everyone’s time is equally valued and everyone’s decisions equally respected.

      •  @Jbzee On the kids thing…I always have people look down their noses at me when I say we don’t have kids. Always. In business meetings, in social settings, and even around my family. It’s the question everyone asks, “Do you have kids?” when they meet you. I always say, “Yes. I have employees.” But the looks I get. Oh my. I didn’t choose not to have kids, but it’s something I live with every day. My only saving grace is my mom was SUPER about it. So I agree with you about all of us not being suited for parenthood. I know plenty of parents who should not have had kids.

        • VirginiaMann

          @ginidietrich  I totally know what you mean, although I think increasingly they are envious. When I’m asked, I just say, “My husband and I chose not to have children. Do you have kids.” Lately (and I think it’s because so many of my peers have teenagers and college age kids) they are less enthusiastic about their decision than I recall people being five years ago. They still love their kids, but are realistic about the challenges and negative sides as well as the positives.

        •  @VirginiaMann When I’m asked that question, I say in a barely discernible voices of superiority, “Gawd no, I’m lucky, my sister already took that bullet, so I don’t have to.” Then I wipe my brow, bend down on one knee, say a prayer and yell “Amen” at the end. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but it is how I feel.
          I always assume the people who are asking, have kids, and regret it. Isn’t that why they are asking?  Maybe, they just lack the facilities to think if a more interesting topic, because really, even if I did, do you really care to hear about them? I didn’t think so.

        • theredheadsaid

           @VirginiaMann I have several friends who admit, in shameful voice, that if they had to do it all again, they might not have had kids, because they were unprepared for how EXHAUSTING it would be

      •  @Jbzee Cats, Chinese Food, and no kids…super Sexy.

    •  @ExtremelyAvg Definitely having it all depends on the person, but the debate is around having a well-kept home, a growing garden, beautifully manicured landscape, homecooked meals every night, well-behaved children, sex with your spouse multiple times a week, the right car, the right house, a career, having time to exercise, and doing your hobbies. It’s impossible…for both men and women.

      •  @ginidietrich Who made all those rules? Probably, a miserable person, full of bitterness, angst and low self-esteeem. I don’t want a garden, landscaped lawn, home cooked meals, children, or care about my car. I’d like to find a spouse, but it isn’t the end of the world if I don’t, because I have time to exercise and love my hobbies…and I write.  The problem is people have built a list with too many things on it.

  • The idea of having it all is wrong. There is no way to have it “all” – but there is a way to have your own, personal all. I may have it all for what I want and need, but it maybe woefully inadequate for someone else who has more children or wants a new car every year. It may be incredibly bountiful for someone who has no children or wants to have as small a carbon footprint as is humanly possible. I think the biggest lesson is that we need to figure out what we need (most important) and want (less important, but there’s also a difference between what we truly want and what we think we want) and how we get that.
    An old college classmate wrote “Good Enough is the New Perfect,” and I think it’s completely true. Striving for perfection makes us just feel inadequate. Strive for perfection in the truly important things, but good enough is good enough for the things that don’t matter to us, personally.

    • magriebler

       @AmyVernon Lots of good stuff here. Your classmate’s quote recalls a line attributed to Voltaire: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” And sometimes I have to settle for good even with things that matter. C’est la vie, as Voltaire probably also said.
      I especially like your reminder that we need to remember the difference between what we want and what we need. And sometimes, deciding what’s good enough helps us make the distinction.

      •  @magriebler  @AmyVernon I agree with Marianne – lots of good stuff here. I think this is a lesson we all have to learn. After all, we all (at some point in our lives) think the grass is greener. I know I sometimes look at the mansions in my neighborhood with these fantastic outdoor spaces and wish I had that. But then I look at my house and realize how much I love it and it’s OK that it’s not gigantic. After all, I’d just have more to clean (oh, who I am kidding? The cleaning lady would have more to clean). 

  • JodiEchakowitz

    Achieving a good work/life balance is tough for anyone, especially those of us with kids, but I’m not sure how changing the focus to goals and delivering results makes an impact on ensuring a more balanced lifestyle. Since I started my PR agency 11 years ago, it has always been focused on delivering results (and not about billable hours). We get the job done quickly and efficiently and make good money along the way, but this approach doesn’t help me live a balanced lifestyle. Of course, I like to think it’s balanced, but in reality it’s not.
    I work from a home office, which I know puts me at an advantage since I don’t have a commute, but it also means that my office is always just a few feet away from me, and beckons more often than I would like. I make the time to workout almost daily (this helps keep me sane, focused, energized and healthy so that I can run my business well); I participate in carpools and play taxi to ensure my kids get to their extra-curricular programs and doctor’s appointments on time (and work on my laptop while waiting for them). I usually stop working at around 6 so that I can spend time with the family, eat dinner together and relax with them, only to jump back online at around 9:00 and work until past midnight (and if we are all watching a TV show together, more often than not you will find me half watching so that I can use the time to deal with email). Just because I get to do the things I want to do for me and my family during a typical day, doesn’t mean my life is balanced. I still manage to work ridiculously long hours. I usually take 3 – 4 weeks of vacation a year, but still end up working while away – even if it’s only for a few hours. How is this balanced?
    Personally, I think the best way for us to at least feel like we have a more balanced lifestyle is to set more balanced working hours, fully disconnect from work when we are on our own time, and take real vacations from work. Society has come to expect that we make ourselves available 24/7, and because we never push back, this will never change and our lifestyles will never be truly balanced.
    Perhaps focusing on goals/results ensures we work more efficiently so that we have additional time to do the things we want to do, but until we set limits about when we are available for work vs play, I can’t see anything changing.

    •  @JodiEchakowitz You know what? I stopped doing what you describe after hours. Just this year. Once my computer is shut down, it’s shut down. Sure, I’ll check email to be sure nothing is on fire or a client isn’t in crisis, but I won’t work. If I can’t get my work done from 5-12 and 1:30-6:00, the issue is with me. Yes, I know that’s more than 40 hours a week, but (like you) I”m a business owner with a very clear vision on what I want to accomplish. I’m OK with working 12-14 hour days if it gets us closer to our goals and doesn’t hamper my personal life. And that bike ride I take in the middle of the day? It’s saving my life right now with all the travel I’m doing.

  • This is exactly why we switched to unlimited paid vacation…we wanted our staff to have a whole life, however they define it.  As long as the work is getting done and customers are happy, the time you clock in or out makes no difference.  Sometimes that means I help with customer support from the beach on my iPhone, and sometimes it means our CTO taking 7 weeks of paternity leave.  We as women also need to stop looking over the fence and judging the decisions our female colleagues make; I don’t represent woman-kind, I represent me.

    • theredheadsaid

       @rosemaryoneill YOU are the kind of employer that I wish there were more of! p.s. do you need any content strategists? 🙂

      •  @theredheadsaid  We might! Not right now, but possibly by Q4. I would LOVE to work with you!

    •  @rosemaryoneill You have me really thinking about unlimited paid vacation. I might institute that in 2013. I’d never even thought about it.

      •  @ginidietrich Yes yes yes! Do it do it do it!  I suppose you’d have to do something to still track billable hours, though, to report to clients? That’s the biggest question I get from those in “billable hours” industries like PR or law…how to do the reporting that’s requested.

        •  @rosemaryoneill We actually don’t report billable hours. I have my team track so we know what’s profitable and what’s not…and how to charge for certain results. So everyone is responsible for revenue, from that perspective. But if they meet those goals, I don’t care if they do it in the middle of the night, if they want to.

    • theredheadsaid

       @rosemaryoneill I think if you are an enlightened employer, you will tend to hire enlightened workers, whom you can (hopefully) trust to a)get the work done they need to and b) not abuse the vacation.
      How is it working for your company Rosemary?

      •  @theredheadsaid It’s working out very well for us. We do put new employees through the wringer, though.  You have to have a very serious mind-meld process upfront in order to find people who fit into that type of environment.

    •  @rosemaryoneill The Rooster’s company has UPV… funny thing is that he still doesn’t take the time. But it makes sense especially if you’re in sales – if you’ve made your number by June and want to take the rest of the year off – so be it. Of course, you’re screwing yourself the following year when you have no pipeline built up 😉

    •  @rosemaryoneill The Rooster’s company has UPV… funny thing is that he still doesn’t take the time. But it makes sense especially if you’re in sales – if you’ve made your number by June and want to take the rest of the year off – so be it. Of course, you’re screwing yourself the following year when you have no pipeline built up 😉

    •  @rosemaryoneill The Rooster’s company has UPV… funny thing is that he still doesn’t take the time. But it makes sense especially if you’re in sales – if you’ve made your number by June and want to take the rest of the year off – so be it. Of course, you’re screwing yourself the following year when you have no pipeline built up 😉

  • Amen, sister! 🙂 The hours-based work environment is such an old-school view, dating back to a time before technology gave us flexibility and measurement. We are empowered now to work faster and smarter, with refined goals and greater outcomes than ever before. We do indeed need to change the conversation, along with the antiquated minds of business owners living in the past. Thanks for keeping this topic in front of us! 

  • Amen, sister! 🙂 The hours-based work environment is such an old-school view, dating back to a time before technology gave us flexibility and measurement. We are empowered now to work faster and smarter, with refined goals and greater outcomes than ever before. We do indeed need to change the conversation, along with the antiquated minds of business owners living in the past. Thanks @ginidietrich for keeping this topic in front of us! 

  • Amen, sister! 🙂 The hours-based work environment is such an old-school view, dating back to a time before technology gave us flexibility and measurement. We are empowered now to work faster and smarter, with refined goals and greater outcomes than ever before. We do indeed need to change the conversation, along with the antiquated minds of business owners living in the past. Thanks @ginidietrich  for keeping this topic in front of us!

    •  @GayleJoseph I hope the generation coming up behind me is even more flexible with these idea…and make it happen!

  • Amen, sister! 🙂 The hours-based work environment is such an old-school view, dating back to a time before technology gave us flexibility and measurement. We are empowered now to work faster and smarter, with refined goals and greater outcomes than ever before. We do indeed need to change the conversation, along with the antiquated minds of business owners living in the past. Thanks @ginidietrich for keeping this topic in front of us!

  • CloseToHomeMD

    Gini: I love this post. I have to admit I haven’t (yet) read the Atlantic article, but you are talking about my life. All of our lives, really.
    Although I have been able to achieve many of my own personal life goals in academic medicine, and I am in a position that few others get to hold (only 11% of the chairpeople of academic departments of pediatrics are women), I see that society seems to have come to a standstill. Battles many of us thought we had fought and won in the 1970’s are still with us today. that saddens and infuriates me on behalf of the current generation of women, many of whom don’t seem to recognize the dilemma they are in.
    From a personal standpoint I have to let everyone know that I am a physician, married to a physician (a surgeon, in fact). My husband, through the early years of our children’s lives was able to work somewhat shorter hours, did most of the cooking and child care, and less of the traveling than I did. In fact, it seemed that I was always away at some meeting somewhere when any child needed to be hospitalized, or required stitches. He even managed all three girls with chickenpox when I was away as a visiting professor in Chile before we had international cell phones. What a riot!
    Doing the kind of medical practice I did in those days (pediatric critical care) required a schedule, since there always had to be someone to save patient lives. During the years that only three of us were available to cover 24X7 it was brutal, once we had five it was much better. But despite all that, when we saw our youngest graduate from high school, my husband and I realized that there was only ONE TIME we hadn’t BOTH been able to make it to an important school function. It required lots of advanced planning, a highly organized home environment, and collaborative considerate co-workers. It wasn’t always perfect. But I wouldn’t do it any other way.
    And yet, despite my happiness and sense of fulfillment as I look back on child rearing and career building and look forward to enjoying my grandchildren, and continuing to make contributions to the medical field, I look back to see that not many are clamoring to follow in my footsteps. Why, because they look at me and see someone who has worked “hard” to get where I am. They may not want to work so hard, and that is fine. But because you can’t “have it all” you have to realize you must give up something if what you really strive for is more free time. Lots of things are hard. Climbing Mt Everest is hard. No one is going to force you to do it. So if that is your goal, you will have to work at it.
    Just my two cents. Look for me in the airport clubs and the priority lines. I have worked hard enough to earn those privileges.

    •  @CloseToHomeMD What a great story! Thank you for sharing it. It sounds like you have an extremely supportive husband who is able to pitch in when you weren’t able. That’s a lot of what the comments here have to say. We can’t do it all alone. Some of us have supportive spouses, some of us have hired help, some of us have family close by, and some of us sacrifice our idea of having it all in order to do one thing better than anything else. There definitely is not one answer for everyone, but I do know we need to think less about seeing people in person to think they’re productive (unless they’re in a field like yours where it’s pertinent) and more about allowing people the flexibility to live their lives AND work.
      P.S. I’ll be in those lines with you, elbowing the men out of the way who tend to rush to get on the plane very, very first.

      • CloseToHomeMD

         @ginidietrich Thanks for writing such an inspiring piece and encouraging this conversation. Its important and enlightening.

  • ” ‘All’ is in the eye of the beholder” was a better opening 2 hours ago, before smart people like Ken had to go say the same things. There was a method to the madness, though, as I wanted to read some other reactions first. I would say I’m surprised that less than 10% of today’s commenters were men, but I’m not. In fact, we’re largely the root of this evil. Women don’t typically come out and say it because they’d be casted as a feminist. However, I’ve also seen enough responses here to put the onus on you. When I see people reserved to accepting that “things will never change,” I have a hard time believing that things will change. Like Henry Ford always said – Whether think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.

    •  @SociallyGenius Really good Henry Ford quote. I’ve always believed I can change my little part of the world. Maybe I can’t change the society or our culture, as a nation (unless I run for office, which I’m going to leave to you), but I definitely can do it through my company’s growth. Why not become the change we want to see?
      Also, I’m not sure it’s totally the fault of men. Women are really awful to one another. It runs deep with our kind and it’s not good.

      • @ginidietrich If you noticed, like a typical politician, I blamed all sides and offered no real solution

  • I think those that bash the non 8-5 workers are just simply jealous. I know plenty of people who are tied to an office job with those hours who get bitter about their inflexible environment. So they take it out on us – ones who can create their own schedule and hours. There is always going to be someone who looks like they “have it all” or have “balanced everything”. The scale sometimes tips in one direction more than others on some days. When I am at my child’s swim team practice I may look like the working mom who can do it all. But then check in with me at 10pm that night and I may be working. There are 24 hours in a day. I am fortunate to be a position to choose how I spend my hours.

    •  @KarenARocks I misread that and thought you said those who bash the 8-5 workers are jealous. LOL! There is only one way to change things…do what we can with our little piece of the world. If we all focus on results, instead of hours, soon society will change with us.

  • Keena Lykins

    Gini, this is a subject close to my heart, not because I want to have it all (I most emphatically don’t want it all) but because I would like to do meaningful work, receive fair compensation for that work and still have time in my life to do other things, i.e. write books, travel for pleasure not business and go to the occasional movie. 
    Having worked in previous situations where the number of hours billed or being at the desk between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. were more important than the quality of work I did, I now prize the flexibility I have as a freelancer. Sure, I have 16-hour days. Who doesn’t? But I set my own hours, focus on what needs to get done, and can determine when it will get done.
    In my experience, most employers discount flextime or working from home because the assumption is if an employee isn’t visible, then they are somehow less productive than those who are chained to their desk. It’s not about an employee’s ability to meet goals and do great work, but about control and oversight. During the times I’ve worked flex hours or from home, only once was I unreachable for more than an hour when I was needed and never has my work not been of equal quality to what I would produce in the office (most of the time, it’s better). That hasn’t mattered. What mattered was I wasn’t in the cube assigned to me.
    So how do we shift this mindset? Personally, I think it’s generational and we’re running into habits and believes that are practically set in stone. However, as the old guard retires and/or more and more of us become solopreneurs rather than play by obsolete rules, we’ll see a change in the conversation and the workplace to emphasize good work over long hours for the sake of long hours.

    •  @Keena Lykins You know what I’m talking about when I say the receptionist checked you in each morning. That used to drive me crazy and it was in every one of my reviews. I just couldn’t understand how I would get docked for coming in at 8:45 or 9:00, even if I’d gotten off a plane from traveling with a client at 2 a.m. that same day.
      There is only one way to change the mindset…control our little pieces of the world. I do think the Millennials are going to run companies differently than the generations before them. They seem to have it better figured out than any of us.

      • Keena Lykins

         @ginidietrich I think Gen X (us) will run companies differently than our predecessors because the majority of us weren’t in World War 2 (so we didn’t automatically recreate the army infrastructure) and we never did piecework in factories (which means we’ve never seen the need to be tethered to one location to do our job).

        •  @Keena Lykins What?! You weren’t in World War II? I totally was.

        • Keena Lykins

           @ginidietrich Share with me your beauty secrets then. You don’t look a day over 30 in your photo.

        •  @Keena Lykins Dove soap.

        • VirginiaMann

          @ginidietrich   We should all be boycotting Dove Soap. Here’s a company that made it’s fortune selling products to women. Then, they hire Magic Johnson as their spokesperson–a man who clearly has no regard for women. Maybe the marketing team was too young to remember that he claimed to have slept with hundreds of women each year — I think the estimate was 300-500. Regardless, having him as their spokesperson is a slap in the face to all women. We should all be boycotting Dove products and let them know why.

        •  @VirginiaMann Since when is having sex with many women qualify as misogyny?
          Does the enormous amount of money he has helped raise in the fight against HIV count for anything?
          Does he get credit for creating thousands of jobs and infusing life into areas of Los Angeles that were dying?

        • VirginiaMann

          @TheJackB  Sorry, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I don’t find it acceptable to treat women like sex objects. He clearly had no concern for them or for their health. And his raising money for the disease he acquired as a result of such behavior certainly doesn’t, in  my mind, make him a role model. I don’t know if he infected any women with the disease, but his lifestyle clearly put many women (and himself) at risk. Sorry, I can’t applaud bad behavior, especially when it is not only disrespectful to women, but actually endangered their lives. I don’t what he’s done since. It doesn’t change the facts. 
          And let’s not forget, there are plenty of other people out there who do lots of good things for society, for women, for health related causes. Surely, Dove could have found a more appropriate spokesperson. I’ll stick with my boycott of Dove and continue to encourage others to do the same.

        •  @VirginiaMann I was joking. LOL!! It was in response to my being alive in World War II. I don’t really use Dove. I use overly priced products that promise to make me look 30 for the rest of my life. 

        • VirginiaMann

          @ginidietrich Good, so you can join me in boycotting Dove. Actually, I’m a huge proponent of over-priced products designed to keep you younger looking. They really work. At least the Estee Lauder ones do.

  • It’s all about having the freedom to determine our own goals and the take the responsibility to go out and get them.

    •  @barbsawyers Be in control of your own destiny.

  • theredheadsaid

    I read a great article (wish I could remember the source) that basically said, “Women could have it all…if they had their own wives.” 🙂

    •  @theredheadsaid HAHAHAHA! I call Patti my work wife. It’s so true.

      •  @ginidietrich  @theredheadsaid I completely proposed to my friend the other day, and I was only half joking.  Imagine having a wife! Wow. 

  • Gini, you are a hero. And I were female, you’d be an even bigger hero. 

  • PeaceTeaBooks

    I never want to have to work through my son’s soccer game.  That’s a flat-out terrible way to live.  I love that this conversation is happening, but my god, there’s so much underpinning our bad habits.  It will require more than work revolution to change.  It requires social revolution, changing the definition of masculine, feminine, parenthood, community, family and success.  Keep talking.    

    •  @PeaceTeaBooks Yeah…I realize I used that as a bad example. My only point was that we should be able to work from wherever we are, whenever we like. I work from hotels at 5:00 in the morning, but if I worked for someone else, I’d get docked for not being at my desk by 8:30 a.m. That’s just ridiculous. 

      • theredheadsaid

         @ginidietrich  @PeaceTeaBooks I call this the “butts in seats” mentality. Also a control fetish from management. Who are afraid to trust their workers.

  • theredheadsaid

    actually i think the main problem is work. We’re expected to work these 40 hour weeks (who decided this?) to obtain X objectives, and for the most part, we are working for companies whose goals are not personal to us. And unless we are lucky enough to work for ourselves, or work for progressive companies, work will continue to dominate our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if “someone” decided that a 4 hour workday was healthier for people? You can get if we were promised that, we could get almost the same amount of work done in those four hours than we do now (again, this is speaking of the results based vs. hours based we’ve been discussing). Or heck, if we just abolished the monetary system altogether and made everything free for everyone, that would solve everythign! 🙂

    •  @theredheadsaid My friend martinwaxman and I were JUST talking about that! Four 10 hour days still gets you the same amount of hours…and most of us work that much anyway.

      • theredheadsaid

         @ginidietrich  martinwaxman still too much working! the Europeans (at least the ones who have siestas and long long vacations) have it right!

        •  @theredheadsaid @ginidietrich I like Siestas too. In my first job as a junior copywriter, my boss, the creative director, had us all take naps after lunch – we were ‘in a meeting’ :). I do think we can re-conceptualize the 40 hour work week so it’s allows for a lot more flexibility and is based on the premise that both women and men have careers. 

  • theredheadsaid

    Gini, I randomly replied to at leave five of these comments, and I’m impressed that you followed up on all of them, and probably did the same for everyone else! SuperCommentWoman!

    •  @theredheadsaid Yeah…some call it a disease.

      •  @ginidietrich  @theredheadsaid It’s a good disease, and it’s catching.

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @theredheadsaid @ExtremelyAvg And this is why she has an engaged tribe that converse with her. 

  • theredheadsaid

    The quote from that article that pretty much sums up why the woman made the choice she did was when she asked herself (paraphrasing here), “to whom am I indispensable?” and it was to her family, not the White House.
    As a childless, single (for the moment) woman, I often find myself working more than I should because I’m not indispensable to anyone right now. That’s a bad trap to fall into.

    •  @theredheadsaid It is a bad trap to fall into…but you also have marshmallows. Be indispensable to them!

    • Keena Lykins

       @theredheadsaid As another childless, single woman, I can relate. That’s why I decided to be indispensable to me. I know it sounds selfish at first, but what it really means is setting up my life to be able to do what I need to do/want to do whether that be caring for aging parents or traipsing off to Paris.

      •  @Keena Lykins  @theredheadsaid I think it sounds awesome. Good for you. If everyone did what was right for them, then the one’s who truly wanted kids, would have them and the rest wouldn’t. The kids would grow up in a better environment and the next generation would be better for it.

        •  @ExtremelyAvg  @Keena Lykins  @theredheadsaid Ahh yes I love this! Keena, I just got divorced and have made this decision for myself as well.  And life just keeps getting better and better. 

  • This is EXACTLY why people in Europe are happier than people in the US. We have a messed up view point. Oh and men gave up oppressing women there while we still fight this. I get amazed when I hear many male macho patriotic islam bashing because the taliban treat women poorly or muslims do…..and they want their wife or girlfriend submissive or chattel. Telling them they know what is best for their bodies and for their lives. Never asking their opinion. We have a much bigger number of people in the US who are taliban in orientation that there is in the middle east and it kind of sucks. and while you think my words might sound leftist or extreme I have been in office meetings with male chauvinists discussing whether to promote a female who wants to get pregnant or to bypass her…’because they never come back’ after maternity leave.

    •  @HowieSPM And I still go in to meetings where my male counterparts tell me how pretty I am instead of how smart I am.

      •  @ginidietrich That is why I left B2B industrial sales. I remember the Los Angeles oil refinery engineers at Mobile and Chevron would always ask about Sonia. Who was a sales rep before my time at the company. So 5 years after she left I am asked ‘Whatever happened to Sonia? She wasn’t the greatest sales rep but she had fine legs’. Or when I would say ‘Where do you want to go to lunch?’ and they say ‘Hooters’. Really? My company will pay for McCormick and Schmicks and you want freaking Hooters? BTW never ever did I go to hooters with a client. Nor a strip club. etc. Anyway why would I want to take a client to a strip club much funner going with my girlfriend.

        •  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich Bwah I love this! 

      • What’s wrong with being pretty and smart @ginidietrich ? That’s a skillset I will never be able to boast. Maybe when I drop 40 lbs I’ll be dubbed decent looking and smart; but I’ll never be pretty and smart. (btw, I think you being smart is just universally recognized. It’s kind of like saying the Pope is infallible.)

        •  @SociallyGenius  Ha! I’m talking about when people first meet me. You’d be amazed at the comments I get. I don’t really take offense to them, but it’s amazing in 2012 we’re still having the looks conversation at work. I once spoke at a conference and, when I got the feedback, the comments were things like, “Wow, she’s hot” or “Is she married?” Come on. I just spent an hour teaching you something that will help you do your job better and that’s what you have to say?

        •  @ginidietrich  @SociallyGenius That’s why you should wear (and begin marketing) a t-shirt that says, “Yes, I’m hot, and yes I’m married”. 

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @SociallyGenius It isn’t that there is something wrong with being both, but many people assume looks preclude the ability to be intelligent. And there really is nothing worse than being introduced to a group of men by having someone say “and sh’e much cuter than the last rep!” How can I stand there and not be self conscious knowing that they are all now looking at my body? I know it is usually meant well, but it never, ever makes me feel comfortable or confident. And I’m a natural blond, so I am always fighting an uphill battle with the intelligence thing.  For real. I sometimes dye it brown just for a break. How terribly sad, really. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller    @SociallyGenius  It isn’t that there is something wrong with being both, but many people assume looks preclude the ability to be intelligent. And there really is nothing worse than being introduced to a group of men by having someone say “and she’s much cuter than the last rep!” How can I stand there and not be self conscious knowing that they are all now looking at my body? I know it is usually meant well, but it never, ever makes me feel comfortable or confident. And I’m a natural blond, so I am always fighting an uphill battle with the intelligence thing.  For real. I sometimes dye it brown just for a break. How terribly sad, really. 

        •  @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich  @KenMueller  @SociallyGenius to be fair if a woman is attractive and really smart and aggressive most men will lose every time.Serves them right.
          Wonder how many men Gini teaches a new tactic and all they can remember is her pink road bike helmet.

  • rdopping

    It’s ok to be DINKs, right? (double-income no kids).
    Work/life balance is not recognized enough regardless of your gender, race, whatever. The self-employed individual can do as they please but for the most part it seems that the post-war 1950 mentality to *everything* business is still the norm.

    •  @rdopping Heck yes, it’s OK to be DINKs!

  • AWE-FREAKING-SOME … rock on @ginidietrich !  You’ve always been my mentor (guess I forget to tell you that) but now you’re my hero 🙂
    I’m a single mom with a business I’ve owned since 1999. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve answered while watching my son play baseball, how many conference calls I’ve been on while mouthing to him ‘please keep it down’ and how many times I’ve had to schedule a meeting around an early school pick up day. We do what we have to get things done.
    And I don’t plan this to be this way but the majority of the people on my team are usually women because we can understand and respect each others schedules. Thanks so much for putting down in words what a lot of us have been thinking!

    •  @penneyfox It’s just the beginning of the conversation. I think there is a lot more work to be done. But we can change our little corners of the world. When women like you are doing exactly what you describe, you’re creating an opportunity for all of us. Thank you!

      •  @ginidietrich Loved this so much – just reposted my FB fan page 🙂
        Let’s keep this conversation going!

      • PMichaelCampaigns

         @ginidietrich this issue is reflected in one of the essays(about Figs) in a book here might appreciate a quick read(look for research edition about 2/3 down page)

        •  @PMichaelCampaigns I’ll take a look. Thanks!

  • love_kahea

    @RebeccaAmyTodd no you didn’t.. I like.

  • PrestoVivace

    @WomenWhoTech @ginidietrich Somehow the question of having it all never comes up w/ female janitors. Only w/ well paid jobs.

  • ibmapitts

    @Steveology @ginidietrich Women are our own worst enemy. Esp. those with a mission! # 2 are the men coworkers with stay at home wives.

    • ginidietrich

      @ibmapitts I know. We really are. It makes me sad. @Steveology

    • Steveology

      @ibmapitts That is universally true. I think that we are all our own worst enemy. @ginidietrich

      • ginidietrich

        @Steveology I think you’re my own worst enemy

        • Steveology

          @ginidietrich Without a doubt! 😉

  • ibmapitts

    @Steveology @ginidietrich Wonder if this is skewed by husbands running business BUT their wives have primary ownership for tax purposes?

  • What amazes me is that there are working examples, here and abroad, of companies — even whole countries! – where the idea of being results-centered has taken over. It’s not just the employers that has to change though. It’s the culture – we have a culture of over-working, not sleeping and seeing efficient workers as somehow lazy. It’s started though – there’s more telecommuting and video conferencing, etc. still too slow for my taste.

    •  @Tinu It’s still too slow for my taste, too. Admittedly I was slow to adapt, but now I keep thinking of ways to make things better for my team. It requires a bit of elbow grease at the front and really knowing what you’re trying to achieve. But don’t all good things come with hard work?

      • Keena Lykins

         @ginidietrich  @Tinu Sometimes good things just come, a gift from the universe. 

  • I’ve been meaning to comment on this all week and just haven’t had the chance to do it. I read that article from the Atlantic when it came out. I really need to read it again. It was such a good piece about the conundrum we face as working women. 
    I remember being frustrated when working at a non-profit and seeing how the volunteers on my committees – all women – pitted against each other in the working mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. Ever since, it makes me scared of the day when I have kids and will be faced with moms on both sides of this issue who judge others for their decisions. I think that’s part of the problem – women tend to judge those who make decisions counter to their own. Much like the article said, women who work stare down their noses at those who compromised and gave up their careers to be a fulltime mom. While we wish their wouldn’t have to be a choice, we should also be careful not to condemn others for how they decide to go about it.
    This is part of the reason I decided several years ago that I wanted to work for myself. Much like you, in every job I’ve had, I received “the look” for coming in a little late (mostly from those who are leaving at 4:59 every day) even though I had worked several more hours in the evening that they didn’t see. I wanted to control my schedule and work when it made sense for me. And, I want to build my business in a way that will give me the flexibility in my work for when we have kids. 
    I think this is one of the things that excites me most about building a business – I look forward to the day of when I have a team of people working for me and I can give them the type of work environment I wish I had at every other job. I’m a big fan of creating a positive work environment that’s more focused on results and career development than who can win the prize for working the most hours or showing up to work on time.

    •  @lauraclick Laura! I don’t know how I missed this!
      The whole mom vs. non-mom thing really gets me. For instance, women say things to me all the time like, “Oh sure you’re skinny. You don’t have kids.” Or “Of course you have a successful business. You don’t have kids.” I also really love the, “Why don’t you have kids?” Or “You should get pregnant, you’d make a great mom.” 
      Problem is…it’s just not that easy for all of us.
      In my blog post yesterday, I explored how many hours of TV people are watching every day (FIVE HOURS). Perhaps I’ll just start saying, “Maybe if you stopped watching TV, you could exercise too.” Which is why I’m skinny; not because I don’t have kids (which is the same reason for you so you know how I feel).

      •  @ginidietrich Ya know, your points make me realize we have GOT to quit judging people for their decisions. When people make those “mom comments”, they often don’t know the reason behind the answers….and, we shouldn’t feel like we have to explain ourselves either.
        And, we also have to quit making excuses about why others are more successful/skinny/whatever. It’s all about choices. It’s a decision about whether to make exercise or business or motherhood a priority. 
        The five hours of TV thing is just crazy to me. I never watched much TV growing up or even as a young adult. I probably watch more now (which is still not much) because I have a husband who really enjoys that. So, we have our few shows we record and watch together. But man, five hours a day?!? No wonder we are an overweight nation.
        p.s. I’m running my first FULL marathon in November! Yay! Thanks for the nudge. 🙂

  • SthsideMktg

    @travid . Thanks Jerry;)

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  • I work in sales my self.. and i have to say that several of my female colleagues always have very good (sometimes the best of the month), so i think that women are very important in the business world! Keep up the good work Ladies!!

    •  @joostharmsen You’ve been hanging out on Spin Sucks lately! Hi!

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  • Juliwilson789

    would make a sense to them as they are working hard to achieve good result.