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Gini Dietrich

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

By: Gini Dietrich | July 17, 2012 | 
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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.

177 comments
lauraclick
lauraclick

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.

Tinu
Tinu

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.

ibmapitts
ibmapitts

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

ibmapitts
ibmapitts

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

PrestoVivace
PrestoVivace

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

love_kahea
love_kahea

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

penneyfox
penneyfox

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!

rdopping
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.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

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.

theredheadsaid
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
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
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! :)

PeaceTeaBooks
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.    

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

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

theredheadsaid
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." :)

barbsawyers
barbsawyers

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

Keena Lykins
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.

 

KarenARocks
KarenARocks

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.

TonyBennett
TonyBennett

" '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.

CloseToHomeMD
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.

GayleJoseph
GayleJoseph

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!

rosemaryoneill
rosemaryoneill

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.

JodiEchakowitz
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.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon

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.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

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?

 

 

 

 

Latest blog post: Lake Effect: The Incline

VirginiaMann
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.

annedreshfield
annedreshfield

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.

hackmanj
hackmanj

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...

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terreece
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.

Hajra
Hajra

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! :)

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

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.

KristenDaukas
KristenDaukas

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.

magriebler
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.

barbsawyers
barbsawyers

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.

sherrilynne
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?

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

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. 

 

margieclayman
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.

Latest blog post: Your Chances Are 50/50

VirginiaMann
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.

ElissaFreeman
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.

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  4. […] Write a novel. You would think this blog affords me the flexibility to write business books. And it does. But I’ve also began crafting my fiction, based on some of the bigger and loftier things we discuss in the comments about the change we’d like to see in the world. […]