Recently there has been a lot of press how Corporate America is awakening to employee happiness, balance work and life and thus increasing productivity. If you are from Europe, this is nothing new – six weeks of vacation and union audited work hour limitations.
But here is my own epiphany: I was never unhappy in my work, the various companies I worked for. Yes, some days sucked but overall I LOVED my career.
Now, as I coach women on re-entering the workforce after staying home with their children, I realize how privileged I have been: great peers and inspiring bosses who were my mentors, a supportive husband who loves being single dad for a while.
Growing up, there were not many women role models in the 70s and 80s but the few I knew were powerful. Like my aunt Martha, a banker who told me “it is so much easier to walk out the door with a briefcase than staying home with an infant” and with that mindset raised an amazing boy who is now a succesful doctor and family man.
Or my best friend growing up, her mom taking all the responsibility as her genius father was off to saving the world. Her mom raised a well-balanced girl and kicked ass as she rose to the top of her profession. I fondly remember her vanity of buying designer high heels which was the only fashion attribute visible under her lab outfit.
Many women did not feel that calling in their early careers. Maybe they were mismatched from the get go, a smart student pushed into engineering while suffocating her creative side. A young employee working in a company that did not share her value system yet being too busy to notice.
For women re-inventing themselves once their kids are old enough, this is an amazing opportunity: What is my passion and who deserves me as an employee or business partner?
I invite you to explore What Good Came out of Your Past Decisions?
If you chose to stay home to raise your children, many many great things. If you chose to pursue your career, just as much. But here is the trap for every woman no matter which fork in the road she followed: it was never good enough.
Stay at work – what kind of mother am I?
Quit my career – where is my independence, why am I squandering my education?
Loose the sparkle in my relationship – time to shop at Victoria Secret?
The truth is, we all want to be perfect, living up to the Barbie Doll image which we despise yet have so happily replaced with the Well-toned-well-read-calm-and-relaxed-mom-juggling-an-infant-or-a-rabid-teenager-who-has-it-all (fill in the blanks…)
Ultimately, happy hour can only be 9 to 5 whatever your job is – CEO of Corporate America or of Your Family, it’s all about the CONSCIOUS choices we make.