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“He” vs. “She”

29 Jun

Disclaimer: I’m not a feminist. I’m a proponent of earned income, position, and opportunity.

The other day, I was on a call with a client I’ve been working with for several weeks and a nice, professional relationship was developing. This gentleman was without a doubt traditional, conservative, and near retirement. Without getting into detail, we ran into a little hiccup that was beyond my control. During a conversation, I suggested that he speak with our Vice President who’ll be able to handle the issue much better than myself. He replied, “Sure, put him in touch with me.” That “him” is a lady.

Now, this isn’t the issue to me. In reality, “he” is the appropriate, gender-neutral term when speaking of a person who you do not know. However, I couldn’t shake it. There’s a lot in the news recently about women in the workplace, particularly this article on Why Women Can’t Have it All, which was posted first in the Atlantic. To summarize the too-long-for-work essay, Ann-Marie Slaughter, a high profile foreign policy analyst, says that women cannot be both an involved, active mother and a ladder-climbing, advancing professional – at least not at the same time. She points out the generational differences explaining that younger professional women find the idea of having a baller career and being a perfect mother exhausting and impossible. I happen to agree.

There have been a few driving forces and ideas in my life these days: Starting my own business, being creative, growing a stronger network. However, there’s one underlying factor I always dream about. And that is balance. I want to work my ass off for days, weeks, months, years…whatever. But when I need downtime, I’m 100% cool with turning off all of my devices and having some peace. Further, I dream of the day I have a kid or two and it’s perfectly cool to bring them into my office, which is of course well-equipped with a few games to keep them occupied. Running a business and running a household shouldn’t be impossible. With technology, a good partner, and a flexible working environment, women should be able to have it all.

To me, life is all about balance. That balance applies to my diet, schedule, work life, family time, and social schedule…really, every part of my life. I feel like die-hard professional women lose that balance and I won’t have it in my life. Maybe this is coming from the young optimist in me, however I get giddy (and motivated) when thinking about fulfilling all of my dreams – on my own time.

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