May 17, 2010

Is there anything new to say about Family/Work Balance?

The very worst guest on Mary in the Morning is the "expert" that points out a very serious issue and then spends the next 15 minutes of valuable airtime saying exactly that, over and over and over. This issue is SOO important. No innovative solution, no 3 step plan to make things better. Just a reiteration of why the topic is so important and even more annoyingly, how important it is that you resolve this issue... or else here's the bad news: (fill in the blank). BUT NO ANSWERS WE CAN USE.

Whenever I hear from a publicist about an author who has tackled the Work vs. Family Balance issue, I ask to see the book before agreeing to the booking. I have yet to read anything new on the topic. There are some guiding principles that we are all familiar with:
  1. Learn to say no
  2. Delegate at home and work
  3. Demand support for your career from family members
  4. Work for a company that supports family-friendly policies
  5. Approach your career phases as seasons, relating to the demands of your family over a period of time
Beyond these basics, I have yet to hear anything ground-breaking or even interesting on the topic. I just crave my Calgon Take Me Away moment when I consider the issue. I just read an e-mail from a listener who would like more conversation on the Mary in the Morning show about family/work balance. She is hopeful that other listeners will have great ideas that they could share with each other. Have I become cynical and skeptical? I predict a morning of dead air.

This is a challenge for every woman I know and I have come to believe that there exists a unique approach for every woman. No one-size-fits-all answer. Some of us get it and some of us spend way too much of our time feeling inadequate and a disappointment to others.

Our mothers blazed the trail for us, gaining entry to many career fields that were closed to us. They told us we could be anything we wanted and we did it! But we haven't figured out how our families are going function if we aren't there. Carol the Corporate Wonder thinks that her 11 year-old daughter will be so proud of Mom for being the first woman in her company to be promoted to Regional Manager, but in reality, she'd prefer you be home after school to help make banners for swim team. Women go around and around in their minds, trying to remember what is really important and what is not. How much are they willing to sacrifice for their families, how much for their careers? Would your husband's give up your $45,000 salary in exchange for a more relaxed life partner?

Do you have ideas to share? Let's start the conversation here and see where it goes...

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