The “Perfect” Work/Life Balance

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/two-to-three-days-a-week-at-work-is-the-best-jobhome-lifestyle-balance-for-career-mums/story-fnihsrf2-1226798530510

This article discusses research completed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and it claims that the perfect work/life balance for women to go back to work, but only to work 15 to 24 hours a week, or two to three days out of the week.

I think this article makes me irrationally angry. I feel this way for a couple of reasons. First, no duh that’s the perfect balance. The world works too much as it is and people should spend more time with their families. I feel like the majority of people (not just women) would love a world where they only had to work 2-3 days out of the week.

Second, although this might be the perfect balance, there is a reason why more people don’t do this. People work for a reason; they need to make money to support their family, and while this amount of time might be a great balance, when they are unable to support their families because they aren’t making enough money, it’s not such a perfect balance anymore.

Third, this article said it was the perfect balance for women, not people. I’m sure most children would benefit greatly by having mom and dad home with them the majority of the week, not just mom. I understand that our society feels a need to separate everyone by gender and study accordingly, but a lot of the time it isn’t accurate.

Lastly, it bothers me that this study tells us how much women are supposed to work, or rather the ideal amount of time for women to work. I feel like this number is different for everyone; I’m sure some women want to stay home full time and some women want to work full time and that works for them. In my house my mom stayed home with us full time when we were little and when we got older she went back to work full time and that worked great for our family. I don’t want a study to tell me what is best for my (future) family and me. I believe it will be different for everyone.

 

I chose to post this article and rant about it for a little (sorry about that) because I felt it really applied to a lot of the literature we have been reading in class: first, the Heifetz reading in Kellerman and Rhone and second, the Feminine Mystique. Both of these readings discuss the balance of work and family, and identity and purpose. There definitely needs to be a balance between all of those things. People (women and men) need to find what works best for them, and it will be different for everyone. Some will find that working more fulfills more of a purpose, while others will feel spending time at home will give them more purpose. BUT IT WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE.

I think of it as a spectrum, and all people can fall anywhere on the spectrum. In many cases women will fall closer to some men, and men will fall closer to some women. It totally depends on the person. 

The Real World

As a senior I have to start thinking about the real world, not an all-together appealing thought, but one that needs to occur all the same. After I graduate I am fortunate enough to already have a job in my field of study. However, my field of study is accounting, a primarily male dominated field. Business, in the past, has not been meant for women. Yet here I am about to enter an incredible job in business. 

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I was raised never concerned with the gender gap, having 3 older brothers I tried to do everything they did, sometimes more. But now going into the work force where all of my bosses are male, it is something I’m a bit concerned about. One day I would love to be a CFO, but the percentage of women leaders in business is tiny. Like Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the foreword of Barbara Kellerman’s book, women hold only 8% of corporate leadership positions. This isn’t to say I can’t do it, I have full intentions of being part of that 8%, but for a woman, getting to that role is a lot harder than it should be. 

At the same time however, I feel like I can be quite a hypocrite about women rights. I am all about breaking down the norms and entering a “male profession” but as soon as I see a bug, or the sink needs to be fixed, I’m looking for a male to fix it. For example, I have 1 roommate, we are both 21-year-old girls, we can hold our own, but only so far. Last night (a Sunday night) at 9:45 someone rang our doorbell, and then rang it again, and when we didn’t answer, started pounding on our door. We were TERRIFIED. In this moment I would have given quite a lot to have a guy in my apartment to answer the door. 

It’s an interesting thought to consider. We have grown up with distinct gender roles so those definitely play a huge role in my life, but at the same time, I want to do a lot of things guys can do. Where is the line? How much can I try and enter the “male world” when I look to them to open my door when I’m terrified? And I know the answer is different for everyone, I just wish I had a solid answer before I had to join the working world. 

 

The Real World

As a senior I have to start thinking about the real world, not an all-together appealing thought, but one that needs to occur all the same. After I graduate I am fortunate enough to already have a job in my field of study. However, my field of study is accounting, a primarily male dominated field. Business, in the past, has not been meant for women. Yet here I am about to enter an incredible job in business. 

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I was raised never concerned with the gender gap, having 3 older brothers I tried to do everything they did, sometimes more. But now going into the work force where all of my bosses are male, it is something I’m a bit concerned about. One day I would love to be a CFO, but the percentage of women leaders in business is tiny. Like Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the foreword of Barbara Kellerman’s book, women hold only 8% of corporate leadership positions. This isn’t to say I can’t do it, I have full intentions of being part of that 8%, but for a woman, getting to that role is a lot harder than it should be. 

At the same time however, I feel like I can be quite a hypocrite about women rights. I am all about breaking down the norms and entering a “male profession” but as soon as I see a bug, or the sink needs to be fixed, I’m looking for a male to fix it. For example, I have 1 roommate, we are both 21-year-old girls, we can hold our own, but only so far. Last night (a Sunday night) at 9:45 someone rang our doorbell, and then rang it again, and when we didn’t answer, started pounding on our door. We were TERRIFIED. In this moment I would have given quite a lot to have a guy in my apartment to answer the door. 

It’s an interesting thought to consider. We have grown up with distinct gender roles so those definitely play a huge role in my life, but at the same time, I want to do a lot of things guys can do. Where is the line? How much can I try and enter the “male world” when I look to them to open my door when I’m terrified? And I know the answer is different for everyone, I just wish I had a solid answer before I had to join the working world.