The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Cannot Rock the Boardroom
I came across this session / debate in iqsquared. I had my doubts on this video when I started watching it, but it actually went well 🙂 and had a surprising twist in the end, especially a question that came up from a view at around 30 minute time frame if I am not wrong. Because that was the question that crept in my mind when they were laying down their points against the motion.
Since they had women on both sides to talk about for and against, it was nice to see how they pit themselves against each other. In fact all of them are well settled and surprisingly women of my age (at least 2 of the 4 are from whey they proclaimed). Why does that matter? Because, for me, I could relate with them a little at least from what I see, what I hear and what I go through. Sadly, I am not a mother yet, but I don’t have to be one to know how it feels. I have seen my colleagues, my friends, my family go through it enough to know where I stand.
It is not that the hand that rocks the cradle cannot rock the boardroom. They can, if they have the determination, the support (from family, from workplace, even from the society) and it does help to have enough money too to help you out. If they do rock both together what will be consequences on both parts of their lives ? How does it actually affect your family and your work. Are you able to give only 60% to your work if you more involved with family ? Or does your family suffer because you give your 90% to work ? Where is the balance ? Or rather what is the balancing formula ? I don’t think there ever is one. Just like everything else, the balance varies from person to person depending on where they are, what work they do, their upbringing, their individuality. What works on one person doesn’t necessarily have to work for the other.
In my work, recently I have had women in top positions taking sabbatical for a year or two because they felt the need to reconnect with their family which they feel that they have ignored. Some women have stepped down from the management position because they felt that they couldnt manage both and do justice to both of them well enough. That doesn’t mean they are not capable, they just wanted to get their priorities right. Some of my friends and colleagues work too hard to manage both that we do have separate what-the-hell-am-i-doing-here sessions to just vent out the anger on co-workers, husbands, fathers, managers , who ever can be blamed for it 🙂 I know women who are my friends, trying to struggle to manage their kids and the work without any external help , none whatsoever but then I also know women , again my friends, who are able to do it with their family support.
I have refrained from choosing the management side of my work because I know what it entails and I know what I want in life. I had a strict 9-6 working hours but now that has changed because I could do flexible working hours. My organization allows it to a large extent unless you are in support or in operations which then gets tricky. And I know I am not a manager material. I simply am not (irrespective of how many women leadership sessions they keep scheduling in my organization and I always skip them). I love my life outside of work too. I love to spend time reading, cooking whatever I can, or just lazing around. I don’t want my life to focus mainly on my work. That is why I don’t have a career even after 15 years of working. I still have a job. I am OK with it. That works for me and my sanity and I find peace. But when a kid is involved, I almost inevitability give more attention to them. That is why my productivity goes down when I visit my brother or sister. Because those kids seem to be always around me and I can’t help but give my maximum attention to them.
What I feel is , yes the hand that rock the cradle can rock the boardroom, provided they have the support system in place for that, which is not the case at least in my place and as far as I know. It takes a lot of compromises and sacrifices, but how much of them are really worth it ? There in lies the decision. And last but not the least the passion and determination to really do it.
2 thoughts on “The hand that rocks…”
To some extent, men suffer from this as well. I was heading down a management path, where I would have been expected to work long and late hours. Even in a family friendly company (they did fly my wife and (then only) 1 son around the country when I had to work away from home in the weekends), I felt my family time was being eroded. It is all about priorities, wants, needs, and what is important to you. Me? Family was more important, so I chose a less management path to achieve more family time. I am lucky, I can do this, and I chose this way. Some can’t, one way or the other. But family support is a must whichever side is chosen. 🙂
Very true. I know one of my friend’s husband who left his high profile job where he was on a very good position for growth because his wife couldn’t get transferred and since they wanted to start a family one had to make a decision fast and it was him who chose to relocate to a much low pay and lower position job. But then he now has a happy family by his side, not to mention his quick growth in his new organisation too and a supporting wife. It was a mutual support thing. His is just one example. Lot of men, I know, do their share and receive the support in return. Since this was mainly about women I thought I will restrict my views about them :), but yes it goes both ways. Since there are lot of single men parent too nowadays I guess it can no longer be gender based.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.