There are two provocative articles in last Sunday’s New York Times.
One article is a follow up of powerful executive women from high socio-economic backgrounds who ‘opted out’ of work to raise kids ten years ago.
The other article is a sociological study that concludes even when women achieve power, they derive fewer benefits from it.
The first article concludes that none of the women who opted-out from the workplace ten years ago want their old “high stress/low life-work balance” jobs back. Even when they can’t achieve the same earnings level when they attempt to resume careers, they just want “more time with their children combined with some sort of intellectually stimulating, respectably paying, advancement-permitting part-time work.”
The sociological piece examines how women in authority experience their own level of job autonomy, job influence and the personal meaningfulness of their work.
Even when women achieve the same level of authority in their career, they don’t perceive their positions to have as much influence or authority as their male counterparts.
And while greater job authority yields high intrinsic rewards for both men and women, men derive greater satisfaction from having the authority whether or not they feel influential.
On the other hand, women derive satisfaction only if the authority is coupled with their own perceptions of having influence at work.
Here are questions I’m left with:
- Do women (more than men) need to feel work is meaningful for it to be meaningful?
- Do women intrinsically have more commitment to life-work balance?
- Is life-work balance a gender issue or an economic one?
Are these the questions we should ask?
What do you think?
And may we all find our own unique and powerful life-work balance as we pursue our paths!