The Work-Life Balance Challenge In the 21st Century

Whenever I meet a mother who doubles as a boss in an organization, I usually respect her because it is difficult to manage the home front and also manage an organization.

Sometimes, both men and women tradeoff either their career or business because work-life balance is very difficult. That is why some children hardly see their parents. Some of them see their nanny as their parent. In fact, they are closer to their nanny than their parents. I won’t blame parents because the family must survive.

But, which one should professionals tradeoff? Family or career? It is a difficult question to answer. If you tell a professional to abandon his or her job, how would they survive? If on the other hand you tell them to hand over their children to a nanny, you are not being kind to them either. So, what is the way out?

No matter what balance you choose, you’ll have to make tradeoffs. Working parents who want to be very involved in their kids’ lives, for instance, often have to give up some of their ambitions. People who put business success first most likely have to give up some level of intimacy with their kids.

Jack Welch shared this story. “I remember one Q & A session with about five hundred executives in Melbourne, Australia, where the moderator was Maxine McKew, one of the country’s most respected newscasters.

The session was moving along on all the usual business topics for about an hour when a woman in the audience stood and said, “Could you tell me, why must all women who succeed in business act like bullheaded men? When will we see the day that every female CEO doesn’t have to be like Margaret Thatcher?”

I can’t recall my exact answer, but I know I said something very politically incorrect right off the bat about how most women slowed down their career advancements by having children, and while I thought that was a worthy choice, I wasn’t going to get them to the boardroom very quickly.

This comment enraged the questioner, who shot back, “Why must women give their lives up to get ahead while men do not? Women should not have to make all the sacrifices–should they?

Some of the men in the audience groaned, one called out, “My wife did it.” Another one shouted, “Hey, we all make sacrifices.”

Up on stage, I shrugged. “I cannot give you a good answer to your question,” I said. “I am not sure that pausing on the corporate ladder is a ‘sacrifice’ to the mother who make the choice.”

Just then, Maxine stepped in. To be honest, I expected a real slam, but her answer surprised me.

“Women do give something up. It’s biology,” she said. “Let me tell you what I gave up. I wanted my career. And so I never had children. Maybe I would be able to do it with children now. Still, twenty-five years ago, when I was entering broadcasting, it just wasn’t possible to achieve the highest levels and raise babies along the way. It was my choice. Of course, I wanted children. But I chose to put my career first, and I cannot blame anyone for my happiness or lack of it.”

You could have heard a pin drop. In the silence, someone raised his hand and changed the subject with a question about the Australian economy.”

Everyone these days makes work-life balance decisions–from working mothers and fathers to single people who want to volunteer to serve in a nonprofit organization.

Work-life balance means making choices and tradeoffs, and living with the consequences. It is that simple and that complex.

But I think that couples should have a plan. I won’t suggest to anybody to abandon his or her children to strangers. I believe one of the parents should be close to the children at any point of time.

Those children you abandon today may kill you tomorrow. You don’t know what the nanny is teaching them in your absence. That is how some suicide bombers were raised. Suddenly, your son or daughter has joined a terrorist organization.

Of course, you can monitor your children from work with technology. That’s good. But anyone who has an evil intention can manipulate the cameras in the house.

We need money to have a happy family, but don’t abandon your family because of money. I strongly believe that God gave us the ability to not just have children, but to mentor and train them so that we can have a beautiful world. If all parents train their children well, the world will become a better place.

The question is, what should a mother who wants to climb the corporate ladder do? How can she manage both home and profession? I will answer that in my book, Becoming A 360 Degree Leder.

Also, you can sign up for my coaching program to learn how to manage both home and profession. We also have different courses you can choose from. Chat with me on WhatsApp or Telegram with the number on the handbill below.

To order my books and audio programs, click this link or call 07032681154.

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One Comment

  1. Wonderful insights but come to talk of it , the two cannot really do without each other cos the home and career will have to match side by side in order to keep the future!!!!

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