OPINION: The “having it all” discussion fails women of color

What does “having it all” mean anyway?

This is going to sound petulant and grouchy, but I have had enough of successful women telling us regular women we can’t have it all – or we can’t have it all, at the same time. Or any other timing of “having it all.” It’s a joke.

Definition

These women need to define “all”. They might think they have given up “having it all”, but to us mere mortals their idea of “all” is different to ours.Their less than “all,” looks pretty darn good to us.

We have celebrity coaches suggesting we need to name our “all”. For that you actually need time. Which regular women don’t have much of.  “All” will vary from one woman to the next.  Not having it “all” to these women, who believe they have compromised on key issues, centers on factors such as this:

  • a successful career where they feel less than fulfilled, stressed and less financially well rewarded
  • a business they can’t completely focus on
  • maybe a couple of well-adjusted, academically able, healthy and sporty kids, with a warm and spacious home, in a nice neighborhood,  they can’t spend enough time with or in.
  • Throw in an equally successful good-looking, faithful, husband who they feel they neglect
  • They may believe they have less time to fully enjoy and nurture, friends, family, their health and their own needs.
  • They miss family dinners, ballet performances and sports games or have to work weekends

Honey, even if parts of that are missing, you’ve got the whole package.

If you think the absence of even a fraction of that, is a sacrifice, or a step down from having it “all,” then you have to be kidding, right? Your struggle, is your struggle with perfectionism.

Regular women

For others “having it all” will be about covering the bills at the end of the month, in a job and marriage that is reasonably secure, hoping the kids won’t fail school, go out without ID and get randomly arrested or heaven forbid, shot. We are happy if our family is healthy and if they fall sick we can afford medical treatment. Insecurity and fear of losing even a small piece of that, features largely in the gut churning, sleepless nights of the average woman.

And 20% gender wage gap? Take a look. For women of color it is actually over 35%

 

WomenOfColorWageGap_webfig1

Having it all is a joke

Gratitude or settling?

And yet we women of color are grateful for what we have.  Does that mean we have a different sense of “having it all?”  We rejoice in the community of our families and churches. We appreciate the support of our friendships and want the best for our kids. We are happy to be able to feed, educate and house our children and keep them safe and warm. We are thankful to be able to sleep peacefully.

But is being grateful settling for less?

For the “having it all” discussion to succeed and have any meaning, we all have to be on the same page about what it means for everyone. Currently we are nowhere close.

Having it all should be for all, not just a privileged minority.

Loki  is an African-American working as an Account Manager in an international Telecommunication company based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Check out the 3Plus coaching and mentoring programs for women. Contact us.

3Plus, Opinion
Guest Contributor
Email |
3Plus is delighted to publish posts from guest contributers

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
How to get Noticed by Head Hunters and Recruiters
Free Download

In this power coaching podcast, we’re going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple times a week by active job seekers and passive candidates.

How can I get noticed by head hunters and recruiters and connect with them?

In this short power coaching podcast Dorothy Dalton shares some tips and tricks to make sure that you are always on the radar of the recruitment and search specialists who can be most helpful to you. With extensive experience in executive search and corporate HR Dorothy has placed, coached and trained thousands of men and women to career success. As a career coach she has a deep understanding of the job search market and what job seekers need to do to position themselves to they are easily found.

As CEO of 3Plus she also has deep experience of the challenges women face in the workplace. Sadly because women tend not to create career strategies they can be vulnerable when it comes to dealing with change. Regular transitions become career crises. In this short session you will learn some simple tips and tricks to make sure you are on the radar of key recruitment specialists in your sector, geography or function.  It’s not rocket science.

 

 

 

 

One of the most puzzling things about working in executive search is that people and I say this reluctantly particularly women fail to plan ahead. You’ve heard me say before that only 5% of women have a career strategy. This means that they are not prepared for any emergencies until they become a crisis.

 

Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.

 

When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. die..no thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us  tips to achieve the lasting communication skills needed to tackle the difficult conversations we encounter in the workplace. Hard Talk answers the big questions like:

  • How do I manage a boss who insists on micro-managing me?
  • How do I let a high performer know that they are not getting the promotion he wants?
  • What can I do about a direct report who doesn’t show me respect?
  • How do I tell my boss that despite all efforts our deadline on an important deliverable will be missed?

In this podcast, Dawn Metcalfe will give us an overview to handle challenging scenarios to empower you with the skills needed to ensure you have these conversations in the best way and generate the best outcome. Make your workplace and your professional experience more fruitful and less fraught by learning the importance of Hard Talk.