This past week I was interviewed on two radio shows, the topics: Women and where we are in this journey called life, and Equality in the Workplace. Both topics timely, relevant, and still hot buttons to many women not only in the US but around the world. Since I am a coach, this conversation is a daily one with clients, not only with women, but with men, employers, caregivers, suppliers of goods and services to those who work and to families who are increasingly under duress and fraying at the edges.
Let’s take a quick poll here and see what you feel right now. On a scale of 1 being “I have lost all hope”, and 10 “I am wildly happy with where I am” how would you rate the following:
My current job situation
My current career path
My home environment
My professional relationships
My family relationships (extended)
My relationships with my children
My intimate relationship with spouse or partner
The state of my personal health
The health of my finances
My family’s health
My spiritual health
My social health (ability to relax, have fun, socialize, go on vacation)
Growth Opportunities (I am growing intellectually, gaining skills, reading, taking courses, learning to appreciate something I enjoy, expanding my horizons)
Counting my blessings and appreciating those around me
Taking time for myself
You know we are all in different seasons of our lives. Probably you will not have the same answers that I have, or your neighbor, or your girlfriend, mother, or sister. And you know what, that is just fine. We all come from a different perspective and we all have different priorities, BUT, when things are tipped in one direction to the negative, then you are spending way to much of your value time in one area of your life, and short changing all the other areas. Sure the younger you are the longer you can ride that wave, but it will catch up with you.
One of the exercises I like to do with my clients who feel they do not spend enough time with their children is to do a reality check on just how much time they do have left with each of their children still living at home. This is a real eye opener. List all of your children from oldest to youngest and their current ages. Now subtract that from 18. That is how long you have left! Every time I have done this in a room at one of my conferences, there are always several gasps, as reality hits hard.
Women in the workforce at the present time represent Gen Y and Gen X, ages 19 to 48 and that is 57% of the women working. Of those 80% said they ranked “Flexibility” in their work schedule Very Important or Extremely Important. Of that 80% a full 85% said this one factor would reduce their stress level. This is such a simple request and it would appear on the surface an easy implementable item into any business whose main goal is to attract and retain the best and brightest talent. Companies need to rethink how they create jobs, the work environment, and the way business is structured. What worked prior to the year 2000 needs to be reworked and re-envisioned to suit today’s new woman, the new family dynamic, and the new economic situation that the US and the world finds itself in.
Three things stood out as “Must Haves” for these women.
1. Work-Life Balance: This is created in a Flexible Work Schedule.
2. Positive Relationships: These are created through interaction with others and knowing the skills of interpersonal professional etiquette in the workplace
3. Job Stability: Today this is being turned on its head with all the implementation of new laws. This forces other nuances into play, specifically: “Values Stretch”.
So where do you fall?
This is part one of a three part series on this topic of: Women: Are We Happy or Unhappy?
Let me know you comments and questions!