Thursday, April 1, 2010


I was talking to a friend of mine recently who is very much a professional. By that I mean, she is highly intellegent, educated, motivated and extremely succesful. She works for the Governor of Wyoming doing very important things like: writing laws, establishing budgets and allocating funds appropriated from the stimulus program. The Governor actually recruited her in spite of her unwillingness to move to the capital. She commutes from Jackson to Cheyenne instead. She also contracts for several Fortune 500 firms all over the country. She has a residence in the Jackson Hole, WY area as well one in an upscale part of the Bay area near San Fran. She was my college roommate. I have nothing but respect for her and her accomplishments-probably to the point of envy. She is very understated and modest; and she always makes me feel good about myself when I see her and talk to her. In short, I am blessed to have this person in my life.

Today's conversation was about a career opportunity she had mentioned to me last time we got together. She thought it might be something I would like so I wrote a cover letter threw together a quick resume. Among many other things she noticed that I could correct/improve upon when she reviewed them was the statement, "what I am looking for is balance".

She said "the word balance to employers means I'm not interested in working that hard or may get a lot of phone calls about needing to pick up your kids unexpectedly-neither of which is great." She also said that employers are reluctant to hire "mom's with small children because they don't make work their priority". I did not take offense with these comments; however, I do find it disappointing and sad. I understand the position of an employer-and it is not untrue that mothers with small children can be questionable in their priorities at times (on both sides). However, I also think it makes a pretty grim statement about working moms. What are we supposed to be doing anyway? Ideally, I would not have to work (nor would anyone with raising her children as her priority). But even if that was a comfortable financial option (right now it would be an uncomfortable one); I still long to have some type of fulfillment and role within the fabric of the workforce. I am a bright, intellegent person with a lot to offer. I like the idea of having a career as well as being succesful at raising a family. To me, that is balance.

To my buddy, it is described more like "if you were an investment banker in Manhatten working 100 hours a week, that may make more sense that you are looking for balance". I suppose it's worth mentioning that my vocational rock star of a friend chose to not have a family herself. She is happily married but neither she nor her husband was interesed in having children. She is not one of those judgemental people who looks down on moms. However, I do think it's hard to understand what that would feel like unless you are there. At least it would have been for me. I can honestly state I had no idea how I feel about all this until I met my kids.

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