How Who You Marry Determines Your Career Outcome

Blessing Oshin January 27, 2013 10

SANDBERG-WEF-tpSheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO at the 2013 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: World Economic Forum)

Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook and the macho-woman attacking gender stereotypes is launching a book sometime in March titled “Lean In”. She is very vocal it seems about the role employers play in holding women back in the workplace and also goes as far as calling some women out on not being assertive enough. I am sure most women will have a lot to say when the book finally makes it to their hands. But the fact of the matter is that, women are still underpaid, undervalued and over-deliver in corporate America and all around the world. We cannot continue to keep silent on important issues that affect majority of the population and I am happy to see women of influence like Sheryl Sandberg speak up about the discrimination and abuse of women in the workplace.

In the book Lean In, Sandberg stresses the status quo in consumers, and how singled out T-shirts sold in the US, with the boys’ version emblazoned with the words “Smart Like Daddy”, while the girls’ version says “Pretty like Mommy”.

“I would love to say that was 1951, but it was last year,” she said. “As a woman becomes more successful, she is less liked, and as a man becomes more successful, he is more liked, and that starts with those T-shirts.”

She then talks about the double-roles of women at home and in the workplace.

“Women still have two jobs in the most developed countries around the world; men have one.”

Unfortunately, this is still true in most households, and until we can get men on the same page as women on household responsibilities and duties, not much will change on the homefront. Women need a support system at home to give them the freedom to focus on the important things like building relationships with their children, networking, traveling, and taking some personal time for rejuvenation. Most women do not have this luxury and thus their career suffers.

As a young career woman, I wish I had thought about my career when I was dating, and how my personal life and family would affect my career. I honestly do not have time to network as much as I would love to, neither can I afford a nanny to watch the toddler so I can finally network with my childless peers. I also, do not have much time to respond to follow-up on crucial work conversations/emails because there is just no way I can fit that in into piles of laundry, my never-ending grocery list and dirty dishes. And as I slowly acclimatize to being a single mom, there is just no room to get much done at home that isn’t “mommy-oriented”.

Choosing a partner who understands your life goals, and one who understands that marriage and parenting is 50/50. A partner that takes ownership in everything including the dirty laundry, dirty dishes, crying toddlers, trash pick-up. One that will support you through your business meetings, and networking events thesame way you support his, that is the kind of partner we all need.

The reviews of Lean In are in. Here is one via the Guardian, Daily Mail, the New York Times


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  1. Portia January 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Blessing, this is an important topic. I’ll be interested to read this book. As you know, Penelope Trunk is quite critical of Sandberg. Her point is that many women DON’T aspire to the top job anymore because of the sacrifices that women need to make to get there. I think we can argue both points all day long. I agree that working moms shoulder a huge responsibility at home that makes it challenging to get ahead. Since waiting around for society to become more enlightened is not a great strategy, how do women design lives that work for’us? How do we create and live by our own rules? This is the conversation that’s worth exploring.
    Portia recently posted..When Things Fall ApartMy Profile

  2. Blessing Oshin January 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Portia, You are absolutely right. Penelope tethers on the edge of borderline crazy even though her arguments have good intentions. I think women need to start the conversation around work-life preference discussions with their employers and employees. There should also be freedom to talk about this during job interviews(judgement-free of course). The problem here is that women have no avenue to talk about what they actually want because everyone assumes we don’t want to talk about it. That its a taboo to talk about our kids at a job interview because it somehow makes you less of a person and incapable.
    Blessing Oshin recently posted..How Who You Marry Determines Your Career OutcomeMy Profile

  3. Edquina Washington February 13, 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    This is a very important topic that is rarely discussed, but needs to be discussed more, especially with our new female professionals as they are reaching the ladder of success. I will most definitely take this to heed!

  4. JTM February 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Want to be a corporate ladder climber? Simple! Don’t have children. Why would any REAL male (with any dignity) want to be married to a woman who wants to hire a nanny to watch their children…..LOL….silly. If your married and want to have children, stay home and BE A MOTHER. Hiring a nanny is a rich person’s cop out….and we wonder why our children are shooting their parents. SAD.

    • Malina February 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Wait.. this is a joke, right? So you are saying that a man has the right to have a career AND children, but a woman has to make a choice between career OR children? Did you just step out of a time machine from 1950?

      And your comment about dignity is WAY off. I think it is a mark of a VERY insecure man who wants to keep his wife subordinate by limiting her ability to care for herself financially.

      I think that men who marry women who can take care of themselves must be very secure in themselves. She doesn’t need him, so he knows he has plenty to offer that makes her WANT to stay.

      I mean, really… why would anybody want to be with somebody who is only with them out of financial need? Wouldn’t you want to be with somebody who WANTS to be with you? I guess that maybe you are only a paycheck with no other redeeming qualities.


      • JTM February 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

        No. Sadly Malina….Not a joke.

        Malina’s quote: “SHE DOESN’T NEED HIM, so he knows he has plenty to offer that makes her WANT to stay”…LOL….News flash = real men never ‘need’ a women – they “choose” to have one…just like women “choose” to have a man ;)

        People like Sandburg spouting nonsense comments of “women can have it all” perpetuates the unattainable myth that the media/women’s movement have been promoting for years. NO ONE CAN HAVE IT ALL. Unless you can clone yourself, you ALWAYS have to choose where your time is spent.

        If you CHOOSE (love that word) to go to work each day and have a nanny take care of YOUR (<-keyword) children…you might as well never had children because the "nanny/daycare worker/etc" is actually doing the 'mothering' of your child! Wow. Isn't that wild? Never occurred to you right? Ahh. I can already see the excuses coming…."studies have shown that children raised in daycare are better at socializing"…LOL….that's the rightful guilt one has for shucking their opportunity to raise their own son or daughter themselves and retain the ability to still sleep at night. Do some REAL soul searching and folllow your heart after you have children….tell them the truth every morning before you leave for work "mommy thinks money comes before you, so I'll see you after work sweetie". Then you'll come home with your dinner purchased from an upscale take out restaurant on your way home from work, feeling good about spending 1/3 of your daily net income -on the day you just worked :( – for food that you didn't make and makes the health of your family worse for having ate it. Bravo….good 'choice'. Now THAT is women "empowerment"….LOL. No, that's you being a slave to the system…a system that's snowballed YOU into thinking you got the 'unfair' deal in this life (as a female).

        Finally, Do you think a real self respecting man with priorities in the right place would EVER marry a women who wants to be at work rather than mother her own children? What kind of human (man) with an IQ above 30 would think that would be a 'good' decision? If your man thinks nothing is wrong with that….he isn't a man, he's a loafer. Using your wife as a money tool is shameful.

        Sandburg's comment: "I feel guilty when my son says, 'Mommy, put down the BlackBerry, talk to me' and that happens far too much." = Yeah, now that's a role model!! Barf. If I were her parent's, I'd tell her to change her last name.

  5. Malina February 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    It’s a very important discussion, that’s for sure. I got very lucky – my husband and I pretty much pull equal weight at home. The only thing he can’t do is nurse (but, in return, he always does the cat box and trash). The point that is missing is that we have accepted that sometimes (often) there is a mess somewhere in the house. We support one another when the other can’t, and enable one anothers’ careers. And as a result, we both have very impactful careers and excel at them. We do not, however, aspire to have high-powered jobs.

    It is hard, though. It’s nearly impossible to have two career-ambitious people and also children. Heck, it’s hard to have one career-ambitious partner and children, because those types of careers take you out of the home.

    I feel like if you are going to aspire to a c-level position, then you need a partner to stay home OR have a lot of hired help. Whether that is the man or the woman with the career is up to that couple. But those jobs typically require long hours and a lot of travel, so that burden needs to be absorbed somewhere.

    I’m an engineer, and I know quite a few other female engineers who have stay-at-home husbands. You’re right – it’s all about the relationship. But it’s not necessarily a *sacrifice* that women (or men) make. It’s just what works for their families.

    • JTM February 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm - Reply

      “It is hard, though. It’s nearly impossible to have two career-ambitious people and also children. Heck, it’s hard to have one career-ambitious partner and children, because those types of careers take you out of the home.”

      Enough said.

      “But those jobs typically require long hours and a lot of travel, so that burden needs to be absorbed somewhere.”

      Unfortunately, that “burden” happens to have a name….whatever your children’s name is.

  6. minhot April 12, 2013 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Two very important points…*sigh* JTM and malina. You both made very impt points. But to me I believe its all abt team work for the couple. The understanding has 2 b there. Its also sort of unfair 2 say the lady always has to be the one to take the back seat. And then it also boils down to the fact that marriage is not for everyone.

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