A working woman can’t have it all

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I was always very ambitious; wanted a progressing career which brings with it money, name, fame fortune everything. Somewhere in my late 20s, I even wanted to marry and start a family. That happened in my 30s. I sit back and identify where I wanted to be – I wanted to be a Managing Director of my company; which I am not. But I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an aunt, a daughter-in-law, a sister and though not a managing director (which I desired) I teach business management to budding managers.

Does a woman need to work harder to achieve success than a man? Yes, yes and yes. I am in total agreement with Indira Nooyi – Pepsi CO, CEO’s observation that the biological clock and the career clock of woman are in total conflict with each other. A woman has to plan her life meticulously to play her different roles at different times. She might or might not be able to justify all at the same time.

When world over the business houses are lamenting over issues like gender inequality in workplaces, boardrooms and the top slotsA141 in society – the question to think about – is there dearth of competitive women in world? Not at all; but she does need a supportive spouse and supportive family. And, let us accept, this “supportive” tag is in dearth for many.

As a woman climbs up her career ladder, she needs to figure out how she will play her multiple roles at her place of work and at home. She needs to navigate her married life, her social life, her personal life all simultaneously. When the woman’s career starts to take off; when she progresses in her profession, how does her husband handle it? The story is different for every woman. I mention here another factor; she has to battle jealousy and dirty games of her male counterparts as well.

A142Almost every working mom has this guilt that she’s not doing enough for her kids. Thus she has learnt to prioritize her activities and balance them which at times she pays a very high price for. There are lakhs of intelligent, smart and sophisticated women who had to scarify their jobs to keep their family happy. They had to say good bye to their flourishing jobs. For any mother (whether working or domestic) children’s well being comes first. There are dozens of parental issues which they need to sort out first.

A143A study confirms working women multi-task for more than 40 per cent of their waking time. The study also confirms mothers spend 48.3 hours a week multi-tasking – compared with 38.9 hours for fathers. And of course, mothers find multi-tasking a ‘negative’ experience which creates stress and anxiety.  So, with all that tireless effort is a woman really appreciated? Can she be good at everything?

I once again refer to Indira Nooyi’s interview wherein she said that a workingA144 woman can’t have it all.

A working woman rarely can maintain her saneness, her poise in battling societal prejudice, peer pressure, male insecurity and internal conflict in pursuit of her professional ambition.

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Over the course of my life, I have done all possible jobs that one can think of – front desk assistant, telephone operator, clerical work, accounts assistant, inventory officer, sales woman, sales manager, tutor, lecturer, professor, director...etc. The range of job designations and experience of working in diverse roles has given me strength to think, help people, increase customer satisfaction, promote products, and off course build brands. When I look back at my career, in some jobs I excelled, in some I continued with odds. But the fact is that the diversity in my career has strengthened me as a person and definitely enhanced my skills. Every job taught me something or the other. I love meeting people, reading, travelling, listening to music, cooking, gardening, teaching, writing. Blogging has been a recent addition and am loving it. It has become my biggest hobby. Blogging has changed my life. My blog is wide-ranging manifestation of the way I think. I am a creative individual; I write because I have the urge to translate expressions of life. Over the years I studied and added some degrees as well. I have a PhD in Marketing Management from University of Pune, a post doctoral D.Litt (Doctor of letters) from Mumbai University in strategic management. I am a Professor of Management Studies with 16 years of teaching experience and have over 20 years industry experience. My core teaching areas are Marketing Strategy and General Management. As a teacher, I have always maintained the academic rigor in my classroom, I have always believed and practiced academic engagement while lecturing, I believe in experiential teaching-learning. I truly believe that education is interdisciplinary; therefore I have successfully guided 15 students for their PhD degree across various sectors in business management which includes a broad base of research coursework coupled with an area of specialization. I write on various management topics, research, news and higher education for students. And, the general section of articles on my blog relate to my interests in life. Happy reading to you all!

3 COMMENTS

  1. INdira Nooyi’s article has evoked lot of discussions on the priorities of working women and triggered serious thought process among senior women executives. Dr Vidya has handeled this delicate and sensitive topic in a practical way. I am also of the opinion that when a woman tries to acheive greater things in her professional carreer , personal and family priorities comesas a stubling block. It is a real balancing task and one has appreciate our Indian women who has acheived grreat heights in their profession. Anandhu

  2. this article very well defines the guilt or pain a working woman has to feel…It is there with her throughout her life & at times it becomes intense when the kids make one realise that a vacuum has been created because of the mother being working .. I .Deeply appreciate this article & someday I will make my son read this so that he can understand how I felt when I left him & came to work for providing him with a better future

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