Have you ever made a job change because it would look good on your resume and found it made you miserable? How many times have taken on a stretch project or a task you hated in the hopes that it would help you get ahead when it didn't? Do you ever ask yourself if you are doing what you actually want or whether you are following someone else's model for winning at work?
There are a lot of words of wisdom for working moms out right now. Ivanka Trump is the latest to write a how-to for women to empower themselves in the face of structural barriers to advancement in the workplace. IVANKA. TRUMP. I can't even articulate how surreal it is that a woman with arguably limitless privilege, resources, and support, could be doling out advice about overcoming obstacles. Hers is one of many books and resources that have come out on this topic in recent years. Some authors have so much to teach us drawing about fighting a broken system but others are just co-opting messages they believe sound empowering or remotely feminist. (NYT's "Ask A Feminist: How Empowering is My Brand?" column hits the nail on the head.) The barrage of #messages about the way women should take the lead at work shouldn't be taken at face value.
We each have a unique set of circumstances that guide, restrict or expand our opportunities at work and at home. Those of us who have tried to live up to someone else's standards or ideals, know that it comes with a physical and psychological cost. Remember to check in with yourself regularly, and reflect on your choices and routines. Do they reflect what you really want? The more we absorb advice from the women who seem to have it all together, the harder it is for us to recognize what we truly value. Be honest about your own experiences, priorities, values and needs. Be your own work-life role model.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. -Neil Gaiman