May 20, 2013

The Monday Pep Talk | Having it all, to what price?

Gone surfing...
There is an on-going debate in the media whether women can have it all - or not. That means a fulfilling career and a big happy family. It´s extremely hard to get it all. Maybe you can have it all - but not at the same time I would say. I think we all feel the pressure from time to time to squeeze in more to get closer to that goal, to have it all, at the same time. This is no good. Because it sneaks up on you, and if you´re not aware of your priorities you may end up loosing yourself. This happened to Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman Brothers. She wrote a great piece in the NY Times, with the title "Is there life after work?", after that she found herself completely lost when her career abruptly ended. This is a brilliant article from a hugely successful woman who ended up putting her career before everything else in life. She didn´t get a child, which she now really regrets and still hopes for at the age of 47. Her first marriage ended because at the weekends, she slept. -When I wasn’t catching up on work, I spent my weekends recharging my batteries for the coming week. Erin Callan once overheard her then husband answering her colleague's question on what his high energetic wife was doing on the weekends, like rock climbing or running a marathon joked the colleague. She sleeps, her then husband answered simply. 

The article is not only interesting, it´s a great reminder to ourselves of what is important and how to set our own boundaries, and don´t let them slip!

- Work always came first, before my family, friends and marriage — which ended just a few years later. I didn’t start out with the goal of devoting all of myself to my job. It crept in over time. Each year that went by, slight modifications became the new normal. First I spent a half-hour on Sunday organizing my e-mail, to-do list and calendar to make Monday morning easier. Then I was working a few hours on Sunday, then all day. My boundaries slipped away until work was all that was left. I didn’t have to be on my BlackBerry from my first moment in the morning to my last moment at night. I didn’t have to eat the majority of my meals at my desk. I didn’t have to fly overnight to a meeting in Europe on my birthday. I now believe that I could have made it to a similar place with at least some better version of a personal life. Not without sacrifice — I don’t think I could have “had it all” — but with somewhat more harmony says Erin Callan in the NY Times article.