Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell’s research finds that “there is an asymmetry in the way people compare themselves with others. We tend to look exclusively at those better off than us, rather than contemplate our position within the full range of outcomes. When the lot of others improves, we react negatively, but when our own lot improves, we shift our reference group to those who are still better off. In other words, we are never satisfied, since we quickly become accustomed to our own achievements. Perhaps that is what spurs people to earn more, and economies to grow.”
Not very often that I feel too strongly about ‘most’ feminist agendas because I see an ideal world to be accommodating for both genders, as opposed to equal for both genders, but financial freedom and financial ambition is something I have felt very strongly about and all of it came back to me when I came across an article on LinkedIn called ‘Message for Women in Business: Its Okay to Love Money‘. This struck a cord with me as I remember being told, ‘its not your job to earn money’. Well, its noone’s birth right to do or don’t, its a choice – a choice people, men and women, should be able to make. Both men and women can choose to dedicate their time to building a fortune, or volunteering to something humanitarian, or both.
What makes me sad about this article, is that its intended for women only, which makes sense because men who love money are called ambitious, powerful, even arrogant (God knows when that became a compliment?). Now, by no means do I suggest earning money with wrongful means is justified (however you might define that), but its okay to have financial goals, ambitions and to work for it, for everyone, if that’s what makes you happy because at the end of the day, its not just money you’re trying to earn, its the ability to live well, experience life and make things happen.
We’ve all seen some of google’s auto-completes on our screens and thought to ourselves, does google know me better than I know myself?!? Well, the auto-completes for ‘how much does a’ … ‘ cost’? have been put together and some of the results are hilarious, yet ironic. Here’s my favorite ones:
Russia – to fly a MIG?, Pakistan – weddings, Canada – passport, S. Korea – Rhinoplasty, Angola – Food, Mauritania – Slaves, UAE – Ferrari, Brazil – Prostitutes
Recently, my mind’s been running paths to see where my career and life is going. I have had some career development mentor-ship and a read around. It is not surprising that when I began to collect my thoughts about where I see my career in 10 years, I had to consider the fact that I ‘d probably be taking a few years out to have kids and wait until they are old enough to go to a nursery for me to head back to work. Its interesting how a plan for my career, not much later, became a plan for my life where I saw the personal and professional struggling against each other – such is the life for women, right? And for the rare men who decide to make the same share of contribution at home.
I thought to myself, if at 30 my husband makes a director, I probably make a manager, or senior manager at best having spent fewer years in the workforce.
Having to leave the workforce for a few years, here I assumed was my choice but there’s possible solutions women (and other) leaders are presenting. Like encouraging growth in the child care industry, making it safer, cheaper and a more viable option. And by making maternal leaves more generous and creating a culture where men play a bigger role in child care and house work.
But there’s a counter argument to this, which I do feel very fondly for. Can the caretaker really bring up your kid the way you’d like? Is that how we want our next generation to be raised? And shouldn’t you (women and men) have the right to enjoy your parenthood? It’s not just about checking it off your list, right?
So what really is the solution? I am sure solutions and priorities are different for everybody. Not everybody has to leave the workforce, or have kids for that matter – but for me, I wondered how I could do justice to both my professional and personal pursuits.
So, what’s the solution if you do want to do all of that (which applies to me)? I thought hard and far and I think what would work best for me and for those who want to have a career, enjoy their kids and have a work-life balance, is to have options for flexible working. I have seen great examples in the workplace I am currently a part of it, which makes me rather fond of it. There’s executives who work from home and have little kids, visit the office once in a while and believe me I don’t feel any difference in the way they operate or work, especially as the companies are now global and teams scattered worldwide, where meetings happen over online conferences more often than in the conference rooms. I don’t think this is a permanent solution (while it could also be), but if you could have a few years to work flexibly, you never have to leave the workforce or miss out on seeing your children grow up. And you can always go back in full swing when you’re ready – sure you’d be making some compromise, but is there a better option?
Choosing between jobs and comparing the offers to my dream job, I am starting to wonder if I need to do what everyone else is doing, to be able to do what I really want to do? Choosing jobs has been relatively easier so far, as I knew they wouldn’t last once I finish grad school, but now choosing the ‘one’ has got me contemplating what I can do and what I want to do.
Ofcourse, you pick the most exciting and rewarding option, but would this bring you closer to finding that dream opportunity of a lifetime? Would it lead you into finding new things you enjoy working on? Would it completely drift you away from what was once the dream? Or do you wait until you find just what you wanted?
Even though, I ‘ve got lots of wondering and thinking to do, but the point really is to make the best of everything that comes your way, exhaust your potential completely and wonderfully in whatever way ‘possible’ and hopefully discover, meet people, learn ideas, which will show you what you stand for in five or ten years. And maybe there is a reason that people do what they do, making norms. I wouldn’t want to be complete handicapped by the norms and I have always had the freedom to think within and beyond them, but I am starting to understand why people do what they do.
So many questions to answer and mysteries to solve. Is this the beginning of my quarter life crisis?
Yes, we’re all at that point of year (well, some of us), when we prepare to get our theses/ dissertations/ research papers in and not like most, I was quite excited about having to write my very OWN piece of work which will probably be the most important piece of research I have ever done but as we know, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – not just graduation gowns and distinction certificates; its sleepless nights and thoughtless hiccups.
But as I come to the completion of my work I have started to realise that the hardest part of writing one is not finding the right topic (which too is trick because it’s difficult to find the balance between inspirational and realistic) or the right supervisor (which too is absolutely essential) or the sources. Infact it is the moment when you start to write things in your study which are completely novel and new, which noone has yet spoken of, about or for. I love writing essays – I understand how to structure them, how to make them rock solid by having genuine sources etc – And this practice makes me scared when I start to write something which is not out of any paper, journal or book, for which there could be no reference but my brain. While this feeling is exciting and the sole reason what makes writing your own research project so exciting, at the same time it brings the feeling of self-doubt and fear. Sometimes analysing my results, I think to myself ‘I hope I am not being stupid’ and well it’s a bit unsettling of a feeling.
That apart, I couldn’t be unthankful, I got a wonderful supervisor, a reasonable topic and a smooth journey – hopefully I can finish it off in time and the effort is reflected on the grades and who knows what else!