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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Career Vs. Family

There seems to be a lot of talk in the blog world recently about women having to making choices regarding their career and family. For example, on the ScienceWomen blog, there was a post about a new mom who's in-laws (and family) were pressuring her to give up her science. Over at FSP's blog, she talked about a woman who was dissatisfied with her tech job in order to be with her husband (or at least that's the hypothesis). And Chick with PhizzleDizzle had a post a while back where she talked about taking her awesome new job, and ended with "And we will not be one of those couples where the wife follows the husband around where he goes."

This post is by no means a response to those, but they certainly have got me thinking about this issue of career vs. family recently.

These posts make me incredibly sad. I so don't get how, in academia, it seems to come down to making a choice of either career or family. I never hear my other friends, who are in different career fields, have such a huge problem with this. Yes, they still have to make decisions - but it doesn't seem nearly as bad. They're not wondering if they can do both, or if they should live in the same city as their husbands....they're more figuring out if they want to do both.

Then there is the issue of judgement, which seems to be rampant in academia. If you choose your family over your career then you're a failure, or you're giving up, or you don't love your job enough, or you probably couldn't hack it anyway. But, if you choose to continue your career then you're heartless, and you're still probably going to fail anyway because who can balance both?

I think if the judgement went away, it would be much easier for us women to make these decisions. We could make them for ourselves. I for one, when faced with the decision between career and family, will choose family everytime. That's just the way I roll. Other women value their career more than I do, and that's okay! As long as it works for them, then who gives a shit?

I've said this in the past, but sometimes I feel like women are our own worst enemy. We have enough crap to deal with, so why do we judge each other on top of all that? If we could just all be supportive of each other's decisions instead of setting up in two camps (career vs. family), just think of how much better things would be.