I was speaking with a male client, discussing my last blog post on “Leaning In” by Sheryl Sandberg. He was talking about how much he admired Sandberg and reminded me that his mentor at his large national firm was a female. As he concluded he said… “What’s this thing about women having it all… No one has it all!”
Can women have it all? That seems to be the question of the moment.
And it is a rather ridiculous question if you ask me, because it implies that men have it all. But we don’t. Not even close.
If we’re married, then we don’t have the freedoms that come with being single.
If we’re single, then we miss out on the comforts of marriage.
For every hour that is spent late at night in the office trying to make partner, there is another hour in which Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” creeps from being a song to being our biographies.
Instead of this fruitless debate about having it all, men and women should focus on what make us happy. Instead of comparing our lives with people we don’t know who are making sacrifices we don’t see, we should try to find the right balance between home and work life. It’s a very personal choice.
There is no way to physically always be there for your children and always be at the office and always be present for your significant other and then take care of yourself. The laws of physics necessitate that somebody or some thing is going to get the short end of the stick.
That’s why it’s more important for women to define their own sense of priorities instead of adhering to someone else’s. At the end of the day, they are the ones who have to live with the choices they make. Same for men.
Last summer Kirk Gibson, the manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks, raised some eyebrows when he decided to skip his son’s high school graduation in Michigan in order to spend more time at the office.
“You’re supposed to graduate,” he said after the game. ”His mom and the rest of the family will be there. He’s coming to see me next week.”
To some, what Gibson did wasn’t that big a deal.
To others, he was an ass.
To me, it’s just another example of men not having it all.
Chances are if Gibson was working in town he would have gone to his son’s graduation before it was time for him to head over to the baseball park. But he was 2,000 miles away and he had to make a choice. It’s not the one I would have made, but then again the work-life balance that Gibson needs in order to be happy is probably different from mine. I suspect the work-life balance that one woman needs for happiness is different from what another may require.
It’s personal, not universal.
“All” is mythical, not obtainable.
So, just because men have been conditioned not to express remorse (or many other emotions), doesn’t mean we don’t have any. The trick is to find the remorse you can live with.
Granderson helps us to realize that it is a human condition that has no gender. Guilt and the feelings of inadequacy touch us all.
How do you make the choices that are right for YOU? What makes YOU happy? These are the questions to ponder!