I think a lot about crossroads these days.
When I look at my life, I wonder, “Am I pushing myself too hard?”
I had brunch with a girlfriend last Saturday at the Diner.
She told me that she was content in where she was, working in a government related position that gives her 2 months of paid holidays a year.
Sure, her base was flimsy but at the very least, she has the flexibility to travel and suffers no pressure from work.
When she takes a vacation, she leaves her work behind.
My former boss is the same.
She is sick and tired of her current job, despite managing a team of 8 people.
However, she finds it hard to leave her employer because of the freedom her job provides. Imagine, in the morning, she has the time to drive out to the beach and surf before coming to work.
She is given enough annual leaves to keep her happy, and she never had to do overtime and still gets decent pay.
As for me, there has been times when I work till dawn and there are light bluish tints silhouetting the Taipei 101.
I had to delay my July vacation because I couldn’t find a backup.
What’s more, when I do take a vacation, am usually busy till I get to the Taoyuan airport taking conference calls even till then.
During my trip to Vietnam and India last year, the office called me up for some emergency and I had to to walk my colleagues through the process. It’s highly unlikely that I can really forget about work during my vacations.
My life and my work is so intertwined that I would sometimes kid, “My work changed my life… now I have none.”
Don’t get me wrong though — I like what I do.
I like my boss, my colleagues, the dynamism and excitement of my job, my company, etc.
And yet to say that I am a bit of a workaholic is an understatement. I CAN be a workaholic when necessary.
Nonetheless, I look at the other women around me.
The traditional way is to see women as care-givers. It was the guy’s job to bring home the bacon, while the women prepare the kids for life. Women didn’t really need to earn an adequate income.
Times have changed — been a long while since any man has paid to bring me up. Last one was my dad and that was eons ago. Last I heard, being the obedient I’m the one handing him red envelopes. 🙂
However, this is my fate, of being the un-kept woman.
The lack of a safety net is both liberating and fills me with dread. At first, you don’t need to ask permission before you spend your hard-earned money. It’s yours — you deserve it. And yet, this is it… your bank account is your total net asset. You know exactly what you’re worth and once that’s gone, it’s done.
I am often times unsure if this is a good role for women to play.
Women are supposed to be soft, demure and feminine.
Unfortunately, soft doesn’t necessarily mean effectiveness. At work, you do what it takes to get the job done regardless of gender. Hence, sometimes, despite my better judgement, I do bark at assistants if they do a major boo-boo.
Not ladylike, but heck, he deserves it.
What’s more, my mom warns me to stay down to earth at work. She mourns that her daughter is no longer as simple anymore. “The higher you climb, the more difficult it is for you to get along with people. However, from the beginning, in the office, you are what your position is required of you. AFTER OFFICE, stay approachable and sweet that everybody knows of.”
Wise words from a wise woman who’s raised two kids and helped her husband grow his business.
I do feel it though — I do feel that I’m less simple. More jaded, so to speak.
I am not sure if these are changes that I like, but believe that they’re inevitable given the progress you’re having in your life and career.
But a person’s gotta do, what he/she has to do.
Gender can be an excuse (when we fail), but by and by, I believe it is irrelevant.
Being a woman shouldn’t keep you from being successful. Being a man doesn’t guarantee success. Sure, it may be easier for some, but success comes to those who are well-prepared, hard woking and has a lot of luck.
And this is, regardless of gender.
So we move forward, bravely, confidently on to the next step.
Jia you to everyone!
2 thoughts on “A Gender Issue?”
I’ve very often had the impression that there was this scale of work/pay ratio that followed a curve of a kind. For example, on low end you work minimally and recieve still a decent minimum wage. Then you work overtime and get fair increase for it. Then the firm squeezes you out even more but doesn’t give better wage (!). And after you cross it, your wage skyrockets for only bit more work as you advance to better positions. There are a number of shortcuts along the way though, which cater to a wide range of talents and personalities. For more illustration, see this graph:
*_* = The author does take any responsibility and cannot be held accountable for possible physical injury, stress, ruined public image, medical problems, interpersonal relations problems and all other consequences that may result from taking the above chart seriously. For more information, please visit your local healthcare provider.
That’s funny. 🙂