More and More, We’re Bringing Our Whole Selves to Work

On a recent video conference call with the male president of OneGoal and two female colleagues, one colleague mentioned she was on her way to pick up her young daughter from daycare. As soon as she was home, she switched from phone to video conference, appearing with her young daughter on her lap. The group took a moment to welcome and celebrate her daughter, and then proceeded with the business of the call.

This simple experience underscored for me one of the reasons I decided to join OneGoal. I chose this role because I was drawn to the way that the organization actively encourages authenticity, and understands that people do their best work when they also have the ability to attend to and nurture other important areas of their lives.

This experience also illustrated a dramatic shift from what I experienced early in my career. As a fledgling associate twenty years ago at a large law firm, I quickly sensed that my personal life had no place at work. I felt that I was expected to show up as a one-dimensional character, only interested in the work, and willing to sacrifice my personal desires and obligations to advance my career.

Unfortunately, this understanding was often reinforced by some of my female supervisors, who considered any expression of vulnerability as incompetence and expected that other women should be willing to “pay their dues” since they had made tremendous personal sacrifices to advance their careers.

These pressures still persist for women today, but have been diminished by the chorus of voices advocating for a better way. Each in their own way, these voices have championed the notion that a woman’s competency in her professional life isn’t dependent on how much she pretends to not have a personal life or feelings. And as women, we have gotten better about being unapologetic about bringing our whole selves to work and proving over and over again that we are up to the task at hand. Even with the progress we have made, more change is needed, and my hope is that we will use our voices and actions to actively strive toward it.