Women need to remember the importance of work/life balance.
There was a time—and it now seems long, long, ago—when many people in corporate America worked nine-to-five jobs. But somewhere along the way, that pleasant scenario changed: the pace picked up; competition intensified.
In my own career, I’ve observed these changes from the oil patch to the technology sector. And yes, I’ll admit it, I thrived on the adrenaline rush of the “stress for success” mindset. Eating lunch from a styrofoam container at my desk. Taking calls on the way home. Feeding, bathing, and putting my two children to bed, only to log back on and keep working for as long as it took to get everything—or most everything—ready for the next day.
Many women have shared the same story. It’s a story that comes with a price.
The workaholic flourishes because we’ve created a perfect environment for such individuals: fast food … fast internet … fast-track education. My question: when we are done rushing, where will we be?
Think, for example, of the “V” word—vacation. Mention that word and, suddenly, all of the most important events in your career line up for your first day off. Or, consider the “D” word—for dentist or doctor. How many of us have had to reschedule those necessary appointments five or six times, or do business in the dentist’s chair? Know anyone who’s had to bring asick child to work and hide them under the desk? When was the last time someone in your company told you not to worry about going away on vacation or taking time out for that much-needed appointment?
We as leaders need to be role models. If executives like us start taking vacations—instead of postponing or canceling them—it gives others the opportunity to assume responsibilities we thought only we could handle. When we get away from the office, we give others a chance to prove themselves. And that creates a deeper bench, and a natural succession plan—which are no small rewards. We need to restore the work/life balance, but it’s going to take all of us working in concert.