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Dear readers: About 50 times a year, this article gets tweeted around the working women circles for us to ponder. Okay not this exact article. But basically, this article. I've now read it so many times I can write it myself. I'm hoping to get published in The Atlantic.

Hi. I'm a working woman.

When I started my career out of college, I had nothing but stars in my eyes. I was going to run the world. I was going to climb the corporate ladder. I LOVED ladders! None of those aluminum fold-away ones for me, no sir, it was only the ones that went STRAIGHT TO THE TOP.

I quickly ascended the ranks, crushing the balls of all who opposed me. Then at 35 I realized ZOMG BABIES. I had to have babies. Dozens of them. Something clicked in me that I never saw coming. I started cranking out as many babies as possible, buying kegs of sperm off craigslist, grabbing babies off store shelves, every woman must have babies!

That's when I realized all the mistakes I'd made. I was surrounded by babies, working 160 hours a week as CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and I realized: I was trying to have it all. Yes. Work, AND a family.

Whyyyyy didn't anyone tell me that I couldn't have it all?! I mean, when a man graduates from college, he's already heard 5,000 times "just remember you can't have it all!" right? With that knowing wink? People keep it, like, a total secret from women! We never see stock photos of frazzled moms in heels screaming into their mobile phones while burning dinner! We're not raised in a society that constantly reminds us that the world is a scary place where we will lose our minds!

I totally hate my life now. It was really easy to just suddenly make $500,000 a year, but let me tell you now it is just so damn inconvenient! We need to focus more on women like me with problems, real problems! I blame those goddamn pushy feminists always telling us to work work work. They acted like they were speaking on behalf of women who had no choice but to work, but let's be honest, poor women's lives must be super easy compared with mine now.

Women, you can't have it all! If you get an MBA, you are trying to have it all! If you apply for a promotion when you're 25, you don't even know how your life will be when you MUST HAVE BABIES, you are trying to have it all! Be afraid of the future! Don't let those pushy bitches tell you to find a job you love, it will totally backfire! Find a job you hate! Then hate your life, and try to get a man who will support you to "lean out" of this crazy rat race while he seeks out a rewarding career and you surf pinterest for diet fads all day. You were given a brain for... well I don't know why. Don't use it too much ladies, it'll only make you miserable!

Disclaimer: This isn't real. I'm not a CEO, I'm an electrical engineer. l lead a team of about 10 people. I have two daughters who are cool, I work about 45 hours a week and like my job, I'm happy.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC)
Jul. 7th, 2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, yes! I see those so much too.

Edited at 2014-07-08 05:42 pm (UTC)
Jul. 7th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC)
out of curiosity, was there a new article that prompted this post today (if so, link please)? or have you just been meaning to write this one for awhile?
Jul. 7th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
It was partially prompted by last week's statement by Pepsi's CEO: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/pepsi-ceo-work-life-balance-coping-parental-guilt-n146381

But it's a conglomeration of articles I've seen for years, especially the last couple years after the ridiculous Anne-Marie Slaughter article:
Jul. 8th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
To be very slightly fair to the Pepsi woman, I think there was some additional cultural baggage (her mom not acknowledging any of her achievements outside the home?) with a tinge of generational guilt.

I agree with your point in general, but feel that this bit of nuance must be considered. Both Anne-Marrie Slaughter and the Pepsi CEO are a good 15 years older than you (and me). My point isn't that "we haven't gotten their yet", it's more that they've had a lot less support from their peers/mothers etc. on their road to the top. I think this makes them question their choices a lot more. I'm not saying that everything is rosy for working women of our generation, just that it gets better every year and with acceptance comes less guilt.
Jul. 8th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Something I've always found perplexing is that "having it all" seems to be equated with "having kids AND a career" where "career" means "working in business".

I'm forging my career in academia, and regularly DO feel like I have it all. I get to live abroad. My daughter is in an excellent university-based day-care where she is surrounded by intelligent, loving teachers who only speak German, I work roughly 9-5 and get to travel all over Europe (and sometimes the world) on a regular basis; if my daughter is ill, I can work from home; and if it's a nice summer afternoon and I decide "I'd rather be out at the park with Gwen", I can bug out a few hours early and do that.
Jul. 8th, 2014 01:26 pm (UTC)
Academia here in the states is a lot worse than that - I've long known that my European counterparts have much better lives. It's only "9-5" for me because I'm "part time".

There is a great deal of flexibility still, though, and that's nice.

Edited at 2014-07-08 01:26 pm (UTC)
Jul. 8th, 2014 01:33 pm (UTC)
Academia here could be a lot more than 9-5 here if I allowed it to -- I have plenty of colleagues for whom it is. My natural disinclination to have Gwen in daycare more than 8 hours a day is what restricts my work days, though this doesn't prevent me from sometimes working in the evenings and on weekends. Basically, so long as I have an adequate research output, no one cares how many hours I work. When maternity leave ended and Gwen was in day care only 20 hours a week, I learned to be incredibly focused the four afternoons a week I had at the office. This year I made a New Year's resolution to submit one paper or book review per month (or 12 over the course of the year), and half way into the year, I haven't faltered yet.

Sure, I could do more if I wanted to. But I don't -- I want to have the flexibility that I currently have to do things with Gwen when I want. Even without pushing to my limits, I've still, in the 5 years since completing my Ph.D., managed to establish myself as one of the experts in my field.
Jul. 10th, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)
Hahahahaha, excellent. Thanks for that. I'm sure that call from the Atlantic will be imminent.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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