“Just tell me what you want, what you really really want” …sang the Spice Girls in the 1990’s. My daughter was a toddler then and if someone had asked me what I really really wanted at that time, the answer would have revolved around how to balance the 3 C’s. Caring, cleaning and career! I was then, and still am, an ambitious and driven businesswoman.
However, like many women, my career went into a significant holding zone whilst I juggled the 3 C’s, for a long time. So if someone had asked me then what I wanted (and lets face it, women are rarely asked what they want) ….and I knew what I know now … I would have asked for a wife!
I read the “The Wife Drought” by Annabel Crabb when it came out. Like many women who read it, and indeed the author, I was envious of the advantages that one has when one has a partner who enables ones career by doing ‘wifely’ stuff.
I say ‘I need a wife’ as I understand the advantages and ‘potent economic empowerment’ that having a stay at home spouse entails.
“Women in Workplace” is a report published by Leanin.org & McKinsey. Whilst it is based on corporate American studies, the trends and troubles are the same, if not worse in Australia. The report tells us that what is ‘normal’ is that women are failing to receive their first critical promotion, fall behind at every step thereafter and as a result, the higher you look in any company, the less women you will see. Often this is because they are juggling the 3 C’s and perceive (or are perceived) that leadership will be too demanding for someone who has to juggle both a career and a family.
Australia needs to get unstuck from its 1950’s attitudes to women and work.
Unfortunately, ‘normal’ in the 1990’s for my (then) toddler daughter who was dancing around to the Spice Girls, was that females did have a supporting or background role in work and life. AKA wife! What is astonishing is that some 20 years later, this is still the perception about gender and the reality for many women. WGEA published “Womens Work, Men’s Work” with the express objective to change traditional gender assigned roles and help Australia get unstuck from its 1950’s attitudes to women and work.
I’ll have a wife thanks!
When I mentor women, I often ask what do you really really want? Many can’t tell me. Not straight away anyway. I say this without judgement. Truly.
When I was juggling the 3 C’s, I don’t think I would have had the foresight, courage or conviction to say ‘I’ll have a wife thanks’ if I had been asked the same question. Having a wife would have meant being able to get on with advancing my career, increasing my economic independence and accelerating my fulfilment, enabled by someone doing all of the unpaid stuff I was doing on top of my day job!
If I’d asked for what I really wanted, actually needed, made that clear to my managers, my family, my (then) husband….perhaps I would have set myself up for success a little earlier. Oh well!
No point keeping this wisdom to myself
There is no point keeping this wisdom to myself. I share my experience, the wisdom I’ve gained from that experience and I use that to encourage women to be courageous, be authentic, be strategic and have conversations with intent. Conversations with intent are asking for what you really really want. Yes, it takes courage. Yes, it takes embracing vulnerability. Yes, it means knowing what you really, really want.
Your manager, peer, friend or partner is not a mind reader.
Your manager, peer, friend or partner is not a mind reader. There is no one hanging around waiting to anoint you to the role, salary, life that you really want. I can guarantee you though, there are plenty of people in your life that will be overjoyed when you ask them for help, when you declare what you really want. They will want to help you get it, because you are clear, purposeful, deliberate and intent on what you want and need.
Please be strategic and declare your intentions. Ask for what you want, then find the people who are going to enable that to happen.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Your journey to get what you want starts with you. So, tell me … what do you want, what do you really really really want?