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November 14, 2011

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I love this! I really support this idea, 100%. There are few things as satisfying as meaningful work. Everybody should feel justified in having the right kind of work. Thank you so much for this post.

I did give up my career to stay at home with my children. There was no other option then. I think technological advances have made so much more possible. When I dream, it's always about me back in the work environment, so even after 20 years of being gone, I think I must still miss the intrinsic feelings of being good at what I did that are not so readily available at home.

As I read your post, I kept thinking, "YES!!" over and over. By all accounts, I shouldn't be struggling with work-life balance. I don't have children. I'm in my late twenties, and my career is just beginning to really blossom. I'm the sole breadwinner at the moment, which means I even have a stay-at-home spouse who does all the dishes, laundry and cooks me dinner every night (bless his wonderful heart). According to the traditional corporate narrative, now is the time when I'm supposed to be putting in the long hours, working very hard with single-minded dedication to a company, and reaping the proverbial rewards.

But who decided that that's what good work is supposed to look like? Who decided that working long hours equated to professional success? I realized long ago that my best work doesn't happen when I spend 10 hours sitting in a cubicle. Quite the contrary, that's a sure-fire recipe to kill my productivity. My absolute best work happens when I spend 60-90 minutes of razor-sharp focused time working on something important to me. I suspect that if we instituted a nationwide 4-hour, 4-day work week, productivity in the knowledge economy would soar.

My sense is that culturally, we're coming to recognize our collective burnout., though very gradually. Thank you for calling it our here, especially the oh-so-important insight that choosing "between" work and life is a false dichotomy. It's not either/or. It's both-and.

In 1988, AT&T/Bell Labs graciously offered to move me to Oberlin, OH when I got married if I wouldn't quit. They set me up with a home office and I commuted to NJ or somewhere else in the world weekly. When our son was born in 1997, I went part time from home, no travel, working remotely. I gave up managing people (which was fine). That worked thru another child in 2000, til I quit in 2001 because the ability to do anything meaningful at AT&T, no matter where you were, was increasingly difficult. I went out on my own, using my "network" to start my own consulting practice and become a partner in an early-stage VC firm.

To say I've been blessed is an understatement. AT&T was ahead of its time in encouraging and enabling my situation. But it boils down to people. I had incredible management who realized my value and the power of the network, heck we were a networking company, we should have! To think that was 23 yrs ago is amazing. Unfortunately, we haven't come as far as we should have.

Thank you for your very important post and sharing your journey!
Deb

I really appreciate this article. For some reason in the society that we are in today, we think that a lot of hours means a lot of passion. However I can for one give you numerous instances where this is not the case. Simply showing up and staying is not dedication.

I love the fact that through your efforts the idea of work, will be changed. The traditional vision of sitting at a desk, is no longer work, in fact it never was. Your job is all around you and so is your personal life.

Really like the article

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.

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