Whenever I ask women what ‘career’ means to them, I hear ‘personal development’, ‘having impact’, ‘developing others’ and further more. What is never a driver is ‘money’, ‘power’ or ‘status’. Interestingly, most coroporate careers offer exactly that: status, power and money. They are tightly connected to the hierarchy levels within the ranks. And ‘running through these ranks or ‘climbing the ladder’ is the general definition of doing a career.
As this system has been designed by men for men, it is no surprise that there are little incentives that are attractive for women. Unfortunately, a lot of women do not pursue a career because the immediate gratification seems irrelevant to them – or at worst even unethical. I would like to bring in a few thoughts into the discussion that might change the perspective.
For me, doing a career increases the freedom that I get. I have more freedom to decide how I want to spend my time, e.g. now I can actually invest in my personal development or the development of others and I have an impact in the lives of others – at least this is the feedback I hear. In addition, the higher salary frees my time as well. I can buy support for care activities that I don’t want to spend my time on. And I can invest money in social services and NGOs that I love. I might not be personally in Madagascar or Cambodia – but my time-invest in my company has an effect on the wellbeing of the NGOs of my friends due to the money I can donate.
It took me some years to fully embrace this perspective. Society has a strong impact on the role models for men and women in each generation. And for me, becoming a care taker at home had a very high priority. ‘Unfortunately’ I am very lousy at following routines, e.g. doing household tasks, but very good at taking risks, speaking up and challenging the status quo. It turned out that I am way better in business than in kitchen cleaning.
What is your reason to pursue a career?