Sheryl Sandberg chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the new book Lean In is making waves on the topic of work-life balance and women in the workplace. As an author and expert on work-life balance I’m grateful to see the issues getting media time in a new way. If I’m being truthful, I feel mixed about her messages.
Don’t get me wrong –I love the conversation she is creating about women and ambition. I absolutely agree and support her message and can identify with many times in my life where I didn’t lean in – where I sat back and watched; only now seeing that I was just as worthy as anyone else in the room to have a seat (and voice) at the table.
My mixed feelings come from some of the comments about work-life balance coming out of the conversation. I fear the topic is being dragged back to the 1970’s when it was perceived as a working woman’s issue. It is not, it is a human issue.
I have worked with men and women in over 30 counties and I know first-hand the struggles to balance life is not gender specific. Men and women might use different words to describe the pressures and emotions they are felling, but the outcome is the same – men and women both struggle with the choices and tradeoffs they feel are required to “make it” in the modern working world.
Sheryl thank you for bringing the conversation back in to the spotlight. Now let’s take it to the next level and talk about it as a human issue. It’s time to open our eyes to the impact work-life balance is having on countries, companies and individuals around the world.