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I recognize that the title of this article is more than a little incendiary, and that’s completely intentional. I’m hoping it’s shocking enough that you’ll actually read this one all the way through. Because the next few paragraphs are among the most important I’ve written, and I sincerely believe they have the power to improve your outlook on the subject of work-life balance.
First off, I think empowerment in every form is a wonderful thing. Everyone deserves the ability to become whatever he or she wishes to become. That idea is the animating force behind our Declaration of Independence, and the entire history of our country is one of almost continuous movement toward more and more social equality (with a few unfortunate detours). Especially in the last 50 years, we’ve seen strides toward equal opportunity that were literally unimaginable a century ago anywhere in the world. We’re on the right track.
But for many women, this struggle has been made infinitely more difficult than it needs to be. I’m focusing on women here because while the “work-life balance” issue affects all of us, it’s an issue that seems to loom far larger in the minds of women. Various surveys show that work-life issues are generally a bigger problem for women than men, and the majority of the books and lectures that deal with the subject – of which the works and words of Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg are probably the most popular current examples – are targeted toward predominantly female audiences. Fortunately, the work-life conundrum is an easy problem to explain, and it’s an even easier problem to solve.