Source | LinkedIn : By Sallie Krawcheck
An important article published in The Cut has been making the rounds this week: The Ambition Collision. TL;DR: Millennial women are suffering a “midlife crisis” — their professional lives are leaving them feeling discontented, much like the discontent their work-in-the-home grandmothers felt. It hit the bullseye and left many women who read it nodding their heads in agreement.
Here’s a quote from the article:
“The ‘promise’ used to be domestic happiness. Now another bullsh*t promise has taken its place, and another generation is waking up. The men in charge are still in charge. It is impossible for women to continue to have faith in a vision of their own empowerment, when that empowerment is, in fact, a pose.”
Perhaps it’s no wonder.
When this cohort of Millennial women graduates started their careers, many thought for sure that the career-stalls their mothers’ and aunts’ and older sisters’ experienced were a thing of the past. That was then, and this is now, and things are different.
What this group has had is the first prescriptive guidebook on how to navigate the world of work. It was complete with instructions on how to take your seat at the table, lean in, how to know your worth, and provided the *tips and tricks * for success at work. “Do x and y, and get promoted, just like I did.”
As for home life? Well, here the media chimed in, investing countless Gigabytes and dead trees in a steady diet of “Can we have it all?” The continued asking of this question, ad nauseum, implied that we can, in fact, have it all. Or somebody can. And if somebody can, why can’t that somebody be me?
It all felt pretty great, because these career doctrines purported to put control in our own hands. They gave women the recipe for “empowerment”, and they gave us role models. They gave us hope.
One small problem: it hasn’t worked. The gender pay gap hasn’t budged; the number of female CEOs is declining (though the law of small numbers may be at work here); and women-owned businesses raised 1/45th the venture capital dollars that businesses run by men did in 2016. And there are fewer young women in STEM jobs than the generation before them. Here’s the thing: these numbers mean we aren’t just setting ourselves up to move forward or even go sideways. We could arguably soon be movingbackwards.
So much of the conventional advice to women on “how to succeed in business” tells us we can do this, as if it we were operating in a vacuum. But as individuals, we can’t accomplish this on our own. Instead, we need to remember that “every important decision about our careers is made when we’re not in the room.” (H/T to Carla Harris at Morgan Stanley.)