Sacrifices on the Job

Evaluate your definition of a career woman and the sacrifices she makes. Perhaps you believe she has few other priorities in her life, since her career dominates her schedule and her energies. She will pay almost any price to climb farther and earn more. She must travel for days or weeks at a time, often without notice. She must choose not to have a family or watch her family take a back seat to her career, causing irreparable damage to her relationships and her children. If this is the image you have, no wonder you are not anxious to join her.

The fact is, different jobs require different kinds of sacrifices. Consider this statement from my friend Shirley about her new job: "Now that I have a man's job, I work half as hard and get paid twice as much."

I don't want to discount the contribution men make to American business, but don't assume that higher paying jobs require any more sacrifice than you currently make. Whatever you do for a living, there are many men who work less hard and get paid more than you do. You probably know some of them. Yes, there are high-stress jobs that require long hours. Yes, there are career paths that demand a lot of travel. But many jobs that are normally held by men require far less sacrifice than you might imagine.

When we speak of sacrifice, let's not forget the sacrifice made by the low-paid mother who has four hours of work waiting for her at home, leaving no time to curl up and read to her child. All jobs require sacrifices. I am constantly amazed at the sacrifices women are willing to make in long hours, extra work, sexual harassment and belittling treatment, when their paychecks hardly warrant any sacrifice! Don't classify yourself as a regular woman just because you have other priorities in life.

Most women who earn high incomes have people to help them with at least some of the following: housecleaning, meal preparation, child care, laundry, ironing, shopping, and errands. This leaves them more time and energy for the real priorities. Don't forget that you are already making sacrifices, possibly much greater than those made by many career women you know.

My friend Paula works with several men on a sales team. These men are simply working people. Many would classify them as family men. Paula does the same job, works the same hours, and makes the same pay, yet others consider her as career oriented, ambitious, and even tough. Fortunately, she does not concern herself with their perception of her. She does her job and goes home to her family, just like the other women in her office. She just makes a lot more money.


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