‘Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.’ ~ Janis Joplin
‘Cupcake making domesticity‘ or career recognition and progress?
Career path chosen for money or passion?
This thought struck me when I read a recent article in the Daily Mail. For those who care not to traipse through the text behind the link, Louise Chunn, the editor of Psychologies magazine and a self-proclaimed feminist, is stunned by her Oxbridge daughter’s contemplation – picking a job she found ‘interesting’ and marrying rich . My first thought was why can’t you pick a career you are passionate about and live modestly without relying on a marriage for financial security. You are richer for enjoying the time you spend working and not in a soul-destroying job counting down the hours till you are free from the confines of the office. My second thought was no one should feel the pressure to be a high flier just because this is what we feel we should move towards the moment we take our graduation gowns off.
The individual paths and choices we make are what makes each and everyone’s story interesting. Not everyone longs to conquer the corporate world or wishes to follow in their parent’s footsteps.
I’m often told how lucky our generation is, women have more choice in the direction we chose to focus our lives, we’re told we can have it all, and that we can have a work-life balance we want. Talk about pressure! An article based on a study into gender equity in academia revealed that women feel they are denied ‘the opportunity for the balanced life’. A prime example of this pressure – “One woman interviewed described having a child this way: “I was determined that I would drop that baby on Friday, teach on Monday, and nobody would ever know. That’s what I had to do. That was just how I felt like life had to be”. Those who decide to raise a family have to take on superwoman capabilities to prove they can cope and be at the top of their game. Sometimes I wonder if feminism has done more harm than good.
I’m not saying we don’t have a choice or can’t reach the summit of our careers, because we do and it can be done. But I really do question, can I have it all?
I’m in denial that my biological clock is even ticking. Girls from my high school have families already, and several of my friends aren’t adverse to the idea of having a baby in the not-so distant future. I cannot imagine having children. I’ve always shrugged it off as a ‘no thank you’ with some offhanded comments about vomit and sleepless nights. I know life plans do change. What I wanted at 14 is by no means what I want now. But I do feel that I worked exceptionally hard to get my degree and prove myself and my capabilities. I cannot imagine all that studying equating to nothing. I’m worried having children would leave me feeling short-changed out of what I wanted from life (I know having children can be equally rewarding and is a full-job in itself). I also feel there are so many places I want to go and things I want to do, children would never fit into the equation. I’m unsure if that makes me ambitious, too young or selfish, maybe a combination of all three.