There’s been a lot of talk recently about why women are leaving corporate America and how they can reclaim it. Everyone from the Harvard Business Review to the New York Times is writing about how we’re leaving the workplace in droves in favor of flexibility and to raise our families.
My favorite piece (and, yes, that is sarcasm) was a sidebar article entitled, Advice, insight from men to the women who want their jobs that ran in the Detroit Free Press a few weeks ago. I'd link to it, but as you can imagine there was a little controversy over the topic and It’s since been removed from the Freep’s website. But, to recap, one top male executive suggested that we more carefully choose a partner that can help with the childcare if we want *his* job.
So, to clarify… if only we had all “married better,” gender bias, pay inequity and glass ceilings wouldn’t exist.
I’ll just wait here while you laugh (or cry… or throw up in your mouth just a little bit).
I can’t - and don’t and won’t - speak for every woman out there, but as for myself I didn’t leave corporate America to raise my family. My daughter was 22 and rather self-sufficient when I quit my job to start my own business. My husband was a wee bit older and mostly self-sufficient. And here’s a news flash - I am more than a mom. I have many other needs that have nothing to do with my role as a mother.
I left my corporate job because the system is broken.
Corporate America wanted me to buy into the idea that the only way to happiness and glory was working 60+ hours a week to satiate the pocketbook or (most often) ego of a shareholder / donor / master who didn’t know or understand a tenth of what I did about my own work. Corporate America wanted me to leave whole parts of myself at home and pretend to be someone in the workplace that I wasn’t. Corporate America wanted me to acquiesce to a male-dominated idea that competition trumps cooperation. Corporate America wanted to spoon feed me scarcity when I needed abundance. And Corporate America wanted me to believe that my feminine qualities - of emotion and nurture and love and collective leadership - were “wrong” and had no place in the work place even though EVERYTHING we know - from science to our gut - tells us differently.
Corporate America is a broken system and I was done beating my head against a brick wall from within trying to change it. So I opted out.
So, no, I don’t want to reclaim corporate America - I want to divorce it. And I’m choosing to “marry up” to myself by creating spaces and places where women don’t have to force fit themselves into roles that don’t fit, that don’t work and, worse yet, harm them. I want women to gleefully declare who they are without fear and discover a sacred truth that they already have everything they need to carry out their very important work - whatever that work is - within themselves.
It’s what I want for every woman who walks in the door of the SheHive and, most of all, it’s what I desperately seek for myself.
Now pardon me while I step off this soap box and get back to my very important lady-work that is equal parts joy, compassion, mad knowledge, badassery and some glitter and glue.
What broken system is no longer serving you that you are going to opt out of? I’d love to hear about it. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD