Recently I’ve been reading a lot of articles focused on the phenomenon of women being overly devoted to their careers. Specifically, women who say that their career is their life, their baby, their everything. Does this sound incredibly sad to anyone else, or is it just me?
I’m all for loving your career and job. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious about getting that promotion, loving your boss and coworkers or even semi-bragging about your accomplishments- we all do that. But there is a fine line between having a career and letting that career define who you are.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I am a firm believer that when you leave the office, you should leave your job behind. This means not spending hours catching up on e-mails that could easily wait until the morning, not spending your free time worrying about that recent assignment, and not staying in the office until 7 pm to prove to your coworkers that you are dedicated (P.S. the amount of hours you stay in the office is NOT an indicator of how hard you work or how good of an employee you are, despite what some annoying people may say.) If there are days when your workload is out of control and you have to take some of your work home, so be it. But it doesn’t have to be a daily thing- and it shouldn’t.
My question for these women is, “Does dedicating your entire life to your career really fulfill you?” Do you enjoy spending 12 hours a day cooped up in an office when you could be having a life? Are you okay with that fact that all your friends have boyfriends or husbands and you’re basically dating your job?
Many young women in my peer group feel that their career is something they can control, unlike things like finding a partner or finding happiness, so they dedicate all their time and energy into it. But deep down, are they really all that happy? Is working at a name-brand company really worth it if you’re paid jack shit and are basically a glorified assistant that holds a Masters degree? I don’t think so.
So many young women feel that they have to hold onto their career so tightly to show everyone their worth and happiness. And it makes me sad. You are not defined by your career. You don’t have to dedicate your life to your career to prove your worth, whether it’s gender-based or not. By all means work your ass off, learn new things, and teach others, but don’t let your job take over your life. You’re worth a lot more than a LinkedIn title or byline.