Having a life vs. having it all... - Terri Givens
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Having a life vs. having it all…

Having a life vs. having it all…

OK – so I have to comment on Anne-Marie Slaughter’s commentary in today’s Atlantic Magazine called “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All”.  My take away is that we need to be honest with ourselves, that the system isn’t set up for us to have high-powered careers and kids, unless we’re “superhuman, rich, or self-employed”.  Sometimes we have to choose.  I definitely agree with that sentiment — 3 years ago I resigned as Vice Provost so I could go back on the faculty and have a more flexible schedule for my kids (along with other reasons).  My timing was good, my kids were just getting to the point where they would need shuttling to their activities in the afternoon, and it also allowed me to pursue some projects that I had been wanting to do for a long time, like my company “Take Back the Trail” – there were a lot of factors that led to that decision, and I definitely don’t regret it.
I agree that policy needs to change so that more women can choose to take on leadership positions and not feel like they have to sacrifice their families to do it. I have a husband who has always been very engaged and a great father, which has allowed me to pursue many different types of leadership positions in my job as a professor and in the community.  But I probably have more influence in the community now, than I did as Vice Provost.  Anne-Marie Slaughter is still a very much sought after speaker and analyst.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that we find different ways to influence our world, whether it’s Austin, TX or the world of foreign affairs. We are still role models for women who want a life — that’s what I want.  A life that includes my husband and kids, my business, traveling, etc…
I’m not really sure what it means to have it all — but I do know that I have what I want, and I know that I will eventually be in a top-level leadership position, but it will be on my own terms. And besides true work-aholics, does anyone think that working 80-100  hours per week is part of “having it all”?