Whose Responsibility is Work-Life Balance?

Nancy Calderon: A lot of the problems that women have is their self-imposed guilt. To this day, I can still go in to the office after spending the morning at my daughter’s school and going, “Oh, what if somebody asks me?”  Which is just absolutely ridiculous, ludicrous that anybody would ask me "Where have you been this morning?" because they know that, by and large, I am in there doing my work and getting it done. 

The other thing I have spoken to people about . . . just as in life, your career also goes in waves.  And, in hindsight, after I had my baby--and she was actually premature, so I had to deal with some issues at home and still get back in to this new role that required some travel--, I didn’t realize, but, if my normal pace is 125 percent effort, I actually in hindsight dropped it back down to 95 or 100. I didn’t know I was doing it at the time, but when you’re squeezing everything in, it just happens. So learning to breathe and forgive yourself and say, “I am still producing; I am still delivering,” will help the stress tremendously. 

There are still many occupations that are very difficult to have children with. We are constantly struggling with that and trying to come up with solutions, particularly as we’ve become more global and more travel and we have people flying around the world.  I think technology in the near future may very well solve that.

What I am I guess pitching at the moment is this new program that we’re calling My Pace, and it’s really . . . we’re trying to define what it is to get your next promotion, instead of saying "You’re out, so therefore you didn’t get it."  So what I’ve used as an example is--I love this title of the book, which is 10,000 Hours, and the premise of the book is, it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in any given subject.  Well for us, if we look at 2,000 hours a year of work including overtime, that’s about the equivalent of one year of our staff, and that means in five years they in theory would have the expertise to be a manager, which is the first, I guess, real big promotion.

If I look at that and go, well, if we now empower our women to say we want you to come at your own pace, we want you to have children, we want you to be successful as a mother and as a professional, and here is a program that is going to let you customize it, and we’re going to help you figure out all the other pieces including how do we manage your client responsibilities, how do we manage the engagement teams that you’re on so there are not issues.  So I think that’s one of the major ones.

The other one... as technology evolves, the ability to work at home and the ability to work anywhere, so if their client happens to be ten minutes from their home, instead of having to circle through and pick up work papers or whatever they’ve needed in the past, we’re really evolving into a paperless environment that with collaboration spaces that will make these tools a lot easier for moms.

Directed / Produced by

Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


Nancy Calderon believes that work-life balance isn’t a women’s issue, but that women tend to suffer particularly heavily from guilt over their divided loyalties. But businesses do have a responsibility, Calderon says, to establish programs that clearly define the pathways to promotion.

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