On May 7, 2020, 6-7 weeks into the COVID shutdown and quarantine, Facebook’s & Lean In’s Sheryl Sandberg published an article which is exquisitely indicative of her (at times) anachronistic perspective on issues of gender roles and equality. It illustrates perfectly my struggle with her prescription for aiding in women’s success.
“Women are maxing out and burning out. Getting through this crisis means helping women get through it too. All of us—employers, managers, elected officials, and spouses—need to help lighten their loads.”
— Sheryl Sandberg
I really take issue with the continued use of the word "help" when it comes to anyone aside from women putting in their share of the team work (at home or elsewhere). This framing is incredibly detrimental.
The reason for this is that it assumes that the base level of responsibility for performing in all arenas (paid work, household administration, childcare) somehow inherently lies with women, and is to be done before they prioritize their own needs (as if there were enough hours in the day).
It removes their agency to accept or reject roles on the basis of what is doable and equitable, and casts them as needy recipients of charitable giving at the whim of others who should be doing their part anyway.
Other adults (and even older children) living in a household are not "helping" women by pulling their weight and sharing in meal prep, cleaning, planning, educating, childrearing tasks - they are simply participating in an appropriate way that modern society demands.
Women need not beg for help with unpaid work that was never their sole burden in the first place. Until we start using more accurate language to discuss the issue, we cannot fully grasp the implications and address them in a productive way.
Some couples have duties split (one works outside the home and one manages the home/family). If it works for both parties, cool. Raising young children and managing the home are a full time endeavor, one that is unpaid and often taken for granted, but that’s a whole other blog post.
If you’re one of the brave souls pulling all of this off as a single working parent, you’re crushing it, and hats off to you.
If you’re managing the household as part of a pair, here are a few basic strategies we use. I offer them because in my experience, in the absence of structure, the default solution often falls to the natural gap filler, noticer, etc. Often mom, but not at all always.
Structure helps keep everyone pitching in and reminds us all that it takes a team to run a household (and beyond)! I also don’t have to constantly ask/delegate/nag/be annoyed.
Dinner schedule (one team cooks and the other cleans). Kids can team up together if they’re old enough, and have fun planning and making a meal. Okay, they may not thank you right away, but they’ll feel pretty good about themselves when they pull it off and bask in your appreciation. And, they’re learning life skills! Bonus - they can avoid being the kid in college who breaks the dishwasher by using Dawn in the dispenser or never changes their sheets since they’ve never done their own laundry - yuck.
Chore chart (not even a remotely original idea, I know, but sometimes the tried and true sticks around for a reason). Chart out the weekly tasks and assign them in age appropriate ways. We’ve actually renamed our chore board “Life,” since these are things they’ll be doing for the rest of it, unless they make enough dough as adults to hire it all out.
Fun chart (list the days of the week and have each family member sign up for a day to plan a fun thing they want to do together). You don’t have to fill all the days - one day per week per person is cool. The other evenings can be left open for solo or spontaneous pursuits. This is a low effort way to infuse some joy into the routine. Isn’t it more fun to do family things you get to pick sometimes? My kids would surely say yes. Each person gets to choose whatever they want without forcing consensus, having the adults pick everything, or doing nothing fun because no one thought of it and now it’s bedtime. Some examples of stuff our crew has come up with: games, movies, house dance party, go for a walk/hike, art project, puzzles, and even acrylic painting (free videos on youtube you can follow).
When it comes to nurturing a home and a life, it’s all hands on deck to keep everyone fed, dishes done, and fun high on the list of priorities. When framed as “help,” there’s a root lack of understanding of roles and work in modern life. When framed as “partnership,” all are empowered to play meaningful roles in all arenas of life and the burden is equally shared. With this tension removed, we make way for mutual respect and joy.
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I am struggling with a hit in confidence.
Will be let go at the end of the year for reasons that are not me - senior mgmt doesn’t value the role of operations, financial troubles, not our first round of layoffs. And I’ve made peace with leaving but in trying to find something new, have gotten no interviews at all. Probably applied to 70 jobs or so so far. That’s what is hurting my confidence. I know I can do well and in interview but having a hard time getting in the door. Any advice or services that have worked to successfully get you an interview?
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I am working with a new partner for a new project who straight away assumes negative intent.
We are working on a new project for which there is no precedent. It’s very early and very little has been defined. Specifically, they accused me of ignoring their requests for work. Meanwhile, I was out sick. I personally Messaged them to let them know that I could not meet for our first 1:1, and my slack status clearly said i was out. That didn’t stop the person from writing a message in a public forum that I was unwilling to partner—a group whose support I will need to deliver bold visions.
When I met with them after returning for illness, I came to know that they have a deliverable they want me to green light. (Though they didn’t present anything to
Me.) Then accused me of not helping with the deliverable. Something they did not communicate until 3 days before its deadline. I do not have a single email, slack, calendar invite, etc stating mentioning this deliverable. Further, this task is contrary to what the overall program has ageeed to, a meeting that I was privy to, and this person was not.
Their communications were heated, aggressive, and disrespectful. They explained a concept to me, then, when I was silent (not wanting to get trapped into agreeing to a scope of work that was not my place to agree to, which was clearly her MO for our first 1:1) they assumed that I didn’t understand. They said in a very snarky tone: “well I don’t know how to explain this to you any further, it’s very simple, if you don’t understand this I don’t know what to say.” We are sort of peers with many years experience. I am in a strategic role and part of leadership Conversations that this person is often not included in.
On insight is: they indicated that they came up with this same idea years ago, despite not knowing (and being privy to) leadership conversations that say what the idea is… that seems lilke classic turf wars.
I often tolerate very bad behavior. How can I stop this before it gets out of hand? It seems they are threatened by my role and intend to continue speaking to me in this manner. My belief is, if you wouldn’t speak to an executive that way, don’t Speak to me that way.
I am specifically seeking advice on: who should manage mitigating cross-team turf wars and managing aggressive communication and aggressive actions.
i am empathetic To their feeling of being left out, but specifically, I need advice on how I should manage the situation.
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I am a soon to be qualified accountant and I have seen great disparities between different companies in their accounting department.
Unfortunately, I did not qualify via a big 4 company or a top 50 accounting company.
I have worked for both private and FTSE listed companies and have noticed a difference in their accounting methods/styles.
I have spent the majority of my career as an assistant accountant. However, my new role is focused on management accounts and client reporting.
I am nearing 30, and I am very worried I am lacking core accounting experiences that would put me in a favourable position with employers.
My current employer does not have a distinct hierarchy/support systems for promotions or any development opportunities.
I would like to be in a position where I can know the integral parts of accounting which will allow me to be confident in taking on a management role.
I have seen all the finance directors have been ex big four auditors / ex auditors in general so they have a wide breadth of knowledge.
How can I improve my accounting knowledge , so I can learn about all departments and begin to think as a strong accountant.
I would appreciate if someone could provide advise on how to climb the ladder in accounting . My interest do lie in treasury accounting but I believe I have mistakenly joined this company without thinking about the development opportunities available to me.
What is the normal career path of an accountant? I graduated in 2019 .
How can an individual become a strong accountant and differentiate themselves from their competitors?
Thank you in advance.
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I graduated in MS in Supply Chain Management August 2023. I have enormous experience in leadership role in fast moving shipping company based in Asia Pacific. Currently, support family owned Real Estate Investment company where I am in charge of all investment portfolios as a project manager. I am competitive, full of vigor with analytical skills and emotional intelligence. I really want to move career in Supply Chain Management. The only thing that has stood my way is “Fear” of my 63 lifelong experience that can offer so much insight into everything. Please provide me real feedbacks. ?
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What is the easiest remote side gig I can find?
Looking for something to supplement my income while unemployed and while looking for a permanent position. Is it customer service or data entry or doordash? What have you done while in career transition situation for money?
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I recently was promoted within the organization to an executive assistant to the VP.
my first 3 months were extremely busy, stressful and confusing. Had I not been in the organization for 10 years in a previous role, I think they may have fire me.
fast forward and I’m sitting here so bored. The department has ebbs and flows and I was told this at my interview.
I know in no time, I’ll be running around again.
My question is, should I ask for more work during this intermittent downtime or ride it out.
I have been the dumping ground for people’s responsibilities in the paymasters so I want to try and avoid that this time around.
Also, the position I am in is the highest I can move. So I really don’t have to prove myself in order to get another promotion. This is my 4th promotion in the company in 11 years. I really don’t plan to move again.
What would you do to keep yourself so you don’t get someone’s busy work.