Before I began reading Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk's book,Darling You Can't Do Both
(yes, the line is through the words), I wasn't exactly sure what the message was going to be. Was it just another feminist message? Was I going to be given a guilt trip because I chose to have a family along with a career? OR was there an encouraging almost cheering theme for women like me who chose both? Well, as the title points out, it more or less answers my last question - women can do both (it's not easy), but with some adjustments.
Of course, I can only look back at the "career years." So, as I read this book, I was saying "Aha! I remember that!" and "Yep, been there!" If I had a pen, I underlined comments the authors made. If I had a yellow sticky note, I made my own notation and placed it on pages that deserved to be remembered (which were quite a few). Not just notes for this book review, but also for my daughter who is in the business world today. One may not agree with everything stated in the book, but there is enough said in it to benefit a woman trying to do both.
Was it just another feminist message? OR was there an encouraging almost cheering theme for women like me who chose both?
To share a fewof the comments in the book that I underlined, highlighted, or identified with sticky notes:
From the chapter, "Rule to Be Broken: If You Have a Life, You're Not Working Hard Enough,"
The authors state "women have excellent reasons to worry that they won't be taken as seriously as men, so they just keep on trying to prove themselves against the backdrop of institutional hypocrisy" (pg. 24). This is true regardless of whether a woman is a mother or not, regardless of the field of endeavor whether it be business or politics. It takes more effort.
Just a few pages later(okay, we didn't go far - my pen was busy underlining), Kestin and Vonk make a valid point: "When we can't manage it all, we feel harshly judged, by ourselves and by others" (pg. 28). Whoa - talk about pressure! Sometimes, though, instead of asking for help, we, as women, want to do it our way. How many of you can relate to the authors' quote: "This need for perfection eats into the little uncommitted time we have." I can. We want to feel and show others we are in control. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Been there, done that!
On page 34, there were three comments that stood out:
"To be clear, I have no issue with running full-tilt for the mega job; I just don't buy that you have to give up everything else to get it."
"What I'm seeing in younger women is a much more flexible view of success and of how to achieve in the world."
"Only you can decide what you need to have a life."
From the chapter, "Rule to Be Broken: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait,"
Before mentioning any quotes, let me statethat this is an excellent chapter on the importance of mentorship-one that I wish I had been able to referencein my early career years. It is a lot easier to have that one special person who can get you from point A to point B.
While important, there's more than giving 150% to a job.you need that special someone to get you to point B and beyond.
In this chapter, there were these two lines (pg. 82) that I'm sure many of us can relate to:
"I didn't have any kind of mentoring in my early years and I think it decelerated my progress. I figured if I typed my fingers to the bone and did a good job, that's all there was to it." While important, there's more than giving 150% to a job.you need that special someone to get you to point B and beyond. The authors have done an extremely good job in making this point.
From the chapter "Rule to be Broken: Nice Girls Don't Get in Your Face" - this is such a helpful chapter on women and assertiveness. There is a subtitle in this chapter I need to post, somehow, in front of my eyes every waking hour of every day: "It's Not About Being Liked." It isn't. I know it. Not everyone is going to like us. We are never going to please everyone. Period. Now if I can't just get it ingrained in my mind
The authors state the following on being reserved (pg. 113):
"People who need to be 99 percent sure to speak, won't speak. To all the women who would rather be sure, my pitch is go for it. Way more often than not, it's worked for me." I can so relate to this - wanting to be sure I was 110 percent sure of something before speaking.
And this on page 118,
"In the worst case, quiet behavior leaves an audience with the impression that the reserved partner is 'not as smart.'"
Isn't fear a drag? It weighs you down. Another good and useful quote concerning fear:"You can be sure it will take a lot longer to achieve goals when you aren't seen and heard. Lose the fear and ignore the 'keep it down' signals that may linger" (pg.125). On my To-Do list!
On page.Nope, I am going to stop now. You will find even more helpful insight from Kestin and Vonk as you read this book cover to cover, given in a humorous and, at times, in-your-face approach.I like what they said on the back cover:
"We've made it, by most standards. But along the way, we've struggled with many of the issues commonly faced by women in the workplace: poor self-esteem, missed networking opportunities, gender bias, the chronic guilt and exhaustion of balancing career and kids."
I think most of us have been there or may even be in this place now. This past summer I encouraged others to read Sheila Walsh'sThe Storm Inside
. What if there was another book to help you with the issues we women have to deal with daily? There is, it'sDarlingYouCan'tDoBoth
. Go to your favorite bookstore and buy it or download it onto your Nook, Kindle or iPad. Like I said, I wish I had this book years ago.