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This is a must-read article for professional women and men. Confidence is a highly fraught concept for women in the workplace. As the authors point out:
While confidence is an ostensibly gender-neutral concept, our research found that confidence is not just gendered — it’s weaponized against women. When women fail to achieve career goals, leaders are prone to attribute it to a lack of self-confidence. And when women demonstrate high levels of confidence through behaviors, such as being extroverted or assertive, they risk overdoing it and, ironically, being perceived as lacking confidence.
Another key point: The authors assert that the ever-present discourse on boosting women's confidence is a way to avoid organizational/societal accountability by shifting the blame for lack of advancement back onto individual women and their perceived short-comings.
Parents need their own AARP (The Atlantic)
I think it’s fair to say that I read a lot of articles about ways to support working parents. So, it’s rare when I stumble across a truly innovative solution. Dana Suskind, a pediatrician at University Chicago, proposes a really great idea—the creation of a national caregivers lobby, modeled on the AARP. Like the AARP, she envisions a group with three related missions: 1. providing consumer benefits to members (e.g., discounts on diapers, access to a 24-hour pediatric hotline), 2. community building, 3. political lobbying for widely-supported, non-partisan policy, like universal paid leave and an expanded child tax credit.
Many of the people I coach report feeling some degree of ambivalence, often around roles, responsibilities, professional direction/next steps, etc. Though ambivalence can certainly be uncomfortable, it is completely normal. When we’re willing to confront and unpack that ambivalence, new insights can emerge. This article (and my own experience coaching) suggests that when we lean into our ambivalence, we often end up with greater insight that leads us to more authentic and creative choices.
Even if you’re years away from buying extra-long twin sheets and sending your kids off to college, it’s worth keeping your eye on the impending higher education “enrollment cliff”. Over the past 80 years, colleges and universities have scaled precipitously, due (in large part) to increased demand. However, birth rates fell significantly during the Great Recession and never recovered. As the author points out, “The relationship between demography and higher education is always a two-decade delay of cause and effect.” These days, some young people question the value of going into substantial debt for a college degree when worker shortages are driving up wages, leading to increased opportunity costs.
Highly selective institutions will be the least impacted by these demographic trends, but regional universities and community colleges—particularly those in more rural areas—will be the hardest hit. And some of them are likely to close altogether. Even those that don’t close will need to shift their emphasis to remain marketable—perhaps by increasing an emphasis on athletics and eliminating “unprofitable” (read: liberal arts) majors altogether.
Obviously this has ramifications for my colleagues in higher ed, but it also has implications for broader society—namely, increased class stratification and the further widening of political divides.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try:
What difference would it make if the discourse on mass killings routinely included discussion about the socialization of boys in a violent culture, along with developments over the past generation in our understanding of the emotional and relational lives of boys and young men?
What if commentators spoke thoughtfully about topics like trauma and shame, and the often-limited ways in which boys and young men are taught to deal with their own victimization—at home or in school peer cultures—as well as how to handle difficult emotions such as disappointment, grief, loss and self-loathing? At the very least, such a focus would go a long way toward helping us understand why these tragic events continue to occur. [. . .]
We can’t have a productive national debate about gun policy if we are not willing to talk about the ways in which guns are woven deeply into cultural narratives about American masculinity. Heavily armed rugged individualism—reinforced by glamorous portrayals in entertainment media—continues to have immense influence over the identities of millions of American men—especially, but not exclusively, white men.
⭐️BONUS: A parent’s typical day as envisioned by my child’s preschool (McSweeney’s)
My husband and I were literally dying of laughter while reading this because it is SO TRUE!
People usually start to feel reflective as the new year approaches. As you begin to think about your goals, let this serve as a friendly reminder that “success” can look like a look of different things…
Recently, I’ve been defining my own success by:
Creating more balance in my life.
Focusing on the work that fulfills me, instead of depletes me.
Making time to do creative activities with my kids.
Reading every night. (I recently read Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and loved it).
How about you?
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. As a kid, I would climb to the top of the high dive and will myself to jump off… before inevitably turning back around and heading down the long staircase. I rode an upside-down roller coaster exactly one time in high school, and never have again. As an adult, I’d rather invest in reliable index funds than take a chance on a risky investment.
My tendency towards caution has mostly served me well (although, I guess it’s hard to fully know the counterfactual). But lately I’ve been feeling a tension between my penchant for stability and my desire for professional satisfaction. I’ve been reminding myself that when I take calculated risks, they tend to pay off. And even when they don’t, the result is rarely as catastrophic as I fear. With all of that in mind, I’ve been thinking about how I can reallocate my time next year to spend more time coaching and consulting—two things that I truly love. It involves taking a risk, but I think it’s worth it.
Are you feeling stuck or constrained by something in your life?
If you were more willing to step out of your comfort zone, what opportunities would arise for you?
Would taking a risk help you get more of what you want?
Is your desire for something different greater than your fear of coming out of your comfort zone? If not, what could be done to get your desire to increase to that point?
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