YOUNG VOICES: Career, family aren't mutually exclusive goals

2013-06-17T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Career, family aren't mutually exclusive goalsBy Carmen Siew nwitimes.com
June 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It seems that everywhere we turn, another female leader in the corporate world is expounding her opinion on whether women in the workforce today can truly “have it all.”

Some are insistent that being able to successfully raise children while performing at a high-level executive job are mutually exclusive, while others say that despite the sacrifices made, it can still be accomplished.

As an incoming junior at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a future woman in corporate America, I follow these debates guardedly. I respect these female role models and their opinions on the challenges that persist in the business world and wonder how closely their stories will relate to my future.

This debate, while interesting, is a bit futile. Instead of being a discussion about whether a superwoman type exists, I believe that regardless of the life path one chooses, sacrifices will exist. If it can be argued that choosing career is a sacrifice to being a completely committed mother, then the same argument can be made that choosing to major in accounting is a sacrifice to pursuing my dreams of being a touring musician. This suggests that choosing one path or another causes a person to give up a huge portion of missed life.

It is understood that a person’s life requires choices, but blurring the lines between decisions also exists. Sure, I might not be able to devote every waking moment to my children, but merely having the choice between the two should already be celebrated.

Along with this, I believe that by the time deciding between starting and maintaining a family versus accelerating my career becomes an issue, changing gender roles and societal norms will help facilitate my success in both.

Millenials — my smartphone and social media-obsessed generation — are much less concerned with marrying in their early 20s (although much to my chagrin but mostly horror, this still occurs occasionally) and therefore have a wider window to establish their careers.

Conversations with my girlfriends about our future usually revolve around desires to firmly establish our careers, travel the world and take advantage of our independence. Goals of marriage and settling down in suburbia with a dog and a white picket fence are still present but exist in a far-off realm with the likes of our parents and “old people.”

This shifting timeline further helps women in their ability to establish their careers while still having the option of starting a family.

I expect this debate will continue to evolve and be discussed ad nauseum, but regardless of the paths I choose to take, in whatever environment I find myself, I plan on doing my best to “have it all.”

Carmen Siew, of Crown Point, is a sophomore at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinions are the writer's.

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