10.3.13

THE PRICE OF AMBITION.

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg is the latest high achiever to step in the muddle that is work-life balance.
The strategies women need to embrace to solve the decades-old dilemma of the glass ceiling sound an awful lot like the ones men have used forever to get ahead—be ambitious at work and find a supportive spouse to help with the kids—and certainly they are much more retrograde than feminists might have imagined. For a movement in desperate need of a jump start, it’s a startling rallying cry.
It's all about the trade-offs in economics, and Penelope Trunk summarizes them.
Sandberg wants to be a role model for women who want big, exciting careers. But here's the problem: women don’t want to be Sandberg. It's no coincidence that the number-one woman on the list of self-made millionaires is Oprah. She has no kids and no husband. She's fascinating, nice, and smart. But few of us would really enjoy her life.

Sandberg and Oprah represent extreme choices in life. The things they give up are not things that most women would want to give up in exchange for the wild career success they could have.

Sandberg's right when she says that the thing holding women back is women's ambition. But I don't see that changing any time soon. Even after the Facebook IPO. I'm afraid that what the Facebook IPO means for women is nothing. Sandberg is not a role model. She's an aberration.

You can’t have small kids and a startup if you want to see your kids.
The men in the tech business are also asking, "where's my work-life balance?"

A related news item (via Newmark's Door) suggests that it's not just information technology that's consuming people.
Of the 266 married women who have been nominated for the Best Actress award from the beginning of the modern Oscars in 1936 to the present, 159 of them got divorced, or 60 per cent.

Winners of the gong are 1.68 times more likely to head to the divorce court than losers.
The article suggests it's status anxiety on the part of the leading men, although the simpler explanation might be the usual ambition leading to the substitution effect swamping the income effect.

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