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Stop Asking Successful Women About Work-Life Integration

  • 18th Apr'22

For years, I admired women who claimed to have achieved the ideal work-life integration and fantasized about how I could be like them. How could these working moms, as depicted in the media, seem to have such youthful energy? How did they manage to do it all? I'm often asked the question on every panel and podcast, usually followed by another: "Am I really doing it all?"
This question implies that "doing it all" means we've accomplished everything and have everything sorted out, whereas, in reality, there will be times when we feel like a bad employee, a bad mother, a bad sister, or a bad friend because we simply cannot be everything to everyone all the time.


What Is Work-Life Integration, and How Does It Affect You?

Work-life integration refers to how employees divide their time between professional and personal responsibilities. When someone has a good work-life integration, they can manage their time effectively so that they don't overwork and can devote more time to other elements of their lives such as family, friends, hobbies, and social events.


Importance of Work-Life Integration

Workers' health and happiness are significantly impacted by a lack of work-life integration. At work and in their personal life, they become more agitated and feel less in control. Those who maintain a healthy work-life integration are often happier and less stressed. 

If you're happy, you'll be more motivated, productive, and accomplish an exceptional job. The primary motivation for working remotely is to achieve better work life integration. You will have the freedom to plan your workday in a way that allows you to be most productive, complete things quickly, and schedule time for activities outside of work.

Why Is The Question Biased Against Women?


“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” - Arianna Huffington, author, and businesswoman

In gymnastics, the illusion of integration is achieved by opposing muscles contracting and relaxing. The act of being unbalanced is the definition of integration. Women are the best at this because we understand how to carry everything. We make the majority of our families' health decisions. We are the ones who bring life into the world. Women recognize the value of uncertainty, and it has helped us become better investors. 

A common thread among many successful female professionals is that we are all still learning. Every day entails making trade-offs and taking solace in the knowledge that a decision has been reached. It's fine if you don't know everything. Using asymmetric data is, in fact, the cornerstone of a venture career.


Men Never Get Asked This Question 


You entirely lose yourself in the chaos and excitement of birth and sleepless nights, just like you do with motherhood, and then you must find your way back to yourself. As a venture capitalist, my calendar used to be full of happy hours, conferences, and networking events and has turned into a calendar full of rigorous blocks, Zoom fatigue, and continual tradeoffs. I'm not sure if I'm thriving or just surviving after two years of a global pandemic.

I'm not the only one that feels this way. Even when there isn't a pandemic, juggling childcare and work duties take a toll on most working parents. Even though the load should be shared by both parents, working women are 28% more likely than fathers to develop burnout. But men never asked about work-life integration. Millions more women left the labor as a result of the pandemic, erasing 32 years of progress; the percentage of American women working is at its lowest level since 1988. 


Work-Life Integrations Are Never Outdated 


Personally, I'm enjoying the tension and integration. Our entire concept of integration is illusory, and no single day or moment will ever be true integration. On some days, I'll be too focused on work. On other days, I'll concentrate on my personal life. Every day is a new adventure, and I'm ready to take it on.

Most people assume that being in the middle is the worst situation to be in. We're always climbing, always striving, and always telling ourselves to enjoy the journey rather than the destination.
Starting a business necessitates adaptability, which all the best CEOs possess. Being a working parent, it turns out, isn't all that different. Life is about making tradeoffs and getting everything done, but perhaps not all at once.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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