Let’s talk about career “incontinence.” Not a pleasant subject whether it is your bladder or career and women certainly face dilemmas in career paths that men may not have to deal with. It’s not always something you can plan, but you can make plans to expect it.
The normal course of physiology in the female body is the disruption of one hormonal cycle for another; menses, pregnancy, menopause. Interminably there may be times when the physiological state of the female body reaches stability. Whether or not children occur, the female body is designed for change. Men on the other hand, have long-term hormonal cycles and with the hormone of testosterone, they have a tendency to face these cycles on the long term, rather than the short term. Many men may not face them at all during a stable lifetime career.
How does all of this affect your career? At different points in your career you should look at the short term, the five year plan and most important, not what you want to retire “as,” but want you want to retire “with.” Do you want to retire with as a top-notch executive? Do you want to retire as a grandmother? Are you wanting something realistic such as a stable career (that may have had breaks), a family with a house and the white picket fence? Face it; some women will be planting flowers while others are in business meetings pursuing the next big deal. More men on the other hand will steadily pursue the path of career. Although paradigms shift and society changes, men will likely continue to produce stable amounts of testosterone, while women will continue to produce unstable amounts of estrogen.
Knowing yourself is where it falls. Look inside at your core beliefs (not your personality, dig a little deeper). If you know that when it is all said and done, that your career is the priority (the core belief is accomplishment), then you must plan a family and lifestyle that is coordinated with your career demands (and as Matt would advise you, at some point you must make these intentions very clear to your betrothed).
If you have planned to expect the complications and the bumps, then you will be less inclined to attempt to manipulate the “perfect life” which is, pointless! I suggest you make two time lines, one for your personal life and one with your career path. Would they be on a collision course? If they are, make the changes; plan for less kids or lower your career expectations.
I like to make a goal and a super goal. My goal is what I expect of myself and my super goal is a measure beyond, that I feel I have the capability of reaching, but I cannot predict if it is in the stars. Attaining my goal makes me happy and my super goal, a gift!
Career incontinence is one of those things that is the normal course of life. So don’t sweat it!