Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mission Ambition

Reading this heading in the latest Time magazine, my first thought was: 'Phew! I'm not the only loser.'

My subsequent thoughts were:

'Fuck that! Don't be generalising about me!'

'What's ambition got to do with
anything anyway?'

'What is ambition?'

'I need some chocolate.'

'Some fresh bread would be good too.'

'Why is the cat meowing at my door!? Oh; it's probably because I heated up some spaghetti with that chocolate bread and she wants to lick the bowl.'

Fine. She can have it; I only wanted the chocolate anyway.

Now. Where was I?

Oh, yeah: ambition isn't working for women.

Okay. So I took the bait and read the article, the upshot of which is that, according to Time, the author-businesswoman who wrote it and those high-flying American women and men they surveyed for the article, 'ambition' is defined as success in the world of business, that is, as running your own business and/or making it up the corporate ladder, past many men, to CEO.

On these terms, their survey shows that 'ambition' isn't working for women, as much as it is for men, because women eventually realise they want more than the trappings of conventional career success, namely money, respect, power and the independence these things can buy, at least in theory.

For women, they want more than cold hard career ambition can buy - namely they want family, fun and freedom - and at the same time, they typically don't get the same respect as men do for their business successes, while being mocked for their ambitions, which compounds this lack of work satisfaction.

So, in short, women are damned if we do and damned if we don't have traditional career ambition and success. So what's new?

Well, Time doesn't really have any answers, except to note that more men are finding the same frustrations at work (at least in business) and are increasingly rating their desire to have a better work-family balance as a core life ambition.

This is new, and for my money - if I had any - it would be the only way forward for women as well as men in terms of us all getting the most we can out of life and being fairly rewarded for our efforts along the way, which is the only ambition worth talking about.

Marilyn was right then: for women to aim for what men have (and men not expand their aims to value more of what women have and are) is to lack ambition.

Marilyn also said...

No wonder ambition isn't working for women.

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