Sunday, March 8, 2015

No Glass Ceilings When You Stay Outside

Today is the International Day of Women.  I read a lot about women hitting the glass ceiling.  We know there are few female CEO's in America.  Germany, this last week, passed a law requiring a certain quota of women in corporate leadership.  It is true that women earn less money in business and women of color earn much less than both men and white women.  Our society has a lot of problems with equality.

I submit that one of our major problems with equality stems from the majority of us following a minority of people who dictate what it takes to get ahead, make money, and who should perform all of the housework and child-rearing.  Why is it so great to ignore your family, overwork, over-drink, and be a cutthroat in the boardroom?

I think that the majority of us in this country, those of us not at the pinnacle of corporate power and wealth, lead rather than follow.  Most of what I read about what women need to do is how to fit in with the status quo. Why? I don't want to live that way.  I don't want to think of money before all else, at the expense of family and a well-rounded life.

This life offers so much.   We live in an age where anything we want to know about science, history, philosophy is at our fingertips.  There has never been a better time for those of us with intellectual curiosity, creative minds and nurturing hearts.  Why do we have to follow the oppressive corporate model.

I am lucky.  For all but three years of my 31 years as a lawyer, I have been self-employed.  While I do not have free reign when a judge requires me to be in court, or when I have to do what I do in my job, I have some control.  There are no "glass ceilings" in our office.  We have the best staff in the world (of that, I am sure and if you met them, you would be sure, too.  And my law partner and I love being lawyers.  We love the law, the intellectual and creative challenges, the belief that we are making a difference.  And we get to represent people we grow to care about, a lot.  We represent courageous people who remind us of what is important in life.  We have families, we work hard, but it is a labor of love, most of the time.

If everyone stuck in a job with an oppressive or abusive boss, or in a rut that management will not let them escape, had an opportunity to find work they love, and that will pay the bills, people wouldn't care about the glass ceiling.  Being in charge of thousands of people, clawing one's way up the corporate ladder over the corpses of the less-driven is, in my opinion, a miserable way to live.

If more of us had the courage and drive to think outside the box, find a way to circumvent the dead-end jobs, start a cupcake store, or design websites, or whatever, perhaps this would be a better place to live.  We need entrepreneurs, we need free-thinkers, we need creative people.  Perhaps for many, busting through the glass ceiling only ends with a terrible headache.

This is not advice for everyone.  This is just for those who are sick of taking orders and have an innate sense that they can do it better.  If that's you, find a way to break free.  And then, you must work harder, and be more dedicated and more passionate about what you do.  Hang in there.  You are the real movers and shakers.

Stay outside, away from the ceilings, and bask in the sun.  The rain will come, but it will help the flowers grow.  STAY OUTSIDE and no ceiling will hurt you.

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