Women who work—can’t have work-life balance

Women who work—can’t have work-life balance

In her new book, Women Who Work: Rewriting The Rules For Success, Ivanka Trump touts career guidance and advice – with borrowed wisdom from other notable names – on how to flourish both at work and in life.

Released yesterday, Trump, now assistant to the president, discusses in the book her strategy for managing work and family responsibilities, highlighting the intense periods during her father’s presidential campaign.

During this time, Trump says she would go into survival mode. “I worked and I was with my family; I didn’t do much else,” she writes.

“I wish I could have awoken early to meditate for twenty minutes and I would have loved to catch up with the friends I hadn’t seen in three months, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day. And sometimes that happens.”

Trump, like a few prominent female leaders, expressed she doesn’t believe work-life balance really exists.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, was quoted in a 2012 interview saying there’s no such thing as work-life balance.

Sandberg said: “There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”

In her book Lean In, she wrote: “Employed mothers and father both struggle with multiple responsibilities but mothers also have to endure the rude questions and accusatory looks that remind us that we’re shortchanging both our jobs and our children. As if we need reminding.

“Like me, most of the women I know do a great job worrying that we don’t measure up.”

Ivanka explains that her strategy is to take a “bigger-picture approach” and create a “routine that works for you and your family”.

“If I am negotiating a major partnership, I might work three weeks straight,” she writes. “If I’m planning a work trip, I know not to book something the night before I leave or after I return because I want to spend time with my family.

“Then I have other moments, like if one of the kids is sick, that completely change the dynamic of the day (or the week!).

The epitome of her advice on work-life balance for working mothers is to “make the pace of your life work for you, rather than base your decisions solely on convention”.

Interestingly, In this review of Women Who Work Jennifer Senior observes that managing the disparate parts of her life is only really possible with the help of staff— a privilege most professional women don’t have at their disposal. 

In this New York Times review of Women Who Work, Jennifer Senior observes that Trump’s seemingly elevated capacity to manage work and family responsibilities would be nigh impossible without the help of personal staff at home— an advantage most professional women don’t have at their disposal.


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