Law And More: High-Powered Careers

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Work-life-balanceThe lawsuit filed by three female associates against law firm Morrison & Foerster has made family/work balance a hot topic, again. The plaintiffs contend their careers were sidelined after maternity leave and opting for being a part-timer. 

Until then, it – that is, the Mommy Track – stood in the shadow of #MeToo.

On Law.com Vivia Chen weighs in on the Mommy Track. Her mindset is fairly realistic. For ambitious females, it’s probably not wise to make use of every family-friendly policy.

However, the issue is bigger. And it isn’t tilted toward a progressive world view.

From the get-go to the present time, professionals determined to advance in their organizations understood that fierce commitment is required. Often, what that constitutes is determined by the perception of those in power.

If those at the top assess 16-hour-days, served out in the office (not home at a computer), are what it takes to get the job done, then that’s what is the must-do for those on the fast track. 

Deviate and in an up-or-out culture like the big law firm that could mean not only being sidelined but fired. In others not buying in could mean an early career plateau.

Sure, that value system may be wrong. But it is what it is. At least for now. 

Usually little or any work/life balance can be expected in high-powered careers. Extreme hours, travel, and more take priority over personal life. 

Smart women hire reliable nannies and have in-place back-up childcare arrangements if the nanny is a no-show.

Smart men bypass all forms of family-type leaves and don’t request permission to duck out for the child’s baseball game. 

Perception, not what is right or even real, has everything to do with being promoted. That’s life in many organizations. Those who can’t live with that start their own businesses and create their own work cultures.

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