It’s been a bit since I wrote a post. For those who know me personally, you’ve likely already heard or seen the news that I became a mom just over three weeks ago. Isaac Hazen Johnson was born Monday, July 21 2014 at 1:41 pm PDT, weighing 8 lb 1 oz and measuring 22.5″. We’ve been having a good time getting to know him, interact with him more, and learn what it means to be parents. He can do no wrong – even his crying makes me smile, and I can’t wait to teach him and show him the world.
In the last few days there were two WSJ blogs published that I’m ‘related’ to (one much closer than the other), and which deal with topics that I care about. My good friend Summers McKay served as inspiration for a piece asking “Women, Where are You?”. She had made a call for volunteers to serve as mentors and speakers, and in her initial call, only 1 of 19 volunteers was a female. She followed that up with an email (which prompted the blog post by John Greathouse), and more women did volunteer, once specifically asked (and called out?). I do agree that women aren’t as likely to raise their hand, or think that their story, opinions, and experiences are worthy of serving on panels or as mentors. I also appreciate the point that volunteering, and showing leadership to the next generation, is not about ‘you’ at all. I love John’s recommendation that children be brought along to see their parent in a new light (especially as I sit here looking at my little one), but is that acceptable in professional environments? I have a two day seminar I’m taking part in next month, and Isaac will be coming along (likely with my husband during the event, with me periodically being with him for feeding and being together). How will that be received?
The second article is up today, and came to my attention through the lovely Facebook ‘friend of a friend’ article stream (that seems to be getting out of control, but in this case I’m glad I saw it). My fellow MIT alum and AXO Reshma Khilnani is friends with Yun-Fang Juan, who is sharing her experience of being a women in tech and a mother, and the career decisions she has made to ultimately “Not Dump Her Family for Work“. Yun-Fang shares that she elected to remove herself from the Facebook workforce when she thought she couldn’t perform at the level she expected of herself after having her daughter, and that most recently she has started her own company Fundastic (along with outsourcing some housework and childcare) to find her own answers to how to have a career and to be a mother. In response to her article, I commented:
Speaking from my own experience, and what I have seen in a lot of other women – we hold ourselves to very high standards on what is acceptable or what must be done for work, often to a higher standard than what others may have. We think we can’t do it, or we can’t do it to the level we used to do it at (99% right), but what we need to do is learn to work smarter, delegate more, and focus on what really has to be done.
I do agree support of flexible work and not requiring ‘face time’ is very important. That was (and still is) a big deal in aerospace.
And I do agree women need to stay in the workforce, but I think parts of the system must change and/or women need to find other solutions (as you and I have), rather than expecting women to push through it.
AND – It feels good to be back and writing!