I have been “out of the workforce” so they say for 10 years now.
To me this term “out of the workforce” couldn’t feel further from the truth. I have put in more hours working my job, giving of myself and my body at levels most employers would DIE for their employees to give. Here are just a few ways I have developed myself:
* I am a go-getter, self-starter: I had no training for this job, and yet have done what I needed to train myself.
* I have honed my my patience, communication and negotiation skills: I can work with the most “difficult people”
* Multi-tasking in a fast paced-ever-changing, often dangerous setting.
* Conflict Resolution & Damage Control: There is vital NECESSITY of removing the “fast paced” setting that keeps the fight/flight/freeze mechanism in play so that solutions and resolutions can be made with mindfulness.
* I have worked in the ultimate “start-up” environment – creating something from nothing more times than I can count.
* Critical, out-of-the-box problem solving: I uniquely understand issues and how to solve them with a unique blend of both my analytical (masculine) business trained side and my creative/choatic (feminine) mother trained side. The feminine side teaches me of the life/death/life cycle of creation that can be applied to all situations for deeper understanding and farther reaching solutions.
* Human Resources/Training & Development: I have lived the human development cycle and studied how to help my own children develop into EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT adults.
My time “out of the workforce” has very much been my “residential” years of my doctoral program in human development. No school, no “in the workplace job” could give me the hands on training that I have gained these last 10 years.
As a “former” business professional who has been in the hiring role, I would have to say any employer would be so lucky to hire me – or any mother.
So I have to ask myself why is it us mothers feel so insignificant, feel so devalued and feel our skills we have gained and our years “out of the workforce” will count against us?
Why there are many answer to this question this post will not cover, I will point us women and mothers in the direction of WHAT CAN WE DO to reverse this belief.
Corp. America will value a Mother’s work when Women:
1) Stop asking for Corp. America to value our work.
START LIVING OUR VALUE.
How would it FEEL in your body, women, to live KNOWING your job as a mother is not only the most vital role on this planet…but also KNOWING your on-the-job training as a mother will prepare you for a multitude of different jobs that you actually will get paid for? Once women stop waiting on others to value our role as a Mother, and start living our value – a major shift will occur in our homes, communities and country. Our LIVING this truth will have a great impact than anything else.
2) Stop using Corp. America’s language that makes mothering invisible.
START CREATING OUR OWN LANGUAGE THAT MAKES US SEEN.
NLP – Neurolinguistic programing – speaks to how our bodies are programed just like a computer by our language. If a woman takes an analytical look at her language, she will realize that the prevailing dialect in English speaks in either a Masculine or Gender Neutral way. In unconscious ways, this makes the “feminine” either invisible, less than and/or undesirable in the external world (i.e. why there has been a Feminist movement). Women then “wear” this Collective Unconscious belief in our language – never stopping to realize we are “dressing” ourselves with the invisible, undesirable language that makes us feel invisible and undesirable.
Once we women stop talking about “leaving the workforce”, being “out of the workforce” and “returning to the workforce”…and start giving language about our career paths as mothers that are LIVING our PRACTICUM in doctoral studies of human development, or other such creative ways – we make ourselves visible in the language of society. We then dress ourselves in our beliefs through our language – and we start to put the role of Motherhood on the Economic Map of this country.
3) Turn away from seeking women= “the norm“/ men.
TURN TOWARDS EMBRACING THAT WHICH MAKES US UNIQUE.
In her book the Creation of Patriarchy, a major woman’s historian Gerda Lerner makes the point that the societal structure we now live in makes elite men “the norm”. All other races and genders (including kids) become the “deviant”. The deviants are subliminally treated medically, psychologically and socially as something that must be altered in shape and form to fit “the norm.”
When women stepped up and began to say we are equals to men, we simply stepped into a mathematical equation of women=men, meaning we only make ourselves visible WHEN WE DO WHAT THE NORM DOES. Anne-Marie Slaughter talks more about this conclusion in her book Unfinished Business.
In contrast to this belief, what if we accepted we are a planet of NEEDED dualities? That without one, we cannot have the other? That we need both the STRENGTH of the masculine (analytical/science) side and the POWER of the feminine (creative/non-linear/artistic) side of life?
Our contrasts magnetize towards us that which we need to create the “baby”. In order to thrive in this next century as a global community – the employers that strive to help their employees of all genders to understand the Feminine principle of life will surpass those that continue to do business as norm.
As a woman, you ARE the carrier of the Feminine principle innately.
Instead of suppressing this side of yourself out of shame or to be more like the men around you – start learning more about Her, your feminine side. Read books by female authors about our gender, our history and our bodies (i.e. Sara Avant Stover, Gerda’s books, Sue Monk Kidd, Naomi Wolf, Igna Muscio) . Start to develop your unique feminine consciousness and voice. Read about how our brains are literally wired differently, giving us a different vantage point than the norm right now… one that needs to be voiced and heard if we want to change the direction of our planet. Work with women coaches, therapists, mentors, leaders who are living the EMBODIMENT of the Female principle in their life. I am one such resource and have a growing list of other powerful women.
In short, understand what makes us different, live it, embrace it, honor it – and use it to everyone’s advantage. Teach the men in your life about their own Feminine side and how they can use Her to their advantage – both in business and private life.
And by golly, teach your children about the Feminine principle to life. For when women teach their children to honor the Female side of life – they will teach their children to honor themselves, to honor others, and to honor the planet.
What employer WOULDN’T want a mother who lives by these principles?