The New Normal

In the two years that I have been coaching, there are three areas that I have been drawn to. The first, helping women optimize their careers. Finding what they are most passionate about, negotiating salary and title, managing office politics, or developing their own businesses. The second has been helping women find a relationship. I love strategizing about this and helping them overcome the fears and obstacles associated with the process. And the third, largely because of my recent experience, is around maternity leave and the obvious disconnect between the totally inadequate support in Corporate America and the reality that half of the workforce is now women. But for all this time, these topics have seemed so unrelated.

Very recently, however, it has fallen into place. In the last 50 years, there has been massive change in the US, both socially and economically. We saw feminism, civil rights, divorce on a mass scale, layoffs on a mass scale, globalization, geographic mobility, and technology and these movements, while overwhelmingly positive, have destabilized our expectations and ways of doing things. Women have been working alongside men, in the current iteration, for 30+ years. It is time for a merit-based system that finally recognizes womens’ management styles and respects our softer negotiating skills. In relationships, people need to stop beating themselves up for struggling to find someone and learn how feminism has shifted how we court. I got this idea from Getting To I Do by Patricia Allen who may seem conservative, but has some very interesting perspectives. And finally, with working mothers now squarely entrenched in work, companies need to see the cost of having them leave in frustration when they could be valued long-term employees.

To me it’s no accident that in the last presidential election, both democrats and republicans were talking about the need for a new reality. Our corporate systems were developed by depression and war-era children, and later by baby boomers. The formula was that you worked hard, postponed gratification, and enjoyed a beautiful retirement with your spouse. The problem is that today’s middle management and up and comers lived through seeing marriage and lifetime employment go out the window. They don’t trust these institutions and are not willing to postpone gratification indefinitely. The massive social, economic and geographic changes have left us with a perfect storm of life challenges, often without the support network of family and friends who understand. We are learning more and more that this new reality does respond favorably to a new kind of support. Life Coaching helps individuals regain control in a sea of uncertainty and pressure, and provides the tools and support to begin living a fulfilling and balanced life, on their terms.

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