Women feel more fulfilled with a ‘career’ than a ‘job’

6 Sep

A woman’s attitude to her work influences how fulfilled and respected she feels about herself, according to a study of working mothers in the US. It doesn’t matter whether they’re high-flying executives or junior assistants; if they feel they have a meaningful career then it means more to them than mothers who work just for the money. And it gives them a sense of identity.

I came across the Working Mother Report: What moms think – Career vs Paycheck thanks to an article on Forbes by executive coach Lisa Quast, ‘Career’ versus ‘Job’ – surprising attitudes on how women feel about their work. The survey was carried out by Working Mother Media in conjunction with Ernst & Young, IBM and Procter & Gamble.

What comes across is that working mothers want more than just to bank their wages at the end of the month; they want to feel as though their work as a ‘higher purpose’; hence the satisfaction and fulfilment levels at home and at work of mothers who are career-oriented. They particularly appreciate being able to develop their skills, have support from management, and enjoy respect from peers, colleagues and bosses.

Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, in her introduction to the report said: “The survey findings were nothing short of astonishing. We learned that mothers who view work as a career feel more satisfied, healthy, and fulfilled on almost every measure — on both the work and home front — than moms who say they work for primarily financial reasons… regardless of their salary level. We also learned that in some cases, male managers have a more favourable view of working mothers than the working mothers themselves.”

However, on the negative side, some working mothers feel some bias does exist against them in the workplace, and fear that some managers may question their work commitment when they need to balance the needs of family and work, and often find themselves struggling to get away from work.

Employers may need to weed out that bias and discover its causes. One of those reasons may be making flexibility a working-mother issue. The report said: “When flexibility is positioned as a working-mother issue, it can wreak havoc on employee attitudes. Colleagues may see working mothers as having special status, and feel they are left to pick up the slack.”

I’ve seen that happening in workplaces where people without children feel resentment towards mothers who need to leave early or come in late – so a culture of fairness and flexibility for all may help foster a more inclusive and amenable workplace culture.

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