Why This Website, Now?
It started over a sandwich at a “women’s lunch” a few years ago. Many of you know these lunches. They may vary by company, and after awhile they tend to blend together, but at this particular lunch in this particular conference room, this particular group of women noticed that the lunches all had this in common: We never managed to get the “good sandwiches.” Symbolic? We thought so. (There also was something to the disproportionate amount of salad served at these lunches.)
Food jokes aside, after two decades in the professional world and countless bad sandwiches, not to mention explaining to my male colleagues that there was no need for a “men’s lunch” (much like my telling my kids that every day is Children’s Day), I find two things have permeated my life both professionally and personally (as the two never can be truly separate):
- Even under the best of circumstances, it simply is hard to be a woman in the working world. Well, really, sometimes it is hard to be a woman in any world. This is not news, of course. But it really has the potential to go to crap because…
- Both your professional and personal life can be torpedoed if anything, and I mean anything, happens in your life that isn’t in the script – and sometimes, even things that you plan for and expect. And if you are a woman, be prepared to fall harder and faster.
Neither of these concepts is new. Finally, people are getting the memo that the professional deck is stacked against women from day one. If you are cynical about that truth, leave this site and go read the news for the past few years. Particularly after years of these lunches (and dinners, and outings) I will be the first to say that talking about it (and talking about it and talking about it) doesn’t change anything, but at least the issues are being raised outside those women gatherings that purport to address and validate women’s concerns and tie it all in a neat little bow next to the subpar desserts.
At the same time, advocates for invisible illness and chronic illness are making incredible strides in getting more understanding and support for people who until now have suffered in relative silence. There even are reports talking about the devastating effects of one acute illness on a person’s life.
But it seems like no one is talking about these things together. So I will.
I have been through the gambit of What Can Happen To a Women Trying to Succeed In Business in the Big City. I had babies. I battled and won against devastating chronic illness. I had acute health scares and at least one life threatening emergency. Our kids got sick and hurt. So did our family members and close friends who may as well be family. And each one these things, one way or another, has shaped my life, threatened to detract from my ability to succeed at work (if only in the perceptions of others), and caused me to question more and more what the heck I was doing.
Yet none of this exempted me from all of the little things that can drive one crazy while living in the city, raising children, pursuing a career, and holding onto sanity for dear life.
So What Can I Do?
I don’t pretend to have any epiphanies or even any answers to the unique challenges women face in the world even when everything is “fine,” not to mention when their bodies, families and families’ bodies don’t cooperate. And on a lighter note, I don’t know how to keep all of the other little stuff from driving us insane. What I do humbly offer is a place to talk about it, learn from other women, and quite simply support each other while we figure out what we want to do about it – or at least how to survive it.