zaterdag 23 november 2013

Does Success Bring Happiness? (Overig) geplaatst via een iPad

Does Success Bring Happiness?
Dr.Peggy Drexler

The old saying, “Success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get,” might well sum up the dilemma of many professional women. Certainly, many gladly make the sacrifices and adjustments necessary to get what they want. Maybe that’s working until midnight in order to catch their son’s afternoon soccer game. Or hiring a nanny to help take care of the kids. Maybe it’s not having kids at all. Even though their lives may not be perfect, they’re pleased with what their compromises have achieved.
But does that mean success brings happiness? I’m not so sure—at least not for every woman. If media and blog attention is a measure, it seems those compromises are indeed more difficult for others. That the happiness they assumed came packaged with success is, in fact, far more elusive.

Surveys tend to confirm a connection between success on the job and happiness. There’s the recent study presented at a meeting of the American Sociological Association, which noted that mothers who go back to work within weeks of giving birth reported feeling more energetic and less depressed than those who spent months or years at home. Or the Gallup study released in May that found stay-at-home moms were more likely to experience stress, worry, anger, and sadness than those who worked paying jobs.

Other surveys, meanwhile, refute the notion that working moms are happier moms, like the one conducted by ForbesWoman and, which found that a growing number of women view staying home to be the ideal circumstance of motherhood. These examples, however, prove only that happiness surveys may be second only to infidelity surveys on the scale of unreliability. There are simply too many factors involved—maybe just a bad week at the office, or a bad week at home—to form certainty that a trend is a foot.

There are some hard statistics, however, that seem to indicate the needle is swinging farther in one direction than the other. A 2011 report by McKinsey Research pointed out that women are claiming 53 percent of entry-level management jobs. After that, the numbers drop: to 37 percent for mid-managers, and even lower, to 26 percent, for vice presidents and up. These shrinking numbers either mean that the glass ceiling is thicker and lower than we imagined, or that younger women on the way up are finding a way out—or, quite possibly, both.

Now that more women than ever before are tasting professional success, there’s no longer a question of whether a woman can succeed in “a man’s world.” Of course she can, and does. Instead, the question being asked, most usually by women, is this: What does success really mean? The reason more women ask is because the answer is likely more complex for them than it is for men. Gender intelligence expert Barbara Annis believes the definition of success for men is simple. It’s winning. Success might come in the form of more money or a better job or a better parking space or a hotter wife. But success is about besting the competition, in any number of contests,

Women, of course, want to win, too. But Annis argues they also want to be valued. She relates that in her experience as a consultant to a range of Fortune 500 companies, the number one reason women leave their jobs is that they feel their work is undervalued and their strengths are overlooked. Men, she adds, find women’s overwhelming need to “feel appreciated” very confusing. Which is why women are more likely than men to abandon a paying job to stay home with the kids, or seek out jobs that are more fulfilling than lucrative. Not that motherhood is often overvalued, or even thoroughly appreciated, but the truth is that it’s easier to cut your own kid some slack for treating you like dirt than it is your 50-year-old boss.
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