Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, to few to mention.
You’ve got to love Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
The guy didn’t regret a lot, and why should he? You live your life, make mistakes along the way, but in the end, you’ve got to leave regrets behind, right?
Not if you’re a woman!
Regrets, we have a lot.
It seems we can’t do anything right, and at every turn, especially lately, we’re told we’re either screwing up because we’re letting our desire for a good family life stand in the way of our career success, or we’re delusional to think we can have it all.
No matter what line we decide to accept, in the end, we could end up regretting it all.
One former top female executive shared her regrets in an opinion piece in the New York Times this past weekend.
“Sometimes young women tell me they admire what I’ve done. As they see it, I worked hard for 20 years and can now spend the next 20 focused on other things. But that is not balance. I do not wish that for anyone,” wrote Erin Callan, the former CFO of now defunct Lehman Brothers.
Women are so consumed with regretting their work-life choices, or making other women regret their work-life choices, that they spend little time on regretting other important things, like making stupid business decisions while you were an executive at a company that ended up crashing and burning, and contributing to the biggest economic meltdown this country has ever seen. (Callan didn’t mention that in her regret oped, as the astute reporter Matthew Cooper pointed out in his must-read National Journal piece today.)
On the flip side, my mother recently told me she had regrets that she focused so much on children and family and very little on herself and her career.
Women can’t get a break in this country, or anywhere else in the world, my mother said when I asked her about why women on both sides of the spectrum have regrets.
Women, she said, “have a lot of responsibilities and we’re responsible people. Men don’t think about all these things, they just think about their koukou.” (This means penis if you couldn’t figure that out.)
OK, she added, not all men are like that, but women just put the weight of the world on their shoulders. Men tend not to, she stressed.
So I suppose in the end we can’t win this work-life game. If we accept that we may have fewer regrets and just say “I did it my way.”