This week we chatted to Monique Valcour, who is researching work-life integration and career self-management since she began her pHd programme at Cornell university, Cornells’ Careers Institute and a lot of the interest stems from her own experiences as a mom to young children, and part of a dual-career couple, enquiring about how one can have a successful career, while having time and energy for family and personal life.
Monique is professor of management and MBA studies at the EDHEC business school in Niece, France, blogger, researcher and author, among others of some great articles on sustainable careers in the Harvard Business Review.
As Monique says, it is incredible how inflexible and robust the professional norms are around commitment to work, as well as societal gender roles. It is very difficult for two people to sustain two full time careers and also manage their family lives.
As I point out in our discussion, I realised, that the great majority of managers still cultivate two beliefs:
1. let’s not invest too much energy and resources into the employees, because they will eventually leave and it is a waste of money
2. if we allow for the employees to better integrate their work and their family or private lives, they become unproductive
As we delve more and more into the issue, based on numerous research and practical evidence on investing in offering on-the job quality learning opportunities to employees, and enable them a proper work-life integration, it becomes clear, that these ideas are counterintuitive.
Unfortunately, as Monique confirms, a recent research found, that if men didn’t want to derail their careers, they have to hide their family involvement. In many companies there are some public relations type messaging around work-life balance, but there are still very strong occupational and professional norms that expect people to commit themselves completely to work, and this makes it very challenging for both working fathers and mothers. So when employees finally find an employer that supports them both in their careers and their private or family or community endeavours, they become more committed to the person, and perform better.
There are a number of research studies out there, that show, that being invested in a multitude of life domains tends to produce synergies and energy, that crosses these life-domains, and benefits the person, their family, their employer and society at large.
Listen to our podcast with Monique to find out all he other super-interesting issues we discussed, and to gain some fantastic insight and advice on career self-management, mindfulness, how CEOs really can support their staff and how everyone can craft their sustainable careers.