Welcome to Belle’s Guide to Work & Life, a biweekly column written by Belle Rose. The column will run every other Thursday and cover topics like how to behave in the workplace. This is Belle’s first post.
Women have come a long way since the days of baking pies and picketing. Some still love to bake and some continue to fight for the causes they believe in. The wonderful thing about the evolution of the modern woman is that you have the ability to choose. Women are no longer restricted to the kitchen. We have our own voices. We make our own rules.
Times have changed drastically since the days of Alice Paul. While she was looked upon as an anomaly for not marrying or having children, it is now far more common that women are choosing to delay these milestones- if they decide to indulge them at all. I am a 27-year old inner-city school teacher. I’m not married, nor do I have children, but I do have a career. Do I want those things someday? Absolutely! But in these trying times, simply wanting to be a homemaker does not make it a reality. Women who choose to marry and have children are not always afforded the opportunity to stay at home to raise them. These are the challenges we face as women of the twenty-first century. So while I won’t be able to tell you the best brands of baby formula or where to take your honeymoon, right now I can share with you what I do know: how to navigate the workplace.
I began my working life at 12, when I got a job as a paper girl. After that, I held a regular series of part-time, dues-paying jobs until I finished my degree and began my career five years ago. Although I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs, it has been a great experience. I have met so many positive, motivated women who have guided me along my journey. Their wisdom and dedication inspire me daily.
Being a young woman in the work force can be difficult. You must walk a fine line between delicate and demanding. If you’re too delicate, you’re seen as weak and if you’re too demanding, you’re seen as masculine. It is an unfortunate double-standard which most of us have faced, but it is one that can be successfully overcome. I believe most of us have the innate desire to please those around us. In my large Italian family, we do that with food. The more you mangia, the more you care. In the workplace, many women fall into that trap by accepting extra responsibilities. We tie on our pink, sparkly capes and dive into the workforce head on. The truth is, this behavior only leads to burnout.
This feature will serve as a bridge between those of you who are desperately trying to get your foot in the door and my own experiences which will always make sure your feet are firmly planted before trying to enter. I will draw upon my knowledge and others to help all of you motivated young women ease your way into the work place. Please feel free to ask questions, suggest topics, or just chat with me if you’d like by leaving comments, adding me on my Facebook account, or sending me an e-mail. I look forward to all of the things we will learn from each other.