Work life balance in a male dominated industry

I’ve always worked in fast paced environments where if you didn’t bust your balls (or ovaries) you couldn’t keep up. Call me an adrenaline junkie, but I love constant change and challenges that require rapid innovation.

This combo can really throw a wrench in self-care success.

Unfortunately, I had no idea how to be a woman in business.  Instead, I thought I had to be one of the boys to succeed.  And yes, I’ve had great success, but the cost has been massive stress that fed my headaches and stomach pains, long hours and insecurity with myself because I wasn’t harnessing my natural talents to accomplish my success.

For many of us “can-do” gals I find this is typically the case.

Can you relate?

My careers have included events, public relations and media marketing (newspapers, magazines, websites). And now, what you may not know, is that I still work full time managing employee culture (think Zappos company culture) and communication…for a highly successful airline.

It doesn’t get any more fast-paced than the environment of an airline.  When I was in Prague, predominantly for a world-wide airline people summit (and an extended Bliss Trip :)), the rapidly stressful fast-pace of the aviation industry was a hot topic.

Several conversations during the summit surrounded the foreseeable future of airlines.  If something doesn’t change, they will detract the current generation of career-seekers because work/life balance is becoming very high on the priority list for these younger folks (as it should be!).

I can’t tell you how many people at the summit – men and women – fiercely stated that work/life balance is simply “impossible” when you work in aviation. You better just accept it, or choose a new career path, they said.

Now, for me, this was really hard to swallow.  Impossible?!!!  I don’t buy it.

Yes, the challenges are there – it’s a male-dominated “good old boys club” industry and a 24-hour operation, which for most positions means you’re tackling big problems that need your immediate attention now, no matter the time.

Maybe this is true for the industry you work in as well?

maintaining balance in male dominated industry

While the conversation did focus on the challenges of working in the round-the-clock airline industry, I was particularly inspired by these two comments from the first day’s panel on women in the aviation industry:

“Don’t be afraid to be a woman.” – Barbara Falvey, Sr. VP of Human Resources, Hawaiian Airlines

“It’s not a race.” – Captain Carol Rabaidi, Pilot for Royal Jordanian Airlines in reference to how many women don’t think they can have everything they want in their lives because of the demands of work.

It’s really easy to feel like we need to operate like males in the workplace.  I used to think I wouldn’t accomplish anything if I wasn’t pushing projects and answering emails at 2 a.m.

But in reality, women (and people in general!) are not built to operate like this – at least not long-term.

This is why I love Barbara’s comment above – don’t be afraid to be a woman.

Let your natural tendencies shine through at work.  Push less.  Do what feels right.  And, watch the shit you’ll accomplish!

And, as Captain Carol reminds us – there is plenty of time to do it all.  The difference is believing this is true AND making choices (career and personal) based upon what you really, really want right now.  The rest will fall into place. And, when those desires change (maybe you wake up one day and realize you DO want a family), believe that you deserve to have it ALL and make new choices so it happens.

So, what do these comments mean for you?

How can you take Barbara and Captain Carol’s wisdom to apply it in your own career and life to set the path for your self-care success?

I’d love to hear your answer in the comment box below!  Just login to your Facebook account.  Easy-peasy.  This is a safe place to share (no judgments). :)

In Legit Love,

Jess Tomlinson
Radiant Self Care Success Coach & Speaker
Helping busy women wildly express themselves, move from burned-out to blissed-out and have it ALL (and more!)

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