Ladies, look around your office. Do you notice the twenty somethings working with you? If you don’t, you probably have a very unique office. The twenty-somethings are working and I’ve noticed something different about their approach to work. You may have noticed the same thing. (I’m curious if you have. You can send your feedback if you like.) Here’s my advice for the women at work who are in their twenties.
While it’s still a small sample, I have noticed that the last three women I’ve casually met through business who are in their twenties had the same attitude towards their work. They were laser-like focused on what they wanted to accomplish. They were quick to make decisions about what they liked and didn’t like. They were filling their life with work requirements and activities that made me exhausted when I heard them.
There’s nothing wrong with being laser-like focused on what you want at work. You may have heard the saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.” It means that you need to know what you want so you take the right path to achieve your goals. That’s fine with me. Being so sure of what you want at a (relatively) young age is also not a bad thing. When you know what you want, you get a head start on accomplishing what you are going after. So I think laser-like focus is good.
Then there are the quick decisions. Making a decision quickly comes naturally to some people. It’s the assertive, bottom-line oriented people who are quick to make decisions. The way they make their decisions so quickly is that they evaluate data and facts to make decisions and ignore or minimize emotions and feelings that interfere with the decision. If you don’t consider feelings, I’ll bet you can see how your ability to make decisions speeds up quickly.
Even that I can live with. If you’re making decisions for yourself and all you care about is bottom line, then your feelings aren’t that important to you anyway. So, who am I to criticize? It’s the last behavior that I observed that doesn’t sit well with me. These women are filling their lives with so many activities that I think they’re going to wear themselves out.
One young woman is working full time, competes competitively in sports, and gets a master’s degree in a technical field at night. Every work day starts at 5 a.m. Most end a 8 p.m. The school days end at 11 p.m. Work days are filled with commuting, working, working out, food shopping, homework, and networking activities tied to work. Sure, they go out with friends, but I didn’t hear any down time in their activities. How could there be? When you’re filling your days with work-related activities and scheduled activities, there isn’t any down time.
I predict they’ll burn out. These are very talented women who shouldn’t be allowed to burn out. I don’t see how anyone can continue to thrive in business (and in life) without some down time. Unless you have quiet time you will stress yourself. I wonder why some of the older and wiser professional women who they work with and trust haven’t told them this.