Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Normally I'm not a critical person.  Really--you can ask my husband.  I'm fairly mellow, letting others be.  I generally prefer to see the strengths in others.  But sometimes I just have to point out the flaws.  Like when I see someone wearing white athletic socks with dress shoes (really, what are they thinking?).  Or, say, when I see the economy operating out of balance.

On the latter, I don't want to be overly critical of the economy.  After all, it has provided a lot for me, like a paycheck and the ability to pay bills and the money to buy this computer I'm typing on.  And it helps the community, too, by providing jobs and healthcare and entertainment.  It's just that while providing these great things, a few not-so-great things happen too.  There are a handful of philosophies that I think could use some tweaking, like switching out athletic socks for dressy ones.  They are as follows:

Philosophy #1: "it's not personal, it's business" 
I have to confess that there is a sort of comfort in this ideal.  To push aside emotion and stick to the bottom line can be ruthlessly refreshing.  However, for most of us women, it is personal.  When our friend loses a job, it's personal.  When our coworker takes credit for our idea, it's personal.  When we get a raise, it's personal.  When our business fails, it's personal.  
The trouble with taking the emotional, personal connection out of business is that at least half of us in the workforce are emotionally and personally connected.  For us, business is relational. And though relationships can be inconvenient to the bottom line, ignoring them can produce negative consequences for all of us.

Philosophy #2:  "bigger is better"
When it comes to the economy, growth is king.  The more growth, the more wealth.  The more wealth, the better for everyone, right?  Not necessarily.  
Big can become a bulldozer, plowing down everything in its path.  And sometimes our health, our communities, and our families are the casualties crushed in the wake.  

Philosophy #3: "the bottom line is the bottom line"
AKA: it's all about the money.  Measuring value exclusively by dollars and cents doesn't make much sense to most of us.  And yet it is the modus operandi of the modern economy.  Every sensible business owner will tell you that at the end of the day, profit is what matters.  But what happens when money now means fallout later?

Philosophy #4: "leave work at work, and home at home"
How is it that everyone seems to be so good at compartmentalizing life?  Oh wait...not everyone is good at it?  You mean that you have a hard time keeping work and home separate too?  Apparently we're out of luck, because the economy operates best when work is work.  It prefers not to be bothered with sick kids at home, and "mental health days," and the individual ebb and flow of creative energy.  It could care less about the fight you had with your husband while you were walking out the door.  And it does not understand your frustration when you want to have a relaxing evening but can't seem to shut off from "work-mode."  Leave work at work, and home at home.  How about bring work home and take home to work?  How about mashing them all together in one messy heap?  

You already know what's coming next.  Women, incidentally, are the antidote to the negative consequences of these philosophies.  In fact, it is our preference for the opposite of these philosophies that characterizes the SHEconomy.  Check in tomorrow to hear more.

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