Manager and underling – gender issues at home

The Guardian has a fantastic comic titled “You Should’ve Asked.” It beautifully shares the frustrations of a working mom at home.

I picked out my 3 favorite pieces pieces from the comic.

These 3 were my favorite because they resonated deeply. I’ve definitely been guilty of the manager-underling behavior. I also constantly marvel at how my wife manages to process so much about stuff at home – evidently without shouldering enough of the mental load. And, I know for a fact that boys aren’t born with an utter disinterest for things lying around because I’ve seen my attitude toward that change completely.

I’ve become more conscious about these inherent differences over the years. Some of the research that’s gone into the amount of unpaid work women do has been eye opening. And, comics like this go a long way in further increasing that awareness.

Awareness is a necessary first step for change.

I hope to do better.

Dealing with type II uncertainty

There are, broadly, 2 kinds of uncertainty. While type I uncertainty is the kind you choose, type II is what you face for reasons beyond your control.

So, choosing to quit your job and start a new business is type I. On the other hand, facing an uphill task trying to get a job because of nationality, religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender is a classic type II uncertainty. Now, some might say that logic is flawed. After all, you choose to apply to that job and face that uphill battle. And, while it is an interesting argument, it tends to fall on the wrong side of history.

The biggest challenge with dealing with type II uncertainty is that it feels unfair. But, dealing with unfairness is a rite of passage if you are a minority, a woman, gay or an immigrant.

It is only once we embrace the inherent unfairness can we get to the two things that help – focusing ruthlessly on things we can influence and being grateful for what you have. This is so much easier said than done. Try telling a Muslim in America that she shouldn’t worry about what the President is doing or saying. Or, try telling the many hard working international students who took on huge amounts of debt that they shouldn’t worry about trying to get a job.

But, it is the only way.

Focus ruthlessly on what you can influence. And, while you are it, develop an attitude that refuses to settle on anything but gratitude. There will always be things to complain about. And, there will be less in your control than you’d like.

But, on the bright side, developing the ability to focus and to maintain a positive attitude despite uncertainty and strife is entirely within our control.

It is how we get made.