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Ok, Women Can't Have It All, But Maybe No One Can

Anne-Marie Slaughter writes an open letter stating she never felt she could manage her job and have a healthy family life. Marissa Mayer becomes CEO of Yahoo! and announces she's pregnant and working through maternity leave. Sheryl Sandberg gains attention with a somewhat contradictory suggestion that women need to step up, not take no for an answer, and work harder.
Work-life balance has been a major topic of discussion recently, but the focus has been primarily on women.
However, there's been little talk about the general culture in the start-up/technology/Silicon Valley-ish spaces, where people swear you only need two hours of sleep a night, that you’re supposed to feel burnt out or you aren’t working hard enough.
It's become a competition, and an unhealthy one. But it's unhealthy for everyone, man or woman. Is it that everyone doesn't understand or accept the value of work-life balance?
Do we need to change this perception of how to be successful for everyone?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How has the culture of little sleep, little personal time and few mental breaks affected our ability to become successful? Has it become a competition for who "works the hardest"?
  2. Is this a problem that affects everyone? Is it more prevalent with certain groups, women for instance? Is this the right way to look at it? Or is it a general problem that certain groups are denying?
  3. What are some of the benefits of creating a health(ier) work-life balance in these high-paced environments?
  4. Can you actually be successful without having these extreme views on work? If we "pin" the need for work-life balance on a particular group (again, women for instance), does this make their chances of success less achievable, or is that a misperception?
  5. Should we shift our perceptions to support the idea that anyone can still work hard and be successful by also maintaining a "healthy" work-life balance? Is this a necessity?



Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital & Social Media (SU) | CMO (GIT), Syracuse University (SU) | Girls in Tech (GIT)

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