While soaking in the summer sun and reading news articles on my phone a couple of weeks ago, something caught my eye. It wasn’t about the record breaking heat wave we were going through across the country, or Mitt Romney getting booed at the NAACP for stating he would repeal Obamacare if elected, it was Katie Holmes. Why you ask? Well if you don’t own a TV or care about celebrities, then you probably don’t know that Katie Holmes divorced actor Tom Cruise after five years of marriage. While people are stating different reasons for the split, many have started focusing on her career and how it may be affected after her divorce is final. Affected in a good way that is.
Reports near and far said she would be able to star in bigger budget films, and that the end of her relationship could be a whole new beginning for the star. She’s already nabbed a few new roles in movies coming out this year and next year, and she just seems more of the “It” girl in mainstream media. Now, I don’t follow Holmes’s career, but I do think that it’s strange for people to only become successful after everything else in their life falls apart. The same situation happened with Cruise’s last wife, Nicole Kidman. Post their divorce in 2001, Kidman blew up huge in her acting career, even going on to win an Academy Award for her role in The Hours just a year later. That’s a huge achievement for a woman who had to just put on a smile and wave while her superstar husband soaked up all the fame and notoriety. Women can be successful in their relationships, but also in their careers just as much as men can be if there is enough focus on it.
The idea of the career-orientated woman is something that was almost extinct just a couple of decades ago. In the past, women were often viewed as more domestic and less worried about their careers than men. Many institutions like the University of Michigan and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have put ladies in that very box with studies showing that women have been somewhat ‘forced’ into the role of a maid, having to do all the cleaning, cooking and more in a home. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2006, 84 percent of women spent time managing the home rather than their careers.
Just six years later things are looking up. More women are making big changes in almost everything including business, government, entertainment and sports.
In a study from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), women of color (African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) make up 14.5 percent of the American workforce, and African American women are in the lead with 7.6 percent in the workforce.
Your goals and that gutsy mindset shouldn’t be skewed by your relationship, or the fact that you’re in a relationship. Sometimes we as women take on other goals and responsibilities in a relationship and when it’s over, we feel that we gave up or missed out on so much through too many sacrifices. It’s time to focus on ourselves and not bypass the goals we set for someone else so that their light can shine while ours only dims.
We hear the heartbreaking songs from Adele, and Mary J. about how love has scorned them and how they moved on. Their experiences turn into melodies, melodies into songs, and songs into success. But I digress here. Your career isn’t given a death sentence because you’re in a relationship, and at the same time, your work isn’t your life and your life isn’t work. But the more time you put into the things that you want, the more fulfilled you will feel (and the less resentful). Sadly, there aren’t too many people who feel this way.
In the June issue of The Atlantic, the cover read “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” The article was written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, current international affairs professor at Princeton, and she believes that women can’t be successful and have a stable marriage and regular life. She left her job as the policy director for the State Department in Washington D.C. because trying to maintain her job got in the way of raising her 14-year-old son. Some questions that came to mind were, where was the balance in her relationships? Why wasn’t the spouse or father of her son helping? The article doesn’t answer these questions at all, but it does bring up the continued conversation on success in relationships and ultimately “having it all.” Does that mean that you have the perfect marriage, or perfect children? If so, is it really even possible to “have it all”?
Success is something that not just women, but men want to have. Balance, understanding and support in a relationship can mean all the difference in getting to your goal instead of pushing it back. You shouldn’t have to continuously put your hopes and goals on hold so your significant other can solely reach theirs. Why can’t you both be a success together?
What do you think? Do you believe that it’s impossible to be able to focus on a career in a relationship? Or is it better to be single and work towards your goals?
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