Author Sheryl Kara Sandberg Sandberin in her book Lean In writes, “If we make it too easy for women to drop out of the career marathon, we also make it too hard for men. Just as women feel that they bear the primary responsibility of caring for their children, many men feel that they bear the primary responsibility of supporting their families financially. Their self-worth is tied mainly to their professional success, and they frequently believe that they have no choice but to finish that marathon.”
I second this completely. To a certain extent, most of us have these stereotypical thoughts about gender roles. So, where did we learn this from? Who passed on this mindset that a man should provide for the financial needs of the family, and if he doesn’t, he is not considered “man enough”?
I am not sure how many of you agree to this, but this gender stereotype is creating a lot of stress in men. This could be one of the reasons why most men don’t pursue their passion assuming that they might not find the job which pays them enough to take care of their families.
And it doesn’t stop there. ‘A Complete Man’ is defined as the one who not only works and earns enough to keep his family comfortable but also supports his partner in taking care of the family. Many men feel lost in meeting these expectations that they curb their desires and passions.
Why Men Find it Hard to Follow Their Passion?
Men find it hard to express their passion and keep their problems hidden from others, again because they want to maintain that “strong” image in the society. This makes it hard for them to take up a career that they really want to.
Some men are particularly competitive and concerned with power and success. If you are one among them, it may be harder for you to tell someone that you feel fragile or that you need help. You may strongly believe that you will have to do it on your own.
Here Are a Few Simple Tips to Help You Manage Work-life Better
- Set Priorities: When we juggle between hectic work schedule and family time we forget to prioritize what needs to be done first. This results in us constantly postponing important tasks, then be it something to do with our family or at work. So it is better to prioritize them. Put them on your calendar and try following it.
- Schedule: Being organized will help. Make a to-do list every morning which includes your professional and personal work. Try to give at least 20-25 min breaks a couple of times in a day to talk to your loved ones (parents/ partner/ children) or just for yourself to rest up.
- Manage your time: One of the main causes of inefficiency at work and relationship breakdown is the lack of time. Learn to manage your time. If your job demands long working hours at the end of the month, plan a weekend getaway with your friends or family the week before so you can share time before your required separation. If that is not possible maybe after the work to just treat yourself for the hard work you put in and spend some quality time with your loved ones.
- The office is where work happens and home is where your family lives: The best way to keep these two separate worlds happy, is to just keep them separate! Yes, this is the most difficult thing to master but it’s very important that you leave your personal life at home when you go to work and vice-versa. At home, spend your time to discuss interesting topics and stuff apart from work. Force yourself to do the same for a little while till it becomes a habit.
- Alone time: Don’t forget about yourself! When work and relationship become too demanding we forget about our hobbies and about those small things that make us happy. Make sure you keep that little time aside for yourself amidst all this hectic running around between your two lives. It could be something as simple as reading a book or taking a walk in the park.
- It’s alright to seek help and support – we all need that little support at work and outside work. When you know that it’s getting too much, communicate and seek help. Asking for help will not make you any less.
If you’re not content and happy with yourself, you won’t be giving your full to either your professional or your personal life. On an average, the male suicide rate is twice that of the female suicide rate in India. Talk about how you feel, talk about your emotions. It’s okay if you cannot perform well at times.
We all have our ups and downs, if you speak out and seek help that doesn’t make you less of a man. There are no set rules. You needn’t be strong always. You are human too. Be nice to yourself. Take care of yourself.