What does it mean for you to have a voice? Not speaking up for yourself can have financial and emotional implications.
What does it mean for Liz to have a voice?
I listened to an inspiring financial industry podcast the other day. The interviewee, named Liz, talked about her experiences being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and feeling like she didn’t belong. She talked about finding her community and realizing she had a place in the industry through attending conferences and networking with other advisers.
She posed the question, What does it mean for Liz to have a voice?
I love this question. It is un-threatening and simply opens you up to wonder. I think this question has power to be fundamentally altering as well. For me, as a woman in our culture, I have felt like I don’t or can’t say what I want or address my own personal needs, because my job is to put others first.
What does it mean for YOU to have a voice?
Many of my clients are women who have professional careers or are business owners. These women, for the most part, are successful in their careers, have chosen a profession that is meaningful and rewarding to them, and enjoy the work they do.
And also, they may feel like they aren’t doing it right, or feel like they have to compromise in one area to make other areas of their lives work.
They wonder, Life is so hard – why does it seem so easy for other people? Here are some personal struggles I’ve heard from clients who are trying to balance work and personal lives. Do any of these struggles sound familiar to you? I’ve experienced some of these myself.
- I’m having a hard time figuring out a child’s summer camp or daycare, and how to pay for it.
- It’s a challenge to leave work when a child get sick to take them to a doctor appointment.
- My weekends are full of children’s activities like travel baseball and gymnastics.
- How can I afford some money in the budget (and time on the calendar) for getting together with girlfriends? Because even though it feels like a luxury, it’s not.
- It’s ok to work a few extra years so their kids can go to the college of their dreams.
- I have to keep working for the health insurance benefits.
- My child’s special needs have shifted what the future looks like for our whole family.
And then there is a whole set of work-related struggles. Here is a sampling of struggles clients have told me about:
- I was passed over for a promotion.
- I have a difficult bosses who isn’t clear with direction, then blames me for not doing things right.
- I’m not asking for a raise because I don’t want to be a problem.
- I’m afraid to tell clients that fees are going up due to inflation, so instead I will cover the extra cost myself and cut back on personal expenses.
- I’d like to go down to working 4 days a week but I’m not sure I can afford it or if I’ll still receive needed health insurance benefits.
- I’ll Just keep my head down and get the work done.
What does it mean to NOT use your voice?
There are financial implications to not speaking up.
The US Department of Labor says that on average, “women working full time, year round are paid 83.7% of what men are paid. This inequity is even greater for Black and Hispanic women.” This is a statistic published in 2023.
The gender pay gap is one of the reasons “Women report worse outcomes on all measures of financial health: spending, saving, borrowing, and planning”, according to a research paper published in July 2022 called, The Gender Gap in Financial Health.
There are also emotional burdens that come along with not speaking up. The mental load experienced by women in a co-parenting household has gotten a lot of publicity over the past few years. Here’s an interview with a sociologist who studied what to do about it.
What if….you used your voice to speak your truth? What if you asked for what you wanted? What if you told your partner explicitly what you needed from them to keep your day to day life going? What if you asked for the raise, presenting all the value-adds you have brought to your employment?
What if you told your employer you wanted to cut back your hours while still getting full time benefits, and presented a plan about how it might look? What if you hired a home organizer, or ordered meal kits, or carpooled with a neighbor? What if you asked for help?
What if speaking your truth is the door to unlocking the life you want?
Lastly, I’ll leave this Pixar Short Film called Purl for your viewing entertainment and inspiration.