Good morning everyone, and welcome to NF Learning Lab, where together, we access our innate, iNtuitive wisdom as unique and self-valuing women, and share who we are becoming in a safe, sensitive community.
In recent weeks, we have been exploring the ten areas of life that we work with in NF Learning Lab, and we’ve been using, as our discovery lens, the life area of ‘family of origin’. Last week, we focused this lens on the beliefs, attitudes, scripts, rules and roles our first family showed us about money. Today, we focus that lens on the life area of ‘work’, but as we do, let’s notice that these two life-areas, money and work, come together in our minds, very persistently. Much of the work we do, is for the purpose of making money, so the modeling we received in these two related areas go hand in hand.
In both areas of life, the approaches our families are likely to have taken will have been greatly influenced by the Sensing-majority culture in which we live. The United States, in particular, is a highly sensing, work-oriented culture. It is said that Americans live to work, while inhabitants of many other cultures work to live. In other words, in the US, people have historically given greater meaning to the life area of work, than they do to living, itself! So, we might each ask, “Did my family of origin work to live? Or did they live to work?”
One other way in which money and work impact the lives of iNtuitive-Feeling women, is that in every country and every culture, including our own, women of all personality types are paid less than men, for performing the same work. So, there is a double whammy for us there, which is augmented by the fact that as iNtuitive-Feeling type women, we are often not highly money-motivated, when it comes to our work. What matters, is that our work has deep heart and meaning, so the choices we make around work are likely to be viewed askance by our broader, money-oriented, Sensing-majority world. Most of us have compensated, for our uniqueness in this regard, by adapting to societal norms. In so doing we have, all-too-often, hidden big parts of ourselves away, which only adds to our feelings of being unseen, unheard and misunderstood. So, there are two huge cultural skews that affect iNtuitive-Feeling women when it comes to work, our resistance to the idea of making “work for the sake of money, alone” a priority in life; the reality the when we do sign up for the work-money script, we’re likely to get paid less than our male counterparts; and finally, our strong preference that our work, whatever it is, have heart and meaning beyond money.
Here in NF Learning Lab, we encourage each other to follow our dreams, that is, to be purpose-prompted and self-directed in all areas of life. Given the cultural skews regarding work, being purpose-prompted might be especially challenging. First, we must examine the rules and roles our families gave us about women working. Next, we must decide for ourselves how we will go about working. Will we work outside the home? For money? Or will we work in more traditional roles, as care-givers, and home-makers? Will we be content to work without a specific paycheck? And regardless of which choice we make, our third question is, “What work will bring me the greatest sense of accomplishment? The greatest delight?” Do we, as women, even dare to go that far in exploring our work options?
Truth is, we American women are privileged, when it comes to our choices about work. We can choose to be educated for work we might like to do, and then we can earn fairly good money. Most women around the world are still held captive by cultural and familial rules that limit their options, indeed, that do not even offer options. So, when we examine our personal relationship with ‘work’, when we look at the influences we got from our family of origin, when we dare to prefer, and even expect, to be able to work doing something we enjoy, something that we care deeply about, we become, almost by default, models to which other women can aspire.