In celebration of Women's History Month, Chartwell Law’s women attorneys share their views on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their personal and professional lives. This week, Anelise Codrington, Whitney Lay Greene, and Candace Rodgers share their views on the having a work/life balance.
Anelise Codrington (Atlanta, GA): Work-life balance is very important and I think has become more of a focal point since the pandemic and resulting shut-down caused many of us to work from home for a long period of time. Now that we have returned to work, I would say that many women strive to maintain the flexibility they had during the pandemic. I know that I do. I actually like coming into the office daily, but I like work-from-home as an option and creating my own flexible schedule that works for me while still meeting all necessary deadlines. As attorneys, we have very demanding jobs and responsibilities. The pressure is on to meet deadlines, hit your billable target, perform well, and keep our clients happy. But we cannot be good to our clients if we are not first good to ourselves. Our physical and mental well-being must always come first, and we must make the time to rest and participate in activities that bring us joy. When we take care of ourselves first, then we can also take care of business and be our best selves for our clients. Otherwise, the constant grind of working non-stop and not making any time for yourself will lead to burnout. If you want to take that dream vacation, take the vacation. If you want to make the 5pm Pilates class, take the class and make up for that time once class is finished.
Whitney Lay Greene (Atlanta, GA): I’m tired of the phrase “having it all.” Women are not a monolith and neither “having” nor “all” has a universal definition. Also, pretty much no one is doing it “all” successfully “all” of the time. I have three kids five and under and I am totally transparent about the fact that my life is mostly a circus, with me as the trapeze artist in a tightrope act. Most of time, I can stay on the wire, but that doesn’t mean work or life are always “balanced.” If I’m in trial, my time with my kids will be less and if I’m home with sick kids, my work productivity will be impacted for that day. I cannot be at a conference in Denver and at home making organic, handmade treats that are made of broccoli but taste like chocolate ice cream while planning a 2nd birthday party that rivals most awards shows at the same time. “Work/life Balance” is relative to the demands of a particular day. Women can absolutely have a successful career and be present with their families at the same time (if that’s what “all” means to them). What that looks like for any individual woman at any given time in her life will be different. The sooner we embrace that fact and forget the stereotypes (which are mostly myths) about what work life balance is supposed to look like—the happier we will be!
Candace Rodgers (Atlanta, GA): Arguably, the key to the professional woman’s success is not based on skill set, win-loss records, leadership roles, speaking engagements, titles or status. Rather, the authentic measure of success is the health and wealth of that woman’s mind, body and spirit. When these inherent aspects of the woman are depleted by the demands of the workplace without proper balance with the elements of life that provide her sustenance, she fails to show up in all of her glory. Instead, she merely exists day to day devoid of the profundity of her purpose. Thus, today’s woman must pursue all facets of her life – her physical and mental health, family, friends, community, faith, and non-workplace goals and passions. Work/life balance is a costly investment, but the returns are absolutely priceless. When the multi-dimensional woman attains work/life balance, she develops a keen sense of awareness of her own value. She becomes unstoppable, until she allows disturbance of the balance and value she created. Therefore, she must protect and normalize her work/life balance, particularly in workplaces where that balance is either absent or disregarded. Prioritizing a healthy work/life balance contributes to our value. We must ensure others recognize and honor it accordingly.