In 2015, I decided to quit my job and bet on myself. It was a risky move but it was one that I knew I had to make. I was miserable sitting at a desk all day. I was miserable with my same, boring daily routine. And I was miserable because I knew I should be doing more.
So, I went for it and I’m glad I did.
Four years later, I’m healthier, happier, more content, peaceful, joyful and always looking for an opportunity to expand my footprint.
That all sounds really glamorous, right?
Well, it is.
However, this life doesn’t come without its challenges.
The reality is I’m still at a point where if I’m not working, money isn’t coming in. Sure, I always have money coming in, but if there’s a day where I need to put all the assignments I have piling up (and they do pile up) aside because life has happened then guess what, there are no funds to account for on that day.
As an entrepreneur, this is a glaring fact that stares at me constantly. Some days this reality stares so much that re-entering the employee world doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. That’s if I could land a position with a company that values my work, my worth and what I bring to the table.
The more horror stories I hear, the less I’m convinced that there are many companies out there that would.
Currently, I can take time off whenever I need to. I don’t factor it into my schedule, but if a day arises where I need to just focus on myself and my mental and emotional health then I can. If a day arises where I need to be there for my family or a close friend, I can. If a day arises where I’m sick and I need to rest, I can.
Unfortunately, this same luxury isn’t provided for everyone.
From the mouths of my friends, I hear how undervalued they are at their jobs. I hear how they only have two weeks, sometimes one, paid time off. I hear how inconsiderate their bosses are when they have family emergencies and are only concerned about when their employees will be returning to work. Some of their stories are horrifying and downright disgusting.
And this is especially true for women.
As the givers of life and bearer of so many things, we often carry so much weight. Ours and others. We’re called upon to be fixers, gluers, sustainers, helpers, way makers and rulers. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, we’re not often called upon to focus on self amid whatever havoc is being wreaked in our lives.
We’re expected to work, work, work with no little or no time to refill the cups we pour out of so lovingly. Studies have proven over and over that when employees, especially women, feel valued they produce (insert whatever) at higher volumes. This is especially true in the workforce.
Women deserve to work for companies that see them as more than just a body that helps produce revenue. Women should be seen as an integral and essential part of the team that assures companies are operating at their highest level. I’m convinced this can be a reality if the “powers that be” were willing to admit that taking employees for granted isn’t the answer.
Women deserve to be able to care for their families when they need to without stressing how many days they have left to rectify whatever sickness or emergency before they need to get back to work. Women deserve to be able to take time off to mourn and deal with the grief when losing loved ones without worrying about whether they’ll have a job when they return. Women deserve to have self-care days to rejuvenate, restore and refresh.
If you want your company to be better, treat women better. It’s a principle that has an undefeated track record.
Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer.