5 Year Old’s Advice to Women: Get A Job!

Love My Job!

My daughter, Katherine shared this with me this morning, knowing full well it would make my day. She was right.

This sage advice, from AnnaGrace’s 5 year old sister, is something I fervently believe all women would do well to strive to pass along to their female children.

“I care if I do something that’s special. I don’t want to marry someone if I don’t have a job first.”

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a flag-waving, bra burning statement about women’s rights – although I’m certainly an advocate. It’s more a message to women – and a message about empowerment, self-confidence and believing in yourself.

All too often, women define themselves by the men they date, starting as early as high school.  It’s not unusual for women to make our decisions based on what’s important to men and build our lives around them. Sometimes, we get in such a hurry to marry and live the bullshit “happily ever after” that we’re taught exists, from the very earliest moments of life, that we forget to stop and think about what really makes us happy. What we might want to do with our lives, over and above potentially having a life partner and raising a family.

In my world, the path I’ve tried to set my daughters on is pretty focused. I hope I’ve taught them (and continue to teach the little ones) that life isn’t about someone else fending for you and being responsible for your happiness and success. That getting an education and going out into the world and getting a job and endeavoring to figure out what exactly it is that you’re not only suited for, but passionate about is key. And it is, and should be, as much a part of life’s journey as going to school every day is when you’re a kid.

For the record, to my way of thinking, having a job isn’t about having money, it’s about experiencing life and finding passion. About having skills and using them, and thinking about what it is that makes you happy, fulfilled and purposeful. It’s about spending your days doing something you love – even if it takes you awhile to figure out exactly what that is.

I have a number of girlfriends who went to college, did well and graduated with no real sense of purpose, direction or passion about any kind of career path. Many of them, whether they admitted it or not, went to college and majored in Finding a Husband 101. And many of them were successful.

In many instances, many of those women went on to marry well and live lives of affluence, fueled mostly by the career successes of their husbands. They have beautiful homes and perfectly mannered children. They drive nice cars and have every material possession they could ever want. And yet they often yearn for more.

As is all too common, at some point, each of those women that I know have found themselves adrift. Wondering about purpose, yearning to do something and to feel connected to some kind of career. Some of those women find themselves divorced or widowed and without any skills or ability to support themselves and totally and stranded in life – completely dependent on others.

This video resonated with me so much, as Katherine knew it would, for a variety of different reasons. But most importantly, because she knows that I really feel passionately about what this little girl is saying.

Being a wife and mom is wonderful. And there’s no rule that being a great wife and mom and having a career are mutually exclusive – no matter who tells you differently. But empowering yourself, and your daughters, from the earliest of ages, to understand how important it is to value yourself, learn skills, have a career path and resolve to do whatever it takes to do what you’re passion about – that’s what matters. Men will come – or they’ll go – but only you will look out for you. That’s just good, common sense. And getting a job is just part of that equation.

In fact, I might even go so far as to call it the best Life Insurance Policy you could ever have. What say you?

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  • Anonymous

    I say that this hit home HARD.
    I did not go to college or grad school to find a husband. I actually went to grad school because I wanted to in part, and also because I didn’t know what else to do after college. I know what I love to do, but I have never made it into a career. Maybe I’m on my way now, I don’t know.

    I am proud that I do have my education, but not quite sure it would get me very far if Dan were to leave me. I think about that often. I’m well aware of the suckage.

    Thank you for this. A good wake up call for many—and maybe it won’t be too late for them!

  • http://wordsdonewrite.blogspot.com Words Done Write

    I love this, Shelly! Personally, I think we should all put in $100 and get this little girl on the speaker’s circuit. Send her to high schools to enlighten the teen girls who think a magical wedding to the quarterback will make them happy and secure. This little girl gives me hope.

    Thanks so much for sharing it. It made my day, too!

  • http://www.pjmullen.com/ PJ Mullen

    I say this is just as important for fathers to impart to their daughters as mothers. I know that I for one will be reinforcing this to my little girl. I’m a stay at home dad because I chased every opportunity and woke up one day hating my professional life. Fortunately, I met and married an incredibly intelligent woman who loves what she does. That she also happens to make a really good living at it was almost an after thought for her. We got invited to a wedding other day, it was addressed to Dr. and Mr. Mullen. She thought it was silly, but I was proud.

  • Sloane

    You make a great point. I can’t tell you how often, 14 years ago, I was asked “Who’s home with the baby?” while I was working. And, I can’t tell you how it got under my skin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671529654 Molly Cantrell-Kraig

    Smart cookie. There is a healthy component of self-reliance, and it doesn’t have to be viewed through the lens of “the world is a crappo place and I’ll never be able to count on anyone.”

    Rather, “I have a responsibility to my self to honor my skills by developing them to their fullest.”

  • Anonymous

    I agree completely, PJ. In fact, my husband enjoyed watching this video as much as our kids did. As an aside, my husband loves it that I work hard and love what I do. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the reasons he married me :))

  • Anonymous

    Oh Sloane, I spent what seems like a lifetime hearing those questions. And seeing the judgment in so many eyes. I say the same thing now that I said then “Screw ‘em!”

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re on a good path sweets. And am glad you enjoyed.

  • Anonymous

    I agree!!! Wholeheartedly!!! She gives me hope, too.

  • http://twitter.com/GinaLaGuardia Gina LaGuardia

    I.love.this. :)

  • Judah

    You got front page on Mashable due to the video, but they left out your post… which puts the whole thing in a different light. I mentioned it to the girl who wrote it–maybe she will see it and then visit your blog.

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  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    I saw this on Facebook last night, but I agree with Judah, it’s MUCH better with your blog post associated with it. I feel like sending this to every, single one of my girlfriends who think men complete them. In fact, I think I will.

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  • http://www.allisondevelopmentgroup.com Erica Allison

    Awesome point of view and as a working mother to both a son and a daughter, I view it as my job to teaching them BOTH that each and every one of us must find our own passion and purpose in life. To depend on someone else for that will only leave us feeling empty and always looking for more. They see me doing what I do every single day ( I own my own biz) and whether they realize it or not, the lesson is there that they are in charge of their lives and their happiness. Thanks so much for affirming that for so many who will read this post, RT this post and share it with their girl friends.

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    Oh my gosh, that is amazing. I’ve tried to raise my own daughter the same way. Dependency sucks. Much better to be interdependent, but that means you got to bring as much or more to the table as your partner.

  • http://www.expatlifecoach.com/blog John Falchetto

    Great Stuff. My little one just made her first steps today so I am on cloud nineteen, I will raise her that way for sure.
    @Erica you are right, guys AND girls should be brought up this way. I see many of my clients who work at a job they hate because that’s the thing to do. It makes them no better than depending on someone else for a living.
    This is much bigger than getting married to someone or not.

  • Ally

    Oh my gosh, I just saw a clip of this video on Inside Edition. LOVE it! I hope we all want to raise strong, independent children who grow up learning to value themselves. What a wonderful world this could be.

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  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    I want my women working 2 shifts and barefoot and pregnant at the same time! 8)

    This is a great post and that girl is adorable! If you can handle risque google women are hornier than men on you tube. It would be great if they took the sexual roll reversal and expanded it completely. Because while its a great comedic short its also ironically not funny with the reality we have.

    I agree with you Shelly that everyone needs to look out for themselves. And we all need to find something that make us feel like we have value or accomplishment beyond just our partner or our family. As our civilization evolves making often the traditional roles moot we should embrace that. Yet sadly many on the religious and political are completely against capable women competing with men in the work place. Well with 3 of 5 advanced degrees going to women they will soon be in trouble =)

  • Rebeeka125

    I’m all for this concept but that child is incredibly annoying. It makes me want to keep my job forever and never have children.

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