JJ DiGeronimo, that author of The Working Woman’s GPS, explains how the modern lady can achieve that perfect work-life balance
First published in jobpostings magazine
careers. education. ideas. all of it.
Female students, prepare yourselves for the world of the modern North American woman. Today, don’t forget to walk the dog, read the newspaper, drop the kids off at school, respond to 30 emails, excel at work, do that favour for a friend you promised, squeeze a workout in, pick the kids up from daycare, make dinner, take the youngest to her evening soccer practice, spend a few minutes with the spouse, throw in a load of laundry, pick up the young all-star soccer player, and maybe, maybe get a lucky break to read the first chapter of that book you’ve been dying to read for weeks. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe—that’s important too.
Look back at that list and see how much the modern North American woman does for herself, not to mention how much is done for others. Let’s not even get started on women in developing countries.
The fact is women do a lot for other people, and JJ DiGeronimo, author of The Working Woman’s GPS: When the Plan to Have It All Has Led You Astray, knows how much women have to balance these days. Soon after having a daughter of her own, DiGeronimo began looking at what society expects of women, and became concerned. “I find that so many [women], young and old, are always over-committed, really feeling guilty, and often creating lives where they are just exhausted,” she says.
“I think society says, “Women, you have to get a degree. You have to get married. You have to have kids. You have to live in a house. You have to drive an Escalade. You have to be skinny. And [society] never talks about women’s well-being, and how they can be the most impactful.
“To do that, you really have to start with you: be honest with yourself and what you’re capable of. And then make sure you can work around those things, and work toward the goals you set for yourself. So many people want to distract you and pull you off-track.”
DiGeronimo says that young women who are studying should already be starting with “the end in mind.” This means being conscious of the salary you will receive in your field, and how that money will help you to achieve your goals. “Based on what you want to do in life, do you have to have a career that pays $50,000 a year, [or] $100,000? What degrees align with that? How easy is it to get a job?”
When DiGeronimo was deciding on a degree, she focused on what jobs would be available upon graduation. For her, having a job was the most important goal. After asking different schools which degrees would land her a job, she settled on a computer science degree: Communications Systems Management, from the University of Ohio.
Now she consults a number of Fortune 500 companies about their IT delivery, redefining the way they use IT to go to market. It’s a problem-solving job she finds interesting and, most important, it works for her.