Business guru and former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, recently gave a speech in which he said said women in the working world have to realize that “there’s no such thing as work-life balance.” Instead, we all make “work-life choices” and if women choose to take time off from work for children, there could be “consequences” to that choice. Notably, Welch said, women who stay home with children might be passed over for promotions if we are “not there in the clutch.” In other words, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
I actually do agree with some of his points—taking time off to raise kids sets women and their skills back, and people who are present and excelling “in the clutch” deserve promotions and rewards more than people who aren’t. But the problem with work-life balance isn’t exactly the way Welch makes it sound, as if we only have two choices. The problem is that for a really long time, the workplace was set up so moms and dads had to make those choices.