Honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall tumbling down reminded me of the children’s nursery rhyme–
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again”
Curious verse; so here is my interpretation. When we fall and perhaps feel like we are splattered, nothing left of the old, it is up to us to put ourselves together again. We can’t expect others to do it for us.
As women most of us are really good at reinventing ourselves, refurbishing our homes, redirecting our children, renegotiating with our spouses or partners. And yet, until the past several decades we have waited for the king, the king’s men to help us decide our way at work.
When we fall off walls or when they tumble down, as in Berlin, it is a crucial time to rethink our positions and make our own choices for the direction we wish to take.
All of us have that devastating and wonderful opportunity to step out of old ways of thinking and being. We all, often many times in a lifetime, become different. We morph into stronger, more sure-footed, more clear thinking individuals.
The walls and work are coming down, so is the glass ceiling. Have we given enough thought to what that means, what we want, what really make a difference, what truly makes us happy? I suspect we still need to foster deep discussions around what the component parts are for an open, borderless, ceilingless work environment.
As we continue to define ourselves in the 21st Century workplace there are some crucial conversations that need to be had that will benefit everybody. As women these are the discussions that we are strong and steady enough to lead. These are the dialogues all leadership training programs need to include. They have to do with workaholism, flexibility, cooperation, financial fairness, conflict resolution, success, and purpose.
I believe the time is now and we are the ones. I believe men will join us if we lead the conversations in a determined yet open way. This is no longer about male bashing or feeling we are being treated unjustly. It is about how to hold a vision of equity at home and at work so that we can all win. It is about handing our children a workplace that is filled with realness, openness, humor, and creativity.
We have been able to break down many walls. Most of us have also fallen off many walls on the mission for balance and fairness. Let’s talk together about the most effective ways of moving forward so that next generations, female and male, can stand on our shoulders for an even better view of healthy workplace relationships.