Who Are You Without Your Career?

Spend any time at all with the average Millennial, and you’ll quickly learn something.

They’ve been hurt. Very, very hurt.

As products of divorce, Millennials have been so damaged when it comes to love and family they steel themselves against future damage by throwing themselves into work.

Hell bent on not making the mistakes their parents did in love, Millennials map out their lives with work at the center. Marriage and family are an afterthought, something that can come along later—if they come along at all. Because of that, every decision a Millennial makes is with one thing in mind: money.

Earning money is what Millennials do well. It’s their safe space. A job doesn’t let you down. Or if it does, you can just move on to the next one. What’s more, every two weeks you receive a reward; and if you’re lucky, a pat on the back.

Compare that to marriage, in which trust and sacrifice are the name of the game and rewards are few and far between, and it seems like a slam dunk. Work wins.

But somewhere around the age of 30, at least for women, those values begin to change. Work matters less, and love & family matter more.

Problem is, no one told women this would happen. Instead they were raised to focus on work and make that the meat of their lives.

This is a stark departure from any other generation. For most of human history, Americans viewed work as a means to an end. Its purpose was to serve the family, which was the center of people’s lives. Work merely orbited around it.

I tried to explain all this to a female Millennial recently, who didn’t understand why women are saddled with the emotions and decisions regarding work and family in a way men are not. She attributed it to sexism.

She’s not alone. Most women of her generation who were raised under the banner of equality attribute the differences between women and men to sexism. (Pay gap? Sexism! Overwhelmed with housework and childcare? Sexism!) No one schooled them on the biological realities of being male and female—and on how to navigate those realities.

No one told them, for instance, that a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck, while a woman’s is typically linked to motherhood—and why that is. No one told them that while this does not hold true for every woman and every man, it doesn’t change the fact that what drives most women is different from what drives most men.

Women are able to do something no man can: give birth. Moreover, their bodies are made to nurture new life. What on earth can top that? Nothing—it’s miraculous. And men don’t have this power. I’m not saying men secretly long to give birth. I’m saying a man’s ability to provide for the children he helped create is integral to his identity. That’s something he can do.

For women, motherhood is integral to their identity. Any gynecologist can tell you that most women, if they haven’t had children by their mid-thirties, become anxious. They cannot envision a life without children. No matter how committed they may be to their jobs, that desire is there. And when it’s  met, the woman’s nurturing gene kicks in. Providing for that child emotionally, not financially, will be her first instinct.

This all sounds rather blasphemous in a culture that insists men and women are equal. To hear otherwise is to have one’s entire worldview upended. It means the decisions a woman has made have to be unmade, or at the very least reconsidered—which is a tall order. And yet, for women who want to have a family, it must be done.

You were sold a bill of goods. You were woefully unprepared for the reality of what your life will look like down the road.

A job, or career, is merely one part of life—and not even the best part. The best part of life is finding someone to love who loves you back. It’s also just smart to put love & family first since it will have more effect on your happiness and well-being than anything else you do.

Moreover, the feminist promise was an empty one. The idea that a career can fill a woman up, that it can somehow compensate for having a fulfilling marriage, is bogus. For most women, nothing is more important than getting love right. Nothing.

That’s why work should be kept in its place. Never be so enamored with your job that without it you don’t know who you are. That’s when you know you’re in trouble.

You are not your job. If you feel you are, something’s wrong.

Stop running from your parents’ mistakes. Stop listening to the culture tell you you’re oppressed. At the end of the day, it’s about what you value. The way you live is a reflection of your values.

What does your life say about you?

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

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Comments

  1. Do men really wish they could give birth? I’ve never, ever heard anything like that. My husband would faint at the thought of it. He, of course, as Suzanne says over and over, is a great provider and proud to be so.

    • The point was not that men wish they could give birth! It was that men know the ability to give life and to feed said life with one’s body trumps everything.

  2. Indeed, it is men who are their jobs. When men meet other men for the first time, almost the first question is – where do you work or what do you work at. The reason men do this is to instantly ascertain what type of man they are talking to.
    I’m not saying this is either good or bad – just that is the way it is.

  3. Many people equate modern Western work as a form of enslavement where we have been pacified by entertainment and distracted by “things and stuff” to keep us from going after the real prizes in ownership, freedom and self determination. I’ve heard a few people speculate that feminism was the tool to bring in more salves into the workforce.

    Feminism has not done anything for women (yes there have been some inequalities and yes some women were and continue to be mistreated) but that does not honestly represent the majority of Western women. By leaving the home, family and pursuit of a meaningful relationship traded for work women have earned all the negative aspects of men’s labor and somehow still come out feeling like victims and wanting more because ultimately a career first lifestyle really never satisfied most people.

    Women are taught to Balme men, not social organizers, liberal educators or feminist power brokers. Over the last 100 years these people have convinced half of the human population in Western societies to give up their freedoms in pursuit of work that mostly serves others efforts to grow more wealth and power. As they gain that equality women are starting to live with greater illnesses, cancer, heart ceases and death more inline with men after retirement. They have been lulled into a labor force with a lie, enslaved to increase others at their expense and told to hate their family and men so as to ensure they are focused on being high productivity contributors to the machine.

    • It might be an oversimplification, but basic economics would tell us that when labor supply is doubled, that labor becomes cheap and wages are cut in half. Likewise, doubling the supply of labor allows for more taxes to be collected from that labor, and creates impetus for children to be placed in daycare and to enter into the (largely) compulsory educational system.

      For those who might be curious, here’s a clip of deceased Hollywood producer and documentary filmmaker Aaron Russo discussing a private conversation he had with Nicholas Rockefeller surrounding the Rockefeller Foundation’s funding of Feminism, and the goals for doing so (take it for what it’s worth): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np7SF9nDGWQ Wade into the work of Professor Carroll Quigley and G. Edward Griffin for more information on the work, intentions, and influence of the various “charitable” foundations.

      Also, regarding the educational system and the influence various institutions and bodies wield, see the work of John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, and Brett Veinotte’s “School Sucks” podcast, among others.

  4. As true as this seems in general, almost all of the Gen x & now Millenial men I know have wanted to find decemt & devoted wives & are pretty anxious to be settled & sorted. It is tough for them (in big cities & especially post- Sex In the City) to find couth & faithful girls. Even the girls who look respectable can be complete vulgarians (reared on porn, sanctimonious with faddish PC buzzwords, big-mouthed & willing to cheat on boyfriends just for the notches on their bed posts). It’s a whole new (gross) world on the whole.
    Regarding money, I have to say that the sky high cost of living is intimidating for men & makes them SO nervous about being providers. In major cities, just to live in a non-crime adled area means forking over a huge portion of your take home pay, so the thought of having a nice life for a family (or even engaging in the machine gun fire dating schedule that the online app experience engenders) costs a pretty penny. Especially ypung men freak out & feel inadequate because they know womem are looking for well-off mates & they know they can’t compete in that realm (until their career takes off) causes anxiety.
    Some people have lost the idea of partnership & long term thinking and want everything straight off the shelf to be perfect.

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