Women in Printing: Balancing Home and Work and Actually Getting a Life

First things first: If you’re out on Twitter, I want to know why you haven’t come by to see me yet. Hanging out in the Twitterverse has sparked some great conversations with fellow printers, including this one about what it’s like to be a woman in printing and where the biggest challenge lies.

When I gave a shout-out to my printing ladies in the Twitterverse last week, asking them to tell me what they thought was the hardest part of being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, I was surprised by the answers I got. I figured at least one of them would have something to say about banging their head against the typical glass-ceiling, boy’s club environment. That wasn’t the case. Most of them were concerned about trying to balance their home and work lives without feeling like they were being a horrible wife or mother for putting their career first.

When I read through their responses (and they were plentiful), I had to smile. Because it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’ve got a family, whether it’s husband, child, father, mother, sister or second cousin twice removed, at some point you’re going to have to make a choice. Who do you spend time with? How dead are you going to be if you skip a family dinner because you have a HUGE deadline Monday morning and you need to get a head start on Sunday night? (If your family’s anything like mine, the answer to that is pretty darn dead. Make that decision very, very carefully.)

So how do our printing ladies do it? Several had been known to take their kids to work on their days off, and invite their husbands along on their business trips. Working at all hours of the night to have their days free wasn’t unusual, and many of them recommended working from home as often as possible. And all of them agreed that unless something major popped up, like a deadline that was going to blow up in their face if they didn’t jump on it, like, yesterday, work hours were work hours and family time was family time, and ne’er the twain shall meet.

The struggle to balance work and family life certainly isn’t exclusive to our ladies of the press. How do you balance work and family?