Former Lehman CFO questions achievability of work-life balance

Former Lehman CFO questions achievability of work-life balance

Erin Callan outlines her own failure to achieve work-life balance and calls on more organisations and individuals to seek a better deal

Former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan has joined the work-life balance debate by outlining her own failure at achieving both during her time as an executive.

In an opinion piece for the New York Times published 9 March, Callan said she had been following recent debates about work-life balance and varying positions of women such as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer on whether balance can be achieved in today’s workforce with interest, and detailed why she believes she failed to do so.

Callan resigned from Lehman Brothers in 2008 amid the financial firm’s collapse and just months before the group went bankrupt. She said she was devastated when she left her job, not knowing who she was or how to value herself outside of what she did.

“I have often wondered whether I would have been asked to be CFO if I had not worked the way that I did,” she wrote. “Until recently, I thought my singular focus on my career was the most powerful ingredient in my success. But I am beginning to realise that I sold myself short. It didn’t have to be so extreme.”

Callan also claimed a lack of work-life balance contributed to diminishing returns on such extreme labour, adding that while she didn’t believe you could have it all, there should be more harmony.

You can read Erin Callan’s opinion piece for the New York Times here.

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