Men's Career Issues

Most career issues apply to both sexes, but in honor of Father's day, here are my thoughts on some men's career issues

Used wisely, male aggressiveness is a strength

Do not listen to those who say aggressiveness is a bad characteristic. Use your aggressiveness as a wise warrior would use a weapon. Its power can benefit you, your employer and the world, but it must be used judiciously, sometimes even surreptitiously.

Do not confuse aggressiveness with anger

Angry people are usually unsuccessful in the workplace and may place their health at risk. If you find yourself angry at someone, replace your fury with empathy, remembering that that person is probably doing the best he or she can. Be grateful you are more capable

If you are angry at your life situation, remember that if you are living in the Bay Area and not in chronic pain or late-stage terminal illness, your life is probably better than 95 percent of the people on the planet. Fortune has smiled upon you. Go through life with a spirit of gratitude.

Do not uncritically accept that you should be the primary breadwinner

Each couple must discuss this openly in being the primary breadwinner, are you forced to take a job that makes you unhappy or overly stressed? Would you be much happier in a lower-paying job? Should your wife assume more of the financial responsibility, even if it means that she is not home as much with the kids?(The evidence is equivocal on whether stay-at-home moms' kids do better.) Should you do more of the housework? The parenting? Fortunately, there are no rules -- there is no more "mens work" or women's work." Each couple should craft for themselves the division of labor that best accommodates both spouses' strengths and preferences.

Consider non-traditional careers

Some traditional female careers are unusually rewarding: nurse, librarian, teacher, editor and graphic designer, for example. And in the case of nursing, the job market is good and salaries are high, A real man chooses a career that feels aright for him without worrying that it's a "manly" career.

Consciously decide how you want to react to reverse discrimination

No employer will admit it publicly, but in many, although certainly no all workplaces, women receive favoritism in hiring and promotion over men who are more competent and willing to work longer hours.

You could try a lawsuit, but that is chancy and exhausting. Or you could make a career of changing the conventional wisdom that reverse discrimination is a net good.

If you don't want to pursue either of those options, get over it. Reverse discrimination is a fact of life today. It's bad enough you may be treated unfairly. There is no need to let it destroy your peace of mind. that reminds me of the story of Massoud and Tarik on camels in the meddle of the desert. Suddenly a marauder gallops up, robs them of their money and gallops away. Massoud is distraught while Tarik remains calm, Massoud sputters, "How can you stay calm" Tarik replied, "He stole my money. I won't let him also steal my peace of mind"

Forestall aging

Men die an average of six years younger than women, and it seems that more men than woman in their min-to late-50s show significant decline in physical and mental capability. Some of the cause is probably physiological -- the current theory is that estrogen protects.

But you do have some control. Because men are at-risk of earlier decline, it's especially important that men do what they can to forestall aging and disease. I'm not telling you anything new here, but perhaps this is a wakeup call to get serious about controlling your weight, not smoking, drinking no more than moderately, and doing regular moderate exercise. Science is finding that your mother may have been right. Walking may be the be the best exercise

I'd also recommend thinking twice about any extreme diet, including low-carb. Like most fads that preceded low-carb diets, anything extreme too often ends up having unwanted side effects. And even in terms of weight loss, a recent study found that although for the first six months, low-carb dieters lose more that dieters on balanced low-calorie diets, after a year they're equal. See your doctor before beginning any diet, but you may be on the safest ground by following the just-released FDA guidelines which reject low-carb diets in favor of a well-balanced diet: not too many carbs, not too few. Focus on whole-grain rather than refined-grain carbs. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Keep your calories down by avoiding high-fat foods,

Advice I'd give my child

Today, men are often portrayed as lesser than women. Textbooks, college professors, sitcoms, movies, even newspaper and magazine features tend to portray women as the good guys and men as testosterone-poisoned boors, crooks, or abusers.

The fact is that most men are hard working, goal-oriented and straight-shooting. The world needs both men and women. Don't forget it.

© 2010, Marty Nemko

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Marty Nemko holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently taught in Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. He is the worklife columnist in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and is the producer and host of Work With Marty Nemko, heard Sundays at 11 on 91.7 FM in (NPR, San Francisco), and worldwide on . 400+ of his published writings are available free on that website and is a co-editor of Cool Careers for Dummies. and author of The All-in-One College Guide. E-Mail.

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