In Summary
  • Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, advocated for functionalism theory on families where the adult male is the only family member who has a functional role.
  • Yet in today’s society, we see women also taking up key leadership and management positions in organisations.
  • Do you have a question for Amani Counsellors? Please email: lifeandstyle@ke.nationmedia.com

What comes first between family and career? This is an age-old question that many men and women struggle to find an answer to.

Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, advocated for functionalism theory on families where the adult male is the only family member who has a functional role. Yet in today’s society, we see women also taking up key leadership and management positions in organisations.

How does one get the balance correct when they have to work and meet the basic needs of the family such as shelter, food and basic education for the children?

What if we looked at work life integration instead of balance?

Here, there is need to factor in importance of the presence of the parent or parents in the child’s life for the healthy socialisation of the child.

On the other hand, the parent needs to also self-actualise in achieving their own career goals. Abraham Maslow considered self-actualisation as being the ultimate desire of an individual after meeting physiological, safety, sense of belonging and self-esteem issues.

Of what use is it to spend many years gaining education in a relevant profession and then abandoning the goal of reaching your ultimate peak of being a leader of repute?

Yet leadership at the workplace has its responsibilities which will at times create conflict with family life.

Another perspective is to consider the role of support from the family in helping you attain these goals at the workplace.

The Narrative Approach to Family Therapy considers the effects external factors have on individuals and families.

For instance, supposing a parent decides to let their work take over and controls their behaviour to the extent that the family takes a back seat?

This means the parent allows the work to control his every waking moment at the expense of his family. He identifies himself with his career and nothing else.

The danger in this behaviour is that the job expectations influence his whole life which may negate his social relationship with family.

Seeking psychological support through counselling can create new perspectives and help in work life integration.

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