What if Hillary had won?

November 8, 2016 – As the country sat in front of their TVs and computer screens, we watched in real-time as Politics as Usual was turned on its head by a man promising to “Drain the swamp.” But this isn’t about him…

This is about earlier that day when a mother brought her 10-year-old daughter with her to the neighborhood church serving as the area polling station. As the mother picked up her voting ballot, she turned to her daughter and asked her to remember that moment, because in all likelihood, they would both be witnessing the first woman becoming President of the United States. While the daughter shifted her feet in boredom, the young mother smiled as she filled in the oval next to Hillary Clinton’s name. This was a defining moment for many women who were excited to being a part of history.

That was four years ago. As television anchors and news pundits reported the voting numbers rolling in as the map behind them turned red, a large segment of the female population across the nation slowly realized that they would have to wait yet another four years, if not much longer before they could show their daughters that they really can be anything they want to be, even President of the United States.

But, what if Hillary had won?

Politics aside (Yes, I know I’m reaching here), what would it have meant for the college-aged woman to be able to point to President Hillary Clinton as the reason for going into law or politics? Women have crashed through the glass ceiling in virtually every single profession. They are running companies, traveling through space, and serving on the Supreme Court. They just haven’t cracked the ceiling of the Oval Office.

Locally, we have achieved a greater balance of a diverse government, with several women having served as Mayor of Kalamazoo, and Karianne Thomas is currently Kalamazoo’s first Public Safety Chief. One only has to look at Michigan’s current governor to see that, overall, women have attained recognition for having leadership skills. These women can serve as inspiration to ALL young people wondering if they have what it takes to serve in the police force, for our city and state’s government, and beyond.

So, what if Hillary had won? The earth wouldn’t have fallen off its axis as many were predicting. No, life would have gone on as normal, but I would like to think that she would have straightened it out just a bit. Girls deserve to have a role model in every facet of life. They can be firefighters, football coaches and farmers. In 2020, there should be no shards of glass on anyone’s shoulders, yet, here we are. While she didn’t win, Hillary Clinton was a trailblazer, smoothing the road for the next generation of women daring enough to travel down it.       

Here’s a thought… let’s hold out hope that we will see a woman become President of the United States in our lifetime. Not because she’s a woman. Because she deserves to be there.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle. Look for her debut novel, Chasing North Star in the fall of 2020. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Hitting the Pause Button on Your Career

“I’m so done with the 9-5 career,” my friend explains, taking a stab at her salad. She sits back and sighs. “Staff meetings, sales calls, budgets…I just don’t care anymore about climbing the corporate ladder. I just want a job that I don’t have to bring home with me at the end of the day.”

Woman working - CopyShe’s not alone in deciding that the next chapter in her life doesn’t necessarily include power-lunches and clothes that require dry cleaning. So what do you do for a living? is the question often asked at networking events. But, is it professionally acceptable to bag the power-suit and just get a job that doesn’t define us?

While Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg correctly stresses in her book “Lean In” that more women need to have a seat at the corporate table, It’s not the only option for achieving a professional balance in life. But there are many factors in deciding whether to chuck the heels and briefcase.

Let’s look at the downside of stepping off the corporate ladder…

  • Most part-time jobs are hourly and pay substantially less than full-time jobs. While we might have a romantic vision of living a simpler life based on a lower income, are you really ready for fewer nights out on the town, and less trips to the café for $7 iced coffees?
  • Like it or not, jobs define us in our culture. Many people can’t fathom why a woman with a bachelor’s degree in Business is suddenly ringing up scarves at the local boutique. Something terrible must have happened, is often the thought that pops up.
  • Working a so-called regular job can sometimes come with a boss who is not only much younger, but also less knowledgeable in the world of business. The reality is, you may be taking orders from someone who has yet to get their first credit card. And YOU will have to suck it up, buttercup.

But there is an upside to non-career / part-time employment, and the benefits can make all the difference!

  • At a regular job, the hamburgers don’t follow you home at the end of the night. That’s right, clocking out at 8:00 means you’re done, not just taking a break until your home, and opening your laptop after dinner to continue working on your current project.
  • Stress levels go way down. For the most part, a regular job is generally less stressful. Gone, are the weekly budget meetings, sales sheets, and cold calls. That’s not to say that all part-time jobs come with less responsibility and goals, but the level is generally less.
  • Designer Hours – OK, the downside of working part-time is that you will generally have to work hours that are less than ideal, like evenings and weekends, but owners and managers will also work with you in putting a schedule together that fits your lifestyle. This can allow for you to be home for your kids when they get out of school, or open up a 3-day weekend. It’s up to you.

At the end of the day, we all need to do what’s best for us. Career vs. job, it’s really about what looks best on you. Here’s a thought … let’s not worry about how our jobs define us.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Women’s LifeStyle.

What day is it?

Standing behind the counter at a local golf course on a beautiful summer evening, I accepted the cart key from the golfer and wished them a pleasant evening just as the phone rang. Answering the call, expecting the usual questions regarding tee-times and leagues, I was suddenly caught off guard.

Old_Lady_golfer - Copy“Hello,” a voice, obviously an older woman, said on the other end of the phone. “I’m afraid I slept in. Please tell the other ladies on my foursome to start without me. I’ll be in as soon as I can.”

I paused, not sure how to answer this request since there wasn’t a league in progress, and I assumed she must be talking about the league scheduled for the following morning, and included older women golfers. But I was confused how her sleeping in this evening affected her playing the next morning. Before I could respond with something resembling, What?, she thanked me and hung up.

Setting the phone down, I chewed on this one-sided conversation for only a moment before another golfer walked in, diverting my attention back to getting people on the course.

It wasn’t until a half-hour later, an older woman walked into the pro-shop, and I greeted her with a smile.

“Did I miss league?” she asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said, recognizing her voice as the one on the phone from earlier. “I’m not sure what league you’re talking about? Which league are you on?”

“What day is it?” She asked, as I saw her smile diminish, replaced with a look of confusion.

And that’s when, together, we untangled the mystery. This lovely lady had taken a catnap, and upon waking and seeing the clock showing 7:45, thought she had slept through the night, not realizing that it was 7:45 in the evening, not the next morning.

Embarrassed, she thanked me for clearing up her confusion, and sheepishly explained that she was 90 years old. I smiled and told her that it was a mistake anyone could make, and the fact that she was still golfing at 90 was a testament to her strength.

Let’s lift everyone we encounter. A smile with a guiding hand goes a long way.

Heidi McCrary – Author