Do Workplace ‘Rockstars’ Need a Supportive Partner?

Sometimes we learn really cool things from really cool people. When we do, we consider it our job to share it with you so that you can do some thinking and dig deeper for yourself!

Anne Helen Peterson is one of our favorite thought leaders in areas at the intersection of work and culture. This week, in her subscription Substack, she shared a great piece that explored the idea of how “rockstars” at work get to be rockstars? And, does becoming a star at work with a great area of specialty require the kind of support that can only come from a “wife” or domestic partner who handles all the busyness of life while allowing the person to kick ass and take names and focus on just one thing?

Peterson explores how, just a few decades ago, people were empowered at work to do ONE thing rather than many – an executive had secretaries to do all the execution and administration, which left them free to come up with the next great, big idea.

She then goes on to say how so many employees suffer with the reality of job expansion. Meaning, as technology grows and the workforce changes, so many of us are forced to do the work of more than one person.

“Employees struggle to adequately perform work that, if someone were to look closely and objectively, are so obviously the work of more than one person. But because these are salaried jobs, generally but not always without union protections, that level of work — within the organization, but also within an industry — is just….the way things are. Workers have no choice but to hunker down and do it, because if you don’t, you’re “not a good culture fit.”

The debate between being a “specialist” or a “generalist” is a hot topic. We also personally know that we’ve felt pressure in many of our jobs to do tasks outside of what we know we are gifted at, just to keep up and bring a project across the finish line.

We love this piece by Peterson and this is a topic we feel strongly about. If you’re interested in reading more, you can check out Peterson’s Substack for yourself here!