Putting Gender into the Equation

If you search for the terms “gender” or “sexism” in the CAN archives, you will come across many posts that reinforce the organization’s commitment to gender equality in the community in general.

You’ll also find Nora’s insightful post about sexism within the acupuncture profession.
I did these searches because of a question that has interested me for a while…

Do community clinics headed by a male practitioner do better financially than those with female business owners?

The CAN surveys haven’t asked for the respondent’s gender, so we have no scientific way of knowing the answer to this question. And one could argue that it doesn’t matter if we have this information. I mean, even if we find out that there is a difference, we really can’t do anything to change it, right?

Well, I don’t know.

I don’t have some well-thought out, rational (male?) reason for why I think this is important. I just feel (female?) that it is.

What do you think?

Emily Konstan
Author: Emily Konstan

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.


  1. Don’t get too caught up

    I’ve ben working in public health for a while anow and while many of my peers generally applaud a more collaborative “feminine” approach to the work, the individuals tell a different story. Many of the most hard assed, anal, do it by the book jerks are women and many of the touchy feely, new age space cadets are guys.

    Business runs pretty much the same; I know a lot of people who are scrambling and lots who are doing well. What I’ve noticed is that the people who are scrambling are single. Maybe having a second income helps carry the business through tough times. Maybe having someone to be there wth moral support helps with the stress of being a business owner. Whatever it is, it just is.

    Politicising gender never really appealed to me; I gave up on girls against boys when we became women and men. But I did love a recent Savage Love column where a woman asked “Why do men suck?” Dan replied that men suck if you are a woman, or man, who likes to have sex with men. Women suck if you are a man, or woman, who likes to have sex with women.

    At any rate, I’m sure any gal (boo, sexist) with a degree in feminist studies would pick this apart as some uninormed/ignorant opinion of the enemy; but it’s just how I feel.

    On a side note, there was a pole on another TCM site I used to frequent and it asked if hugging patients was inappropriate. If there was a third answer of “only if you’re a woman” available it would have been the landslide choice.

    Have a goodnight all.


  2. I have been wondering this myself

    I know it shouldn’t matter but I know that in school the vast majority of the students are female, but when I see a video or an article about ANY acupuncture business, it is usually a male that runs the clinic.  Does this mean males are more successful at running a business?  Does it mean they are better at being visible in the media?  Does it mean anything at all?  All this is to say that I am very glad that you brought this up.

  3. the voice of the privileged position

    “Politicising gender never really appealed to me; I gave up on girls against boys when we became women and men.”  Yes, as a man, it behooves you to do so.  You’re generally not the embattled party.

    I could just as easily say, as a white woman, “Yeah, I’m not really bothered by racism, I don’t know why we have to talk about race at all.  I have lots of anecdotal evidence that proves me right.”

    By the way, as a lesbian, I don’t think women suck.  I think patriarchy sucks.  I don’t have a degree in feminist studies, either, and I don’t think you’re my enemy.  I think you’re being lazy though.

    I do think it’s interesting to wonder about single vs. married.

  4. still waiting.

    NCCAOM has still not released the results of the 2008 JTA for AOM.  This survey had 700+ responses and collected some economic data including gender.  They have released pieces in a couple of places as far back as last winter.  The full results may show something, maybe not.  AT has said they were planning on an email survey with economic questions to gauge the “state of the profession” to coincide with a new practice management publication they intend to release in february? 2010. so, i guess we’ll see. still waiting.

  5. i think a lesbian who thinks that women suck might have a bit of work to do…. and for the record i am a fan of dan savage, and not a lesbian (so far).

    i am with nora – the opressed groups do not have a choice to decide not to care about politics that opress them as par for the course and actively ignoring institutionalized opression is kinda lazy.

    now, why do you think that the question about hugging patients would have that landslide response? besides, we have a whole other set of ideas about boundaries in CA. read this and see if you can keep your eyes dry. even if you are a man.


  6. White flag!

    I checked out your website and decided that I should just surrender, it is worthless fighting against someone who uses words like “intersectionality” without doubting if it’s a real word!

    My second punchline was to ask if it was where two alleys cross; I like the first one better.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy though, but I do tend to Tai Ji away conflict rather than join the fight. There may be a slight difference thought in our situations. Nanaimo is certainly not Detroit – less than a hundred thousand people and much less a history of being at the forefront of revolution. The fight generally turns into evolution by the time it reaches us.

    Although, another quirk about my city is that of the twleve acupuncturists here (including one actual Doctor of TCM), ten are women. Maybe this is a more feminine town since we don’t have any oppressive, phallic highrises…

    One should strive to achieve; not sit in bitter regret.

  7. That was a nice post,

    I read that one a while back. I don’t remember dabbing my eyes, but I wouldn’t be surprised; everything from Disney and Bronte to Star Trek and Weis gets me a bit misty.

    I would never ignore institutionalized oppression, I just feel that there are better ways of dealing with it.

  8. Thanks, Rachel

    Anecdotally, it does seem that many of the CA clinics that are doing fabulously — I mean, absolutely cranking– have men involved.  I have also noticed that when I hear about an acupuncturist who has a good rapport with their local MDs, the LAc is usually male.  

    Again, this is all just here say, not scientific at all.  I would love for the 2010 CAN survey to include gender.

  9. My 2 cents here, if it helps to fill in the picture.

    I think the marriage/partner thing contributing to a clinic’s success is more about intangible support rather than a second income.  When I made the switch, I was a newlywed, and my husband had lost his job, and he hadn’t had a decent job in a long time.  But I would say that his unconditional support of my decision to go CAN was an important factor in my success.  It helps to have a buddy.  Or buddies!

  10. Affable condescension

    is also a mode for the relatively priveleged; here I thought we were talking as peers.  And don’t act like condescending to me isn’t fighting.  I was actually trying to take you seriously.  If I want a dose of tongue-in-cheek assholery, I’ll take it from a pro, one who appears to actually know what intersectionality means:


    I’m wondering, even if intersectionality isn’t a “real” word (in Nanaimo?), does that mean that it doesn’t exist?  We don’t have a word for “qi” in English; does that mean qi doesn’t exist?  What counts as “real” for you?  Are your feelings and experiences more real than someone else’s?  If statistical evidence flatly contradicts your anecdotal experience, which is more true? 

    (By the way, I’m sure that it was a guest post by one of my patients that used that word.  My patients are often much smarter than I am, even if we in this area are “less evolved” than in yours.)

  11. And there we have it.

    I am officially done.

    Since being light hearted means you call me an asshole, I am finished. Here is my solemn pledge to never again commenton any post/blog not related to the practice of acupuncture.

    I’m not going to look for other posts about specific inequality to see if people with a different opinion are chased out.

    I am a member of CAN as an acupuncturist, not as an activist. The political debate is meaningless without first being a compassionate practiciioner, and that is all I really care about.

    So I say to all, have a good day and if you want to keep calling me an asshole and agreeing with each other that everything patriarchal and male is wrong it’s OK. That’s your opinion and you are free to it, I just won’t be around any longer to add fuel to the fire.

    PS. I apologise for not being able to watch the video you linked to, it’s unavailable outside of the US.

  12. Calling it as I see it

    “I checked out your website and decided that I should just surrender, it is worthless fighting against someone who uses words like “intersectionality” without doubting if it’s a real word!”

    Clayton, you are being an asshole.  A passive-aggressive one. Stop it.



    Circle Community Acupuncture

    San Francisco


  13. I think there’s definitely something going on…

    But I don’t know exactly what it is. It’s probably a lot of things.

    My impression about the profession in general is that it’s something like 70% female. (I’m vaguely remembering some survey…AAAOM? Keith?) My class at OCOM, back in 1994, had 30 women and I think one guy. Given that, it’s pretty noticeable to me that WCA has 8 acupunks, and 5 of them are men. Of the 10 CAN Board members, 6 are men. So at least in those places, the gender demographics are distinctly different from the rest of the profession. That has to mean something.

    I agree with everybody who said that partnerships seem to help: in the clinic, and outside of the clinic. But they don’t always help, as the partnerships that have gone down in flames demonstrate. It’s not always better for the business. 

    And in terms of CAN clinics in general, we are dealing with a pretty small sample size still.

    And I think for sure that there is a useful conversation to be had about sexism and business. Becoming self-employed, as a woman, was seriously the most empowering thing that has ever happened to me in my life. It was huge. And it would not have happened if I hadn’t had some experience with  feminism,  by which I mean, if I hadn’t had some ability to put my fears and doubts in a bigger context. As in being able to ask myself — so yes, this is scary, but how much of it is scary because you’re a girl, and you doubt yourself reflexively? How much of this is challenging because the way you need to be as a business owner is the opposite of the way you’ve been socialized to be as a woman? I was able to take apart some of my challenges so that they were not completely overwhelming, and without a background in feminism, I think I might have ended up completely overwhelmed. If I ended up completely overwhelmed, I would not at this moment have thirteen employees. So I’ve got to think that male acupunks, who don’t have to deal with that particular species of difficulty, have an inherent advantage. 

    Also, Lupine and I have spent a ton of time over the years talking about the friction we feel between being who we are at work and being women. There’s another whole conversation about niceness, and being accommodating, and what it’s like to be a female leader, how that’s different from being a male leader, what power is when you’re a woman, what responsibility is when you’re a woman — it goes on and on and on. I can think of all kinds of reasons that success as a female business owner and an acupuncturist could be complicated.

    And does community acupuncture appeal disproportionately to men in the first place? And if so, why?

  14. blinded by science

    How come when women want to play with the big boys’ tools of science, the big boys panic and grab their nuts?

    It’s science. Ask a question. Gather data. Find out what’s going on. But don’t shut it down and act like it’s an unworthy issue or that those who want to gather the data are bitter and unenlightened before the data has even been gathered.

    That’s the biggest act of privilege and most offensive way to ignore structural privilege: deny the legitimacy of those who ask the questions and want to use science to find the answer–especially when the askers are from historically marginalized groups. It’s the biggest bamboozle of modernity: keep science out of the hands of marginalized classes.

  15. About a month or two back I

    About a month or two back I was wondering if “something were going on” here, and if so what and why; then around that time Skip said something about how in order to have a busy clinic, you can’t spend too much time (outside the clinic) on interpersonal relationships, or interpersonal processing, or something like that.  I can’t find now where he said it, and I may be misremembering what he was getting at; but that felt like a big clue, since it felt like advice that was totally contrary to a lot of feminine socialization.  Could you nudge him, Lisa, and get him to weigh in when he gets a chance?  I’d love to hear Lupine’s thoughts about this too. 

    And the data would be good too; I’m emailing Ann about the next LOC clinic surveys and I’ll ask her.

  16. we all believe in something

    “I am a member of CAN as an acupuncturist, not as an activist.”

    we all function within a particular society / culture and a political system, not in a vaccum. we all have values – what you believe and the social message you send
    out with your work matters, whether you care about “politics” of
    acupuncture or not. if you haven’t noticed, CAN mission is challenging the conventional acupuncture culture, because conventional acupuncture culture is inherently classist. embracing this practice model and breaking down class barriers that limit acupuncture access is activism. we can make an impact on
    health, which means the lives of real individuals, many of them. embracing this role and taking responsibility for it is activism.

    we talk about social justice here, because community is more important that acupuncture and in order to understand (and demonstrate compassion towards) your community you have to understand opression and suffering. nora was challenging you to dig deeper than your own backyard. you’re missing out, buddy.


  17. Assertiveness is key, I think. Assertiveness + focus = Drive

     Boy this is a complicated subject. 

    I’ll say that of the clinics I’ve seen the most successful owners have a certain Drive. They know what they want and they can continually focus on getting it. There isn’t much processing of what they may want as they already have a vision.

    But life is complicated and for all of us there’s much more to our lives than just owning a damn clinic, big or little. But what I see is that for a number of us, those outside of the clinic things are actually more important than the clinic to a degree that the Focus and very possibly the original Assertiveness to start a clinic are compromised and the clinic either fails or does less than it could. I would go so far to say that most people in Acupuncture schools are not Driven enough to have a successful clinic regardless of how poorly or well they are taught. The students (who become practitioners) are too busy processing themselves so they cripple their chances of being successful. They like the Nurturing aspect of Acupuncture but don’t have that Assertive aspect to turn instinct into practice. And, yes, there seem to be more girls than boys in Acu-schools.

    But getting back to the male/female thing, it is interesting to think of it after just running a workshop in St Paul where girls greatly outnumbered the guys (that’s usual) but also we had two particularly dynamic and assertive girls there, the most assertive participants at that workshop: Kerri Casey who is as sharp as anyone anywhere on CAN at deciding her direction and meeting it and her clinic is balls to the wall busy and Jade Fang, who just started her clinic is already seeing 90 people. So those are two women who are the equal of any men here in making a successful clinic. But are they more the exception that proves the rule that men have the Assertion thing down better and so have more successful clinics and thus are more likely to do things like get picked for the CAN Bored? 

    You want my gut answer? I think there’s a very slight tendency to favor men in this. But very slight and I realize that I am saying that a) as a man and b) without doing or seeing anything close to a definitive study on the subject. (And as a man at WCA who is the nurturer in the troika with Lisa and Lupine.) I do see men as slightly more likely to cut to the chase, though of course that chase might be the wrong path.

    So yes, too much processing and talking about things bogs a clinic down. Clinics where the partners talk to much about the fundamental tenants of the clinic don;t do so well.  

    Okay. As a guy I have been taught to go after what I want. I don’t think girls are brought up that way. There’s more obliqueness to girl upbringing, more deferring. The line for girls to get what they want is not so straight as for guys and that can lead to difficulties in leadership, like in running a clinic or starting organizations that define the profession. Maybe it comes down to physical power: guys have that over girls and that has huge and subtle ramifications in human society, including CAN.




    -Skip ———————–

    Mal: Well look at this. Seems we got here just in the nick of time! What does that make us?

    Zoë: Big damn heroes, sir.

    Mal: Ain’t we just.

  18. men are socialized

    to go after what they want without apology and without checking in (repeatedly) with everybody else to make sure that what they want is OK, is not too much, is not inconvenient to anybody else, is not going to make them unattractive or unlikable, etc.  Stands to reason that would be good for business.

  19. Another theory

    Yes, I think it’s true that many of the traits which have been socialized into men are traits which help make a business thrive.  

    But I also think that as acupuncture becomes increasingly “legitimate” and associated with Western medicine, men are going to benefit more because they are seen as the authorities in the “hard” sciences.

    Of course, even the drive issue doesn’t exist in a vacuum– these male traits help people succeed in business because we live in a male-dominated world where drive and aggression is valued.  Which is waaaay too big an issue to tackle here.

  20. This is helpful

    “As in being able to ask myself — so yes, this is scary, but how much of it is scary because you’re a girl, and you doubt yourself reflexively? How much of this is challenging because the way you need to be as a business owner is the opposite of the way you’ve been socialized to be as a woman?”

    I’m going to make sure to ask myself these questions– a lot!

  21. good, I’m glad!

    And I’m glad you brought this up. It’s not like male clinic owners don’t struggle, I know they do. But if you’re a girl, I think it’s really worth examining your conditioning. Doing that set me free in lots of ways.

    This is also why spending time with women who are interested in investigating how power works, especially personal power, is incredibly helpful. My relationship with Lupine has been fundamental in terms of WCA’s success. Watching another woman who is serious about success tackling her own socialization can give you a lot of perspective, not to mention support, if you’re friends.

  22. and because they’re stronger

    they’re perceived as more authoritative, smarter, more rational, better at science and other ways to master the universe, etc. Not to mention that, until relatively recently in America, and still in many other places, we were/are considered their property. Sexism: the subconscious depth charge…there’s a whole other loaded discussion about fear of male violence.

    (Skip added: because men are stronger they’re more direct. They just do it: open the clinic! Get the patients! Go! Women are socialized to talk more than do.)

  23. women only

    oakland acupuncture project is owned by two women. their numbers are awesome (last checked about 150/wk and rising – whitney, is that right?) and they grew quickly. i think i agree that it remains to be seen how this evolves and the sample is still too small.

    i also think that CA practice model attracts more men because you talk less and do more – guys are often not as comfortable with verbal processing and CA is probably just a better emotional fit for more men.


  24. I am open to being wrong…

    I would still like the data.  We (rightly) criticize the acupuncture schools for not being upfront about the difficulty of making a living as an acupuncturist.  I’m assuming that part of the reason for the CAN survey is to answer the question, “Can I make a living as a community acupuncturist?”  If the answer is, “Yes– but it’s harder if you’re female”, that would be good information to have.  Other info that it might be helpful to document:– Area of the country (some places just seem more receptive to acupuncture than others)– Did the acupunk have prior business experience– How long has the acupunk lived in/been involved with the community

  25. I have a lot to say about this..

    but only limited time right now.  Our current numbers are between 130-160 and should grow since we just added another shift.  I definitely went in driven and confident which is key no matter who you are.

    An interesting parallel for me is the work I was doing before acupuncture.  I was a chef.  A profession dominated by men but  yet the act/chore of cooking is often viewed as a woman’s work.  Similar in many ways to the fact that acupuncture schools, continuing ed classes, the profession itself is actually flooded with women.  But many who are visible and powerful within the profession are male. Hmmm?

    I rely daily on my experiences working in food sevice.  I can treat 6 people an hour and ensure that everyone comes out “delicious”.  The days when all the burners are full are my favorite.

    I had not really considered other values of working so long in a male dominated profession.  Confidence again is the big one and I think frequently a downfall for women acupuncturists, or chefs, or mechanics, etc.  A big generalization but men are encouraged and rewarded for being confident, even cocky.  Women, in many ways, have to navigate confidence (if they are lucky enough to have it) a little more carefully.  Cofident cocky women are easy targets for being written off as bossy or bitchy.  It takes confidence to be a bossy bitch and not apologize for it.  



  26. Agreed!

    All really good questions.  It gets complicated, huh?

    It looks like I might take over the LOC survey from Ann next year, so I’ll probably keep some notes about this stuff and may fish again (in advance of sending it out) for other questions people want answers to.  They might not all get answered, of course, and we want the survey to be short enough that people actually answer it, but…kudos to her (and Lumiel, and Skip, earlier on) for doing various kinds of data collection about what we’re doing here.  Lots of work, and very valuable.  

  27. Oh hell yes.

    This: “Women, in many ways, have to navigate confidence (if they are lucky
    enough to have it) a little more carefully.  Cofident cocky women are
    easy targets for being written off as bossy or bitchy.  It takes
    confidence to be a bossy bitch and not apologize for it.”  This is really tricky shit.  Even when I feel relatively justified in being a bitch (um, see below), another part of me *frets* about it afterwards, sometimes for DAYS – and that also kind of pisses me off.  Lots of emotional energy that could be spent elsewise; the navigating Whitney mentions takes energy too…all that landmine avoidance. 

    (By the way, Whitney, I love when the burners are all going too!  That’s my new favorite metaphor!!)

    Okay I’m going to add one more bit of anecdotal evidence.  A (female) professor friend of ours, L, was talking to my wife (also a professor) about how she came home exhausted one night after a student cried to her for hours about his/her (mostly non-academic) problems in office hours; she said to her (adjunct prof) husband, how do you handle this kind of situation with your students?, and he said: *it doesn’t come up, they don’t come to me with that stuff.*  My wife said they come to her with it, and L said it happens to another female professor friend of hers too – who like my wife is butch and has a VERY different affect than, say, myself and L (I hope you’re still with me). 

    So, not only does L’s husband (who is a pretty gentle, nerdy, approachable dude) not have to worry about being called a bitch when he fails a student’s paper (nor about that translating to bad student evaluations), but he’s not in any way called upon to do the kind of *affective labor* that even tough women are (apparently) expected to do as a matter of course.  Again, I know this is totally anecdotal, but this does seem to be how privilege often works: it’s subtle, invisible, you don’t realize you’re on the receiving end of it because sometimes it’s about what you’re NOT getting (pushback from your students/patients, harrassed while you’re walking down the street for being in a female body, stopped by the cops for being a young man of color, etc.)

    I can’t help but wonder how this translates into things like treatment plans, and the kind of authority that a man saying “come in three times a week” has vs. a woman saying the same thing (to bring back in what you’re saying about authority, Lisa).  I *do* know I’m REALLY glad not to be 25, and have to contend with being seen as a whippersnapper as well (bless you young practitioners, that’s a tough one – though of course you have stronger knees).

    Long post! – hope some of it is helpful.

  28. Profiling ourselves and compensating as needed

    I wanted to share a few thoughts about balance. I think that, as business owners, we acupunks could do well to figure out where we each tend to hang out on the scale from pushover to pushy, and then compensate for that with either partners or advisers as we make critical business decisions. I agree that gender and the socialization that comes with it plays a big role, and that we are lucky if we can surround ourselves with a circle of advisers across the gender spectrum.
    In my experience as a female President of an engineering consulting firm – a very male-dominated industry – I found my gender expression, and the flexibility it represents, quite helpful. I discovered that I was most effective when I could tailor my level of aggressiveness or nurturing to the specific context.
    Some examples of adjusting aggressiveness to context: in hiring an employee, do we drive the absolute hardest bargain possible, offering the lowest salary the candidate will accept? For me, the answer is no. This context is a long-term relationship, and for me, the nurturing tendency has to be given some expression, while still attending to the questions of the clinic’s long-term financial viability.
    In negotiating a deal with the phone company, on the other hand, an entirely hard-ass approach is appropriate. Different context, different behavior. Whatever we can do to build our behavioral flexibility so we can competently handle these two negotiations for the best possible long-term results will pay off. In business, when the context called for real hard-ass behavior, I would sometimes just fake it. That totally works. And if we just can’t bring ourselves to step outside of our habitual place on the pushy/pushover spectrum, the best bet is to call in the troops – get support, advice, or straight-up “do it for me” from someone who has what it takes to be more nurturing or more aggressive.
    Negotiations are one place where aggressiveness comes into play. Risk-taking is another. I also think that this is a place to pay close attention to who we are, at core. We all have a certain level of tolerance for risk, some more conservative and others more aggressive. It can be really helpful to know our own habitual style, and then check that against the situation. Often, the best strategy is to honor our intrinsic level of risk-tolerance and stay kinda close to our comfort zone. An example would be deciding how much clinic space to rent. Being more aggressive is not necessarily the formula for success, especially if you end up a bleary-eyed insomniac mess because worry keeps you up at night. On the other hand, if you have a history of habitual conservatism that you have found limiting, check it and see if you’re ready to stretch a little and sweat it out.
    Taking a personal inventory of our habits – aggressiveness, passivity, risk-tolerance, etc – doesn’t take a whole lot of time, and I see it as really worth doing. The payoff is that, once we know ourselves in this way, we can choose to honor our time-tested strategies or we can stretch. It becomes a choice, not just a habit.

  29. The Alpha Female

    That’s what I’ve been called before.  And it wasn’t intended to be a compliment.  Growing up as a feminist (my mother was the prez of our local NOW organization and I remembering wearing a teeshirt back when I was in grammar school with a Ms. magazine logo — anybody remember Free To Be, You and Me?– on it and having various people ask if somebody in my family had M.S.), I always simply assumed that I could do whatever I wanted to (white, middle class privilege that went totally unchecked until I was much older).  I have had to temper my assertive self with attempts at being a “nice” girl in all sorts of jobs and careers that I’ve had, but as an acupuncturist, I can’t say that I spend much time thinking about gender – for once.  I definitely indentify as a “mom” and my personality is certainly that of a caretaker – I’m always making sure that my peeps are cozy and warm – but I don’t actively “gender” caretaker anymore.  Now this is coming from somebody who studied hardcore feminism and gender theory for 9 years in college and in grad school, so I really, really used to think about it.


    I’m hearing that this thread is asking more about the ‘success’ of CA practices and how that lines up with gender.  At BAP, we are three women in partnership and I must say that I find myself checking my alpha-female self at the door a little more often precisely bc I am in partnership with 2 other women.  I worry more about how assertively I am coming across when I am with them than when I am trying to do something businessy with men.  I think it’s bc I want to make sure that their voices are heard over mine (caretaking) vs. with men when i assume (rightly or wrongly) that they can stand up to me if they want.  I’m confident that we will be a very successful CA for lots of reasons, and I just don’t know how gender plays into that.  Hey, I just realized that ALL the East Bay CA clinics are all run entirely by women!  (remember, those two boys turned to the Dark Side…)


    hmmm… good stuff to ponder.


    Julia (the AlphaBitch is Back) in Berkeley

  30. Throw a few kids in the mix!

    “But what I see is that for a number of us, those outside of the clinic things are actually more important than the clinic to a degree that the Focus and very possibly the original Assertiveness to start a clinic are compromised and the clinic either fails or does less than it could.” 


    After a challenging week with children home sick from school three of the last five days and trying to sleep next to a feverish  six year old for two nights in a row, I got a good taste of loss of focus!


    My family culture is going through an amazing evolutionary leap as I have had to assert myself as an entrepreneur! My husband’s career is bankrolling my business and he is being called on more than ever to take on a more domestic role. The kids sometimes ask me to stay home with them and question me about my loyalty. During a meltdown Gabriel exclaimed, “Mommy, your new business in more important than ME!” 


    It is a challenging balance, that I am sure some of you are facing. So as we are on the subject of sex/gender, I wonder if fathers feel the loss of focus when it comes to their children’s needs, as much as I do as a mother?



  31. I would also like to add my two cents

    about the married vs. single.

     My business partners and I are all single.  Other CA or CA/hybrid practioners in this town are married.  Sometimes I wonder if we are actually busier because we have more time to be out in the community making connections and drawing them to our clinic.

    I have had some really busy days in clinic, and I have to say, coming home to no one who can just give me a hug and cup tea is getting a little disheartening. 

    That’s my tanget.  You can make fun of me if you want to.  Clayton or anyone else.


  32. yes

    I have a six year old entering first grade. Not sure if it’s the same loss of focus as a mother, but it’s definitely a factor. Throw some aging parents and an immigrant wife who is still learning how to navigate the American system – healthcare, schools, the English language, etc. into the mix, and balance becomes critical. 

     But I don’t see these as negatives, but positives mostly. Sure it takes more energy in some ways, but there’s also more richness. And isn’t this how it is for most people? My experience of living on the edge of chaos helps me relate to all the working people who struggle with that day in, day in, day out.

    In the end, all you can do is your best. It’s important to stay positive, and not let things beyond your control get you down. It has been really slow the last week, which is worrisome with a suddenly large payroll. Slow downs afford time for reflection, retooling, cleaning out the cobwebs, getting a new perspective, etc. 

    It doesn’t really matter what happens externally, it’s how you process it internally that counts in the long run.

  33. when I opened

    I was the only single CA in town and it showed in that I opened and operated on much less money than the others – the others had nicer places in higher rent areas and the extra visibility that it afforded.  I had more time, but less $ which sometimes left me more tired, stressed and too drained to be out there in the community.

  34. sorry for drifting off topic

    Thanks for the original post Emily and the reminder of the female gender discrimination which is still pervasive in our culture. Education is the only way to reverse that and your post, along with many of the thoughtful comments which followed, will help to that end.

    As to the success of businesses and how gender plays into that, as Skip and possibly others have pointed out, that’s a complex equation and the best answer I can honestly give right now is “I don’t know.”