What Janet Jackson Teaches Us About Work and Family

What Janet Jackson’s Latest Decision Teaches Us About Work and Family

(Image: iStock by Getty Images)

Janet Jackson is proof that it’s never too late to set career boundaries and start a family.

On Wednesday, the pop star posted a video message on Twitter announcing she will be postponing the second leg of her ‘Unbreakable’ world tour to start a family with her husband, businessman Wissam Al Mana.

Jackson, 49, said she’s been ordered by the doctors to rest up, but gave no details on whether she and her husband will be starting a family the traditional way or via other methods.

[Related: Janet Jackson’s 10 Biggest Hit Songs]

While her decision to hold off on touring is a major business move that will affect her staff, tour venues and other parties involved in the production process, Jackson’s decision teaches us the value of prioritizing work and family.

Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made an unprecedented move when he signed a law that will grant up to 12 weeks paid time off for new parents, as well as those who need to take care of an ill family member or handle the responsibility of someone being called to active military service. On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first city in the country to require employers to offer six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents.

While Jackson’s ability to take a break from her career to start a family differs from the average working woman who clocks into a work building every day, her bold move is one that teaches us the below lessons about setting boundaries in the workplace.

1. Self-care is important: “Please, if you can try and understand that it’s important that I do this now. I have to rest up, doctor’s orders,” said Jackson in her video. While balancing the demands of work and family can easily take a toll on your health, prioritizing your personal health needs can help you to be more effective in the workplace and at home.

2. Negotiate your benefits: Jackson’s firm approach to postponing her tour is one that can be translated into the everyday working world. When accepting a job, be sure to ask details about your employee benefits package. If the package does not suit your desired lifestyle, inquire about negotiating some of the terms. If the company offers very few paid family leave days, ask about more telecommuting options so you can work from home and still be with your family.

3. Communicate: Communication is very important when setting boundaries in the workplace. While sending a video message to your boss via Twitter certainly won’t work in the workplace, a simple conversation with your boss and team about your workload, health issues, family demands, etc., can be just the conversation you need to prioritize the tasks on your plate.