It is all about opportunities
We spent the last week with our kids and their friends talking about where they are in regards to their jobs, their interests, etc. Each one will take a different path but being happy and finding that balance between work and family rings clear.
If you have a child between let’s say 28-32 and you can afford to take a year off and return to the work place after that it can be done. Because of technology, communication has changed so you might be taking time off but you are still staying connected. Companies really wouldn’t care if someone had just taken a year off the grid if it was the right person for a job. It just isn’t relevant anymore. That is a really great thing. It is change in the right direction.
When I started in my career at Macy’s I had expectations to rise quickly and eventually run the place. I was terrible at politics and nobody ever taught me how to play that game. I was also told that women did not move as quickly as men so I left.
If there had been opportunities at Macy’s for me to achieve my goals equally to the men around me then I would have stayed. If there had been the opportunity for me to have flexibility when we had a family I would have stayed too.
I could have opted out to never return to work. That would have never worked for my head so I created something for myself where I owned my life, my hours, my business. The flexibility in companies did not exist when I got out of college. Perhaps that is why I am a huge fan of the entrepreneur. It is insanely hard but you own your life. It doesn’t always work according to plan but that is one of the risks you take.
Seeing the new maternity/paternity plans in companies roll out, seeing the conversation around gender equality in companies including equal pay, the idea that you can move quite seamlessly from one company to another as you continue to grow has become the norm and more companies are being thoughtful on how to create better cultures so people are happy and healthy is great to see. I am sure if it was more like this when I began my career, my trajectory would have been quite different. It is all about the opportunity.