Careers Working With Seniors

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER

Yeah, I know. No pressure. But choosing the right partner can make all of the difference when it comes to your career. We failed to ask respondents of our Women on the Rise survey about their partners, but boy did they tell us in the comments section.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMPANY FOR YOU

Want to make sure you can integrate kids and careers?

Ask these questions of your future employer (after you have received the offer, but before you commit to the job!).

• Do they have a diverse senior management?

• Do they have a diverse board?

• Do they have mothers in leadership?

• Do those mothers have spouses who work outside of the home?

• Do the male leaders have spouses who work outside of the home?

• Do they have a generous paid parental leave policy?

• Do women take their full maternity leave?

• Do men take paternity leave? For how long?

• Does the company offer sabbaticals? Do people take them?

• Does the company operate with a ROWE culture?

• Does their culture support flexible work hours?

• Do they offer part-time opportunities?

• Does needing flexibility curtail future advancement?

• Do mothers there feel supported?

• How many women leave after they have children?

• Do they have a “returnship” program for people who have paused their careers?

• Do they welcome back employees who have left in good standing?

• How is your future boss integrating work and life?

“My husband’s job was too demanding and I had to quit,” one wrote.

“When it came down to it, my husband’s career came first,” another shared.

“He was traveling all of the time and someone had to take care of the kids,” yet another told us.

And it wasn’t just the weight of his career that mattered; many of the women shared the reason their own careers stalled was because they married men who expected them to be responsible for all of the traditional duties of a housewife despite the fact that they too were working full-time. This “double bind” of being full-time at home and full-time at work means, as Arlie Hochschild wrote in her book The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home, that women suffer professionally and personally. In her book, she found that often women “privileged” their husband’s careers and well-being over their own needs. Many did this to keep their marriages from failing. Sadly, Arlie observed that many of these marriages failed anyway.

As one woman I interviewed told me, “I supported my husband while he went to graduate school. I supported him when he started his company. I supported him when he was too busy to take care of the house or the kids. I gave up my work to support him, but in the end, he had a great career and all I got was a divorce.”

On the flip side, the women who had chosen well had partners who shared the household and caregiving duties 50/50. I’m not just talking laundry; I mean who’s responsible for scheduling the dentist appointments, who’s following up on the kids’ vaccinations, who’s taking the dog to the vet. And it wasn’t just the day-to-day duties, these women had husbands who recognized that a career break was just that, a temporary professional pause in the overall course of a lifetime. These men assumed their wives would eventually return to the paid workforce and supported them when they did.

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