DON’T JUST QUIT
Ask a hundred women why they left their careers and the vast majority will tell you their “So I quit” story. Here are a few I heard in writing this book:
I was on a United flight from New York City to San Francisco a few days before 9/11. I realized I could have been on that flight and decided being with my family was more important than a big career. So I quit.
I had to miss an event at my son’s school to go to a meeting. Nobody in my office would help me out. So I quit.
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Our nanny left and we couldn’t find a good replacement. So I quit.
I was traveling extensively and kept missing major milestones in my son’s life. His first word, his first step, his first trip to the zoo. So I quit.
My colleague lost his sixteen-year-old son in a car accident. That left an impression on me. I didn’t want to miss out on my baby’s life. So I quit.
My boss didn’t respect my work and then I discovered I was being paid significantly less than the men around me. So I quit.
When we got the results back from the Women on the Rise survey, I was astonished by the large number of women who reported they “just quit” their jobs and then “one thing led to another” and they found themselves becoming stay-at-home mothers, as if it happened almost by accident. All of these women had college degrees and many of them had at least one graduate degree they had put much time, money, and effort into building their careers and yet, they seemed to have lost their agency when it came to battling for the right to be both engaged mothers and professionals. It was as though they were running from, rather than toward, something.
I don’t judge them. How could I? I’m one of them Don’t make the same mistake we did. If you feel you have no other option, then create a plan that will allow you to incorporate an extended pause into your career. When ready, set about to implement that plan. Communicate your career plan with your boss, your mentors, and your professional network so they too can support your dreams. Be proactive and strategic about your pause, just as you would be about any other phase of your career. Whatever you do, don’t just quit.