In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are 7 things I’m thankful for in the realm of women, work and life.
- Options! Women no longer have a black-and-white choice of working a traditional full-time job or staying home. There’s a wonderful silver area filled with six different kinds of flexwork and an endless variety of entrepreneurial ventures, too.
- The whole shebang! Yes, you can have it all—even at the same time. You can nurture your professional persona at the same time that you nuture all generations of your family. Flexwork makes it possible to blend work and life.
- Greater authenticity! For a while there it felt like an edict for all women to “lean in” to the highest levels of business and government. Now lots of women (even those who seem to be scrambling up the corporate ladder) are becoming less afraid to admit that it’s not really what they want. It’s not taboo—and you’re not letting down the sisterhood—if you want to be true to yourself, pursue professional, lucrative, flexible work and “lean in-between”.
- More enlightened employers! Flexible work arrangements can now be found in some form at 80% of workplaces—in every industry and at companies of every shape and size. Even the employers you’d least expect—like big law firms that are now on a list of the 60 Best Law Firms for Women.
- Financial freedom! It doesn’t take a demanding, 60-hour-a-week, high six-figure job to achieve financial security. It does take earning, saving and investing at every age and life stage. When you consistently work, you consistently progress toward your long-term financial needs and goals. And a resume that is always current positions you well when life takes unexpected twists and turns.
- Allies from the male front! Men used to roll their eyes when women wanted flexwork—but now they want it, too. Millennials of both genders expect flexwork in an employment package. And those of other generations (like this man in Indiana) are getting the memo and becoming more empathetic about the fact that women have three big roles (a professional job, as well as caring for children and aging parents).
- A long runway! Work no longer has a hard stop at age 65. Today older and wiser workers are not only welcome—but often highly coveted—as the last of the Baby Boomers retire with their valued knowledge and expertise. Older workers are no longer being pushed out the door of corporations, and they also have all those flexwork options mentioned in #1. Today we can all work until we are (and our retirement accounts are) good and ready.
When it comes to women, work and life, let’s give thanks for a bounty of options and the freedom to define our own ambition and success!
What kind of flexwork is available today? Where do you find it? How do you prepare for it? And why should you always pursue it? The answers to all these questions are in my book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead.