9 Lives for Women Blog

A Flexible Job that Sent a Daughter to College | May 19th, 2018

Amy Sheinberg began her career on Wall Street, at a time when the idea of working anything less than 60 hours a week was about as possible as flying your car to the moon. She was working in a predominantly male environment, so she fully expected that her first maternity leave would mark the end of her investment trader career. She was shocked when her boss called to offer her a three-day-a-week job—an arrangement the company accommodated for only two years.

At that “too good to be true” point, Amy took a seven-year hiatus from the workforce, eventually caring for a family of three children and a busy household. She always had the desire to work on a part-time basis, so her first foray back to work was a two-year stint in commericial real estate with a three-day-a-week schedule. She then launched an entrepreneurial venture selling children’s clothes—another way she could work and care for family at the same time.

Amy still was attracted to the intellectual stimulation of Wall Street, but she didn’t think there would ever be a flexible way to get back in to the investment world. Through Flexible Resources—a pioneer in helping women find flexible work—she was introduced to HTG Investment Advisors Inc., a small wealth management firm that advises individuals. Located in a suburban town, HTG has always drawn on the talents of local women—usually mothers—who want to work part time.

For many years Amy worked three days a week for HTG. She arranged her schedule during school hours—and avoided any babysitting fees by enrolling her youngest in a longer-day nursery school program. When her children were sick or snow closed the schools, she had an understanding boss who let her shift her office days.

As her three children and her responsibilities at HTG grew, Amy gradually took on more hours. Now as the firm’s full-time Operations Manager, she is using many of the skills she developed in her early Wall Street career. At this point Amy does feel that she has “had it all”: a satisfying job and the flexibility she has needed to support and nurture her family.

“This was my ambition,” she explains, “to enjoy life and family, expand my knowledge base, capitalize on my education, use my Wall Street training and make a meaningful contribution to an interesting firm. I was never interested in a hard-driving career or taking over the world.”

An added benefit of Amy’s work at HTG is knowing that her work supports the long-term financial security of many women—and men. Contrary to many misguided beliefs that flexible work does not add up to anything substantial, Amy’s own financial security has benefitted as well: when her oldest went off to college, savings from her part-time income paid 75% of the overall expense. She made contributions to the tuitions for her two other children, she has covered myriad household expenses and saved money for retirement—and always managed to run her household as well. 

Now in her thirteenth year at HTG, Amy has no plans to retire. “I learned from my work hiatus that lunches and tennis games are fun but not fulfilling forever. It’s very freeing to know that I can take care of myself and also partner with my husband to fund big life expenses. The traditional retirement age is nearing for me, but I see myself working in a flexible way for a very long time.”

Check out my book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead and order here.

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