Women are far from powerless these days—but that doesn’t mean they all want to shoot for the stars. Despite calls for women to “lean in” and shatter the glass ceiling, many women have goals that diverge from growing women’s empowerment movements. And though that may seem like a counter-feminist statement, don’t stop listening just yet. The truth is that women can have it all—professional work, life, and family—but the key is finding the blend of work and life that fits your individual situation—not feeling pressured to pursue one narrow path to the top.
Leaving the workforce because you believe that having a spouse who can pay the routine bills equals financial security is a risky proposition. Too many women have a narrow view of what it means to “work.” Today, there is much more out there than traditional full-time jobs. Most women don’t have the personal bandwidth to nurture a rigid career and children (or care for aging parents) at the same time. They need flexibility to blend work and caregiving.
Flexwork for Life
One of the greatest threats to the long-term financial security of women is a persistent belief that professional, paid work is limited to the traditional, more-than-full-time, sell-your-soul corporate job. Stay-at-home moms today often tell me they can’t possibly ever return to work when they have so many responsibilities at home. But the exciting new reality is that you don’t have to commute long distances or travel overnight, and you can find work that doesn’t upend your life.
The fact is that women can now work in purposeful moderation—avoiding both the all-encompassing, high-stress climb up the corporate ladder and a complete professional hiatus. You can be committed to full-time work that is flexible—and flexibility doesn’t mean a lack of time, effort or career growth. It means happier, more engaged employees. Caregivers can be present for their families and still make sure they’re not missing out on building important financial security along the way, without unnecessary guilt and stress.
Flexwork for Finances
Another reason that women need flexwork is because life doesn’t wait for you to be financially secure before a punch is thrown your way. And leaving the work force for even a short time can severely diminish your ability to save for the future, and all the potential curveballs therein. You can get a full-time income from a flexible job. And if you prefer fewer hours, permanent part-time work is also possible—as well as more independent consulting or freelance roles that allow you to set your own hours around your family needs. There are many ways to generate a consistent income to save for the future.
A regular paycheck is vital, since statistically, women save less than men. And it doesn’t take the highest spot on the corporate ladder to change those stats. Flexwork puts the power back into women’s hands, and isn’t that what feminism is all about – giving women the power and opportunities to better their own lives?
There has never been a better time for women to create their own definition of ambition and success and work in the way that fits and funds their lives. How are you making work fit your life?
For more information on flexwork and how to get it, read my book, Ambition Redefined.