I adored this book. Absolutely adored. I think Sheryl is a legitimate genius. Everything she said in this book was straight on. I would sit and read and shake my head from her writings because they were so true.
This particular paragraph especially resonated with me. It comes right after Sheryl explains that the job market is not a ladder, its a jungle gym. You are not staring at the butt of the person in front of you. You are on a jungle gym. Perhaps in one career you’re on the monkey bars. But you can still see who’s over there on the slide or the teeter totter. You can get to those places by making a lateral jump or maybe a step up or down. So, the paragraph. Basically her friend wants to start a new career in marketing but doesn’t want to jump down in her career.
“I have seen both men and women miss out on great opportunities by focusing too much on career levels… One of her clients was wiling to hire her in this new capacity but wanted her to start at the ground level. Since she could afford the temporary pay cut, I urged her to make the jump, but she decided against taking a job that put her ‘back four years.” … My argument was that if she was going to work for the next thirty years, what difference does going ‘back’ four years really make? If the other path made her happier and offered her a chance to learn new skills, that meant she was actually moving forward.” [emphasis mine]
I sent this paragraph to a friend of mine and she said, are you thinking of changing careers? Well no, of course not, I love my job but I think a lot of women who DON’T love their job think this way. Ahem, “I’ve been doing this awful job for 10 years, why would I go back (in pay or in status) in order to do something else?” But what if you LOVE that something else? Doesn’t that make a difference? As my friend reminded me, its hard to change careers when you’ve spent thousands of dollars in school loans getting to the one you’re at. Touche. However, Sheryl also says that a lot of women don’t come back to work after having kids because they aren’t rewarded by their careers. Its just a job. Not something they love. So then, you’re not only “back four years” you’re unemployed. Nothing against stay-at-home moms. But what if those moms had fulfilling careers first that they WANTED to go back to? Sheryl does acknowledge economic status which is always a big contributor to whether or not both parties in a relationship work or not. But she does talk about daycare. Some moms claim that they can’t go back to work because they have 3 kids and paying for daycare would basically cancel out their salary. Another paragraph to consider if you don’t mind.
“Child care is a huge expense, and it’s frustrating to work hard just to break even. But professional women need to measure the cost of child care against their future salary rather than their current salary… Other women have started to think of paying for child care as a way of investing in their families’ future. As the years go by, compensation often increases. Flexibility typically increases, too, as senior leaders often have more control over their hours and schedules.” [emphasis mine]
And isn’t that considered going “back four years?” Taking of time when you’re kids are waiting for school and then going back to your job? You’ve wasted four years that you could have been moving up and acquiring that flexible schedule you’ll need when they’re in school instead of starting back where you were when you were pregnant.
Anyway, I just loved this book. It’s amazing. And SUCH a conversation started with my female friends. Or male friends. Or my boyfriend. Who I’m going to encourage to be a stay-at-home dad if he ever forces me to have kids.