Recently, we went out for dinner and drinks with two other couples. We're all in our late fifties, and most of us are at slightly different places in our careers; the executive is still going full throttle, two of us retired about three years ago, one guy retired and is now jumping back into a demanding position after some time off, one woman left an executive position years ago to raise her children and takes on big projects from time to time, and the other hasn't worked outside the home since becoming a mother (many years ago).
I don't remember what we were talking about, but I distinctly remember when the executive said, "Women have a tough time with careers because they have to deal with that "pull" once they become moms. We men just don't have to deal with that." I was taken aback by his words. So of course I asked some questions. I asked how he came to that conclusion. I asked if he'd always felt like he'd given his children and his family all of the attention they deserved. I asked if he ever felt guilty as he had to make decisions about his time that pit his career interests against his family's interests. I suggested that maybe society's expectations of women and men played a bigger role in his perception than any inert "pull". I told him I just didn't buy it.
It's worth noting that these people are not old-school, stuck in their ways, traditional types. In many ways, maybe even most ways, they're very progressive. And yet, this high-level exec appears to have drawn some pretty significant conclusions based on a data point of one; his wife. And I think it's worth noting that even though their kids are grown and gone, she still isn't pursuing a career, so I'm not exactly sure what "pull" prevents her from pursuing a career now.
This is why we continue to advocate for women staying in the workforce - even when it's easier to walk away. Until men truly understand what it takes to be part of a dual career couple and manage personal responsibilities as an equal partner, the women who pursue careers with as much commitment as men will continue to face perspectives that are faulty at best and down right troublesome and hindering at times.
If we want our daughters to have the same career opportunities as our sons, we have to do the hard work of creating an environment that enables that.
Submitted by Ray Blessman
As a guy looking to make a career change and a parent of 20-somethings, the topic of job search techniques regularly pops up around our dinner table. Well as regularly as is possible given that the kids aren't actually at the dinner table all that often anymore.
As I mentioned in a previous story, Maybe the Kids Can Help, I'm at a stage in my career where I can pause and look around before landing my next gig. I've spent most of my career (so far) working for an employment firm, so I'm very familiar with the idea that finding your next position is all about networking. I'm also aware that fundamental shifts are occuring that may cause "old style" networking activties to play less of a role in future job searches as online networking opportunities become more sophisticated. Some recent trends are outlined in a a Fast Company article called "This is how you'll look for a job in 2019".
With this in mind, I set out see just how far I could get in my own job search by focusing exclusively on online processes. Had I needed to move fast, I'd have integrated traditional networking activities up-front, but I've got the luxury of time, a strong resume, and years of executive-level experience, and I wanted to see how far all that would take me ... online. I figured I might even land a great position in the process.
I set out on my quest to find a great position by completing the following activties:
Step 1: Update resume
Step 2: Submit scores of resumes and applications via online processes
(i.e. via company web sites, job boards, and email aggregators)
Step 3: Relax and wait for the interview opportunities to roll in (or may just sift through the offers?)
It's been a few months, so this seems like a good time to report on the intial results which are listed as follows:
While job search techniques may be shifting, they haven't shifted that much. Not long ago I read that about 85% of jobs are landed via networking. I could imagine that rate may be even higher for an experienced professional looking for an executive-level position (like me). As I look for opportunities to add value by integrating economic data based on market factors into business decisions, it's clearly going to take live conversations for a company to truly understand how these skills will drive business results.
I also know that a lot of these online processes exist to simply process applicants identified via traditional networking processes and to protect companies legally as they hire. Maybe they'll offer more than this someday, but they're not there yet.
So while my online job search experiment was entertaining and informative, I expect to be talking with a lot of friends and former colleagues over the next weeks and months. I know I have a lot to offer and a burning desire to add value in significant ways. At the same time, I'm reminded that not everyone has my network and not everyone may be lucky enough to have a network like yours. That's why I believe each of us has an obligation to seek out people who need a helping hand; a link into a network that could change their lives. (More about this is in the story Key Takeaway.)
In the meantime, I'll continue to advise my kids; it's all about the networking.
Those who want to dig deeper into my story may be interested to know ...