Not Aiming for the C-Suite? Here’s What Ambitious Women Do Instead
by Kathryn Sollmann
March 26, 2019 .3 min read
A corner office or a prestigious job title doesn’t necessarily define an ambitious woman. What does define ambitious women is their ability to find lucrative, interesting, flexible work that fits and funds life today—and many years down the road.
Fortunately, in today’s world, an ambitious woman can have a successful career without selling her soul. “Work" is no longer defined in a traditional, narrow, more-than-full-time way. Now women have the freedom to nurture children and aging parents, as well as long-term financial security.
So, how can you develop your own brand of ambition and success as are you an ambitious woman?
Check out the six kinds of flexwork options that are becoming more and more common every day and could fit into your lifestyle:
Full-Time Work with Flex Hours
For many women, a “permanent", full-time position is desirable for access to the full range of employee benefits. Now you can have a flexible full-time job—in terms of schedule or work location. Working Mother magazine, for example, publishes an annual list of the “60 Best Law Firms for Women", touting many flex-work-arrangements.
An efficient way to keep your full-time salary and benefits and get some flexibility into your schedule is through a compressed workweek. This option is for those who regularly work forty hours—and “compress" all their hours into fewer days. The most common scenario is four ten-hour days and the fifth day off.
Permanent Part-Time Work
A part-time job is usually at least twenty hours a week, and this number can fit neatly into school hours. Part-time work was once a lot of lower-level, dead-end roles. But the FlexWork job board, for example, has seen a shift toward professional part-time jobs with titles like pediatrician, graphic designer, accountant, attorney, and finance director.
Telecommuters are most often “work-at-home" employees connected through mobile telecommunications technology to the employer’s office two to three days a week.
“Work from home" jobs are no longer only sketchy get-rich-quick schemes. Telecommuters have an array of professional job titles like case manager, territory sales manager, engineer, marketing manager, analyst, account executive, interpreter/translator, fundraising director, business development director, project manager, and software developer.
A job share reduces your hours—each partner usually works two days solo and one overlap day together. This arrangement can work very well if two people are already sharing responsibility for a certain job function or client and they have complementary skills.
Independent Contractor "Consulting" Work of Freelance Assignments
Consultants usually are looking to develop a practice with a certain area of expertise (e.g., a marketing consultancy). Freelancers are hired by the project and can be more narrowly involved with a company than consultants who more broadly advise departments or large, ongoing initiatives. Employers are migrating toward a flexible, on-demand labor model, and an estimated 50% of workers will be independent by 2030.
To fund a long retirement and all of life’s unexpected challenges, it makes dollars and sense for women to always work in some way. Whether women can “have it all" is an outdated debate. The question is now “how can women do it all for long-term financial security?" The answer is in the burgeoning world of flexible work.
Read more about the flexwork that’s right for you in Kathryn Sollmann’s book, Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead. A women’s work+life expert and frequent speaker, she has negotiated flexible full-time and part-time schedules with demanding employers, launched a variety of entrepreneurial ventures solo and with partners, established independent marketing and career coaching practices, worked in a home office as a telecommuter and generated a wide range of freelance projects—while managing a household, carpooling, attending school plays, tending to sudden health issues of aging parents, taking dogs to the vet and making yet another dinner.
I'm changing the narrative about women and work. Moving away from "can women have it all" and "lean in" mantras, I put work squarely in the context of long-term financial security and the ability to fund all of life's "you never knows." Today flexwork fits life—and I can help you find it.