Best Work From Home Careers

HOW DID SHE DO IT?

As exciting as the results from the survey are, the question is, of course, how did these trailblazers manage to integrate a pause into their careers? Interview fifty women and it isn’t obvious; interview 186 and survey 1,476 more and you begin to see patterns that have previously been hidden.

Taken together, my qualitative and quantitative research showed women who had paused weren’t failures they were career innovators.

Theirs were not the traditional stay-in-the-game, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, march-up-the-ladder careers we were told would ensure our success. Their careers zigged and zagged, paused and pivoted. The actions of these trailblazers reflected agility, grit, and clarity of purpose. Despite the narrative that says women who put their families first lack ambition, the paths these women took required hard work, tenacity, and resilience. While they may have been filled with self-doubt and anxiety about their unconventional courses of action, these pioneers blazed a self-defined route that enabled them to integrate their personal and professional goals.

Taken together, my qualitative and quantitative research showed women who had paused weren’t failures they were career innovators.

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However, blazing new territory when it comes to one’s career requires courage and much more. In my qualitative and quantitative research, I discovered that these trailblazers had a collection of personal traits that enabled them to break free from tradition and follow their own path. These innovators were imbued with an intrinsic motivation. Their choices and actions were driven by a very clear sense of who they were and what they wanted out of life.

Most of the women I spoke to thought they were the exception, that their path was unusual, that what they had done was unique. While it is true each woman’s trajectory was specific to her individual circumstances, together their innovative solutions reveal a set of blueprints for creating a non-linear career, one that can enable you to work, pause, and thrive.

The three Work PAUSE Thrive career innovators are as follows:

• Cruisers are those women who stayed in the paid workforce but who pulled back from the fast track by electing to work part-time or on a reduced schedule and then reengaged full-time when their children were older.

• Boomerangers are the women who left the paid workforce completely and then returned in full force to their previous industry and careers. In some cases, they even returned to their same companies and same jobs.

• Pivoters are the ones who stepped back, evaluated their personal goals and priorities, and then transitioned to new careers that were more in line with their skills, abilities, and interests. Some found new professions while others became entrepreneurs and/or social change agents.

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