Social Work Career Outlook


• They have clarity about what is truly most important to them.

• They take a long-term view on their careers.

• They are willing to make trade-offs in the short term to achieve their long-term goals.

• They know their value.

• They aren’t afraid to ask for what they want.

• They leave if they aren’t thriving.

• They are willing to fail, adapt, and adjust.

• They are committed to continuous self-improvement.

Cruisers: Taking the Scenic Route

Social Work Career Outlook Photo Gallery

You’ll recognize the Cruisers. They work in Corporate America, big law firms, prestigious consulting companies, powerhouse financial services firms, and other large and mid-sized institutions. They bang their heads against the glass ceiling every day, and every day they do their best to lean in and lean in hard. But rather than let the corporate structure impede them, they harness it to meet their own goals and needs.

Karen Catlin is a classic Cruiser. She graduated from college with a degree in computer science and became a software engineer working for a Silicon Valley start-up. She was soon recruited to work for a more established company called Macromedia. There Karen quickly moved into a management position. Eventually she managed to rise to a vice presidency. When you look at Karen’s resume, it presents like a straight shot to senior management. You wouldn’t know that for nearly eleven years, Karen worked a reduced schedule to spend Fridays with her two children.

In a guest blog for Global Tech Women, Karen wrote about her experience:

I remember the day I told my boss that I was pregnant with my first child. We were having a one-on-one meeting, and my manager, Joe, presented me with an exciting opportunity: a promotion to director of quality assurance. There was a caveat: one of my main responsibilities would be to break up the department within three months, decentralizing the quality teams to report directly into the software development teams. It wasn’t going to be easy, and I’d have to trust that there would be more responsibility for me to pick up after reorganizing the department. I remember smiling, saying yes to the promotion, and then explaining that I was pregnant and wanted to work part-time when I returned after my maternity leave. His response? “Cool!”

With that promotion, I began a new phase of my career. I worked a reduced schedule (75%) for the next ten years, during which I had two children, learned how to be a parent in tandem with developing my leadership style, and grew my responsibilities. I was even promoted to vice president while working part-time.

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