What Keeps High-Achieving Women From Choosing Executive Positions. VI. Results: Themes One – Three
Summary of data collected: The interviews and surveys validated the assumption that the high-achieving women of the current generation do not see their career paths as climbing up a ladder. Instead of seeking titles, they seek successive accomplishments that are enjoyable to work on in one company or many.
However, the criteria for making career choices were not necessarily more “whole-life.” They do not leave their careers to take care of children though time flexibility is sometimes considered when making a job choice. In fact, a few said they served their children better by not staying home.
Also, although some say they would like to find more peace in their lives, they make their career choices primarily based on productive working conditions, i.e. new challenges, recognition for accomplishments, and having a visible impact on company operations. Their pleasure is focused on personal achievement and accomplishing things of value. When asked about factors that played into their career decisions, no one mentioned words like sacrifice, promoting others or company loyalty. Although they may experience fatigue from overworking and disillusionment with corporate traditions, their passion and energy for creating amazing and observable results does not seem to wane with age. They want more peace and balance in their lives…someday.
Unfortunately, satisfaction is a foreign and fleeting word. There seems to be an internal flame that needs constant stoking. If they feel they are not getting the recognition they deserve or that the work is becoming stale and boring, they begin their search for the next great thing. If the company is big enough, they find new jobs or promotions inside. If not, they bounce around from company to company. Golden handcuffs (high salaries and stock options) rarely keep them in positions, though they might stay long enough to feel financially secure enough to do what they really want to do, which is often to own their own business.
It is not important to have the skills required for a job when you accept a position or project. You can learn those. You just need to have the desire to do the job well.