When a woman takes a break from her career to be at home with her children or parents, the wage gap widens. Whether this decision is made with intention or out of extenuating circumstances, she’s signed an unspoken contract that says:
Once you step out of your career path, your position is not guaranteed when you return. And once you do return, you’ll start several paces back and you’ll need to adjust your career standards.
It’s maddening, especially when I think of my own journey.
I used to work as a high profile, high level executive who knew how to keep up the pace. I found a way to be ok with seeing my children only for brief snippets of time, missing birthdays, weekend trips, soccer games, homework, and the small everyday interactions that define a family. My husband and nanny covered brilliantly, and I told myself I was making a bigger impact on the world by focusing on my career.
Then suddenly, against my will, I was sidelined and given the privilege to see the world of stay-at-home moms. It was mind-blowing. I thought that I had cultivated a unique skill set working as an executive. Turns out the exact skills I’d used at work applied to being a mother: time management, goal setting, improvement plans, culture development, the list goes on. I’d thought managing a business was wildly different from managing a family — it’s not!
I met woman after woman who stepped out of the workforce to stay home — and woman after woman who’d signed this same unspoken contract. This is when it became crystal clear to me that there is a powerful and undervalued segment of the workforce: the nurturers, the women, the gatherers.
Women working to provide for their families face obstacles not just abroad, but also right here in our local communities.
Direct sales changes this pattern. It offers an opportunity to bypass the traditional standard of what a ‘good worker’ should look like, and instead allows you to create your own standards. It empowers women to be nurturers and gatherers while making a substantial income, and changing the world by starting local.
I choose direct sales as a vehicle to close that darn wage gap, to bust apart the myth that it is impossible to have a career and a family life, to challenge the way it’s always been done. To all my sisters trying to be there for their families and make an impact on the world, I’ve found a way to do both: bring your kids along for the journey! They can bounce around behind you on a conference call. You can set your own schedule that prioritizes doctor’s appointments and soccer games and Battle of the Books.
You can build a tribe of coworkers you respect and love you while working at something you honestly believe will leave the planet a little better after you’re gone. And you can do all this in the company of women who lift you up, who support you through success and failure, who encourage you to keep going.
What a workplace that is…and it’s out there! It’s changing people’s worlds, improving their confidence, strengthening their families, and elevating their quality of life. It’s the same impact our Artisan Partners experience, and it deserves the same amount of attention.
By starting locally, this work is changing the world. It is reshaping communities, evolving families, transforming lives. And it can do the same for you.