Gini Dietrich

What the Opt-Out Generation Means Longer-Term

By: Gini Dietrich | August 12, 2013 | 
137

What the Opt-Out Generation Means Longer-TermBy Gini Dietrich

In yesterday’s The Three Things, Lindsay Bell-Wheeler linked to a¬†New York Times article about the opt-out generation of women who quit their careers to raise their families and work inside the home.

It made both of our blood boil. Hers because of the women they portrayed (upper-class, country club, 9,000 square foot homes, highly-educated) who have (or had) husbands who made a good enough living for them to “opt out” of the workforce yet maintain their style of living…and are now complaining because they have to move into a 2,500 square foot townhome because of a divorce.

You can read what she wrote in the blog post and in the comments…and get her riled up more.

I agree with all of those things and more.

A Personal Story

I hope my mom won’t mind my telling this story.

When I was 17, my parents split up. I have three younger brothers and a younger sister (I also have a half-brother, but he didn’t fit into this equation). My dad worked two jobs nearly my entire life and he was never home. When he was home, he was the disciplinarian.

My mom, on the other hand, was with us 24/7. She cooked, she cleaned, she made our clothes, she scheduled our activities, she did the shopping, she made us do our homework…she raised us.

She never worked outside of the home. Not until she got divorced. But, by then, she’d been out of the workforce nearly 20 years and didn’t have desirable skills to an employer.

She’s highly educated, highly intelligent, and extremely talented. And the workforce required she start all over. Those 20 years meant nothing on a resume. To the workforce, she was a brand new college graduate, but with baggage.

As well, when faced with divorce and custody of five children (well, four and a half as I was off to college on a full-ride academic scholarship), she didn’t have her own credit as all of the bills – the utilities, the car, the mortgage – were in my dad’s name.

And the best job she could get? She worked herself up to manager of a retail store a few blocks from our home so we could hang out there after school.

She worked herself nearly to death and it wasn’t enough. She couldn’t make ends meet. She was starting from scratch with lots of mouths to feed. Eventually my dad got custody of my siblings and he moved them to Michigan.

It nearly killed my mom. Literally.

Long-Term Investment in Your Career

I’m reading Lean In (more on that when I finish it) and one of the things Sheryl Sandberg talks about is to think about the long-term effects of the opt-out generation. What happens when you leave your job to raise your family.

The examples she uses aren’t unlike what my mom and some of my friends are going through now: A divorce, a spouse dies, a spouse is injured and can no longer work.

Lots of women decide to leave the workforce because their salaries barely cover childcare when they are born.

It makes sense, right? If your salary goes to childcare, what’s the point in working and being away from your kids, particularly before they go to school?

But what we don’t think about is the salary increases and bonuses we receive during those years. So your salary may barely cover childcare right now, but three years from now, you’ll be making more money. Perhaps you also receive bonuses or incentives. More money added to that. Suddenly the long-term investment in your career doesn’t look so bad.

Of course, none of us think anything bad will happen to us. We’re not going to get divorced. Our spouse isn’t going to get sick. Our spouse isn’t going to be hurt so badly he or she can’t work. That stuff happens to other people.

Opt-Out Generation: Invest in You

I’m not advocating everyone make the same choices I would make. I’m certainly not advocating everyone run out and find themselves jobs.

But what I am advocating is doing things that invest in you in the long-term. Not in your kids. Not in your spouse. In you.

Put some of the bills in your name, particularly the ones that are hard to get without any credit – the utilities, the insurance – and make sure your mortgage has both of your names on it.

Keep your skills fresh by working part-time, even if it’s from home. Technology offers an amazing opportunity for many of us to raise our families¬†and bring in a paycheck. As well, workplaces are becoming more flexible, giving both parents the opportunity to share responsibilities for sick kids or after school activities.

Find ways to keep your resume updated through volunteer activities that mean something to an employer.

This way, the opt-out generation has a way to opt back in. Maybe you’ll be lucky and never need it. Or maybe you’ll find yourself in need of something more when they kids go off to college. Or maybe something more drastic happens and you have no choice.

Whatever it happens to be, don’t lose the opportunity to invest in you.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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137 Comments on "What the Opt-Out Generation Means Longer-Term"

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Liz
2 years 8 months ago
I agree with this. And I did not see Lindsay’s post. But I did read the article earlier last week and had an interesting discussion on FB when I posted it. The piece didn’t make my blood boil; rather I was happy that the women portrayed in it were able to realize early that they needed to make some significant changes. Usually, that realization doesn’t come until much later, say when the kids leave the nest or a spouse divorces or gets sick. My generation of women didn’t opt out but opted in and had other issues to deal with… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Liz¬†“Be sure that you are taking as good care of yourself as you are of others.” Amen!

biggreenpen
2 years 8 months ago

I am glad you chimed in on this — don’t have time to comment at length right now.¬†I’m waiting to say anything (much) on Lean In until I’ve read it also. I think I need to bump it up the list. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

biggreenpen¬†Bump it up the list. My biggest takeaway from it is the criticism has come from people who clearly have not read it. They’re taking one piece of one chapter and extrapolating their own views without taking the time to read the book. It’s very, very good and I think every woman alive should read it.

biggreenpen
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†biggreenpen¬†I have heard a few reviews and read a few summaries of Lean In but this is definitely one of those books that it’s not wise to comment on without reading. Same goes for “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” – anything I had written or said about it before reading it would have been misguided, at best.

bdorman264
2 years 8 months ago
Options are always a good thing. My wife never really got in the work force because I snatched her up right out of college. Fortunately, things have worked out but I can only imagine how tough it would be for her if I had walked out or something happened to me…..I take that back, I’m worth about twice as much dead as I am alive so I’ve learned how to sleep with one eye open….:).¬† I came from a split home and it was some of my motivation to make sure I got it right when I got married. It’s… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

bdorman264¬†I have a very good friend from college who lost her husband in November. He was sick for two years and she had to amp up things at work big time to pay his hospital bills and keep a roof over the head of her four girls. We had a few fundraisers to help her out, but it wasn’t enough. It scares me to think this could happen to any of us.

HelenLevinson
2 years 8 months ago
This is really a great post and hits home for me. My parents came to this country from Jordan in 1969. They had me and two younger siblings. In 1980, my father, an electrionics engineer lost his job, and my mother was on maternity leave with my youngest sister. They couldn’t find work, and luckily they had savings stashed, but after that was depleted we ended up living off of food stamps and welfare for a long period of time.¬† Because of this, I started working at the age of 10. I picked up a job at a local drug… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

HelenLevinson¬†I’m with you – I appreciate the women who can stay at home. But it’s really scary – like you – to watch your friends go through things they never would have expected in a million years. A good friend of mine from college lost her husband in November. She has four kids. If she had depended solely on him, she would have been totally screwed. It has nothing to do with having it all and everything to do with having your own independence…just in case.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
2 years 8 months ago

Great post! I became the ‘go-to neighbourhood mommy’ for stay-at-home moms who wanted to get back into the workforce after 10+ years. ¬†And it’s tough. It’s also tough doing the high-flying corporate thing AND being a mother…I know this from experience. ¬†Everytime I see a well-known C-Suite-er saying she is ‘very organized’ that’s how she makes it work? ¬†I shrug my shoulders and think, ‘yeah, right.” Our society still denigrates woman’s work…as well, woman’s work.
And another point?  Have your own bank account.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

ElissaFreeman¬†I certainly don’t advocate every woman should have a corporate job and a family. But I agree with you – your own bank account is a must. I would kill myself if I had to ask Mr. D for money. It has nothing to do with how much I love him and everything to do with having my own independence.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†ElissaFreeman¬†Ah, neither do I. But I do feel that society as a whole values woman’s work in the workforce vs woman’s work at home. One SHOULDN’T have to have a corporate background to be considered successful. ¬†And yes, the notion of asking for money would kill me too!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

ElissaFreeman Did you read Lean In? I feel like you would like it. And we could have a really interesting conversation about it.

KristenDaukas
2 years 8 months ago
Oh man this is a hot button for me. I live around a lot of “those” people who have opted out and it makes no sense to me. Sure being home to raise your kids is great but like you said – you’re not really planning for “what if” very well are you? “I’ll never get divorced” I hear. And it’s happening around us right now in droves. It’s just the next logical phase of our lives. My husband plays cards with 6 guys and the last time they played, two more were in the process. That’s four out of… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

KristenDaukas¬†Four out of the six. That’s insane! I think your last point is very good. Your girls see you work hard and run a successful business. THAT says more to them than any kind of talk you could have about equality.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
2 years 8 months ago
KristenDaukas Since we are ‘roughly’ the same age I can say I see a lot of the same things.¬† My son has a friend whose mom just moved from the 8,000 SQF home into a very nice condo, but if it wasn’t for alimony she would be screwed because she hasn’t found anything that pays more than minimum wage. She is a smart woman, but never worked because she didn’t have to. I want my daughter to always know how to take care of herself. If one day she is a SAHM I am with it provided she makes an… Read more »
jacobvar
jacobvar
2 years 8 months ago
Good tips Gini.¬† When I was the one ‘working’ for a salary, we worked it out that almost all the bills were in my wife’s name while we split the stay-at-home between our 2 kids. She spent 8 years, me about 6, working out of the home when we did the stay-at-home-bit.¬† Her credit rating is better than mine now. Both of us have our separate careers going since the kids are in their teens and no longer need us 24/7. So two things we both did – invest in ourselves 1) By working out of the home even if… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

jacobvar¬†The credit rating is sooooo important. I think many people forget about that when they consider leaving the workforce. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it. But there are ways to do it – like you and your wife did – so it doesn’t harm one person entirely if something goes wrong.

wandawhitson
2 years 8 months ago
First me, then we…… ¬†We can’t care and help others if we are not taking care of ourselves! ¬†I had a stay at home mom who gave up who she was for her five children. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together, but like your mom she cooked, sewed, whatever was needed for us. ¬† It would have been such a powerful roll-model for me to have her get a part time job, to engage in the world and community.and be empowered. ¬†Maybe she would have left what was a terrible marriage if there had been more self-esteem, something… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

wandawhitson¬†I’m with you on the part about the marriage. I think my mom would have left much earlier, too. It would have been better on all of us if she had. I love my dad, but their marriage was not a good one.

KateFinley
2 years 8 months ago

I watched both of my parents work hard throughout my youth. My mom home schooled all five of us kids and always kept businesses on the side. She owned a local newspaper with a sizable circulation, ran for state office, and owned a retail store at one point. 
I’m always a little unsure of what to say when it comes to stay-at-home parents who stop working because that’s so not me. I think you hit the key point though: never stop investing in yourself. No matter how “good” you have it, things can change in an instant.
Also, your mom rocks!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

KateFinley¬†My mom DOES rock. She’s my best friend. Your mom rocks, too.

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago
BRAVO!!!! Brilliant. My mom stayed at home, very traditional marriage, small town, and frankly, she was miserable. I won’t get into the gory details, but I think had she had the chance to work she would have been so much happier. She’s a very talented, creative, smart woman. She has always been very supportive of me, but I think in some teeny tiny part of her, she resents what I’ve been able to accomplish. Meanwhile, my sister has a college degree, and stayed home to raise the kids. It wasn’t always easy, but her and her husband managed to find… Read more »
RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay One of my favourite quotes is Moltke the Elder- No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. None of us know what is coming, so think through some variables and have alternate possible plans.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay They were married for 28 years?! Wow.

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†Yes, 28 years – not sure if any of them were ever happy. ūüėČ Seriously. But they’re both really happy now, and I have two great “step-parents” in my life.

Gstockton
Gstockton
2 years 8 months ago
Great story Gini, I must read the source article, but wanted to say how much your story reminds me of what happened when I was growing up. We moved to the USA from England and about a year and a half after we arrived, my parents marriage dissolved. I was just short of 18. My Mum was a home maker for 23 years by then, and she too struggled to re-enter the workforce. She worked at Buffums and later worked in home care for the elderly before her struggles with alcohol and depression sent her packing back to Ireland where… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Gstockton It sounds like a bottle of wine and the two of us in a room would be very interesting conversation!

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 8 months ago
You know, I think what happened to your mom and other women like her sucks big time. There’s been a lot of talk about this (particularly in Canada; I’m not sure about the U.S.) and how we put a value on the work that stay-at-home parents do (cuz it isn’t just moms, even if they are the majority still). The discussion of this topic started long before this article reared its ugly head. When tax time comes, there’s no income to report, but there is certainly value. Anyone who reads your description of what your mother did in those years… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Karen_C_Wilson¬†You know, the hypocrisy you raise is really interesting. It’s kind of like that moron who thinks you can’t get pregnant if you were raped. Clearly he isn’t thinking about what that statement means to his wife, daughters, and granddaughters.

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†Ugh…yes.
And I should not have said that it’s just men who exhibit this hypocrisy. It’s women too. I’ve worked for them as well.
This is why working for myself is just ever so much better. :)

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Karen_C_Wilson¬†Yes, in some cases, women are worse. It’s really bad how poorly we treat one another.

mickeygomez
2 years 8 months ago
Two thoughts: first, I hope that workplaces begin to both value the skills of those who choose to stay at home to raise children AND even begin to offer options (on-site childcare, flexible hours, ability to work from home) to better allow people who would like to work part-time to keep their skills fresh. I know, some do. But not nearly enough, and one reason I hear a lot (as you mentioned) is the cost of child care. Second, I have several friends who are stay-at-home dads. I wonder if they will face the same challenges if and when they… Read more »
magriebler
magriebler
2 years 8 months ago

mickeygomez¬†I became a much better supervisor after I had children because I was more patient, more specific in my instructions and more invested in the success of my staff. (And you know I’m not saying you have to be a parent to be a good manager.) These are skills that employers should value. Not every skill of value in the workplace is developed on the job.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

magriebler¬†mickeygomez¬†I think this absolutely will be a problem for stay-at-home dads. Mr. D has been out of a job for three years. About 18 months ago, he began interviewing for jobs and kept hearing that he wasn’t eligible to be hired because he’d hadn’t been working for 18 months. Of course, he had been working doing political campaigns, but that didn’t translate to a “real” job. So he’s been incubating a business this year, which will launch before Thanksgiving. It’s the only way he’s able to work.

Lara Wellman
Lara Wellman
2 years 8 months ago
My very first financial planner specialized in working with women. ¬†She was passionate about making sure that women set themselves up for any eventuality, including divorce (she also often talked about the fact that many women outlive their spouses). ¬†I’ve always kept my own credit cards and bank accounts and I would say that the bills are split about 50/50 between my husband and I. ¬†It’s so important. As a mom of three kids who were born in under 3 years, the financial aspect of daycare for three kids wasn’t the only reason I stayed home. ¬†The idea of managing… Read more »
photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

Lara Wellman you have 3 under three and can still speak in complete sentences? Hats off to you for that alone!

Lara Wellman
Lara Wellman
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris¬†lol. ¬†Thankfully they aren’t all under 3 anymore. ¬†I’m not sure I COULD speak in complete sentences the first year the twins were born ūüėČ

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

Lara Wellman photo chris SEE! And, you are a fully functioning woman now; it gives me hope! LOL

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris Lara Wellman BAHAHAHA!!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago
Lara Wellman¬†September 2 is so close! I think one of the most interesting things Sandberg says in Lean In is creating equality at home first. If you have to manage a house, a family, and work full-time, it’s not going to work. When Mr. D and I started dating, I was so excited to have someone to cook for and clean for and do laundry. After all, I’d seen my mom do that for my dad my entire life. But it created an unequal balance in our home early in our marriage. It wasn’t until about two years ago, that… Read more »
Lara Wellman
Lara Wellman
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†So close. ¬†I can’t wait. ¬†I’m exceptionally lucky that my husband is so supportive of all that I do. ¬†Also, our house isn’t fit for guests most of the time ūüėČ

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Lara Wellman¬†My mom once said something really important to me: If you wash the windows on Mondays and they’re dirty by Tuesday, you have to be okay with knowing they’ll be clean again on Monday. If only for a day.

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich Lara Wellman My house is always a DISASTER!!! LOL

Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago
Beautiful post, Gini. I chose to stay home for 14 years, but out of love for my writing and the knowledge that one day I’d go back to work, I freelanced and taught at a community college and started a mural painting business. In that time I also finished my master’s degree. I still miss being home with my children (even though the youngest is 16). Divorce forced me into a big lifestyle change, too.¬† I’d add one point to your great advice to Invest in You. Surround yourself with other strong women. They inspire, comfort, encourage and kick you… Read more »
RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

Word Ninja¬†LOVE this! See- there is a way to do this masterfully, as you’ve shown. Even with all the random crap that life can fling at you.

Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd¬†Not sure “masterfully” was accomplished. Lots of bumps, bruises, and gashes. But scars are cool, right?

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

Word Ninja¬†RebeccaTodd¬†I have lots of scars too. It means we’ve lived. :)

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay¬†Word Ninja¬†RebeccaTodd¬†Scars are SO cool. I’m always a bit trepidatious of those that pretend they have none.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd belllindsay Word Ninja I have some serious bumps, bruises, and gashes that will turn into scars in about a month. Does that count?

Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich RebeccaTodd belllindsay They all count.

ClayMorgan
2 years 8 months ago

When my wife and I married, it was a first marriage for each of us. I was 41 and she was 38. 
That means we’d both established our own lives, our own career paths, our own credit, history of ownership/renting, etc., etc., etc.
I would love to be able to 100 percent support my wife so she can do whatever she chooses. However, there is great comfort in knowing that if something happened to me, she can not just stand on her own, but excel on her own.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

ClayMorgan We all know she wears the pants in your relationship. :-)

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this G. What came out of the original article to me was that this was about so much more than “just” a job- this was linked to self-esteem issues for may of these women, too. There can be a lot of pressure on women to feel that we really want to be wives and mothers first. We keep getting told that this is how we should feel, how we DO feel. And many people I know- men and women- DO live to be parents and partners. But this just isn’t true for everyone. When people try and fulfill… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd¬†I face this all the time – people want to know why we don’t have kids. What’s wrong with me? Why would I not be dying to have kids? Do I see us growing old without our own family? No. But I can’t have kids and I’m okay with not being able to have biological children. But that raises a whole TON of issues and concerns from friends and family. It’s kind of funny, actually. People.

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†RebeccaTodd¬†Exactly! The new bane of my existence is “why are you single?”

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

Yep, EVEN from guys I date! To which I want to respond ‘well douche bag because I’d rather be single than choose the best worst option from the assortment of poopheads like you that I’m faced with daily’

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago
But 80% of the people in the US will not be making more money over time to reduce the cost of childcare. Most do not get even cost of living increases. eople who make minimum wage have lost ground for decades. Someone who has a job that allows you to make more money than the pac of inflation is no different than someone who has the 9,000 sq ft home you described. That is 4 in 5 people.¬† The flip side is do you want people in the lower 80% who my guess is make $10-15 an hour maximum raising… Read more »
Kato42
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb¬†“The more offensive thing is the view it is the woman who should be staying home.”
YES. THIS.
The reason women get penalized for “opting out” is that it’s almost always women opting out. If more men were doing it than women, you can bet your ass society would reconfigure to allow it.
In
a similar vein: I haven’t read “lean in” yet because I have a sneaking
suspicion that the book’s going to piss me off. Although, that would
make a good blog post, so maybe I should ūüėČ

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

Kato42¬†Howie Goldfarb¬†Here is a random interesting note, but at the company I’m consulting for right now they have maternity leave for both men and women. Same amount, same benefits. Only 2% of the men take it and when surveyed it is because they are afraid it will be culturally looked down upon or hurt their future opportunity. Men face discrimination in this way too….

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino Kato42 Howie Goldfarb Facebook does that too, and the same results.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb¬†But here’s the thing: Even if you work at WalMart or McDonald’s or wherever, you give up the years you’ve invested in working when you stay at home. What if someone has worked up to store manager? Do you think they’re going to get hired back at that level if they take 10 years off to raise their kids?

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd¬†ginidietrich¬†belllindsay¬† You must read this Doonesbury strip. One of my favorites. Even funnier is the teacher is a late 60’s divorcee feminist.

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

Howie Goldfarb¬†RebeccaTodd¬†ginidietrich¬†belllindsay¬†Heck yeah!!! I am totally in the market for a wife. Husband didn’t work out for me so well…

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd¬†Howie Goldfarb¬†“Try to get a pretty one. They never get traffic tickets.” LOL!! Now you know why the car insurance is in my name.

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich RebeccaTodd Howie Goldfarb Man I always get full tickets. I have a too-obvious issue with authority, I think.

susancellura
susancellura
2 years 8 months ago
I have been very blessed in my life. My parents, especially my dad, made sure I understood that I should always be able to provide for myself. As I began my career in the early 90s, the world was my oyster, so to speak. I worked hard, played hard, etc., just like any single twenty-something. In my early 30s, Mr. C and I got married, and we both had our careers, so the lifestyle didn’t necessarily change much. Once Emily came along, there was no doubt that she came first. Yet, hubby and I instinctively knew that I was going… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

susancellura¬†Read Lean In. I want to have a conversation with you about it. I’m making¬†eveypistorio¬†read it, too.

susancellura
susancellura
2 years 8 months ago

Will do.

lizreusswig
2 years 8 months ago
This subject raises so many thoughts and emotions for me that I think I’ll have to write my own post! The short response is though¬†this all boils down to choices…we all make them. ¬†Sometimes we make the right ones, sometimes wrong, sometimes we HAVE to choose the lesser of two evils, sometimes we are given easy choices…bottom line is each person (and this goes for the guys, too) walks their own path and unfortunately, there’s a whole lotta judgement being passed on other people’s paths these days. ¬† I agree with you¬†ginidietrich¬†– it’s important to retain a sense of self… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

lizreusswig¬†I have Lean In on the brain right now because I’m just finishing it, but one of the things she says is woman make up more than half the population. Can you imagine what would happen if we all worked together instead of against one another? We certainly could change a lot of these issues.

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich lizreusswig Yes, yes, yes!!!

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago
So so so so many comments inside…..ugh. Gini- I don’t know HOW that happened to your family and it makes me want to scoop you all up and hug you! WHERE was the alimony? The child SUPPORT? The RESPECT that she had been doing this her WHOLE LIFE, that you were all her WHOLE life?!?!?!¬† The fact that people continue to ask WOMEN, “are you going to keep your job?” the second she announces she’s pregnant, just proves how far we have to come in the equity battle. As long as people place judgement on ¬†a woman for staying home,… Read more »
TaraGeissinger
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris I wish I could “like” this comment a million times over! Awesome. Just awesome.

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

TaraGeissinger photo chris Thanks Tara!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago
photo chris¬†Well, there were other mitigating issues (it was a nasty, nasty divorce and my dad knew getting custody would kill her). So, while there was child support and alimony, it wasn’t enough. It never is. We assume we’ll still be taken care of, but as the NY Times article points out, the women they interviewed when from gigantic homes to town homes.¬† I have one more chapter to read of Lean In and then I’ll write a blog post about it, as a follow-up to this piece. It’s going to make some people mad, but I really believe it’s… Read more »
photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago
ginidietrich¬†photo chris¬† I still growl at the whole situation for you.¬† I know this stat well! I’m glad you brought it up here! ¬†My friends and I talk about it all the time. I complain to other moms I know, “I don’t know how to DO a play date. Why can’t kids just play?!?! I just don’t have time to sit and chat with another mom I barely know for two hours unless she wants to help me pick up the house, run the laundry and pull weeds (or veggies) from the garden or make a few meals in those… Read more »
belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris¬†ginidietrich¬†My poor son has grown up hearing variations of these his whole life “Ok, it’s adult time now!” “Go and play!” “You have to bored sometimes, you have to figure out how NOT to be bored!” – I’m no helicopter parent – and I’m not his “friend” – I’m his mom. He’s turned out pretty good (touch wood) so far. ūüėČ

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

belllindsay photo chris ginidietrich Perhaps our children can get a group rate in therapy together? LOL

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris¬†belllindsay¬†ginidietrich¬†Hah yup! How many times we heard “just go outside and PLAY!”

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

RebeccaTodd photo chris belllindsay My mom and I had this very conversation last night. We were always told to go outside and play. Even in the dead of winter.

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†RebeccaTodd¬†photo chris¬†belllindsay¬†LOL- if you could have seen my sitter’s face this past winter when I said- snow pants are here…they need to be out at least 20 minutes (3 and 6)…. a day! ¬†My so currently greets everything by whacking at it- outside is the only SAFE place for him to be! LOL

MRTraska
MRTraska
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris¬† Don’t bother with Lean IN — it’s nothing new a more than a little self-serving.¬† Better to reread The Feminine Mystique (at least Friedan was original).¬† Then again, I’m older than Sandberg and have already overdiscussed all that over the years, so I’m not as easily impressed.

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago
MRTraska¬†photo chris¬†I do feel like many of ¬†the things I’ve heard, through other’s comments, are things that have certainly been said and digested by many. And of course the Feminine Mystique was a wonderful, “eye-opener” and great place to start the conversation, but her feelings weren’t “original” just TALKING about them, investigating them, and publishing them were. ¬†What made the book sensational is that these things were finally, FINALLY being looked at and discussed in a public forum. I really do think it’s important that there is a continual voice on these subjects. Sandberg can offer a look at a… Read more »
ifdyperez
ifdyperez
2 years 8 months ago

PREACH IT, GIRL! This is about women making smart choices, especially investing in a “plan B” that can get you back up on your feet. And sadly, not many women think this way, and I don’t know why. Nothing in this life is guaranteed, and credit runs out quickly. Gosh, and I know women who are in this situation now. It makes me anxious for them.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

ifdyperez¬†It makes me anxious, too. My SIL just bought a house with her baby daddy (who we really like so it’s not as derogatory as that sounds) and I FREAKED out when she said she wasn’t on the mortgage. I made her change that immediately. No one is losing out on that on my watch!

MRTraska
MRTraska
2 years 8 months ago

ifdyperez¬†¬† Smart choices are the ones that are right for you now but won’t come back to bite you in the *** later … and it’s not always possible to know that, although some things are more likely than others to bite you later.¬† What IS certain is that it’s always better to have not just plan B but also plan C **AND** your own money, preferably a decent nest egg, before you take a big risk.¬† And if you don’t have that, either don’t take the risk or be prepared for subsequent unpleasantness.¬† Informed choices and trade-offs, right?

TaraGeissinger
2 years 8 months ago
So many amazing comments that I agree with, so I’ll just put it out there that I work for many reasons — one of which is to be a role model for my daughter. These are the life lessons that they simply don’t teach in school. It’s great to be a SAHM for a while, but be sure that you’re getting what YOU need in the long term. I think how Word Ninja set it up is ideal. Be home and present for your children when they need you, but keep in touch with your industry and your passion however… Read more »
Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago

TaraGeissinger¬†It worked for me, but it wouldn’t for everyone. Like everything, I believe it’s about balance. And I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else raising my children, at least while they were small. If anyone was going to screw them up, it was going to be me, dammit.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

TaraGeissinger¬†It’s like having a crisis plan for your business. It’s insurance. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do…boy, it sure is good to have it. I was thinking about how much I want to do Ride the Rockies next year and, if we have kids by then, how cool it would be for them to see their mom finish a ride like that. It IS all about being a role model and I think that is very, very cool of you to think about it that way.

TaraGeissinger
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†TaraGeissinger That’s exactly what it’s like! The whole “put your own oxygen mask on first” so that you can help others mentality. I think women in general lose themselves in Mommy Land and forget that if they aren’t taking care of themselves — and truly feeding their soul — that it could end very, very badly. It’s not all fairy tales.

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

TaraGeissinger¬†ginidietrich¬†I use the oxygen mask analogy A LOT! It’s so true.

sherrilynne
sherrilynne
2 years 8 months ago

Everything you say in this post makes perfect sense.¬† I agree with it all.¬† But I do despair that we are still having these conversations in 2013.¬† Back in the 70s they told us things were going to be different for women from now on…how wrong they were. I do hope things will be different for my Granddaughter.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

sherrilynne¬†If you haven’t read Lean In yet, you should. She says this exact thing. She thought her generation wouldn’t have to fight for equality because there was so much done on it in the 60s and 70s. Turns out, it’s just not the case. And that sucks.

sherrilynne
sherrilynne
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†sherrilynne I’ll put it on my reading list.

Rvirginia
Rvirginia
2 years 8 months ago
As a new mother, I’m currently grappling with this. My corporate job was not flexible with tele- or part-time work and it’s important to my husband and me that our child is raised right. So instead of searching for another job (and a daycare!) now that I have a newborn, I’m going to raise our baby. I had a great career and have made great money but I’ve seen companies have no loyalty to their employees so I don’t feel like I’m missing much that I can’t return to. As for doing something for myself, my husband is urging me… Read more »
photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago
Rvirginia¬†Congratulations! Both on the baby and on your decision- it’s a tough one for any family. As a “mommy” who stayed in the workforce (but who DOES have a more flexible schedule) I can tell you it IS hard. But, I can also tell you that there are amazing caregivers out there who you may one day find, when you are ready, ¬†will add a level of love, service and commitment to your family that you may not have thought possible. My daughter was in a kindercare part time that was literally next door to my workplace so when I… Read more »
Word Ninja
2 years 8 months ago

Rvirginia¬†Freelancing worked well for me while I was home with 1 then 2 then 3 kids, although I did it on a small scale among other pursuits. We lived below our means, and the money I made was used for special trips or things around the house. And man did those years raising kids fly by… But, yes, I also recommend that you freelance or go to school. You and your dreams and goals are important.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Word Ninja Rvirginia Not to mention adult conversation!

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†Word Ninja¬†Rvirginia¬†um….may I point out that having a job does not necessairly mean you get to have adult conversations?

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris Word Ninja Rvirginia HAHAHAHAHAH!!

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

Rvirginia¬†Congratulations on being a new mom! That’s exciting! I believe strongly in paying it forward. So, if I can help in any way should you decide to freelance or need help with class projects or anything, please let me know!

Rvirginia
Rvirginia
2 years 8 months ago

Thank you for your offer – I really appreciate that. And I’m so glad I found your blog. Really great pieces on here.

ryancox
2 years 8 months ago
I just read this¬†ginidietrich¬†and while I hate always agreeing with you (makes for less #ohsnaps kind of comments, I agree 100 percent. I have been living a modified-version of this for the past six years. I did not “plan” on having kids yet, but when I decided to step up and become a guardian of two of my nephews, I immediately had to juggle it. Luckily, my mom was the other guardian, so I wasn’t trying to do it solo.¬† I was faced with a decision though — invest in myself, or use what little free-time I had to do… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

ryancox¬†The best thing you can do for those friends is support them and help them understand how to invest in themselves. We need everyone to be supportive…not just other women.

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich ryancox I did not know that Ryan (nephews). Good work. The little men will be better for having you in their lives.

lmspreen
2 years 8 months ago

To leave a career and let yourself become less valuable, work-wise, is to court disaster. I hate to sound like we can’t trust anybody, but even if a loving partner fully intends to support us and the children we raise, life can intervene in the form of layoff, illness or death. I would never for a minute trust another human being to support me. Your advice is perfect. Stay in the game somehow. Your financial life may depend on it.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

lmspreen¬†I’m also a big believer in being in charge of your own destiny. Why let someone else do that for you?

LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago
I’ve tried to write like 800 blogs on women and how I think they road block themselves and their success and most of all their individual happiness, but each time I do it just ends up me ranting away and making no sense. So I love when other people write articles on this issue and I can go over and ‘not comment’ long monologues on their blogs. Tag you are it! Two times in one week too with Lindsay’s yesterday. This is great therapy for my angst on this topic.¬† Women are their own worst enemy for so many reasons,… Read more »
Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 8 months ago
LauraPetrolino¬†So well said. I have had several women (and one or two men) tell me that they are too selfish to have children – with the *expectation* that I (who wanted and now have a child) would berate them for their stance. I had this conversation with someone earlier today in fact. I really don’t think not wanting kids is selfish. I don’t think wanting kids is selfish. I have an only child and he probably will remain an only child and I definitely feel some parents of multiple children look down on me for that, but I don’t care.… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

Karen_C_Wilson¬†Karen, I’d like to give this comment a BIG GOLD STAR! Yes, agree with you on all counts! I have more to say on this issue, I’ll circle back later today!

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino¬†Aww, thanks! Can’t wait to hear more.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago
LauraPetrolino¬†At this “(I’m honestly not sure why I can’t write without using the inflections or made up accents I talk with, ¬†like really ‘de debil, necessary for my point? No, but OMG sometimes I can’t even deal with my own crazy…anyway moving on)” I spit wine at my computer! YOU OWE ME! I have a really good friend from high school. He is the only person I still have a really good relationship with from high school (in fact, you probably know who he is). When he and his wife separated earlier this year, *I* was the reason she kept… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago
ginidietrich¬†LauraPetrolino¬†Ugh, ugh! I hate that But also know that same story oh too well…I tend to have alot of guy friends (because they are less drama, and I have more similar interests with them) and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the “we can’t be friends anymore because my wife/girlfriend says I’m not allowed to see you’.¬† …and it makes me sad too. If only we supported each other, in our choices, in our priorities and helped each other reach where we wanted to be, but instead we rant oh so poetically and hypocritically about inequality. Guess… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†oh and apologies on the computer :-) It was all actually part of my catty female plan to limit your success!! Muahhahahaha! I’ve also simultaneously submitted an expose story to HuffPo reporting on how the only reason AD is thriving is because you pimp both¬†belllindsay¬†and¬†yvettepistorio¬†out as female escorts to all new clients. I mean obviously, that is the only reason a woman leader would be successful right?

belllindsay
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino¬†ginidietrich¬†I have a lot of guy friends too. Women suck sometimes. I don’t know why it happens.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino¬†belllindsay¬†yvettepistorio¬†Yes, you’re right. It’s the only way to be successful. Sleep your way to the top.

RebeccaTodd
2 years 8 months ago
ginidietrich¬†LauraPetrolino¬†belllindsay¬†yvettepistorio¬†Hah where do I start??? “De Debil” was amazeballs. I adore you Laura, maybe you should move up here and be my wife… Yes now that I am openly saying I’m not having kids, people get weird. As I said below, “Why are you single?” is now the most annoying question I receive far too often. Like it would not be a choice anyone would ever make, or there is something wrong with me (Someone did ask “does your vagina have teeth?” but that was quite funny). ¬†Then, what is worse, they feel they have to defend their choices to… Read more »
photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich¬†LauraPetrolino¬†belllindsay¬†yvettepistorio¬†….bra strap.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

photo chris Will you email me? I have a question for you. gdietrich at armentdietrich dot com.

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich photo chris yes, just did!

MRTraska
MRTraska
2 years 8 months ago

LauraPetrolino¬†ginidietrich¬† I have male friends (some for more than 35 years) and I have female friends, and I don’t get drama from any of them.¬† Then again, maybe I’m more careful about whom I call friends.¬† I sure don’t mean all those folks I know through Facebook and LinkedIn.¬† Those are contacts or colleagues, not friends.¬† I don’t confuse the two.

MRTraska
MRTraska
2 years 8 months ago
LauraPetrolino I agree on all points.¬† I’d also like to point out that not fitting into a mold also has its price.¬† I wouldn’t want to be anything other than what and who I am; I know who I am and what I’m worth, and I’m happy with that.¬† I tend to come at issues differently than most men but also differently than a lot of women.¬† I’m also not a girly-girl, but I like being a woman.¬† It shows, and I have no problem with that. Other people sometimes do have a problem with that, however.¬† Envy, resentment because… Read more »
AmyMccTobin
2 years 8 months ago
Can I just say “BRAVO” for reading the flippin book, Lean In. ¬†The number of women finding fault with Sandberg never having read the book infuriates me beyond belief, but that’s an entirely different blog post. ¬† You are right, right, right. ¬†You can ‘invest in yourself’ WHILE raising kids. ¬†ShellyKramer¬† described herself today as something along the lines of “one of the crazy ones juggling it all and loving every minute.” ¬†I loved that description – my house isn’t always clean, I’m not always the perfect mom NOR am I always the perfect professional, but I try my ass… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago
AmyMccTobin¬†I really loved the book. I have less than a chapter left to read and I think it’s one of the most important books of our generation. When I read the criticism now, it’s pretty clear they haven’t read the book. Most take the concept of “leaning in” and vilify Sandberg. It’s totally ridiculous. That idea makes up maybe half of a chapter of the entire book. Don’t worry. I have a blog post coming soon that is going to piss off a bunch of people because I read the book and I agree with 99 percent of it. I… Read more »
AmyMccTobin
2 years 8 months ago
ginidietrich¬†AmyMccTobin¬† Here’s the line that really hit a nerve with me, and I’m paraphrasing “the choice you make in a husband/partner is the most important career decision you make.” ¬†I WISH someone told me that when I was 20. And I can’t WAIT for your post. ¬†At first I was slightly annoyed when some of my female marketing pals wrote anti-Sandberg posts and confessed to not reading the book, not I am fuming at what appears to be a backlash BY WOMEN against her who have no idea what Lean In is really about. ¬†It’s not about being aggressive and… Read more »
TaraGeissinger
2 years 8 months ago

AmyMccTobin¬†ginidietrich Ohhh! That is a powerful thought — and I totally agree with it. Thankfully my husband is the best friend and partner I could ever imagine, but I never really thought about it in terms of being a career move. My brain is spinning. I think I have to read the book.

AmyMccTobin
2 years 8 months ago

TaraGeissinger AmyMccTobin ginidietrich Sandberg outlines that something like 19 of the top 20 female CEOs have long lasting marriages.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

AmyMccTobin¬†TaraGeissinger¬†It’s actually 18 – one is divorced and one has never married.

lmspreen
2 years 8 months ago

ginidietrich AmyMccTobin I loved Lean In and reviewed it here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/601602339

rdopping
rdopping
2 years 8 months ago
It’s really too bad that these books and topics need to be. We all could be focussing on so many other things but alas we must simply because we as a society still have so much to learn. Where are the men in all this with their egos, insecurities and macho bull? Not only do your suggestions make perfect sense but the guys who read this also need to see this from a hand perspective. SUPPORT your wife doesn’t ALWAYS mean financially. We may be better off, if more guys would get off their butts and figure out that there… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago

rdopping Amen, Ralph. Amen! I knew I liked you for a reason.

MRTraska
MRTraska
2 years 8 months ago
Well, now that we know Sheryl Sandberg is a twit who won’t pay her interns despite making millions, we certainly shouldn’t be listening to her, either — she’s just another one-percenter who Doesn’t Get It, i.e., she’s completely divorced from the reality that the rest of the world experiences.¬† One of the NYTimes commenters nailed it when she wrote that feminism was never about having it all: it was about having choices.¬† The corollary to having choices is making trade-offs.¬† There IS no having it all, no more so for women than for men. My mama was an architect who… Read more »
lmspreen
2 years 8 months ago

MRTraska¬†Your mom sounds like a hero, and you’ve made your own way. However, I don’t think SS can objectively be called a “twit” and I don’t think you can know whether she’s make tradeoffs. It doesn’t further the discussion.

ginidietrich
2 years 8 months ago
lmspreen¬†MRTraska¬†Have you been able to find anything that proves Sandberg knows about the unpaid interns? Everything I’ve seen says it was for the Lean In initiative, but she wasn’t aware. I’d be interested to know if that’s not the case. I read Lean In. I thought it was an excellent book. Not because of who she is or what opportunities she’s had many of us did not have, but because it furthers the discussion we need to have as a generation. A few things I loved about it: * Women make up more than half the world’s population, yet we’re… Read more »
ltcassociates
ltcassociates
2 years 8 months ago
Hi ginidietrich, it didn’t appear that any prior commenters brought up this angle, so I’ll address it (seeing as I’m the resident insurance guy around these parts). In your article you raise this point, “A divorce, a spouse dies, a spouse is injured and can no longer work” as 3 reasons why Opt-Out Women need to be prepared to burnish their resumes and jump back into the workforce, sometimes at a big disadvantage. While I can’t offer a direct solution for divorce, let’s not forget that Life Insurance and Disability Insurance (DI) are protection products designed to cushion life’s unexpected… Read more »
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