One of our corporate clients at Grace Papers, who piloted our program for his company, recently shared with me a story about the impact our programs had had on his wife’s career, and his capacity and confidence to get more involved in parenting. It was inspiring, so I want to share it with you. When I first met Rob [not his real name] he told with that his wife had just returned from parental leave after their second child, and had been offered a promotion which would be amazing for her career, and pre-babies, she would have jumped at in a heartbeat. BUT – yes, you probably know where I’m going with this – after they discussed it, they didn’t think they could manage it. Rob’s wife was about to turn down the biggest career opportunity that’s come her way.
Then he started to work through our program, and so did his wife.
And this changed their decision. Rob’s wife decided to take that promotion, and to support her, Rob negotiated flexibility with his employer to do a condensed week – 5 days over 4.
So what changed in their thinking over the course of doing the Grace Papers program? Well, a number of key things:
- Their confidence and and self-awareness of their values & strengths : it turned out that they BOTH ranked career ambition & independence quite highly as values.
- They consciously began to have authentic conversations about gendered expectations : their relationship had started off really equally – but since children, they’d slipped into very ‘gendered’ roles – like those their parents had performed. Rob would stay in full-time employment and his wife would sacrifice career for family. It turns out neither were okay with this and instead they made a conscious decision to be modern parents. They worked together to sort out a flexible arrangement that meant both Rob and his wife could continue to pursue their career goals, and have a family.
- They both gained a greater awareness of the long term wealth creation for their family unit that was likely to emerge if they focused on their POTENTIAL, not just their current salaries. Yes, they courageously talked about their current and future super balances. Because for new mothers, the data tells us that they tend to prioritise their partners’ careers at the cost of their own. Why? Well, with an average age gap of 4 years between them and their partner, (not to mention that gender pay gap of 19%) the men are usually earning more when heterosexual couples welcome their first baby. The short term financial decision is the only one they focus on.
- But think about it – if you return to work 3 days a week, and don’t have a plan to advance your career, including knowing how to not skip a pay rise while on maternity leave, the amount you are earning right before you have your first baby might just be as high as your salary gets.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. And we recognise it takes an investment in you both to get it right. Two people both pursuing career ambitions on a flexible basis are likely to end up in a much more secure financial position come retirement age, than a couple where only one member chases career goals.
I hope our programs are helping you create the family and career you want, and inspiring you to reach for your goals.