It is not new news when I speak about women leaving their corporate careers and starting their own businesses. Honestly, who can blame them? The glass ceiling is still in place. The economy isn’t great yet, but the stock market is breaking all records. Our male counterparts are still making more money than we are for the same positions. Our numbers on boards and in top leadership positions has moved only slightly. And still there is virtually no maternity/paternity leave in the US compared to other countries.
I could beat you over the head with statistics. You can Google any of these issues to find out for yourself. Nevertheless, I want to share a more personal resource for this post. Be prepared, I might just to shake things up.
A woman client of mine worked at a real estate office. In 2008, the bottom of her world fell out…along with the rest of the U.S. and global economy. All of her retirement was lost, her job disappeared with her employer’s bankruptcy. Trying to draw unemployment she told me was like trying to pull teeth without any numbing medicine. My client eventually lost her home, her car, and had to sell many of her possessions to make ends meet. Having all these tragedies happen are bad enough, but to have it happen in your fifties magnified her burdens.
However, as devastating as all this was for my client, she was forced to re-evaluate her working life and make a dramatic life-changing decision. She was stuck in the muddle, frozen like a dear in headlights, not knowing the answer on her own. Would she go back to a 9 to 5 job? Or would she go out and launch her own business? That’s when our work together began. You guessed right, she went out on her own. Within 5 years she was not only recovered, but thriving.
Many women, especially women post 50, who have spent their working lives climbing the corporate ladder, are faced with the difficult choice of either leaving to start their own business or staying with their current employer and striving to be one of the exceptions, who breaks through the glass ceiling barrier. But really, if you are going to be a trailblazer wouldn’t you want it to be on your own terms… in a career you adore, with people you enjoy and working for clients you love to serve?
The question is, with the Great Recession and the worldwide Occupy protests against corporate greed, fraud, and environmental destruction, will we soon see a shift? Will we collectively force the hand of Corporate America to recognize that transformation begins with visionary leaders who understand how to do good while doing well?
Some would say time will tell, but that view discounts the power we have to change our own future. Time may tell us what has worked, and what hasn’t.
Yet time doesn’t tell us everything. Time doesn’t have a voice. We do.
We can’t predict the future, but we can lead the way toward creating alternative futures that transform the world as we know it.
Whether you are a career professional or a new or seasoned entrepreneur, you cannot afford to ignore the opportunity we have right now to step up amid the chaos and lead the way to a greater future—not just for women, but for the world.
In the comments leave me the first step that you are making to claim your own voice and change things within the world under your stewardship?
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