The New Career Girl: Gen Y Women Redefine Success

Two weeks ago I asked you what your 10 year vision looked like. Last week I asked you to consider some awkward scenarios that apply to women at work. And you already know that I don’t believe in the traditional job search or the traditional career path method.

As I do research for my book project, I’ve realized that the lovely ladies of Generation Y are changing the workplace and the definition of success more than I realized.  Here are some facts to chew on:

  • 85% of Gen Y women plan on remaining in the workforce after having children.
  • Gen Y women love seeing other women at the top of their fields and would love to see a female president, but they don’t necessarily want to be the one leading it themselves.  Why? 69% of Gen Y women would sacrifice getting to the top of their field for work life balance.
  • The average Gen Y’er changes jobs 29 times in their lifetime and the average time in one job is 1.1 years.
  • Surveys show that women value reaching personal goals (63%) versus professional goals (23%).
  • In the Lifetime Television Women’s Pulse Poll, individuality, flexibility and, therefore, entrepreneurship was a common “ultimate career goal.”

Although I didn’t do extensive research on the career goals of Boomers or Gen X women, I imagine their career goals were much different.  Perhaps they were even much simpler in that the majority felt they had to pick between climbing the corporate ladder or being a family woman.

Gen Y women have the perspective that they can have it all: a great career, a family and personal satisfaction.  We believe that we can create our own version of the “American Dream” and we seek to mix passion into our work.  Goodbye Miss American Pie cookie cutter American Dream.

The few statistics I’ve presented here (along with the many others I’ve been reading about) make my mind run wild with questions and excitement about how women are changing the game.  We are re-creating the idyllic “successful career woman.”  Although she may wear power suits, the new “Ms. Career Girl” isn’t afraid to show her femininity while doing it.  She isn’t afraid to leave work early to attend to her child’s school play, and she most likely has an entrepreneurial venture in her pocket, even if she’s working full-time for someone else. A generation who has lived through Enron, September 11, a terrible real estate market and the tanking economy, isn’t about to leave their fate in the hands of someone else.

Although each Gen Y woman’s picture for success looks differently, statistics show that many of us seek to move to the top of our field while still being able to raise our kids and love what we do every day.  Yes, Mom and Grandma- work really can be fun! And yes- I really can be a good Mom AND hold a job.

It’s a tall order, but when I look around at my peers who are just starting to get a foothold on their careers, I know that the amazing women of my generation will “have it all.”

How Does The New “Ms. Career Girl” Change things?

  • How will companies adjust their policies to keep top performing family women at the top of their firm rather than starting their own businesses?
  • When you consider working for a company, do you think about how the company would respond to you having children?
  • Will there be less of a stigma for women who want to pursue the “partner track” and the “Mommy track”?
  • How can marketers best reach busy, educated and career driven mothers? How is this different than generations past?
  • Are you open about “wanting it all” or do you still shy away from admitting it to others?
  • As the do-it-all Mom becomes more common, how will this change the Dad’s role in the family?  How does it change dating and relationships?
  • How will male co-workers respond to working Moms having a flexible schedule?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  We really are changing the game ladies, how exciting!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.