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Women’s Liberation: Is having so many options really a good thing?

As I’ve worked with younger career clients over the years, I’ve noticed a theme, especially with my female clients. This may not be the most popular perspective but here it goes…

Women’s Liberation gave us a lot of great things, the right to vote, more equal pay (although still not perfectly equal as we know) and more career choices than ever. Did it also give us women the burden of being more confused than ever in our early years about what we’re going to do next? In my mid-20’s I remember feeling like (and having many friends who felt like) we were having an early life crisis. We got out of college and didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Not only did many of us not have a traditional, standard chosen career path like a doctor, lawyer, or a banker. We also weren’t sure what to do about getting married; if we even wanted to and if so, when we should do so. We weren’t sure if or when we wanted to have kids either. It was a burden placed on us I think by having so many options. Somehow, it seems like from my male clients, that guys don’t have as tough a time with this.

Now, I may be wrong, and granted my sample size is not scientific, but all of my younger male clients or prospects seem to have a much better sense of what they want to do. Were they encouraged or socialized to think about this much earlier on perhaps?

If they are somewhat confused, usually they are able to make their decision about what to do next much faster due to their skills, interests or college major. Again, this is a generalization, but I know especially from working with a recent female client, who’s a senior in college, that she feels overwhelmed by (not empowered by) the number of options she has in a career path. She hasn’t even hit that mid-life stage that my friends and I reached in our mid-20’s when we really freaked out about what to do next. The lines are blurred, the messages aren’t always clear, and I think there’s something comforting in knowing what you want to do next AND having there be more limited options.

Now I don’t want to go back to the 1930’s, not even close. Maybe, along with women’s lib, we should’ve thought more about how to effectively prepare our young female population to make decisions about their career, family life etc. In some cases instead of graduating from school empowered, they’re graduating completely freaked out and confused. I’d love to hear your comments on this in the comment box below.

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

P.S. If you’d like more help in your career transition, check out my upcoming Free Teleclass: 3 Keys to Transition into Your Dream Job.