Monday, June 29, 2009

My Review: Womenomics

Womenomics, written by two high-powered female journalists, challenges women to decide what they want out of their careers, and out of the rest of their lives, and then to take the steps necessary to get as much of both as possible.

On the positive side, this book talks about how women's approach to work, as their approach to most other things, is different from men's and that companies are starting to find value in women's collaborative approach and to our ability to think with both sides of our brain unfettered by testosterone, the hormone of instant gratification and competition. The authors remind women, especially post-boomer women, that they are needed in the workforce and that as a needed commodity, they have bargaining power. Further, they quote studies showing that companie with more women managers are more profitable. They also point out that Generation X and Y males are less likely than their boomer dads to allow work to control their lives. Womenomics gives concrete ideas about how to achieve flexibility in your job, how to set limits so that off-time really is off, and how to be more efficient while at work (turn off your email alerts and only check and reply to email twice a day is one hint). The main positive I found in the book was that, unlike some "having it all" books, these authors realize that you can't be in two places at one time. It just isn't possible to be the person who jets around the country working 20 hr days on a regular basis, and be the person who puts your baby to bed every night. They accept that obtaining a sane schedule in some of these highly competitive career fields may require a cut in pay or turning down a promotion.

The book is aimed at women who, in my words, have careers, not jobs. The authors talk about the highly educated women and the examples that populate the book are attorneys, investment bankers, vice presidents and the like. I'm not in a position like that. I'm every bit as smart as the attorneys for whom I work, but I've chosen the sane hours a paralegal works over the weekends in the office required to meet attorney's billable hour quotas. To some extent, I guess you could say I've already negotiated my reduced hours for reduced pay by making that decision; but on the other hand, I find that a lot of the ideas in this book are more aimed at those who are at a higher level than most women are. Negotiating for flexible hours, working from home, or part-time work is a lot easier when replacing you is harder than calling the staffing agency and having them send three candidates out for interviews.

This was a very readable book with personal examples from the lives of the authors. If you are a woman who has a career rather than a job, and wants some ideas about how to gain more time for family or for other personal reasons, I think you will enjoy this book.

I'd like to thank FSB Associates for sending me a review copy of Womenomics.

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