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NEWS & IDEAS

5 Views on Job Flexibility

We began a conversation last month about whether or not “women can have it all.” Is it possible for a woman to achieve a balance between her career ambition and her ambitions at home without becoming an emotional pretzel? In this week’s MAKERS playlist, 5 MAKERS from fields ranging from politics to technology to law to advertising to entertainment share thoughts on workplace flexibility-- length of workday, work week, and family leave, as we continue to examine the modern working woman.
 
1) Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator New York
 
“I feel really lucky. I can set my schedule.”
 
Gillibrand revealed to MAKERS that she finds herself in a situation not available to most working parents – the ability to set her own schedule around her parental needs, which she considers a “luxury.”
 
2) Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
 
“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30, so I’m home for dinner at 6.”
 
Sandberg has publicly shared that she has one particular job mandate— that she make it home for dinner with her family. In order to maintain that schedule, she often must begin work at 5:30 am. But it appears to work for her.
 
3) Mae O’Malley, Founder and Managing Attorney, Paragon Legal
 
“Less than 20% of big law firm partners are women, and I think a lot of that is that you can’t raise kids and be a partner in a law firm.”
 
For O’Malley, a flexible work schedule was a non-negotiation. That was the arrangement she demanded in order to raise her kids. After working as virtual counsel for technology firms, which allowed her, like Gillibrand, to make her own schedule, O’Malley opened Paragon Legal in 2006 in order to provide the same alternative scheduling solutions to other legal professionals, many of which are also working mothers.
 
4) Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
 
“There are so many couples where they sort of alternate careers, where one is on the fast track and the other’s staying home, and then they alternate.”
 
Lazarus, who spent 40-plus years at Ogilvy & Mather, shared with MAKERS her thoughts on how the new generation of working women manage work and family by way of “episodic” work schedules, and suggests maintaining a work-life balance today may really be about balancing one’s work schedules with one’s partner
 
5) Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Filmmaker & Advocate
 
“Until our country addresses the fact that 70% of working women are working mothers or until we celebrate and encourage more men to play a larger role in parenting, which countries like Norway do, I think we aren’t going to make any progress.”
 
Lastly, Miss Representation director Siebel Newsom shares her opinion on how we handle family leave in this country.