In the new movie In Time, released last Friday, Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake live in a futuristic society where time is the only currency that matters. It is much more important than money. Apparently this movie should not be considered science fiction because according to a new survey from More Magazine, more professional women are choosing time over money.
More found that 43% of the women surveyed say they are less ambitious now than they were a decade ago. And only a quarter of the 500 women ages 35 to 60 say they’re working toward their next promotion. Two out of three women reported they would prefer to have more free time than a bigger paycheck, and two of five said they would be willing to accept less money for more flexibility. Being the boss is even less appealing to them: three out of four women in the survey — 73% — say they would not apply for their boss’ job. Almost two of five — 38% — report they don’t want to put up with the stress, office politics and responsibility that often go hand in hand with such positions. More Editor-in-Chief Lesley Jane Seymour says she’s hoping that the survey, conducted in June, is more a reflection of the stress and negativity of difficult economic times and not a permanent trend.
Polling Company Inc./Woman Trend surveyed women who had at least a college degree, were employed in a professional position and had at least a $60,000 annual income if single and $75,000 if married. This survey is interesting in light of the fact that Virginia Rometty was just named as the first female CEO of IBM this week and it was reported that if all females stay in their current positions then their will be a record number of women (18) running Fortune 500 companies in 2012. However, this survey shows that many women don’t want to deal with the work life balance struggle. Tiffany Willis told USA Today she spent years climbing up the corporate ladder working 70-hour weeks and just decided she didn’t want to do it anymore. “It’s not worth it. I had what I called my ‘heart-attack jobs,’ and I strongly believe they took years off my life,” Willis says. “I have been referred by people for other (management) positions, and I tell them no amount of money is worth it. I don’t care if they offered me a million dollars.”
In a post for Forbes today, Gene Mark commented on the work life struggle being just a hopeless battle for women:
“Children need their mommies. And most moms I know, whether they have a full time job or not, want to be there for their child. I know plenty of women who admit they struggle with this instinctual tug on their gut. Men don’t have this kind of instinctual tug. Let’s face it: unless there’s beer involved, men don’t have many instincts at all. We figure our wives will ultimately handle these things. And in many cases, they just do. Which puts a noticeable strain on a woman’s career. She can be earning twice what her husband earns but that’s still not enough. She’s also expected to be a good mom too (and a good daughter-in-law, and a good housekeeper and a good neighbor). And if she’s not “there” for her kids then she’s criticized. She can’t win.”
The study also found that women put very high value on workplace flexibility and that could help keep more women working but a third of the women surveyed felt that it could hurt their careers to ask for a flexible schedule. The survey found that only 15% say that household or child care responsibilities have held them back in their careers. Interestingly, while 62% of women with children say they would take more free time over more money, a larger number of single women — 68% — say they would. Yet, Willis, who is married with two children, said she expects the single women to be the ones who will go for the promotions more. So she seems to believe that for single women who don’t have children and a husband their time is less precious to them so they are happy to make career their main focus, but the results of the study clearly show that single women also value their time.
It really comes down to choices. It is wonderful if you would rather work less to spend time with your family but if you want to get that corner office, and there are most definitely women who do, it is okay to work as hard as possible and devote a lot of your time to do that. It is your time and you get to decide what to do with it.