Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn't Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead

Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn't Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead

by Kathryn Sollmann


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"This is the playbook for how to get flexibility in your career." - Molly Beck, author, Reach Out and founder of

"Critical advice for women when the traditional office job doesn't fit family life." - Meredith Bodgas, Editor-in-Chief, Working Mother magazine

"Sollmann advocates that we 'lean in' to what she aptly labels one's own personal measure of success, rather than a monolithic vision of the ideal career."— Whitney Johnson, critically-acclaimed author, Build an A Team and Disrupt Yourself, Thinkers50 Management Thinkers

Ambition Redefined is a timely alternative to current women's business books that define professional ambition and success as climbing the corporate ladder. In fact, this is not a path that all women want or should feel pressured to follow. Sollmann's focus is on the more critical and widespread workplace issue for everyday women — to always work in a way that fits their lives alongside their two major caregiving roles: for children and aging parents.

Sollmann debunks common assumptions such as:

IT'S NOT "WORTH IT" UNLESS THE SALARY IS HIGH. Women forfeit up to 4X their salaries every year out of the workforce to care for children and/or elderly parents—and it does not take a six-figure salary to achieve long-term financial security.

FINDING FLEXIBLE WORK IS IMPOSSIBLE. Sollmann shines a bright light on the ever-widening world of flexwork—where women can find many interesting and exciting ways to tuck all generations of their families into a future that is financially secure and safe. The book includes realistic, practical tools for preparing for and finding flexible work within a current job or a new opportunity.

IT WON'T HAPPEN TO ME. Divorce, death of a spouse, or unexpected financial support for aging parents are some of the life "you never knows" that all women could experience. Divorce, death of a spouse, caring for aging parents or adult children are some of the life "you never knows" that all women could experience. Sollmann encourages women to anticipate and buffer life surprises and she shows the profound impact of continual earning, saving, and investing toward a long and comfortable retirement.

WORK ENDS AT AGE 65. Women who leave the workforce and want to return in their forties, fifties or sixties will be in good company as the ranks of older workers rise. Over the next two decades, adults age 50 and over will have greater rates of workforce participation into their sixth and seventh decades.

Eye-opening and practical, the book shows that when we redefine ambition, we acknowledge that challenging, lucrative work can be found in many flexible ways that favor personal satisfaction over public applause.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473679092
Publisher: Mobius
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kathryn Sollmann is a recognized leader in helping women navigate the many stages of work and life. Through her blog and coaching firm, 9 Lives for Women, she is one of few voices strongly encouraging women to always work - at every age and life stage - to achieve long-term financial security. Her emphasis on women's financial independence has generated event-sponsorship funding from corporate wealth-management giants, including AXA Advisors, Fidelity, Raymond James, Cigna and Wells Fargo. With good humor, no-nonsense delivery and the ability to educate and motivate, Kathryn is a frequent speaker, and an inspirational voice for women in college to retirement years. A frequent media resource, her expertise has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, Cheddar TV, WCBS Radio, Yahoo! Finance, ForbesWomen, Next Avenue, Wharton Business Radio, CEO World Magazine, Entrepreneur, Quartz at Work, the American Management Association and more. Ambition Redefined has been called a "Business Book to Watch" by 800-CEO-READ.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xiii

Introduction Up Is Not the Only Way to Move Women Forward! xv

Part 1 Why You Should Always Work (in a flexible way)

Chapter 1 Pursue Your Own Definition of Professional Ambition 3

- My 109 Professional Lives 5

- It Sounded Like Gloria Steinem Told Me: "You Can Have It All" 7

- My Own Near-CEO Experience 13

- Find Happiness & Financial Security in Your Own "9 Lives" 18

- Give Yourself Permission to Hop Off the Career Ladder 21

- Break Free from the Power Sisterhood 23

Chapter 2 Ride the Roller Coaster with Wide-Open Eyes 26

- Don't Focus More on Today than Tomorrow 28

- Look Closely: There Are Rags Among the Riches 30

- Work at Every Age and Life Stage to Manage Life's Surprises 33

- Happily Married Until (Surprise!) You're Not 34

- No Job Comes with a Lifetime Guarantee 37

- Paying the Bills in Sickness and in Health 39

- Till Death Do Us Part 41

- Elderly Parents Might Need Your Time and Wallet, Too 42

- With Two Caregiving Roles, There's No Perfect Time to Work 46

- Adult Children Can Get Too Comfy in the Family Nest 48

- Burst the Bubble: "It Will Happen to Me" 49

Chapter 3 Age with Financial Power 51

- Face the Reality: A Man Is Not a Financial Plan 52

- You're Never 100% Covered: Plan for Big Healthcare and Eldercare Bills 55

- Independence Isn't Forever: Know the Skyrocketing Cost of Daily Eldercare 57

- There's No Magic Retirement Savings Number: Just Save More (and More) 60

- Don't Bank on Social Security or an Inheritance from Mom and Dad 62

- Is Retirement Out of Reach? Work Steadily (and Longer) 63

- Age Gracefully on Your Own Dime 64

- Realize You Can't Save What You Don't Earn 65

Chapter 4 Prioritize Ongoing Professional Work Over Paycheck Size 66

- Add Up Your Earning Years: Don't Miss Out on Your Own Social Security 67

- Avoid the Professional Cost of a Work Hiatus 68

- Consider Total Compensation 70

- Look Before You Leap or Jump Back In! 71

- Value a Professional Job with a Paycheck of Any Size 73

Chapter 5 Follow Your Own Path to Financial Security: It's Okay to Lean In-Between 77

- Draw on the Wisdom of the Everyday Sisterhood 82

Part 2 How to Find the Flexwork that Fits Your Life

Chapter 6 Explore the Big New World of Flexwork Freedom 107

- Savor the Full Menu of Professional Flexwork 112

- Shop Around for Your Best Flexwork Options 124

- Decide if a Home Office Would Be Your Heaven or Hell 127

- Smart Shortcuts to Flexible Jobs 130

- Beware the Entrepreneurial Option (Unless You Can Take on Caregiving Role No. 3) 132

- View Work as an Evolving Money-Making Activity, Not a Ball-and-Chain Career 137

Chapter 7 Don't Let the Cost of Childcare Keep You Out of the Workforce 140

- Warm Up to the Cost of Locking in Long-Term Financial Security 142

- Think Outside the Usual Sandbox 144

- Find Employers that Ease the Childcare Pain 147

- Join the Childcare Sharing Economy 150

- Stay on Top of Childcare Trends: Tap into the Growing Cottage Industry 152

Chapter 8 Break the Traditional "9 to 5" Mold 155

- Aim for a Healthy Work-Life Blend, Not Balance 155

- Snag Flexibility from Interview Square One 158

- Get the Ideal: Flexibility with Predictability 160

- Carve Out Flexibility that Works Both Ways 161

- Don't Give Up Too Soon 162

- Craft a Bulletproof Flexwork Proposal 164

Chapter 9 Target Small Employers that Have the Flexibility to Be Flexible 174

- Follow the 1 Million for Work Flexibility Movement 176

- Roll Up Your Sleeves: Find Smaller Companies with a True Flexwork Culture 177

- Exit Your Comfort Zone and Become a Networking Pro 178

- Get Your Foot in the Door of Family-Friendly Companies 182

- Interview Employers While They're Interviewing You (Know Who Is Just "Checking the Flexwork Box") 184

Chapter 10 Work Until You've Funded Your Future 188

- Be an Ageless Star in the Vibrant Older lob Market 188

- Aim High (The Oldest Workers Are the Highest Paid) 190

- Know Where Older Workers Are in Big Demand 191

- Make Confidence Your Age-Discrimination Foil 193

- Believe You're Always Young Enough to Return to Work, Too 195

- Take an Ounce of Prevention to Succeed in Any Flexwork Reinvention 197

- Don't Be an Age Snob: Be Open to Reverse Mentoring 200

- Enjoy the Long View: A New Flexwork Path Can Span Three Years or 30 201

Appendix Get Organized! Next Steps Toward Flexible Work 203

- Plan for Flexwork with 20/20 Vision 204

- Negotiate Family Buy-In Before You Run Back to Work 205

- Get All Your Professional Ducks Back in a Row 207

- Your Flexwork Roadmap: How to Develop a Strategic Plan 209

- Is It the Job Market or Is It You? Take the Flexwork Search Reality Quiz 211

Recommended Resources 217

Endnotes 223

Index 245

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