Danielle* has a dilemma; a career conundrum.
“It’s quite anti-feminist,” she sighs.
The 48-year-old has spent her entire career trying to get to where she is: a senior executive in the corporate world. She’s managed to smash the glass ceiling - the kind of woman whom, in 2020, we idolise. Her work ethic is enviable, her success is admirable and the fact that she has children, as well as a career, is deemed impressive.
Working as the Head of Customer Experience for a large financial services company, Danielle is the only woman on the executive team.
It’s been a hustle to get there. But now, as she tells Mamamia, she’s desperate to step down.
“You get on this treadmill and you climb the ladder. But you get to an age where you just think, ‘Actually, is this what I wanted? What am I trying to achieve? What is the point of all this work? I'm somebody who works hard to achieve what I want. And it's odd that now what I want to achieve is to go backwards in my career.”
Side note... Here's what you're like on a Zoom call, according to your star sign. Post continues below.
It’s an incredibly privileged position to be in - to have the financial security and stability to willingly walk away from your high-paying job before the age of retirement. To choose to be less busy. To know that if you do walk away, you'll be okay.
Danielle knows that. But she sees this as a necessity for her wellbeing. A decision to reclaim a semblance of work-life balance - an ideal that has never been her reality, she says.
"I’m never off, even when I’m on holiday. I’m on constant standby.”
Taking a step back from the career ladder is known as downshifting - defined as the act of changing ‘a financially rewarding but stressful career or lifestyle for a less pressured and less highly paid but more fulfilling one’.
Danielle’s desire to unload her workload is for many reasons. Most importantly, she says, is for her children.