Career Night Advice

Angie P is a longtime reader of the blog. We’re really glad she sent us this guest post.

I was recently asked to speak at my ward’s Young Women’s mutual activity for a Career Night. I thought this was a great idea and wanted to share so that it might inspire some other YW programs.

The career night was for the entire YW, and there were about 15 girls in attendance. They invited three women from the ward: an elementary teacher who teaches in Oakland, a hairdresser, and myself, a paralegal. They asked each of us to talk to the YW about how we chose our careers, the education/training it took to get where we are, and the best and worst parts of our jobs. Below are the thoughts I shared. I also asked two of my closest friends for their thoughts and what they would say, and appreciated their comments so much that I handed out these thoughts to the YW as well. Those thoughts are found at the very end.

I am excited to be here tonight and to speak with you.  I love the idea of a career night for the Young Woman, and I wish that I had had one growing up, because whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would rattle off some important sounding career like psychologist or lawyer, but I would always follow up with “But what I really want to be is a mom.”  Almost all of the women I knew were stay-at-home moms, and I thought that choosing to be anything more than that would be selfish and against God’s plan.  Now, I love being a mother and feel very grateful to have two wonderful children.  But for multiple reasons, both of choice and circumstances, I have a career outside the home.  And I love my career!

During college I switched my major a couple of times, from nursing to teaching and then to a general English degree (with the intention of becoming a high school English teacher).  But in all honesty, I didn’t plan on “using” my degree, so I never purposefully thought about a career path in college.  I chose those majors because I thought they would be conducive to being a SAHM, and a good “back up career” if I HAD to work.  My senior year at BYU, I worked at my aunt’s law firm in Sal Lake City as a legal assistant, and enjoyed the job.  Shortly after I graduated I landed a job at a law firm in Provo as a full time legal assistant/file clerk, and soon trained as a paralegal.  During this time, I worked full time during the day, and my husband and I also had full time night jobs assisting adults with disabilities while my husband finished his degree.  After my husband graduated three years later, we moved to California.  Before we moved, my husband and I discussed our career plans.  At that point, we didn’t have any children, and didn’t plan to have children for a few more years until we were stable in our careers.  As I mentioned, I had intended to become a high school English teacher, but this was circa 2009-10 during the recession and I heard that in California there was a hiring freeze and a lot of teachers being laid off.  So I decided to continue with my paralegal career.  I studied for and passed a national certification test, which was a two day test that I’ve heard compared to a mini-bar exam that covered both technical skills, such as writing, and legal knowledge and application.

After we moved to the Bay Area I was fortunate to land my current position at a small law firm where I have worked for almost six years.  People often ask me what exactly a paralegal does, and I like to compare the paralegal and attorney roles to the equivalent of a nurse and a doctor.  Our law firm focuses on estate planning, meaning Wills and Trusts, Trust Administration, Probate, and some tax preparation.  I do a lot of drafting of documents, client interaction, court filings, and work closely with the attorneys in my firm on projects.  Some of my favorite projects at work involve compiling accounting reports, which I think is funny because math wasn’t my easiest subject in school.  But I enjoy my job and feel very fortunate to be in a family-friendly firm.  With the births of both of my children I was able to take four month maternity leaves, and negotiated to have Fridays off when I went back to work after my oldest was born.  My career is very fulfilling to me; I love using and learning new skills, learning about the law and how to apply it, and working with my colleagues.  I also feel that my career is good for my mental health and that I am a better mother because of it.  My career has also been a blessing to my family when I was the sole bread winner when my husband was searching for a job, and we are able to live in this expensive area because we have dual incomes.  I’m also grateful to have a good daycare situation, and we now consider our provider and her family part of our family.

I also love the security I have in knowing that I can provide for my family.  Growing up, money was always tight, and I watched the ongoing fights between my parents about money.  Unfortunately, my mom would share her frustrations with me, and I hated feeling helpless or worried about surviving financially.

Some things that are hard about having a career are not spending as much time with my kids as I would be able to if I stayed home, I don’t do all the crafty things that I always imagined I would do as a mother, and I miss out on building relationships with other women in the church because a lot of socializing goes on during the day while I am at work.

My husband and I share the housework; he’s a great cook and makes dinner most nights, and I’m more picky about the “right” way to do dishes and laundry so I manage those areas.  We also make it a point to check in with each other on a regular basis to make sure that our situation is working for ourselves, each other, and our family; and we keep an running dialogue going about our future options if we have more children or as the children get older and how we could balance everything.  Communication is vital for us.

If I could impart any wisdom to my younger self, I would tell myself a few things:

First, don’t think of an education or career only as a “back up plan,” and know that “a man is not a plan.”  You never know how you life will unfold.  You may never get married or might not have children, you may need to be the sole breadwinner in your family, or you may need two incomes to survive.  You may become divorced or widowed.  Or you may choose to work because you want to.  Even if you have the privilege of staying at home while your kids are young, that is only for a small period of your life.  If I could go back now, I would go to law school and become an attorney.  I may still do that one day, but it’s not in the cards right now.

Second, seriously consider your career, and invest in yourself and your education.  Don’t limit yourself to merely “safe choices” either.  Develop your skills and work hard; you never know where an opportunity will take you.  If you do have a family in the future, I also would argue that the more education and experience you obtain the more family-friendly options you may have.  For example, a doctor working a shift or two a week could probably make more than a nurse working full time.

Third, remember that any decision you make is between you, the Lord, and your husband/family (if you have one).  Don’t limit yourself or make decisions based on people outside of that circle.  If you choose to be a SAHM, own it and be the best you can.  If you choose to have a career outside of the home, don’t be apologetic.  You and your family will live with the consequences, so don’t let others make these decisions for you.  Each family gets to decided how the needs of the individuals and family are best met.

Finally, remember that you are loved daughters of Heavenly Parents who have given you abilities and gifts.  You have such great potential and bright futures, and I wish the very best of luck to you.

From Stephanie-

Life doesn’t follow a formula. We need to prepare our female youth for a broader picture than simply graduate from high school, seek education until you get married and then have a good excuse to quit. I believe very strongly in family and motherhood and I love being part of a religion that values these roles in society, especially when they’re becoming less and less popular socially. With that said, I would say to my own daughter that life isn’t so black and white as we like to make it out to be. I was brought up thinking it’s “motherhood and family” or it’s a “education/career”. Those are the options. Some people would say, “You can’t have it all!” but I tend to side with the whole “You can have it all, just not all at the same time” concept. Sacrifice will inevitably be required if you find that you, as a woman, desire the fulfillment of both family life AND education/career. You’ll have to make choices day by day, year to year, constantly re-evaluating your priorities to make sure everyone’s needs are being met. Sometimes you’ll pull back from the work scene to devote more to the family, while other times career or educational choices may require your devoted focus for a time and family members will have to sacrifice a little bit for you. But isn’t that beautiful? A family that sacrifices for each member? I wish I had been taught how intelligent and capable I was, to feel more confident and less guilty for being so ambitious and career-minded. Today, I love the challenge before me of balancing family demands and personal fulfillment demands (for me, teaching yoga and running a healing center in partnership with my husband). It requires creativity, ingenuity, and ambition–that’s womanhood- fierce to behold. Let’s build their self-confidence, show them how high they’re capable of flying, while at the same time, instill in them a sincere desire for motherhood and family life. I feel that as LDS women, we ought to be able to stand confidently with heads held high in the work field if we so desire, but hopefully doing it because of the pure pleasure it brings to our lives, and not because we’re seeking outside validation, desperate for public accolades to compensate for previous generations of female suppression and obligatory homemaking. This is key in my mind. It changes the dialogue from “I’m a career mom” and “I’m a stay-at-home mom” to….we’re all just following our hearts, not obsessed with “doing what’s expected of us” but instead being led by the spirit. In other words, I would hope that my daughter, if it turns out she’s crazy passionate about architecture, would feel no hesitation in pursuing said career. Say she falls in love, gets married, has kids…then what? It would require creativity at times. It would require sacrifice at times. It could flow beautifully at times. It might seem impossible at times. But she’d find a way, if motherhood and architecture were truly in her bones. But it requires of us, as women, to be self-assured, not afraid or insecure or hesitant. I guess what I’m saying is, we as women should strive to follow our hearts. If your heart is wholly satisfied being “maker of the home”, you go girl! If your heart yearns for stimulating conversations and higher education, bring it on! Things have a way of working out when we do that.

From Amy-

I think one thing for me is that I wish I had been told that I didn’t need to limit a career as a back up plan. I think by only considering options that would allow me to be a stay at home mom I ended up limiting myself and missing out on experiences and opportunities that I was really passionate about. Of course, never to downplay the importance of being a mother, but I think it is better for girls to reach for whatever it is they love and there will always be ways to accommodate your career to make motherhood a priority when that time comes. And in fact, that the more education and experience you get in your career, the more options and flexibility you will have when it comes time to be a mother and when the time comes to go back to work again if you decide to take time off.

Another thing is that I wish I had taken time to expose myself to a lot of different career options at a younger age. I wish someone would’ve told me that I didn’t need to just do what I was good at in high school, but that there was a whole world out there of possibilities that I might love. Even just being encouraged to talk to people in different fields, especially women, would have been useful for me.

One more thing is I would encourage them to put their whole heart into what they are doing at every stage of life…be present, be happy, and don’t wish your time away.


  1. As a mom of four and a physician, I find myself simultaneously LOVING this post as well as cringing at the mental gymnastics that women have to go through to convince ourselves that having a career while being a mother is, in fact, not a horrible thing. I do the exact same thing. We are all just so darn apologetic about it. As if we need to reassure ourselves and everyone around us that we are not defying God’s will. Don’t get me wrong–I adore the fact that your YW had a career night. Back when I was a young med student and Laurel Advisor, our ward had a joint YM/YW career night. Three men spoke about their careers (attorney, physician, businessman) and one woman spoke about being a SAHM. Being a SAHM is a completely valid life choice but to present it as the only choice for the young women was infuriating and depressing. So your YW’s program did a wonderful thing by inviting women with careers to speak. It seems to be becoming more acceptable in the church for women (mothers) to have a career if it is clearly obvious that they “work a few days a week” and “struggle” with the idea that they aren’t with their babies all the time but “know” that this is the right thing for their family. I work part-time and I have said all of those same things. But I wonder how it would have gone over at this career night if they had invited someone who works full-time in a high-powered career and rocks her job. That doesn’t seem to be as acceptable. So to sum up: kudos to you for doing a great job articulating the delicate balance that women in the church must maintain in order to feel OK about having a job and having children. Truly. I bet those girls really appreciated your words. This kind of discussion is vital for our young women. What’s frustrating is that we even have to have it.

  2. We had a similar night in our ward a few months ago, and there have been other career-oriented events for boys and girls at Stake Youth Conferences over the past few years. I’d like to see “househusband” offered as an option for boys, but honestly, there aren’t any such people in our ward to serve as role models. We’ve had a few men out of work temporarily due to layoffs or illness or whatever, but no one who has chosen it as a lifestyle. I doubt it would even enter the minds of the men or women I know at church. Of course, this is generally true outside of church too. For better or worse, in our society, childcare is the realm of women’s work, and that’s just how it is. It would be nice to start suggesting that that doesn’t have to be the case, though.

  3. Thank you so much for writing here and more importantly, for sharing with those young women. I, very similarly, never even considered that I could or would have a career and it has taken me until my early thirties to reconcile the fact that I want to and can. I so wish I had someone come speak to me as a youth. I grew up in Provo and my mom was the only mom I knew who worked and we all felt bad for her, but looking back on it, I realize it was the very best thing for all of us, especially and including her.

  4. HokieKate says:

    Thanks for sharing. Ten years ago, my group of friends majoring in engineering at BYU thought we’d be SAHMs. Now we are each married with at least two kids. Only one is a SAHM without outside employment. One works part-time as a pre-law advisor. One is an adjunct professor. One is an engineer for Boeing. One is a nuclear engineer. I’m a government researcher. To my knowledge, those of us that are working are working because we enjoy the work, not because of economic hardship. Even in ten years, life doesn’t work out as you originally thought.

  5. This presentation would have been eye-opening to me as a YW. We just decorated cakes and did modest runways :\

  6. Michnellelurv says:

    Earlier in the year, my parents had the sister missionaries over, and they were asking them what their post mission plans were. They said, ohh go to school and major in this or that. One of them, stated “All I want to be in is a SAHM!” I turned to her, being a 33 year old RM, with no marriage prospects in the near future, and told her that, “You need to have a plan to support yourself if that doesn’t happen. I thought I would be married by now, but I have a career and I never thought I would be single at this age.” She just looked at me in horror.
    I am lucky that my parents taught me that it was okay to work and still have a family. I personally hope for the day and I can do both or be a sahm but I am grateful that I have an education to support myself and independent enough to do things I never thought I be doing now.

  7. Interesting to peer in on your perspectives. I’m surprised at the frustration that some woman feel with “having to have this discussion” about career vs. SAHM, given the Proclamation on the Family. I’m glad to hear when couples have successfully worked it out for their family’s needs. I’m glad for my own SAHM mom that I had, and that my wife could mostly be a SAHM when the kids were young. I also appreciate the many career mom’s that have interacted with my family, ie. as my children’s physicians, teachers, counselors. I think these quality career nights are much needed for our YW.

  8. While I will agree with the point that being a SAHM is a valid life choice, not making a choice is not a valid life choice. Putting your setting on default and failing to give it any more thought is not making a choice.

    And frankly, you can choose whatever you want, but life might choose something else. You could get divorced, widowed, swindled, cheated on, laid off, off-shored, outsourced, skills outdated, or otherwise left completely financially vulnerable if you intend to rely 100% on one spouse’s income. Even if you both work in paid careers those things can happen. For a church that talks a lot about preparation and self-reliance, we sure do have some strange notions of how to actually accomplish that when it comes to women, mostly because we simply don’t care what happens to women. We assume that if they slap some paint on that old barn some guy will come along and take care of them.

    I overheard my daughter talking to her friend. The friend was saying she hates feminists because she doesn’t want to have to work. That’s shooting the messenger. Feminists don’t want women to be left vulnerable, underpaid, and without the employee benefits they need to support themselves when life happens or without the legislation to be protected in a work world that was not designed with the needs of families in mind. Our SAHM-only and SAHM-ideal discourse is unrealistic and needs to be updated if we really care about families. Given that BYU-I doesn’t offer paid maternity and that BYU considers child care a non-starter, my conclusion is that the church doesn’t really care about families, just about limiting the financial resilience of women. I would love to be proven wrong about this.

  9. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Angela C gives wise insight. The reality of today’s economy is that there are so many ways the best laid plans can be disrupted that NOT planning for it becomes nearly sinful. Additionally, even if the SAHM choice goes precisely as planned, women find themselves with a need/desire to enter the labor force after children are grown and gone. Most often, they are remarkably unprepared to do so. Even if they completed a college degree and have work experience, it’s nearly 20 years out-of-date and no longer relevant or valued when they hit the market. So, they end up working in low-paid, low status jobs that are often unfulfilling.

    When I was growing up, most of my friends’ mothers were SAHM. But, what nobody talked about was that nearly all of them did something to earn money. This took the form of washing clothes, babysitting/daycare, sewing/mending clothes, harvesting fruit/vegetables at local farms (with kids in-tow, of course), teaching piano/dance/voice in their homes, and many other paid endeavors. But, this WORK was unrecognized, undervalued, and invisible. This wasn’t acknowledged as work, but as “making a little spending money”. More often than not, however, this “spending money” was vital to household finances. How many SAHM these days are doing a little Etsy, proofreading college papers, tutoring other children, babysitting, or cleaning homes on the weekends (among other things)? This is WORK. It doesn’t pay very well, has no benefits, and is often invisible – but it’s still work. Nearly every SAHM I know does some of this work – but we don’t acknowledge it.

  10. When my kids were in middle school, the PTA organized an annual career day event that featured both moms and dads speaking about their careers, but they never featured being a SAHM as a career. Though I was one at the time, I didn’t feel left out because it’s NOT a career; I knew that. It’s just another of the ways people can do the mom or dad thing. I did wish that they addressed, in a more organized way, the wrinkle that parenthood introduces into a career though. They mostly ignored the entire topic, playing it safe in a discussion fraught with mommy-wars traps.

    Of course, at church there was no mention made of careers to the YW. Their curriculum was service, homemaking skills, future temple marriages, service, modesty, etc. Any mention of education was carefully stripped of any intent to prepare for a lifelong career. The YM had lots of career development, especially through scouts.

    I makes me happy to see that a few YW are receiving some much-needed guidance, but in 2016 this is not the norm for all church girls and women. Maybe in another decade or two.

  11. Single Sister says:

    I wish someone had come to my ward as a YW and given this presentation. We were just told that we should “get married in the Temple” and so that’s what I thought would happen. At 58 with no husband and no children. I’ve had the same job for 30 years and I’m good at it, but my pay certainly isn’t great. I look back and think, “Why did I listen to them? Why didn’t I get an education and become a professional of some kind?”. I encourage all of the YW in my ward that I know not to assume they will marry, or assume that they will not work after marriage. Life interferes and sometimes just plain kicks you in the teeth.

  12. As a man, I wish that the YW in my ward growing up had had a presentation like this, and that I’d heard someone say what Angela said upthread. It would have been good for the YW, but it would have also changed the way that I saw and interacted with them in all kinds of important ways.

  13. Yes to a Turtle Named Mack. My mom went back to school when I was in junior high to become a nurse, but she reminded me recently that she also worked as a stay at home mom, mostly as a substitute teacher. Talk about a thankless job for little pay with no benefits.

  14. Jason K., how would this have changed how you saw and interacted with the YW? What kind of presentations do you wish the YM would get?

  15. Thanks for the kind thoughts. The YW I spoke to seemed very interested during the presentations. But the biggest response was from the YW leaders. Several leaders told me afterwards that they wished they had heard something like this growing up, and that they hoped it was a “wake up call” to the YW.

  16. Angie P: When I was dating it wasn’t really on my radar to think about my part in empowering women to seek inspiration and make decisions about what shapes their lives would take. I took for granted that my career would determine the trajectory of my future family, with little to no thought for what trajectories my potential partners might want to take. I realize that marriage isn’t in the cards for everyone, and that not everyone even wants it, but marriage is going to be most compatible with women making real choices about the directions their life takes if that also matters to the men involved. My experiences growing up didn’t really prepare me to be that kind of man, and I think that just knowing that the YW had a regular career night would have nudged me in the right direction. As for the content of the night, it probably ought to depend on whatever interests the girls themselves have. If one of them is thinking about becoming a doctor, bring in a doctor.

  17. Interesting. I heartily agree that marriage is most compatible with supportive partners who can make real choices as individuals and as a family. I’ve thought a lot about what I wish the YW would hear and changes in the LDS culture for girls I wish were made. But I haven’t thought much about how or what conversations to have with the YM specifically to change the culture. How does the message that women should be the primary nurturers affect how the YM view girls/women? It seems like the old messages (that women should only be SAHMs, putting women on a pedestals, etc.) causes YM and men to not view the YW/women as fully human, or maybe not as fully adults, rather? Do YM feel any anxiety or pressure to be the sole bread winner? Do men feel inadequate or like they aren’t fulfilling their gospel role if they have a wife that needs/wants to work.
    I wonder what changes we would see in the YM with just simple changes like career nights for everyone.
    One thing I wish would improve is to teach the YM how to act professional in the workplace around women. In my experience, adult Mormon men have a hard time interacting with women in the work place. Maybe they have heard too many talks that seem to scare the men that any interaction with an adult woman that is not a spouse could/will lead to an affair?

  18. Jason K, your comment stirred some latent resentment in me. I dated someone at BYU who always talked about his future plans and that he felt his wife should have some kind of freelance career or something artistic to do while he was dragging her around to follow his dreams. He even talked approvingly of my own hobbies and hinted that they might be compatible with his ideas of what he wanted in a wife.

    He never once thought to ask me what my dreams and goals were. He was so focused on what a great catch he was! Eventually I just lost interest.

  19. The YW in my ward recently had a similar event. The women from the ward who were invited to present were awesome (and my friends): professors, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and nurses. Not a one of them, however, works full-time. Or supports their family. Or is saving for retirement from their income. Or pays a mortgage. They are boutique-careers. The work “for fun.” I dearly wished the youth had heard from women who actually balance work and career, and who bear the financial burden for a household. That is a really different thing than one (long) shift a week as a nurse so you and hubby can cruise once a year. Those women got educated, but they aren’t actually having to do the nitty-gritty of a working professional who values their family and sacrifices on both sides to make it all hang together. Those are the details the youth need to be exposed to.

  20. @esodhiambo,

    Working part time does not make your career “boutique.” Any one of those careers could transition to full-time to support a family. And working part time does not automatically translate to an easy work-life balance or a lack of sacrifice. A full-time breadwinner would also be a good perspective, but if sounds like these women have prepared for the possibility of supporting their households through hard work and education. That isn’t an easy thing to do.

  21. I’m coming to this late, but want to tag on to Bea (very first comment, on 10/17). The presentation described in the OP, is great, so far as it goes, but I’m surprised and find it revealing that it is remarkable or remarked on.
    My children, now in their thirties so well past YW/YM age, grew up in the Boston and Chicago areas, far from the inter-mountain West and maybe that makes all the difference. I believe they always had the expectation that both parents would work outside the home and both would work inside the home, both compensated and not compensated (in dollars). We represent a mix of professionals (law, business, medicine) and artists (writers, illustrators, film makers) (not gender typed in either direction, for what it’s worth) and the family discussions turn around not women working (or not), but how to mix and combine doing what you love and are good at while getting paid for it and working together to find a way to support a family. [I remember a single adult career night class (something like the career night described in the OP but with a slightly older audience of both men and women), where my take away was “we need poets in the world, but count the cost.”]
    All to say that the OP career day presentation sounds like an excellent response to a base case of man working outside the home and woman staying home. If instead one started with a base case of both parents working (for money) and both parents actively raising children, as my children learned and as I think realistic, then the career day discussion would move to a different place.

  22. hawkgrrl: Yeah, I was that guy, and utterly clueless. Not that I’m altogether clued in now, but I’ve come a long way (thanks in no small part to you and the other women of BCC).

    Angie: I think that this issue requires a full-court press involving both YM and YW. I absolutely support all of the conversations happening about how to improve YW culture, but progress will be sclerotic if we aren’t thinking about the YM too. Your last point is very important: very little in my growing-up prepared me to interact with women professionally, or to deal with women in authority over me. I was eased into the latter by female college professors whose capability was so apparent as to be unquestionable, but the former has been tricky. I think I’m getting there…

    To your questions: yeah, YM feel pressure to be the sole breadwinner, and to provide for my wife. At least I did. And I was inculcated in benevolent patriarchy, which let me think that I was a sensitive guy who valued women (i.e., I mistook pedestaling for feminism).

  23. Jack Hughes says:

    Great post. When I was growing up in the 80s, both my parents worked and my mom was the primary earner. Most of my LDS peers had moms who stayed at home. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Years later I came across a church pamphlet about families from the mid-80s, the substance of which was a talk by Ezra Taft Benson which sharply condemned women seeking work outside the home, let alone professional careers, and in fiery rhetoric that makes the PoF seem tame by comparison. This, I think, reflects the tenor that was being promoted by the Church at that time, and this attitude still may exist among some members. My mom was working hard to support us (and develop herself professionally) and at the same time being made to feel like she was disobeying the counsel of the prophet. When I asked her about it recently, she said she has no regrets about the career/family choices she made, but it still makes her angry to talk about the poor treatment she received by fellow members, mostly other women. On top of this, she was a baby boomer who grew up being told that she wouldn’t ever have to get a “real job”.

    My hat goes off to all the hard-working women who effectively defied the counsel of church leaders to enter the workplace, whatever the reason or motivation. Also, Sister Ruth Renlund (wife of new apostle Dale Renlund) comes to mind, as she had her own distinguished career as an attorney in parallel to her husband’s medical career, and she is of my mom’s generation. I admire her achievements, but I would sure like to know what kind of cognitive dissonance she had to wrestle with over the years.

  24. @Rachel, absolutely, part time work is a step. Who wouldn’t love to work part-time? It would be awesome. It just isn’t a career, as advertised in the theme of the night. It’s a hobby with compensation. While there may be stressors that go along with it, they are not the magnitude of someone who actually has to work to support their family. I think all youth should recognize that distinction.

    I’d like to echo the best advice from the OP: whatever your choice, whatever hybrid of compensated and un-compensated work fills your days, own it. No one else’s commentary should mean anything if you are happy with what you are doing.

  25. I have to disagree with the assertion that working part time automatically turns something from a career to a hobby. I worked at a doctor’s office in my college days. More than half the doctors there worked what were considered part time schedules. I have a really hard time seeing what they did as a hobby. Being able to work part time and still be the main breadwinner is an awesome goal. We should be encouraging both boys and girls to pursue careers that allow for part time work since at some point in their lives it may work for their benefit. It’s pretty demeaning to tell someone who has put years into schooling and work experience, building a nice flexible career, that what they do is more of a hobby.

  26. Sure, there are some select jobs that would compensate you well enough to work part-time hours AND support a family, but none of the women at the “Career Night” in my ward did that. Their families are supported by their spouse and they have ample freedom to choose if or when they want to work.

    I recognize too, that some part-time jobs are a necessity to a household economy, and that is a different thing, too. I am really just pointing out that there are lots of nice fluffy things to say about careers that people choose. There is a different world out there that many people live in in which they don’t get to choose whether or not they work, or even how they work. How do we help that sector do so AND enjoy their family time? How do we help our youth prepare for a time they might be in that boat?

  27. I never had a career night as a YW nor did any of my friends that I’m aware of (grades 7-12 in Utah), and I don’t believe my stake in the Chicago burbs has had youth career nights either, though I could just be out of the loop (likely). I would have appreciated one because I was starved for female role models.

    On one hand I wonder if career nights have a place at all in church activities (shouldn’t we spend our time on service and gospel learning?), but on the other hand there is so much messaging that limits the possibilities for girls and their future families, that of course we need career nights to try and mitigate that. And we need honest ones that acknowledge the real-life challenges esodhiambo alludes to.

  28. @esodhiambo,

    I respectfully continue to disagree. A professor, lawyer, doctor, or nurse who works a shift a week is continually preparing to take over the family finances if necessary. Any young woman (or man) who prepares for those careers would be able to support herself, her family, and still potentially have flexibility in her schedule. What is “fluffy” about that?

    I think you mean well, but the terms you use to describe the life choices of these women really are demeaning.

  29. I loved this:
    Third, remember that any decision you make is between you, the Lord, and your husband/family (if you have one). Don’t limit yourself or make decisions based on people outside of that circle. . . . You and your family will live with the consequences, so don’t let others make these decisions for you. Each family gets to decided how the needs of the individuals and family are best met.”

    And Angela, I have a crush on your comment about default does not equal a choice. I wish I could convince the YW of this!

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