Millennials – men and women – I implore you to read Lisen Stromberg’s Work, Pause, Thrive to help you explore all the different options of integrating (NOT BALANCING) a great career into a great life. (Not that this book promises you a great life or a great career – but it will help you define success for yourself. Success in life and in career. And with your definition in hand, and the strategies clearly laid out in the book, you will feel better equipped to maneuver the challenging decisions ahead.

Work, Pause, Thrive – how to pause for parenthood without killing your career

Lisen, an early GenXer, with three grown children, shares her own career/life integration story, with unexpected twists and turns, in this very thoughtful and informative book. Subtitled “How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career,” the book also deals with a rapidly growing concern for working people – how to care for your parents or other relatives later in or at the end of life.

Pause For Care-giving Counts Too

She shares insights from my colleague Liz O’Donnell who wrote this seminal article for the Atlantic about Working Daughters. With millions of Boomer and Silent generation parents (now 53 – 71 and 72 -92 respectively), living longer with chronic conditions, Millennials are already adjusting to care for their parents while climbing their career ladders – it’s a heavy, complicated load. (You can read more about what Double Forte learned from 25% of our company caring for a dying parent here.)

Every leader of groups should read chapter 3 where the author explores the various biases, hidden and overt, that parents and caregivers face every day. Frankly, it was sobering to count the hurdles parents and caregivers face as they work to integrate their personal and professional lives imposed by other people’s, business culture, and popular culture “ideals.”  Ideal worker bias, conscious and unconscious bias, motherhood bias, flexibility bias, “second shrift” bias, and idea mother bias – the list is long. These all hit home for me – and even though I’ve been on the receiving end of each of these biases, have to consciously ensure that I, and my company, doesn’t have these in play.

“It’s time we broadened our efforts as feminists from a laser-like focus on advancing women professionally to an expanded discussion of what it means to be an American with care-giving responsibilities.” Lisen Stromberg

With examples from over 150 interviews and an illustrative wide-ranging study she provides the raw data from, the book travels many careers, lives, points of view and inputs. Every working person will find something to identify with in this book, and can take a nugget and apply it to their own situation.

Millennials You Are Ready For This!

Because it’s our own situations that we need to be concerned with – not someone else’s definition of success or achievement that matters. Millennials, you are already set up for this!

I’ve talked to so many of you who share Lisen’s and my points of view we earned much later in life. At the same time, you don’t need to go it alone! Lisen has put it all in one place so that you can chart a course, and maneuver what you can’t anticipate, that makes you satisfied with your choices.

Lisen is a gifted interviewer, and the results jump off the page in compelling and illustrative personal stories. I shared my story with Lisen, and since that fateful day, we have become mutual mentors, advisors, and confidants. She is amazing. To be honest, even though I am confident in my own path, having her validate it felt good. We both stepped out of large media/advertising companies at times when our careers were on fast tracks to the top. We both changed our work so that we could have more meaningful lives. We both struggled with the condescension from some – women and men – who didn’t think we’d made the right choices and wondered how we could “walk away from so much.”
She was a guest on my Everything Speaks podcast; you can listen to that great conversation here. Even in the short form Lisen has so much to share.

And you can buy the book here. Leave her a review will ya’?