Jean Chatzky
Whether it's to have a baby or to take care of a sick or aging relative, many women have faced the challenge of leaving their career and then later struggling to get back into the workforce. Jean talks with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, about creative ways for women to stay in the career of their choice throughout life's changes.

Sylvia tackles the issue of women leaving and re-entering the workforce in her book Off-ramps and On-ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success. She says a good solution to the problem is flexible schedules that allow women to work from home or on a part-time basis. "Women don't even ask—they assume that there is no such thing as a two-day-a-week job," she says. "A lot end up quitting without even having that conversation as to what might be possible in the terms of a very reduced load."

Here are some reasons why Sylvia says flexible schedules are a good solution for many women:

  • Technology: Between the Internet, cell phones and other forms of technology, Sylvia says working from home can be a great solution. "I think the tools we have at our fingertips to work remotely are fabulous," she says. "We just have to make sure we use those tools to suit our lives rather then have them translate into overload."
  • Quality of life: Aside from income, Sylvia says that staying on a job, even part-time, improves a woman's quality of life. "All of the data shows that women working part-time in a job that they feel has an impact—if you look at [their] well-being and happiness, these are the most content of any of the various groups of women out there," she says.
  • Company policies: Sylvia says that many companies are now offering a variety of flexible schedule options to all employees. She says as more baby boomers retire and a worker shortage ensues, perks like flexible schedules will become more commonplace in corporate America. "There is a brand new kind of freedom out there, and as an employee, you have quite a lot of market power," she says.