Who can blame them. Trying to juggle work, household responsibilities and education for their children that has been completely turned on its head. Not knowing when things go back to "normal". Or if "normal" is a thing of the past.
According to the McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace 2020 study, "one in four women are contemplating what many would have been considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely."
In a recent article, Forbes shared, "In September alone, the Labor Department reports that 865,000 women over 20 dropped out of the workforce - compared to 216,000 men."
I can't even begin to imagine the weight women are feeling. My son is 26 and married so I'm not in this pressure-cooker myself. A friend asked me, "What advice would you share with these women?" I said I would want to make sure they had considered both the emotional and financial implications of the decision.
The emotional side to leaving the job is clear - the overwhelm and exhaustion would be reduced. There would be more ability to be patient and understanding and possibly even enjoy this additional gift of time with your children. They grow up so fast.
The financial side might feel more quantifiable. You step away for a year or two or five and leave your $50,000 or $100,000 annual salary behind. Except it's more than that. You're not contributing to your 401k or getting the company match and that same amount isn't growing over the next 40 - 50 years. You probably won't step back into the workforce at the salary you left and you've missed out on potential salary growth.
Before making the final decision to leave, talk to your manager. Employee turnover is expensive and they may be willing to negotiate reduced hours or flexibility. Ask! Don't assume you know the answer.
If you do leave, is there consulting work you could do - even if it's just one client to keep your toe in the water and stay current with industry changes?
Stay in touch with your network. When you decide you're ready to go back you won't want to be reaching out to people you've ignored for the past few years.
My heart goes out to you if this is a decision you feel you the need to consider. I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer here. You will have to make the decision that works best for you and your family.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if I can help you in any way.