The more satisfied a person is with her position, the less likely she is to leave.
So the irony——and, to me, the tragedy—is that women wind up leaving the workforce precisely because of things they did to stay in the workforce.
With the best of intentions, they end up in a job that is less fulfilling and less engaging.
When they finally have a child, the choice—for those who have one—is between becoming a stay-at-home mother or returning to a less-than-appealing professional situation.
Joanna Strober, co-author of Getting to 50/50, credits a compelling job for her decision to return to the workforce after becoming a mother.
"When I first started working, there were lots of scary stories about female executives who ignored their kids or weren't home enough," she told me.
"Everyone in our office talked about one executive whose daughter supposedly told her that when she grew up she wanted to be a client because they got all the attention.
I found these stories so depressing that I gave up before even really starting down the partner track.
However, when five years later I was in a job I really loved, I found myself wanting to return to work after a few weeks of maternity leave.
I realized those executives weren't scary at all.
Like me, they loved their kids a lot. And, like me, they also loved their jobs."
There are many powerful reasons to exit the workforce.