Careers advice for young girl

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Seb
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Careers advice for young girl

Postby Seb » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:10 pm

Hi
Sunday dinner this week with friends deteriorated into quite, actually a very, heated argument about careers and I would love another, calm please, perspective.

It started with student loans and the differing perspectives from myself and my wife. I feel that all students should take student loans out as you have to earn a certain amount to be pay them back (so in effect it's an "option") but if you were going to not take them then it would make more sense for women to take the loans as anecdotally they are more likely to skip work for children and so not earn enough to pay them back. This is not why I'm posting but it explains the context!

My wife then wades in crossly on this point but we're all floored by a comment from the hosts teenage daughter. She is pretty bright and says that her ambition is to join a bank or law firm as a PA and then hope to meet someone there. She is absolutely determined to marry for love but, she explained, but if that person can be her soul mate and wealthy at the same time then all the better.

This caused quite a ruck but the girl (15) was adamant that many of her friends had mothers who didn't work and a lot of them had met their partners at work or uni. She wasn't bright enough, she said, to meet a high flyer at the unis she would get to, so work was her best option.

The wives were really really REALLY upset about this but I have to say I agree with the daughters logic to some extent but I can't quite see understand why the mothers were so upset.

Out of my schoolgate friends about a third of them met their husbands at work and if they hadn't got jobs at law firms or brokers it's unlikely they could have stopped work so comfortably the moment they fell pregnant.

So this is my question/request for advice:

Why is it perceived to be so terrible for a fifteen year old girl to think like this?

Is it because it implies a backward step for equal rights etc that its so contentious?

I'm under strict instructions from wife not to mention this again with friends but am genuinely a little stunned by the mothers angry/upset reactions.

Thanks
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:43 pm

I don't really know where to begin, other than to say I find your confusion offensive, I genuinely hope you don't have a daughter and it's very sad to hear that those are the views of a 15 year old girl in 2016.

Yes, many women in this tiny bubble of SW11 are stay at home mums. And yes, many of them are married to successful men who they met years ago at work.

Out of most of the women I know in that situation, part of the reason they are able to give up work for a while to raise their children is because they were also very successful high earners pre-children and therefore saved half the deposit for the house, paid half the mortgage, contributed considerably towards savings, pensions, investments etc etc.

Add to that, should the time come when they want to return to work, they have careers to fall back on. Should their marriages not work out, they have options.

What is incredibly depressing about this girl's and yours shared view is that it is condoning reducing a women's options nil and needing to rely on a man. In 2016.

The 15 year old is a child and maybe it was said for shock/attention value or because she was having a bad day or simply because she is immature. Sadly the same can't be said for you.
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:55 pm

Also, your student loans argument sounds stupid as well.

You start paying back your student loan once you start earning over £21k per year. Most graduate jobs pay over £21k per year, especially in London.

Despite all the time and effort we graduate women spend hunting down a wealthy male to mate with, we rarely get knocked up and march the unsuspecting male down the aisle directly upon graduation so most of us have cleared our student loan repayments by the time we kick back and relax with our sprogs.
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Seb
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby Seb » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:09 pm

Apologies if my post was offensive - that really wasn't the intention.

I think the issue we have here is that I'm struggling to understand a point of view and just by asking for input I'm getting (virtually) shouted at. The crying shame with such a position is in effect I am no further down the line in understanding a position I genuinely find confusing but will probably not ask again, both virtually and in real life, for fear of an explosive reaction that I can't fathom.

I don't pretend to know everything, which is why I asked for input, but I'm a little stunned about being given such a hard time when asking for help!
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Confus_ed
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby Confus_ed » Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:45 pm

One of the things I personally find faulty with that way of thinking is that it relies on a sterotypical (also sexist) view of what women want in life.

It assumes that women just want to get married, have kids and then lounge around all day spending husband's cash. It's hugely reductive. In reality women's ambitions are as many and varied as men.

What about career satisfaction, those who want to help others or change the world?

It also assumes being wealthy will naturally make one fulfilled. It won't.

Women tend to get cross when this view is expressed because for hundreds of years it was all we were allowed to do. The fact that the same thing is now presented to young girls as a valid career choice is deeply upsetting as it suggests the underlying view of women hasn't really changed.

Agree the student loans point is also quite offensive and just plain wrong - I repaid my student loan in full some time before I had my children. Many women go back to work after having kids (and not just because they need the cash).

If the student loan topic came before the teenager's revelation your wife may have felt you were to blame for both. I would have done
Last edited by Confus_ed on Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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papinian
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby papinian » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:18 pm

AbbevilleMummy and Confus_ed should take off their ideological blinkers and stop labeling everything that that they disagree with as "offensive" and "stupid". :roll:

Seb's point re the student loan system is spot on. AbbevilleMummy has not got a clue when she claims that
most of us have cleared our student loan repayments by the time we kick back and relax with our sprogs
.

The large majority of those starting university now - whether men or women - will not have paid off their student loans in full by the time they have their first child. Unfortunately, people like AbbevilleMummy don't realise what a complete shitshow the current student loan system is. If she wanted to actually educate herself this article the FT published in July would be a good place to start: https://www.ft.com/content/bb2d8cfe-4d8 ... 9ecd3b86fc One quote:
to clear borrowings and interest on the average student debt of £44,000 within 30 years, Mr Lewis calculates that graduates would need a starting salary of about £40,000 with 2 per cent above inflation pay rises each year, and take no time off for travelling or raising a family in the next 30 years.
What Seb is describing re student loans is what those of us who work in insurance label "adverse selection", i.e. the propensity to take them out will be higher among those who are less likely to pay them back (at all or in full).

However, this 15 year old girl has got it badly wrong if she thinks not going to university and starting as a PA in a bank or a law firm will get her a husband on a high-earning career trajectory. The era of hospital consultants marrying nurses, investment banking directors marrying their PAs or law firm senior associates marrying their secretaries ended twenty years ago if not even earlier. Why did it end:

(1) Unlike the 1980s, the graduate intake in these places is 50/50 men/women or relatively close to it. The women on graduate career track are also looking for husbands and ever study has shown that women are less likely to marry a man with a lower income than vice versa. In fact, these days I see more women marrying men with lower incomes / less hectic careers, but I don't see the opposite. These days the men on career track marry the women on graduate career track. And, believe me, the women on graduate track are merciless if one of the admin / support staff shows an interest in one of their male peers.

(2) The income and social class gap between those on the graduate career track and support staff has grown in the past 20 years. I'm not sure that this 15 year old girl realises how little a PA earns in the City - starting at £18k and maybe going up to £30k after many years. Yes, of course there are executive PAs on £45k or £65k or whatever, but that's after a lot of experience and likely past the average marriage age.

(3) The property prices mean that although one partner's earnings might be secondary post having children, what that partner has earned over the previous 10-15 years matters a lot. I know of a case where an acquaintance (early 30s) broke up with his girlfriend of a year (also early 30s) as she had a decent income but no savings because he said that she had no capital to support them buying together. In this era of high property prices relative to income capital accumulation matters. This 15 year old girl is looking at couples who are a generation older and who were well up the property ladder before the prices rose.

As far as meeting partners at university is concerned that doesn't happen much at all these days (Kate and Wills excepted). However, what university is important for is developing a social circle which you have post-university, i.e. meeting the people through whom you will post-university meet prospective partners. And of course different universities have very different student bodies, even ones that are considered similar academically, e.g. University of Exeter vs KCL vs University of Birmingham.

Seb: I suggest you tell the above to this 15 year old girl.
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Annabel (admin)
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby Annabel (admin) » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:33 pm

Hi Everyone,
Thank you so much for all using NVN.

I think this has the potential to be a really interesting thread but I also feel it has the potential to become a little heated (understatement of the week!) so please please please remember to keep it friendly!

Thank you NVN'ers!
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:44 pm

Seriously?? I despair. Seb's comments are offensive. I don't just disagree with them. They offend me. And you know what? As a women, living in a man's world, I most certainly do not have ideological blinkers on!

You are both seriously missing the point and come across as completely sexist and patronising.

You should have told that 15 year old girl that if she wants to be wealthy, if she wants to earn enough money to be comfortably well off enough to take time off to be with her children a lot when they are young, if she wants to travel and have freedom then the best and only way to guarantee that is to work hard, stand up for equality, fight for better rights for women and affordable childcare, fight to close the gender pay gap, and most importantly never ever gamble your entire future on one single individual, be that a man or a woman. Be independent and self-sufficient.

That's what you'd tell your son, right?
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papinian
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby papinian » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:58 pm

There is no gender pay gap in the U.K. A number of newspapers published stories in August 2015 reporting that based on ONS figures women in their 20s earn more than men of the same age and that women and men in their 30s earn the same (women in fact earn 0.2% more).
http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/a ... tudy-finds
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ecade.html

The reason women in their late 30s and 40s still earn less than men is quite simply that they work shorter hours than men and are more likely to work in part time rather than full time jobs.

AbbevilleMummy can't on the one hand acknowledge that
many women in this tiny bubble of SW11 are stay at home mums
who
are able to give up work for a while to raise their children is because they were also very successful high earners pre-children
, and then not acknowledge that is and of itself, without any discrimination at the level of employers, going to result in a gender pay gap. If she wants to close the gender pay gap she should be going around all of these potentially high-earning stay-at-home mums in SW11 and directing them back to work. ;)
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:43 pm

Actually, very recently my husband made a throw away sexist comment (part in jest, partly serious) and couldn't understand why it touched such a nerve with me. I think it is very hard for men to truly empathise with what its like to grow up and live in a man's world as a woman. In the same way that I can't truly empathise and understand what it is like to be non-white.

He went on and on about how times are different now, how women have equality, we have equal rights and pay and that I've done alright so why should I be complaining etc etc. It made my blood boil but rather than argue, I asked him to watch this brief TED talk as Sandi Toksvig eloquently and articulately explain why inequality is still such an issue. After watching it, he understood better.

https://www.ted.com/talks/sandi_toksvig ... s_equality
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2009Kat
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby 2009Kat » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:25 pm

Wow! Totally agree with Abbeville mummy. I would be mortified to be that girls parents. It is kind of like saying you're going to having round fancy nightclubs trying to bag a footballer. In fact, that is what my friends and I tried to do, aged 15. We all then went on to university, discovered life beyond our small world and careers. Totally agree with pp that he PA idea is flawed - doesn't happen nearly as often now. Hopefully the girl will go to a good uni, open her eyes to life, find a career and look beyond the limited career options of her friends s mothers.
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szczepam
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby szczepam » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:06 am

As a mother of a daughter, I would be upset if she said something like this. This is not because it is a "set back" to women's rights but because I want my daughter to set goals and acheive them, discover her strengths and pursue her passions.
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szczepam
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby szczepam » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:20 am

My advice to that 15 year old girl would be:

1) Live life to the fullest and don't be afraid to challenge yourself
2) Hard work is its own reward. Whether she goes on to have a life long career or give up work after children, she will always be proud of what she achieved
3) Being independent helps you to get to know yourself and self awareness will be your friend when life throws you challenges
4) Marriage is no longer for life (look at the stats) so get yourself a back up plan
5) Financial gain in your early career may attract a partner and help to provide a more comfortable life later but more importantly it will enrich HER life before marriage and children. World travel, career breaks/change and FUN are all available to those with a couple of quid in their pocket.
5) Don't choose a career because it will enable or accomodate motherhood. Do what you love and figure it out when you get there
6) Marriage and babies may be in your future or it may not. Don't assume and plan for something which may or may not happen.

In short, I want my daughter and all other women to be whole people and not just wives and mothers in waiting.
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Trinka
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby Trinka » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:42 am

This is hilarious to read, thumbs up for this thread!

The question is obviously sarcastic as the logic is flawed, based on simple substitute of aim versus gain...
To hedge the young lady's bets (option premium) I would buy a protective put option and get a proper degree and aim to land a wealth investment/lawyer/trust advisor job so she can have higher probability (event optionality) of meeting a super rich smart guy and do fun events for his multiple charities and foundations;)))
Worst come to worst (risk event), the bright young lady will end up with 50% of his wealth and divorcee celebrity status or be forever in love and have 100% access to his wealth (the premium, I.e. the maximum loss is capped at the price of education:))
Good luck!
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hellokittyerw
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Re: Careers advice for young girl

Postby hellokittyerw » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:23 am

As a mother (of boys, but I don't really think gender should make any difference), what I want most for my children is to achieve their full potential and have a job they enjoy and feel proud of (which may mean becoming a successful CEO or a successful builder and decorator).
This is why I would be mortified by the young girls aspirations - her plan has nothing to do with her bettering herself but with a potential husband's success.
As parents, a great majority of us are very keen on education (just look at the number of posts on NVN re. schools!) - so after all that focus on education, it would make me very sad if my children had no career ambitions.

The young girl's plan is flawed (and I suspect she will grow out of these ideas) for many reasons:
- what happens if she doesn't meet the wealthy husband?
- what happens if she finds the wealth husband but they later on divorce?
- what happens if she cant have children and be a stay at home mum?
- what happens if she wrongly assesses the suitors earning prospects, and it later turns out his income cannot support a stay at home wife and a nice life style?
- as papinian correctly says, most graduate intakes are now 50/50 women/men, so there will be a lot more graduate women going after the professional men (with better chances I would say, only because there are more professional women than PAs and they have more work-related interaction with those professional men)
- in a lot of what is perceived as "good" professions (banking, law, doctor) there are now less and less people making a lot of money and more and more people making average money. If the husband makes say 150k pa and she doesn't work, it will be difficult for them to afford to own a place in a nice area, send kids to private schools and have a nice lifestyle (nice holidays, etc).
- etc etc etc

Really her best chance to is work hard to make some money of her own (and figure out marriage, motherhood, etc when she gets there)
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