The Third Career: Revisiting the Home vs. Work Choice in Middle Age

By Milica Z. Bookman | Go to book overview

At the time of the interview, participants were in one of three phases with respect to their work intentions. They were either unemployed but fantasized about entering the labor force (35%), they were in the process of actively searching for employment (16%) or they had just recently begun working (32%). The remainder were retooling and reeducating.

Returning to their old careers was not a very popular option. While few women expressed a desire to work in their previous jobs, 58% said they expected to use their old skills in some way. Women who formerly worked in business or law were most likely to consider returning to their field. The majority, however, were looking for work that was entirely different from what they had previously done (these goals and aspirations are the topic of Chapter 3).


PARENTS AND IN-LAWS

All women in the study had either living parents or in-laws. While only two were actively caring for an elderly relative at the time of the interview, approximately one-half of the sample expected to care for a parent or an in-law in the future.


RELIGION AND ETHNICITY AND RACE

Several religions were represented by the sample. Most women were Catholic (37%), Jewish (27%), or Protestant (13%). The remainder were Congregational, Episcopal, or expressed no religious orientation. Some of the women were married to men who espoused a religion different from theirs (17%). Twenty percent of the sample was Hispanic and all remaining respondents were Caucasian.


Notes
1.
These statistics are from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 1995, Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1995.
2.
The U.S. census contains data by the following age categories: 45-54 and 55-64. Given the ages of the respondents in this study, it seemed more appropriate to limit the study to women up to their mid fifties.
3.
These statistics from the Department of Labor Statistics were published in the New York Times, November 28, 1994.
4.
Statistical Abstract of the U.S., 1995, op. cit., p. 485.
5.
Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, The Millionaire Next Door, The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy, Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1997, p. 182.
6.
Once widowed or divorced, older women are less likely to remarry. There is only one bridegroom for every nine brides 65 and over-- not only are older men in short supply, but they are more likely to marry a woman who is younger. Elizabeth Markson, "Without and Within the Family," in Elizabeth Markson, ed., Older Women, Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1983, p. 151.
7.
See Susan Feiner, Race and Gender in the American Economy, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1994.
8.
Stanley and Danko, chapter 1.

-197-

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The Third Career: Revisiting the Home vs. Work Choice in Middle Age
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Part I REALITIES xix
  • Chapter 1: The Profile of Middle-Aged Women with Choices 1
  • Chapter 2: Evolving Expectations of Women with Choices 17
  • Part II INCENTIVES 43
  • Chapter 3 the Transformation of Aspirations 45
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter 4: The Redefinition of Leisure 63
  • Chapter 5: The Reevaluation of Volunteer Work 79
  • Part III CONDITIONS 89
  • Chapter 7: The Accommodating Work Environment 101
  • Part IV CAPACITIES 119
  • Chapter 8: Advantages to Be Harnessed 121
  • Chapter 9: Obstacles to Be Overcome 137
  • Part V BENEFITS 155
  • Chapter 10 Social Benefits: the Economic Contribution of Women with Choices 157
  • Notes 177
  • Chapter 11: Individual Benefits 179
  • Appendix I Method 189
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix II Empirical Overview: Women with Choices in America and in the Sample 193
  • Notes 197
  • Appendix III The Survey 199
  • Selected Bibliography 211
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 219
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