Aviation for Women

MAR-APR 2016

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

Issue link: https://afwdigital.epubxp.com/i/638688

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Page 82 of 92

80 Aviation forWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 6 I 'm not a millennial. I love shiny new gadgets, I try to be up on the latest trends, and I think I know what's now in music and pop cul- ture. Those are pledges I made to myself when I was younger to make sure I didn't let myself turn into the stereotypical "everything these kids listen to these days is garbage" adults. I wanted to stay connected and stay cool. But, by defnition, I'm a Gen Xer. A TIME TO GUIDE J O D A M A T O , C A M T H E J U G G L I N G A C T Even the fact that I used a phrase like "today's youth and stay cool" proves how much I am not a millennial. Pew Research Center defnes millennials as the frst gen- eration to come of age in the new millennium, typically born after 1980. If you look around the 2016 WAI conference then I'll bet you notice the attendance demographics are shift- ing a bit. While there are still plenty of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers attend- ing, the biggest shift is the increase in millennials. Pew Research Center ana- lyzed the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data and found that "more than one in three American workers today are millenni- als (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and last year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce." Through this column I have routine- ly reflected on being a full-time work- ing aviation mom with a fying spouse. I love that I have found so many Gen X moms like me who are doing the ex- act same thing. What I think is real- ly amazing is that we figured this out without a blueprint. Most of us did not have any personal Baby Boomer role models or women in our lives who could show us by example that we could make this work. My mom stayed home to raise me and my four siblings, and told me I could do it all but couldn't tell me how I could do it all. It just wasn't done. Having both parents in aviation, and especial- ly having marriages where both parents travel—sometimes at the same time—was not common 40 years ago. I still meet many women who think our "nontraditional aviation" house- hold is an oddity. Recently a mom friend of mine, who also happens to be close to my age and well-established as a leader in her non- aviation career for almost the exact amount of time as I've been in mine, decided to become a stay-at-home mom be- cause her husband just took a new job where he will be traveling more. Poof, just like that, she left her career, even though her kids are grade school-aged like mine. For almost a full day I was obsessed with her choice. Was I giving less to our kids because I work full time and Dad travels so much? If I could financially make the choice that she did, would I? I was able to answer the question honest- ly and know that my boys are not dis- advantaged because both their father and I have careers that we love. Short of winning the Powerball, I don't envision a world where I wouldn't still be pas- sionately pursuing my aviation career. I'm not the young up-and-comer any- more. When I was made director of pi- lot training for a large business aviation aircraft management company when I was 23, that was a big deal. When I was 25 and running the NBAA's air traffic services desk inside the FAA's Air Traf- fic Control System Command Center, that was a big deal. But there is noth- ing too remarkable about a 40-year-old woman in the workforce today, aviation or otherwise. Or is there? Is the remarkable thing that a woman at 40 was able to nurture her aviation career without leaving the workforce to be a full-time stay-at-home mom if she so chose? Haven't we paved the way to show the next genera- tion of mothers behind us that they don't have to choose stay- ing home over their career if they don't want to? That, in fact, they can coexist in some type of harmony? As we Gen Xers are figuring out how to be successful working parents we need to be mindful of the millennials who do have us to look to for guidance. In a few months I will turn 40. In the last year or so I've started to get excited about reaching this milestone. On my weekly long runs I have time to do a self-inventory as I put one foot in front of the other for a few hours. I have learned that I love the better version that I have tried Is the remarkable thing that a woman at 40 was able to nurture her aviation career without leaving the workforce to be a full-time stay-at-home mom if she so chose?

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