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Jack Welch: Women Take Time Off for Kids at Their Peril

Posted Jul 16, 2009 7:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch thinks women who take time off for family are making a risky career move.

Speaking to Human Resource Management at its annual conference on June 28, Welch said women who take time off for family could be passed over for promotions if they are “not there in the clutch,” the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

“There's no such thing as work-life balance," Welch said. "There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences."

Welch said women who take time off can still "have a nice career," but their chances of reaching the top are smaller, according to the Wall Street Journal account. "We'd love to have more women moving up faster," he said. "But they've got to make the tough choices and know the consequences of each one."

The Am Law Daily noted the story and interviewed a lawyer with a different viewpoint. Chantal Kordula, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, told the publication that she took off five months after the birth of each of her three children, and still made partner, albeit in a longer time frame.

She went back to a full schedule when she returned to work, but sometimes fits in afternoon parenting duties, according to the Am Law Daily. "You just need to do what works for you and let the chips fall where they may," she told the publication.

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