In her book "Opting Out", Pamela Stone asks the women who quit work to stay home with their families about their plans to return to their careers. Although most say them want to return at some point in the future, a majority express a tremendous loss of confidence about their ability to cope and compete in their former careers. A number consider changing careers to enter one of the more caring "traditional" women's jobs such as teaching.
In Stone's sample, several women took on transitional work in the form of consulting projects to bridge the break from a full time position. A common experience was for these projects to "fall into their lap" from a previous employer. This was certainly my experience after being laid off last year. I wonder whether independent consulting is limited to periods of transition, or whether it is possible to create a new career long term as a consultant, keeping to one's original profession but becoming your own boss with the flexibility to set your own work schedule. Can women survive and thrive as independent consultants or do the pressures of entrepreneurship entail ever longer working hours?