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These 9 Feel-Good Career Stories Will Give You Hope for 2016

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With 2015 coming to an end and a new year just around the corner, it's nice to reflect on some of the positive things that have happened in the career world this year, from companies offering increased paid family leave to millennials teaching us what success should look like in the future. Here are a few of the top career stories of 2015 to help close out the year on a good note.

With 2015 coming to an end and a new year just around the corner, it’s nice to reflect on some of the positive things that have happened in the career world this year, from companies offering increased paid family leave to millennials teaching us what success should look like in the future. Here are a few of the top career stories of 2015 to help close out the year on a good note.

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(Photo Credit: Morgan Sessions/Unsplash)

Paid Parental Leave

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Obama Pushes for Paid Family Leave: Earlier this year, Obama took matters into his own hands and signed a memorandum directing federal agencies to give employees up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. This announcement is a breath of fresh air for working parents, particularly working mothers, who don’t want to have to sacrifice their career or their families due to the lack of paid time off – it shouldn’t be a toss-up. Thanks, Obama. (See what we did there?)

Netflix Offers ‘Unlimited’ Year of Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave: The U.S. is one of only four other countries in the world that doesn’t mandate paid parental leave, so Netflix’s generous offer of unlimited paid leave for a year is tremendous. Thankfully, other tech giants, like Microsoft, Adobe, and Amazon, hopped on the paid-parental-leave bandwagon and upped their policies as well.

Why Mark Zuckerberg’s 2-Month Paternity Leave Is Good News for Working Parents: Congrats to Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, on the birth of their first child, daughter Maxima Zuckerberg. Before the arrival of “Max,” Zuckerberg announced that he would be taking two months off after Priscilla gave birth to bond with their newborn, because, as he said, “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.” Kudos to you, Zuckerberg.

Women in STEM

LinkedIn Is Being the Change It Wants to See for Women in Tech: There’s no doubt that women are gravely underrepresented in the tech industry and other STEM fields. Only one-third of the workforce in tech are women, and only one in five women hold leadership positions at tech companies. Thanks to tech giants like LinkedIn, all that is bound to change. Last year, LinkedIn started its Women in Tech (WIT) initiative to help empower and support women pursuing a career in tech, and the numbers show it’s working. In its 2015 Workplace Diversity Report, the WIT program helped facilitate a “1 percent increase for women in technical roles and a 5 percent increase for women in leadership roles, a 3 percent increase for representation of women overall” at LinkedIn in less than a year. Though the increase may be slight, it is progress, nonetheless.

For the First Time Ever, Computer Science Is the Most Popular Major for Women at Stanford: This year, Stanford University announced that, for the first time in the university’s history, computer science ranked as the top major for its female students. This is definitely a huge step in the right direction for women in tech and STEM fields, and it goes to show that all the efforts to encourage and support women in STEM are paying off – even if it’s one graduating class at a time.

The Best #DistractinglySexy Tweets: If there’s any moment this year worth highlighting about women in STEM, it’s when Nobel Prize winner Sir Tim Hunt made the unfortunate mistake of calling women more of a distraction than a benefit in science labs – and, oh boy, did women (and the internet) have a field day with that one. This unfortunate lapse of judgment by Hunt inspired one of the greatest Twitter hashtags ever: #DistractinglySexy. Skim through the hashtag feed and have yourself a belly laugh as women and men of science mock Sir Tim Hunt and his ill-chosen words.

Other Noteworthy Stories:

BLS Jobs Report: 211,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Holds at 5 Percent: The unemployment rate has slowly but surely showed signs of improvement since 2009, when it reached a whopping 10 percent in October of that year. In December 2014, unemployment was 5.6 percent; this year, in November, the rate was only 5 percent. Average hourly earnings for 2015 have risen by 2.3 percent.

Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Out About the Gender Pay Gap: Thanks to Sony’s infamous email hack earlier this year, we learned that Hollywood actresses and some female executives at Sony were being paid less than their male counterparts. This inspired a series of well-known actresses (e.g. Patricia Arquette and Geena Davis) to come forward and voice their opinions regarding the gender pay gap in Hollywood and around the globe. As a result, we’ve heard more dialogue about what can be done to eradicate gender inequalities and unconscious bias in the home and in the workplace.

Here’s Why Millennials Want to Work Part-Time: Millennials have reinvented what success looks like to their generation, and it is polar opposite of any generation prior. In fact, millennials would rather have a more fulfilling job that allows for a flexible schedule, than a corporate job that provides a higher paycheck. Nowadays, it seems that more professionals, not just Gen Y, are craving work-life balance and satisfaction from their careers, than a fancy title and bigger paycheck.

If there’s anything we can all learn from these top career stories, it’s that change for the better is possible and very near – all it takes is some time, patience, and determination to it make happen.

Tell Us What You Think

What other stories inspired you this year? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below. Sharing is caring. Happy holidays.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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