Tag Archives: career choices

A gift for you this holiday…

“What will be the fullest expression of your greatness?”  Sounds jarring, doesn’t it?  It isn’t meant to be.  The New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch stated in a Postscript piece eulogizing Nelson Mandela, “It was in the negotiations of apartheid’s end that Mandela’s greatness found its fullest expression.”  The instant I read the sentence I loved it.  Why?  I believe that every person, no exception, has a greatness quotient.   Our toughest work?  Bringing it forth. Continue reading

Transition Approach: certain versus confident

I remember a great NPR piece from the summer of 2009.  I was driving in traffic, my typical  commute. Eight miles in 55 minutes.   The discussion’s topic was leadership.  The reason it caught me was that it described leadership in two simple yet separate buckets; certain or confident.  It hit me because I think that every leader I have ever worked under would think of herself or himself as confident when in fact they were more often certain.  I wonder if this simple dichotomy works in transition as well?  Continue reading

Summer Book Review Finale: Learnings?

An incident struck me yesterday morning.  I was walking with two neighbors at the crack of dawn — as I do regularly.  We were discussing an issue that hit a chord with one of my compatriots.  She physically changed as the conversation ensued.  Her body tensed and she began to shake ever so slightly.  Needless to say she was very keyed up.    She was struggling with anyone – it didn’t matter whom – who couldn’t see this topic the way she did.   From my view she seemed absolutely CLOSED to anything anyone else had to say.

It was a powerful juxtaposition to my summer  – a summer that opened me up to scores of new thinking about women’s transition issues.  Continue reading

Summer Book Review #12: Women in Career & Life Transitions

Do you remember the sock puppet commercial from the early 2000’s?   I think it was for pets.com or some other internet start-up.   A sock puppet with scraggly hair and button eyes would respond with the phrase, “the horror,” to many missives tossed at it.   It was silly and cavalier and – most of the time – just perfect.

The sock puppet’s “horror” voice was in my ear in  Continue reading

Summer Book Review # 11: It Takes a Village

A rare evening of downtime last week inspired this week’s book choice.   I hardly ever put on the tv but in doing so I happened upon the 2009 documentary “The Last Train Home” directed by Lixin Fan.  This documentary follows  a Chinese couple from Sichuan province as they travel almost 1,000 miles home to their native village for the 4 day New Year’s celebration; a trek made by almost 130 million migrant Chinese workers.   The couple have made the journey for more than a decade to see their two children who are in the care of an aging grandmother.   Aside from letters this will be their only contact with the children for the year.

At one point the mother’s total anguish is overwhelming Continue reading

Summer Book Review #10: The Price of Motherhood

What a week!  It started with a minor hand injury that has left me with a few splinted fingers.   At the funeral of a dear family friend – also this week — I had to duck a few crushing hand shakes given that the blow was to my right hand.   My visiting mother-in-law queried me about how we plan to raise our children given that my husband and I hail from different faiths.  Caught a bee sting today while watching our two little stars at a ‘mock’ swim meet.  Did I mention that this was a family vacation week?

Amidst this swirl I read, Continue reading

Summer Book Review #9: Working Identity

Driving yesterday I heard an NPR story on WCAI, the Cape & The Islands (CAI) radio.  They broadcast a show entitled “The Moth”  which features audio storybooks of everyday Americans.  Their first story really gripped me:  an  autobiography by Aimee Mullins, a young women who lost both of her legs at birth and has used prosthetic limbs ever since.

Ms. Mullins told a truly amazing story about her life and her various opportunities to touch the lives of others.   One was a little girl who also had an artificial limb.  At the time Aimee first met her she had been struggling.  Kind of ‘just’ getting along –  setting no great expectations for herself while locked inside the world’s limited view of her capabilities.  Aimee inspired her to re-frame her expectations for herself and for those around her.

At a chance meeting a year or two later Continue reading

Summer Book Review #6: Off-Ramps and On-Ramps

In April I joined a dozen women from my Harvard Business School class for dinner at a Mexican food restaurant.  Given that we graduated twenty years ago, we spent the 1st hour of dinner re-acquainting ourselves with one another.  We quickly fell into formal – or not so formal – introductions.    I  was so surprised by how few of my peers were working in a full-time traditional career – 2 out of 12.    A few more had worked a more traditional career path prior to having children but many had never worked a full-time career due to marriage, children, divorce, requirements of a spouse’s job, parental care, etc., etc.  Most chose part-time work at some point. Only three of us, including yours truly, worked full-time after having children.

One woman described her vocational interests as “design & architecture.”  It sounded exciting and creative but I remember being profoundly sad Continue reading


“Please pull out a piece of paper,” so started my facilitation of a career event sponsored by the Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  I asked each participant to write down what their professional aspirations were – using a 5 year time frame.  We spent the next twenty minutes discussing what folks had jotted down.  What happened next amazed me. Continue reading