Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ode to Balance

WSJ (3-26-2011) 'Mommy Track' Without Shame by Virginia Postrel

In the most recent weekend edition of the WSJ, Virginia Postrel rights about 'MBA mothers' and the strategies younger women are pursuing to balance work and family. Since most college students will soon be making these decisions  themselves (with their spouses), I thought it worth a post.

Full disclosure, I find this article gratifying. I switched from a tenure track position (high status in academia world)  to an adjunct position in order to gain more time with my children. This was an unusual move at the time to say the least. I took a leap of faith that when I was ready I could get back on faster path.

I took inspiration from the example of the prominent mathematician Mary Ellen Rudin.  My father is a  mathematician in the same field as Mary Ellen Rudin, and he often talked about her unusual career path.
According to his version of the story, for years she worked in the background while raising her children. Eventually as her publications mounted, she was promoted from adjunct professor to full professor - and became universally recognized as one of the top mathematicians in the world in her field. I am not plotting my ascendance to world domination, but it is nice to know someone else has done it.

I suspect the next generation of men and women going through college now will be even more willing to reshape career paths to fit their needs.

JP Seiden, management consultant, takes a bleaker stance on work-life balance in this clip for college students and interns in 2009 (5 minutes).

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