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Ep. 45: Part Two: Liz Wallace and Hana Schank on Playing The Long Game in Your Career

"One of the women who became one of the high achievers said that an older woman in her firm had advised her to look at childcare as an investment in her career and that it might seem like an enormous financial sacrifice right now but that it was going to pay off in the long run."

Join me for Part Two of my interview with Liz Wallace and Hana Schank, co-authors of The Ambition Interviews published in The Atlantic. Liz and Hana talk further about the lessons learned from studying nearly 40 of their classmates' career trajectories, including the choices women make at different life stages and the importance of playing the long game in your career.

"[We hope] women can look at it as I started out as a high achiever, right now I'm scaling back, I might even opt out for a bit. You have the option to move across all three categories. You don't have to lock yourself in. It's really interesting the number of people we have met since this came out who have said 'I'm all three of these.' I think it's really important for women to know that that's an is long and your career is going to take many different forms. If you're thinking about it, you can be the architect of where you fall within those three trajectories."

In this episode, we discuss the lack of intersectionality in their work, the future of work for women, the different categories career falls into throughout women's lives, optimism for the next generation, how their work on the Ambition Interviews has affected their careers, their discovery that being a scale-backer is a legitimate career choice, the role of ambition in career, and how having children impacts women's career paths.

"I do think there's a lot of change because of younger people coming into the work world and because of women not wanting to put up with all the shit we did over the past twenty years of working."

What you'll learn:

  • The group that was studied are all white middle class women.
  • This is not an intersectional study, however it shows that privileged women can’t all succeed then what hope is there for anyone else.
  • Women need to look at their lives and careers as a long game and take in the low-maintenance years as well as the high achieving ones.
  • Women who opt-out are taking a financial risk because their income is through a spouse who could die or leave.
  • Life can be played as a long game where you allow for shifting ambition and toggling across the ambition spectrum.
  • Try to see childcare as an investment in your career.
  • You can exist in all three life trajectory categories; you don’t have to just stick to one.
  • Hana has changed her career since doing this work and has decided to lean in and spend more time out of the house.
  • You can do any job while you love it because you don’t have to do it forever.
  • As the world of work changes and becomes more of a gig economy it should become easier for parents to switch roles as the “lead parent”.
  • The new millennial generation has a different view of what work looks like.
  • Being a scale-backer is a legitimate choice and not a consolation prize; you just change where you channel your ambition.

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