This Week in Family
‘Follow your passion’ is pretty common professional advice, but, as the authors Elizabeth Wallace and Hana Schank argue, it may not be enough to keep women in the workforce. In interviewing women about their career and family choices, Wallace and Schank noticed that many of the women they spoke with who didn’t need to work to make money were inclined to give up on having a job if they couldn’t make a career out of their passion.
“We suspect that the idea that one should feel fervently about one’s work disproportionately affects women, who may already feel that their job is a hardship for their family,” the authors write in The Atlantic, in an excerpt from their new book about women’s ambition. “For women who don’t inherently see their role in the family as ‘economic provider,’ staying in a job that might not pay much and that they’re not crazy about feels frivolous and selfish.” And this often leads women to miss out on another kind of fulfillment—the satisfaction that comes from getting really good at a job.
Sometimes, friendships end abruptly, with nary a word offered as explanation. Such splits can be mysterious, but sometimes there are patterns behind them: According to Deborah Tannen, a linguistics professor who recently wrote a book about female friendships, women are less likely than men to communicate their reasons for ending a friendship. In her talk at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, Tannen said that this lack of knowing can be particularly painful for the women on the receiving end of this silent treatment, because they tend to be “competitive about connection”—for many women, it’s very important to know the intimate details of friends’ lives.