I read Time magazine a few weeks ago (because Bernie Sanders was on the cover). Page fifty-two offered another article of interest, “Why Ambition Isn’t Working for Women.” A particular statement keeps echoing for me, “‘Why aren’t there more women CEOs?’ …. because they don’t want to be….” 
I’m sick of hearing about CEOs. Wellesley College, where I earned my B.A., has a tradition called hoop rolling. Seniors race wooden hoops down Tupelo Lane and as we’ve all heard over and over since I matriculated in 1995, “originally the winner was said to be the first to marry, later the first to become a CEO, and now is said to be the first to achieve success however they define it.”  You can’t find a better explanation for why I have mixed feelings about my alma mater.
Go be a CEO! Or if you want to be something else, that’s okay too.
I never attended a hoop-rolling.
An old friend visited this weekend. She’s a tenured math professor. She earned her bachelors and her doctorate degrees while raising her oldest child. She’s since had four more children, all while pursuing an academic career in math. She teaches at a challenging urban university while raising her four living kids and being the sole caretaker for her aging and ill mother.
This weekend, after she’d cleaned my kitchen and taken my dog for a walk, while I struggled with escaping cats and a sick child (Josh was out of town), she said something about how it’s pointless for her to try to resurrect her career in math. She’s a tenured math professor, folks. Half the time I see her, it’s because she’s in town on a math conference or to do work with another mathematician here. If she reads this, she’ll list all sorts of reasons why she’s not good enough.
I know you’re just a math professor, not a CEO, K, but that’s okay too.
I had a tough week last week. A large organization I believed in, my health care cooperative, failed. I was on the board and as I slowly realize what happened, why, and what the implications are, I’m horrified, but I’m bound by several confidentiality clauses.
It had a CEO, but it’s not okay too.
Going into the weekend, I had a deep undercurrent of exhaustion, anger, and entirely too much to do. But I can’t explain that to my boys, so when they wanted to attend Zoo Boo, we went.
My boys are adorable, sweet, and oh so privileged. As they demand toys and treats, it’s my challenge to impart to them my sense of values and justice.
If one of them wants to become a CEO, it’ll take work for me to be okay with that too.
Can you see what’s happening in the picture above? I know it’s fuzzy and they’re well-camouflaged, but in the dark of the reptile house at Zoo Boo, my boys and I came upon an alligator and an alligator snapping turtle, getting as close to a snuggle as I think may be possible for them.
I know they’re just reptiles, not CEOs, but that’s okay too.
 Wright Brindle, quoted in Kristin van Ogtrop, “Why Ambition Isn’t Working for Women,” Time Magazine, September 28, 2015, p. 56.