As they faced unexpectedly fraught decisions about their own lives, journalists Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace found themselves wondering about the women they'd graduated alongside. What happened to these women who seemed set to reap the rewards of second-wave feminism, on the brink of taking over the world?
Our sorority sisters were the picture of ambition' back in college, the authors write in The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life. Yet in middle age, much seems challenging. 'Things hadn’t turned out exactly as they’d planned.' People made compromises; they fretted about their choices; they did what they could to make life work ... After interviewing 43 women...the authors—mercifully—don’t draw any polemical conclusions about what women want. The primary take-away is that women want many things, and different things at different times ... If anyone is feeling adrift in midlife, this may be the most useful advice in The Ambition Decisions, even if it is not the point of the book and is not specific to women either: Friends—especially old friends—make life feel better, no matter how ambitious you are.
Journalists Schank and Wallace met as sorority sisters at Northwestern University in 1989. Both were ambitious and had high expectations for their postgraduate lives. Their paths took varied turns, but, living in New York in their early forties, both women felt lost in their lives as mothers and partners. Together, they decided to explore what felt like a transition point ... The result is a fascinating look at how ambition is not easily contained or defined ... Readers of all generations will learn from the authors’ road map through life’s transitions.
Journalists Schank and Wallace examine lifestyle choices made by American women reaching midlife in this thought-provoking albeit narrow study of college-educated Gen-Xers ... The authors identify three distinct career arcs: 'high achievers', 'opt outers', and 'flex lifers'. Although they find that motherhood may impact the trajectory of one’s career arc, biology doesn’t determine destiny so much as the desire to please others ... The methodology of limiting research to the authors’ sorority sisters will turn off readers looking for something rigorous and data-based, but the authors do provide some useful though casual insight about the post–women’s liberation world.