Friday, November 15, 2013

Article on Having It All

As you all know, I would really like to get my PhD (in Business) at some point.  I have been paying very close attention to academic articles/working papers that would help me to narrow down the subject I would like to major in.  When I went to the PhD fair the other month, they suggested reading papers you are interested in and paying close attention to the schools that sponsored the paper and the subject/major of the individuals who wrote the paper.  This is a subject matter that interests me greatly and was written by a research associate at Yale's School of Business Management.


The following link ( is of a working paper/study on "Having it All," based on that article I sent you a while ago.  In this paper (which is quite long), the author tracks the lives of 40 or so women over a period of time.  In tracking their lives and interviewing each lady, the author was able to summarize their responses into 3 categories:


Can I have it all?

1.       "No, but I can have what is most important."  Strategy: Prioritize and Limit.  No, I cannot have it all, but I can have what is most important to me.  I can prioritize which endeavors I will pursue, and which I will limit or do without.  This answer is animated by the conviction that a woman's highest priorities – whether related to work, relationships, or lifestyle – command so much attention that she can only truly have one or two, in her lifetime.

2.       "Yes, but not all at once."  Strategy: Sequencing.  Yes, I can have it all, but not all at once.  I can sequence the elements I want to include in my life, focusing on energies on one until I am satisfied and ready to turn my attention to the next.   The women who embraced this answer also felt they needed to invest fully in their top priorities, and could only do justice to one or two elements at a time.

3.       "Yes."  Strategy: Add and Delegate.  Yes, I can have it all.  I can pursue all the elements I want, and delegate some of the tasks needed to make it all work.  In contrast to those who prioritized or sequenced, women who adopted this approach were much less likely to think their choices conflicted with each other so much as to be mutually exclusive.  They anticipated adding every major element they wanted – in work, relationship or lifestyle – without significant postponements or concessions.  They would keep up by enlisting help (housekeepers, nannies, bookeepers, assistants, etc.), as necessary.


This study also follows up with each of these when they are older to determine how their strategy turned out for them.  In summary, 41% of the women who chose to prioritize and limit felt their solution went relatively well and were happy with the outcome.  50% of the women who chose to sequence felt their solution went relatively well and were happy with the outcome.  20% of the women who decided to strive to have it all and delegate tasks were ultimately happy with the outcome at the later stages of their life.