Friday, January 17, 2014

Women in Banking

Chicago Booth Magazine, the alumni rag of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, has a cover story on women in banking and finance.  Their balancing acts brought tears to my eyes.
"..her younger son... in first grade suggesting that she change her career so she wouldn't have to travel." 
"..she...worried that she was an absent mother, since her job took her away from home three or four days a week, to a different city each day."
Time passes and nothing changes.  Social work and school teaching were good professions for young women when I was growing up.  You could take a few years off, raise your family, go back and continue to do the work you loved, and still be available for kith and kin.  Unless you are special enough to be one who "requested a yearlong sabbatical" and are able to live her next sentence: "When she returned to work....," most young mothers have neither the flexibility nor the financial resources to live like the five featured women.

But that was the point of the article.  These women have huge incomes, and, no doubt, much of it goes to exceptional child care. They are preaching to a choir of MBA's, people who know the meaning of a dollar. Still, I wonder if the most recent profile Linnea Roberts's husband, George, "one of the three cofounders of private-equity giant KKR," outlined his familial responsibilities?

The happier side of this article was found in items like these:
"She has an innate ability to quickly strike up relationships with people, which is powerful.." 
"I've been told that I'm too nice - it's pretty much been on every review..."
"....rewarded her ability to establish rapport with clients."
Women paying attention to the relationship side of the business seems to strike a chord, doesn't it? the notion that it's about more than numbers, that human connections are given weight in the world of banking and finance, that's news.  It was certainly not the case when TBG began his career in 1978.

The world could use more managers like this one:
"...it's gratifying to see that somebody with (her) good personal characteristics is succeeding because she's the kind of person that you root for...... It's good to see that winning out over greed or sharp elbows."
Now, if there were day care centers on the ground floor of every office building, if sabbaticals were not reserved for those at the very top, if flexibility were prized as a means of achieving success, then, perhaps, articles like these would be unnecessary.

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