She Works: Advice To Your Younger Self?

Apr 22, 2013
Originally published on April 26, 2013 8:41 pm

Over the next few weeks we'll be asking NPR women about their careers — and inviting you to join the conversation. The first question goes to Susan Stamberg, one of NPR's "founding mothers."

Question: What kind of advice would you give your younger self?

Susan Stamberg: "I'm 74 1/2. I entered the workplace in the late 1950s, before feminism. All my bosses were men, and every career advance was because of, or thanks to, a male boss. Because I was so often out in front, working harder than any of the men around me, and feeling competitive with any female who might have been after the same job, I didn't reach a helping hand to other women until I was fairly well into my working life.

"At NPR, I learned, then practiced, the rich lessons of sisterhood — how to mentor, boost morales. Valuable lessons, because they lift every undertaking to new and better heights.

"Somewhere in midstream, with a hard-working husband, our marvelous young son, and a fabulous job at NPR, I learned that women can have it all — but not all at once.

"I didn't act on that lesson because it all seemed almost achievable at the time. I wouldn't give up the husband and son, and the job was too marvelous to leave. But I often wonder whether trimming my workload might have made important differences to the rest of my experience.

"What I gave up to do marriage, motherhood and work as well as I possibly could were the wonderful, intimate hours of tending to friendships. There just wasn't time."

What advice would you give to your younger self? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

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