On success for a single mother

I had an interesting chat with one of my kids’ school teachers yesterday. She was one of the supervisors, friendly, smiley, and is a 4th grade teacher for gifted kids.

copyright © Magic Math Mandarin

happy mother’s day 2016 by Elizabeth and Victoria

“If you do well, you will be one of my students.” She said kindly to my second grader and kindergartener.

Then she turned to me, “I am very successful.  I have two master degrees, two kids, AND, I am married. I always tell my students education is the key.”

“And I am married” is counted as one of the successes? I did not ask. But apparently I have encountered one who believes so.

Being married is not your success, neither is any other kind: single, divorced, twice-divorced, widowed, or gay. Being married is the agreement between your partner and you.

I keep going everyday thinking that I have to make it out there in the world, for myself for my children and also for those women who are like me—the single mothers. If I can make it, without family without roots in this country, you can make it too! If I can be a VP at a bank making multiple times salary as I did when I got pregnant after just graduating from college, you can too. If I can be a millionaire with my own hands and brain, you can too!  Single motherhood did not diminish me; instead it has made me grow in everyway.   And I count that as success.

Lessons learned from Christine Lagarde

Christine_LagardeI have been reading and watching everything I can about Christine Lagarde recently.   She is an extremely successful (the first finance minister of France and the first woman chairman of the IMF) and the most charismatic woman I know.  Below are a summary of quotes I collected.

  • On physical fitness

“We only have one body and we’d better look after it because that body keeps us going and will carry us through the day, through professional life and personal life. We don’t have time, but we must do the preventive checkups and keep physical training as much as we can.”

  • On crisis

“Whether you are optimistic or pessimistic, you will get it wrong anyway. So you might as well be optimistic.

Never give up, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. But we should never give up.”

  • Cause of current slow growth

Lack of confidence, sovereign debt crisis, balance sheets that concerns banks and households of most advance economies (both Europe and US).

The rest of the countries: growth is better, but there is overheating risk (that may lead to inflation), and may suffer the result from slow growth of advance economies.

There is a way out: if nations decide to take board actions collectively budgetarily, restore public finance, demonstrate their ability to control fiscal policy and make it work;

  • Skill sets required for her role in lobbying so many countries
  1. Listening skills: where they are coming from, what are their vested interests, what is their time table at the back of their minds, what are the clear obvious and hidden agendas- the ability to listen and to catch all these
  2. Communication: describe what is in it for them in their future, how they can sell to their public on what is in the plan and yet be honest. “This is how we are today, these are the challenges, but there is a way out of it and let’s get on with it.”

On career and jobs

Sometimes I read/hear complaints about not able to find a great job despite having advanced degrees and/or having been published. But I have never heard anyone complain of not being able to find a great job despite having some highly sought after skills.   The importance for your career is what you CAN DO now; it is not what school you graduated from, or the master/PhD you obtained a long time ago.