“Of Mice and Bears”
Relevance and Expectation in Career

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When Sam was a little boy, he had a passion for small things – so when his mom made him a dollhouse as a gift, he was enthralled. Together, they created furniture, landscaping, decorations, and a rich life for the dollhouse’s inhabitants, which were mice and bears (no regular humans allowed). They also entered competitions, which Sam won three years in a row at the ages of eight, nine, and ten years old.

Later, on the basis of his love of design and the influence of his grandfather, a respected architect who considered the profession a higher calling, Sam decided to get a Master’s degree in architecture. But his expectations for what being an architect meant and felt like were based on his grandfather’s experience at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. It was the 1950s, and a heady time in the profession. Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and a renowned modernist architect, was the dean of the school. In the post-war environment, there was a sense of cohesiveness and a belief in the power of architecture to change the world for the better that was intoxicating.

Sam got to architecture school with this in mind, but it was fifty years later, and there was no longer a cohesive narrative that brought everyone together. The realities of being an architect had changed. “I wanted to be someone interested in and capable of changing the world,” Sam said. He found that a much more complicated goal than he originally thought. (read more…)

“I scared you, didn’t I?” Stories from the 3rd female reporter at the Wall Street Journal

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Today, the discrimination working women face tends to be subtle. A male counterpart might earn more, but he negotiated for it, for example. Gone are the days when women literally were’t allowed in the front door, were refused service at men’s bars, or where their main role is to serve coffee. But in 1969, when Mary Bralove began her career as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she was only the third female journalist on staff.   To give you a sign of the times, she remembers that the day she started, there was an article about a woman who was so big breasted, that crowds of men followed her to work. This story ran on the front page as a light hearted piece.

The pressure was on. “I didn’t want to give them any reason not to hire another women,” she describes. So she bent over backwards to make it work, and to protect her authority once she was promoted to Assistant New York Bureau Chef. Listen as we talk to this journalist about what is was like to work in the chauvinistic atmosphere of the 1970’s newsroom, how she balanced work and family and why- after 14 years- she left.

(read more…)

“Alison, Rachel, Nicole, Elizabeth…”
First love and first loss

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Remember how exciting it was, when you were a kid, to like someone – like like them, that is – and find out that they liked you back? Steph and I have been talking a lot about podcasts ever since doing our last one, and one of the topics we both wanted to address was love. In this episode, I interview someone very close to me about it – my husband, Tim. Tim can remember the names all the girls he had crushes on, going grade by grade, from 1st to 12th. I wanted to know more about his memories of first crushes, and first love. When does infatuation turn in to love? What does love feel like? How does it change as you get older?

In talking about these topics over a series of conversations, though, we found ourselves drifting in to discussion about Tim’s mom, Jamien. Jamien, with whom Tim had a difficult relationship, died of breast cancer when he was 17 and she was 48. About a year after she died, Tim fell in love for the first time. Three years later, as he coped with the break up of this first real relationship, Tim realized that feelings he’d suppressed about his mom’s death were coming back to him powerfully. “It felt like going through mom’s death again, only way worse this time.”

(read more…)

“You Can Go Now”
Politeness vs. directness in close relationships

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A few weeks ago, we got the idea that it would be fun to explore some of themes of this blog in a more dynamic format by using interviews and conversation. So today we’re trying something new – a podcast! In this episode, we tackle direct and honest communication in close relationships.

This type of communication feels risky — it leaves us vulnerable to be open, to share our true selves. We risk offending and somehow being rendered less lovable. Yet, this is also where trust and intimacy are built. Why is it sometimes hard to be clear and straightforward about how we’re feeling with close friends, family, and partners? Is politeness a barrier to closeness? What are the risks of leaving politeness behind and instead opting for gentle candor? And, who is Invisible Script’s cousin? Click below to listen to the discussion.

Image:  Harold Edgerton photograph