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My kids ruined my career—and then I pivoted.
It was the middle of the Trump presidency and I was Vice President of Campaigns at the Center for American Progress, the largest Democratic think tank in Washington DC, and I just learned I was pregnant with my second child, just nine months after having my first.
I never saw myself as someone who would have kids, and I definitely did not see myself as someone whose kids would change their career. Like so many women, I had read all of the girlboss articles and books and I held this idea that we could really do it all. But I began to realize how unsustainable my job had become. With the endless news cycle and constant crises that came out of the Trump presidency, I couldn’t be the employee or boss I wanted to be. So, in 2018, I stepped away.
Leaving behind a career that I had worked so hard to achieve was not easy. I felt like I had lost my momentum and failed. I love my kids more than anything, and now I realize my priorities shifted when I became a parent. I had to learn to redefine my idea of success.
In 2018, I launched my first podcast, Your Political Playlist (opens in new tab), and it finally started to feel like I found a new way to achieve similar career goals, to find success. Then COVID hit just months after having my third child and things, once again, fell into chaos. It was a delicate dance of saving my new business, caring for my kids, and trying everyday to save who I was from this vacuum. Now, two years later, I’m able to find balance by finding inspiration and solidarity with many women who’ve gone through something similar.
Once I started to talk about my decision to leave behind my traditional career, I began to meet women all around me who have pivoted, and each and every one of them changed their trajectory because of a personal decision. We view pivots as a strategic career move or something that might have a financial advantage. But more often than not, it is more complicated and involves a range of personal factors, such as one’s socioeconomic background, race, education, earning power, industry, right down to personal family dynamics and level of caregiving support.
In She Pivots, my new podcast partnership with Marie Claire, I sit down with some fascinating women to talk about their stories and how their pivot turned into their success. The show features a diverse group of women like Sophia Bush, Reshma Saujani, and more who have successfully reinvented their careers. Join us every week as we celebrate and explore a variety of powerful women who prove there’s so much more to a career than its first chapter.
She Pivots is out now wherever you get your podcasts. Listen, subscribe, leave us a rating and follow us at @ShePivotsThePodcast!
Emily Tisch Sussman is the Founder and Host of “She Pivots,” the podcast in partnership with Marie Claire about women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. She is a contributing editor to Maire Claire and the guest host of the Marie Claire Instagram Live series “Getting Down to Business.”
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