Why Work 70 Hours A Week?
From our series, What It's Really Like To Be A Woman At The Country's Most Prestigious Business School, these are highlights from conversations with four women from HBS’ class of 2015. In their own words, they tell us about their two years at Harvard, what they learned (including lots of amazing getting-ahead advice), and how they’re planning to conquer their futures.
I came to HBS already knowing what I enjoyed doing, but wondering if there’s not something I would enjoy doing more. With medical school or law school, you need the degrees to be a doctor or a lawyer. Business school is not necessarily like that. I’d love to say I came here with more of a plan than I did, but I’ve used it as a second phase of college — a time to be exploratory and reflective.
I wanted to be sure I was being conscious about the choices I make. Why was I choosing to spend my time working 70 hours a week if there was a way to work 50, for instance?
My mom has been pretty formative in my life. Before I headed to Stanford for college, she ask me what I wanted to be doing 10 years down the road. We’d talk about the hedgehog concept in Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. There are three circles: What you’re good at, what you love to do, and what will allow you to make money. When you can find the intersection of those three things, then you’ve hit the jackpot.
There are several things I’ve learned while I’ve been here. One is that things can seem very important in the moment, but any single decision can be undone. If a given job doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world — I can quit. It’s okay to have made decisions that might look like I’ve failed. But it’s been important for me to have the conviction that I have the ability to say "no" as much as I have the ability to say "yes."
But, I do think we might see that more five to 10 years from now — what will happen if we decide to have families? And once we have those families, if we’re going to be in a two-income household where both people have very real ambitions for our professional lives, how do we make that work? How do we even have that conversation?