WDYDWYD?Why do you do what you do?
I want women (and men) who leave the work force to know they can resume their professional lives.
Taking a career break used to be considered “career suicide.” But, I survived it.
In 2001, I relaunched my career at a prominent investment firm after 11 years out of the full-time work force following the birth of my first of four children. It was unusual enough that HBS documented my experiences in a 2003 case. With no resources on the topic, and few role models, I had to figure everything out for myself. I learned the importance of thinking deeply about what I wanted for the next stage of my career.
I learned that my former co-workers still viewed me as the successful professional I had been, and didn’t share my self-doubts. I learned it was possible to update my pitifully out-of-date skills.
Together with Vivian Steir Rabin, HBS ’86, I co-authored the book we wish we could have consulted when navigating our own returns: Back on the Career Track (2007).
Today, through our company iRelaunch, we are on a mission to help others on career break and to impress upon employers the high quality and workforce readiness of returning professionals.
— Carol Fishman Cohen
Photography by Stephen Cohen
Capital Group; Flextronics; Drexel Burnham Lambert; Bain Capital; iReLaunch
Tony Deifell (MBA 2002) created WDYDWYD?, a social media meme of people answering the simple question, “why do you do what you do?” by combining an image and text. To honor the 50th anniversary of women students at HBS, the Women’s Student Association Alumni Team (Annie Wheeler, MBA 2013; Danielle Slutzky, MBA 2013; and Tara Hagan, MBA 2014) partnered with Tony and asked alumnae to answer the question, “why do you do what you do?”