Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Feb 1, 2012

Reading Madam Secretary: A Wonderful Lady

Filed under: Reading — admin @ 12:46 am

I read Madam Secretary: A Memoir by Madeleine Albright early January. I was very much impressed by her experience. She was in one sense a pioneer and an inspiration. She grew up during the time when women’s place was at home, serving their husbands and children. Even though, she did her best to play her role, she managed to get her Ph.D., and after divorce, moved on to live a very fulfilled life. Here are some of the notes from the book.

After giving birth to her twice babies, her life was changed. “So began a new segment in my life, one defined by formula, diapers, rattles, burps, teething, hugs, frequent weight checks, visits to the doctor, and shrieking, splashing baths. I was so proud of my beautiful and good daughters; I was also growing frustrated because I wanted to make full use of my education.” p. 52

“Twice in two years, I have had to leave good jobs with good futures to follow my husband’s path. And that was even before I had children. Now, even to get a job, I would have to find and hire a dependent nurse and pay her perhaps more than I could make myself. Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic. Perhaps I could go out tomorrow and get a job as a typist. The next question is, why bother? Do I want a job merely to have a job, or do Iwant to work in order to be doing something worthwhile?”

“I must admit though that I feel somewhat like a pioneer. I am not satisfied to sit back for the rest of my life and contemplate in which order to clean the rooms. I want to find a solution and still feel that somehow it must be possible to be a responsible mother, a good wife and have an intellectually satisfying job.” p. 53

While her babies were small, she could not land on a full-time job. When her hope of getting a journalist job was gone, she enrolled in a graduate program at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies — “Even though I participated in these activities, I did so part-time because I had begun graduate work at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. I had given up hope of a career in journalism but I thought I might follow my father’s lead and become a college professor. I was taking the full load of five courses, plus Russian.” p. 54

She later continued her graduate at Columbia University. “In addition to working toward my Ph.D., I decided to try to obtain a certificate from the university’s Russian Institute.” p. 56

All this hard work had prepared her for the role that she later assumed, that is, being the first female Secretary of State of the U.S., taking the path that most women in her generation not even dared to imagine.

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