Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thoughts on Michelle Obama and 50/50

In Getting to 50/50, we talk a lot about the benefits to men of their wives working and earning money so that men can take risks and pursue their dreams. It seems to me that the Obamas are actually the best poster children for our 50/50 dream. They have both pursued careers, but often it was Michelle Obama making the bulk of the income for their family, while Barack was a community organizer, professor and public servant. Would he have felt more pressure to make money to support their family rather than follow these passions without a wife who participated in the breadwinning? I actually imagine that a key to his success was that she took care of the basics so that he didn't have to and could concentrate where his talents were best public service.

I actually know quite a few folks who would make fabulous public servants if they didn't have to maintain private industry jobs to support their families. Many lawyer friends would love to run for public office, work for the U.S. Attorney or join the Obama administration, but they have mortgages to pay that makes these changes very difficult. It would be great if working for the government paid more so this would be less of an issue. However, in the meantime, we can think about Michelle as the earliest investor in the Obama presidency. Clearly marrying Michelle was Barack's smartest career decision to date.


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