BE UNIQUE

The secret strategy that lets you build a family-friendly career

If you hope to build both a high-impact career and a healthy family life, a bit of strategizing never hurts. Sharon Meers, a former Goldman Sachs managing director, and current head of eBay’s Magento enterprise strategy unit, offered up this succinct framework for building such a career, in response to a question following a speech at the London School of Economics earlier this year.

“Look for skills that are scarce, and often that means technical in some way…It’s like building a company, you want barriers to entry, you want a defensible niche, something that you are uniquely great at.

Because, I think, once you have that, it becomes much easier. You are a valued employee. And when you become a parent, and if you choose to work differently, in a way that other people think is odd, they’ll say, “Yeah, but she’s really good.”

You can see the entire exchange not long after the 55:45 mark in this video. And here are her slides from the presentation.


Meers has spent quite a bit of time thinking about work-family issues, and even co-wrote a book about it.

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