Editor's Note: The Choice I Didn't Want To Make
Welcome to our October issue and to our 2012 ranking of the most powerful women in banking and finance!
This initiative is one of the great joys, and great stresses, of my job. There is so much that goes into the project, from the difficult selection process for the ranking itself to the presentation we've put together for you here in our magazine and online.
It's gratifying work, for sure, but the final countdown to press time is painful. Last year, when I was still new in my editor's role, I pushed through the last week of the project on pure adrenaline. By the end, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was hearing it from my husband, who was fed up with my absenteeism at home; and with mom not around most nights to enforce the law, my daughter had long abandoned the early bedtime I wanted her to adopt as a new year of preschool got underway. My pride in my work felt as though it had an asterisk next to it, because it was clear I had only accomplished my professional goals at great expense to my personal life.
Nonetheless, I was feeling very optimistic as we geared up for our 2012 ranking. Beyond drawing inspiration once again from the amazing women in our ranking whose stories I'd come to know and admire, I now had the confidence of having been through the process once already. Plus, I'd invested a lot of effort into revamping the logistical aspects of this project, specifically to lessen the burden at deadline time.
And then, this spring, my daughter's school calendar came in the mail. I literally gasped when I saw that her first day of kindergarten would be the very Friday that our October issue-this issue-went to press. Sheer panic quickly gave way to the sad realization that there was nothing I could do but choose from three possible scenarios.
1. I'd skip the first day of school. My husband would take our daughter to kindergarten while I went off to work. Would that be so wrong? I don't remember my dad accompanying me and my mother on my first day of kindergarten, and I've never resented him for it. And who says mom has to be the default option here anyway?
2. I'd do it all. I would somehow get our entire issue ready a day before deadline. I would bring my daughter to school, stay for the parents' coffee klatch and stop by the office at the end of the day to take my victory lap.
3. I'd quit. Just walk away from it all. Maybe missing the first day of kindergarten was just too much to ask. And if I couldn't commit to being here to wrap up this all-important project, then maybe this just wasn't the right job at the right time for me.
Scenario No. 2 (do it all) was the most palatable, of course, but also completely delusional. It's counterintuitive, but monthly magazine deadlines always go down to the wire. I've never finished an issue early. If ever I did, it wouldn't be this, our biggest of the year. So, in my panicked mind, I quickly narrowed things down to just two terrible options.
If my daughter ever reads this when she's older, I hope she fully grasps the quandary I faced. I hope she sees that I never wanted to miss her milestones, and I hope she appreciates my drive to fulfill my professional potential.
But mostly I hope she recognizes how lucky we were that I didn't have to make a choice-at least not this time.
The school sent out a revised calendar in late spring. Incredibly, the first day of kindergarten had been pushed from a Friday to the following Monday. I never wondered why. It didn't matter.
I would be there for my deadline. I would be there for her. Somehow, even if just for the briefest of moments, I would feel like I had it all.
Editor in Chief