Work & Life

CEO of Bain, eBay, and Paypal


Work & Family: We leaned into our marriage
Work & Life
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“I sacrificed my career for my family.” “I failed to take care of my family in my pursuit of success.” These are the choices that working women and men in Korea unfortunately have to face.

Regarding this choice, one man has said, “Be free from conventional wisdoms.”

  • Keep a “positive sum” mindset: career and family should not be a zero-sum game.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Creative solutions often emerge: when faced with a difficult decision, seek help rather than feeling the pressure to decide at once.

“People outside of one’s family should not get involved in private, familial matters.” “Kids should not be included in parents’ discussions.” These are opinions that are also often heard in Korean households.

However, the same man has said that one should value one’s community, use one’s resources, and engage one’s children in familial decisions.

  • Build your community: meet and discuss important matters with other couples in comparable situations on a regular basis. In addition, it is wise to seek counsel from marital therapists and receive help.
  • Engage your children in your decisions: If there are issues that concern your children, involve them in discussions to come up with solutions. At times, children can be wiser than adults, and parents may be hindrances for the children.

We may be led to believe that this man who is offering such advice does not have a job that is as demanding as our own nor does he comprehend fully our own situations, and we may thus think that he is unqualified to offer his counsel.

You may be surprised to learn that this man is actually John Donahoe, the former president and CEO of Bain & Company, and until recently, the CEO of eBay.

His wife, Eileen Donahoe, was appointed by President Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. You may also be surprised to learn that this couple has four children.

What do you think are the factors that allowed the Donahoes to become the ideal couple/family?

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