Brutal Career Advice From Someone Unafraid to Share Her Opinions: The Home Hour, Episode 112

Buckle up everybody because today’s episode is fast and furious!  We’re checking niceties and political correctness at the door and talking with one of the world’s most outspoken career coaches, the one and only Penelope Trunk.

Join hosts Kirsten & Graham as we talk with Penelope about women and work, why video games may be better than books, and why Penelope told us we should spend more time playing tennis.

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  1. This woman is hilarious with her inability to see that some part-time working moms are successful and happy in their careers, unlike her. I am a part-time working specialized physician. I am well respected and very satisfied. I don’t have to work if I don’t want to, but it is my passion, unlike Penelope who is just doing hers to make some extra cash.

    • Thanks for saving me an hour of time and irritation. I am a working mother of three, and I LOVE the balance that working part-time in a profession brings to my life. We aren’t all cut out of the same mould.

    • Yes! I’m a full-time physician, married to another full-time physician. We have two young kids, and I love my job – I’m a better mom *because* I work.
      There’s nothing wrong with women having a career and also being a parent…aka, what men have been doing all along.

  2. I LOVE her! And I do agree with most everything she said. I do think there are some exceptions b/c life is made up of exceptions. However, if we are being honest and really looking into that age bracket she was talking about, I would say she is pretty spot on. So many women leave the workforce to take care of their children right around their 30’s. Probably b/c we don’t have the energy to do it all! I don’t think she is saying you can’t have a job you love. I currently work full time and like what I do. But it would be nice to not have to juggle working from home and taking care of the kids. While my husband is in an office all day, I had to make a compromise. Which is really what I think Penelope is saying. When women work after having children, they are typically the ones making a compromise. You can choose to be happy with it (your life) or not. And just being honest that what you are doing is unlikely what is paying the bills. It’s the cherry on top. I do okay with my income but I could be making a ton more if I didn’t work from home. But then I would be paying more for childcare than what I already pay so it’s a toss up. Anyhow, she was great and I’m so glad that I listened!

  3. Refreshing! Thank you Penelope for putting it all out there and thank you Kirsten and Graham for hosting her. I’m raising my hand and nodding with Penelope. Yep, yep, yep. Mid 30’s over here currently supporting my husband in his mid life career change. Two small children, 4 and 2, and I’m miserable. She is right, if you don’t have to work you don’t. And if you are in my age range with small children you are working. Just like my Mom did her entire life because my father was a blue collar worker. And you know what to this day she says she wished she could have been home with us. A physician isn’t a typical American worker with a 60k salary like me. We are not getting by on my salary. I will be resigning as soon as my husband gets his six figure job.

    Penelope is right. It’s a lot to juggle and it’s not fun. This isn’t a choice. Who is the idiot that said women had to justify their right to take care of their children? Oh right, it was women.

    I enjoy your show!

  4. I struggled to listen to this, but at the same time couldn’t bring myself to turn it off. I feel like she made some valid points, but most of what she said I disagreed with (or flat out laughed at). I am 35 with three kiddos (1, 6 and 8). I have my MBA in accounting and work from home for a large national company. I don’t HAVE to work – I am married to a very successful attorney. I CHOOSE to work because it keeps my mind sharp and allows me to do more than change diapers and pack lunches. I bring home what we call the “fun money” – extra cash that allows us to do more and save more at the same time! I was in a big corporate office before kids as a finance director and I liked that too, but being able to still work and be home with my kids is the BEST! I am not sure I would be able to take career advice from Penelope because she seems so one sided. Every woman is different and we are all in different situations. Most of what she said is very offensive to the majority of women and it doesn’t seem like she is empowering us, but more so putting us all down. Overall, it was an interesting interview, but I don’t know that I would recommend it to any of my friends/family.

  5. Such an interesting discussion! It was a Freakonomics-like nugget, where you assume things are one way, but when you really run the numbers, it turns out the exact opposite. I really appreciated that she called out the comment that women getting an education only to stay home with their kids is totally misogynist! When I was in Law School, people actually asked me why I was going to law school when I was only going to get married and have kids anyway. Later, when I left my law career to become a full-time SAHM, people told me it was a shame that I was wasting my education by staying home. The inference is that staying home is what dumb people do. If you are smart, you “need” to work to “use your brain”, instead of just spending your time doing meaningless, things like changing diapers and making meals. Why don’t we, as a society, value this kind of work? I wish I had a dollar for every working mom who told me that they would “go crazy” with the “boredom” of staying home. Clearly, those moms are intellectually superior since they require stimulation yet SAHMs do not. Penelope was pointing out how things really are for both women who work and women who stay home. Now the challenge is figuring out what to do with this insight. . .

  6. Sheena Frederick March 25, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I really enjoyed this one! I even got my husband to listen to it with me. She has a lot of valid points but it just seemed to bring up more questions for me. Which I love! I love that she acknowledges that the expectation to do it all is ridiculous.
    However, a lot of us have no choice but to work full-time or part-time. My husband and I run a business together I’m essential to the company’s but my time is flexible so I’m lucky that way. For most working moms that’s not possible – let’s start a discussion about how to make work/society more family friendly.

    The side-hustle or part-time “fake” jobs/hobbies are not fake in the sense that they contribute to society as a whole. Teachers for instance?!
    Are our jobs more meaningful than our kids? Obviously not but they do bring in income and have DO have meaning. We model for our kids that women also contribute to the work force and add essential diversity in perspective and talent.
    I do think that the role of a SAHM is very undervalued.

    Just some thoughts! I like reading other listeners comments!

  7. This was fascinating! I agree with so much of what she says and I love her honesty. Most of all I wanted to write a comment to say thank you for airing that episode. I know it may be very controversial and not everyone is going to agree with all of it, but I’m thankful you both took the chance and played it anyway. I have worked full time with a baby, part time with a toddler, and now that I have two kids I stay at home. This episode gave me the permission to let go of feeling like I’m not doing enough because I don’t contribute financially. In it’s own way, it gave me permission to stop worrying about anything but enjoying my family and my time at home. I’ve had a lot of guilt about not using my extremely expensive education at a job that I didn’t love and didn’t want to do when all I wanted was to be home with my babies. I know everyone feels differently and has different experiences. But I’m going to wake up tomorrow feeling excited to do what I’ve always dreamed I would do- play with my babies and not feel an ounce of guilt!

  8. So after hearing this episode I had to know more about Penelope Trunk. I read everything I could find about her because I swear she was inside my head. I never knew about Asperger’s being identified later in life or that it’s not uncommon for girls to go largely undiagnosed. While I don’t have an official diagnosis, I’ve taken more than a few online screening tests and I’m pretty sure I am on the spectrum. Boy does THAT explain a LOT about my life. I just wanted to thank you Kirsten and Graham for having this discussion; for having the balls to have this discussion. This podcast has legit changed my life. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

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