I have no personal affinity with American politics, but I do like following it through various late night comedy shows. Not only do many of them address US politics, but they also discuss interesting topics around the world. Growing up I also didn’t follow local news or politics, but after college and starting a job, I’ve taken an interest in it. Mostly because I like studying leaders and/or leadership roles. For me the Obama administration was one of those to observe and perhaps learn from. After serving two terms, both Michelle and Barack Obama have written books. I’ll write a next post about what went through my mind when reading his book. As to the book of Michelle Obama, Becoming, I already had questions going in, hoping to get some of them answered.
Michelle Obama didn’t have a terrible life, but it wasn’t luxurious either. The family struggled financially but managed where it mattered. Throughout the book you will read and learn things Michelle was passionate about, like her studies and career. It is this particular topic which stuck with me.
As many might know, Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts, focusing on sociology with a minor in African-American studies and she continued later with a Juris Doctor degree pursuing law. She has had various jobs for example working at a law firm, as an associate dean at an university, moving on to a job as an executive director at an hospital and later on becoming vice president at the very same hospital. These jobs all can be related to what she has studied for or what she was skilled at. However when she became First Lady I noticed a shift, as did she. At the White House her focus shifted to healthy living for children. Focusing on combating child obesity. Compared to what she used to do, this for me seemed like a big shift in career and I wondered why. At the White House she began changing things to promote healthy food and exercise with her program ‘Let’s Move!’. A vegetable garden was created and she went from school to school to make sure changes were made. At a certain period in time, she worked on and campaigned for the ‘Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Acts’ which got passed in 2010. Quite an accomplishment one might say.
After the Obama years at the White House, the couple took a break. They both worked on their respective books and did various small projects. Having served as the First Family you will receive some form of pension. The exact details allude me, but the main thing to remember is that money should not be an issue after serving at the White House. As a former First Family you can basically do what you want for the remainder of your lives. Fast forward a few years and Michelle Obama announces a partnership with Netflix for a new show called Waffles + Mochi which is a children show making use of puppets to promote healthy foods from all around the world. This can be seen as a continuation of what she started at the White House and this got me thinking.
So if degrees don’t matter and money isn’t a problem for you. Are you able to make such a shift as she did? What would you do? Would you prefer doing law case after law case? Or would you follow a passion you have within you without you even knowing you had. Through her own family, Michelle Obama realised the problem with a busy lives, trying to stay healthy and setting a good example for your children. It was a calling she experienced when Barack was campaigning and one she pursued from that point on.
When I look at my work I often kid with family and friends about next steps, because they basically always come down to: “more people to be responsible of”, “new project but same thing”, “make more money doing the same thing” or “do the same thing but in a new setting”. All these variations no longer excite me and when I read Becoming and watched interviews with Michelle Obama, I noticed this energy she radiates when it comes to raising children in a healthy, positive way. It is this passion for a cause I wish for everyone in life and hopefully it is something I will find too, whether it is somewhere in my own field or somewhere where I never will expect it.