Anne Marie Slaughter, the former assistant secretary of state and the author of “The Chessboard & The Web,” explains why she turned down a job at the White House after President Obama’s election in 2012. Following is a transcript of the video.
In many ways, my career has been a whole series of “aha moments” because I’ve reinvented myself roughly every eight years from law professor, to dean, to government official and now I run a non-profit. But I do think the most important “aha moment” was after I left the State Department because our eldest son really needed both parents completely focused on him. That part was hard but he needed me and he needed his father too and so, it was the right thing to do and I knew it. But the ‘aha moment’ came a year later when I was thinking about was I going to go back into government if President Obama won in 2012. And I had been an assistant secretary of state, so all the jobs over that are very, very good. This was my moment, this was my party in power. I spent my whole life preparing really for this moment.
And I realised I just didn’t want to miss my children’s last four years at home. I get emotional even when I talk about it because I suddenly realised that not withstanding my ambition, which burns bright I just couldn’t bear the idea that I would look back at the end of my life and think “there they were in high school.” And I would never have been there. Now, they would tell you mum’s definition of being there is not everybody’s definition, so even “staying home”, I was gone a lot but my youngest is now about to graduate from high school and now they really are gone, and I’m very glad I made that decision.
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