his article was originally published in Cosmopolitan Magazine by Helin Jung.
No job is unicorns and rainbows every minute, but you’ll be a lot happier on the tough days if you feel like you’re making a difference. Five women tell how they found jobs that feel truly meaningful.
“I moved from a corporation to a charity.”
—Saundra Pelletier, CEO of Woman Care Global
When it came to climbing the ladder of the pharmaceutical industry, Pelletier practically skipped rungs. She started as a sales rep, got promoted seven times in 10 years, and ended up as a high-ranking executive at the drug company Searle (now part of Pfizer). Working for a company that made contraceptives, Pelletier says she was motivated by the idea that “women really wanted to be able to plan their own lives.” But as she rose higher in the company, she got pulled away from working on reproductive health. That became a deal breaker for her. Pelletier quit her job and eventually became the founding CEO of Woman Care Global, a nonprofit that helps get birth control to women around the world. “I used to be a pragmatic pessimist,” Pelletier says. “Now, I have a hopefulness about the work I’m doing.”
Follow her lead: “Women stay in bad situations because they don’t take the time to do self-reflection,” Pelletier says. So after leaving her pharma job, she kept two journals: one black and one red. In the black journal, she wrote down what she didn’t like or what didn’t work during her years in the private-sector world. In the red journal, she wrote down what she and others did well that she wanted to repeat. Being able to talk to friends about her need for change also helped. “Corny as it sounds, you need to say it out loud first,” she says. “Acknowledge that you need more meaning.”
COURTESY DREW ALTIZER PHOTOGRAPHY