Opinion: A response to Angela Ahrendts’ letter to her daughters

Angela Ahrendts’ letter to her daughters: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/letter-my-daughters-always-present-angela-ahrendts

As a mother of two daughters myself, my opinion is divided having read Angela’s letter. On the one hand I think Angela’s comments are thoughtful and moving, and why not empower your daughters with uplifting advice? On the other hand, I can’t help but feel we are spinning our children a line when we tell them to follow their passions and do what makes them feel happy – what economy anywhere in the world allows for everyone to do that, especially if you’re a woman? Maybe a white middle-class ‘first world’ female can aspire to ‘stay in lane’ and ‘connect to your passion’ but most teenage daughters these days will need to be pragmatic, agile, and suck up a load of compromise along the way in order to earn a living and make ends meet, and ‘staying in a job’  will be much more of a priority than ‘staying in a lane’.

And as an employer of the generation of graduates who are regarded as ‘entitled’, whether I agree with that label or not, surely this type of advice only enforces their sense of entitlement? They are told that they are unique and special and have a right to pursue a passion, and should only gift a company with their presence if their passions are being nurtured on a daily basis. What business in today’s economy can populate its ranks with these types of people and still be competitive? Angela’s daughters will experience a seismic reality check if they enter the workplace asking themselves ‘what can I do to be happy?’ rather than ‘what should I do to stay employed?’

So by all means, ‘stay present’, ‘read the signs’ and be grateful for the start in life that you have had, but do also bend a little, occasionally sacrifice your own interests for those of the company that pays your wages, get your hands dirty when required and have few expectations around what’s owed you. And if you are also lucky enough to stay healthy and become a parent then you can join the #humbled and blessed brigade along the way.

Carrie Ferrari – Director, Ferrari Healy



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