This study is divided into three parts. The first traces women's professional development from their early participation in the paid labor force to their becoming managers. Most of these women had not planned a career path and did not enter on a managerial track, although thirty-one held college degrees, eleven of them advanced degrees; thirteen of these earned degrees were in business-related fields. In chapter 1 we learn about how involvement with paid work shaped these women's motivations and aspirations for more professional responsibility. Job experiences influenced not only their work history but also their developing notions of themselves in relation to career.
Despite diverse and circuitous routes to the business world, the women interviewed began to discover the gratifications that accompany emerging competence. These women defy stereotypic notions of what is important and motivating to females. At work their primary focus is on successful accomplishment of the task at hand, not on people and interpersonal relationship. In contrast to a kind of filial loyalty that might characterize those assumed to be affectively oriented, these women demonstrate intense commitment to work rather than to a specific person, employer, or company.
Chapters 2 and 3, on career planning and mobility, focus on women's learning processes as they develop a career-oriented self. The varied and unorthodox ways in which they became involved in work carried implications for their abilities to map a career. Chapter 4 documents women's evolution as