In talking about their careers, women described themselves. Who they are and where they come from were undeniable parts of the interviews. Remarks about family crept into accounts of career path as well as in response to explicit queries. A woman's professional life was informed by personal learning and attributes. Similarly, her personal development was significantly shaped by career experience. Her identity was about both.1
Career was integral to these women's identities. They abided by contextual distinctions between personal and professional, but their analyses often joined the two. Able to relate diverse aspects of their experience to each other, women presented an integrated perspective on their lives and themselves.2 It is not surprising, therefore, to hear references to family within a discussion of career. Identities were formed through family and profession.
Women were asked specifically about the influence of family on their career development. Because of the question's open-ended format, they were free to select which family to talk about: the family of origin or the family of procreation. Responses centered on family of origin.
That one's first family has a profound influence on identity formation and life direction has been a long-accepted tenet in psychology. The channeling of men's and women's lives into separate spheres of endeavor, corresponding to mutually exclusive personality characteris-