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How Michelle Obama’s ‘Savvy Sacrifice’ Helped Her Husband

Posted Aug 25, 2008 1:28 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Working as an associate at a powerhouse international law firm based in Chicago, Michelle Obama had what many would have considered a dream job for a lawyer.

But she gave up the Sidley Austin job to pursue a public interest career. This "savvy sacrifice" has provided her husband, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, the platform he needed to run for public office, reports Time magazine.

After leaving Sidley, she has worked as an assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley; headed the Chicago office of the Public Allies charity (setting fund-raising records that still stand today); worked at the University of Chicago, as an associate dean of students; moved on to become vice president of external relations for the university's medical school; and, eventually, after taking a hefty pay cut initially, started making real money.

"Her salary last year between the university and six boards approached $500,000," the magazine writes. More important, however, in the long run was the lengthy list of connections and the reputation as an ace organizer and accomplisher that Michelle Obama earned from all of this work.

Time says that not many realize, because she doesn't talk much about it, "just how instrumental she has been to launching her husband's political trajectory, or that this tough, razor-smart Chicago native had to sacrifice many of her own career ambitions along the way."

Additional coverage:

Associated Press: "In convention's first major speech, Michelle Obama hopes to help husband connect with families"

Chicago Tribune: "Michelle Obama's goal: Define herself"

Updated at 5:35 p.m., central time, to include Associated Press and Chicago Tribune links.

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