Real Work, Real Life

Economist, World Bank

September 06, 2023 Episode 28
Economist, World Bank
Real Work, Real Life
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Real Work, Real Life
Economist, World Bank
Sep 06, 2023 Episode 28

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On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Maria, an economist at the World Bank. This can be an amazing career path for someone that wants to explore the far reaches of the world professionally, make a meaningful impact through their work, and work in an incredibly diverse environment. 

We also cover some of the unexpected perks of working at the World Bank, like onsite daycare, an exceptional cafeteria, and somehow, a post office. Things like this probably don’t feel like a big deal when you’re thinking about a career, and they certainly aren’t a good reason, alone, to dedicate your life to a particular path, but it’s amazing how small conveniences can improve your life, particularly in stages of your life where your external responsibilities are many. 

We also cover some of the challenges, like drawbacks of international field assignments, particularly if you have a partner with a career that isn’t as flexible. I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you will too.

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at


Transcripts are now available here:

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

On this week's episode of Real Work, Real Life, I’m talking with Maria, an economist at the World Bank. This can be an amazing career path for someone that wants to explore the far reaches of the world professionally, make a meaningful impact through their work, and work in an incredibly diverse environment. 

We also cover some of the unexpected perks of working at the World Bank, like onsite daycare, an exceptional cafeteria, and somehow, a post office. Things like this probably don’t feel like a big deal when you’re thinking about a career, and they certainly aren’t a good reason, alone, to dedicate your life to a particular path, but it’s amazing how small conveniences can improve your life, particularly in stages of your life where your external responsibilities are many. 

We also cover some of the challenges, like drawbacks of international field assignments, particularly if you have a partner with a career that isn’t as flexible. I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you will too.

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at


Transcripts are now available here:

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work, real life, where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today, I'm talking with Maria and economist at the world bank. This can be an amazing career path for someone that wants to explore the far reaches of the world professionally. 

Make a meaningful impact through their work. And have a career in an incredibly diverse environment. We also cover some of the unexpected perks of working at the world bank, like onsite daycare and exceptional cafeteria and somehow a post office. Things like this probably don't feel like a big deal when you're thinking about a career and they certainly, aren't a good reason alone to dedicate your life to a particular path, but it's amazing how small conveniences can improve your life, particularly in stages of your life, where your external responsibilities are many. 

We also cover some of the challenges of this career path, like the drawbacks of international field assignment. Especially if you have a partner with a [00:01:00] career that isn't as flexible. I really enjoyed this discussion and I hope you will too. So let's get into it. 

Emily: Thank you so much for being here, Maria.

Maria: It's great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Emily: So what do you do for work?

Maria: I work at the World Bank and I work in the development economics division of the World Bank that does research on how to make development aid to poor countries more effective. And learn about what works, what doesn't work, what's most cost effective for getting to the goals we want to get to, which are reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity.

Emily: Oh man. Well those are good goals. Glad you're working on that. What interested you about it initially? How did you get into it?

Maria: So I worked for the World Bank now in Washington DC but when I first started, I joined the country office in Malawi. So in Southern Africa. And I was just finishing grad school I did a program in international relations with a [00:02:00] concentration in international development, and I was interested in agriculture had been for a while and my master's program did a lot of quantitative research and I wanted to find a position where I could do kind of quantitative agricultural policy work which is.

Not super common particularly internationally. And then through a professor at the time was connected to colleagues who were working on some research with the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi. So I joined on what was initially supposed to be a six month short term consultancy back in 2009.

And I haven't left so.

Emily: Oh my gosh. Wow. So how long did you spend in Malawi and have you had some other international locations?

Maria: Yeah, so I was in Malawi for about two and a half years. Yeah, just about two and a half years. And then I came back to Washington, DC at the end of 2011 and was based, I've been based in DC since then, but the [00:03:00] first about. Four years that I was in DC or five years, I was traveling about 30 or 40% of the time.

So I spent lots of time outside of dc and mostly working in, I. Well a lot of work in, in Eastern Africa, but also so in Rwanda and Burundi, but also in Bangladesh, in Haiti, in Mongolia, in Ghana, in Liberia. So, so fairly mixed all over the place which was great. A good chance to get to see lots of different parts of the world and work with governments in all these places.

And I was always doing agricultural policy, so learning about, you know, kind of what are the agricultural. Constraints and the challenges that small holder farmers are facing in these places and what kind of interventions are helpful and make a difference and are worth investing in more?

Emily: Oh my gosh. Okay, so to take a quick step back, you have an undergraduate degree and you have a graduate degree.

Maria: Yeah, so I have an undergraduate degree in. Economics, Spanish and Latin [00:04:00] American studies. And then I did a master's degree in, in international relations with concentration in international development economics.

Emily: Did you do those back to back or did you take time off in between?

Maria: I did some time off in between. So I in between, I was, so, I was interested in, in agriculture and I spent some time working for the main Organic Farmers and Growers Association as an apprentice there. And then I spent some time working. at a different organic farm in Massachusetts for a bit, and then for an N G O working with organic agriculture in Nicaragua.

So kind of getting different sorts of organic agriculture experience, very, very much like hands-on in the, in the field sort of experience. And then and then I came back to Maine for a year and worked for the Chewonki Foundation teaching at their outdoor main Coast Semester school.

Emily: Right. Oh yeah. I mean from talking to a lot of different people, it does seem like that time in between undergrad and a master's degree can be really worthwhile to just make sure, even if you think, you know, to make sure what you go into graduate studies is really what you wanna focus on.

Maria: [00:05:00] Yeah, for me it was super useful 'cause I came out of Amherst feeling like, okay, I have some, you know, Good academic background and, and knowledge, but I don't have a lot of practical skills and so I wanted to like learn about agriculture and learn about organic farming. And and then in doing that I got really interested in kind of agricultural policy and then thinking about how that actually coincides a lot with economics and then wanting to go back to do a master's degree to kind of get a better framework for how do you think about.

These questions and learning to do more quantitative research, which isn't something I'd really done much in undergrad.

Emily: when you think about your coworkers at the World Bank, do you find that your path is somewhat typical? You know, definitely undergrad. Grad, probably grad. And then lots of field work or are people kind of coming from lots of different angles?

Maria: So my, my current role is I'm a, I'm a senior economist in , our development impact department. And in that position, and I think in a lot of the bank, it's pretty common to come in [00:06:00] through our Young Professionals program, which is kind of. Like flagship entry program into the bank.

It's super competitive and it's somewhat nationality based. So it's very, very hard as an American particularly to get into that. But there's a cohort every year that starts and does rotations around the bank, and that's kind of the most formal way to enter the World Bank. But the other really common path is exactly the one that I followed.

So you take a short term consultancy position. Then in my case, that became an extended term consultancy, which is just like a two year. Sort of fixed term position and then it became a staff position. And then kind of increasing levels of seniority within staff positions,

Emily: The program you mentioned, what did you call it? The one that's the formal entry path?

Maria: the Young Professionals program.

Emily: Yeah. is There any sort of like kids who study this in school or focuses or experiences that make people a particularly strong candidate for that program?

Maria: So I think most common and, and probably in. That's changed over the years that I've watched it and probably will continue to, [00:07:00] is that most people now have PhDs. So I think that wasn't true 10 years ago. It's pretty true now. It's not across the board. True. There's other degrees. Other types of terminal degrees are somewhat common, because the World Bank does projects and like building roads and building irrigation systems, we have a lot of engineers and those kind of terminal positions.

 People do come in with those backgrounds, but in the. Kind of research space. It's most common to have a PhD in economics.

Emily: So they're not very young probably then.

Maria: No, I think you have to be less than 35 for the Y P P. Um, And so you can all of a sudden feel like you are young.

Emily: yeah, I know. Wow. Okay. it interests me and I think it can be a really good thing to have a very clear, like, this is how one could get into this job. So that's really interesting to know about. What sort of personality do you think would do well in this work?

Maria: So I think an important. Part of our work is really being able to work with people of all different nationalities and [00:08:00] cultural backgrounds and being able to communicate clearly to people that have lots of different communication styles. Um, So that's particularly in kind of client facing work.

So the work that we do directly with, governments it's just really important to be kind of. A diplomatic sort of measured person. I think that's not always how I would describe

Emily: You can't just fly off the handle at any moment.

Maria: Doesn't work very well. I think you want to be a person who's I don't know if adventurous is quite the right word, but Interested in traveling all over the world and potentially in living all over the world.

So I've only had one country-based position because again, the nature of the work I do now is very focused on our global portfolio. But the. Most common is for people to rotate. So they will spend, you know, three or four years in one country, rotate to a different country office, rotate to a different country office, maybe rotate to DC back, but, but being willing to move every few years which has its pros and cons.

Obviously the challenge is moving [00:09:00] every few years, but a lot of cases people with young families actually like the field postings because childcare is easier and. Much less expensive in a lot of places that aren't Washington DC

Emily: isn't such an absolute nightmare.

Maria: Yeah, exactly. 

Emily: And plus you're exposing your young family to such a wide array of cultures and experiences. Yeah, that

sounds really 

Maria: and so learning new languages for kids is easy and all that, so there's a lot of, cool advantages too.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that sounds amazing. So let's get down to brass tacks. What do you make and what do your other benefits look like? Thinking about, you know, paid time off retirement, paid leave, healthcare, stuff like that.

Maria: so now the World Bank is a little bit of a strange institution this way because most people are international that work there. So even though they're in DC they're international. And so I. As an [00:10:00] American, everybody's salary is, paid net. So your kind of salary ranges are all quoted net which is like your post-tax 

earnings. because anybody who's not from the US doesn't have to pay taxes because they're on diplomatic visas And so as an American you do have to pay taxes, but we get tax allowances. So basically the bank pays us so that we can pay our taxes. And that's kind of separate from the salary calculation, so it's all a little bit strange.

But my, so my net salary is 150 k and that translates to a gross salary of somewhere around 200. It's sort of ambiguous because they give us a tax amount, but we're taxed on the tax allowance and like, yeah, it's all

complicated. so about, so about 200.

Emily: Yeah. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And what are your sort of benefits look like?

Maria: Right? So benefits are great. Overall again, I think that's the benefit of being an international institution with a large European presence. Um,

Emily: They're like, excuse me, I

need this. yeah.

Maria: I believe [00:11:00] my leave currently, 'cause I have been there now for about. Just under 10 years as a staff member.

 I get six weeks of paid time off a year, plus all of the normal federal holidays. And then we also get 10 days of family leave for just, you know, if you have childcare issues or any of that. That's in addition. And then we have sick leave. That's. In addition to that, that like accumulates over time.

So I think I have some enormous amount of sick days,

and then for me, a really important benefit has been that there's great maternity leave. So we get 20 weeks of paid time

Emily: That's amazing.

Maria: And then plus you can take additional, you know, depending on complications, you can take sick leave in addition to that, or, you know, any of your, annual leave, then extend it.

So, So I was able to take six months off with my last baby, which was really, really nice. 

Emily: So great.

Maria: And then otherwise, benefits are, are really good. We have excellent health insurance. My husband is a lawyer at a corporate law firm in DC [00:12:00] and he sort of looked at our health care plans when we got married and was like, This is a no brainer.

Like we should clearly all be on yours. Like the benefits are better and it costs like half as much, so

Emily: I know nobody really prepared us except for maybe our economics classes to do the math between if you're lucky enough to have two options for healthcare, which of those options to choose because it's sort of maddening to try to figure out the gamble of which is more. But it's obviously nice when you have a clear winner.

Maria: Yeah, exactly. No, for us, there's basically no additional cost for family members. I mean, it's, it's like. Literally like $10 a month to add other family members. So that's huge. So in general it's a pretty family friendly work environment. You know, work hours can make that challenging.

Certainly people do travel a lot. That's very challenging. I don't in my current role, I don't travel at all these days. So that's been easier with young kids for

Emily: yeah. Do I remember correctly, do they have a daycare on site or did I imagine that?[00:13:00] 

Maria: No, there is yeah, so there's a childcare facility right in the building, which is nice. So we did that pre covid. Then once we stopped going to the office, obviously that became much less convenient. Um, but it is a great benefit as well.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that's so nice. So, do you have a sense of like, what someone kind of starting out might be making and could it potentially keep going up from where you are 

Maria: I mean, so I know what I made starting out which was about $30,000 a year. So not. A lot.

Emily: Yeah.

Maria: I mean, except that I was living in Malawi, so costs were also very low.

Emily: Right, right.

Maria: and I think that is, obviously that was a while ago and there's been inflation such since then. When we hire kind of most entry level positions now they are about probably 40,000, I would say, at the lowest end,

for research assistant positions.

Emily: so a lot of potential to increase over time.

Maria: yes. Yeah, exactly. because the thing is that [00:14:00] if you enter the bank as a short-term consultant, it's this very awkward contractual modality where there's a limitation of 150 days a year because it's supposed to be a kind of consulting assignment, not a full-time job. And so you don't have benefits and you don't have kind of a full-time salary.

So if you think about that as being a salary for 150 days, it's okay. But but depending on, you know, your situation, if you're working somewhere else or not, then that can be, that can be somewhat challenging. But typically these are not intentionally long-term positions either. People take them for a couple of years with the kind of motivation that they will either then go back and do a PhD and come back in at a higher level or continue on to progress into kind of lower level staff positions within the bank and work their way up.

Emily: Oh, so interesting. So you mentioned the, the bank itself is in Washington DC so that's sort of the hub. If you aren't on location. What do you find your work hours are like? Are you able to balance your. [00:15:00] You know, personal life and your work life as well as you'd like.

Maria: I think Depends on your comparison. So as well as I would like, no, but I don't know if what I would like is really realistic, either. It's not a nine to five job, that's for sure. But it is very flexible. And so that's been important, particularly again with young kids. Being able to, to have flexibility is, is useful.

In part it's flexible because we often have somewhat strange hours because we're working with different time zones. For example, I was just doing a, a webinar for some counterparts in Japan and it's a 13 hour time difference. So there's no great way to do that, I did a, an 8:30 PM webinar, which was for them was 9:30 AM which is reasonable in some ways better than doing it on the back end of you know, am to start their 4:00 PM or something. Yeah. And then working with, governments in Eastern and southern Africa, [00:16:00] there's usually somewhere between a six and eight hour time difference.

So again, trying to get in phone calls, a lot of that's happening. Early in the morning

Emily: Yeah, you all must have been on the forefront of sort of remote work when the pandemic hit to already have some of those structures in place for calls and you know, sharing screens and stuff when so many people were just doing it for the first time.

Maria: we did, but everything was in office. So we had all this technology, but only In our actual conference rooms, not on individual computers. So it still was a big transition. I mean, we had some of it, you know, we were using WebEx at before, but we mostly were relying on conference rooms. So people, if you had a late night webinar, you would stay in the

office. And so it's actually really nice,

um, that, like some of the technology options that have come up during the pandemic make that easier to, to from home. That said, we are in the midst of a, bit of. Controversy at the moment. 'cause the upper management has [00:17:00] just announced that it's four days back in the office, mandatorily starting in September.

It's two 

Emily: role? 

Maria: currently.

but, you know, fairly not unenforced, but very flexible as to when you, you know, when you come in and such 

Emily: What sort of a commute do you have?

Maria: My commute is just half an hour. I walk about 10 minutes to the metro, take the metro for about 10 minutes and walk in.

So it's, it's very easy, which is nice. for me, it's not a huge deal to go back. And I certainly see some of the appeal. I think on the other hand, it's been a surprisingly productive last few years with people being remotely based.

Um, so it'll be interesting to see how, how that plays out.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. Those transitions are so hard and it's still half an hour. It's not zero time when 

Maria: Right. It's an hour of the day. 


Emily: exactly. Can you walk me through your average day?

What sorts of things are you working on every day?

Maria: my role currently looks a little bit different than past roles. As of just about the time that that COVID started, I transitioned into [00:18:00] leading our data analytics team within our department. So I run a small team that's very much focused on. Data quality and reproducible analytics and making all of our research kind of most credible and and transparent.

so our work now, that's why I don't have as much travel. And one of the reasons that was sort of a strategic move is that it's very much, focused on research product that are, a lot of them are, produced by the staff that are, Washington, DC a typical day. That is tricky.

They're very different. But I would say I will usually have some check-ins with members of my team. I manage a team of about eight with some fluctuations in size. You know, have check-ins with them pretty regularly or we have a team meeting once a week. And then and in general, the days we're in the office tend to be a lot of.

And then kind of more focused work happens at home. Let's see how, again, how that plays

Emily: That does seem to be sort of the norm. It's like 

focus work a lot. I [00:19:00] know. Yeah. I don't know how we did it before.

Maria: Yeah, exactly. but, so right now one of the things that we are really pushing is to increase. Transparency of the research products that we do and, publish.

We've been pushing publishing a, new website where we'll actually put up the code that goes in to the analytical products and the data. So, you know, if we cite some number, you know, for some index, then there's actually people can go in and look and see how that was constructed and what data it's based on 

um, and all of that. So that's been lots of actually learning just the logistics of how do you set up a website and the cataloging software that we use and lots of kind of technical details on that. But I do in general, I do a little bit of data work these days, but a lot of it is managing people and our products and trying to make sure that everything is moving along.

I would say that's the big difference of, certainly when I started my position and even if I look back six or seven years, then I was mostly doing kind of intense data work lots of coding.[00:20:00] Now it's a lot more on the management and facilitation side of things and trying To pitch what we're doing, scale it up to bring some of work that we're doing to other parts of the World Bank or we do a lot of trainings and, and courses that are open to the public. And so thinking about, you know, what is the audience we wanna attract and, and marketing those.

Emily: Oh, that is really cool. That sounds like a really worthwhile effort. I'm gonna uh, do some Googling after this. find your stuff. If someone was interested in getting into this kind of general field right now, how do you view the prospects? Are there lots of open roles, hard to fill? You mentioned that the entry program is really competitive.

Is that sort of true across the board for jobs at the World Bank?

Maria: I think it's pretty competitive. Yeah. Our department hires a lot of research assistants and, field coordinators. We probably hire, I would've guessed around 40 or 50 kind of entry level positions in a year within my specific sort of division of the bank. But [00:21:00] you know, we probably, I would imagine for those, we probably get a thousand applications.

Um, So there's a lot of interest. And it, so it is, fairly competitive. And those are just the short-term consultancy positions. The actual I mean, I think the acceptance rate for the Y P P program is like one in a thousand or something like this. It's 

very low. 


So they are they are competitive, I think.

That said the work that our department does, which is, really focusing on building good evidence for policy, that's an area where in general I think there's been. Increasing amounts of interest over the last decade. We see lots more people having those skills, which is great. That does make it a little bit more competitive, but it also just shows that the, it is a market that's growing, 

I think. And so you know, I, I think there's still lots of prospects for people that are interested in that. if they can learn about, you know what good, rigorous. research is and an impact evaluation and then have [00:22:00] strong data skills. Then it's a pretty possible to to get a good job.

It's just you have to have. Pretty good skills to do it. So it does take some investment in skills. and we pretty much only hire people that have at least a master's degree. It's almost impossible to find a position if you're just at a bachelor's level. There's sometimes kind of admin positions, but that's it.


so it does take a good amount of, of training.

Emily: this is sort of a random question, but Are there other organizations or lines of work that have a little bit of inflow, outflow with the World Bank, like the I M F or other sorts of roles where you just find like, oh yeah, it's it's fairly common for someone to move from the World Bank to here or from here to the World Bank Bank and there's some flow back and forth between those companies or organizations.

Maria: You know, there isn't a lot. I think the World Bank is something of a unique. I mean, there's some, , I just hired someone new to work on my team. She started this week and she's coming from the Inter-American [00:23:00] Development Bank. So there is movement between some of these institutions, and particularly the multilateral development bank.

So the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and then yeah, the, the I M F, although they're very macro focused, they have a little bit of a different vibe they're


Emily: of like rivals?

Maria: We laugh, they're like, they're much more formal. We always laugh that they're always in their dark suits and the bank is very multicultural, right?

So people are, you know, in traditional dress of all sorts in the elevators and like it's a very colorful place.

Emily: Yeah, this is the kind of content I'm here for. I need to know the World Bank feeling about the I M F.

Maria: Oh yeah. Plus we 

Emily: it. 

Maria: a much better cafeteria.

Most? no, no. no. Most people would say that's one of our top benefits of the, with the cafeteria is great. It's got food stations from all over the world, so there's a, south Asia station, there's sushi every day. There's noodle bowls, there's Indonesian food, there's African food.

There's all sorts of, good things. it is definitely a highlight.[00:24:00] 

Emily: These are the little things that I don't think anyone thinks about when they choose a job. It's not necessarily a reason to pick a job, but boy, it enhances your work life to have really good food available every day that you don't have to pack.

Maria: Totally. And there's a couple of good coffee shops in the building. Our building is like its own little town. It's very funny. Like this is a big office building. We have a lot of people who are in DC and I'm in the main office building. We have a few, but you know, we have. Two coffee shops and we have our big cafe and we have a post office, and we have a gym, and we have a library

and like, 

Emily: office, can you mail packages?

Maria: yeah, I mean, it's mostly for sending things to our country office and such, but it's a normal post office.

So you can send your own packages if

you, um, no, 

Emily: is what you're saying. 

my holiday cards,

Maria: yeah.

Emily: this is sounding better and better. Marie. So what are some things you love about your job, especially if it's something you think people might not know besides the cafeteria, which sounds amazing. I.

Maria: I really [00:25:00] enjoy how international it is. So if I think about, you know, the direct team that I work with There's, let me actually cut this up. So there's two people from India, one from Peru, one from Colombia, one from Mexico one from France slash Italy, sort of from both one from Australia.

 You know, so just day to day. And then within our broader department, I mean, it's again Very, very international. So you just get exposed to lots of different people. There's always different languages in the hallways, people talking. And that's fun.

And it is I think, a very different work culture vibe as a result than a lot of. Big American companies. I don't know that very well because I've only ever worked the World Bank. But like comparing it to my husband's law firm, it is a very different and I, I would say largely more joyful play.

Emily: Yeah, that sounds right. Yeah, that sounds so amazing. Not to flip to the negative right away, but[00:26:00] Is there anything that's tough about it, especially if it's something that you just didn't anticipate or you didn't anticipate how hard it would be when you entered the field?

Maria: I would say two things. I think the first is it is a huge bureaucracy. We are, I think in total about 15,000 employees. I think it's somewhere around half of those are in N D C. Those numbers may not be quite right, but it gives you some, you know, sense of scope. And so some things are hard, getting a new software on your computer is like surprisingly difficult. And you know, when new people come on board, getting them set up with access to various systems and email and things takes days. And you sometimes feel like you're just banging your head against a brick wall.

So those things can be challenging. And then I would also say that the travel certainly can be, I, I think again, it is like a huge. Perk and a potential challenge. For me, it worked out really well. When I was traveling a lot was a period when I was, you know, young and single and super happy to be [00:27:00] spending that much time abroad.

But I think, you know, if I look at friends of mine in other parts of the bank in a position where they travel more, especially those with young children, It can be very tricky, particularly for people who are international. And so they don't have family that's here either. It's like, okay, you have to import a grandparent 

for um, oh, you know, a week or two to help out.

that is a challenge. I think Another challenge that, you know, comes up for, for me, and I think not uncommonly, is it's not an easy career to balance with a spouse. Because you are, if you're in the US you can be in DC basically. That's it. Which I mean, it's not a bad place to be and it's not bad in terms of the options that are there.

But then, like there is an expectation for, for rotation or for spending some time in the country offices. And depending on what your partner does, that can be challenging. There's occupations where that works well, like teachers or people that can work fully remotely or other people doing international development stuff for sure.

But for other, you know, positions that can be really challenging. A good friend of mine who works at the, at the World Bank just moved [00:28:00] to our country office in Ghana and. Her husband was excited about it and thought it was a good opportunity and they did it. But that's, you know, basically he's kind of trying and find something to do there.

But he works in an accounting firm here. There's nothing that makes sense to kind of take from that to so those are challenges. That certainly comes up kind of thinking about longer term kind of career paths and how you balance kind of household dynamics.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. And I definitely didn't know until I was In the working world is that even if you can do something remotely, a lot of jobs won't allow you to do it from anywhere. You maybe can do it from some states in the United States, but I would say most companies that allow remote work don't allow you to work in most other countries.


Maria: Exactly. yeah, 

So that is tricky, especially anything related to the US government is often a trick to do even if you're supposed to work remotely, which a lot of people are now contractors, but you still have to be within the physical bounds of the us.

Emily: Right, right. Oh, wow. Yeah, that's, I mean, that's a real thing. And it's [00:29:00] like you have to make those choices. And if, if there are only so many paths you can take within the bank that allow you not to travel, it's just, something we're thinking about. Wow. Okay, so this is the last question I have for you.

What is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self or a younger person? 

Maria: So I would say, you know, if you, can and you have, the privilege to be able to, travel when you are starting your career, if you want to do anything that's.

At all. International is really valuable. Having spent time actually working in places outside of the US and particularly in the developing world is super valuable. Partly just as a perspective in this kind of work you have a real firsthand sense of what some of the challenges are. But also I think gives you credibility and, and job seeking later on as well.

So that's, valuable. And it's just really a lot easier to do when you are not as settled. So when you're not, paying a mortgage or [00:30:00] having kids or a spouse or family members you need to take care of or any of that, right. I think there's lots of reasons to be here, but I think when you're kind of in your twenties is a good time To be wherever. Um, And taking advantage of that, I, think if you wanna do any kind of international work is really valuable. Also gives you language skills, which are super useful in my field of work. I think it would be very uncommon to find anybody in the World Bank that doesn't speak at least one or two other languages.

Emily: Yeah, of course. I mean, that's gotta be a key, a core competency, and the 

younger you are, the easier it is to learn. 

Probably all that, all that neuroplasticity. That you still have mine is just rock solid.

Maria: Exactly. Me too.

Emily: Well thank you Maria. That is great advice and I just really enjoyed talking to you. What an awesome career. thank you for joining me. Thanks,

Maria: Thank you so much for having me. This was, this was fun and I, I've really enjoyed hearing about other jobs in this podcast, so I'm, delighted to get to contribute.

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