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The Barbie Problem

What is it with Barbie and commitment?

Mattel Inc. announced that, after 43 years of dating, its plastic everygirl and Ken had agreed to be just good friends. This from a woman with more than 80 jobs on her resume—everything from dentistry to paleontology. Is it ambition or confusion? Midlife crisis or occupational ADD? We asked experts to offer Barbie some much-needed guidance.

Rayona Sharpnack

President, Institute for Women's Leadership

"Barbie is ready to just follow her heart, follow her passion, forget what other people think about her. She may even gain a little weight."

Po Bronson

Author, What Should I Do With My Life?

"She's probably got money in the bank. If she doesn't jump right back into the workforce, that's okay—she deserves a few years off."

Laura Berman Fortgang

Author, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

"She needs to leave Malibu and let her roots grow in. Then go to the middle of the country, to an ashram, to find herself."

Julianne Nagle

National Sales Director, Mary Kay Inc.

"Barbie should go into business for herself. Maybe try Mary Kay. She'd love that pink Cadillac, and heaven knows, she loves makeup."

A version of this article appeared in the Table of Contents - May 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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