Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ruminating Leaning In

I have been thinking about Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In since all the television pundits started mentioning it a few weeks ago.  I read in the newspapers and on the internet quotes from the book.  There was so much advance criticism by men and women alike of her perspective of women in the work force.  I found enough dissension that I chose to read the book in its entirety on Spring Break.

I think Sheryl Sandberg is incredibly courageous to get the conversation re-started.  Her book is thought-provoking. I hate to give snippets of the book because it's my interpretation of her perspective and I don't want to turn anyone off. My intention is to turn  
on your curiosity, like mine was, to read her book.  She writes about when she was first offered the job at Facebook. She wanted the job so much and the offer was very good.  She admits she would have taken the job, right then and there.  Her husband told her that she couldn't take the offer. She had to negotiate.  No man would ever just say yes to an offer.  She was afraid of blowing the deal.  Her husband and brother pushed her to do what was best for her.  Negotiating with Mark Zuckerberg proved successful and the rest is history. 

Many of her critics said, what does she know as a super successful, financially sound, Harvard graduate.  Ms. Sandberg speaks of all women, not for all women. She acknowledges her fortune in business, but also talks much about women being their own worst enemies.  Second guessing, worrying about one's entire life when opportunities arise, lack of confidence, marriage, motherhood. She touches on many issues.  I was thrilled she wrote about her generation who were given many opportunities because of all the ground breaking and ceiling pushing of Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and the other fabulous women on the forefront of the women's movement and then...didn't continue pushing forward.  Stagnate. Backsliding. 

I am not doing justice to this book.  If I had my way, every high school and college female would read it before going into the workforce.  Males could get something out of it, too.  I am not being sexist, but women need to make far more progress in the work force.  Men already own it. Do I think everything she writes is absolute or true for all? No.  What I do think is that it made me think of my career and life choices.  What I might have done differently if I had the support and awareness after having read this book.  Lean In may become a movement.  I'd be all for that.  Women need to support women.  This is another first step.  I hope that we can complete the journey this time around.

Sidebars:  Lean In made me think about all the criticism, including mine, of Marissa Meyer and her choices at Yahoo. Wouldn't happen to a man.  I am going to try to be more conscious of my contribution to the negative chatter. Rutgers coach, Mike Rice, fired. Not far enough. The Trustees should consider consequences to the Athletic Director, the University President and anyone else who was aware.  Saw a piece today on the Today Show about an art exhibit in Berlin about Jews.  One of the exhibit pieces is a Jewish man sitting in a 3-sided Plexiglas box.  Museum-goers can speak to him, ask about Judaism, meet a Jew for the first time, etc. It is interactive.  In some ways, it is interesting. Shocking to me that 60 plus years after the Holocaust that there is still such a mystery about Jews, but I guess if you annihilate most of your Jewish population....On the other hand, what if it was a black man and not a Jewish man.  Would there be more of an uproar?  Which takes me back to Mike Rice.  If he had been screaming racial slurs, he would have been gone so fast.  Homophobic slurs takes a public outcry before you lose your job.

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