Lean in? Women Finding Success in the Workplace

by Karin on March 11, 2013 · 2 comments

Post image for Lean in? Women Finding Success in the Workplace There's a lot of talk about powerful corporate women these days, and the choices they are making regarding family and career. This month, one Fortune 500 CEO, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, has been making headlines. First, Mayer made headlines for ending Yahoo’s policy allowing employees to work from home. Then, Mayer was called a hypocrite for having a nursery built at the office, while taking away flexibility from the company’s employees. Most recently, she disavowed the term “feminist.” Former Lehman Brothers Chief Financial Officer Erin Callan is now in the news for admitting she regrets the choices she has made regarding how she prioritized her work and family. At age 47, she is trying to have a baby. She said,
'But I can’t make up for lost time,' she concedes, now acknowledging that 'most importantly' she does not have children of her own, a far cry from a woman who admits she spent every waking second glued to her BlackBerry. 'I have often wondered whether I would have been asked to be C.F.O. if I had not worked the way that I did. Until recently, I thought my singular focus on my career was the most powerful ingredient in my success. But I am beginning to realize that I sold myself short. 'I was talented, intelligent and energetic. It didn’t have to be so extreme. Besides, there were diminishing returns to that kind of labor,' she now realizes. 'I didn’t have to be on my BlackBerry from my first moment in the morning to my last moment at night. I didn’t have to eat the majority of my meals at my desk. 'I didn’t have to fly overnight to a meeting in Europe on my birthday. I now believe that I could have made it to a similar place with at least some better version of a personal life. Not without sacrifice — I don’t think I could have “had it all” — but with somewhat more harmony.'
These are timely headlines to spark conversations about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which is already making waves. What is the best book you have read on women in the workplace? What is a woman supposed to do?

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fran froelich March 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’ve long been a champion of sequencing, esp. for women. Optimal is that women have kids when they’re young & most fertile, spend, say, 20 years or so raising them full time, then enter the workforce. Today 40-45 is the new 20-25.
Frankly, folks—women MUST do this. It has to do w/the limited biological clock that women have simply because they’re women. And it’s also womens’ nature to be much more hands-on about caring for those they’re reponsible for. I’ve yet to meet a woman who feels comfortable about outsourceing care. If Mom needs a ride to the doctor, the typical daughter will insist on taking time from work & accompanying Mom. the typical son will either schedule appointment for a time of his convenience or hiring a ride service & learning of the doctor’s report later. It’s a question of seeing economic value of time. This is partly about feminine instinct of needing to see & touch those she cares for. Men, otoh, are satisfied to guard the perimeter as long as those he’s responsible for are w/in its bounds. Parenting is much the same. Few dads will typically insist on leaving work in time to pick up the kids @ school & take them to their activities. This, too, has an economic impact. Time is money. You get what you pay for. The rules don’t change just because of gender. High-stakes jobs are jealous mistresses. Clientele insist on being served. If they’re not, they’ll go elsewhere & the business will utlimately fail. It’s a sad but true fact of life. And not only execs are under pressure. So are those who serve them. How many nannies or other housekeepers, say, can telecommute or work @ their own convenience?I doubt that their employers give them much slack, either. I mean–how can they be the major professional players if they must scrub their own floors or buy their own groceries? As I said, you get what you pay for. If you want to have children AND a fast-paced career, it’s doable—but realize that w/o a f/t caregiver, whether parent, other relative, or nanny, it simply won’t be feasable. And the more time you take off for family functions, the less pay you will have.


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