Saturday, May 09, 2015

Leaned In

I finished Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In the weekend before last. I'd heard vague negative things about it. Having finished the book, I conclude it's another case of press exaggeration of complaints of those who found within some items at which to take offense.

I found it rather readable, unlike too many business books. It was sprinkled with humorous anecdotes to keep me entertained.

A day or so later, I noted down this list of Takeaways:
  • Even women need to be vigilant against inherent bias against women.
  • Women tend to be more shy than men, but if you take some simple steps to encourage them, you'll bring them out of the woodwork & make them more useful to your organization.
  • Men should be respected for doing housework.
  • When insufficient number of women choose to make their career a priority, the next generation of children is raised with the same bias against women in careers.
Otherwise, I didn't think the book applied to me very much. I wasn't top-of-the-class at Harvard or anything close. I do software, not business. Compared to the people in her book, I've been incredibly lazy.

Most of my jobs have been in high tech, yet it was always quite normal for people to go home around 5:30. Sandberg had to be apologetic and assertive about the need to leave at such a time, even if she showed up at the crack of dawn. She stressed the importance of going home to be with her family every evening, and hastened to add that she logs back into work after her kids have gone to sleep.

After my kids have gone to sleep, I'm asleep too. Maybe in bed reading.

The book did have one good effect that I had not imagined. Here's an anecdote of my own:

I was picking my kids up from Hebrew school 2 Sundays ago. The lady who runs the school mentioned being laid off from her regular job. Her whole group was laid off. I had a vague idea that what she did was something like what was required for an open position at my company. She gave me her card. I gave it to someone at work. He emailed me the job description. I forwarded it on to her.

She emailed back, saying, it looks very interesting, but it seems to require one set of skills that I don't have.

Had I not just read Sandberg's book, I'd have emailed back, Oh well.

Instead, I remembered and quoted back a section where it said that men will apply for a job if they have 60% of the requirements, but women will only apply if they have closer to 100%. If you send in your resume, it could be you'll get a quick 'no thanks.' If you don't send it in, the answer is definitely no.

She sent in her resume. She got an interview--over the phone, and then in person.

The man who would have been her direct supervisor was impressed by her credentials and presentation. He wanted to redefine the job and hire her. Unfortunately, his boss didn't agree.

Still, it goes to show that it was worth a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment