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Anyone here reading Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Any thoughts? I'm almost half-way through. 

post #2 of 12

I don't have it yet. I read the interview in Time, and I have the book in my Wish list on Amazon; I'm moving in the direction of reading it!


What do you think so far?

post #3 of 12

Yes, I read it, and think there are a lot of valuable lessons in it. Would love to know what others think!  I gave copies to 2 of my supervisees, 1 copy to a colleague, and lent my copy to a director at my company.

post #4 of 12

Me!  I am only a couple of chapters in.  I like her thought pattern so far.  I am still debating if it applies to me.  It seems to apply to higher up people or more educated.  I am also in public sector so not sure how that all fits in.  


I hope this thread keeps going I would love to talk about the book with like minded moms.

post #5 of 12

I finished the book.  It is a very easy read for those of you putting it off.


I realized that I leaned out way back in high school.  Even though I had top marks in math I decided to pursue teaching so that I could take care of my kids (which were not born for another decade).  Luckily though in University I found computer classes easy and did a double major followed by teacher's college which would allow me to lean back in several years later to the IT field.  Even now with kids I find myself debating trying more challenging roles in the IT field or taking a job that is less demanding to spend more time with kids.


I also realized that I do have a very capable husband who as of right now does about 60% of household chores and 20% of childcare things.  There is really no reason I shouldn't be able to lean into my work.


Since I didn't attend an Ivy League Degree I found some of her comments were not intended for me.  I also live in Canada and work in the public sector so a lot of her ideas on getting a promotion, negotiating, maternity leave etc do not apply to me.  For instance I applied for a job that I would be great at but I could not talk to the manager and get hired because it has to go through HR and on paper I don't have 100% qualifications.  On the other hand women in IT where I work are given priority over males so I do have an unfair advantage.


Also, I wish she would have addressed changing the world to accept women being awesome moms and still smart enough to have challenging jobs.  I struggle because everyone knows I am a great mom (and foster mom) but no one knows that I am also a very competent IT person.  Even at church I offer to help someone with a simple Wordpress site and they still don't accept my skill level.  I want to yell "Yes I can teach your child Sunday school and fix websites(and more)".  I am going to guess that Sandberg had a bit less of that to deal with.


Furthermore, I think that the level of mothering that I want to do is higher than the level that she wants.  I love being with my kids more than anything else.  I am lucky to get a year maternity leave and work 9-5 with weekends off.  Maybe we are at a better balance in Canada.


Ultimately, I came a way from the book feeling encouraged to put more of myself into my job, not to hold back.  I am looking at finding more challenging jobs (on the jungle gym) and looking at where we are moving in IT and how I can get there to be part of some big interesting projects.

post #6 of 12

Yes. There are valuable lessons. I am her target customer, as I'm Ivy League educated, working full-time in private sector technology, blah blah blah. So is my husband.


But -- I still feel that her assumptions about what her target customers should do are not quite with what I want and what I'm looking for from life.


I found a lot of value in reading the following article from the Atlantic: http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/the-masculine-mystique/309401/2/ (and it talks about the public sector, and Canada!)

post #7 of 12

That's a good article. I haven't read this book but it sounds like more of the same blaming of women for their careers not measuring up to those of men, when really we should blame the family-unfriendly structures in place in this society. Also it's true that we don't all have the same goals. Why can't our society be more accepting to part-time and flex-time while still treating people as valuable contributors to the workplace? Why is our only acceptable goal to be super-worker and super-parent? 

post #8 of 12
Very good article!
post #9 of 12

I read the book and loved it, but I could see how it wouldn't be for everyone.  I considered it to be a much-needed pep talk, encouraging me to aim higher.  For example, I work for a small business part time, and they hire me from time to time to answer their business phone.   I enjoy this because I can do it from home, saving money on day care/gas and allowing me to study (I'm also a grad student).  So I told my boss I would like more of this work.  They are now on vacation and have asked me to basically run the whole business while they're gone.  I think even a year ago I might have felt intimidated by this responsibility, but reading the book helped me realize that I could do it.  I also ran for (and was elected to) a student government position at my school.  I used to talk myself out of things I hadn't done before, because I was worried I'd mess it up.  Now I embrace new challenges.

post #10 of 12

Good for you Chaika - I think that is exactly what Cheryl Sandberg wanted to see.  I do think the main thing is that we hold ourselves back and shouldn't.


There was a job posted that I am slightly qualified for but didn't apply to because I thought maybe I wasn't good enough.  It was a higher pay.  My coworker applied and she was even more unqualified and got to write a test.  She failed the test but when she explained it, I knew I would have aced it.  If it comes up again I am applying.


I  agree there is the element from the other article that it has a lot to do with balancing the needs of the family - going for who ever has the higher paying job. DH and I have both quit jobs to follow the other one. Having children in Canada is easier with the health care and 1 year leave.  If I had to choose between taking 6 weeks off or losing my job altogether I would have quit.

post #11 of 12

Okay, so I haven't read the book, I have only read the interview/summary. My problem with the lean in suggestion is that it neglects to recognize that some women  actually want *gasp* to spend time with their children. They want to be there for them unconditionally, if they can. They don't want to be the one to move the entire family across the country or world, or to be the one spending 80 hours per week working. This is me. If I had not chosen NOT to lean in, I undoubtedly would be earning a ton more money. But, I would not be able to spend the time I have with my kids. So much of the rhetoric about the women's movement or women's roles seems to suggest that the ideal is for women to work equally to men, and share equally in parenting responsibilities. This may work for some families, but as long as employers are expecting ANYONE, male or female, to put in 80 hours a week, to never really be off, to answer emails late at night or on the weekends, there is no way there can be a truly equal share of work.


To me, the most promising legislation for women is that of the UK, where women have the right to request that their position be made into a part-time position. Being able to convert to part-time would permit women to keep their careers, eventually ramp back up when the time is right, and would prioritize the next generation. However, it is only a right to ask, and does not guarantee that it would happen! And, why not let men ask too? Maybe they will be the primary care provider for a while. Heck, why not have two part-time parents and one (or more) really lucky child who gets to spend a lot of time with both parents! Our society that expects full-time work from any professional worker is designed to make women have to chose between work or family, or to downgrade to a lesser career.

post #12 of 12

Porcelina, it's been a few months since I read the book so I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but the work/family issues are something she definitely does address, including the need for more flexibility and better options for working parents.  She has kids that she wants to spend time with too!

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