Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lean In

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.

After all the hype and controversy, I thought it would be good if I actually read this one for myself. I'm glad I did. I think I'll have to reread it annually. It was that good.

Sandberg's basic points are that women have been conditioned to keep our heads down, be nice, and if we work really, really hard, we'll be rewarded. But, the data doesn't support that. If we want to succeed, we need to take chances, raise our hands, and toot our own horns. (Women often feel that have to be 100% qualified for a job before applying. Men only feel they have to be 60% qualified.)

But she also recognizes the world we live in-- tooting your own horn is valuable if you're a guy, but often penalizes you if you're a woman. She also knows this weird chicken/egg world we live in--workplaces are hard on women with families and many women leave instead of fighting to the top, but you need women at the top to get change, but you can't get to the top if your workplace won't help you support your family and round and round it goes.

Sandberg also recognizes her own privilege and the book is really for white-collar jobs.

BUT it is a stellar call to action for women AND men to step back and look at the gender imbalance, why its there, and what we can do about it. I do like the cold truth that no one's going to hand out a better job and situation, you have to go grab it, or at least ask for it.

Not all of it applied to me-- public librarianship, especially youth services, is female heavy. My boss is female, as is her's, as is her's up to the director (also female.) But I still found advice to take to heart, and a different way of looking at things.

I think it's a very strong (and quickly readable) call to action. It points out a lot of hard truths about what's going on, and hwy, but also offers solid suggestions on how to fix them, not just in your personal job, but in society as a whole.

It's an important book and you should probably read it.

Book Provided by... my local library

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