Just how valuable is your career to you?
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a 2013 book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and Nell Scovell, TV and magazine writer. In it she draws on her own career experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and comes to a number of conclusions.
Sheryl Sandberg evangelizes that for women to reach their true potential in their career they need to avoid “leaning away” in other words: women must be totally dedicated to their chosen profession. Thoughts of children and family are distractions to be avoided.
I disagree with the main proposition of Sandburg’s book that to have a really wonderful life then you must focus on your career, earn as much as possible and seek power. To attain these you must devote yourself to working longer and harder.
As software engineer Kate Heddleston commented
Women in tech are the canary in the coal mine. Normally when the canary in the coal mine starts dying you know the environment is toxic and you should get the hell out. Instead, the tech industry is looking at the canary, wondering why it can’t breathe, saying “Lean in, canary. Lean in!” When one canary dies they get a new one because getting more canaries is how you fix the lack of canaries, right? Except the problem is that there isn’t enough oxygen in the coal mine, not that there are too few canaries.
The book raises valuable questions about the individual choices that govern happiness and success. But to simply focus on your career is fundamentally wrong. Take a look around you as you commute to your job. Streams of stressed out, overworked employees that in the majority of cases would rather be somewhere else. And what’s more: CEOs who force workers, of both genders, towards burnout are taking chances with the longer-term success of their company.
Sure, Lean In to your career if you feel that’s important. But also Lean Back.
And think …
What’s REALLY important in life.
Then go and do it.
What do you think? Leave a comment below:
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