Glass ceiling woes? – Sheryl Sandberg says – Smash it!

24 Feb

When a powerful, hard-working & motivational woman publishes a book for women in business, I want to read it – Don’t you?

Sheryl Sandberg has done just that.

Sheryl Sandberg - Rocoja

Lean in” which is due to be published next month has been billed as a “self-help” book for women (like me) who have had throughout their lives, reasons why they couldn’t move forward/upward in their career.

This pleased me, until I heard that a lot of her book is saying, women don’t push hard enough… Don’t “lean-in” to their careers…

The book is aimed at 20-30 something’s who are starting careers… It will be accompanied by a plethora of additional gumpf to assist these “poor ladies” in their grappling with the men for the prime jobs.. Such as video lectures, data sheets & additional books.

So not only are you fighting with the “men” to lean-in to the roles you want, there is (wait for it) a strict membership requirement regime for any woman wanting to enter into the “lean-in” circle. This will include, regular check-ins, updating them of your progress, being invited / recommended or corporately sponsored etc etc.. So you are also fighting your peers to be good enough to Get-in to Lean-in…

So whilst the emphasis is on getting more women to the top of their chosen career paths (& earlier) I am a little dubious.

Glass Ceiling - Rocoja

© Orangeline

I have experienced the Glass ceiling myself, as have many of my friends… Its a Cold object & one that many (including successful women who are born into affluence &/or abundance so have no glass ceiling in the first place) cannot fathom.

Whilst I applaud the sentiment of Ms S’s book, I am a little sad that the second thought I had when I heard about this was, ahhh so it was really my fault when I was passed by for promotion into the Operations Management fast track – I mean it must have been???

I didn’t lean-in..

The extra unpaid hours I did, the work I took home, the holidays I never took, the people off sick whom I covered for, the meetings I attended in place of the Ops manager, the leaving of my children to attend courses in far flung corners of the UK… I just didn’t Lean-in enough… & the young man who was employed after me, in a less responsible role (part-time) was far more suited to the job….

So I then thought, let my experiences go & when its released I will buy the book for my daughters…maybe it will have some good, relevant advice in it.. But I came across Ms Sandberg’s profile & it underpinned my initial feelings…

Sheryl is the CEO of Facebook & a Billionaire.

Yes, she became the first woman to ever serve on their board; however she had been VP at Google before this.

Right, so she must’ve leant in at Google?  NO – before this she worked at the US Dept. of Treasury as Chief of Staff…  (hardly working up from the “typing pool”)..

So I have dug further –  Ms Sandberg was born into an affluent Miami family, had the best private education available & found herself “top of the class” at Harvard.

Whilst at Harvard, she met Larry Summers, who later became US Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton. Funnily enough, Ms Sandberg graduated from Harvard Business School & found herself working for (wait for it) Larry Summers.

After a couple of years she joined Google – responsible for on-line advertising.. It was through an Office Christmas party there that she met Mark Zuckerberg. 

Ms Sandberg was offered the role of Chief Operations Officer with Facebook after this fortuitous meeting (which was doubly fortuitous, as before this point Facebook had never had a Chief Operations Officer, so the role was created for her).

Now, I am not disparaging her ability as a marketing/advertising guru, as we can clearly see, where Ms Sandberg lands, there is a marked improvement in profits.. What I am very annoyed about is when its dressed up as “You didn’t achieve what I did because you were weak & gave up” When its clear to see, for the affluent Ms Sandberg, its not what you know its WHO you know….

You can clearly see that Ms S, has been very shrewd, with investments over many areas including Surveymonkey & The Walt Disney Company & more power to her…

However to dress this “movement” up as help for women in the workplace is abhorrent to me when this lady has never had to grapple with illegal practices, long hours, blatant sexism, pure exhaustion, Crying children & angry husbands after a long day battling to be recognised…

She was recognised from the day she was born…

The same cannot be said for the working women I know, this includes single mothers who struggle with the guilt as well as the cost of leaving their children.

Working Mum

© Anirav

This includes the women I know who fight the daily sexism they encounter with dignity & grace but without Ms Sandbergs millions to cushion the hurt.

I am the first to say that women need to realise their worth & if the world of work which you are in doesn’t get it – screw it & get out & find somewhere that does respect & value your input… Maybe even work for yourself… Find something YOU love doing & create something from that – Women are naturally creative creatures…Use that…

I understand the frustration & the constraints the single working woman has, working 2 or 3 part-time jobs just to be able to survive, I also understand the family who has to sacrifice one working adult as they can’t afford for 2 people to work due to the costs attributed to that process (such as childcare / extra travel etc), I also understand the attitude of some people at work, when you want to get on & they wonder why the receptionist wants to be a manager???


© Antony84

I’m afraid Ms Sandberg has no clue about these things –   How could she, She has always been wealthy, affluent, influential & has amassed a personal fortune of over £500Million

So let me tell all you bright, wonderful women out there – You don’t need some one selling you a book saying “do as I say, not as I do”….

You need belief in yourself & to surround yourselves with people who see the greatness in you….Not go to bed reading a book telling you it was / is your fault for not Leaning – in..

To be perfectly frank Ms S can lean in elsewhere.. Maybe the women in the US will believe the “movement” & not look at who is writing & their actual story. BUT the women I know are a lot shrewder!

Rant over – Now back to work – as we so in the real world 🙂

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