I just read that Salesforce* is having their Dreamforce event in the US where Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook** fame was a speaker. Apparently Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, presented her by speaking about Larry Summer (the man clearly needs a speech writer) and let’s just stop at calling that “odd.” Personally I feel one could have introduced Ms. Sandberg by speaking about her and her achievements. She has after all achieved one or two things in her life. But then again it could also be a proof point that what Ms. Sandberg thinks and say is true: a woman has to lean in to count.
And yes, I’ve read the book. And, yes, I found it very odd. To say the least.
Now first of all, get me correct. I’m a feminist, in fact I am so profound in my feeling that I think that feminism shouldn’t exist because that men and women are equal is so basic and so obvious that you shouldn’t have to belong to an “ism” to say this. We are different yes. And equal.
But back to Lean in. There were certain matters in that book that I found very surprising and very odd (again for want of a better word).
For instance, isn’t she displaying herself as very protected at her workplaces? There is an incessant stream of anecdotes of how Ms. Sandberg’s colleagues (peers) protected her in the eyes of any wrongdoing. I must have been very unlucky because I don’t remember one instance with a colleague stepping up to my protection like that. Well, no that’s unfair because it has happened twice in my career, but then we both got a really good severance pay, so while appreciative of the action I doubt its efficiency. At least in these instances. So, by showing how protected she was and also apparently saying that this protection was needed, isn’t she in a way belittling herself and her achievements?
But my main question is what she is the way she goes about achieving what she say she wants to achieve. According to reports, Ms. Sandberg advised the male part of audience to buy their wives detergents rather than flowers. Is this the way forward to equality? By treating men like children, or if not children, like creatures with lesser intelligence? Somehow I always thought that the only way forward is to act and to be equal, while accepting our differences.
And for those of my readers who wonder here’s full disclosure:
* Yes, I have applied for work with #Salesforce several times but despite having worked with e-commerce since the days of #EDI, with Internet since 1996 and always within EMEA Corporate Communications they haven’t found me worthy
** Same with #Facebook – I have applied, and interviewed and was turned down after three interviews