On Tuesday night I went to see my friend Nanette speak on a panel at the Waban Library about, you guessed it, "Lean In." Yes, it's the book that keeps on giving, whether we like it or not (and just as a reminder, I did not like it). But there's just so much to it, that each time I discuss it, I find more to think about. So here are three more topics I want to keep exploring.
1. The target age for who should be "leaning in." The audience skewed a bit older for both this panel discussion and at Sandberg's appearance that I attended a few months ago. I think Sandberg was hoping to address a younger crowd, perhaps in their 20's, in her book, especially regarding her "don't leave before you leave" message directed at women who slow down their careers even before they have children. I wonder how much women in that younger decade are paying attention to all this. Does it even seem relevant? I'm not sure I would have thought it was as relevant to me back then. Are we seeing these issues once it's too late to address them?
2. The need to keep asking for what you want. In chatting with other attendees at the end of the panel discussion, I mentioned that I work from home one day a week. Someone said she'd asked to do that as well, and her company said no. But my company also said no when I first asked, and while it took years to get a yes, I'm really glad that I didn't stop asking. And as Marc said when I discussed this with him, maybe there's another company out there that will say yes, and a change is necessary.
3. The sweet spot of authority and responsibility. One of the panelists related that she'd once been told that workplace success is related to having the right combination of responsibility within the job and authority for getting the job done well. Finding the balance of these two things is a struggle I've been grappling with, without being able to boil it down to such simple terms. I definitely feel I have enough responsibility in my current role, but lack the authority I should have to really do the job well. I think this will be a useful framework for discussing upcoming changes in my role at work.
So, lots more to keep thinking about. Have you read the book? Are there any new questions you've had since then?