Everyone has an opinion on Lean In. Not surprisingly, I suppose, we’ve been quick to criticize Sheryl Sandberg. She’s too rich, too aggressive, too out of touch, too … something.
Give it a rest, people. Instead of attacking Sandberg, let’s applaud her for taking up the feminist crusade. Instead of writing her off as too wealthy and out of touch, let’s thank her for using her high-status position to draw attention to women’s issues.
Lean In isn’t the definitive manifesto for women in (and out of) the workplace, but that doesn’t deny its value. If nothing else, Lean In reignited the conversation.
Leaning in doesn’t have to mean single-mindedly pursuing the c-suite or choosing the workplace over the home. It’s about giving women a voice. It’s about collectively pushing to achieve equal pay. It’s about starting a conversation about traditional gender roles in the home. It’s about encouraging women to help women.
I’m still figuring out my place in this world. I love to work, but I cherish my free time. I thrive on professional challenges, but I have absolutely no idea how I’ll someday juggle work with little ones.
My female peer group is a mixed bag—some are pursuing advanced degrees, others are having children, and most, like me, are building their careers. All are trying to find a balance between self and partner (or, more complicated yet, self and partner and kids), work and life, and relaxation and ambition. All are in search of that imperfectly perfect combination that yields satisfaction and happiness.
Like Kristin van Ogtrop, I want time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. I want to spend quality time with my husband, dog, family, friends, and someday, our children. I also want a job that’s satisfying and stimulating. And, contrary to this HBR blogger’s two cents, waiting around for men to “step back” doesn’t seem like the answer.
News flash: There is no one-size-fits-all solution. So stop ragging on Sheryl Sandberg. Instead, take advantage of this opportunity that she created.
Ladies, you can lean in, stand up, or even twirl around if you want to—just do.