Bethany Rentz Bethany Rentz

Am I leaning in?

06 May 2013

I just finished reading Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - and it caused me to reflect on my career and experiences that I've had. And also to think about how I would like to be going forward.

Quotes that jumped out at me

While I was reading the book, the following quotes resonated with me: * Aggressive and hard-charging women violate unwritten rules about acceptable social conduct.

  • When a girl tries to lead, she is labelled as bossy.

  • Men ask for more opportunities at work than women.

  • Tip: Women are afraid to “toot their own horn”. Have others share your success stories for you.

I think back on experiences that I’ve had and see how some might resonate with Sheryl’s message.

When a girl tries to lead, she is labelled as bossy.

I was always called bossy by my family – even as an adult! The most recent example is last year when I was the maid of honor at a friend’s wedding in Paris. At the reception while we were waiting for the Bride and Groom to show up (they were out taking pictures around Paris) – some of the guests decided they didn’t like the seating arrangement of male, female and French speakers sitting next to English speakers. So I ended up taking charge and re-arranging the guests to allow people to sit by their friends and family (of course it was like a huge logic puzzle – so I couldn’t resist).

My mom was sitting at one of the tables, and apparently was telling my friends that I was being bossy at the reception and that I had always been bossy growing up. My own mother!!!

Of course I’ve also been told I’m bossy at work – which is probably why I was encouraged to move to Project Management.

Other Points to Consider

"Some of the most important contributions to our world are made by caring for one person at a time.” – Sheryl Sandberg

The book also gave me some other things to consider in my life. A lot of people giving up on trying to be successful at work because they don’t want to work all the hours - is there a way to be successful, but not commit all of your waking hours to work - cutting out other key aspects of your life (friends, family, community, and your health)?

A lot of the focus on women in the workplace is around women who have children and how they balance everything – but not too much about women who choose not to have children – we (those of us without children) are sometimes made to feel less important because we are not juggling raising children and working. But I try and take the perspective that I am choosing a different way of making an impact in the world – some choose to do that by having children, I choose to spend my time volunteering to help others.

Things I can change in my life

As I was reading this book - I thought about changes I can make in my life.

  • Being more aware that everyone has different perspectives and different goals in life. And being OK with that - not everyone has to or should live their life the same way I live mine.

  • Being more of a partner with my husband. Make sure that we are dividing up the house responsibilities in a way that is equal and plays to our strengths. Currently I am not working so the expectation is that I do more of the chores, but once I am working again – I want to make sure that the expectation is set that I don’t do everything. (I have also tried the approach in the past that I make more money so I shouldn’t have to do housework – but that didn’t go over too well.)

  • Think about how I spend my time that I am making an impact in a way that is right for me (not based on what others expect of me).

Those are some of my thoughts around "Leaning In". Have you read the book - what was your perspective?

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