Yesterday I led a discussion on the Book Lean In at my Women in eDiscovery meeting. Wait, what the heck is that? So I am a member of a women's organization for women in my profession. Electronic Discovery is hard to explain (sometimes I think even The Husband and my Mom don't know what I do). According to wikipedia it means:
Electronic discovery (or e-discovery or eDiscovery) refers to discovery in civil litigation which deals with the exchange of information in electronic format (often referred to as electronically stored information or ESI). These data are subject to local rules and agreed-upon processes, and is often reviewed for privilege and relevance before being turned over to opposing counsel.
Basically, I help lawyers exchange electronic evidence. The movies have been lying to you, both sides have to share evidence and there very little "surprise I have the smoking gun you didn't know existed" moments in real courts. Its very detail oriented, and no, I don't actually read all the things I see so I don't know their business. The job is fairly nerdy, and has historically been a pretty male dominated profession. So we have a women's group so that we can share, network, learn from, and support each other.
I read the book last year and suggested it as a monthly meeting topic, and agreed to present a summary and lead a round table discussion with my peers. I work in a male dominated office (which I actually like and prefer to a mostly women office) and they jokingly call it the man haters club. Nice to know sexism is not dead. Kidding, I love them and it's a great place to work.
It was a really interesting discussion, and I concluded that your experience as a higher-level professional working women is influenced by a variety of factors. I am lucky enough to work someplace that is very supportive of having a family and achieving a work/life balance. They don't mind me and my crazy, and actually appreciate my organizational skills and bossy tendencies. They know I cry if I get really mad, and luckily I have only exploded on them a few times. But the nice thing about guys is that they forget you acted like a crazy and won't mention it or hate you for it later.
Another major factor that I think has contributed to my drive to succeed in the work place is my father. He always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. He emphasized my brain over my looks, and told me not to marry a loser. Pretty good advice if you ask me. Thanks to his guidance, I have always been one to "sit at the table" and make my thoughts heard. I don't really have a problem speaking up for myself, and I am confident in my abilities at work and at home. And if I am not, I will totally overcompensate so you don't know that I am not confident.
I don't know where this is going, but if you are a working women I would encourage you to read the book. And know that you are being a great role model for your children, especially little girls. I try my best to emphasize Hadley's hard work and intelligence over her cuteness. There are so many pressures on women today - SAHM vs Working Moms, body wars, breastfeeding wars, etc. I just want Hadley to be confident in her abilities and to be able to achieve whatever it is that will make her happy.