Emma G Keller on women in high places:
Marissa Mayer is clearly an all-or-nothing person, used to working on her terms. She is a talented woman, and we all appreciate daily what she did at Google. She seems to be having the same attractive effect on Yahoo. But does this make her a good manager? Not if that means being in touch with the goodwill of her employees. Step one in this process is to show you value other people’s time. We’ve already learned how Mayer is chronically late for meetings, making her subordinates wait for an hour or more for her to show up.
Now, she wants more of their time – for free. Her decision is a costly one, whatever the payoff in cafeteria chat and brainstorming on the bus. Will she underwrite the commuting time and expense? Will there be a gas allowance? Parking? Will employees have their own desks?
Well, if she doesn’t supply any of those things, why not go find another company that does, and work for them?
There is absolutely no concession made for those with families. Yes, I know this is unsurprising from a woman who skipped her own maternity leave. But forget the expense of finding childcare to cover this new work situation, what happens when someone gets, you know, sick?
But…aren’t we always being told that having more women in positions of authority will usher in a fairer, more caring society? And, what’s more, told that in the pages of the ‘Guardian’? Over and over and over?
Do you mean to say that it might not be true?
Over at the Huffington Post, where contributors often toil for nothing, Arianna Huffington has a policy that “anybody starting a new book must either leave employment or take a sabbatical.” She’s referring to her paid employees, of course. This policy recently forced her executive editor Tim O’Brien out of the company. He had a multi-book contract to honor and wasn’t allowed to do both. Huffington founded the Huffington Post in 2005. Since then, she has written three books herself, without taking a sabbatical or leaving the company.
In her 2007 book, On Becoming Fearless – in Love, Work and Life, she wrote about how good it was to write a book while running her 24/7 website because she could “post excerpts from the chapters I was working on, which produced immediate feedback and led to some great comments”. So it’s OK for her, then.
Yes. She’s the boss. And she’s not conforming to the fond imaginings of the feminists. How delicious!
Two companies, two women at the top, two sets of unbending rules. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Yes indeed. We’ve achieved true equality. Women are in charge and they are proving to be just like the men in charge.
What do you mean, that wasn’t what you wanted, or expected?