What’s your take on the "Lean In" philosophy Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg advocates in her new book? Excuse the pun, but I’m leaning against it. I find her perspective on women’s success at work to be narrow-minded.
How are you leaning?
Dear How are you leaning?
I must preface my response with the fact I have not read Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, but I have read quite a few articles about it, listened to news pundits discuss it, and watched several of her interviews concerning it.
I believe Sandberg has some valid points, observations, and suggestions women can consider when navigating the twists and turns of their work organizations’ mazes. She opines that women do not "lean in"; they do not assert themselves. Instead, according to Sandberg, women step back and do not promote themselves and seize opportunities like men do. I believe her "Lean In" philosophy is just one method women can apply in their efforts to rise to the top of their organizations; it is not the only way. It is like any other philosophy where an individual can pick and choose those elements that make sense for him/her. With respect to Sandberg’s book and philosophy, so much depends on a woman’s background and situation in life, her personality and work style, the culture of her workplace, as well as the personalities and work styles of the individuals she works with and for. I prefer to look at Sandberg’s philosophy as an additional tool for our career tool boxes. Sometimes it may be just what we need to succeed, and other times, something else may be more appropriate.
I don’t know how to handle a good friend of mine. He complains a lot about people taking advantage of him and his profession. He’s an attorney who practices family law. He gets so upset the way friends and people he’s just met ask him for free legal advice. I get where he’s coming from but I’m tired of hearing about it, primarily because he’s guilty of doing the same thing to me. I’m a psychotherapist and this guy is always asking me for advice concerning his personal life. I don’t mind helping him from time to time, but I don’t think he thinks about the fact that what he’s asking for is what I do for a living. I want to point this out to him without getting him angry or embarrassing him. Any suggestions? I know you’re probably thinking I should know how to deal with this given my profession, but I’m finding it hard to be objective.
Needs to practice what he preaches
Dear Needs to practice what he preaches:
I understand why it is difficult for you to figure out how to handle this situation. I believe many people, including myself, who provide some kind of service for a living often find themselves in similar circumstances. Whether good or bad, it comes with the territory. Typically, true friends and even acquaintances are going to ask for your professional opinion or assistance with matters you specialize in. Problems arise for individuals like yourself and your friend because both of you make your livings by listening to people and giving them your advice on their issues. Whereas a person can ask a dentist about a problem tooth outside of his/her office, but the person is going to have to make an appointment to see that dentist in order to address the problem tooth.
Ideally, your friend should realize he is doing the same thing to you that he is griping about, but oftentimes a person is only able to look at things from his/her perspective. If you believe his need to bend your ear and get your advice is excessive, I suggest you tell him just what you wrote in your email to me, or tell him you are off the clock and prefer not to deal with work matters during your personal time. Either way, if you say it in a respectful and caring way and he really is a good friend, then he will understand where you are coming from and the problem will be solved.
Best of luck!
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell