Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

A 15-mins video as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite.

An author, an activist, and a Facebook executive who wants to see more women at the top.

 

With statistics, she mentions how small this percentages are, of men vs women in top seats.

She was in a 3 hours meeting at another company and 2 hours past, she wanted to go to the ladies, but, the partner at the meeting did not know if there was a ladies room.
In fact, they’ve been there for a year.
She asked,” Am I the only woman who has pitched a deal in this year?”
He replied, “Yeah. Or maybe you’re the only one who had to go to the bathroom.”

 

This message is for those who do want to stay in the workforce.

  1. Sit at the table
    – Some senior post women sit at the side of the room
    – Women underestimate their own abilities > asking both men and women on questions with objective criteria, women do NOT negotiate themselves in the workforce.
    – 57% of men negotiate their first salary, while it’s 7% for women
    – Men attribute their success on themselves (if you ask why they did a good job, they’ll say “I’m awesome”) and women attribute their success on others (“someone helped them; they got lucky; they worked really hard”)
    – No one gets a corner office by sitting at the side of the table
    – No one gets the promotion if they don’t think that they deserve their success or they don’t even understand their own success
    – Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negative for women > people prefer men over women (based on a research, people want to work for the guy.. go fishing with him, etc.. but, a girl.. not so sure.. she’s a little out for herself.. a little political.. not sure if you want to work for her)
    – Men are reaching for opportunities more than women (During a meeting, the men’s hands were still raised and the women’s did not because she said two more questions and was still answering questions from the men).
  2. Make your partner a real partner
    – We push our boys to succeed more than our girls
    – Studies show that both side with equal earnings and responsibilities have half the divorce rate and in a biblical sense as well
  3. Don’t leave before you leave
    – A girl starts thinking of having a child and therefore thinking about making room (time) for the child in her usual busy schedule. She then doesn’t put her hand up, take a promotion, take on a new project, say “me, I want to do that”. She starts leaning back.
    – Women starts to think about this way earlier, thus losing the opportunities early. (A girl asked about this when she wasn’t even married or have a boyfriend yet). She’s thinking about it way too early.
    – What happens when you start quietly leaning back?
    – When you have a kid, your job has to be really good to go back to (challenging, rewarding, making a difference) because it’s difficult to leave the kid at home.
    – If 2 years ago, some guy beside you took the promotion instead of you or 3 years ago you stopped looking for opportunities, you’re going to be bored because you should’ve put your foot on the gas pedal > Don’t leave before you leave. Stay in until the very day you need to leave to take a break for the child and then make your decisions. Don’t make decisions too far in advance. Particularly the ones you’re not consciously making.

Wants her 5 year old son to have the choice to fully contribute to the workforce or at home.
Wants her 2 year old daughter to have the choice to not only succeed, but, to be liked for her accomplishments.

 

~~~~~~

Let’s speak based on my own personal experience and point of view.

 

It is true that women underestimate their own abilities and prefer not to negotiate or push forward to what she wants and attributes her success on others.
I learned this the hard way.
Being in a field and position where not many girls would go into, I grew weary and frustrated over the years (even though I was only a full-fledged in my field 5 years back).
I hated the fact that I was paid lesser than the guys even though I was doing the exact job scope as them, if not more.
I know, because I have a number of guy friends and those who I was close to in the IT industry and I knew the figures.
Yes, it hurt when I see them doing lesser and earning more than me.
I initially thought.. hey.. that’s life… unfairness in the face of reality.
Oh boy, I was WRONG.

I was that girl.

I underestimated my own abilities only because (1) I was not certified to be one, I had a stupid degree in finance and I wanted to do IT after graduation (2) for months, I was told by interviewers straight in my face that I was incapable of doing these jobs, either with a reasoning of my not enough qualifications, no work experience and I’m a girl and I can’t do physical work (note that I have to carry heavy IT equipment) and told me to give up my dreams and the people who told me the last portion also includes so-called friends, ex-colleagues and family. I was fed with those words for a long time. (3) when I finally became a full-fledged personnel in IT – it used to be a mixed of IT and admin of some sort – I was unsure on whether I could do it.

I did not negotiate on my terms because of the reasons above and that I should not be rewarded if I doing enough or as I should.

I attributed my success on others. This came naturally. I thank my mentors and colleagues more than I thank myself for the final result even if I was the only one doing it.

What spiralled a 360 degrees turn?

The salary. I was pissed as hell.
It was unfair and I was sick and tired of doing more and getting less.
Why was I giving credit to those who weren’t even in the picture?
I actually became what people would call “arrogant” to a point, but, that’s what guys would say “Because I’m awesome. Period.”.
Girls are wired to give way and not be one. Why? I don’t know why… don’t ask me why.

I was angry that every single time, for years, I was treated like a n00b just because I’m a girl (it’s actually more common for girls now.. I think).
Although, sometimes I like to make fun of people and do act like a n00b so that I wouldn’t need to do something :P… oh.. the perks that I found out of the negativity!

I grew from that quiet and meek girl at the back to one who would roar intimidatingly to the point where, honestly, I was told that a lot of people are pretty scared of going up to me >_<.

But, come on… I became intimidating because I got angry when people would always find me non-stop for anything and everything, even when it’s pretty obvious that they can do it for themselves!
So, all of them wouldn’t go to me unless necessary now.

The last straw was early this year when I was about to send in my resignation letter, but, the highest directors and my boss told me to reconsider and we negotiated.
I was already given a letter of acceptance to a job that I went for an interview just a few weeks before.
It was a whirlwind and I decided to stay and actually got promoted.
You can call me arrogant and not down to earth at this point.. I still feel like it is so.
But, I was.. well.. been pushed across that line which I didn’t want to cross.

I’ve been asked what would I do if my boss left and the seat was open to me (and everyone else in the world) – no offence.. was asked.
I can tell you that my answer has been.. for the longest time… that I would nominate one of the senior IT managers from one of the countries to take it.
Only because I think that I’m not managerial material.
But, if you were to ask me again, I would take up the chance.
Because there was once a girl who knew nothing and moulded herself into something.

 

 

Success and likeability are positively correlated.

Thing is.. I’ve had more guy friends than girl friends most of my life.

Partly because I was always quiet and doing my own thing.
My own thing includes gaming.
Who games since the 90s?
Most of them are guys (it wasn’t until the late 2010 or so).
When I was with my exs, I was around guys who gamed.
I was always treated as one of the guys.
So much so that guys would talk amongst themselves as though I was really one of them.
They didn’t step back and spoke about what all you bros would talk in your bro-code.

Partly because I grew up with my 2 brothers.
I was a tomboy for most of my early life.
Love what guys love.
Soccer, fishing, “idling in the empty space”, gaming, playing in the mud, catching worms and snails, killing cockroaches and lizards, climbing trees, etc.
My daydreams include a warrior princess instead of some useless “help me or I’ll die” (I hate that) mode barbie dolls with my brothers’ ninja turtles, hulk, x-men.. etc.

The girls didn’t understand what I love.
Why I love.
Why I’m different.
I’m not entirely different, because I’ve got my girly side (soft-spoken, quiet, meek, always listening and respecting my elders *coughs*.. I used to be), but, still.
I didn’t share their sentiments for shopping or looking at guys or talking about doing nails (I’ve never done a manicure and pedicure in my life, yes, seriously, I love them short and natural) or my hair or how I dressed (I was into huge baggy tees and jeans and sport a ponytail).. sporty.. yeah.. ’cause I wanted a carefree life so I could do whatever I wanted without the restrictions of what I was wearing and feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Plus, I’ve been skinny my whole life and well, I have to keep quiet when girls talk about weight issues. Yes, SILENT. They’d be pissed if I were to honestly say that I can’t be fat even how much I eat. But, all of them knows so and would sometimes say that I’m lucky that I can eat whatever I want or how much I want and not be fat. I’d still keep silent at that point. Just politely smile. =X

At work, I believe in bonding.
I don’t care whether you’re at the lowest end and sweeping the floor or you’re a big-shot at the top of the chain.
When it comes to work, I have no choice, but, to make sure I know how to prioritise on the workload since I’m a soloist.
Once in a blue moon, I get a request from some so-called big-shot who isn’t so big-shot in my eyes who wants help immediately.
I’d say “Take a number and sit quietly at the corner until it’s your turn”.
I’ve mentioned earlier that people get scared?
I’ve actually scolded a handful number of people at work and I’m not exactly proud of it.
I don’t care what your position is.
If you think you’re more important than others, you’re going to get a piece of my mind.
Then, you’d either get pushed to the back and I won’t get to you until tomorrow and make a bet that you will NOT get any attention from me from then forth until you become someone I can talk to on a colleague level instead of thinking you’re any better than anyone else.
Even the higher post directors are more down to earth 10 times more than they are.
Yeah.. I’m not exactly likeable.. hahahaha~
But, I can safely say that all those people actually changed for the better as a whole.
It also benefited the rest at work as well… yeah.. yeah.. leave the bad reputation to me.

I don’t really care though… work is work.
If you want my real honesty.
The only reason they want me there is because “make your absence felt“.
When you’re one who works quietly at the back end, they can’t see there are any problems until the problems reek out.
They can find a replacement of you (there are always someone better than you out there, that’s a fact), but, it’s going to take time.
Also, I’m someone who does things on the spot.
You don’t need to wait long for me to attend to you, even if there’s 5 people waiting “in line”.
But, it takes experience to do so.. as in, you’d need to know the ins and outs of many things to do things straight away, else you’d be slaving away trying to figure out how to do something.
Learn quickly.. it has to be a habit.
They’re just happy that things get taken care of and on time.
But, I would eat the cake if I know I don’t know something or know that I can’t get it done.
I’ll say that honestly.
I will say sorry if I’m wrong and fix the problem.
There is no ego in work.
(But, yes, I am egoistic in my personal life.. trollololol~ +_+).

I’m biased.
I love my regional IT team… all the IT peeps in Asia.
Seriously love.
With capitalised L O V E.
The same way I treat those people which we’d usually call clients, but, probably a little more attention.
If I find out they’re having problems and they’re stuck in between barriers of their own countries’ issues or internal matters, I’d talk to my boss.
Sometimes I think that that’s my boss’ job.
But, I talk to most of them on a regular basis, as a colleague and friend.
I know I have that extra authority to be able to push certain things for them.
They know NOTHING about this though.
I never tell them that I was the one who pushed for them.
But, it’s rewarding to see them happy and working harder than before.
It’s a positive cycle, so, I’m down with it.

I know pretty well that I will get into trouble because I’m one who would push for the good of all.
But, so far, my boss handles it well afterwards. 🙂
Although, sometimes, he doesn’t tell me anything after the talk and would come up with solutions after speaking to the top tier peeps.
I might not be as high as my boss to be able to make decisions at a higher level, but, I’m lucky to have him as my boss.

Since I’ve been with the current organisation, I’ve become… an honest and open book.
You either hate or like me.
My aim in certain conditions are different, for sure, but, at work, I get it done when I should, whether you like it or not.
If I have to push for something, I’ll make sure it’ll reap positive benefits.
So, if I do give you a piece of my mind, you have to trust me that I’m waking you up from your idling world of your own.
The rest is up to you to make the choice.. to think for yourself.
To see if it’s worth it and what went wrong.
Yeah yeah.. I’m a dreamer at times.. but, I’m pretty different when I know where I should stand.

And to think that society says that IT people can’t portray their feelings properly or show real emotions or benefit others in real life.

Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not the opposite of quiet.
I’m still quiet most of the time because I think a lot.
It’s just that, people know something is wrong when I start talking.

 

Don’t leave before you leave

Hahaha…
This..
I want to say… is entirely true as well.

Even before I went into this field, I was thinking.. what if I had kids in the future and I won’t be able to do what I do in IT.
I was thinking about carrying heavy IT equipment.
I was scared that I would have to leave work if I had kids.
(In addition to having to push my way through from all the people who told me to give up my dreams).
I didn’t want to give up my dreams in the first place.
If I had worked hard to get it, I wouldn’t want to let it go.

But, thinking back.
If I had thought all of that to come true aka leaving work and my dreams.
Then, I wouldn’t have even reached the first level of my dreams.
I think I’m at phase 2.

If I was already “strong” to begin with, I shall put my faith to the fact that I will be stronger, in the future, after all those life trials and tribulations (not just work-based, but, on a personal level as well).

What this means is.. you don’t know what the future holds.
What if your predictions were wrong and you’ve given up that dream you’ve wanted most of your life and then, regret about?
Until the day you know you have to make the choice to leave and walk away, don’t assume too much and live in that moment.

I would probably have wished that I didn’t listen to anyone and took a degree in IT as my heart had told me to because they thought I would’ve gotten a better ROI.
I would probably have wished that I had channelled my life into my career instead of my so-called finding Mr Right and waste a lot of my time, energy and emotions.
I would probably have wished that by now, I would’ve done better and more because I want to be abroad to do more humanitarian work.

But, it’s as it is.
As she has mentioned, “Don’t make decisions too far in advance. Particularly the ones you’re not consciously making“.
There are no right or wrong answers eventually.
We sometimes have to make decisions out of a split second and… luck.. probably.. fate.
Like a job.. whether you get it or not depending on the time, situation and even the hirer’s mood of the day.

 

Actually…
Do what you want with your life.

Not everyone wants to be on top… well, a few people told me so.
Some wants to take it easy and stay average.
But, if you do know that you can take hold or charge of some things that you’re entitled to, try to get it.
Don’t reject every single good thing in life just because you want to just be. ❤

 

❤ Icesabel

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