Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inspiration for Women in the Workplace

I had been meaning to post a link to the awesome Ted Talk I watched given by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. I figured now would be a great time, after my post yesterday on my struggle with figuring out how to have a Career and a Family.

I always love hearing women who have successful careers talk about how they managed having a career and a family. Now, I know that in most cases like this, these women are so successful that they have all the help (and money) they need in order to manage. However, I am still inspired to hear them discuss what they learned when they were navigating the career/family situation.

In this talk, Sheryl discusses why there are not more women leaders in today's corporations and governments (including how much harder it is for women to have families and be in positions of power.)

If you can't play the video, here is a summary of the three messages that women need to tell themselves and their daughters if you want to stay in the work force and make it to the top. (Hopefully, you can watch the full video because so many of her stories and the studies she sites are SO interesting. She also has some very poignant quotes.)

1.) Sit at the table. ~ Women underestimate their own abilities and don't negotiate for themselves in the workforce. Women attribute their success to others, their team or luck. "No one gets to the corner office by not coming to the table. Own your own success."

2.) Make your partner a real partner. ~ Households with equal earning and equal responsibilities have half the divorce rate and it helps allow women to stay in the workforce if they choose to.

3.) Don't leave before you leave. ~ When women start thinking about having families, in some cases even before they are engaged, they often times have already put their career advancements on the back burner. Sheryl's advice... "Keep your foot on the gas pedal until the very day you need to take leave for a child."

I must say that I REALLY connected with her last statement. I have found that even over the past few years, before I was engaged, before I was married, and before kids had even been on the radar, I was already thinking 5, 10 years down the road and making decisions (especially career wise) based on what might happen in the future. Not taking that promotion because it would be too much work when I have kids, not taking that job because the commute would be too far when I have kids, not taking that trip because I MUST save up all the vacation I can for maternity leave when I have kids. My goal should really be to "Keep my foot on the gas pedal." although that is hard for a planner such as myself!  It is exhausting creating a life now based on a life you plan on having, even though you don't know when that new life will start. Pun intended! :-)

What do you think of Sheryl Sandberg's Ted Talk? Do you agree/disagree with her message? Have you found any other Ted Talks you find especially inspiring?


  1. I didn't have much time to watch the video, (Thanks so much for summarizing!!), but those are great points. I definitely agree with #1 & #3. So true that we don't give ourselves enough credit. Also, so true that we sabatage our careers with thoughts of when we'll stop working. #2, I'm on the fence about.

    I think #1 rings the loudest for me, because I've already determined that my workplace won't allow part time, without even asking! I don't like to ask my workplace for things that I want.

    This is a great post! I'm glad you look up this kind of stuff, so I don't have to!

  2. This is so good for me to read this before I head out into the job world. Not that I'm having kids anytime soon but I too have thought about the "what ifs" of the future!

  3. I really liked this video too. I also liked this TED video as well: http://www.ted.com/talks/neil_pasricha_the_3_a_s_of_awesome.html