March 10, 2014

"For the sake of society and the economy, it's not that women should lean in, but men should lean out."

Argues Lotte Bailyn of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

48 comments:

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Sounds like womansplaining to me.

fivewheels said...

"Waaah, he worked harder and got rewarded. That's unfair!"

rhhardin said...

You need people who will drop everything at a moment's notice and fly to an unpleasant country to work a deal.

That pays a lot.

The usual deal is, I'll do that if you make me rich.

After a few years of it, you quit and do something you like, since you don't need the money.

That's why jobs pay unequally.

fivewheels said...

"We need a new definition of the ideal worker. Performance shouldn't be judged on how many hours you work, but by the work you do."

That's the standard that already exists at any workplace not run by a moron. No one is just counting time spent near a phone. But judging by the actual work and the actual value of the work that gets done is not going to magically help women either, unless they put in the work. You're just going to have to do it, ladies.

Some people like their work and do a lot of it. It's un-American to try to stop them.

Ann Althouse said...

If you read the article, you'll see there's some sleight of hand about doing better work in less time.

rhhardin said...

Will this plan affect the head of the economics department sending the secretary to deliver papers to the dean, even though the head walks faster than the secretary.

Carl Pham said...

That was so stupid it made my eyes hurt.

Look, where is it written that everyone has to adopt the values that will allow some incredibly small fraction of us -- a few hundred in a nation of hundreds of million -- to ascend to the very pinnacle of political, military or business leadership?

This is like saying we need to set the standards and expectations for fourth graders playing kickball at recess so that they all learn the habits that can let them become major league baseball players or Olympic champions.

There are certainly enough women who couldn't care less about family, or lack the need to sleep, or have superhuman organizing and discipline skills, or what have you, to supply the needs of the country for CEOs, Secretaries of State, and four-star generals. So why would it be of any importance whatsover to reconsider the standard social structure and practices that keep the remaining 99.8% of the citizenry reasonably well adapted to their lives? News flash, professor: we can't all be President when we grow up, since the Constitution specifies no more than 25 Presidents per century, and to build your educational system and social mythology around training every little boy and girl to hope to be President is mindlessly cruel, not inspiring or noble.

Also, the buried intellectual snobbery here is contemptible. There are other goals in life besides being a CEO. There are ways for "women to thrive" other than "reaching a top-management position." Gah.

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

Once again, fuck up society, and screw the men so women can feel better about themselves.

We give women the advantage of Affirmative Action to give them a leg up when competing against men, but that hasn't been enough, so now we must ask the men to further handicap themselves.....

fivewheels said...

I know. I also know that people who say they do better work in less time are deluded slackers who leave early.

People who actually can do better work in less time are still doing that better work, and they're also doing much more work because they're still there the whole time -- and not wasting time telling everyone about it.

mccullough said...

It should be Lean Back, but that sounds too sexual.

Titus said...

I recruit Sloan Grads-they are fab.

tits.

Marshal said...

"Study finds executive women are just as, if not more, ambitious than men," said The Washington Post. The newspaper quotes a breathless McKinsey executive saying she was "so flabbergasted" by the finding.

So they determined "ambition" by asking rather than testing to see what sacrifices they were willing to make?

This study tells us a lot. Most importantly that what constitutes evidence to a Humanities researcher is so incredibly weak their opinions on anything are completely worthless.

n.n said...

Individual dignity is an archaic concept, which suffered irreparable harm with the incorporation of reactive movements.

Fen said...

Leaders should be creating an environment where the best work is rewarded, not the most work.

No. Leaders already reward those who do the best AND the most work. Its not an either/or dilemma.

Men should lean out...Only then will women feel confident that their ambitions will be realized.

Sure thing honey [as the outfield creeps forward 30 yards]

David said...

Let the women drive.

We men will just lean our heads out the window, open our mouths and let the air flow in.

Woof!

("Down, you cur," says the woman.)

David said...

"Leaders should be creating an environment where the best work is rewarded, not the most work."

Makes me think of law firms.

Full of people who can do high level work.

Therefore one of the sorting factors becomes how much you work.

And of course results.

The Drill SGT said...

And if fully implemented we would have:

1. a bunch of women complaining that there weren't enough well paid, well educated mates

2. complaints that men were not interested in marriage

The Drill SGT said...

You need people who will drop everything at a moment's notice and fly to an unpleasant country to work a deal

Been there, done that, got the exhilaration that comes from being shot at and missed

The high pay, and hot women? Not so much...

SteveR said...

The general principle, without regard to gender, has been around forever. In many workplaces the reality is showing up is the first criteria of performance evaluation and good luck with "on the basis of merit". The esteemed professor doesn't sound like she's actually been in the real world much.

David said...

Lotte Bailyn is the wife of Bernard Bailyn, a very distinguished Harvard historian who has won both a Bancroft Prize and a Pulitzer Prize. She's a Swarthmore grad (1951) who seems to have moved to the MIT Sloan faculty at the same time Bernard moved to Harvard. It was probably a package deal, by which I do not mean to say that she was unqualified, but she surely has had the benefit of great contacts in her field.

This is not a new topic for her. She's been at it in some form or another for decades.

She and her husband have two of the greatest gigs in academia. They earned them, but I don't think her perch has given her huge day to day insight on how the workplace runs, even though it's her academic specialty.

Great things usually get done by obsessives or borderline obsessives. Her husband has done great things in the field of history, so she's seen this up close.

The Crack Emcee said...

I wasn't going to speak on this but I saw the word "management" and my interest was piqued.

Managers were the overseers on plantations, and the entire structure of work, as we know it, was devised by them. You can hear it in her piece:

"We need a new definition of the ideal worker. Performance shouldn't be judged on how many hours you work, but by the work you do. Leaders should be creating an environment where the best work is rewarded, not the most work. Only then will women feel confident that their ambitions will be realized.

For the sake of society and the economy, it's not that women should lean in, but men should lean out."

Or we need to get rid of the slave/overseer model of working people to death (whether that overseer is a man or woman) and create one that's more individualized to allow employees to actually flourish, for the sake of excellence, in their profession.

I know - not original - but true.

America has too much potential going to waste by being stuck on this crap most know little about.

rehajm said...

Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries, they work, they stroll home, the stop by the cafe, they take August off. Off! Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that?

Because we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers, that’s why. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever. Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates, Les Paul, Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right, we went up there and you know what we got? Bored. So we left. Got a car up there and we left the keys in it, do you know why? Because we’re the only ones going back up there, that’s why.

But I digress. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff. That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?

Michael said...

Another attempt to have the ambitious slow it down a bit so others have a chance. When I was 16 and working in a warehouse I heard it: where's the fire, son? We have all day. At 16 I was pissing off the full timers because it was clear that what they did in a day could be done by a 16 year old in four hours.
Essentially our author is asking for the same thing. Slow down boys, where's the fire. We need a new way of looking at things, my ass. You do that in your business. I will pick up your slack. You dont want to go to Tokyo because your kid has a fever? Tough. I am on my way to the airport. The women want to be executives in the same way I want to know how to play Bach on a cello. I want it bad but will not give the time needed to learn how to do it. Plus, importantly, I do not have the talent.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

"Another attempt to have the ambitious slow it down a bit so others have a chance."

That's cynical. And not what she's saying. There are other ways to live.

But not the French way. That place is work-averse.

chuck said...

Performance shouldn't be judged on how many hours you work, but by the work you do.

The thing about people like Newton and Gauss is not just that they were smarter than just about anyone, they also worked their asses off. That was the special sauce that spiced their genius.

Michael Ryan said...

If I lean out, am I going to have to go get my own damn beer?

PB Reader said...

Shut-up guys, she explained.

Drago said...

Crack: "I wasn't going to speak on this but..."

LOL

Thanks for the laugh crack.

I'm not kidding.

Drago said...

Crack: "Or we need to get rid of the slave/overseer model of working people to death..."

I hear Titus' overseer is working him to the bone.

EMD said...

I'm currently writing a book entitled "Fuck Off."

It's for both women and men.

Henry said...

From the article: Research shows overwork degrades creativity and leads to stress, fatigue and other health problems. That means less productivity and higher health care costs.

This is a fair point. Here's an illustration. I worked once for a start-up software company where the founding software engineer was way down this path. Finally, someone pulled him aside and said, "you stay up until midnight writing code that crashes everyone's work the next day." Nothing changed. That company was bankrupt 20 years ago.

Read "Barbarians at the Gate," and you read about a corporate culture where industry-destroying decisions were made by seat-of-the-pants executives in the midst of all-night genius sessions.

I've seen small business where 12 to 16 hour days were crucial to survival. That's survival. I've yet to experience or hear of any evidence that a management structure in a big business that demands 12 to 16 hour days from a whole tier of executives is leveraging anything off that effort. Crazy hours is what happens when you're flailing.

EMD said...


But I digress. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff. That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?


I love that ad.

EMD said...

"We need a new definition of the ideal worker. Performance shouldn't be judged on how many hours you work, but by the work you do. Leaders should be creating an environment where the best work is rewarded, not the most work. Only then will women feel confident that their ambitions will be realized.

Most places already operate this way.

pduggie said...

I bet it mostly disadvantages women because they don't have supportive wives at home like the male executives do.

ALP said...

Carl Pham said:

"There are certainly enough women who couldn't care less about family, or lack the need to sleep, or have superhuman organizing and discipline skills, or what have you, to supply the needs of the country for CEOs, Secretaries of State, and four-star generals. So why would it be of any importance whatsover to reconsider the standard social structure and practices that keep the remaining 99.8% of the citizenry reasonably well adapted to their lives? News flash, professor: we can't all be President when we grow up, since the Constitution specifies no more than 25 Presidents per century, and to build your educational system and social mythology around training every little boy and girl to hope to be President is mindlessly cruel, not inspiring or noble."
*************************
Very, very well put - articulates my feelings precisely. This obsessive worship at the altar of Corporate Culture mystifies me to no end. On the one hand, you have liberal lefties bitching about powerful corporate interests as terrible evils; in the next breath, they are preaching at how we need to reorganize society to make it easier for more women to become powerful corporate assholes. Go figure.

ALP said...

Also, the article conveniently never mentions the studies that show both men AND women....often hate female bosses and prefer to work with men.

"Surprisingly, respondents age 18 to 34, a demographic known to be more progressive, preferred a male boss to a female boss, 37 percent to 25 percent." - See more at: http://www.citytowninfo.com/career-and-education-news/articles/gallup-poll-shows-americans-prefer-to-have-a-male-boss-13112101#sthash.9s9uTofS.dpuf

The Crack Emcee said...

EMD,

"Most places already operate this way."

Nah, not really. I've learned to avoid any place with a drug test. Not because I'm high, but because they always want more than I interviewed for. Staying late, being Number One.

Here's a post I did on my work experience, a couple of years ago, with management.

It's just not the way things should be in America,...

Michael K said...

The poor dears.

"Corporate cultures that assume employees are always available and judges them harshly if they're not. McKinsey calls it the "anytime, anywhere" performance standard.

Reaching the top requires adjustment in personal and family life, but technological progress and globalization have fueled a dangerous 24/7 work culture. "

When I went to medical school, women had trouble getting accepted because admissions committees were concerned about a shortage of doctors and believed that women would not work the same hours as men.

Now, it's 50 years later and guess what ?

They don't. Physician recruitment firms document that female physicians work about 30-40% as hard as men and male physicians work fewer hours than my generation did.

Must have been bias !

Michael K said...

That should read 30-40 % less per week.

B said...

Men are working too hard. It's their fault women aren't succeeding.

The Godfather said...

I support fair treatment of women in the workplace -- both my wives (not at the same time) were career women.

But not everybody, male or female, needs to be driven to exceed and excel. That model -- screw the kids, I'll be on the red eye to Tokyo to close that deal! -- works for some people, and it's important. But not everyone can or should work that way. I don't want those who do choose to work that way to "lean out", because we need them. But if most of the people who work that way are men (I don't know that this is so, but that seems to be the implication), the women who choose NOT to work that way should be grateful that someone else is doing it.

And by the way, this "lean in" metaphor is really stupid. If you want to encourage women to be assertive at the conference table, tell them to Speak Up! If all they do is lean in, the guy across the table is going to be looking down their blouse and not listening to them at all.

John Lynch said...

If you don't like the game, don't play.

I'm irritated by people who aren't willing to do what it takes to get what they want, but won't admit it. When men do this it's called whining. I guess women can just do it. If family is important, then choose family! It's a good choice! Fucking make choices and live with them.

As for the "better work in less time..." Bullshit! If you can do better work, you do more of it. As much as possible. Welcome to the damn world.

Lastly, I care not at all about who the CEOs are. Doesn't matter, they have nothing to do with me. I don't have a "side," because they are living in such a different world that it might as well be Mars.

Dave said...

Whenever I read something like this, I think of Claudia Goldin's paper on the gender pay gap:

"What, then, is the cause of the remaining pay gap? Quite simply the gap exists because hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous. That is, in many occupations earnings have a nonlinear relationship with respect to hours. A flexible schedule comes at a high price, particularly in the corporate, finance and legal worlds."

There is value in the ability to drop everything and get something done 24/7.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/01/claudia-goldin-on-the-gender-pay-gap.html#sthash.sxh5bEoo.dpuf

RecChief said...

"But not the French way. That place is work-averse."

So is Italy

Peter said...

Her real complaint: affirmative action starts to run out as one nears the top?

It's true, if you want to make it to the top then doing so must be not merely your highest priority but pretty much your only priority. Not that that guarantees you a place at the top, just that if you don't you're not going there.

And, really, I don't know of any business that rewards no-talents who put in long days.

"You must change the rules to make it easier for me! she cried. And what if competitors don't change the rules?

Disgusting. It's just disgusting. But pretty much what would be expected from one who's always had that affirmative action advantage, only to see it pulled out as she approaches the top.

RecChief said...

"We need a new definition of the ideal worker. Performance shouldn't be judged on how many hours you work, but by the work you do."

Sure, put everyone on piece/part rate. And deduct for completed "work" that doesn't make it through QA/QC. Then everyone gets paid according to output. Careful what you wish for.

paul a'barge said...

Well, there you have it, in black and white.

The Womens' Movement, aka Feminism is not about progress for women. It is about men losing ground.

In other words, Feminism is a culture of gender hate.