May 16, 2014

"The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson stems from what we know: that excellent performances are not enough."

"Women must be completely different from the men they replace (or who replace them), apparently – they must adapt to the power they are briefly allowed to hold without transgressing the gender roles they aren't allowed to escape."

That's Emily Bell at The Guardian, and I'm quoting that representative of about 10 things I've already read this morning, all the female columnists doing pretty much the same thing, and I feel some pressure to do it too. And I suspect Jill Abramson herself is working on a screed — something that doesn't violate whatever secrecy agreement she has with the NYT. A year from now, Abramson will have some book, some variation on "Lean In" about the heights and pitfalls of female leadership.

So there's pressure to churn out the text, but all the women writers are writing about this instantly, furiously, copiously. Are women pushy? I feel pushed to talk about pushiness. And I feel irked to accept Jill Abramson as the face of the topic of The Problem of Female Leadership. I don't particularly like her, and I suspect she did not do a good job for The New York Times, and they had every reason to oust her.

But I'm pretty sure it's also true that things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man and that as a woman, to get where she did, she needed to act in a way that would not be perceived in such a negative light if done by a man. I'm about the same age as Abramson, and I'm not the "lean in" type at all... or not much. I may lean into this discussion again later.

104 comments:

MayBee said...

Men and women aren't perceived the same way. They aren't the same. Yet individual men and women behave as individuals, not as some gender norm.

But look at how women as a group have chosen to write about themselves of late.

They want to push the idea that female leaders wouldn't be war mongers, would make the world a calmer place, are victims of sex discrimination, and rape culture, and are a special interest voting block, can't understand terms like "binders full of women" without taking umbrage, need special health insurance laws written to give us free birth control, need nursing rooms at work, will scream "war on Women," if we don't get special consideration...

All in all, female journalists have done a good job making women something different, something vaguely threatening to deal with.

They have themselves to blame.

Strick said...

If I read correctly, Abramson was making 20-25K less a year than Keller, roughly 5%. Remember we're not talking a general statistic, this is an individual to individual comparison.

Given what I read about Keller's career versus Abramson's and their differences in tenure and style, is a 5% difference really out of line? Really?

Big Mike said...

My take, the New York Times newsroom is wall to wall with egotistical a**holes who need to handled very carefully. In the right situation a "pushy" female manager would be an exemplary leader. In the Time newsroom, she managed to p*ss off enough people -- including her own boss! -- that she was a disaster.

Female columnists who think that there is only one right style of management that fits all situations merely demonstrate their own unfitness to be a manager. People who think that an unfit manager should be kept on a day longer than necessary are even worse.

MadisonMan said...

But I'm pretty sure it's also true that things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man

It can be a trap to view this as a man/woman thing. One could equally accurately write: things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by someone else regardless of their gender.

Instead of writing about a woman who has failed -- she was fired! -- all those women should be finding good role models (female) that are working and doing good jobs, succeeding, and write about them.

Men are fired from Executive Positions all the time. This is not news. It shouldn't be for women either.

Ann Althouse said...

"Given what I read about Keller's career versus Abramson's and their differences in tenure and style, is a 5% difference really out of line? Really?"

If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much. Salaries normally go up. In any case, when you are bargaining for a raise, you point to a gap like that. It's a normal point to make. Let the bargainer on the other side try to explain why the other person was better and deserved more. That would not be a normal point to make. She had a good argument, if that was the argument.

BTW, this is why it's unlikely that pointing to the pay gap is what got her fired!

Bob Boyd said...

" things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man"
Undoubtedly true. But so what?
The NYT gave her an opportunity. She wasn't able to do the job. Its a very tough job. Does that mean no woman could? I don't think so. Where would she find an environment more supportive of a woman in a traditionally male role than the NYT?
Sure some behaviors are perceived differently coming from a man. That has changed somewhat and will continue to change, but she knew it going in and that is the nature of the landscape and therefore part of the challenge of the job she accepted.
Women also sometimes benefit from these differences.
If a man had just been fired from this job would anybody be making excuses for him or blaming society? No. They'd just say he had a great opportunity and he fucked it up. They wouldn't feel bad for him or say working women perceive men as arrogant and patriarchal when they issue orders and they resent it so its women's fault for being prejudice against a male boss. They'd say a boss has to know how to handle people to get what he wants from them. Its tough, but other women are doing it successfully in other companies that are much less focused on women's issues.

betamax3000 said...

Lois Lane seemed kind of pushy.

mamawolf said...

How much money has The New York Times lost in the last few years? Although the liberal owner of the paper may deny this fact; if you don't make money, you are out of business. How much money did Newsweek lose before it finally folded. Jill Abramson and Tina Brown are both cut from the same cloth. They have their own ideology and refuse to recognize and accept the fact that others may choose to disagree with them. A newspaper is suppose to report the news, not push a particular ideology. If they had done their jobs properly, they would still be employed.

William said...

She didn't get along with her boss and a lot of her coworkers and subordinates. She was let go. It happens......It's probably not such an important story, and it's probably more sui generis than illustrative of the struggles of womankind for fair treatment, but that's not the way it will play out. The people who put the Nigerian girls below the fold think that this story needs to be discussed, analyzed and probed from every possible angle. Even as their lives are important and significant, so too is the career path of Jill Abramson......It's not meta. It's narcissistic.

betamax3000 said...

Lois Lane could get out of any troubles by the help of Superman. I think that was a solid working arrangement.

traditionalguy said...

Methinks the issue is confrontation style. Men using confrontational bluntness are thought stronger for using the aggressive style, while women are thought pushy and dangerous when acting outside the female realm of cautious compromise.

So women leaders need to surround themselves with and use strong men who are loyal to them.

RAH said...

Abramson apparently was a bad manager. It may have been her being pushy or dictatorial or failure to manage other personalities. There are lot of egos in a newsroom. Managing is often a part of managing personalities. Many women are not good at that. They are often timid or nasty.

Matthew Sablan said...

What's the new person being paid? Is it more than she was making? If so, that's, like, super dickish of the NYT.

betamax3000 said...

Maureen Dowd wanted to be Lois Lane, not an Editor.

rhhardin said...

They don't call it manager for nothing.

EDH said...

The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson...

Isn't "fury" a negative female stereotype?

MayBee said...

You can't compare salaries of Keller, who had been in the job for years, wit the salary at which they started Abramson in the same position.

Jobs come with salary ranges. It isn't like government work with proscribed salaries for a job position. There is merit and longevity involved.

I agree asking about it wasn't the thing that got her fired. Her job was tenuous from the moment Sulzberger unenthusiastically gave her the position.

dreams said...

Life is just so unfair for elite liberal women. Because of their envy of those who have benefited from the free market system, It is the liberal journalists and academics who are driving all the inequality crap.

RecChief said...

It is interesting that this is not handled as an individual case.

So Sulzberger never wanted her in the first place, and was pushed to hire her into that position. And she didn't get along with the boss.

But it's presented as somehow representative of all working women.

Pookie Number 2 said...

But I'm pretty sure it's also true that things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man and that as a woman, to get where she did, she needed to act in a way that would not be perceived in such a negative light if done by a man.

Also true of people who are short, fat, bald, physically impaired, Sikh, or whatever.

Whining about what a good manager of people she would be if only human nature was entirely different from what it is is not only a waste of time, it suggests that women cannot compete in the real world. That's unfair to all the women that actually are competent in reality, not just theory.

tim in vermont said...

"But I'm pretty sure it's also true that things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man and that as a woman, to get where she did, she needed to act in a way that would not be perceived in such a negative light if done by a man."

The unspoken article of faith here is that it is possible to make a new man with perceptions that are no longer based on the sex of the speaker. I am not sure where this faith comes from. Maybe most feminists are creationist who believe that a loving God created us perfectly equal, unlike the vast majority of the animal kingdom where one sex or the other dominates.

Unknown said...

Why wasn't there a fuss when Amanda Bennett was fired as Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer? Bennett's paper was the only major newspaper in the US to print the actual pictures of the controversial Mohammed cartoons. AFAIK that courageous act was not the reason she was let go. But, I wonder if that politically incorrect decision made feminists less eager to defend her.
David in Cal

tim in vermont said...

What got her fired was drinking the kool-aid they were producing in order to get Democrats elected.

kcom said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much. Salaries normally go up."

From what I gather, when you reach that level in business, there's no normal when it comes to salary and benefits. You've entered executive recruiter territory and everything is negotiable. You're not hiring to fill a generic position (say, law school professor) with a well-established pay scale. You're hiring a person to personify your business and you get all the benefits and baggage that come with them. And that's what salary decisions at that level are based on.

Doug said...

Given what I read about Keller's career versus Abramson's and their differences in tenure and style, is a 5% difference really out of line? Really?

To the NYT, 5% is not a 'wage gap'; to feminists, 'IT'S NOT EQUAL! SEE? SEE?'

Paul said...

Feminists, like all grievance based leftists, are filled with hate, envy, and resentment, and are as selfish and greedy as humans can be since their greed, justified as seeking justice, is utterly unbridled.

In fact this concept, greed masquerading as justice seeking, taken to it's logical conclusion explains perfectly the bloodlust and mass murder of the left from the guillotines of the French Revolution to the gulags and graveyards of the communist revolutions.

Some of the radical feminist sites take the same trajectory basically calling for the extermination of men but for the few needed to procreate.

Fortunately feminism is increasingly being seen for the pathological ideology it is, and the old guard like Althouse are moving inexorably towards their well earned place in the infamous ash heap of history

LarsPorsena said...

"The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson stems from what we know: that excellent performances are not enough."

She was 'excellent' how?

rhhardin said...

Male and female is not one category among others. It matters which you are.

One type is given to complaining.

This is to get the attention of the other type.

MayBee said...

Anna Wintour has lasted a long time being an abrasive bitch. I suspect being good at what she's paid to do is the key.

Ann Althouse said...

"To the NYT, 5% is not a 'wage gap'; to feminists, 'IT'S NOT EQUAL! SEE? SEE?'"

Why equal? Leonard Cohen, sang about "a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door" with a better question: "Hey, why not ask for more?"

LarryK said...

Women might be perceived differently than men doing the same thing, but on the other hand management is typically more reluctant to fire a woman - especially one in a senior position - than a man for the same perceived transgression. The fear of sexual discrimination lawsuits should not be ignored (trust me, I know this from experience).

This goes double at a progressive bastion like the NYTimes. Imagine the angst of Times managers agonizing over whether to fire one of their 'firsts,' especially knowing the ridicule and negative PR it would generate. The situation would have to be pretty intolerable for them to actually pull the trigger.

We'll never know the whole truth of what went on inside Jill Abramson's NYTimes newsroom, but I can't believe she would have been terminated if she wasn't awful at her job and hadn't alienated almost everyone.

BTW, I agree with Ann about the pay gap. Although salaries for top positions are always negotiated, the starting point would be what you paid the last person in that position. Anyone who finds out they're making less than their predecessor tends to get pissed off, male or female.

Original Mike said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much. Salaries normally go up."

I don't fully agree. If the previous person had been there a long time and, more importantly, had been highly successful, I would not expect to see the new person step in at the same (or higher) salary. You need to earn it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Anna Wintour has lasted a long time being an abrasive bitch. I suspect being good at what she's paid to do is the key."

Well, that, or the bangs. Otherwise, same hairdo. Ever notice?

Doug said...

when you reach that level in business, there's no normal
Correct. At that level, compensation is a negotiation:'How much are you willing to do the job for?', if the candidate says,'X' and the employer agrees on 'X', they have struck a bargain that has nothing to do with what the previous position holder was paid.

Why didn't Abramson say, 'Before I accept this job, I want to know what Keller was paid, and I want a dollar a year more'? Then Pinch could have said either 'no dice' or 'we got a deal'.

At the time, the cache of being the Top Cat at The Paper of Record was intoxicating; when she actually had to produce results, her feminist instincts kicked in. Too bad, lady.

MayBee said...

Well, that, or the bangs. Otherwise, same hairdo. Ever notice?

Ooooh, you're right.
Bangs may be the secret sauce for success.

Doug said...

Ann Althouse said: Why equal?

Because all the discussion I have read and heard is about 'income equality for women', not 'income superiority.

See my second comment about Abramson's salary negotiations.

MayBee said...

I also like reading this headline as if "the fury" of women journalists is a term of venery.

A murder of crows, a fury of women journalists, a crash of rhinos....

Moose said...

So is there any reason for firing a woman that *isn't* due to bias? I mean - that's what this seems to boil down to...

Ann Althouse said...

"I also like reading this headline as if "the fury" of women journalists is a term of venery."

LOL.

BTW, what's wrong with the adjective "female"?

We don't say "men journalists." Why say "women journalists"? I keep trying to normalize things but I feel like I'm the only one.

AJ Lynch said...

A good, non-ideological newspaper would have been too occupied with daily battles versus the White House and Congress critters and NY pols to have had the time and energy for this internal office politics battle. Maybe they should remember a newspaper's role once was to afflict the comfortable [and that includes Dems such as the Clintons and Obama and Shumer and DeBlasio etc] and comfort the afflicted.

Larry Nelson said...

I wonder if Ms. Bell and other female journalists considered the possibility that Abramson was only hired because she was a woman. After all, the NY Times is a PC institution trying to prove to the world how above it all they are.
If Abramson's underlings thought that was the case and undermined her efforts, her feelings of persecution would be well founded.
I feel another Schaudenboner coming on.

Greg said...

'If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much. Salaries normally go up.' I don't believe this is true at all. Most positions have a range, a new person in the position would expect to start at the low end of a range and work their way up if successful. Even a hohg profile job like this would depend more on what a 'catch' she was considered when hired.

khesanh0802 said...

Maybee @ 8:43

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been trying for several days to put into words my feelings about female writing "of late". Nothing I have been able to write has been in good enough taste to publish. You have done it for me!

chickenlittle said...

And I suspect Jill Abramson herself is working on a screed — something that doesn't violate whatever secrecy agreement she has with the NYT.

If a need for screed were suddenly freed,
Maureen Dowd should take the lead.

Michael said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to make at least as much."

That's not the way it works. People in a job tend to get raises, but when someone new comes in companies try to recapture some of that salary creep so they have room to give the new person raises in future years. The new person probably got a significant raise with the promotion and expects to take a few years to catch up to where his/her predecessor was. In the non-union/GS/academic world, salaries apply to people, not positions - and that's the way it should be, because it leaves room for incentives and accountability.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much."

Not in my field. You negotiate pay based on relevant education, certifications, and, most of all, experience.

The, correct, assumption being that the more experience you have with the relevant technologies the more productive you will be.

Now once you have been working in the position for awhile and demonstrated expertise in that particular position you can try to negotiate a higher salary, but success in doing so is predicated on how easily you can be replaced.

Even the U.S. Government has pay bands for IT people, advertising salaries like "$64,434 to $93,289 per year based on relevant education and experience."

richard mcenroe said...

Ah, but is she being fired for the perception of the impact of her conduct, not the actual conduct itself? (read that somewhere, trying to remember where...)

Ralph Hyatt said...

By the way, since most of the government IT jobs are in the DC - Maryland - Expensive part of Virgina area $64,000 a year is not a great salary. Even with a cost of living allowance.

Opinh Bombay said...


Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could point to fabulous increase in readership of the NYTs that occurred on her watch?

Oh well.

Opinh Bombay said...


Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could point to fabulous increase in readership of the NYTs that occurred on her watch?

Oh well.

MayBee said...

Thank you, khesanh0802

MayBee said...

What would be the ultimate would be stories about Jill Abramson carrying a trigger warning.

Al said...

All of this turmoil just because a white woman was replaced by the black guy. Abramson and her supporters need to check their privilege.

chrisnavin.com said...

One could make the argument that Abramson's public identification as a member of a class of 'women' may have interfered with her job performance.

Or at least it may have had a distracting influence.

Why make the statement at all if you're good enough to do your job on your merits?

Wouldn't you want to avoid all that extra attention, at least at first?

Perhaps not if you've partially gotten where you are by riding and/or manipulating that membership in your special class and all the attention that comes with it. Does that identification really help with being a leader for all?

Hey media, take a note. Aim higher. Substance over style. Competence first, especially when it comes to positions of power. You're not aiming to be on a team, or gamble on being for the right ideology coming down the pike. This can corrupt you and the people in charge.

Championing the first 'woman doing X' or the 'first black President' may actually harm exactly whom you're trying to help, and the rest of us in the process.



Strick said...

Prof. Althouse, as others have commented and in my experience, the higher the position, the more singular and responsible the position, the less your salary has on your predecessor and the more on the value you're perceived to bring to the table. Leaving as someone pointed out, room to let you prove yourself.

Of course, as I infer you realize from your comment, negotiation skills matter. A 5% difference is probably just from not being bold enough to ask for more before taking the job.

David said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much. Salaries normally go up."

I don't think that is universally true. The departing person may have had long tenure, excellent performance or special skills that were reflected in his or her final pay scale. That said, it's not clear whether those factors were present in this case. And you certainly are correct that the disparity is an appropriate subject for negotiation by the successor.

It does sound to me like the pay differential scuffle may have been a precipitating event but not a causative one.

Being female, and especially the first female in the job, Jill had an issue to manage. She did not manage it well.

Females are right now only about 4.4% of the CEOs in the Fortune 1000 in the US. In other words about 40 of them. They companies include Pepsi, IBM, Dupont, ADN, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics. You can be sure that the incumbents are tough, demanding and decisive people. You can also be sure that each of them has effectively managed the issues presented by the fact that they are female. Undoubtedly they managed those issues well before they rose to the top, so that the issues disappeared for them. Maybe Jill Abramson never put much energy into managing this problem, which was foolish or arrogant or both. Or maybe the NYT is a particularly vicious warren of little sexist rodents.

gerry said...

But the public celebration of his success was short-lived – because he replaced the first-ever woman to hold that role, and women in media thought they knew why.

The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson stems from what we know: that excellent performances are not enough. Women must be completely different from the men they replace (or who replace them), apparently – they must adapt to the power they are briefly allowed to hold without transgressing the gender roles they aren't allowed to escape.


Interesting. So, "...women in media thought they knew why" [emphasis added] Abramson was fired, but do any of "them" know why? Have we reached the point at which it is safe only to hire white men for high-profile jobs because only they can be terminated without public relations problems rising from prejudicial conclusions concerning termination motivations?

Pass the popcorn!

Ann Althouse said...

"Prof. Althouse, as others have commented and in my experience, the higher the position, the more singular and responsible the position, the less your salary has on your predecessor and the more on the value you're perceived to bring to the table."

I'm not talking about coming in as a junior person but taking the top position.

When we hire a new dean, for example, that person is going to get at least as much as the old dean.

mccullough said...

Abrahamson was the managing editor for 9 years before getting the executive editor spot. How was it that none of the complaints bandied about her management style now by insiders were not apparent then? They probably were and either the Times felt it had to promote her to the top spot because she was the number 2 or that the problems were no that important and are now just an excuse.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"I'm not talking about coming in as a junior person but taking the top position.

When we hire a new dean, for example, that person is going to get at least as much as the old dean."

I take it that the dean's salary is a matter of public record? Not usually the case in the non-academic world.

Also, the newspaper business is going through a retrenchment at the moment. Its losing money, so paying less to everyone, including the CEO, is simply a matter of survival.

Once a university starts having to worry about making payroll you can bet that the assumption that the next dean has to make as much or more than the previous one will be tossed out pretty quickly.

And a lot of it is a matter of negotiation skills. If Abramson had increased the NYT's profitability then she would have had room to ask for a salary increase.

Simply demanding an increase because the person who held the position before her was paid more is a non-starter in a business setting.

Franklin said...

I think it's more of a Baby Boomer thing, not necessarily a woman thing.

This idea that each Boomer is a special flower was driven into Boomer's heads in the 60s and 70s and now they analyze personal failure as though it were society's fault. Sexism, racism, ageism, all the "ism" blaming stems from this fallacy.

Personally I'm thrilled the NYT is getting a taste of its own medicine in this case. It's like Iran and Iraq - a pity everyone involved can't lose.

David said...

"When we hire a new dean, for example, that person is going to get at least as much as the old dean."

Business does not always work that way, even at the top.

Belial said...

Based on her comments about the significance of the NYT in her life, it's more accurate to say she was excommunicated, not fired.

TomB said...

"If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much."

"I'm not talking about coming in as a junior person but taking the top position."

Is that really so? I could see Abramson justified to get what Keller got when he was hired at least as a starting point for when she was hired (plus inflationary adjustment, etc) But starting someone out in a new position at the same pay rate as someone who, in this case, had 8 years of performance reviews and raises is a bit much (yeah yeah, its the NYT, they couldn't have been great but I think my point is understood).

Hiring for the top position does not justify the top dollars just because its the top position. While not a newsroom, take football: Payton manning is making $18 million in 2014. If he retires does his replacement then start out at $18 million? No, he starts much much lower and gets raises as he proves himself. The same goes for Abramson - she doesn't get what her predecessor got at the time she took over just because "thats what the position paid", no, "thats what Keller negotiated for and earned over 8 years."

section9 said...

I think we can all agree that if the Professor were hired as Executive Editior of the New York Times, she would be "pushy" without bring "bossy".

I don't think anyone ever accused our hostess of being "bitchy", but then again, I haven't seen Titus around here in an age.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

"When we hire a new dean, for example, that person is going to get at least as much as the old dean."

Exhibit 1 in what is wrong with public funded higher education.

snaH said...

When we hire a new dean, for example, that person is going to get at least as much as the old dean.

Of course, that's part of what's wrong with higher education today. If you're not in a bubble economy the amount you should expect to get paid will be informed in part by what others got before, but it must also be informed by the current market - both the market for people with your skills, but also the market for the product of the company hiring you. The New York Times is a declining business operating in a declining market, in an economy that's had minimal overall growth (at best) for over half a decade now. To expect that salaries will continue to go up is to believe in magic unicorns. Abramson has every right to try to negotiate a better salary than her predecessor but to assume that it should be expected or think that the only possible reason she didn't get it is because of sexism is absurd.

Larry Nelson said...

Ann Althouse said...
If you are hired later than someone else into their job, you would expect to get at least as much.



Well, with a sense of entitlement, or in normal times, you would expect that. Isn't the NY Times in a little bit of a financial squeeze?
The only time in my life that I was laid off, it was conceded that I made too much money. They replaced me with someone younger and cheaper. I didn't whine, I went out and got another job.

JimB said...

A tip to the wise: Never have your LAWYER be the one to make the inquiry re: wage gap. That is a threatening and offensive action.

JimB said...

BTW: Have any of you heard Abramson speak? That cute little sing-song pattern that advertises just how great she is and you are not? It is a wonder that she has gotten as far as she has.

Michael K said...

I've been in medicine over 50 years. My experience has been that, almost without exception, female nurses would rather be supervised by men. Male nurses are increasingly appearing as the stigma of male nurses disappears. Some of it was that male nurses were gay but even gay male nurses are preferred to female supervisors. Nursing is a good career for men now. If they have a degree, they can assume they will be promoted rather quickly if they are competent.

There are lots of male nurses coming our of the military and doing pretty well.

Women have trouble as supervisors for reasons I don't want to get into; especially with other women.

Bruce Hayden said...

Can't help thinking that this is equivalent to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as it was sinking. They don't make money, but rather lose it rather consistently. No longer really the paper of record, but rather, the DNC house organ. When the Powerline guys pointed out that they get maybe 200k page views a day, to the NYT's 6000k, maybe a 30-1 ratio, by four guys in their spare time, Instapundit pointed out that for him, it was (usually) one guy with a real job, and a 10-1 ratio. Think about that for a minute - if Reynolds and his success could be replicated 9 times, ten full time law professors could equal the on-line success of the NYT, in their spare time, as a hobby. That is frankly pathetic, and they shouldn't be fighting over whose paycheck is larger, but rather, glad that they get paid at all, because it ain't gonna last. It can't, as long as the "paper" continues to hemorrhage money as it has for the last number of years.

David R. Graham said...

"things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man"

This intrigues me. Does a woman do anything the way a man does, and vice-versa? I wonder. I think not.

Men and women are very different types of creature. That fact is going to continue into the way they do things, including things both can do, such as washing dishes, driving car, changing diapers, managing an organization, etc. I think men and women do such things differently because they are different types, inherently.

Andy Cunningham said...

""The fury of women journalists who identify with Abramson stems from what we know: that excellent performances are not enough.""

We don't know that her performance was excellent. That isn't the only thing, either. You can be great at the technical part of your job and a real downer to work with. That would be reason enough to fire someone. If the NYT has it in for women, why did it put her in that role to begin with? And of course she didn't earn what her predecessor earned. That's how it works. A receptionist gets raises year after year until you finally have a %50,000 per year receptionist. When she retires her replacement doesn't start with that. Come on. Think a little before you gripe.

Gary Gagliardi said...

This narrative hurts the hiring of women in executive positions because those hiring are taught that 1) firing women can be more costly and 2) you have to pay them as much as previous person in position even if their experience/talent is different.

Darrell said...

Pinch said she was paid 10% than her predecessor, as of 2013. Implied they didn't respond immediately because of privacy concerns. Now the "less pay" meme is firmly entrenched.

Cosmic Conservative said...

This whole thing demonstrates more about how few people realize how salary negotiations work in the realm of corporate executive management than it does about any gender-based discrimination.

Abramson is being described by the press right now as "winning the PR war" which is exactly what you would expect since for most reporters this story is more about advancing the proper narrative than it is about what actually happened at the NYT.

I have to admit though, I really don't care. There's not much I enjoy in the news these days as much as different factions of the entitled class cannibalizing each other as they reveal their own bigotry and greed. It's fun to watch. I hope this story has legs.

libertariansafetyguy said...

spervisors and managers who are pushy, overly bossy, or controlling don't do well in a lot of organizations. Many organization "helps these poor leaders be successful in a new and fulfilling direction." I've worked with excellent leaders. And I get to do leadership and organizational development for a living. But I also see a lot of bossy supervisors and managers who fail. And the fail because they don't see the damage they're doing their employees. I don't know this lady but I'd the stories of her reputation are true, I'm not surprised she's been fired. It's really hard to lead when no one likes or respects you.

SamW said...

Why all the jabber? Lots of women in powerful positions.
Gotta say tho: Harvard grad with tats!?

stan said...

Did her sex have any bearing on her getting the job? Certainly possible. So I guess her argument is something of along the lines of "different treatment of women good when I benefit, bad when I suffer."

That's a principle with integrity ....

SamW said...

Why all the jabber? Lots of women in powerful positions.
Reporters are worse than sales staff -- insecurity is a way of life.
Gotta say tho: Harvard grad with tats!?

SamW said...

Why all the jabber? Lots of women in powerful positions.
Gotta say tho: Harvard grad with tats!?

swkenobi said...

I've worked for a number of women over the years. One (a senior manager) was very hands off and more of a "don't rock the boat" type. She got the job done but just barely. The other irritated most of the people she worked with. She didn't put up with BS and told it like it was. Most of the time I would get comments about what a bitch she was. I told just about everyone; listen to what she says, not how she says it and you will be on the right side of most every issue. She is still in her job, still very smart and still won't put up with any crap. That to me seems to say that if you are good at your job and know what you're talking about you will keep your job and get promoted. I am tired of people who look for excuses as to why they lost their job or didn't get promoted or aren't making as much as someone else. Sure there are cases where a woman got screwed over buy some asshat boss, but I think those are the exceptions.

holdfast said...

So the business model is failing, the worker bees are being RIF'd in droves, and the liberal femenists will womyn the barricades to ensure that the 0.1% Editor in Chief doesn't have to give up $1 of what she is "entitled" to.

wildswan said...

Say you at a Fortune 500 company that was declining in revenue and you asked: how can we turn it around. You analyze the problem. "We dislike 50% of our potential market. We frequently make adverse and insulting comments about them and at all times disregard what interests them. So the problem is that we are not progressive enough. Let's put in a Jewish woman from New York." Time goes on and it turns out that she appeals only to women from the 50% of the market to which the company deigns to try to sell. So now the appeal is to 25% of the market. But strangely problems persist. New analysis concludes: "We are not progressive enough so let's fire this woman (calling her a bitch on the way out) and promote a black guy who gets along with all the people at the company (meaning that he agrees with the general judgement that 50% of the market can be written off. And also all progressive women.) And so we will regain sufficient market share to survive." And so the death spiral continues.

Mark said...

Overlooked by everybody is that in any firing two parties take primary roles: the person fired and the person doing the firing.

As another commenter pointed out earlier, when a Senior Manager hires someone to be a "co-leader" with an existing Manager, that's a good sign the Senior Manager has no faith in the existing Manager.

Usually the Senior Manager gets the support of higher-ups when the Manager throws flak about it. If not, the higher-ups have the responsibility to see that the situation doesn't go toxic.

From what I've read Pinch Sulzberger is a great example of regression towards the mean. He's just not that bright, and has demonstrated poor leadership and poor judgement in the past.

If nothing else the Abramson fiasco continues that trend, whether or not Abramson was a good fit. Male, female, black, white, Rhosgobel, doesn't matter really. All the sound and fury means nothing if you care about the state of journalism in this country, and like it or not the New York Times sets the standard, and Pinch is running it into the ground.

Alec Rawls said...

The "ban bossy" women are far beyond bossy. They are a cadre of backwards-thinking demagogues, always seeking for those interpretations that best allow them to see themselves as victims. Imagine if male leaders advocated that men "lean in" on a quest to advance specifically male power at the expense of female power? These people are not just bigots, they are ACTIVISTS for bigotry. I am no fan of the sex discrimination laws in this country, but I would like to see them used against this organized attempt at sex-based advancement.

autothreads said...

Next year, when Ford Motor Co. releases its annual financial statement with executive salaries, I'm pretty sure you'll find that Mark Fields will make less money in his first year as Ford CEO than Alan Mulally will make in his last year in that position. Mulally proved that he could run the company well. Fields hasn't proved that yet.

I think Prof. Althouse is being a bit naive thinking that the protected elite of the academic world reflect private sector compensation policies. Why should someone who has brought nothing to an institution yet be rewarded on the same level as a predecessor with a solid track record?

Dusty said...

Big Mike said (@ 5/16/14, 8:50 AM}

My take, the New York Times newsroom is wall to wall with egotistical a**holes who need to handled very carefully. In the right situation a "pushy" female manager would be an exemplary leader. In the Time newsroom, she managed to p*ss off enough people -- including her own boss! -- that she was a disaster.

Female columnists who think that there is only one right style of management that fits all situations merely demonstrate their own unfitness to be a manager. People who think that an unfit manager should be kept on a day longer than necessary are even worse.

-----------

I'll grant all that, but just to mix it up and maybe get Ann to add this to her considerations, why is it that only the men get the 'psychological consultants' provided to them by their employers to help boost the career of their unfit stars whose work appears to be nothing short of dismal.

Maybe if Pinch had had an expert grill Jill's friends and family about what makes her tick, he could guided and nurtured her managerial expertise in ways that made for a much better work environment.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann,

We don't say "men journalists." Why say "women journalists"? I keep trying to normalize things but I feel like I'm the only one.

You're not.

I don't quite know why the adjectival "woman/women." Maybe it's a touch of the Ferenghi in the word "FEEEEmale"?

Regardless, I'd not use "woman" where "man" would be obviously "off," and indeed would avoid the adjectival "woman" altogether.

Sam L. said...

What they KNOW: kinda like those who KNOW we're all gonna die from global warming.

Biff said...

I'm finding the discussion about the starting salaries of senior level people matching or exceeding the salaries of their predecessors to be fascinating.

In the rapacious world of big business, I've never had the expectation that my compensation in a new role, even a senior role, would exceed the compensation my predecessor received. In fact, I don't think the subject ever entered my mind. Now that it does enter my mind, I would expect it to be more likely than not that I would make less than my predecessor, assuming they were in the role for awhile.

I've always entered a negotiation expecting to be paid somewhere in a competitive range for the role, with a fair amount of room to negotiate things like vacation time, benefits, and other factors. Whether that was more or less than my predecessor never entered the equation. Likewise, when hiring senior people, I've identified a competitive range of tangible and intangible compensation, and then negotiated a package agreeable to all involved.

I also find the strict focus on dollars to be unfortunate. Different people are motivated by different things. For example, some might value working from a particular location or travel by private aviation to be far more valuable than the cash equivalents. The notion that my compensation would be identical to my predecessor (or, say, increased by some predictable amount) strikes me as an unacceptable limitation on my ability to negotiate what is important to me, as well as an unacceptable diminution of an employer's ability to manage according to the needs of the business at different moments in time.

Interestingly, this may be a case where publication of compensation (or legislatively mandated compensation) may increase transparency (or at least the appearance of transparency), but at the cost of flexibility and individual optimization.

(Of course, compensation packages that are both customized and confidential have their own problems, but that is a separate issue.)

hombre said...

"But I'm pretty sure it's also true that things she did were not perceived exactly the same way they'd be perceived if they'd been done by a man ...."

Not surprising since she's not a man. It seems unlikely that nothing about being a woman contributed to her getting the job. Oh well, never mind.

mikee said...

Has the number of subscriptions to the Times gone up or down while this editor was running the paper?

Just asking, because I'm obviously a patriarchal sexist pig who only thinks of money, not gender issues.

Big Mike said...

why is it that only the men get the 'psychological consultants' provided to them by their employers to help boost the[ir] career

@Dusty, I've never heard of this. You must work in a strange industry.

Jim said...

Jill Abramson was not fired over a wage dispute. It is merely a smokescreen.

Jill was fired over what she said about the Obama administration...

"Well, I would slightly like to interpret the question as "How secretive is this White House?" which I think is the most important question. I would say it is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes — I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush's first term.

I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It's on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with."

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/talk-to-al-jazeera/interviews-and-more/2014/1/21/jill-abramson-talkstojohnseigenthaler.html

I find it interesting how so many smart people are being fooled.

grackle said...

Jill Abramson was not fired over a wage dispute. It is merely a smokescreen. Jill was fired over what she said about the Obama administration.

I did not know this – as quoted by the commentor:

Abramson: Well … I would say it[the Obama White house] is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering, and that includes … presidents from President Reagan on up through now, and I was Washington bureau chief of the Times during George W. Bush's first term … This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.

Good heavens! No wonder she was fired. An honest bitch. I worked for one. The woman would NOT lie – not if her life depended on it. That alone endeared her to me. We are friends to this day.

Another saving grace my ex-boss had on the job: She never dithered. Decisions were made, not agonized over. They might have occasionally been wrong decisions but they weren't studied to death as an excuse to vacillate. Her part of the organization was highly successful – winning every achievement award that could be won. Our employer wanted results – not unruffled workers.

Too bad for Abramson the NYT was past saving. Perhaps if she had been bought in much earlier …

I think Abramson is probably the kind of boss I would work through the night for. The Marines have a wonderful saying: Lead, follow or get the f**k out of the way.

In the rapacious world of big business, I've never had the expectation that my compensation in a new role, even a senior role, would exceed the compensation my predecessor received.

Same with me.

Jupiter said...

"...excellent performances are not enough"

Ha. Just ask Janine Gibson!

Zach said...

The person who is being left out of the Abramson story is Baquet, the guy who's replacing her. Accounts say that Abramson was bringing in someone to fill Baquet's job, and presumably to push him out the door.

A shaky leader making a move to rub out her closest rival is a risky power play. Sometimes it works, and she can consolidate her position. But if the big boss already has doubts about her, it might force his hand and make him move more quickly than he wanted.

Zach said...

The classic move in Abramson's position is to consolidate. She was chosen, Baquet wasn't. She doesn't need to change the status quo, she just needs to stick around long enough that Baquet gets restless, then give him a hearty handshake on his way out.

Making a move against Baquet is a show of weakness, and an invitation to reevaluate the decision that put her in the top spot. In a three person game (Abramson, Baquet, Sulzberger), she aligned herself against the other two. If she finds a good next position for Baquet, it's two against one the other way.

n.n said...

It should be equal pay for equal performance. Not simply equal pay, which fallaciously assumes equal input. It is this simple fallacy which creates a moral hazard, and that its proponents refuse or are incapable of reconciling.

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

"Well, that, or the bangs. Otherwise, same hairdo."

That really raised my eyebrows... then I read the second sentence.




Big Mike,

"Dusty, I've never heard of this. You must work in a strange industry.

MY guess: porn.

gerry said...

To expect that salaries will continue to go up is to believe in magic unicorns.

They're all liberals at the NYT, aren't they?

gerry said...

To expect that salaries will continue to go up is to believe in magic unicorns.

They're all liberals at the NYT, aren't they?