Thursday, February 9, 2012
Everyone's Talking About Sheryl Sandberg
Unless you've been living in a hole (which I sometimes do), you've probably noticed that everyone, everywhere (I exaggerate only slightly) has been talking about Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO lately.
I've noticed a couple of trends in the recent internet discussions about her.
There's this odd debate about the role of "luck" in her story. "She just got lucky." As if "luck" and "hard work" are mutually exclusive. As if building a relationship with a key mentor or leaving one job for a better one is just about "luck" and has nothing at all to do with "hard work." What's up with the either/or thinking? Why can't it be BOTH "luck" AND "hard work"?
There's also the sad/endless media-created "Mommy Wars" (gah!) debate Sandberg's story brings up: WOHM, SAHM, blah blah snore, you already know my take on this = who gives a shit about the label? (All I care about are the non-existent "Daddy Wars.") People are INDIVIDUALS with UNIQUE PREFERENCES. As in, there are people like to wear capri pants sometimes, or shell out $75 for the unflattering canvas footwear du jour that's all the rage. I happen to think they're fugly, but at least I know my way isn't necessarily "right." To each their own. Every family has unique needs and challenges. I'm not going to compare my own needs and my sorely limited set of work/life balance resources to those of a billionaire married to a multi-millionaire endowed with multiple live-in nannies and kids who probably slept through the night at birth. But good for them. I'm awesome in my own way. So are they.
Where was I?
Oh yes. There's also the debate about the Horatio Alger fantasy the Sandberg story conjures. It's great that someone from a relatively disadvantaged group (women) "Made It," and has succeeded (in terms of pecuniary gain and revered social status) beyond most capitalist dreams. "One of them did it, so why can't they all?"... "They just need to work harder... stop lacking ambition" ... "Be born to better parents."
I think this blogger gets it.