I love men. I’ve never been married, but I do love men. I love the way they compartmentalize their thoughts so that when faced with a problem they don’t want to handle, they don’t. They think about football instead. This ability to put off a crisis until tomorrow makes them seem in control, a smugness that can be maddening to a frazzled woman. But make no mistake, men are clever and one of their talents is to read our gender like a book. They were first to see how “woman’s liberation,” might benefit them, for example. They saw it as a chance to lean back and let women do more. Here’s one man’s take on Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, the latest versions of feminism:
Leaning In … I would define as aggressive careerism pursued while attempting to be a decent human being, a terrific parent, and a fully loaded party animal with excellent relationships at home and abroad. (“Lean Out” by Stanley Bing, Fortune, October28, 2013 pg. 224.)
The joke is, Stanley Bing knows no one can do it all. Men don’t even try. (See Blog 11/1/13) What’s more, he points out, too many executives (probably male) will ”exploit anybody who will enable them to work less at things they don’t want to do.” (Ibid, pg. 224)
Being one of the good guys, Bing lays out the masculine way which he encourages women to follow. Instead of leaning in, he wants us to lean out. Leaning out means starting with a schedule that allows a person of any gender to have a normal life. “I know a guy,” he writes, “who spends weeks at a time on his sailboat. He’s outlived a host of leaners far more tipped forward than he.” (Ibid pg. 224) The rest of the male survival kit, he admits, consists of smoke and mirrors. Earn promotions not by doing your best but by exceeding expectations. Here’s what he means. “If your boss wants a five-page document, give her six. If she wants a three-year projection of potential revenue growth, give her a look at the subject five years out.” (Ibid pg. 224) Doing your best isn’t the goal, he explains. You just have to look like you’re doing your best. He’s right. Think about it. For centuries we women have been made to feel inferior. Why should we strive for perfection now?
I say we take a page from the men’s playbook. They don’t have it all. They know they don’t have it all. They just pretend that they do and that makes them look cool.
(Courtesy of www.corbisimages.com)