Lean in or Lean Out

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Why the whole concept of “Lean In!” does not apply to me.

Okay, I haven’t read the book, but I plan to and in the meantime I’m reading a lot about the book and I am also thinking about the concept and studying the website. My friend Barbara wants a group of women friends to hang out with. I suggested she join a book club. I have always envied my friend Lisa’s book clubs which sound like really smart people sitting around talking about books. I like that idea because I like smart people, but I bet it’s hard to find the time.

On that note, the first reason that I don’t want to join a “Lean in Circle,” is that I do not have the time. If I had more time, I would run more, and start yoga and Pilates which I still haven’t done because I have to get my grading done which I am in fact avoiding right now. So, let’s imagine that I do have the time for a Lean in Circle. I’ve thought about it and I still don’t want to.

The first thing they say for you to do is “You commit to open, honest communication and confidentiality.” See, this is why I don’t like encounter groups. I don’t want to be honest or open except with my spouse and maybe a couple of friends. That’s why I’m queasy about therapy honestly. This person who I don’t know is going to know my secrets?

Step Two:
“Select 8 to 12 peers at similar stages in their lives to get the most out of your Circle.”
Wow, that’s a lot of people. I don’t like this idea at all. Let me count the ways I don’t want to meet with a group of eight to twelve women who want to close the leadership gap.

I’m willing to admit there is a gap. Women make 77% what men do if we work full time. Men are more likely to get good jobs and that means leadership jobs. I admit that much as I like the basic concept of Lean In which involves women working together to close the pay gap and leadership gap, I am working so many hours that I can’t think about it. I accept what I don’t have the power to change.

Plus, my experience is that if I throw myself into a group I always end up finding ways to do things for everyone else and that I have a hard time asking for help. This may be something that would be useful to change but again, I’m too tired to think about it.

Tomorrow when I run eight to ten miles, maybe ideas will come to me. But the fact is that I can’t lean in any more than I already do or I would have no time to read, run or think. I can’t bear to meet with another person who wants something from me. I want to run and read and write more, not help others brainstorm. There is no edge to what I can do, but there is an edge to what I want to do. And I’m there. So I’m going to go lean back on my couch, have a butterscotch lollipop and read some poetry.

This article on why Rosa Brooks hates Sheryl Sandberg is worth a read even if you disagree, you’ll still laugh.

Published in: on May 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Kate, the truth is you lean in all the time, you are the very model of getting in there and making yourself heard and stepping up–and you don’t need to be in a made-up group to be supported to do that. You have the real world, and you’re duking it out there every day. You bring up interesting ideas about sharing, so many levels to that.

    • Good point, Janet. I am in a bit of a world group. It’s a bit much at times but it doesn’t feel like I’m alone.

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