My first reaction was, umm, pro-women-feminist-leadership. Yawn. I’ve read enough about that. The fact that her experience is at a very high level also made me weary of what she was trying to communicate. I didn’t feel like anything she had to say about women and leadership would really make me think deeply enough about it to write this blog post.
I’m pretty sure, for example, that I don’t want represent a huge company to be a high flying exec, attending big meetings and travelling the world. It’s just not how I rock ‘n’ roll.
In my time I’ve struggled with finding an employer who would be open to the work flexibility that I aspired to. Perhaps I didn’t try hard enough. Perhaps I was too scared. Perhaps I felt the times that I tried to ask meant that I was knocked off the list. The fact that Sheryl requested as part of her job to be able to be home for dinner, whilst I understand is brave, is just not something that is good enough for me. This working for someone else thing just doesn’t work for me. I needed more than just getting home for dinner time.
However, like Sheryl says. We all want different things. She’s gone after what she has wanted, whilst raising a family. I’m doing the same, the Rosie way.
I recognise that I’ve stepped back in many ways, instead of leaning in. I stopped working when I was pregnant. I tried going back afterwards, but I couldn’t take it. I didn’t love the work I was doing at the time enough to see through the high cost of childcare, huge pressure to juggle home & work whilst not seeing my kids. I did the opposite of what Sheryl talks about - I leaned out instead of in.
However, over the years I’ve been defining my own life whilst discovering the things that I really enjoy doing. Perhaps I leaned back in areas, but I certainly leaned in and stayed focused in many other ways.
I don’t think I’ve let myself down. I’ve always had dreams to do things. I’ve always tried hard. I’ve never been happy just being a SAHM - I get bored very quickly. This boredom meant that I was constantly playing around with project and business ideas. Some have failed, however, others are now flourishing. Flourishing in a way that I’ve somehow gotten myself into a leadership role of my own.
It feels weird. And I find it hard to take credit for it. (Which is exactly what Sheryl says that women don’t do enough of…and men take credit all too easily). I’m still not quite sure if ‘the not taking credit for it’ is just who I am, or if maybe, just maybe I should claiming my recognition and shouting about it more. For now, I’m quite happy pushing things along. Growing my business. Desigining my home and business life to accommodate my needs:
- I run a successful business that is designed around my family.
- I bloody love what I do.
- I unschool my boys.
- I spend alot of quantity and quality time with the family.
- I have a supportive and now equal partner.
- I am happy.
I’ve long been dissatisfied with the status quo. I honestly don’t understand why so many things are the way they are. My way of leaning in is to challenge them by creating and sharing my own reality.
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that the impact lasts in your absence” - Sheryl Sandberg
I believe I’m doing the above through my work at Software Testing Club and Ministry of Testing. I’m working on other projects and discovering new passions which I hope will have a similar impact at some point in the future too!