The high points for busy archivists: WAR sums up “Lean In”

lean-in-book-coverYou didn’t read the book, but still want to participate in the Women Archivists Roundtable’s discussion of Lean In?

Have no fear!  We’ve got just the thing for you! We present a need-to-know summary of the book’s main ideas so that you’ll feel at ease leaning in to the conversation.

First of all, Sheryl Sandberg’s ideas shouldn’t surprise anyone–for many colleagues and friends, we’ve been saying many of the same things for years.  Sandberg’s approach encourages women to take charge of the factors in their lives over which they have control–and which might have been hindering their success.

  • Encourage spouses and partners to assume an equal share of household and/or parenting duties.

  • Take risks that seem daunting or scary–such as accepting a new job position or additional responsibility while expecting a child (Sandberg emphasizes that being excited to return to work can make for an easier transition back to work after the birth of a child)

  • Set boundaries!

    • Everyone needs to establish balance between work and the rest of life to avoid burn-out.

    • Think about where the pressure to arrive early and leave late is coming from . . .

      • Is it self-imposed?  You can do something about it, then!

      • Does it come from management or higher up?  Discuss a more sustainable schedule with your managers.

  • Don’t be afraid to tout your accomplishments!

    • Cultural norms train women to share or assign credit to a group

    • These same norms punish women who publicly take credit for their successes

    • While cultural norms may be slow to change, it might be beneficial to have a support group at your workplace where each member touts the success of another so that woman-earned accomplishments don’t go unnoticed.

    • Accomplishments aren’t rewarded if they’re not noticed–so don’t unintentionally hold yourself back.

    • After becoming an increasingly visible and highly technology executive, even Sandberg’s success was ascribed to things aside from her own talents and merits

  • “Sit at the table.”

    • Sandberg’s phrase recurs again and again–women aren’t going to achieve the same success as male counterparts if they unconsciously hold back from full engagement

  • Women often make life and career decisions based on factors that may not have materialized yet–such as a spouse or children–because women have been conditioned from an early age to consider these factors when making career decisions

  • “Having it all” is a myth

    • Children with mothers who work do just as well as children with full-time moms

    • Make your peace with the things that have to give–Sandberg’s examples: the nanny having a larger role in her son’s life; forgetting a green shirt for St. Patrick’s Day at her son’s school

  • Men need to “lean in” as allies to close the gender and pay gap (Check out this recent article that discusses men leaning in for more fodder for discussion!)

What do *you* think about all of this?  We’d love to hear your thoughts on balancing life, work, and the archives profession!  So join us whenever you’re able on November 15th!  We’ll be on Twitter discussing the book from 1pm-4pm Central–stay for the whole time, or drift in as your schedule allows.