Challenge: First Book Genre: Nonfiction, Gender Discrimination, Tech Industry Type/Source: Hardback / Purchased
One stranger wrote to me during the hardest part of the trial, telling me how, too often, “positive comments we receive we deflect like Teflon, while negative comments we hang on to like Velcro.”
Motivation for Reading: One aspect of my job is the opportunity to facilitate workshops on Respect in the Workplace, which, as you may assume, includes how our company addresses Sexual Harassment. I have been drawn to the stories in the news reporting and responding to the #metoo campaign to keep apprised and ready for how to answer questions and ask the questions so participants understand the pervasive and subtle aspects of this issue.
Which is why I wanted to read this book. Ellen Pao is a dynamo, her credentials are astounding: Electrical Engineering from Princeton, MBA Harvard, Law degree Harvard; I am grateful to her that she didn’t ‘settle’ her case and that she kept her independence in order to share her story.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: If you don’t know who she is, and I am not one of those who followed this story in detail as it was happening, Pao worked as a Venture Capitalist in the Technology industry and sued her employer for discrimination. Why were males who were at a junior level to her responsibilities and had worked there less time promoted when she was not? She described the old boys club to a tee.
WHAT’s GOOD: It’s not tell-all with respect and dignity and humility. Maybe with that tag, it didn’t really feel TELL ALL. But do we really need to hear more crap with a mean gossipy tone? no. And she doesn’t. She comes across sincere and respectful.
While reading this, I was so saddened; that there is nothing new, there is no new layer of nuance to explore. It is a story of a company culture of entitled white men behaving badly. And then having the financial resources to win lawsuits. It’s disgusting. It’s just another story that money can buy a version of justice that is not truth; that our court systems are not perfect.
What is encouraging is that Pao is actively working on how to create inclusive workplaces and supporting women and POC to achieve. Thus her title, let’s keep working towards a better future.
Ellen Pao has courage. I will follow and cheer her accomplishments going forward. I want to help hit Reset in my work, within my sphere of influence.
Rating: four slices of pie.
No pie mentioned.
The next book on this theme I hope to read soon: Speaking Truth to Power by Anita Hill.