Ellen Pao, Reset
The message that many girls get when they are growing up is if they work really hard, work on what they do best (aka what they are innately good at), follow the rules and you will be rewarded. Boys are told to double down on everything because they will figure it out and should just continue to strive at anything they want.
Over the years I have met with insanely smart women who are overachievers who follow the rules and believe that their smarts will be rewarded and become frustrated and baffled when it doesn’t work that way yet keep trying.
I finished Ellen Pao’s book Reset this week. The book is honest, authentic and I give her huge applauds for putting everything out there without portraying herself as a victim. She has become a role model for all women not only by letting all walls down in her book, suing Kleiner Perkins and sharing this story but also for not taking the buy out to stay quiet and giving us the insight into why she, like many women, just kept expecting that she would be rewarded because she deserved to be. If only the world worked that way. Ellen believed that Kleiner would do the right thing even until the very end when she shared her email exchanges with their lawyers.
There are so many bad characters in the book. Of course, there are always three sides to a story but I have been witnessing this type of behavior in the business world for so long that in some ways, none of this is surprising. What should be acknowledged is that the lawyers (female and men) who read all the documents, the women who worked inside the firm and have been treated abysmally as well and absolutely knew what truly happened, took the money and turned a blind eye for fear of destroying their own careers. Wouldn’t it have been refreshing for once to see every person stand up to this type of behavior and say something so these people in power would no longer be able to abuse their power.
We have seen many men in power fall over the past year because they held the keys to some castle. It is high time we all stood up, like Ellen, and create our own castles where people are treated with respect in dignified environments where nobody is debased for who they are, where they came from or what they stand for.
Change never happens from inside, it always happens from outside. I believe and hope that the next generation will be different. More than anything I hope that we will see many other bad players fall and fall hard over the next years to come but that can only happen if nobody stands silent. We must all be courageous and take a stand against bad behavior and that includes calling out the ones who pretend to be one thing such as supportive of this issue but in reality are the worst.