I finished reading the book “Lean in“ by Sheryl Sandberg. It was inspiring and motivating. This post is not a review of the book, but instead I am writing about my experiences as a woman student or an employee and how the subjects discussed in this book relate to my life. These are my thoughts after reading the book.
- Underestimating ourselves – something that I realized after I read the book. I have always underestimated my ability. Only recently have I started feeling little confident that I can achieve anything if I put my heart in it. I used to not like discussing answers after an exam was over only because I felt I could have done better. I never appreciated myself for answering so many questions, instead I would feel bad for the questions that I did not answer well.
- People have often termed me as being “lucky”. After reading the book, I understood that successful women are often referred to as being lucky by others. I still remember something that one of my friends told me long back. He said “You put lot of hard work and dedication and this is the reason why you are successful. It was not luck so stop calling yourself lucky”.
- Some men have a hard time accepting the fact that women can be smart too. I never actually memorized stuff from textbooks. I was gifted with a good memory and once I understood some concept, I could answer questions based on that. I never had to read something more than once. But guys had a hard time believing this whenever I told them. They always assumed that I must have memorized everything sentence by sentence and never considered that it was quite possible for me to be smart.
- Women usually dislike other successful women for some reason. One time I ended up topping the class. Guys in my class congratulated me wholeheartedly. When it came to girls, not even a single girl congratulated me or even spoke to me on the day the results were announced. It was as if I had done something really bad.
- In one of my previous workplaces where I was the only woman, my male colleagues never listened to me. Any idea, solution or reason for a problem that I suggested was quickly dismissed even without considering it for a minute. In meetings, people did not pay attention to me when I spoke. Eventually, I became a spectator by never opening my mouth. After reading this book I realized that it is common for women.
- She also talks about how men can easily get mentorship from other senior men (if they want), while women do not. I have noticed that some men get very informal and friendly with their male manager, while we women cannot get too informal with a male manager. Men go out for lunches, have beer together and get friendly with senior male colleagues. Unfortunately, most of the seniors are men.
P.S: Just because I have mentioned some instances where I was treated differently since I was a woman, it doesn’t mean that men get everything easily. Many times people have encouraged and supported me in my career, even men have shown support in the past. I am not generalizing anything here but just sharing my experiences so you know how I could relate to the book through those experiences.
Do watch her TED talk. It’s awesome and some of those points are mentioned in her book. Join the group at http://leanin.org/
Will come back with another post with some quotes from the book.