Take some time to watch/listen to Sheryl Sandberg’s address to graduates at Harvard Business School earlier this month. She has a lot of interesting and not-quite-traditional career advice (including the biggest pullquote from her speech, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” There is quite a bit more in here, however, including way more about women than probably the HBS class encountered in their entire curriculum. (Just a guess.) See above, and below:
"When I was first at Facebook, a woman named Lori Goler, a 1997 graduate of HBS, was working in marketing at eBay and I knew her kind of socially. And she called me and said, ‘I want to talk with you about coming to work with you at Facebook. So I thought about calling you, she said, and telling you all the things I’m good at and all the things I like to do. But I figured that everyone is doing that. So instead I want to know what’s your biggest problem and how can I solve it.’
My jaw hit the floor. I’d hired thousands of people up to that point in my career, but no one had ever said anything like that. I had never said anything like that. Job searches are always about the job searcher, but not in Lori’s case. I said, you’re hired. My biggest problem is recruiting and you can solve it. So Lori changed fields into something she never thought she’d do, went down a level to start in a new field and has since been promoted and runs all of the people operations at Facebook and has done an extraordinary job.
Lori has a great metaphor for careers. She says they’re not a ladder; they’re a jungle gym. As you start your post-HBS career, look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job, don’t plan too much, and don’t expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career.”
"I graduated from HBS in 1995 and I thought it was completely clear that by the time someone from my year was invited to speak at this podium, we would have achieved equality in the workforce. But women at the top C-level jobs are stuck at 15% or 16% and has not moved in a decade. Not even close to 50%. We need to acknowledge openly that gender remains an issue at the highest levels of leadership. The promise of equality is not equality. We need to start talking about this.
We need to start talking about how women underestimate their abilities compared to men and for women, but not men. Success and likeability are negatively correlated. That means that as a woman is more successful in your workplaces, she will be less liked. This means that women need a different form of management and mentorship, a different form of sponsorship and encouragement, and some protection, in some ways more than men.
There aren’t enough senior women out there to do it, so it falls upon the men who are graduating today just as much or more as the women, not just to talk about gender but to help these women succeed. When they hear a woman is really great at her job but not liked, take a deep breath and ask why.”