I wrote an article chronicling some of the backlash around Mayer’s decision to ban telework for Yahoo’s foreseeable future (if you live under a rock, story is here and I am referring to Marissa Mayer, the –this is totally relevant– CEO of Yahoo!)
I reserve the right not to have an opinion about this just yet, as I work from home and totally rule at it, but not every one can or does work well this way. As I write this I am literally in my bed, ON a heater pad with Chex Mix and a cup of coffee on my nightstand. After this, I will jump on a call to London and then fold laundry.
What I can do is delineate and refute the false protestations that immediately started spewing from the Internet. I am honestly less concerned with Mayer’s decisions at a company that has little to no effect on my daily life, than I am with the sickening state of Internet discourse these days, so here goes.
I have created my own work-life reality…outside of corporate America.
This one makes me crazy. I know a lot of smart people. Consultants, analysts, even CEOs of small firms. You know who I am not personal friends with? CEOs of big A$$ Silicon Valley tech companies. I really don’t know any of those. So reading the opinion pieces (Branson excepted for now) of folks who don’t have to cut spending, consolidate their workforce and basically make a company that has been losing for nigh on a decade now PROFITABLE, is at best, laughable. You don’t know. You really don’t.
I don’t understand this decision and it flies in the face of an infographic I got yesterday.
Don’t trust people who have taken their stats from a piece of paper that someone making $30/hour created in their basement. If you scroll to the bottom of those infographics, they all say they got their stats from the same five sources. Sources that have every reason to promote working from home. The data is solid but it’s not working for YAHOO! you guys!!!!
This decision is unpopular, therefore it must be wrong.
Why are we all so entitled and frustrated on behalf of other people? Very few of the folks affected by Mayer’s mandate (TM!) are below the poverty line or will have difficulty finding work in Silicon Valley, amirite? While I don’t agree with everything that every CEO does, I don’t think this decision was made in a vacuum, even Yahoo staffers say that the work from home contingent at the company kinda sucks.
She has lady parts and this decision makes other people with lady parts mad. Therefore, Mayer hates women and has betrayed her sex.
Man oh man, I hate this one. First, Mayer has pretty much disavowed herself as a feminist in the first place (which I dislike intensely but whatever okay, it’s all you girl) so she really doesn’t owe the wider workforce and those of us watching anything. Second, even though she is actively shrugging the working mother, chick CEO mantle from her shoulders, she is still under intense scrutiny. Can you imagine if she made decisions that were family friendly but a disaster for the company? Those actions would set us back DECADES. Mayer cannot afford, IMHO, the luxury of making popular decisions (read: soft decisions that make everyone really really like her and be super bummed out when the company goes under because who really thought a pretty blonde could save that company anyway? not this guy). A CEO has to make unpopular business decisions. It is sexist and stupid to expect those to be different from any other CEO at the helm of a troubled company, because she wears a bra.
I did it differently and my way is right.
Here’s where we get to Branson (who is my boyfriend in the alternate reality in my mind). His business is different. That is all. He might not love her decision and is the ONLY one who has the right to denounce it, but he shouldn’t have. Startup founders (which he was/is) have the opportunity to affect their culture and build it how they like from Day 1. Mayer does not, nor will she ever have that opportunity at Yahoo! She has what she inherited, so tough choices must be made. While it might be a ‘backwards step’ I don’t really see that there was a way to move forward without it. They’re both rich and blond, but the similarities as CEOs end there.
In summation: Shut it.