Why Millennials Shouldn’t Dismiss “Lean In”

Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” has caused many to speak out on the topic of women in the workplace, both as supporters and critics. One thing’s for sure – the book is stirring up the conversation! Working in a field that is predominantly women, we either have or will someday have to face the tough choices that she discusses, whether or not we agree with her viewpoints.

As millennials, some may think that this decision is far in the future, after they have children or are much more settled in their careers. However, now is the time to give your attention to this topic. While the exact path of your career is never predictable and always takes its own curves, it’s important to know what you want out of the future. This is the time to set yourself up for that future.  

  • Have a plan: Sandberg encourages everyone to have an eighteen-month plan. Hers include both goals that she wants her team to accomplish, as well as personal goals for learning new skills.
  • Make sure you’re at the right company: Are you at a company that aligns well with your goals for the future? For example, if you want children, are you at a company that is supportive of working mothers?
  • Think about what you want in a partner: Do you want to be in a committed relationship? If so, think about what you want, and make sure you find someone who is supportive of that path.
  • Find a mentor: Having a mentor is often talked about in the industry. How do you go about finding one? Once you have an idea to ask someone to be a mentor, Sandberg suggests that you reach out with an interesting point or a thoughtful question. “While asking a stranger to be a mentor rarely, if ever, works,” she notes, “approaching a stranger with a pointed, well-thought-out inquiry can yield results.”
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks: If a great opportunity presents itself, don’t dismiss it just because it’s risky. Sandberg notes that “the cost of stability is often diminished opportunity.” Risks paid off for her when she joined Google and later Facebook. These opportunities should of course be thought through, but be sure to give them your consideration. Now is the time to take risks in your career.

Sandberg makes some great points in her book, even though they’ve faced their fair share of criticism. However, it’s also important to know your limits. As the Huffington Post reminds us, while it’s good to lean in, know your limits so you know when you’re leaning in too far.

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