A little over a month ago, I mentioned that I was reading Lean In. Shortly after that post, I finished the book. It was fabulous, in my opinion. Since I haven’t done a book review in a really long time, I figured why not today?
What I liked most about Lean In was that Sheryl shared stories. They were either personal stories or stories from peers that really drilled things home for me. I also think I was able to relate so much to this book, because I am a woman in a large company and have found it challenging to mo up.
One of the chapters that “spoke” to me was about your career advancement. She mentions that your career doesn’t have to follow a ladder path. It could look something like a jungle gym, where you take lateral moves to help you learn the skills you need for a step up move. I have made a few lateral moves in my career (sometimes because I wanted to and sometimes because it was mandatory). I always felt that lateral moves weren’t the best, because you weren’t moving up and you weren’t getting a pay raise.
News flash to self — pay raises don’t mean much. I mean, they do. But that doesn’t define you as an employee or that you are successful. Sometimes you need a lateral move to help you learn new skills or capabilities to take that next step up. I have heard that lateral moves aren’t a bad thing from co-workers. But I think reading it solidified that for me. It’s OK to take a new job that is the same pay scale that you are currently in. As long as you will be learning something new and developing your skills, it shouldn’t matter.
There is a section in Lean In dedicated to mentors. This is something I struggle with at work. Not that I can’t find someone to talk to, but that I can’t find someone to stick with and who really gets what I am hoping to accomplish. Part of that could be because, for a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted. I had no clear direction of how my career would go (when you work in a large company, it’s hard to know what is even out there that you might be interested in). I still wouldn’t say I have a clear direction, but I do think I have focused my attention on 2 types of jobs I want in the future.
A mentor is so much more than “Hey…will you be my mentor?” It’s a relationship and most of the time a work friendship that develops. It’s so much more on the mentee than the mentor to set up time to meet. As much as I knew that before I read Lean In, I now know it even more. Sheryl has a way of explaining things that just make sense.
I want to make this a monthly series, because Lean In has so much wonderful chapters that I can’t possibly review them all in one post. That would be torture for you. Check back next month for Vol. 2