Do Good Work, Complain Less

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time interpreting this mess.

How does someone so scope-locked on whining about male and female struggles get to be Facebook COO with a net worth over a billion and annual security detail costs of almost $3MM? Who has this kind of time?

Women are still navigating the effects of male-dominated workplaces a year and a half after the rise of the #MeToo movement. A new study by found 60 percent of male managers said they are uncomfortable interacting with women at work – up 32 percent from 2018. Workplace interactions that men are nervous about include mentoring, socializing and having one-on-one meetings.

Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In’s founder and Facebook’s chief operating officer, said on “CBS This Morning” on Friday the survey results indicates “we’re in a bad place.”

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“Sixty percent of male managers in the U.S. – 60 percent – are afraid to have a one-on-one meeting with a woman,” Sandberg said, to which Gayle King immediately asked, “How do you get promoted without a one-on-one meeting?”

Exactly Sandberg’s point. She went on to explain that senior men who were surveyed are also nine times more likely to hesitate to travel with a woman and six times more likely to hesitate to have a work dinner.

“The problem is that even before this, women – and especially women of color – do not get the same amount of mentoring as men, which means we’re not getting an equal seat at the table, and, you know, it’s not enough to not harass us. You need to not ignore us either,” Sandberg said.

This is when I ask, “What did you expect?” There are bad men, and there are good men, the latter outnumbering the former by a wide margin. When the MeToo movement kicked in and, as we’ve seen since our inglorious Gloria Steinem days, good men were on constant alert, did people like Sandberg think men wouldn’t alter behavior out of self-preservation? Why would any man in any position of authority needlessly compromise the reputation and livelihood of him and his family? The natural inclination in these situations is to pull back and play it safe lest a simple, offhand remark cause him to be dragged before a tribunal.

Sanberg wasn’t done, and here we have the most infuriating part (emphasis mine):

Sandberg called men’s fear a “false trade-off” and pointed out that many of the scenarios they are concerned about can happen in public spaces.

“If there’s a man out there who doesn’t want to have a work dinner with a woman, my message is simple: Don’t have one with a man. Group lunches for everyone. Make it explicit, make it thoughtful, make it equal,” Sandberg said. “Men need to step up. We need to redefine what it means to be a good guy at work. It’s not enough to not harass, and I think too many people think that’s sufficient. That’s necessary, that’s a basic, but it’s not sufficient.”

“In a public restaurant having a lunch or dinner, I don’t really think you can get falsely accused of something. And so I think men need to step up and they need to say in order to get women promoted those women need the same coaching, the same feedback, the same opportunities that men get,” she said.

(I have to ask: Is it sexist of me to be angry over mostly unnecessary male bashing?)

This isn’t maddening because what Sandberg suggests is wrong, it’s because she’s right. What ticks me off is the Vice President of the United States has been bashed for years for holding to this very policy of not eating alone with a woman who isn’t his wife, and not attending events with alcohol without her by his side.

Welcome to the party, Sheryl. You’re late.

Here’s the solution: Do good work, and be a good person to work with. On top of that, complain less. Your success will take care of itself.


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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