In My Opinion
She May Be CEO of Yahoo, But Marissa Mayer Is No Innovator
***Guest post by Anonymous Single Mom
I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is that bothers me, and so many others, about Marissa Mayer’s approach to building a more successful and profitable Yahoo! and for reasons I can’t quite explain, I am having a hard time getting to the root of my frustration in my head.
I think part of the reason the new mother/CEO is being subjected to so much vitriol from the public is because we don't want to think that juggling a family and a job is reserved for the super wealthy, or those with an exceptionally sunshiny disposition. The other part of it is that many of us, women AND men, are responsible for far more than just ourselves, and we are constantly trying to figure out how to manage that, and advance our careers - which is where the flexibility solution comes in.
Now I am fully aware of the fact that people can abuse work from home policies and be inefficient employees, but I work in a non-flexible, un-family friendly environment and there are slackers and idiots there too. Just because someone shows up at the office, doesn't mean they are good at their job and as my fellow blogger Carol Cain points out, research has shown there to be a positive connection between workplace flexibility and an individual's work-life balance.
But my response to Marissa Mayer goes deeper than just a disagreement with her oversimplified way of trying to boost productivity. Her commentary and actions feel like a huge kick in the gut.
I have to disclose that she really lost me when I heard that she was only taking 2 weeks of maternity leave, prompting me to quickly take Yahoo! off of the list of places I would be applying to anytime in the near future. I don't personally agree with imposing an unreasonable bar like that, nor do I want to be held to it. Then when she said a few weeks after having her son, that “the baby has been way easier than everyone made it out to be,” I nearly lost my marbles. I am sorry, but that was the craziest thing I had heard in a very long time. And I often hear crazy things.
THEN, I read that around the same time she sent out a memo informing the staff that they could no longer work from home, she had a nursery built next to her office, and that is when I had to ask myself if she was deliberately trying to set herself apart from her staff or if she is completely out of touch with the impact her decisions have on others. And I think that is the part that bothers me more than anything else.
As an employee, I certainly want to work for a kick-ass company that is the top of their game, and I fully acknowledge the value of face-to-face interaction in making that happen. However, I fundamentally disagree with the type of management which accommodates the boss, while the rest of the staff is not given the same benefits. As an employee, I want to work for someone who values what I have to offer and because of that, is willing to come up with creative solutions for flexibility. I realize that visceral reaction to Mayer’s policy change is not so much in what she did – it’s how she went about it.
I actually think that the end result will be a smaller staff (which some say was a main desire byproduct of this) that shows up at the office, some of them great and talented, others lazy and incompetent, and then Mayer will need to do what she should have been doing all along - which is to tap into her own innovation and creativity.