I was excited to review Earning It by Joann S. Lublin. As a small business owner, I figured there would be some tips in this book to help me succeed, and there are. But, I also found the chapter on sexual harassment in this book to be problematic. The advice? The equivalent of “Don’t make yourself easily harassed and suck it up, Buttercup.”
Perhaps it’s the fact that so many women I know who reported sexual harassment had this prematurely destroy their careers, while they experienced backlash from not only those reported but other women in their workplace. Perhaps it’s the fact that I chose myself to not make a big deal about the fact that I was called a “dumb broad” during a presentation by a male superior, and when I took it to his superior I was told “You could have a case, or you could have a career.” Either way, telling women, “Don’t put yourself in positions where you get harassed” and “Suck it up if you want to get ahead,” are akin to telling a woman not to get herself raped.
I don’t think that was the intent of Lublin. I believe she thinks that the advice dispensed in the chapter is sound advice – because it’s the advice that many of us have been given in our careers. I just also don’t think that the advice really helps when there is a situation where, say, a coworker is regularly watching pornography on his computer or where “locker room” banter is prevalent and makes the women in the office uncomfortable. It’s no more helpful than telling girls not to wear short skirts – because as we all know, women who wear pants get raped too.
I think as long as one is reading this book with a keen sense of “This is the traditional advice that has been given to women,” there are real gems of advice to gain from it. But telling a woman to avoid her harasser and stay out of his way is a valid method of dealing with sexual harassment long-term just continues to perpetuate the problem.
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (October 18, 2016)
More than fifty trailblazing executive women who broke the corporate glass ceiling offer inspiring and surprising insights and lessons in this essential, in-the-trenches career guide from Joann S. Lublin, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and management news editor for The Wall Street Journal.
Among the first female reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Joann S. Lublin faced a number of uphill battles in her career. She became deputy bureau chief of the Journal’s important London bureau, its first run by women. Now, she and dozens of other women who successfully navigated the corporate battlefield share their valuable leadership lessons.
Lublin combines her fascinating story with insightful tales from more than fifty women who reached the highest rungs of the corporate ladder—most of whom became chief executives of public companies —in industries as diverse as retailing, manufacturing, finance, high technology, publishing, advertising, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals. Leaders like Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, as well as Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee, were the first women to run their huge employers. Earning It reveals obstacles such women faced as they fought to make their mark, choices they made, and battles they won—and lost.
Lublin chronicles the major milestones and dilemmas of the work world unique to women, providing candid advice and practical inspiration for women of all ages and at every stage of their careers. The extraordinary women we meet in the pages of Earning It and the hard-won lessons they share provide a compelling career compass that will help all women reach their highest potential without losing a meaningful personal life.
About Joann S. Lublin
Joann S. Lublin is management news editor for The Wall Street Journal and works with reporters in the U.S. and abroad. She frequently appears at conferences to discuss leadership, executive pay and corporate governance. She created The Journal’s first career advice column in 1993. She shared its Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for stories about corporate scandals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with honors from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University. She lives in Ridgewood, N.J.