The United States’ definition of success is wrong.
We judge ourselves based on frequent flier status and number of late nights at the office. We think we are failures if our vacations aren’t working ones and we don’t incessantly check our Blackberries for that blinking light.
So what is the real issue with the flurry of discussion about Marissa Mayer?
Within hours of the announcement that Mayer had been appointed CEO of Yahoo, the conversation switched from her professional qualifications to how her pregnancy will affect her ability to do the job. Can she really be a new mother and turn Yahoo around???
It’s frustrating that impending fatherhood doesn’t yield the same heated discussion for men.
It’s even more frustrating that our society demands that men and women – single, married, or with children – sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of the company.
Yes, companies have created work-life balance programs. Yes, some women and a few men take advantage of them. But the sheer existence of these programs highlight that work-life balance is the exception, not the rule.
It’s time for working 15 hour days, seven days a week to be considered a failure. It’s time for us to stop cancelling dinners with friends, taking work calls during a date, and sending assistants to videotape your kid’s school play.
My hope is not that Marissa Mayer will prove she can work 90 hour weeks as a new mom.
My hope is that she turns Corporate America on its head. That she makes every pediatrician appointment, attends her child’s music class, and has standing Friday night dinner plans with her husband. All while returning Yahoo to a leading and innovative company.
It’s time to redefine success.