business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story recently about how PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is trying to even the playing field among men and women in business, and a followup email in which one one MNB reader wrote:

PepsiCo CEO is on fleek….Preach, sister, preach!  Double standards, micro aggressions, all the b.s. that comes with higher positions.  You know what, nine times out of ten, I’d hire a working mom over anybody else, and plan to continue doing so.  We are dedicated, get sh*t done, and balance more projects than any man I’ve worked with---C-suite included.  We aren’t allowed to be subject to a debilitating man cold—we just get up, keep going and get after it.  Glad I’m not alone in my sentiments.  Sometimes it feels like it—because, well, there aren’t a whole lot of women near the top when I look around.

This prompted another email from an MNB reader:

The comment made by a reader in response to the story about PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi trying to even the playing field struck a chord, especially in light of all the things we are currently seeing in our society in general. It seems that more and more, we are trying to drive a wedge between people based on the many attributes that make us who we are: gender, sexual preference, religion, political ideology, etc.

I am getting sick of it. Is there room for improvement? Of course there is. But lumping people into a tidy strata group based on our own limited or skewed perceptions hardly leads to meaningful dialogue.

Early in my career I was very aggressive, spent many hours on the job, doing everything I could to climb the corporate ladder. Upon the birth of our first son, my wife, blessed with a college degree and successful career up to that point, decided to be a stay at home mom. It turned out to be a very wise choice, as our son was soon diagnosed with myriad health issues. Far too many times over the next 16 years, our son lay in a hospital bed, literally fighting for his life. My wife was able to spend much of those times with him. Me? I was at work, struggling to stay focused on the job I needed to have to provide the needed insurance benefits to provide the care my son had to have. Time off to help my son or my wife? Ummm, no, there was no such thing available. My choice was to either suck it up and take care of business, or risk my job.

I, a man, just got up, kept going, and got after it. It led to a lot of long hours, sleepless nights, long drives between home, hospital and work, and more stress than I thought possible to bear. I am thankful I had a job that provided health insurance, and a salary that allowed my wife to make the choice she did to give up a lucrative profession; and those facts made me much more empathetic for those who did not have those luxuries.

And the day my son passed away in the hospital? I spent the morning at work, attending a "mandatory meeting", then rushed to the hospital to spend a couple of hours with him before he passed. I then got a week to mourn.

So to hear that one segment of our society has more ability or willingness to "just get up, keep going, and get after it" is beyond reprehensible. We all have obstacles, challenges, barriers, and situations that we must deal with on a daily basis. Painting with too broad a brush just hides the fact that basically we are all in this together. Let's celebrate the strides we have made as a society, while also recognizing that there are still plenty of opportunities to elevate all people, regardless of their respective categorizations. I am just tired of this destructiveness that seems to be engulfing our world.

I get your point, and I cannot even imagine your pain.

I certainly don't think that the MNB reader to whom you are referring would ever try to minimize your experience, or suggest that you had it easier because you are a guy.

But as much as it is nice to suggest that everybody should just be treated the same, I do think we live in a world where that is not the way things are. Some people, I think, would argue that they have less to celebrate than others.

Got the following email from MNB reader Craig Espelien, who wanted to weigh in on two things I wrote yesterday.

I was going to let the “Biggest Show on Earth” miss slide (it is actually, from my online research, “The Greatest Show on Earth” for Ringling Bros.) but when you missed the Jimmy Malone quote (it is actually “Here Endeth the Lesson," not "This Endeth The Lesson") I just could not let it go.
Corrections Department will have to put in some overtime.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. 
KC's View: