“I didn’t know they let pretty girls into Princeton”
In this week’s installment of my “A Uterus is a feature not a bug” podcast on badass working moms, Kim Scott shares a depressing story of the world exactly how you think it is and the opposite of that.
The first: The summer before she went off to Princeton, she was at a bar with her high school friends. Every guy who came over to talk to her asked where she was going to school and when she replied Princeton, they essentially ran.
“Why don’t you just say ‘Bama next time?” her friend offered. When she followed that advice with the next guy, he bought her a drink. That combined with an executive at the company she was interning for saying with shock “I didn’t know they let pretty girls into Princeton!” convinced her she would not be returning to the South to work after college.
Instead, she wound up in Silicon Valley-- via a circuitous route that included Moscow and New York. That’s where we come to the unexpectedly uplifting gender anecdote: “Google was the perfect place to have a high risk pregnancy,” she says. While pregnant in her 40s with twins, Scott had healthy meals, generous leave, and prenatal massages available just one floor away.
But Google’s perks couldn’t help her with the hardest transition she faced in becoming a mom: She had to learn to work differently because simply running as hard as she could at the problem wasn’t possible.
Scott is today the founder of Radical Candor, and the author of a book on the same topic. It talks about the importance of honesty in management, but honesty from a position of genuinely caring about an employee’s development. She’s a well-known CEO coach in Valley circles, working with companies like Dropbox, Square, Twitter and others. She also just so happens to be from my hometown of Memphis, Tenn. (In fact, my mother was Scott’s English teacher, and my mom will be happy to know she makes a William Thackeray and a Victorian poetry reference in this podcast.)
She has several important pieces of advice for young women in tech who have kids or may be considering starting a family. (Don’t worry, it’s far more universal than “work at Google.”)
[Thanks to all the Patrons who make this podcast possible. To support this podcast go here. We are some $600 away from our next goal. At $2000, we’ll add a show about parenthood from the entrepreneurial dad’s perspective. Even $1 helps!]