Dear Marissa Mayer,
Ok, I don’t know anything about business. I have never worked from home other than making a little bit of money here and there with my writing, so to be honest, I have found myself agreeing with both sides that write about your managerial decisions you have decided to enforce at Yahoo!.
But really, this letter isn’t about your decisions to tell your employees what they can and can’t do. That is business, I suppose. You do what you have to do to keep your company afloat and relevant so it doesn’t end up like Excite (remember Excite? Anyone? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so).
No, this letter is about all the other garbage that comes out in the media along with this news of Yahoo! no longer allowing telecommuting. If a man made this decision, yes, I still think it would have made news. I mean an internet company not allowing people to use the internet to do their job. A company that joins the world together from their couches doesn’t allow their employees to model that. I mean, I used this as an example of irony in the literature class just this past week.
So why did everyone (on the internet) go crazy about the fact that you’re a WOMAN and you did this? I don’t think it had much to do with the actual decision and more about all the other stuff that goes with it. The personal stuff.
I think it started when you were all flaunty about how you took only 2 weeks for maternity leave.
I don’t know your son’s birth story or about your journey in your decision to have him or if you had any struggles with getting pregnant. I don’t know if things went super easy or if there was an intense drive to get back to work because you just didn’t WANT to be home. I don’t know any of these things and I’m not going to make assumptions since it’s different for all of us.
What I do know is that by taking only two weeks, you put the rest of us who are fighting for a more healthful (both physically and mentally for mom AND baby) approach to maternity leave in the USA back about a million years. I am not going to go on and on about how the rest of the world looks at the US in shock (much like this O__O ) when they find out we only get 12 weeks and that doesn’t even have to be paid.
Yet you took TWO.
Two weeks after my first son, I was just allowed to use stairs because I had needed an emergency C-section to deliver him. Two weeks after both of my sons, I was just getting over the super weepy emotional after-effects of the hormonal rush that having a baby leaves your body in.
Two weeks after my sons were each born I was still having family and friends come over with meals and groceries and their help so I could simply take a shower.
You were back in your business suit commanding the rest of the employees to get their assets back into the office or be fired.
But then it comes out that you had a nursery built next to your office.
Wait. So it’s LIKE you’re still at home with your baby. Oh. That is nice. Ok, so two-week maternity leave, but then “take your baby to work so it’s like you’re at home” is in effect.
But…no one else can do that.
I think what stings about your decision isn’t that it’s a bad business move, but that it smacks of megalomania and hypocrisy.
It might be what saves Yahoo! I mean, you’re going to end up with your most dedicated employees. You will know who REALLY wants the job because they will make it WORK that they can be in the office. And they will work to prove that they should be there…or so it will go if your plan works.
But the problem is, even though you’re there…are you? I mean, I know what being a first time mom is like. And even when it goes perfectly (so basically NOT what I experienced with a baby who had digestive issues, had to go on soy, was colicky, and never slept unless I held him), it is still exhausting. And I didn’t even breastfeed!
I don’t know how you could have made this decision without getting backlash.
As a mom, I so very much wish you would take the time to be free of the work commitments and stress so you can focus on being a mom to your new little guy.
Did you feel like you couldn’t make this decision while taking a maternity leave? I mean, maternity leave and telecommuting to work are different.
I really don’t have the answers for ya, Marissa. I just know that as a woman, I was bummed about all of this. As a literature teacher, however, you at least gave me an example for “irony” and “hypocrisy” that I can use for years to come.