“For Every ‘Yes’ Man at Work, There’s a ‘No’ Woman”

“Even when our job description doesn’t specify that it’s our responsibility to rein in our colleagues, it just tends to happen. A friend who works as a consultant has observed that men “are never the one taking notes! They are never the ones writing out the after-meeting ‘action items’ list.” (Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself acting as de facto secretary for male colleagues who are no higher on the org chart than you are.) “Whoever is actually doing the documenting ends up needing to own the fact that no one agreed on a motherfucking thing. If you think your role in a meeting is just to drop your glorious magic genius and then peace out, it’s easy to never have to say no.”
Often, women get a shot at leadership precisely because the company has been ruined by self-styled geniuses and is now in desperate need of a few incidents of no. Paula Schneider assumed the CEO role at American Apparel a year ago, and she’s still cleaning up Dov Charney’s messes. “We didn’t want a giant charismatic figure CEO — we had one of those already,” the board chair told Elle last year. “We needed a practical, no-nonsense person. The fact that she was a woman was just the icing on the cake.” Or, some of us would argue, it was baked in.”

Some people get to play, some people have to do the work.