I’m going to quote one of my favorite women leaders, Fannie Lou Hamer, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” If you don’t know who she is, then that is just another problem we have with women in the workplace, we don’t even know about those that came before us so we’re spinning our wheels and nothing changes.
A few months ago, I received an invite for the Connect: Professional Women’s Network Powered by Citi on Linkedin. There were well over 200,000 members and growing. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a disturbing pattern. I don’t know if there’s a conspiracy or if the person approving the discussion posts on behalf of Citi is an intern, but here’s my open plea – please stop with the open-ended discussion posts. Not only does it smell of Facebook, but Linkedin is a “professional” social media platform and it is imperative that women do not mix business with personal, especially when comments and discussion posts are memorialized in an open professional forum. Which brings me to the post: “Biggest career mistake you’ve ever made?” It needs to go. Seriously. Don’t make someone’s biggest career mistake permanently searchable. Also, get rid of “Are you an emotional leader” and “Would you rather work for a man or a woman and why?” Answers to these posts could negate a job offer.
Another issue that Citi, of all companies should be cognizant of, is that any personal information given out in these groups can be used for phishing scams later. I’ve seen a few questions about how fathers or mothers influenced women. Anything related to family should be off limits as well.
But, let’s look at the elephant in the room, the discussions. Below is the email I got yesterday. I’m not even sure what’s going on with Dena’s passion parties, let alone the woman’s favorite invention being “bathroom cleaning products because I hate mold and soap scum on the tiles.”
The list of questions below came to me last week.
A woman’s business self-confidence is key. So many of us dance around business issues by focusing on other things, like building friendships and talking about books we’ve read lately (another discussion topic in Citi’s Linkedin group). Over 200,000 women and the topics don’t even scratch the surface of women’s issues in business. It’s a great example, or even experiment, of women staying on the outskirts of the boardrooms in their comfortable cubicles. Hey, it is comfortable! But women have more potential and it’s time we used it. And whatever you write, make sure you feel comfortable enough to share it in a presentation to thousands.
Note: I did reach out to Citi for this article.