Lean In

Friend: Have you heard about “Lean in“?

me:  Have I heard about leaning?  Yeah.  It’s what I do when I’m too tired to stand up properly, but so lazy that if I sat down I probably wouldn’t get back up again.  I’m a big fan of it.

Friend:  No.  Lean In.  It’s a book about all the ways in which women can get ahead in work.

me:  Huh.  Well, when I lean in my boobs show a lot more.  In fact, if I lean over too far in the right dress I could probably get arrested for public indecency.  Is that part of the book?

Friend:  Nope.  Not even a little.

me:  Seems like it should at least be a chapter.

Friend:  You are a terrible feminist.

147 thoughts on “Lean In

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I do best if I lean when there’s a wall. Otherwise I fall over and look like a goof. Which happens more than I like to admit (looking like a goof; not leaning when there’s no wall). Anyway…

  2. It’s a book about women getting ahead in the workplace. Called Lean In. I assumed that showing off boobs was the implication.

  3. I lean into things all the time. Pools, walls, really quiet conversations… sometimes I lean so far nin when I’m trying to hear soft-spoken people say something important that I accidentally head-butt them in the face.

  4. I have found that in the mostly-male technology field, luscious boobs carry a power unlike any other. However, like any great power, they come with great responsibility. 🙂

  5. Reminds me of that old Sandra Bullock Movie “While You Were Sleeping.”
    Is this guy leaning? 🙂

  6. My coworkers want me to read Lean In. I’ll try it, but I’m not a fan of Facebook and she’s the COO I think. So we’ll see…

  7. I hate when people lean in at me… I feel like they’re invading my personal space.

  8. I always wear a sports bra, so leaning doesn’t help me on the cleavage front. I mostly lean because there is a wall nearby that looks lonely. Also because fighting gravity all the time wears me out.

  9. Actually, the boob thing is something that’s applicable to all women, while that infernal book is really only applicable to rich women who can afford to pay nannies to raise their kids and tend to their non-work duties while they absentee everything except being CEO of some corporation.

    I implore you. Please rewrite the book, the way nature intended it.

  10. Boobies are always good. I like boobies. Probably because mine are tiny. I wish I could lean over and show cleavage that would get me ahead at work. I’m a terrible feminist too.

  11. I love boobs, so please continue to lean in Jenny. But I’m really not supposed to be looking at work, so can you hold off until we’re in a social setting?

  12. You work from home and are self-employed. Would the book help you advance with you? How to form power cliques with the cats? Trick your daughter into doing your work while you steal credit?

    Ok, maybe that last one could be helpful…

  13. Meh, it’s not a feminist book per-se…I mean, the idea of feminism is that you can choose to put all your energy into work (lean-in) or other things, right?

    I suppose it’s a great book for those who DO want to be high-powered execs, but I work to live (as opposed to “live to work”).

  14. A book on myriad ways in which to lean, and their results. Now featuring the too far forward cleavage showing lean; the if I put too much weight on my left leg I’ll probably fall lean (also referred to as WHAT WAS IN THAT DRINK? and I AM SO HIGH RIGHT NOW); reaching for something you need in the shower but you left on the back of the toilet then you slip and fall because you removed the nasty rubber tub mat and forgot to replace it and now you can’t remember if you ever even cleaned it AND WHERE THE HELL IS IT and you hit your head on the toilet and need the ambulance but you’re too afraid to call because NAKED; and my favorite: the too excited yoga lean resulting in farts.

  15. I so needed that laugh… When I lean over too much, in the right top, I get an excited “Yeah Baby” from the hubby… for him it’s always a good thing, no book needed 😉

  16. @Helen – LOL! I LOVE that movie!

    As for feminism, I think it lost something along the way. Like an entire generation of young women. If you haven’t heard Pink’s song “Stupid Girls” it’s worth your time.

  17. If I had boobs I would lean in all the time. “Hey – check these out!” In fact “lean in” would probably be my nickname.

    As for the book, it’s worth a read 🙂

  18. I love your readers! 🙂 I feel the same way. Leaning in is awesome for the boobs! They always look so ripe when I do that! hahahahaha!

  19. My company thought it would be brilliant to purchase and then gift this book to all our female employees. Thank G-d we’re a tech company, which means it wasn’t a huge investment for them (you know, big time Bro Club). HAHAHA. Anyhoo, I digress… I got the box from our HQ and it was all I could do not to chuck it right the f*ck out the window. Insulting POS dummy book, and insulting POS dummies who thought any of us gals here would even want to read it. I guess I’m a terrible feminist too. Pffffft. Who gives a crap? The “gender gap” (or whatever they’re calling the battle of the sexes these days) is all an illusion anyway. w00t. w00t. Put that in your feminist pipes and smoke it.

    P.S. Anyone want a free copy of it? I’ve got one I can sell ya. 😉

  20. The book is actually about going full strength at whatever you do, CEO or soccer mom or whatever. You already do that. But, boobs always help IMHO and I’m an awesome feminist.

  21. You should always use your assets. Also your breastsets.

    Anyway, Lean In seems to be about how to get ahead if you are already way ahead of most people and have fistfulls of cash with which to pay people to do the things that might prevent you from getting the farthest ahead in business.

  22. I lean in all day! Lean in to do the dishes, lean in to do the laundry, lean in to clean the litter box. Didn’t know I could have written a book about it. Oh wait…

  23. lol!!! I agree! It should be a chapter. and I agree with one of the comments above too, cursing definitely helps women push equality. If my sailor mouth is as bad as my bosses he listens. But boobs help…. boobs ALWAYS help. 😉

  24. Which summarizes every reason why I thought the whole “lean in” thing was bullshit.

  25. I can confirm Jenny’s assertion. She gave us a bit of an eyeful at her Portland book signing. AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. <3

  26. I read the book – its awesome. I think there’s some truth to what you say… Yes. That should be a chapter. Talking about sex in the workplace is relevant. three cheers for your insights!

  27. Seems like we’re all leaning away from that book.. pretty telling, isn’t it?

  28. No book that’s supposed to be about how women can get ahead in the work place should omit showing some skin. It’s not PC, but its effective. If the author left that out, he/she probably didn’t do his/her research.

  29. I’m short and have to lean way into the washing machine to get the clothes out. Sometimes I almost fall in. That is a serious lean.

  30. I lean a lot too. I’m leaning against my desk right now. Later, I’ll be leaning on the passenger window of our truck on the ride home from work, OR leaning over the smut book I’m currently reading that is not 50 shades of gray. I’ll be leaning over the stove when I make dinner, and I’ll be leaning over the table when I eat it. I’ll be leaning against the hand rail when I drag my tired ass up the stairs to bed. Yep, lean in. Feminism? What’s that??

  31. Once, when I was in England with my parents, we were eating at a pub and my dad leaned against the wall of the booth we were sitting in. Turns out, the wall was a partition and not attached to anything, and my dad was on a stool. Once he picked himself off the floor, righted the partition and rearranged the (thankfully) fake potted plant, he sat back down and resumed his lunch as in nothing happened. He appeared most dignified. He didn’t even seem to notice my mother and I, collapsed in gales of laughter with tears running down our faces, or the horrified look from the other patrons. I can still make my mum laugh every time I remind her of that story.

  32. Clearly they would need to dedicate an entire chapter on boob leaning. There’s the full lean, the mini-lean, the weight-on-the-elbow lean… I find they each can be helpful for persuasion or distraction.

  33. Knowing how to use your boobies correctly in any situation is immensely empowering and something every woman should excel at. That is real power! There should definitely be a chapter on this subject.

  34. Some of my former workplaces probably have many hours of video of me leaning over, only to have to adjust myself when my boobs tried to escape from my bra cups.

  35. I prefer to think of it as “being aware of societal actualities”. Because who doesn’t love lady cleavage?

  36. That is true. And the further I lean in, the less people pay attention to what I’m saying, which doesn’t sound like a great business plan, does it?

  37. @Helen That movie is the first thing I thought of when I saw the post title 🙂

  38. You ladies that can ‘lean in’ better be grateful. If I ‘lean in,’ all anybody sees is a big ol’ cavern, and maybe a glimpse of the elongated side of one of my National Geographic boobs. And that’s if you’re LUCKY. Usually I’m wearing a sports bra to smash those babies back into place. Boobs are nothing but a cosmic joke on women. Not that I’m bitter.

    Shit what were we talking about?

  39. Yes! I second Ms. Pants’ motion (#16) — the book is a POS and Jenny should definitely write it as it was meant to be written. I guarantee that Jenny’s version would be scads more helpful to a lot more women.

  40. Weird. I’d never heard of Lean In before today. But you are the second blogger who’s written about it today. Maybe it’s a sign?

  41. I guess if I’d done more “leaning in” with my DD’s here at work the last few months, I wouldn’t have ended up on the list of people being laid off. Damn! Why didn’t you write this earlier?!? I’ll just have to hope I’ll be interviewed by men during my job search, and I’ll be sure to lean in often, without being too obvious 😉

  42. “Lean In” is my technique for cutting the Starbucks line if you’re not paying attention, so yeah, I guess it does help me get ahead.

  43. I’m a horrible feminist too. If showing cleavage will get me something you can be damn sure I’m gonna show it!

  44. I don’t think you are giving yourself enough credit…you are willing to go after what you want, no matter which way you have to lean, bend or lay.

  45. …i have been at work researching a post about this book and one of it’s conclusions, namely that women should cry at work–this has been the subject of several interviews with her…she even makes a point that crying at work is a way to get ahead (i.e. “lean in”)…she makes me sick–an elitist who clearly thinks manipulating people as a means to get to the top is acceptable, ethical, and part of feminism…

    …in other news, leaning in to flash cleavage: totally acceptable…


  46. Oooh and if you ‘lean in’ too much do you fall over? anyway enough of that, Jenny I saw the most amazing shop in East London that you would love!!!! they have talks on thing like Mouse Taxidermy and films like Vampires in London http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/
    You SOOOOOOOOOOOO have to check out the website, I am going there soon so will let you know how it goes

    Maureen Reeves who loves your book

  47. “Lean in”. I though it was the thing to say when about to share something juicy/inappropriate/secretive to a group of friends 🙂

  48. Hey, I just say it’s all part of being personable.

    Although, now that you mention it, the publishers probably should have thought about that when picking their titles.

  49. Also, my friend and I started a book club and this month we’re reading your book. Can’t wait to discuss it. And for the next book, if any of the ladies pisses me off, I’m going to tell them to read Lean In while the rest of us read something indulgent and maybe a little smutty.

  50. I scanned the comments but didn’t see a mention of it but this totally makes me think of “While You Were Sleeping”, the movie. Where Joe Jr. is all worried because he sees Jack “leaning” toward Lucy. Something to the effect of “Is he bothering you, because it looks like he’s leaning?” I Googled it to try to find the actual wording or even a YouTube clip but obviously this line only made a connection with me and my friends and the rest of the world is living a slightly less satisfying life.

  51. We need Sheryl Sandberg to send in a pic of herself holding a spatula. Right. Now.

  52. Jenny, you are an excellent feminist. By far the best kind. Excellent at what you do and leading your own parade. Thanks for being here!

  53. If there isn’t a chapter on public indecency, is there at least a chapter about leaning into the weird? Cause that’s kind of my forte. If there isn’t a chapter I’d be happy to handwrite one and then make photo copies and past them in the back of the book at the local bookstore…you know, kind of like a public service.

  54. Boobs are NEVER a bad thing and I am a feminist. I love my boobs and so should everyone else…really they are quite adorable. If I had not slammed the left one in the dryer last month, I would let everyone cop a feel. As of today, I would cut you because the “Left Lady” is still sore. Ahhh…sad face for US all.

  55. I have boobs, I lean and I am a feminist and I think self help books suck. That is all.

  56. I dunno, I thought part of feminism was the right to use our boobs to get ahead, without being lynched or beaten. If a guy wants to use his rockin’ abs to get ahead I say, let him

  57. I’m not sure how much “leaning in” of this kind could get you ahead in the tech world like Sheryl Sandberg did. All the tech geeks in their hoodies and sneakers would probably be scared of this kind of feminine “leaning in”….

  58. I love that when go to Amazon to read about this book it recommends that you buy it with Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You Will Go!”. Probably not the bundle that the author was going for.

  59. If I lean in, sometimes it kind of looks like I have cleavage. But that is a very rare occurrence… So I think there should definitely be a least a chapter on your problem as well as mine! Its only fair really.

  60. HA! There’s the new trend – Leaning! We can all take pics of ourselves leaning against things in various outfits. A lot more fun than planking. And less dangerous than Von Trapping!

  61. I lean in at work a lot, because I wear very high heels — so that I can stare down intimidatingly at the balding heads of my male co-workers. Also, it does put my boobs at said co-workers’ eye level, so it’s a two-fer. But anyway, the heels make my feet tired, which eventually results in leaning. I’m sure that is what the book is about. Right?

  62. I have a sign over my door that says
    “Lean In To The Weird”
    in your honor.
    That is all the leaning I plan to do, except maybe for a few selfies.

  63. I have never even heard of it an I think of myself of a bibliophile, I have brought shame to myself now I must go and wonder until I can earn my honer back. oh sorrow of sorrows… Okay now I feel better.

  64. I’m leaning in all right – right over the computer to finish my most recent blog post. Because my ambition lies in doing stuff I love, not in being a CEO. Life is way too short for that crap.

  65. Hahahahaha!
    I have to politely disagree with your friend. I think that leaning in to show your boobs would get you ahead, and a man wouldn’t think twice on using his resources to further his career.
    I’d say you nailed it.

  66. It’s all fun and games until your boss is an overweight twice divorced woman with no ta-tas….then what?!?!

  67. All I can think of is that tired phrase from my years in retail and food service… “Time to lean; time to clean!” Maybe now it can be ‘Lean in… if your boobs don’t flop, it’s time to grab a mop!”

    I should probably call my therapist.

  68. If you lean in around my house at present, you will bet post-it notes stuck all over your face.

    Stupid note karma.

    What goes around, comes around.

    And sticks.

  69. After having worked at Facebook and having attended many of the “lean in” talks, it baffles me at the amount of descrimination and abuse of male power that is rampent at a company where this Lean In Pied Piper is the COO.
    I definitely leaned in when I typed my letter of resignation and found a job at a company that truly empowers and supports men and women alike!!

  70. Lean in is about feminism? I have that boob problem too. Well, I guess depending on the situation, it’s a “feature”.

  71. I think you are confusing “leaners” with “hangers,” a.k.a. “danglers.” And if Jane Fonda can be the star of “Barbarella” and be considered a good feminist, then you, dear Bloggess, are feminist royalty –or the Prime Minister of feminism, if you don’t go for the whole monarchy-thing.

  72. Oh my goodness, this was just what I needed. And, to be fair, I am a feminist and think your point is no less valid.

  73. I second the swearing. That, and having the sense of humor of a 16 year old boy. I feel that both have helped me gain access to the boys club.

    And boobies. Boobies never fail.

  74. I’m thinking that a book by The Bloggess detailing ways to LEAN and/or to get ahead in the business world would rock the New York Times Best Seller List. Also, I would be willing to take a very minimal percentage of your earnings for coming up with the idea – because I care.

  75. What else are you supposed to take away from a book named “Lean In” that’s about women getting ahead in the work place? Obviously it’s about weary booby shirts and “leaning in” for job interviews.

    That’s pretty much how I’ve snagged every job I’ve ever had. It also worked on my first husband.

    But then again, I guess “Lean in” is a better name than the double entendre of “How to Get Ahead.”

  76. If you can’t enjoy having boobs and using them as the advantage that they clearly are…eh…I don’t want to bea feminist then. Bleh. Yay for boobies and doing what you want with them. Of course, I stay home with three kids…most people really into feminism that I know act like I have been lobotomized so I can’t read a book anyway……

  77. I may or may not have just forwarded this entry to a friend, accusing her of using this tactic to get ahead at work. I now will refer to her as Tits McGee.

  78. I’m all about boob exposure as a way to get ahead in the workplace.
    We all gotta make the best of what we’ve got.

  79. Yes! The Squeeze and Lean! Reminds me of the quote from “Erin Brockivech” – ‘They’re called boobs, Ed.’

  80. Well in your defence – ‘lean in’ doesn’t really conjure up the most feminist images in my head for a woman getting ahead at work…

  81. The book is just another excuse for high powered bitches to justify their nastiness and act like the men they are rallying against. And as a former and somewhat still at heart punk, I lean into walls, guitar amps and the occasional pub bench with ease and a naturalness that my spouse finds endearing.

  82. Apparently one piece of advice in the book is to marry rich…I wonder if it is too late for me…and if my husband will mind…

  83. I read ALL of your archives this week, and I am completely insane now, I think. They were awesome.

  84. For those who assets fall in other areas there needs to be a “Booty in the Boardroom” chapter. Or how about “The Path to Success is Paved with Stilettos” ?

  85. I would think for a woman to get ahead in the workplace it would be less ‘lean in’ and more ‘bend over,’ no?

    This is probably why I don’t write books on feminism. Also because I’m a guy.

  86. “Well, when I lean in my boobs show a lot more” that and wearing short skirts got me a B in German in college… nothing wrong with using what the good Lord gave you.

  87. HA love you and the clever comments your readers post. Although I’m going to wonder about that Sarah’s boob in the dryer .

  88. What better definition of feminism than using your feminine bits to get what you want??? Aside from my boob-envy (I haven’t any) I’d lean in whatever I had to get something if I wanted it badly enough. I’ve never read the book and nor would I, but it sounds horrific… Why do people need a book to tell them how much time/effort/enthusiasm they should invest in any part of their lives? Do whatever the hell feels right, people! Why are we spending our hard-earned money on books like this that make us feel like we aren’t good enough in some way? Accept yourself as is and push your boobies together as you lean in to drop that book in the bin!

  89. Not going to read it, either. I don’t like self-help books to begin with and one that tells me how I can get ahead in the world by working harder just seems like a lot of… well… HARD WORK. I enjoy being lazy and drinking my vodka and lemonade on the patio too much to give that up just so I can shake my wrinkly hand on my death bed in victory of having “Made It.”

    Bottoms up, though. Whatever floats your boat, ladies. Me? I like living my life slowly.

  90. I’m not reading “Lean In” I am sick of competing to get ahead in my job so now i sit back and make snide comments and there is always wine.

  91. meh… to get ahead at work…. well I’d like to say that working your butt off works, but it turns out that if you’re good, you just get more work. oh well. to get ahead at work, right now, I’m applying to other jobs to get a better job with more $$ and more recognition for the work I do. But I don’t think I’m the only person in this boat. There’s just not much $$ to go around right now.

  92. I must be dense.
    I don’t lean it and I didn’t wonder who stole my cheese?!?
    I am a working mom trying to do both well.
    The scripts that come along about being successful, flexible, creative just don’t apply to me; however, making a lunch out of next to nothing and having clean laundry for Monday despite playlist b all Sunday with my son…that makes sense.

  93. omg. That is EXACTLY what I thought when you said “Lean In”!

    I thought, “What? So they can see your boobs, and then you’ll get what you want? … are there different ways to do it? It seems like that won’t be a very long book…” lol

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