#5SmartReads - September 30, 2022
Hitha on middle management, men's stories on abortion, and the musical I can't-stop-won't-stop talking about
Like so many things, the pandemic only exacerbated the problems that existed with many things - middle management included.
Middle management is a double edged sword of managing your team and making sure your direct reports have what they need to successfully do their job, and planning your own next step up the proverbial ladder along with everyone else in middle management.
I think a lot about my peers from Cisco’s Sales Associates Program who stayed at Cisco or went to another major tech company, and the consistent message that working within middle management was the most challenging, exhausting, and cutthroat phase of their career. Many of these companies have been awarded the “great place to work” honor. While they may be a great place to begin or end your career, few have figured out how to successfully support their middle managers and establish a good culture in this tier.
And if it was like this before the pandemic, I can only imagine how hard it must be now. There are a ton of parallels between middle management and motherhood - and a sad one is that there’s very little support for both.
‘1776’ in 2022: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Dual Reality (New York Times)
I saw the revival of 1776 earlier this week and I am still buzzing about it and frantically texting friends that they need to see it.
On one hand, it was an important reminder that extreme partisanship is the most American virtue there is (sorry, apple pie and baseball). Compromise is also equally American - the Declaration of Independence that was signed by members of the Continental Congress differs greatly from Jefferson’s original draft, a necessary move in order to get the unanimous support that was required to declare war against the British crown.
On another hand, it was amazing to see a cast of trans and cisgender women and nonbinary actors of all ethnic backgrounds play these founding fathers (an overdue move, given that men played women’s characters in theater until the past couple of centuries).
To see the America we don’t often see represented play the most iconic figures in American history was incredibly powerful and superb. My fellow New Yorkers - GO SEE IT. And if you’re planning a visit to the city, add this to your agenda.
Journey inside Pakistan’s flood zone reveals how poorest were hit hardest (The Washington Post)
I’ve been thinking a lot about who gets to recover or heal or be repaid for injustice, and even how injustice is even defined.
*stares into the camera at the former slave owners who were paid reparations*
I’m thinking about those who are in the path of Hurricane Ian and hoping everyone has sought safe shelter during the storm’s rampage. But I’m also still thinking about Pakistan and how whole villages remain submerged and students are likely to miss an entire semester of school. I’m thinking about Puerto Rico and how much of the island still lacked electricity from a storm 5 years ago, only to be pummeled twice and their own local conservationists, engineers, and labor are cut out from the process to power and rebuild Puerto Rico.
I still think about the entire neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina that have never been rebuilt.
Who, indeed, gets to rebuild and recover?
For those of us in the United States, our news cycle is firmly focused on Hurricane Ian. But I urge you to remember that Puerto Rico and Pakistan are equally deserving of our attention, our social shares, and our time and money - even more so, as they don’t get to recover the way those in the continental United States (and predominantly white and affluent communities) do.
First things first - are you following the brilliant Lupita? Go do it now. Your bookshelf and library card will thank you.
Solito was her book club pick this month, and while I haven’t opened it yet (I WILL!), I trust her taste implicitly and cannot wait to read this. This review from NPR just moved it to “starting it next week” status.
“As touching as it is sad, and as full of hope and kindness as it is harrowing, Solito is the kind of narrative that manages to bring a huge debate down to a very personal space, bridging the gap between the unique and the universal in ways that make both look like one and the same.”
The word “immigration” triggers a very strong reaction in all of us that has been honed by politics and news media that has pounded a simplistic, strong, and narrow message that we have internalized and accepted as the only way (based on what we watch and read). What we miss out on is the in-between, the nuance, and the ability to hold conflicting emotions and opinions in our minds and to take our time to process them. Memoirs like Solito are really important for us to step away from what’s been hammered into us, and to learn the reality of this experience from someone who has lived it.
(Cisgender) Men have been silent in the abortion debate, though they are just as affected by it as cisgender women, nonbinary people, and trans men are.
And while I wish we had heard theses stories sooner, I welcome these powerful men to our fight and thank them for speaking up. Please give this a read (and send it to all the cisgender men in your life who think this isn’t their fight). I’ll leave you with the words of the Second Gentleman:
“I think by and large, it’s [abortion] a topic men just don’t like to think about or talk about. But even more importantly, many men don’t believe it’s an issue for men. They think it’s just a quote-unquote women’s issue. And I couldn’t disagree more. It’s one of the things I really try to get out there and advocate for. Not only abortion, but a lot of issues that men traditionally wouldn’t think impact them: whether it’s pay equity, childcare, or family leave. They’re human issues. They’re American issues. They’re issues that men need to care about because everything is related. Everything impacts something else. Lastly, it’s the right thing to do. We just need to support each other.”