Dear Mr. Molloy:
I am a female and a junior at Yale. As an economics major I am going to get my Masters before seeking employment. I wish to work on Wall Street but I intend to choose my firm very carefully. I want to work for a firm that pays women as well as men who do the same job. I think it’s ridiculous that women earn less than men in industry and if I find myself being passed over for a less qualified man I will protest. In fact, if there is a woman’s organization on Wall Street fighting for equal pay for women I will join it. I am part of the protest movement on campus that has gotten so much publicity.
I’m writing to you because my mother who reads your blog religiously, suggested it. She is convinced that if I approach Wall Street with my attitude they will, if they hired me which she doubts, not only pay me less but probably fire me. I can’t believe that would happen today but I am asking you since you are her expert on proper behavior in business.
Name and address withheld by John T Molloy
I was hired several weeks ago by three companies to research a design project. They had hired a design firm to come up with a name and logo for a new company and they weren’t happy with their suggestions. Without going into detail there were obvious flaws in the design, the name was okay but they simply guessed and never researched it while the logo was unworkable. They didn’t bother to tell the design firm that the logo is not only going to be put on shirts but on the outside of their buildings or if they followed my suggestion on top of their franchises. So the fact that it would go from 3 inches to 30 feet and the larger version was just plain ugly was not the fault of the design firm.
It didn’t take me 15 minutes to point out the obvious. so I announced I would cut my fee in half if they would arrange for an early flight home. They arranged for a 12:35 flight and it was 9:30 in the morning. Went I asked for a cup of coffee I was offered breakfast and I accepted. They had time to kill because the meeting was cut short and they had to arrange for their own trips. One of the ladies asked if they could do anything for me since I had saved them from making a costly mistake. I said I have a letter on my laptop I would like them to read and comment on. I passed my computer around and they made several comments.
First was made by a woman executive who earned her MBA at Georgetown. She said they learned everything about their jobs after they were hired. She added she’d never hire anyone who went to Yale because the whole point of going to college was to learn how to think and communicate. The publicity your movement received convinced her that is no longer happening at Yale.
The second comment was made by the second woman. She said the first woman was being a bit too harsh. The girl is probably bright and might do very well in the company. At that one of the men chimed in; what about her attitude, she joins the firm ready, willing and anxious to create problems. I wouldn’t touch her with a 10 foot pole. There were five men and two women at the table. I’m not sure exactly how many but at least four of the seven show their agreement by nodding.
The discussion went on for about another hour. I can summarize what was said by repeating two of their comments. One by a gentleman; who said joining any corporation is like joining the Army, if you want to get ahead put on the uniform and learn to salute. He was the president of his company and said running any large corporation is like being a general in the Army. Your job is to defeat the competition and to do that you need people who know their jobs, carry out orders and are willing to sacrifice for the company. He added that is the primary reason women do not do as well as men. Most take off time to have children and after the children are born they become their primary concern. They often take time off when their children are sick. If you ask a man to move his family across country if he sees it as necessary to move up most will do it. Few women will.
The second comment was made by the first woman to speak. She said corporations are basically male institutions and they use male sports jargon when explaining how a corporation should run. They are not only using sports or military terminology when talking about company projects and they have a unique male approach to most subjects. She added: “The only reason I succeeded in my company is I was raised with four brothers and I know how men think.
I know this is not a logical well thought out answer to your question but of the seven successful women to whom I showed it six said it was the only way to help someone as naïve as you. Tell you exactly how the world works and let you work it out for yourself .
There it is. Good luck!