Let others choose their own hats

How many hats do you wear?

When I’m in a city and say I’m there for a software conference, I wear my “all technical people” hat. When I’m the only woman in a room of men, I wear my “the entire female gender” hat. When I’m the only American at a long table full of Europeans, I wear my “American” hat. At those times, I feel like my behavior reflects on an entire gender, nationality or industry.

That often makes me think and act very carefully. Sometimes that makes me feel guilty. It often feels stressful.

So just go easy on Marissa Mayer.

She didn’t choose to wear the female hat. But she did choose to wear the CEO hat. And the mom hat. And the female mom CEO hat. Wow! What a burden that must feel like at times. So give her some slack. Let her do the best she can the way she thinks is right. She obviously chose not to wear the “children should spend the first couple of months with their mom” hat. That’s ok with me. She’s wearing a lot of hats. And she’s pushing the stereotypes. For a lot of hats that I care about. Give her some room to breath. Remove the stress of imposing yet another hat on her. Support her in all the hats she has to wear.

I say this from my a day of camping without work and without kids. So pretty hat free, relatively speaking. Yeah to the female, mom, CEO!