EDIT 3: I answered as many of the top comments as I could but a lot of them are buried so you might not see them. Anyway, this was fun you guys, let's do it again soon xoxo


Long time Redditor, first time AMA’er here. My name is Marissa Orr, and I’m a former Googler and ex-Facebooker turned author. It all started on a Sunday afternoon in March of 2016, when I hit send on an email to Sheryl Sandberg, setting in motion a series of events that ended 18 months later when I was fired from my job at Facebook. Here’s the rest of that story and why it inspired me to write Lean Out, The Truth About Women, Power, & The Workplace: https://medium.com/@MarissaOrr/why-working-at-facebook-inspired-me-to-write-lean-out-5849eb48af21


Through personal (and humorous) stories of my time at Google and Facebook, Lean Out is an attempt to explain everything we’ve gotten wrong about women at work and the gender gap in corporate America. Here are a few book excerpts and posts from my blog which give you a sense of my perspective on the topic.


The Wage Gap Isn’t a Myth. It’s just Meaningless https://medium.com/@MarissaOrr/the-wage-gap-isnt-a-myth-it-s-just-meaningless-ee994814c9c6


So there are fewer women in STEM…. who cares? https://medium.com/@MarissaOrr/so-there-are-fewer-women-in-stem-who-cares-63d4f8fc91c2


Why it's Bullshit: HBR's Solution to End Sexual Harassment https://medium.com/@MarissaOrr/why-its-bullshit-hbr-s-solution-to-end-sexual-harassment-e1c86e4c1139


Book excerpt on Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-and-google-veteran-on-leaning-out-gender-gap-2019-7


Proof: https://twitter.com/MarissaBethOrr/status/1196864070894391296


EDIT: I am loving all the questions but didn't expect so many -- trying to answer them thoughtfully so it's taking me a lot longer than I thought. I will get to all of them over the next couple hours though, thank you!

EDIT2: Thanks again for all the great questions! Taking a break to get some other work done but I will be back later today/tonight to answer the rest.

Comments: 5188 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

Whatever4561123956 karma

I'm a millennial woman in tech and it pisses me off how pushy other women are about going to those company meetups where they tell you that you're meek because of the men at the company and they will become your mentor and teach you how to lead like a man.

Maybe I just want to go home to do my hobbies instead of going to bullshit meetups about how I'm a delicate flower that must be protected from my scary sexist coworkers! I have better things to do than these fucking meetings!

What is the motivation for them to be pushy about these meetings and getting the younger women to have a female mentor to teach them how to have a more dominant personality? They are VERY pushy.

I don't feel bad or have any fucking problems:

  • Speaking up in meetings

  • Asking for a raise

  • Proposing new ideas

  • Taking on a leadership role

Yet only women assume I am unable to do these things! No man has EVER assumed those things about me. What kind of message does that send? To enmesh with them instead of be independent.

I get it that it's different now than it was for boomers but holy mother of God I got into tech to do tech not women's studies!

shescrafty66792061 karma

I am a feminist and always had a problem with all the female leadership stuff at work. It all seemed like phony corporate cheerleading. The truth is, the corporate world is all about power politics. Naturally the more pushy people will rise to the top. Some of them use 'women's issues' as a platform to further their own personal agenda and it's not really about a genuine interest in helping others. My advice: ignore them and don't let the bastards get ya down :)

veybi995 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA. As a former Google employee, what is your opinion about James Damore memo?

shescrafty66792228 karma

I agree with certain things he said like the personality differences between men and women on average (ex competitive vs cooperative). The major point he missed though, is that the corporate system favors the male dominant traits simply because it was designed by men from their world view (ie if i am more motivated by competition, I'll set it up as a zero sum game because I assume that's what will motivate others too). But If women are more motivated by cooperation, then why not change the structure from being exclusively a zero sum game? The corporate hierarchy was designed a few hundred years ago -- since then, the entire economy has transformed along with the composition of the workforce, yet these underlying structures have remained exactly the same. the question i pose in the book is, what makes more sense, rewiring women's personalities to conform to an outdated system or rewire the system to better meet the needs of today's workforce and economy?

officialshitposter63 karma

What role do you think being White plays into your analysis?

shescrafty667965 karma

The lack of female CEOs and the lack of black CEOs are born from two totally different systemic issues. The latter has to do with socioeconomic, historical, and cultural forces that are outside the scope of my book, knowledge, and experience.

TheSebitti56 karma


I haven’t read your book yet but I had a look at the link describing the gender pay gap as meaningless. It was an interesting overview.

Did you ever come across a known common nature of a gambling personality with men being more prominent than with women? And how it has been proposed that men are more likely to “risk” asking for a pay wise in comparison to women in the workplace?

Thanks in advance.

shescrafty6679130 karma

I talk about a small subset of behaviors that are required to make it to the top of corporate America and how those behaviors correlate more highly with men. For example, behavior like aggression and self-aggrandizement are more recognized and rewarded simply because they are more visible than behavior like empathy and consensus building. And competitive people who desire dominance are more motivated to keep climbing that people who are motivated by relationships and building harmony/cooperation. The former correlate more highly with men but they don't correlate with competence and they're not a signal that someone is actually a good leader who deserves to be in their position.

DaedalusMinion26 karma


shescrafty667924 karma

I had to google Tomi Lahren just now. I'm not even close to being a conservative and after a quick glance at her wikipedia page, doubt we share similar perspectives on the world. My book debunks feminist rhetoric by explaining its faulty assumptions.

chernya22 karma

Which perks/benefits were offered to you from Google/Facebook? (ie. free gym, free lunch, paid insurance, etc.)

shescrafty667953 karma

the perks were an embarrassment of riches and i miss allll of them! I work for myself now, so I have perspective on just how good I had it. free food, insurance, amazing salary, massages onsite, etc. I worked in the NYC office so there was no free gym but you did get a subsidy.

RamsesThePigeon13 karma

A lot of the topics covered in your book are considered somewhat heretical by certain folks, particularly those who are engaged in what has come to be known as “cancel culture.” With that in mind, what has been (or will be) your go-to response to people who insist that you’re doing a disservice to society by highlighting the myths to which they’ve clung?

shescrafty667960 karma

Surprisingly I haven't gotten a lot of hate or push back from the book or the arguments in it. I think its because I really avoided making this into an identity issue of one gender vs. another. Instead, I simply lay out why certain personality types make it to the top of corporate America and others don't, and explain that it's not so much about gender about about a small cluster of behaviors that are required for 'winning.'

Wants-NotNeeds4 karma

Do you have book recommendations, specifically about communication, helping women survive men’s dominated corporate culture?

shescrafty667925 karma

This is admittedly self-serving, but Lean Out has a lot about male and female communication styles, so you might find it helpful. One of my favorite books on communication (although not gender specific) is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

techn0scho0lbus-4 karma

Isn't your idea that women should earn less because they spend more time at home based on assumed heterosexuality and a traditional home setup?

shescrafty6679140 karma

I've never said anything close to this and don't believe that at all so I'm not sure how to answer your question.

caitRgator52 karma

Just ugh. I personally can't stand how these Googlers and Facbookers think that their time at two large comfy companies suddenly qualifies them to tell us other folks how we should be living our lives. Fuck that.

Women already do much of the unpaid labor at home even with a full time job.

shescrafty667926 karma

I totally agree. The whole message and spirit of the book is be yourself and define success on your own terms (ie. damn the man)

[deleted]-10 karma


shescrafty667910 karma

The only time people really made fun of my last name was in elementary school when the song 'Can't Fight This Feeling' by REO Speedwagon came out. Kids would change the lyric from "throw away the oars forever" to "throw away MARISSA ORR forever." In my career, I don't remember anyone ever trying to make me feel bad for being a woman or having an odd last name.