Be Like Marissa Mayer: “I Ignore The Haters, I Don’t Click”

The CEO of Yahoo! and the youngest to run a Fortune 500 is no stranger to criticism. Ever since her executive appointment last summer (being pregnant and a woman and all…) and making a company rule that none of her employees are allowed to work from home this February, she has come under continued fire.

But to what effect? Is it getting to her? Are all the negative comments forcing her to make certain decisions? Nope! Not.At.All.

At the ‘Wired Business Conference: Think Bigger’ in New York this week she was quick and sharp to answer questions about those people, aka haters.

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The ruling she made about Yahoo! employees not working from home wasn’t meant to be a topic of gossip for the press nor was it a publicity stunt. It was a well-thought out tactic which she knew was best for her company. “It was the right thing for us now.”

So how does she handle all that bad press? Simple, she doesn’t read it, and therefore it does not affect her daily life or work. (Smart Lady!)

“I don’t click,” she said. She does see headlines and admitted to asking her husband occasionally to read and summarize anything that is of interest to her because “it always sounds better coming from someone you love and who loves you.”

When women get in positions of power in an industry that is largely male-dominated, it is bound to ruffle a few feathers and attract those pesky haters. Mayer came to Yahoo as a rising star at Google, a move many judged as a step back to a company beyond redemption. But she wasn’t discouraged, she said. “I don’t know that the job could have been more tailor made,” she said. “I thought that would be really fun in terms of the challenge.”

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She views any personal attacks as just “noise”, basically a distraction. She is certainly a head strong, determined woman focused on doing her job. She is not in the business of bringing attention to the fact that she is a woman in a high position, but is using that as way to inspire other smart talented women in tech to follow in her footsteps and get to the top.

Andrea Rene, a tech & video game Host and Producer based in Los Angeles who has worked with major companies such as Machinima, Mahalo.com, Alloy Digital, and hosts “Escapist News Now’ for The Escapist Magazine has some thoughts of her own toward Mayer’s decisions. And she is not alone in this thinking.

“Mayer’s decree to not allow employees of Yahoo work from home is…confusing. However, there is validity to her argument that employees do not produce as much quality and timely work when working from home. I thrive by bouncing ideas of co-workers, and having the social connection to people on my team makes for a more cohesive unit, something you would never get if you always worked from home.”

She also cites powerful women in tech like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as a beacon of hope for other tech, gaming and entertainment experts like herself and says that other women should be more supportive.

“Seeing women accused her of “skating” her way through to the top is heartbreaking given how challenging being a woman in business truly is. It is SO frustrating that being a confident, outspoken woman automatically labels you as a ‘bitch’ instead of ‘powerful.’ We, as women, are holding ourselves back as much as men are. I’m glad there are powerful women like Sandberg and Mayer.”

Sheryl Sandberg herself put it best when she said ‘We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives, the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.’

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It is always easy to use our own personal opinions as a reason to bash others. But we as women should step back and look at the bigger picture. There are amazingly talented ladies out there making great strides in the name of our gender, and whether we agree with their day to day decisions is none of our business, let them do their jobs. Instead, we can highlight their progression and hope that it will inspire the nest generation to go after their dreams.

Haters will never disappear, negativity is just unfortunately part of life at times. But choose to ignore anything that isn’t helpful. Don’t let it affect you, don’t “click” on anything you know is not going to be of any use to you. It’s time to change the cultural climate amongst women in 2013. Enough of the bitchy, negative and hurtful remarks. We owe it to ourselves, and to all those women who fought hard at the start of the Women’s Movement in the 70s to be the best representatives of our gender for those who come after us. Let’s pave the way, not pound each other down.

How do you deal with negative comments and haters?

 

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