When my blog was young and I was hungry for topics, I was hit by a bolt of inspiration — I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the EMC that signed my paycheck as compared to the EMC I was reading about on the web, specifically in the areas of equality and inclusion. I ended up writing a series of six posts last summer dealing with the subject. That was about nine months ago, and I’m still glad I did it. I periodically drop back in to the subject as there are some compelling stories just waiting to be told and because I’m proud of the changes in culture that have happened at EMC over the years.
I honestly wasn’t sure what I would learn as I began writing. What I didn’t expect was people to come out of the blue after reading what I wrote and ask to talk to me. I sat down with a few different people and got some honest insights into aspects of the EMC culture I was previously blind to. Some of it made it into my posts, and some of it just worked its way into my everyday working life. And of course most importantly the individuals I made contact with have become part of my work circle, enriching my life in ways that continue to surprise me.
When I met with Natalie Corridan-Gregg last summer, she told me about a project she was working on. I’m proud to be able to be a part of the official launch of that project today – The Working Mother Experience, a 250-page book full of individual working parents’ stories. I was fortunate enough to be given an early copy of the book a couple weeks back, and wrote a review of it which is being used as part of the launch today. Here’s the meat of my review:
I was cynically half-expecting to read essays dancing around the complex issues, but this isn’t the case. There are moments of self-doubt, guilt, pride, and joy. The flavor of individual people and cultures really shines through in each story, as you are given a brief glance into each person’s life, each person’s world. A single line of text might inspire you or fill you with sadness, but most of all the stories are authentic. These parents are brave and honest and I admire the strength of character it takes to tell these stories and invite everyone into their complex and difficult lives.
I’m writing this post not because I think the book is great (though I do!) but because I’m fascinated by how I managed to stumble on to this project and play a small part in it. My interest in the subject of diversity and inclusion at EMC slowly developed from a couple comments on our internal site into a series of posts on my public blog, which led to some faceto-face conversations and some informal networking. By staying with this in the months since then, I’ve been able to really strengthen my connection with the challenges faced by our diverse workforce. This all factors into what I wrote about a few months ago, with how hard it is to measure the ROI on increased employee engagement by embracing the social web.
This isn’t just about your company’s investment into its workforce, but your own investment into your working day. It’s a testament to the new world at EMC (and others companies who are embracing the social web) that I can invest more of myself into what I traditionally think of as “work” and somehow end up feeling like I’ve gotten a more healthy work/life balance out of it in the end.
I think if you read the Working Mothers Experience book, you’ll find that same message hidden in a few of the stories.