Un­em­ploy­ment is child’s play for Ya­hoo boss

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - KERRY PAR­NELL KERRY.PAR­[email protected] TWIT­TER.COM/KERRYPARNELL

She may have lost her job, but Ya­hoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who re­signed this week as the com­pany was sold to Ver­i­zon, will fi­nally get to spend some time with her chil­dren.

The high-pro­file boss fa­mously only took two weeks ma­ter­nity leave when she had her son in 2012 and less than a month with her twin daugh­ters last year.

She didn’t think this un­usual — re­mem­ber in the US they man­age to be even meaner about ma­ter­nity leave than Aus­tralia, with none what­so­ever. New moth­ers cob­ble to­gether hol­i­day pay (also measly) and un­paid leave, be­fore re­turn­ing to work at 12 weeks or lose their job. Liv­ing the dream.

Hav­ing been hailed by fem­i­nists for tak­ing the Ya­hoo job while preg­nant, Mayer divided work­ing moth­ers with her no­tion that a fort­night leave is plenty.

It’s a tricky one. Clearly if you’re the CEO of one of the big­gest tech com­pa­nies in the world it’s un­likely you can take a year off to blend sweet potato and go to craft classes. Sim­i­larly it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween moth­ers who choose to stay at home, or go back to work so fast they speed dial Uber from the de­liv­ery suite. Each to their own.

How­ever, I think even a CEO can take six weeks off with­out the com­pany col­laps­ing. At the time, Mayer lamented she wouldn’t be able to take the “glo­ri­ous six-month ma­ter­nity leave” she had planned, but two weeks is ex­treme: Peo­ple have longer sick leave. She did im­ple­ment 16 weeks ma­ter­nity and pa­ter­nity leave at Ya­hoo, which is com­mend­able, although she didn’t use it her­self.

Mayer told the Ac­cel­er­ate Her Founders Fo­rum in London on Wed­nes­day that she’s “anti ad hoc work from home” see­ing it as in­ef­fi­cient. “I wanted to turn that gene off,” she said. In­stead she took her baby to work.

“I had my ma­ter­nity leave in the of­fice. As CEO I had to be there,” she said. “My baby had go-to-work clothes. A tiny dou­ble-breasted suit.”

She said she sound­proofed the closet in her of­fice, so she could pop the baby in there in­stead. She didn’t men­tion if the nanny was in the cup­board too.

And yet it’s all aca­demic now as the for­mer Google golden girl, who promised to change the for­tunes of Ya­hoo when she took the reins in 2012, is back at home, whether she likes it or not. It’s the first time in 16 years she’s been with­out a job.

She said she’s con­sid­er­ing her next move and hav­ing walked away from Ya­hoo with $340 mil­lion in shares and com­pen­sa­tion, I’d haz­ard a guess she’s not par­tic­u­larly pan­icked about pay­ing the mort­gage like the bulk of Amer­ica’s new mums.

Per­haps she will do the clas­sic ousted fig­ure­head “spend­ing time with fam­ily”, which is what every­one from top­pled PMs to chopped CEOs de­clare they’re go­ing to do, when they re­ally mean they’ll be at the golf course by day and sob­bing into their sav blanc by night.

Although with twin daugh­ters Marielle and Syl­vana still only 18 months old and son Ma­cal­lis­ter, four, most mums would agree it’s prob­a­bly eas­ier run­ning a global cor­po­ra­tion; far fewer tantrums and you can send an email in peace.

Oh wait, it was Ya­hoo ...

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