Unemployment is child’s play for Yahoo boss
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 ...