The Magnate's ManifestoBy: Jennifer Hayward
THE DAY THAT Jared Stone’s manifesto sparked an incident of international female outrage happened to be, unfortunately for Stone, a slow news day. By 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, when the sexy Silicon Valley billionaire was reputed to be running the trails of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, as he did every morning in his connected-free beginning to the day, his manifesto was dinner conversation in Moscow. In London, as chicly dressed female office workers escaped brick and steel buildings to chase down lunch, his outrageous state of the union on twenty-first-century women was on the tip of every tongue, spoken in hushed, disbelieving tones on elevator trips down to ground level.
And in America, where the outrage was about to hit hardest, women who had spent their entire careers seeking out the C-suite only to find themselves blocked by a glass ceiling that seemed impossible to penetrate stared in disbelief at their smartphones. Maybe it was a joke, some said. Someone must have hacked into Stone’s email, said others. Doesn’t surprise me at all, interjected a final contingent, many of whom had dated Stone in an elusive quest to pin down the world’s most sought-after bachelor. He’s a cold bastard. I’m only surprised his true stripes didn’t appear sooner.
* * *
At her desk at 7:00 a.m. at the Stone Industries building in San Jose, Bailey St. John was oblivious to the firestorm her boss was creating. Intent on hacking her way through her own glass ceiling and armed with a steaming Americano with which to do so, she slid into her chair with as much grace as her pencil skirt would allow, harnessed a morning dose of optimism that today would be different, and flicked on her PC.
She stared sleepily at the screen as her computer booted up. Took a sip of the strong, acrid brew that inevitably kicked her brain into working order as she clicked on her mail program. Her girlfriend Aria’s email, titled “OMG,” made her lift a recently plucked and perfected brow.
She clicked it open. The hot sip of coffee she’d just taken lodged somewhere in her windpipe. Billionaire Playboy Ignites International Incident With His Manifesto on Women, blared the headline of the variety news site everyone in Silicon Valley frequented. Leaked Tongue-in-Cheek Manifesto to His Fellow Mates Makes Stone’s Views on Women in the Boardroom and Bedroom Blatantly Clear.
Bailey put down her coffee with a jerky movement and clicked through to the manifesto that had already generated two million views. The Truth About Women, which apparently had never been meant for anyone other than Jared Stone’s inner circle, was now the salacious entertainment of the entire male population. As she started reading what was unmistakably her boss’s bold, eloquent tone, she nearly fell off her chair.
Having dated and worked with a cross-section of women from around the globe, and having reached the age where I feel I can make a definitive opinion on the subject matter, I have come to a conclusion. Women lie.
* * *
They say they want to be equals in the boardroom, when in reality nothing has changed over the past fifty years. Despite all their pleas to the contrary, despite their outrage at the limits the “so-called” glass ceiling puts on them, they don’t really want to be hammering out a deal, and they don’t want to be orchestrating a merger. They want to be home in the house we provide, living the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. They want a man who will take care of them, who gives them a hot night between the sheets and diamond jewelry at appropriate intervals. Who will prevent them from drifting aimlessly through life without a compass…
Drifting aimlessly through life without a compass? Bailey’s cheeks flamed. If there was any way in which her life couldn’t be described, it was that. She’d spent the last twelve years putting as much mileage between her and her depressing low-income roots as she could, doing the impossible and obtaining an MBA before working herself up the corporate ladder. First at a smaller Silicon Valley start-up, then for the last three years at Jared Stone’s industry darling of a consumer electronics company.
And that was where her rapid progression had stopped. As director of North American sales for Stone Industries, she’d spent the last eighteen months chasing a vice president position Stone seemed determined not to give her. She’d worked harder and more impressively than any of her male colleagues, and it was generally acknowledged the VP job should have been hers. Except Jared Stone didn’t seem to think so—he’d given the job to someone else. And that hurt coming from the man she’d been dying to work for—the resident genius of Silicon Valley.