I’m back from Budapest: more on that later.
While I was away the US Vice President Mike Pence seems to have subjected himself to ridicule and outrage from various quarters due to a confession that he will not dine alone with any woman other than his wife of 32 years.
Some people believed that this may harm the careers of those women who interact with Pence professionally:
Social-science research shows this practice extends beyond politics and into the business world, and it can hold women back from key advancement opportunities.
So, is dining alone with a boss or colleague a necessary condition for professional success? The answer can be found in a rather unlikely story:
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have worked closely with each other for 14 seasons on “Mythbusters,” but that doesn’t mean they were close.
Possibly the biggest myth the duo has busted is the belief that you can’t work with someone you don’t get along with.
I say unlikely because when you watch Mythbusters (and being a mechanical engineer who has spent a period unemployed, trust me when I tell you I have) the dynamic between the two is such that you can’t believe they are not friends in real life. But apparently not, and the article is worth reading because it shows how they moulded two conflicting personalities into a show that worked. So what’s this got to do with Pence? This:
“We don’t get along very well together on a personal level. In 25 years we’ve known each other, we’ve never had dinner alone together.”
So one of the most successful working relationships in modern times occurred between two people who never had dinner alone together. At this stage one is entitled to ask why some think women’s careers will suffer under Pence’s cruel no-dinners policy and, more importantly, what they believe women would do alone with Pence that they would not do in company. It seems to me those complaining about it either have a rather dim view of women and how they progress in their careers, or they’re projecting from how they advanced their own.