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Once Earning 8-Figure-Salary, VP Of Company Quits Jobs. Here’s Why



From traversing through a high-profile yet male-dominated job to quitting and following her passion for writing, her journey is no less than a celebration of womanhood. Meet Lindsay McMillan, the former Vice-President of Goldman Sachs, an Investment Banking Company and now an author of her debut novel The Heart of the Deal. McMillan quit her job with a six-figure salary because of the dominance of male leadership that suppressed her femininity and her creativity. 

McMillan started working at Goldman Sach as an intern and was swiftly raised to the position of Vice-President in the marketing department at the age of 28. But her journey was not easy. 

MacMillan was the only woman in a team of 20 investors

In an essay that she wrote for a media portal, McMillan said, “Two years ago, I joined the ranks of the women leaving Goldman. My career propelled me from an intern to a vice president in just six years, but it wasn’t a walk in the park. Under my desk, I would keep a pair of black pumps that I called my ‘Hollywood heels.’ When I put them on every morning, I channelled a thick-skinned character who thrived in a man’s world. It worked, but it was draining. Eventually, I decided I’d had enough; I left to write  novels and build my own coaching and consulting business.”

McMillan said she was the only woman in the team of 20 investors. The work timings were from 7 am to 10 pm including long hours on weekends. Everything in the corporate world of Golman was dictated by “whatever the male leadership pushed.”

She had to fabricate a masculine personality to succeed in her career

Consequently, to adjust to the environment, MacMillan had to repress her femininity and take over a fabricated masculine personality. She said, “I wore a pantsuit and muted my personality. I played golf, discussed football, and cried in the bathroom stall to avoid being seen shedding tears at my desk.” 

Whenever she used to channel her creativity, she was criticised by her colleagues. For example, when wrote poetries, she received negative comments from her colleagues who said that she was too emotional. Moreover, when she practised her passion for baking and brought cookies to the office, she was asked to focus on financial modelling instead.

She even tried to suggest changes to work-related matters. However, she was asked to stick to the standards predefined. “My out-of-the-box ideas were discouraged. I was told to stick to the Excel templates and precisely formatted PowerPoint decks and to stop using exclamation points in my emails,” she said.  

Lindsay was not alone in deciding to quit the company. Many women in higher positions than her also left the company to start their own businesses where they had more freedom.

As Vice-President, MacMillan tried to introduce new changes like a joy newsletter but she encountered difficulties. She said that the company wanted to hire talented women but did not value their skills. 

So finally, MacMillan took the plunge. She said, “(I) was burned out—not from the work itself but from the parts of me I had to dim along the way.”

Why MacMillan’s struggle resonates with every working woman

Lindsay MacMillan’s struggle of working at a male-dominated company resonates with many women across the world. Despite many developments in the sector of women empowerment, the workforce is still male-dominated. Women who get the job after facing a lot of criticism from patriarchy end up being enclosed in the same system. It is like a vicious cycle in which women are never free of patriarchal culture.

However, women like MacMillan who take a stand and exit the male-dominated culture become an inspiration for many women who are still battling to gain a voice in the patriarchal workforce. Her journey tells us that more than money and success, a woman’s self-respect matters. Once a woman values her worth, no one can stop her from being successful. 

MacMillan said that the finance giant did support her in her writing career by buying copies of her book and inviting her to speak. However, she still believes that the company has room for improvement. MacMillan doesn’t criticise her intellectually stimulating job. But, she does say that we need to celebrate women without bashing men

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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