The Magnate's Manifesto

By: 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.

Why didn’t he respect her as everyone else did?

Her blood heated to a furious level; bubbled and boiled and   threatened to spill over into an expression of uncontrolled rage. Now she     knew   why. Because Jared Stone was a male chauvinist pig. The worst of a   Silicon Valley breed.

He was…horrific.

She forced a sip of the excessively strong java into her mouth   before she lost it completely and slammed the cup back down on her desk. Flicked   her gaze back to her computer screen and the “rules” on women Jared had also   gifted the male population with.

Rule Number 1—All women are crazy. And by that I     mean they think in a completely foreign way from us that might as well come     from another planet. You need to find the least crazy one you can live with.     If you elect to settle down, which I’m not advocating, mind you.

Rule Number 2—Every woman wants a ring on her finger and the     white picket fence. No matter what she says. Not a bad thing for the state     of the nuclear family or for you if you’re already on that trajectory. But     for God’s sake know what you’re getting yourself into.

Rule Number 3—Every woman wants a lion in the bedroom. She     wants to be dominated. She wants you to be in complete control. She doesn’t     want you to listen to her “needs.” So stop making that mistake. Be a     man.

Rule Number 4—Every woman starts the day with an agenda. A     cause, an item to strike off her list, the inescapable conclusion of a     campaign she’s been running. It could be a diamond ring, more of your time,     your acknowledgment that you will indeed agree to meet her mother…     Whatever it is, take it from me, just say yes or say goodbye. And know that     saying goodbye might be a whole hell of a lot cheaper in the long     run.

Bailey stopped reading for the sake of her   blood pressure. Here she’d been worrying that the personality conflict she and   Jared shared, which admittedly was intense, was the problem. The thing that had   been holding her back. Their desire to rip each other apart every time they   stepped foot in a boardroom together was legendary within the company, but that   hadn’t been it. No—in actual fact, he disrespected the entire female     race.

She’d never even had a chance.

Three years, she fumed, scowling at her computer   screen as she pulled up a blank document. Three years she’d worked for that   egocentric jerk, racking up domestic sales of his wildly popular cell phones and   computers… For what? It had all been a complete waste of time in a career in   which the clock was ticking. A CEO by thirty-five, she’d vowed. Although that   vision seemed to be fading fast….

She pressed her lips together and started typing. To whom     it may concern: I can no longer work in an organization with that pig at the     helm. It goes against every guiding principle I’ve ever had.   She kept going, wrote the letter without holding back, until her blood had   cooled and her rage was spent. Then she did a second version she could hand in   to HR.

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